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Friday, August 31, 2012

New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Fake Hurricane Katrina Story, in Which It Reverse-Reported the Murder and Mayhem (“9/26”)

 
[Postscript, 9/2/12: Tonight, Peter Brimelow just published my VDARE Katrina update, “Revising Katrina for the Age of Obama.”]


By Nicholas Stix

(Read 9/6 here.

The following introduction to the Times-Pic’s September 26, 2005 story (“9/26”) is largely a copy-and-paste of the one I wrote to 9/6. Thus, if you’ve already read 9/6, you needn’t re-read it, though you’re welcome to do so. I’ll add only that while a charitable soul could deny that Brian Thevenot lied in 9/6, it is impossible for him and his colleagues not to have lied in 9/26.)

The following September 26, 2005 article, by Times-Picayune operatives Brian Thevenot, Gordon Russell, Jeff Duncan and Gwen Filosa, which I refer to in my own work as “9/26,” was one of the two most influential on the Katrina mayhem. It was written to reverse-report the truths told in Thevenot’s September 6, 2005 article (9/6), as well as by many of his colleagues at the Times-Pic and the American and foreign MSM.

9/6 told stories of stacks of corpses at the New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and other horror stories. When it was published, its findings were repeated 24/7 in the media echo chamber.

The only article more influential than 9/6 was the one Thevenot co-wrote with three Times-Picayune colleagues 20 days later, which I refer to as “9/26,” and which I have rescued from the memory hole, and reprinted below. (I was able to retrieve it from a dusty, old external backup drive I found lying around on my desk.)

9/26 completely contradicts 9/6, but without ever saying that 9/6 was wrong. The later article acts as if it is refuting some unnamed writer or writers at some other media outlet. 9/26 even goes so far as to use the same witness, Louisiana National Guard Spc. Mykel Brooks, to impeach the most lurid tales told in 9/6, without mentioning that the primary witness for those stories was none other than Spc. Mykel Brooks.

Why the contradictions? Black activists and leaders were outraged by the honest reporting that had been carried out by many media outlets, including the Times-Pic, which had failed to portray blacks solely as victims of white racist evil, which indeed is the media’s own creed. The honest reporting had been a severe lapse.

The media echo chamber immediately turned on a dime, and began repeating the 9/26 story 24/7, as if 9/6 had never been published.

The lies of 9/26 were a form of racial reparations, for which Thevenot and the Times-Pic were richly rewarded, with two Pulitzer Prizes, and an award from at least one racist black group.

One award that Thevenot & six colleagues and editors would rather not have won came from yours truly. I wrote a series of exposés of different lengths, and bestowed on them the Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy:

1,900-word version;

Two-part, 3,900-word version (here and here); and

9,900-word version.

* * *

Monday, September 26, 2005
Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated
Widely reported attacks false or unsubstantiated

6 bodies found at Dome; 4 at Convention Center


By Brian Thevenot
and Gordon Russell
Staff writers
[New Orleans Times Picayune]


After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA - Beron doesn't remember his name - came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.

"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying.

The real total was six, Beron said.

Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice. State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been killed inside.

At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials.

That the nation's front-line emergency management believed the body count would resemble that of a bloody battle in a war is but one of scores of examples of myths about the Dome and the Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media and even some of New Orleans' top officials, including the mayor and police superintendent. As the fog of warlike conditions in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath has cleared, the vast majority of reported atrocities committed by evacuees have turned out to be false, or at least unsupported by any evidence, according to key military, law enforcement, medical and civilian officials in positions to know.

"I think 99 percent of it is bulls---," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. "Don't get me wrong, bad things happened, but I didn't see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything. ... Ninety-nine percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved."

Dr. Louis Cataldie, the state Health and Human Services Department administrator overseeing the body recovery operation, said his teams were inundated with false reports about the Dome and Convention Center.

"We swept both buildings several times, because we kept getting reports of more bodies there," Cataldie said. "But it just wasn't the case."

Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities had confirmed only four murders in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina - making it a typical week in a city that anticipated more than 200 homicides this year. Jordan expressed outrage at reports from many national media outlets that suffering flood victims had turned into mobs of unchecked savages.

"I had the impression that at least 40 or 50 murders had occurred at the two sites," he said. "It's unfortunate we saw these kinds of stories saying crime had taken place on a massive scale when that wasn't the case. And they (national media outlets) have done nothing to follow up on any of these cases, they just accepted what people (on the street) told them. ... It's not consistent with the highest standards of journalism."

As floodwaters forced tens of thousands of evacuees into the Dome and Convention Center, news of unspeakable acts poured out of the nation's media: evacuees firing at helicopters trying to save them; women, children and even babies raped with abandon; people killed for food and water; a 7-year-old raped and killed at the Convention Center. Police, according to their chief, Eddie Compass, found themselves in multiple shootouts inside both shelters, and were forced to race toward muzzle flashes through the dark to disarm the criminals; snipers supposedly fired at doctors and soldiers from downtown high-rises.

In interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Compass reported rapes of "babies," and Mayor Ray Nagin spoke of "hundreds of armed gang members" killing and raping people inside the Dome. Unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies, "we couldn't count."

The picture that emerged was one of the impoverished, masses of flood victims resorting to utter depravity, randomly attacking each other, as well as the police trying to protect them and the rescue workers trying to save them. Nagin told Winfrey the crowd has descended to an "almost animalistic state."

Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence. The piles of bodies never materialized, and soldiers, police officers and rescue personnel on the front lines say that although anarchy reigned at times and people suffered unimaginable indignities, most of the worst crimes reported at the time never happened.

Military, law enforcement and medical workers agree that the flood of evacuees - about 30,000 at the Dome and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 at the Convention Center - overwhelmed their security personnel. The 400 to 500 soldiers in the Dome could have been easily overrun by increasingly agitated crowds, but that never happened, said Col. James Knotts, a midlevel commander there. Security was nonexistent at the Convention Center, which was never designated as a shelter. Authorities provided no food, water or medical care until troops secured the building the Friday after the storm.

While the Convention Center saw plenty of mischief, including massive looting and isolated gunfire, and many inside cowered in fear, the hordes of evacuees for the most part did not resort to violence, as legend has it.

"Everything was embellished, everything was exaggerated," said Deputy Police Superintendent Warren Riley. "If one guy said he saw six bodies, then another guy the same six, and another guy saw them - then that became 18."


Soldier shot - by himself


Inside the Dome, where National Guardsmen performed rigorous security checks before allowing anyone inside, only one shooting has been verified. Even that incident, in which Louisiana Guardsman Chris Watt of the 527th Engineer Battalion was injured, has been widely misreported, said Maj. David Baldwin, who led the team of soldiers who arrested a suspect.

Watt was attacked inside one of the Dome's locker rooms, which he entered with another soldier. In the darkness, as he walked through about six inches of water, Watt was attacked with a metal rod, a piece of a cot. But the bullet that penetrated Watt's leg came from his own gun - he accidentally shot himself in the commotion. The attacker never took his gun from him, Baldwin said. New Orleans police investigated the matter fully and sent the suspect to jail in Breaux Bridge, Baldwin said.

As for other shootings, Baldwin said, "We actively patrolled 24 hours a day, and nobody heard another shot."

Doug Thornton, regional vice president of SMG, which manages the Dome, walked the complex from before the storm until the final evacuation and kept a meticulous journal. In a Sept. 9 interview, he said he heard reports of rapes and killings, but they were unconfirmed and came from evacuees and security officials.

"We walked through the facility every day, and we didn't see all this that was being reported," said Thornton, one of about 35 Dome employees who rode out Katrina in the building and lived there in the days after the storm hit. "We never felt threatened. It's hard to determine what's real and what's not real."


No victims


Inside the Convention Center, the rumors of widespread violence have proved hard to substantiate, as well, though the masses of evacuees endured terrifying and inhumane conditions.

Jimmie Fore, vice president of the state authority that runs the Convention Center, stayed in the building with a core group of 35 employees until Sept. 1, the Thursday after Katrina. He was appalled by what he saw. Thugs hotwired 75 forklifts and electric carts and looted food and booze from every room in the building, but he said he never saw any violent crimes committed, and neither did any of his employees. Some, however, did report seeing armed men roaming the building, and Fore said he heard gunshots in the distance on at about six occasions.

NOPD Capt. Jeff Winn's 20-member SWAT team responded on about 10 occasions to calls from the Convention Center, usually after reports of shots being fired. The group found people huddled in the fetal position, lying flat on the ground to avoid bullets or running for the exits. They also heard stories of gang rapes, armed robberies and other violent crimes, but no victims ever came forward while his officers were in the building, he said.

"What's true and what's not, we don't really know," he said.

