"It's class warfare and my class is winning." Warren Buffett

The value of any commodity, ... to the person who possesses it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange it for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command. Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities. (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations Book 1, chapter V.)

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works....(Barack Obama)


Monday, September 05, 2005

Canadian Mounties Arrive in Parts of New Orleans Ahead of US National Guard

More evidence of USA lethargy in rescuing persons trapped in New Orleans:

Sheriff Stephens, interviewed on the Cajun Queen, also said federal assistance had been minimal. "I have Royal Canadian Mounties who have gotten here faster than the federal government," he said. "I have made more life-and-death decisions in the last four or five days than I have in 22 years."

The Canadians were actually members of a 47-member search-and-rescue team sent from the municipal government in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Its members have gone from house to house, extracting survivors who have weathered the storm and its bitter aftermath. (
link)

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One thing I’ve noticed in the photographs of the New Orleans victims. Most of the few white persons stranded in the city were elderly. I wondered if many of them resided in nursing homes. One tragic story about this has already emerged:

According to the three men who run the [Bernard Parish]--the parish president, the sheriff and the fire chief, who said they saw it themselves--hundreds of residents were killed, including 31 found in a nursing home. (link)
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It appears that the poorest areas in New Orleans are being neglected by the rescuers:

JOHN HAMILTON: I'll tell you, Juan, I saw an awful lot of boots on the ground in terms of National Guard. I saw guns in the air. I'll tell you what I didn't see. I didn't see looting. I didn't see violence. I didn't see rapes occurring. I'm not going to say that these acts and these events didn't occur, but we certainly didn't see any the entire time we were in New Orleans. We made it all the way downtown through all the looded areas, all around the city.It's my sense, Juan, that the news media reports about violence and looting, and sometimes couched in racist terms, has led to a situation where rescue operators are unwilling to go into areas of the city which are in dire need of rescuers. I'm thinking of areas like the Ninth Ward, the poorest and blackest area of New Orleans. Now, after Sharif and I went to the airport, we traveled as far east as we could. We made it as far as the 17th street canal, which separates Jefferson Parish from Orleans Parish, beyond which is completely flooded. We looked at the homes there, first story homes barely had rooftops above the water line. Second story homes were like first story homes. It was a bizarre version of Venice, Italy. I traveled on boat with four volunteers who were rescuing people. I expected to find a massive operation pulling people -- this was Saturday. Pulling people still out of their homes, trapped in attics. What I saw from the federal government was a grand total of three boats, border patrol agents on three boats. Two air boats and one flat bottom boot. I saw far more of a response from citizens who had just taken it upon themselves to go and pluck people out of their homes. They plucked about a dozen out on Saturday. We heard report of 40 more people in their homes. (link)