Rumors of rampant violence at the Convention Center prompted Louisiana National Guard Lt. Col. Jacques Thibodeaux put together a 1,000-man force of soldiers and police in full battle gear to secure the center Sept. 2 at about noon.

It took only 20 minutes to take control, and soldiers met no resistance, Thibodeaux said. What the soldiers found - elderly people and infants near death without food, water and medicine; crowds living in filth - shocked them more than anything they'd seen in combat zones overseas. But they found no evidence, witnesses or victims of any killings, rapes or beatings, Thibodeaux said.

Another commander at the scene, Lt. Col. John Edwards of the Arkansas National Guard, said the crowd welcomed the soldiers. "It reminded me of the liberation of France in World War II. There were people cheering; one boy even saluted," he said. "We never - never once - encountered any hostility."

One widely circulated tale, told to The Times-Picayune by a slew of evacuees and two Arkansas National Guardsmen, held that "30 or 40 bodies" were stored in a Convention Center freezer. But a formal Arkansas Guard review of the matter later found that no soldier had actually seen the corpses, and that the information came from rumors in the food line for military, police and rescue workers in front of Harrah's New Orleans Casino, said Edwards, who conducted the review.

It's possible more than four people died at the Convention Center. Fore, the center's vice president, said he saw another body outside the building early in the first week after the storm, covered in a shroud on the pavement along Julia Street, near the back of the Convention Center. It's unclear whether that body ended up in the nearby food service entrance, where the four confirmed bodies were found later.

Also, several news organizations reported the body of 91-year-old Booker T. Harris, which sat covered in a chair on Convention Center Boulevard for several days after he died on the back of a truck while being evacuated.

Just one of the dead appeared to be the victim of foul play, said Winn, one of few law enforcement officers who spent any time patrolling the Convention Center before it was secured. Winn, who did the final sweep of the building, said one body appeared to have stab wounds, but he could not be sure. Baldwin also said only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, apparently referring to the same body as Winn described. Bob Johannessen, spokesman for the Department of Health and Hospitals, also confirmed just one suspected homicide at the Convention Center, though he said the victim had been shot, not stabbed.

A Washington Post report quoted another soldier who concluded that three of the four people appeared to have been beaten to death, including an older woman in a wheelchair.

But Spc. Mikel Brooks, an Arkansas Guardsman who said he wheeled the woman's dead body into the food service entrance, said she appeared to have died of natural causes. Brooks went on to say that the woman had expired sitting next to her husband, who shocked him by asking him to bring the wheelchair back.

The Post also cited evacuee Tony Cash and three other unnamed sources saying a young boy died of an asthma attack, but multiple officials could not confirm that death.


One attack thwarted


Reports of dozens of rapes at both facilities - many allegedly involving small children - may forever remain a question mark. Rape is a notoriously underreported crime under ideal circumstances, and tracking down evidence at this point, with evacuees spread all over the country, would be nearly impossible. The same goes for reports of armed robberies at both sites.

Numerous people told The Times-Picayune that they had witnessed rapes, in particular attacks on two young girls in the Superdome ladies room and the killing of one of them, but police and military officials said they know nothing of such an incident.

Soldiers and police did confirm at least one attempted rape of a child. Riley said a man tried to sexually assault a young girl, but was "beaten up" by civilians and apprehended by police. It was unclear if that incident was the one that gained wide currency among evacuees.

Baldwin, the National Guard commander of a special reaction team patrolling the Dome, also said he knew of only one attempted sexual assault of a child - but the details of his story, while similar, differed somewhat from that of Riley. It was unclear last week whether the two men spoke about the same incident.

Soldiers apprehended the assailant after a "commotion" in the bathroom exposed him, Baldwin said, but he knew nothing about the man being beaten. Furthermore, in a detail that raises questions about whether officials have full knowledge of any sex crimes, Baldwin said his men turned over one alleged child molester to New Orleans police - only to find him again inside the Dome two days later, reportedly attempting to molest other children.

"We ran into the same guy a couple days later," he said. "The crowd came to us and said, 'You better do something with this guy or we're going to do something with him.' ... That kind of re-confirmed (the first allegation), when the crowd came to us saying he was putting his hands on kids."

But other accusations that have gained wide currency are more demonstrably false. For instance, no one found the body of a girl - whose age was estimated at anywhere from 7 to 13 - who, according to multiple reports, was raped and killed with a knife to the throat at the Convention Center.

Many evacuees at the Convention Center the morning of Sept. 3 treated the story as gospel, and ticked off further atrocities: a baby trampled to death, multiple child rapes.

Salvatore Hall, standing on the corner of Julia Street and Convention Center Boulevard that day, just before the evacuation, said, "They raped and killed a 10-year-old in the bathroom."

Neither he nor the many people around him who corroborated the killing had seen it themselves.

Talk of rape and killing inside the Dome was so pervasive that it prompted a steady stream of evacuees to begin leaving Aug. 31, braving thigh-high foul waters on Poydras Street. Many said they were headed back to homes in flooded neighborhoods.

"There's people getting raped and killed in there," said Lisa Washington of Algiers, who had come to the Dome with about 25 relatives and friends. "People are getting diseases. It's like we're in Afghanistan. We're fighting for our lives right now."

One of her relatives nodded. "They've had about 14 rapes in there," he said.


The official word


In many cases, authorities gave credibility to portraits of violence broadcast around the world.

Compass told Winfrey on Sept. 6 that "some of the little babies (are) getting raped" in the Dome. Nagin backed it with his own tale of horrors: ''They have people standing out there, have been in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.''

But both men have since pulled back to a degree.

"The information I had at the time, I thought it was credible," Compass said, conceding his earlier statements were false. Asked for the source of the information, Compass said he didn't remember.

Nagin frankly acknowledged that he doesn't know the extent of the mayhem that occurred inside the Dome and the Convention Center - and may never.

"I'm having a hard time getting a good body count," he said.

Compass said rumors had often crippled authorities' response to reported lawlessness, sending badly needed resources to respond to situations that turned out not to exist. He offered his own intensely personal example: The day after the storm, he heard "some civilians" talking about how a band of armed thugs had invaded the Ritz-Carlton hotel and started raping women - including his 24-year-old daughter, who stayed there through the storm. He rushed to the scene only to find that although a group of men had tried to enter the hotel, they weren't armed and were easily turned back by police.

Compass, however, promulgated some of the unfounded rumors himself, in interviews in which he characterized himself and his officers as outgunned warriors taking out armed bands of thugs at every turn.

"People would be shooting at us, and we couldn't shoot back because of the families," Compass told a reporter from the (Bridgeport) Connecticut Post who interviewed him at the Saints' Monday Night Football game in New York, where he was the guest of NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "All we could do is rush toward the flash."

Compass added that he and his officers succeeded in wrestling 30 weapons from criminals using the follow-the-muzzle-flash technique, the story said.

"We got 30 that way," Compass was quoted as saying.

Asked about the muzzle-flash story last week, Compass said, "That really happened" to Winn's SWAT team at the Convention Center.

But Winn, when asked about alleged shootouts in a separate interview, said his unit saw muzzle flashes and heard gunshots only one time. Despite aggressively frisking a number of suspects, the team recovered no weapons. His unit never found anyone who had been shot.

Many soldiers and humanitarian workers now agree that although a number of bad actors committed violent or criminal acts, the evacuees responded well considering the hell they endured.

"These people - our people - did nothing wrong," said Sherry Watters of the state Department of Social Services, who was working with the medical unit at the Dome and noted the crowd's mounting frustration. "No human should have to live like that for even a minute."


Crowds pitch in


As the authorities finally mobilized buses to evacuate the Dome on Sept. 2, many evacuees were nearing the breaking point. Baldwin said soldiers could not have controlled the crowd much longer. They ejected a handful of people attempting to start a riot, screaming at soldiers and pushing crowds to revolt.

"We're not prisoners of war - y'all are treating us like evacuees and detainees!" he recalled one of them shouting.

But many others sought to quiet such voices. On the deck outside the Dome on Sept. 1, the day before buses arrived, preachers took it upon themselves to lead the agitated crowd in prayer and song.

"Everybody needs to help the soldiers," Baldwin recalled one of them saying. "We're all family here."

About 15 others joined the medical operation, as people collapsed from heat and exhaustion every few minutes, Baldwin said.

"Some of these guys look like thugs, with pants hanging down around their asses," he said. "But they were working their asses off, grabbing litters and running with people to the (New Orleans) Arena" next door, which housed the medical operation.

As the Dome cleared out Sept. 3, Beron, the National Guard commander, fashioned a plan to deal with the dead. He knew of the six bodies in the freezer, but expected far more. He and an Ohio National Guard commander sent 450 Ohio troops to search every nook of the Dome, top to bottom. They told them to mark locations of bodies on a map of the Dome, to rope off suspected crime scenes, and leave a chemical light sticks next to each one so they could be retrieved later.

"I fully expected to find more bodies, both homicides and natural causes," he said.

They found nothing.


Staff writers Jeff Duncan and Gwen Filosa contributed to this report.



New Orleans Times-Picayune Exposé on Hurricane Katrina Murder and Mayhem Rescued from the Memory Hole!

 
[Postscript, 9/2/12: Tonight, Peter Brimelow just published my VDARE Katrina update, “Revising Katrina for the Age of Obama.”]


By Nicholas Stix

The following September 6, 2005 article, by the Times-Picayune’s Brian Thevenot, which I refer to in my own work as “9/6,” was one of the two most influential on the Katrina mayhem. It told stories of stacks of corpses at the New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and other horror stories. When it was published, its findings were repeated 24/7 in the media echo chamber.

The only article more influential than 9/6 was the one Thevenot co-wrote with three Times-Picayune colleagues 20 days later, which I refer to as “9/26.”

9/26 completely contradicts 9/6, but without ever saying that 9/6 was wrong. The later article acts as if it is refuting some unnamed writer or writers at some other media outlet. 9/26 even goes so far as to use the same witness, Louisiana National Guard Spc. Mykel Brooks, to impeach the most lurid tales told in 9/6, without mentioning that the primary witness for those stories was none other than Spc. Mykel Brooks.

Why the contradictions? Black activists and leaders were outraged by the honest reporting that had been carried out by many media outlets, including the Times-Pic, which had failed to portray blacks solely as victims of white racist evil, which indeed is the media’s own creed. The honest reporting had been a severe lapse.

The media echo chamber immediately turned on a dime, and began repeating the 9/26 story 24/7, as if 9/6 had never been published.

The lies of 9/26 were a form of reparations, for which Thevenot and the Times-Pic were richly rewarded, with two Pulitzer Prizes, and an award from at least one racist black group.

One award that Thevenot & six colleagues and editors would rather not have won came from yours truly. I wrote a series of exposes of different length, and bestowed on them the Duranty-Blair Award for Journalistic Infamy:

1,900-word version;

Two-part, 3,900-word version (here and here); and

9,900-word version.

* * *

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mayor says Katrina may have claimed more than 10,000 lives
Bodies found piled in freezer at Convention Center

By Brian Thevenot
Staff writer
[New Orleans Times-Picayune; story has no link, because it is no longer online. At the time, the Times-Pic was not being publioshed on paper, due to damage form Katrina, and was instead being published as a rolling blog.]

Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.

"Don't step in that blood - it's contaminated," he said. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man."
Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.

"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."

He moved on, walking quickly through the darkness, pulling his camouflage shirt to his face to screen out the overwhelming odor.
"There's an old woman," he said, pointing to a wheelchair covered by a sheet. "I escorted her in myself. And that old man got bludgeoned to death," he said of the body lying on the floor next to the wheelchair.

Brooks and several other Guardsmen said they had seen between 30 and 40 more bodies in the Convention Center's freezer. "It's not on, but at least you can shut the door," said fellow Guardsman Phillip Thompson.

The scene of rotting bodies inside the Convention Center reflected those in thousands of businesses, schools, homes and shelters across the metropolitan area. The official death count from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana was 71 as of Monday evening, but that included only those bodies that had been brought to a make-shift morgue in St. Gabriel.

Nearly a full week after Hurricane Katrina, a rescue force the size of an invading army had not yet begun the task of retrieving the bodies Sunday. What's more, officials appeared to have no plan.

Daniel Martinez, a spokesman for FEMA working on Interstate 10 in eastern New Orleans, said plans for body recovery "are not being released yet."

Dozens of rescue workers questioned Monday said they knew of no protocol or collection points for bodies; none said they had retrieved even one of the many corpses seen floating in neighborhoods around the city as they searched for survivors.

Scores of rescue workers this week repeated the same mantra, over and over: We can't worry about the dead; we're still trying to save the living.

But as rescue teams across the city said they had checked nearly every house for survivors, the enormity of the death that lay in Hurricane Katrina's wake came into sharp focus even as the plans for taking care of the dead remained murky.

Mayor Ray Nagin, addressing the potential body count for the storm for the first time, said the storm may have claimed more than 10,000 lives.

In a news conference Monday morning, Deputy Chief Warren Riley said his department was "not responsible for recovery."

"We don't have a body count, but I can tell you it's growing. It's growing," he said.

As the rescue missions covered more and more ground but yielded fewer survivors, New Orleans Police Deputy Chief Steve Nicholas said that the time has come to start dealing with the dead.

"I know we're still rescuing people, but I think it's time we start pulling out the bodies," he said.

The highest concentration of casualties from Hurricane Katrina likely will come in the Lower 9th Ward, St. Bernard Parish, areas first inundated on Aug. 29 with floodwaters that engulfed second story homes in minutes. New Orleans also will likely see mass casualties, New Orleans Police Capt. Timothy Bayard said.

"We're going see a lot more bodies out of New Orleans East than we anticipated," he said.

In just one subdivision, Sherwood Forest, survivors who showed up to the Convention Center on Monday said police told them roughly 90 people in the subdivision had died.

In St. Bernard, 22 bodies were found lashed together. Officials surmised the drowning victims had tried to stay together to keep themselves from being washed away in the storm.

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu said "more than a thousand" people had died in St. Bernard. "When the death toll comes out, it's going to be a jolt for everybody," he said. "I'll be surprised if the casualties in St. Bernard are less than a thousand."

Even Uptown near the river, one of the few spots of dry land, a body lay in front of a white wooden shotgun double at 4732 Laurel St. The body of an older woman lay under a gray blanket, pinned down at the corners by brick and slate, adorned with a plastic-wrapped flower bouquet. Above her, a yellow cardboard sign quoting John 3:16 had been taped to the window.

Alcede Jackson
Rest in Peace
In the loving arms of Jesus


Given the length of time many had been dead, and in the water, some of the bodies already might be unrecognizable, and some may never be recovered.

Many trapped by flood waters in shelters found their own ways of dealing with those who died in their midst.

Near an elementary school at Poland and St. Claude avenues, Dwight and Wilber Rhodes, two brothers, said they had tried to save a middle-aged man and woman at the Convention Center who appeared to have drowned.

"We performed CPR on them, but they were already dead," Dwight Rhodes said. "So we took the food out of the freezer and put the bodies in."

Of the four bodies that lay just inside the food service entrance of the Convention Center, the woman in the wheelchair rattled Brooks the most. When he found her two days before among the sea of suffering in front of the Convention Center where one of the last refugee camps evacuated, her husband sat next to her. He had only one concern when Brooks and some of his comrades carted her away.

"Bring me back my wheelchair," he recalled the man telling him.

One of the bodies, they said, was a girl they estimated to be 5 years old. Though they could not confirm it, they had heard she was gang-raped.

"There was an old lady that said the little girl had been raped by two or three guys, and that she had told another unit. But they said they couldn't do anything about it with all the people there," Brooks said. "I would have put him in cuffs, stuck him in the freezer and left him there."

Brooks and his unit came to New Orleans not long after serving a year of combat duty in Iraq, taking on gunfire and bombs, while losing comrades with regularity. Still, the scene at the Convention Center, where they conducted an evacuation this week, left him shell-shocked.

"I ain't got the stomach for it, even after what I saw in Iraq," said Brooks, referring to the freezer where the bulk of the bodies sat decomposing. "In Iraq, it's one-on-one. It's war. It's fair. Here, it's just crazy. It's anarchy. When you get down to killing and raping people in the streets for food and water … And this is America. This is just 300 miles south of where I live."

Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, Seven Years Later: The Archives

 
[Postscript, 9/2/12: Tonight, Peter Brimelow just published my VDARE Katrina update, “Revising Katrina for the Age of Obama.”]

By Nicholas Stix

I just spent most of the night searching for my files from the Katrina mayhem in late August and early September, 2005, for the VDARE column I’m writing. The most important articles that had been posted online were sent down the memory hole years ago, and I couldn’t find any of them saved on my current hard drive.

Finally, I dug up an old backup drive that had been gathering dust for two-and-a-half years. I had removed it from its external shell (“enclosure”) when the wiring inside started fritzing out. I bought a new shell at the time, but never bothered to set it up again. (I had saved all of my work since then on a new external drive.) Until now. It says that I need Windows 98 or Vista to run it. That’s how long ago it was manufactured.

(I saved my work on pc hard drives, too, but lost all of it, thanks to Bill Gates. It’s a long story. I got so mad at the SOB that I bought an IMAC in March, 2011. Though the Apple salesman had assured me otherwise, my millions of Windows files were incompatible with Apple’s operating system, and so I had to send the machine back for a refund. Thus, although I hate Gates, I am married to him, with no way out.)

I’m going to post this stuff in chronological order as much as possible, but the most important articles are the two mutually contradictory New Orleans Times-Picayune stories, 9/6/2005 about the mayhem, that appears to have been true, and their 9/26 cover-up, which was a pack of lies. The September 2, 2005 AP story below is the earliest print story I’ve been able to find.

It may seem normal for most Katrina stories to be gone from the Web, seven years hence, but news outlets typically keep earth-shatteirng stories on their Web sites, and Katrina was the biggest story ever told by the Times-Picayune. It won the daily two Pulitzer Prizes. The problem is, for race political reasons, the Times-Pic's honest reporting on Katrina had to go. Thus, the daily transformed Katrina into one of the biggest fish stories in the history of American journalism.

* * *

New Orleans Descends Into Anarchy With Corpses Left Out on Streets, Fights, Fires and Rapes
Friday, September 02, 2005 04:35:25 AM
Associated Press

New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out, cops turned in their badges and the governor declared war on looters who have made the city a menacing landscape of disorder and fear.

"They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded," Gov. Kathleen Blanco said of 300 National Guard troops who landed in New Orleans fresh from duty in Iraq. "These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so, and I expect they will."

[N.S., August 31, 2012: Although the Guardsmen took a lot of fire, there's no evidence of their commanders permitting them to defend themlseves.]

Four days after Hurricane Katrina roared in with a devastating blow that inflicted potentially thousands of deaths, the fear, anger and violence mounted Thursday.
"I'm not sure I'm going to get out of here alive," said Canadian tourist Larry Mitzel, who handed a reporter his business card in case he goes missing. "I'm scared of riots. I'm scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire."

The chaos deepened despite the promise of 1,400 National Guardsmen a day to stop the looting, plans for a $10 billion recovery bill in Congress and a government relief effort President Bush called the biggest in U.S. history.

New Orleans' top emergency management official called that effort a "national disgrace" and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly lawless city.

About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans convention center grew ever more hostile after waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead.
Police Chief Eddie Compass said there was such a crush around a squad of 88 officers that they retreated when they went in to check out reports of assaults.

"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," Compass said. "Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon."

Col. Henry Whitehorn, chief of the Louisiana State Police, said he heard of numerous instances of New Orleans police officers _ many of whom from flooded areas _ turning in their badges.

"They indicated that they had lost everything and didn't feel that it was worth them going back to take fire from looters and losing their lives," Whitehorn said.

A military helicopter tried to land at the convention center several times to drop off food and water. But the rushing crowd forced the choppers to back off. Troopers then tossed the supplies to the crowd from 10 feet off the ground and flew away.

In hopes of defusing the situation at the convention center, Mayor Ray Nagin gave the refugees permission to march across a bridge to the city's unflooded west bank for whatever relief they could find. But the bedlam made that difficult.

"This is a desperate SOS," Nagin said in a statement. "Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don't anticipate enough buses."

At least seven bodies were scattered outside the convention center, a makeshift staging area for those rescued from rooftops, attics and highways. The sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement.

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair.

"You can do everything for other countries, but you can't do nothing for your own people," he added. "You can go overseas with the military, but you can't get them down here."

The street outside the center, above the floodwaters, smelled of urine and feces, and was choked with dirty diapers, old bottles and garbage.

"They've been teasing us with buses for four days," Edwards said. "They're telling us they're going to come get us one day, and then they don't show up."

Every so often, an armored state police vehicle cruised in front of the convention center with four or five officers in riot gear with automatic weapons. But there was no sign of help from the National Guard.

At one point the crowd began to chant "We want help! We want help!" Later, a woman, screaming, went on the front steps of the convention center and led the crowd in reciting the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd ..."

"We are out here like pure animals," the Issac Clark said.

"We've got people dying out here _ two babies have died, a woman died, a man died," said Helen Cheek. "We haven't had no food, we haven't had no water, we haven't had nothing. They just brought us here and dropped us."

Tourist Debbie Durso of Washington, Mich., said she asked a police officer for assistance and his response was, "'Go to hell _ it's every man for himself.'"
"This is just insanity," she said. "We have no food, no water ... all these trucks and buses go by and they do nothing but wave."

FEMA director Michael Brown said the agency just learned about the situation at the convention center Thursday and quickly scrambled to provide food, water and medical care and remove the corpses.

Speaking on CNN's "Larry King Live," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the evacuation of New Orleans should be completed by the end of the weekend.

At the hot and stinking Superdome, where 30,000 were being evacuated by bus to the Houston Astrodome, fistfights and fires erupted amid a seething sea of tense, suffering people who waited in a lines that stretched a half-mile to board yellow school buses.

After a traffic jam kept buses from arriving for nearly four hours, a near-riot broke out in the scramble to get on the buses that finally did show up, with a group of refugees breaking through a line of heavily armed National Guardsmen.

One military policeman was shot in the leg as he and a man scuffled for the MP's rifle, police Capt. Ernie Demmo said. The man was arrested.

Some of those among the mostly poor crowd had been in the dome for four days without air conditioning, working toilets or a place to bathe. An ambulance service airlifting the sick and injured out of the Superdome suspended flights as too dangerous after it was reported that a bullet was fired at a military helicopter.

"If they're just taking us anywhere, just anywhere, I say praise God," said refugee John Phillip. "Nothing could be worse than what we've been through."

By Thursday evening, 11 hours after the military began evacuating the Superdome, the arena held 10,000 more people than it did at dawn. National Guard Capt. John Pollard said evacuees from around the city poured into the Superdome and swelled the crowd to about 30,000 because they believed the arena was the best place to get a ride out of town.

As he watched a line snaking for blocks through ankle-deep waters, New Orleans' emergency operations chief Terry Ebbert blamed the inadequate response on the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy," he said. He added: "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

FEMA officials said some operations had to be suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out, but are working overtime to feed people and restore order.

A day after Nagin took 1,500 police officers off search-and-rescue duty to try to restore order in the streets, there were continued reports of looting, shootings, gunfire and carjackings _ and not all the crimes were driven by greed.

When some hospitals try to airlift patients, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan said, "there are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, `You better come get my family.'"

Outside a looted Rite-Aid drugstore, some people were anxious to show they needed what they were taking. A gray-haired man who would not give his name pulled up his T-shirt to show a surgery scar and explained that he needs pads for incontinence.

"I'm a Christian. I feel bad going in there," he said.

Earl Baker carried toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant. "Look, I'm only getting necessities," he said. "All of this is personal hygiene. I ain't getting nothing to get drunk or high with."

Several thousand storm victims had arrived in Houston by Thursday night, and they quickly got hot meals, showers and some much-needed rest.

Audree Lee, 37, was thrilled after getting a shower and hearing her teenage daughter's voice on the telephone for the first time since the storm. Lee had relatives take her daughter to Alabama so she would be safe.

"I just cried. She cried. We cried together," Lee said. "She asked me about her dog. They wouldn't let me take her dog with me. ... I know the dog is gone now."

While floodwaters in the city appeared to stabilize, efforts continued to plug three breaches that had opened up in the levee system that protects this below-sea-level city.

Helicopters dropped sandbags into the breach and pilings were being pounded into the mouth of the canal Thursday to close its connection to Lake Pontchartrain, state Transportation Secretary Johnny Bradberry said. The next step called for using about 250 concrete road barriers to seal the gap.

In Washington, the White House said Bush will tour the devastated Gulf Coast region on Friday and has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims.

The president urged a crackdown on the lawlessness.

"I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this _ whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud," Bush said. "And I've made that clear to our attorney general. The citizens ought to be working together."

Donald Dudley, a 55-year-old New Orleans seafood merchant, complained that when he and other hungry refugees broke into the kitchen of the convention center and tried to prepare food, the National Guard chased them away.

"They pulled guns and told us we had to leave that kitchen or they would blow our damn brains out," he said. "We don't want their help. Give us some vehicles and we'll get ourselves out of here!"
____
Associated Press reporters Adam Nossiter, Brett Martel, Robert Tanner and Mary Foster contributed to this report.

Jeb Bush, Reconquista Republican

 
Reconquista Republican living in the shadows


By Nicholas Stix

Here’s everything you need to know about Jeb Bush.

He loves his wife and son, which is good, but hates his country, which is not so good.

Along with older brother George, when Jeb was governor of Florida, and George was governor of Texas, Jeb rescued affirmative action, which was on the ropes following one Supreme Court defeat after another. Claiming to oppose AA, then-Florida Governor Jeb enacted “One Florida,” a form of stealth AA that, though transparent in its intent, used just the sort of sophistry that federal judges love.

If you ever hear Jeb speak on topics such as immigration and affirmative action, he positively oozes compassion. The trouble is, his compassion is limited to unqualified blacks and Hispanics, and foreign criminal invaders. For bright, hard-working but penurious white heterosexual males, he has nothing but contempt, expressed in sanctimony, which makes it even worse.

As a young man, Jeb fell in love with a pretty, mestizo Mexican girl, the former Columba Garnica Gallo, a reconquista who hates whites and America with a murderous passion. Their son, George P., shares his mother’s treasonous, racist passions.

* * *

Jeb Bush to GOP: Time to change the tone on immigration
By Mark Z. Barabak
August 26, 2012
Los Angeles Times

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wind-whipped Republicans bracing for Tropical Storm Isaac received a mild lashing of a different sort Sunday from one of party's most revered figures, Jeb Bush, who urged the GOP to change its tone on immigration.

"My personal view is that we need to get beyond where we are," said the former Florida governor, adding a moment later, "You can't ask people to join your cause and then send a signal that you're really not wanted. It just doesn't work."

[Right. That’s why the Hispandering must end.]

Bush has previously stated his concerns about the party's hard-line immigration stance and seemed careful on Sunday's "Meet The Press" to balance his views with a hearty endorsement of nominee-to-be Mitt Romney.

[What GOP “hard-line immigration stance”?]

Despite polls showing the former Massachusetts governor badly trailing President Obama among Latinos, Bush said he was convinced Romney could make inroads by focusing on a message of economic growth and job creation.

Bush said that should be the focus of the party as whole.

[In other words, the party should throw its second straight presidential election.]

"We need young, aspirational people to come to our country so that we can grow over a sustained period of time at a high rate that will allow us to create jobs without raising taxes, balance the budget, do all the things that we want to do," Bush said. "So changing the debate to those issues is, I think, [what] the majority of Americans wants.

[We have millions of high-IQ, hardworking, law-abiding, “aspirational” Americans already here who are locked out of opportunity, due to the very policies Jeb champions. Unfortunately, most of them had the misfortune to be born, white, male, and heterosexual. Meanwhile, Jeb seeks to condemn them to lives of penury, failure and childlessness, so that he can fill the slots they would have handsomely filled with low-IQ, lazy, criminal-minded, racist mestizos. What’s not to like?]

"Now," he added, "is it a useful tool politically for some Republicans to stay focused on the political issue, the wedge issue? It might be, I don't know, but I don't think that's right for our country."

[Which country is “our country,” Jeb?]

Romney staked one of the most uncompromising positions on immigration during the hard-fought GOP primaries, speaking at one point of "self-deportation" — making things so miserable for undocumented immigrants they go home — as a way to deal with the millions of people in the country illegally.

Delegates drafting the party's platform ahead of its national convention here in Florida seemed more in tune with Romney's position in the primary than Bush's more tempered views, voting to restore several anti-illegal immigration provisions from the 2008 platform that had been omitted in earlier drafts.

In the wide-ranging interview, Bush used the opportunity to stick up for his older brother, former President George W. Bush, saying it was time for Obama to stop blaming his predecessor for the country's economic difficulties.

"I think it's time for him to move on," Bush said. "Look, the guy was dealt a difficult hand, no question about it. But he's had three years. His policies have failed. And rather than blame others ... maybe offer some fresh new solutions to the problems we face."

Responding to the inevitable question about his own White House ambitions, Bush neither ruled in nor out a possible run for the presidency.

"I don't think about it. I'm not motivated by it," he said. "It takes an incredible amount of discipline to even think about aspiring to it and I'm not there yet in my life."

Asked more broadly in a Sunday Tampa Bay Times interview, "Are you done with politics? What about 2016?" Bush replied: "I don't know, but I am hoping for a Romney reelection."

Voting in Chicago

 
My uncle was a staunch conservative and voted a straight-line Republican ticket until the day he died.

Now, he votes Democrat.



[I had to read this twice, to get it.

I guess the New Age Republican version would be:

My brother-in-law is a Republican campaign consultant.

He votes a straight-line, Democratic ticket.

Thanks to reader-researcher RC, for passing this along.]

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baloo: One Handout Washes the Other

 

 

Visit the cartoon page of the incomparable Baloo here, and his gift page here.

Politico Celebrates Republican Party’s Cowardice on Gay “Marriage”

 
The Invertebrate: Candidate of the Invertebrate Party

 

Politico's pictorial salute to militant homosexualism


Posted by Nicholas Stix

GOP Steers Clear of Gay Marriage Issue
By Maggie Haberman and Emily Schultheis
August 6, 2012
Politico

When Democrats announced that their 2012 platform would include a historic first — gay marriage written in as a plank — the reaction from mainstream Republicans was near silence.

There were no statements blasted out from Mitt Romney’s campaign. The same was true for the Republican National Committee. Romney has yet to address the fact.

The pushback came largely from social conservatives and evangelicals, who pledged to make same-sex unions an issue going forward and insisted the stand will hurt Democrats.

(PHOTOS: 20 gay rights milestones)

But the comparative quiet from party leaders would have been unimaginable even four years ago, when public opinion hadn’t yet shifted so rapidly on a signature social issue. And it marks a dramatic change among some of the top Republican donors and opinion-makers, who are supporting same-sex marriage in state-based gay legislative and legal fights, even as the official GOP platform will remain centered on traditional marriage.

“Most Republican Party leaders seem to have lost the stomach for this fight,” said Dan Schnur of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “Some of that results (from) the number of large-scale donors who support same-sex marriage, some of it’s a result in an increasing number of party leaders who support same-sex marriage, and a lot of it is public opinion polling which shows a shift in the way voters feel about same-sex marriage,” he added.

It is, Schnur said, “still an issue that motivates the party base, but it motivates the Democratic base, too.”

It was just eight years ago that Republicans, looking to turn out their base, put gay marriage bans on ballots in key states. The measure in Ohio is widely credited with boosting turnout that benefited President George W. Bush’s reelection effort.

And it was just three years ago that a Maine law allowing same-sex marriage was repealed by voters.

But in recent years, polling and ballot initiatives have shown the American public coming closer to a rough consensus on the issue.

In a Pew Poll released last week, the Democratic base has moved significantly on the issue since President Barack Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage, with 65 percent now backing it — making it an easy call for the Democratic convention. Among Republicans, Pew showed less movement, with 70 percent opposed to gay marriage. But equally significant was the figure showing 51 percent of independents supporting gay marriage, along with 48 percent of voters overall, compared to 44 percent against.

“I think that they [the right] know that this issue doesn’t have the same potency that it had in 2004,” said Christopher Barron, co-founder of the gay group GOProud. “The gay marriage issue for the anti-gay marriage right has always been one of those issues of diminishing returns, and it’s gotten to the point now where it’s often a loser.”

“If you’re talking about it, you’re not talking about what people care about,” he added.

When asked about Romney’s view on gay marriage, his campaign reiterated in a statement that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. But Romney has focused his message almost entirely on the economy and has done everything he can to avoid veering off it on the stump, with the exception of issues that he feels are parallel, such as Obama’s health care legislation.

And while his position on the issue is clear, it’s at odds with the one held by some of his prominent bundlers — including Paul Singer, Cliff Asness and Dan Loeb.

They, along with former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, are helping to fund state-based initiatives fighting for gay marriage this year in states like Maine and Washington state.

Such victories on a statewide ballot would be a first for the gay marriage movement, and so far that group of backers — which helped fund the successful legislative effort on same-sex marriage in New York State in 2011 — is financing heavy portions of the fight.

Since talking about the issue in the heat of the primaries, Romney has largely steered clear of it. He referenced defending traditional marriage in his recent NAACP speech, to the delight of social conservatives with whom he met in Denver last week, but it’s not a frequent talking point.

There is no question that the RNC platform will codify traditional marriage, as a spokeswoman affirmed last week.

“The Republican Party is committed to the timeless, foundational values of family, traditional marriage and life,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said. “Governor Romney and the Party’s platform are clear: Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Barron expressed concern that the issue might be raised during the party’s convention in Tampa by activists who want to enshrine tougher language as a counterweight to the Democrats: “I fully expect the GOP platform to be a nightmare. I think the GOP platform will have really terrible language in there about marriage equality and civil unions.”

He was dismissive of the language on the Democratic side as largely symbolic, because Obama has said marriage remains a state issue, adding: “The same way the gay left will get thrown a bone with their platform, the anti-marriage right will get thrown a bone.”

A spokesman for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is spearheading the GOP’s platform committee, would say only that “The Republican Party is committed to the timeless foundational values of family, traditional marriage and life. The party’s platform will reflect those principles.”

The muted reaction from the official GOP machinery is in stark contrast to current brouhaha about Chick-fil-A, a controversy that has been made for headlines and has clearly resonated with the party’s base, after the company’s owner came under fire for speaking against gay marriage.

Conservative stalwarts like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum have all eaten sandwiches in solidarity after mayors like Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Tom Menino in Boston advocated banning the eateries in their cities.

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol tried to lure Romney toward the controversy with a blog post Thursday.

“Mitt munching on a Chick-fil-A sandwich … the right thing to do, and politically smart, too,” Kristol wrote of Romney’s visit to Colorado. “And tasty. Is it too much to hope for?” That was followed by: “Update: Didn’t happen.”

Romney, asked about the Chick-fil-A flap on Friday, said it is not a part of his campaign and avoided saying anything specific on the controversy.

Same-sex marriage opponents warned that Romney sidesteps the issue at his political peril.

“It would be rather unwise politically for the GOP to ignore the Chick-fil-A vote,” said conservative strategist Greg Mueller, who represents the National Organization for Marriage.

NOM president Brian Brown, in an interview with POLITICO, was more forceful: “Paul Singer can give his money to whoever he wants. It doesn’t mean Romney supports same sex marriage. “ He added, “I think you’ll be hearing more, especially as the convention comes up. I think this is a gift for the Republican Party.”

Brown said that for all the focus on the right, he thinks same-sex marriage will prove problematic for Obama among Hispanic voters and black pastors, key constituencies for the president. Indeed, concern about reactions among those voters had weighed on Democrats’ minds in terms of Obama’s public position, but ultimately they believe black voters will support the president regardless of this issue.

Faith and Freedom Coalition President Ralph Reed acknowledged the response to the Democratic embrace of gay marriage in the 2012 platform has been a general shrug in terms of the headlines.

“Other than one press call and that was from the Christian Post, I didn’t get a single media call about it,” he said, adding, “We did not even send out a news release.”

He added, “I don’t think that that reflects a lack of interest or conviction in the issue. But I do think that the platform committee action was, you know, kind of viewed as of a piece with Obama’s flip-flop and my sense is that the Obama flip-flop was pretty fully litigated.”

Gay marriage will play out with more resonance as an electoral issue in some of the closer Senate contests, Reed predicted.

But he added that Romney should not ignore it.

“I would encourage him to [state his position] … at every opportunity,” he said.


Against Diversity: The Most Thoroughgoing Refutation of Affirmative Action Propaganda Ever Published

 
Against “Diversity”
By John Rosenberg and Roger Clegg
Aug 22, 2012

This article appears in the fall 2012 issue of Academic Questions (volume 25, number 3).

Roger Clegg is president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, 7700 Leesburg Pike, Suite 231, Falls Church, VA 22043; RClegg@ceousa.org. A former deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan and the George H.W. Bush administrations, Mr. Clegg held the second highest position in the Civil Rights division as well as several other positions at the U.S. Department of Justice. He writes on legal issues arising from the civil rights laws.

John S. Rosenberg writes the blog Discriminations.us and is a lapsed historian; jsr@jsr.net.

The Supreme Court has granted review for the 2012 term in the case Fisher v. University of Texas. Abigail Fisher, a rejected white applicant to the University of Texas, has challenged the use of racial and ethnic admission preferences, which the Court had allowed in its 2003 decision involving the University of Michigan law school, Grutter v. Bollinger.[1]

Were the Court to rule in favor of the University of Texas, it would dramatically widen Grutter, since the school’s discrimination goes beyond what that decision allowed. In particular, by automatically admitting any student who graduates in the top 10 percent of his Texas high school class, the university has already ensured as much diversity as it had in an earlier time when it used overt racial preferences. The issue is whether the school is justified in reinstating the use of overt preferences on top of the 10 percent plan, in order to have a student body that mirrors the racial demographics of Texas and to achieve diversity not only campus-wide, but in each classroom. The University of Texas used racial preferences in order to better ensure these results, and the Fifth Circuit opinion upheld that policy.[2]

The claim that “diversity” requires that each classroom be diverse is both novel and radical in its implications, as Judge Edith Jones noted in a blistering dissent for herself and four Fifth Circuit colleagues.[3] The university, she wrote, “offers thousands of courses in multiple undergraduate schools and majors”:

The pernicious impact of aspiring to or measuring “diversity” at the classroom level seems obvious upon reflection. Will the University accept this “goal” as carte blanche to add minorities until a “critical mass” chooses nuclear physics as a major? Will classroom diversity “suffer” in areas like applied math, kinesiology, chemistry, Farsi, or hundreds of other subjects if, by chance, few or no students of a certain race are enrolled? The panel opinion opens the door to effective quotas in undergraduate majors in which certain minority students are perceived to be “underrepresented.” It offers no stopping point for racial preferences despite the logical absurdity of touting “diversity” as relevant to every subject taught at the University of Texas. In another extension of Grutter, the panel opinion’s approval of classroom “diversity” offers no ground for serious judicial review of a terminus of the racial preference policy.[4]

In any event, new evidence and new developments make it appropriate for the Court to reconsider the holding in Grutter that the purported “educational benefits” from student body “diversity” justify the use of racial and ethnic preferences in the first place. Numerous amicus briefs urge it to do so, and the plaintiff herself explicitly raises that possibility.

According to the proponents of this sort of discrimination, “diversity” is the mother’s milk of higher education, more important, it would seem, than books in the library or professors behind the podium. Who could oppose such a noble concept? Well, we could, and below give you ten reasons why you should, too. We include not only some first principles to which we hope the Court will return, but also the emerging social science evidence that the costs of this discrimination are high and the claimed benefits—which the Court accepted in 2003—minimal at best.


“Diversity” is Discrimination
1. Holistic, Schmolistic

Make no mistake: Whether prosaically defined as affirmative action or disguised by the powdered and perfumed sophistry of supposedly “holistic” admissions practices (where, it is claimed, race is “only one of many factors” considered), “diversity” is discrimination based on race and ethnicity. Whether in admissions or hiring, its purpose and effect is the selection of individuals who would not have been selected but for their race or ethnicity. And that means, inescapably, that an equal number of others were not selected because of their race or ethnicity.

“Diversity” defenders are in denial about the discrimination at the core of preferential admissions. Even worse than their denial, they have in effect redefined “discrimination,” asserting that discrimination occurs only when it harms a group, not individuals. As a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense Fund attorney argued while Grutter was still pending before the Supreme Court, “The University of Michigan is at least 80 percent white, so it isn’t credible to claim that it or its affirmative action policy discriminates against whites.”[5]

Not only is “diversity” itself discrimination; worse, it actually devalues the very concept of discrimination. When defenders argue, as they always do, that critics are hypocrites (or even racists) for tolerating preferential treatment based on legacy status or athletic or musical ability but not race, what they are really saying is that if you can discriminate for any reason you can discriminate for every reason, that all discrimination is the same. “Diversity,” in short, drains the evil out of discrimination based on race.


2. “Diversity” is Indistinguishable from a Quota

Everyone agrees that quotas are bad, and illegal, and thus “diversity” defenders go to great lengths to insist that preferential admissions, especially when done “holistically,” do not amount to a quota system. But the fact is that it’s hard to see any practical difference between “diversity” in practice and patently illegal race norming—putting minorities in a separate pool, judging them only against other members of the pool, and accepting a certain (even if indeterminate) number of them.
Indeed, a recent study described in Inside Higher Ed found that it was quite common at elite, selective institutions for minority applicants “not [to] compete for admission against the larger applicant pool. Instead, [they] may compete only among those…within the same group.”[6] This practice has been illegal since at least the Bakke decision in 1978.


3. “Applying While Asian”: “Diversity” is Racial Profiling

No doubt all the supporters of racial preference abhor “racial profiling,” at least when the police do it (and even when race is “just one factor”). They don’t recognize what is perfectly obvious to everyone else: admissions offices engage in racial profiling every day.

Although “diversity” defenders often claim that critics oppose racial preferences out of a racist desire to help whites, one of the least appreciated facts in the ongoing debate over affirmative action is that ending these preferences would benefit Asians at least as much as whites. Indeed, based on a study funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s National Study of College Experience of more than 124,000 applicants to elite universities, Princeton sociologist and affirmative action supporter Thomas J. Espenshade and co-author Chang Y. Chung have concluded that if affirmative action were eliminated at highly selective schools across the nation, “Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places in the admitted class not taken by African-American and Hispanic students, with an acceptance rate rising from nearly 18 percent to more than 23 percent.”[7]

Conversely, eliminating consideration of race “would have little effect on white students,” Espenshade and Chung report, “as their acceptance rate would rise by merely 0.5 percentage points.”[8]

Together with Alexandria Walton Radford, Espenshade has also documented the extent of both the preferences for blacks and Hispanics and the discrimination against Asians. Compared with white applicants to selective colleges, “black applicants receive an admission boost that is equivalent to 310 SAT points, measured on an all-other-things-equal basis. The boost for Hispanic candidates is equal on average to 130 SAT points. Asian applicants face a 140 point SAT disadvantage.”[9] Thus Asians are at a 450-point disadvantage compared to blacks. Numerous studies by the Center for Equal Opportunity also show that Asians as well as whites are typically discriminated against in university admissions in favor of blacks and Latinos.[10]

The experience of the University of California after the passage of Proposition 209 would seem largely to confirm Espenshade and Radford’s finding that Asians, not whites, are often the primary victims of race preference policies. The proportion of white freshmen entering the University of California at Berkeley, for example, fell from 40 percent in 1997, the last year of legal preferential admissions, to 34 percent in 2005; meanwhile, the proportion of Asians entering Berkeley increased from 34.6 percent in 1997 to 42 percent in 2006.[11]

Because of the rapidly changing demography of the United States, it is less and less likely that a white student will lose out to a black student in the name of “diversity” than an Asian student will lose out to a Latino one. While preferring Hispanics to Asians may be consistent with the diversity rationale, it lacks any historical justification and is flatly inconsistent with the necessity of E pluribus unum in an increasingly multiethnic America. In past cases, most Asian American organizations have supported affirmative action, but in Fisher, for the first time, three briefs representing many of those organizations have been filed opposing preferences based on race or ethnicity.[12]


4. “Customer Preference” Provides No Justification for Discrimination

One of the most ubiquitous defenses of “diversity” preferences is that we live in “an increasingly global world” and that companies must have a well-educated “diverse” workforce because they have “diverse” customers and clients.

This is the same argument that businesses in the South made in their effort to have “customer preference” recognized as a legitimate exception to the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on discrimination in employment. They failed, and rightly so.
Customer preference was flatly rejected by Congress and the courts as an excuse to use what we would now call racial preferences in hiring.


“Diversity” Does Little or No Good
5. “Diversity” Is Supposedly Not Intended to Benefit Blacks—and It Actually Doesn’t

It may well be true that racial preferences are tolerated only on the assumption that they benefit the preferentially admitted minorities, but if so those tolerating it do not believe the justification offered by the universities. In practice, that justification, more like a mantra—“diversity” is essential to a good education—means that it is necessary to lower the bar for preferred minorities so un-preferred Asians and whites can receive the benefit of being exposed to them. The preferentially admitted do not, one supposes, provide “diversity” to themselves.

They would receive whatever benefit it provides even if, in the absence of preferences, they attended less selective institutions, and of course they cannot help getting plenty of exposure to their “other.”

It is interesting to note what a reversal “diversity” represents. Justice Thomas wrote in Missouri v. Jenkins, 515 U.S. 70 (1995), that the belief that black students are damaged by the absence of integration “appears to rest upon the idea that…blacks cannot succeed without the benefit of the company of whites.” Now, diversiphiles claim, whites can’t succeed unless “diversity” exposes them to blacks.

That “diversity” is what might be termed “soft exploitation”—using blacks for the benefit of whites—is not lost on the exploited, which no doubt explains much of the divisiveness and resentment on elite “diverse” campuses. “It seems,” in the words of a Dartmouth senior quoted in a 2002 New York Times piece, “as if a lot of your function as a student of color is to educate the campus.”[13]

Admitting blacks and Hispanics so that whites can be exposed to them has led to some almost comic absurdities. The Times article just cited, for example, seems in places like an unintentional parody. Author Sara Rimer notes that by the 1980s colleges had begun establishing diversity deans, ethnic studies courses, and ethnic and racial affinity houses because “minorities needed places where they could learn about their cultures and relax and feel comfortable on campus.”[14] In other words, students imported to diversify campuses were assisted in segregating themselves so they could learn about the cultures they were admitted in large part to represent.


6. “Yes, But Where’s the Omelet?”

When Stalinists justified their repression and violence by asserting that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, George Orwell famously replied, “Yes, but where is the omelet?” Similarly, “diversity” defenders claim that its compelling benefits justify discrimination based on race and ethnicity. Yes, but where are the benefits?

One would think that if “diversity” is as essential to a good education as its defenders claim, there would by now be mounds of empirical evidence supporting their faith. In fact, the opposite is the case: evidence is accumulating that “diversity” has few if any of the benefits claimed for it.

A recent survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education of new research on “diversity” found scant evidence of its dramatic effect on educational outcomes.[15] One such study published in the journal Economic Inquiry, for example,
found only weak evidence that the racial composition of a college’s student body has a long-term impact on the success of white and Asian-American students in the areas it measured. And where colleges enrolled black and Hispanic students whose academic credentials were lower, on average, than those of other students, the effect of diversity on the success of white and Asian-American students appeared, if anything, to be negative.[16]

The abstract of another study reveals that “diversity” does nothing to improve what students learn, as measured by objective criteria, except for their self-assessed “understanding of racial and cultural issues.”[17] In other words, “diversity” helps students understand…“diversity.” Another new study by Jesse D. Rude, Gregory C. Wolniak, and Ernest Pascarella described in Inside Higher Ed challenges even that limited result.[18] Using survey data from six liberal arts colleges and eleven universities—all of them no doubt institutionally committed to “diversity”—the authors found that “as undergraduates progress in higher education, they become less interested, on average, in promoting racial understanding.”[19]

If “diversity” doesn’t even do that, what good is it?

Two amicus briefs in effect say “not much,” and provide excellent surveys of recent social science literature justifying that conclusion: one filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Center for Equal Opportunity, the American Civil Rights Institute, the National Association of Scholars, and Project 21;[20] the second filed by Abigail Thernstrom, Stephan Thernstrom, Althea Nagai, and Russell Nieli.[21]


“Diversity” Does Actual Harm
7. Mismatch

And it’s not just that the evidence is accumulating that the benefits of “diversity” are few and far between. Thanks to UCLA law professor Richard Sander and the “mismatch” research he pioneered and inspired, it has become clear that its costs are quite high.[22] The amicus brief that Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., filed with the Supreme Court in Fisher summarizes much of this work.[23] (Pointers to other Sander work were recently offered by KC Johnson.)[24] Likewise, an amicus brief by U.S. Civil Rights Commissioners Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow, and Todd Gaziano argued that “if anything should cause thoughtful supporters of race-preferential admissions policies to reverse course—or at least refrain from proceeding further—it is the mounting empirical evidence showing these policies are doing more harm than good for their intended beneficiaries.”[25]

The new “mismatch” scholarship demonstrates that minorities who receive preferential treatment in admissions cluster in the bottom 10 percent of their classes and have much lower grades, graduation rates, and bar passage rates than their non-preferred peers. In fact, Sander et al. conclude, there are actually fewer black lawyers, engineers, and other STEM professionals than there would have been absent the preferences.

An impressive new contribution to the growing “mismatch” literature published recently by economist Peter Arcidiacono and two of his Duke colleagues demonstrates one of the sad effects of admitting black students to Duke whose SAT scores are, on average, one standard deviation lower than other students: Although a higher proportion of black than white males entered Duke with an intention of majoring in one of the hard sciences or economics, a far higher proportion of blacks than whites changed to easier majors before graduating.[26] “Had those minority students who gave up their science aspirations taken Introductory Chemistry among students with similar levels of academic preparation,” Heather Mac Donald concludes in a thorough discussion of the Duke study and its implications, “they would more likely have continued with their original course of study” and gone on to STEM careers.[27]


8. “Diversity” Reinforces—and Depends on—Racialism and Stereotypes

There are two popular but inconsistent defenses of “diversity.” First, it is said, there is something beneficial about being exposed to people of a different color or ethnic background, to show they do not otherwise differ from us. Second, there is something important for whites to gain from being exposed to people who are not just different from themselves in appearance but also in daily experience. For instance, the “diverse” students (meaning, of course, the minorities) might be more likely to hold particular beliefs or embrace certain cultural customs or have had specific experiences.

The first possibility hinges on the ability to show students that race and ethnicity don’t matter. The idea is that if a bigot or potential bigot is forced to see that people of other colors are really not so different from himself he will conclude that bigotry is wrong. But this plan will work only if the bigot is surrounded by students who really are similar to him in ability. (This point is made in the Thernstrom amicus brief.) If the preferentially admitted minorities are less qualified than the nonminorities, the bigot’s attitudes will be reinforced, not eroded. And, of course, the first possibility is inconsistent with the second—that is, the argument that minorities are in fact different inside from nonminorities.

“Diversity” is often claimed to teach tolerance about other racial groups—but this lesson is undermined when there is a pronounced gap in the academic ability of members of different groups on campus, as when admission preferences are used. And it is odd to use racial essentialism as the tool for teaching against racial essentialism. “Diversity,” in short, purports to teach people to draw conclusions about another race as a whole based on their contact with individual members of that race, the essence of racial stereotyping.

“Diversity” is said to be good because it exposes whites to people with different ideas or backgrounds—i.e., those who actually are “different”—but it is very dubious to use race as a proxy for individual thoughts and experiences. There are few ideas or experiences that only members of a particular racial group can have, and fewer still that all members of that group will share. The most commonly cited such experience—systematic discrimination—becomes less convincing with every tick of the clock (today’s college applicants were born in 1994, after all—thirty years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act) and can hardly justify preferring Hispanics over Asians (and, of course, the white plaintiffs in the Michigan and Texas cases were themselves discriminated against). In sum, racial diversity cannot be equated with diversity of viewpoint, even if universities actually have any interest in diversity of viewpoint as opposed to diversity of melanin.

It is also rather contradictorily argued that greater racial diversity is needed to teach the specific lesson that not all African Americans, for instance, think alike, and indeed the Court said as much in Grutter. But this is a rather obvious and narrow lesson, and it is hard to understand why it can be taught only by using racial and ethnic preferences. Teaching this five-word truth, “Blacks don’t all think alike,” can hardly justify institutionalized racial discrimination. A law school might, instead, simply assign to its students selected opinions from Justice Thurgood Marshall, on the one hand, and Justice Clarence Thomas, on the other.

“Diversity,” in short, excludes some whites and Asians and preferentially admits some blacks and Latinos so that all can learn—by being exposed to their “difference”!—that they’re not really different. That’s not compelling; it’s not even logical. Along these lines, one of the authors spoofed the silliness of this diversity rationale in “An Interview with Crumbia University’s President.”[28]


9. “Diversity” Is an Especially Intrusive, and Illogical, Government Regulation

Requiring “diversity” can be seen as simply another form of government regulation, in this case of what can be viewed as the racial and ethnic “market” that, left to its own unregulated devices, would not produce the proper government-approved racial and ethnic mix. And the great virtue of “diversity,” from the liberal perspective, is that the need for government regulation of the racial market will never fade away.

In the beginning—that is, in the executive orders signed by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson—affirmative action meant taking affirmative steps to ensure that discrimination did not happen. When it made the turn to preferences, they were justified as a necessary but temporary exception to the principle of nondiscrimination, but at least it was still asserted that nondiscrimination was the ultimate aim. But now, far from being a temporary expedient to right a wrong or deal with a crisis, the new principle of “diversity” requires constant regulating and fine-tuning of the racial/ethnic market to maintain the proper mix within and among groups.

From the vantage point of the new liberalism, racial preferences, far from being a temporary exception, are the very embodiment of the modern regulatory state.

And it makes no sense. The diversity rationale posits that the broadening effects of random interracial conversations and comments—which may or may not even occur, of course, and may or may not be productive rather than counterproductive—can be obtained only by face-to-face exposure at a university; they cannot be gained in any other way (for example, by studying Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” or Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man) or any other place (such as the interracial workplace for which the student is being prepared, or the popular culture—where the message of equality and tolerance is ubiquitous—or the student’s neighborhood or house of worship or home). What’s more, for most jobs, and most disciplines, it’s irrelevant whether someone is of a particular racial or ethnic background. Do we ever speak of black mathematics, Asian chemistry, or Hispanic economics?


“Diversity” Violates the American Creed
10. “Diversity” Devalues the Core American Value of Treating Individuals “Without Regard to Race, Creed, or Color”

When Martin Luther King, Jr., proclaimed his dream that his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, he was reaffirming what Gunnar Myrdal famously called “the American Creed,” the belief that individuals should be treated “without regard to race, creed, or color.” “Diversity” rejects that creed not only in practice but in principle.
________________________________________
[1]Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003).
[2]See Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 631 F.3d 213 (5th Cir. 2011), cert. granted, No. 11-345 (Feb. 21, 2012); and the Brief for Petitioner (filed May 21, 2012).
[3]Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 644 F.3d 301 (5th Cir. 2011).
[4]Ibid. (part 3).
[5]Elise Boddie, “Colorblind in One Eye,” Slate, January 30, 2003, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2003/01/colorblind_in_one_eye.html.
[6]Scott Jaschik, “How They Really Get In,” Inside Higher Ed, April 9, 2012, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/09/new-research-how-elite-colleges-make-admissions-decisions.
[7]Thomas J. Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung, “The Opportunity Cost of Admission Preferences at Elite Universities,” Social Science Quarterly 86, no. 2 (June 2005): 293–305. Quoted material is taken from Lauren Robinson-Brown, “Study: Ending Affirmative Action Would Devastate Most Minority College Enrollment,” Princeton University, News Stories, June 6, 2005, http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S11/80/77I23/index.xml.
[8]Ibid.
[9]Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford, “A New Manhattan Project,” Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2009, http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/11/12/radford.
[10]See Center for Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action News, Education, http://www.ceousa.org/affirmative-action/affirmative-action-news/education.
[11]See, John S. Rosenberg, “The Effect of Barring Race Preferences in California,” Discriminations.us (blog), November 2, 2006, http://www.discriminations.us/2006/11/the-effect-of-barring-race-preferences-in-california/.
[12]John S. Rosenberg, “Affirmative Action Starts to Unravel,” Minding the Campus, June 7, 2012, http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2012/06/affirmative_action_starts_to_unravel.html.
[13]Sara Rimer, “Colleges Find Diversity Is Not Just Numbers,” New York Times, November 12, 2002, http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/12/education/12DIVE.html?pagewanted=all&position=top.
[14]Ibid.
[15]Peter Schmidt, “New Research Complicates Discussions of Campus Diversity—in a Good Way,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 31, 2010,
http://chronicle.com/article/New-Research-Complicates/63787/?sid=wb&utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en.
[16]Peter Arcidiacono and Jacob L. Vigdor, “Does the River Spill Over? Estimating the Economic Returns to Attending a Racially Diverse College,” Economic Inquiry 48, no. 3 (July 2010): 537–57.
[17]Serge Herzog, “Diversity and Educational Benefits: Moving Beyond Self-Reported Questionnaire Data,” Education Working Paper Archive, University of Arkansas, Department of Education Reform, November 19, 2007, abstract, http://www.uark.edu/ua/der/EWPA/Research/Achievement/1799.html.
[18]Scott Jaschik, “Backwards on Racial Understanding,” Inside Higher Ed, April 10, 2012, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/10/study-suggests-students-grow-less-interested-promoting-racial-understanding.
[19]Ibid.
[20]Brief Amicus Curiae of Pacific Legal Foundation, the Center for Equal Opportunity, the American Civil Rights Institute, the National Association of Scholars, and Project 21 in Support of Petitioner, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas et al., No. 11-345, May 2012,
http://www.pacificlegal.org/document.doc?id=638.
[21]Brief Amicus Curiae of Abigail Thernstrom, Stephan Thernstrom, Althea Nagai, and Russell Nieli in Support of Petitioner, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas et al., No. 11-345, May 2012, http://www.projectonfairrepresentation.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/Fisher-v-University-of-Texas-Amicus-Brief-Abigail-Thernstrom-Stephan-Thernstrom-Althea-K.-Nagai-and-Russell-Nieli.pdf.
[22]See the listing under “Papers and Studies,” Project Seaphe, The Scale and Effects of Admissions Preferences in Higher Education, http://www.seaphe.org/working-papers/.
[23]Brief Amicus Curiae for Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., in Support of Neither Party, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas et al., No. 11-345, May 2012, http://www.projectonfairrepresentation.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/Fisher-v-University-of-Texas-Amicus-Brief-Richard-Sander-and-Stuart-Taylor-Jr.pdf.
[24]KC Johnson, “The ‘Mismatch Thesis,’ Eye-Opening Research, and the Fisher Case,” Minding the Campus, April 10, 2012, http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2012/04/the_mismatch_thesis_eye-opening_research_and_fisher.html.
[25]Amicus Brief for Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow, and Todd Gaziano, in Support of the Petitioner, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas et al., No. 11-345, May 2012, 5,
http://www.projectonfairrepresentation.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/Fisher-v-University-of-Texas-Amicus-Brief-Gail-Heriot-Peter-Kirsanow-and-Todd-Gaziano-Members-of-the-United-States-Commission-on-Civil-Rights.pdf.
[26]Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban M. Aucejo, and Ken Spenner, “What Happens After Enrollment? An Analysis of the Time Path of Racial Differences in GPA and Major Choice,” June 2, 2011, http://public.econ.duke.edu/~psarcidi/grades_4.0.pdf.
[27]Heather Mac Donald, “Affirmative Disaster,” Weekly Standard, February 20, 2012, http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/affirmative-disaster_626632.html.
[28]Roger Clegg, “Interview with Crumbia University’s President,” National Review Online, Phi Beta Cons, May 23, 2012, http://www.nationalreview.com/phi-beta-cons/300841/interview-crumbia-university-s-president-roger-clegg%23#.