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Racism, bad weather and the "meltdown.."

by Reposts from jamie Thursday, Sep. 01, 2005 at 6:13 PM

"All told, this adversity may actually result in a "blessing in disguise." The totality of these events of the ending summer may disrupt the economy, and Shrub's agenda sufficiently that they may reconsider the almost foregone conclusion to attack Iran, and the possible world war which almost certainly would ensue."

Dear friends,

Here are two articles on important, ongoing and not, I would argue, unrelated events?

Katrina Exposes Racism

by Lee Sustar ; August 31, 2005

DECADES OF OFFICIAL neglect, racism and the impact of global warming magnified the destructive impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and other parts of the South.

The mainstream media focused most on the big-money property losses--for example, the heavily damaged casinos on the Mississippi coast that took a direct hit from Katrina, and the tourist hotels in the French Quarter in New Orleans. But beyond the media spotlight are countless others who don’t have sufficient insurance--or any insurance at all--to rebuild their lives.

As in all "natural" disasters, a far-from-natural logic asserted itself: Those who had the least to begin with stood to lose the most.

Thus, in the Gulf Coast cities of Mississippi that took a direct hit when the hurricane came ashore, the big hotels were left standing, though heavily damaged. Other structures--even whole neighborhoods and communities--were erased from the map. "This is our tsunami," said one person, drawing a comparison with last December’s disaster around the rim of the Indian Ocean.

A last-minute shift in the path of the storm sent Katrina east of New Orleans, prompting city officials to think that they had avoided a catastrophe. But the day after the hurricane hit, conditions began to deteriorate rapidly. Parts of the levee system that protects the below-sea-level city from flooding gave way--apparently to the north, along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain--leaving up to 80 percent of New Orleans underwater.

With electricity and communications out, little was known about New Orleans’ poorest neighborhoods, other than that they--predictably--bore the brunt of the disaster. Rumors spread that corpses could be seen floating in the floodwaters. No one had electrical power--nor much chance of getting it for days, and probably weeks.

The worst may be yet to come. The waters that inundated New Orleans were polluted by garbage and debris. And when the floods finally recede, they will leave behind a breeding ground for disease.

The impact of Katrina was visible even before the storm hit land, most obviously in the images of evacuees lined up to take shelter inside New Orleans’ Superdome--mostly poor and African American people forced to go for refuge to a football stadium for lack of a car or want of money.

"By afternoon [the day before the hurricane struck], the Superdome descended into sweaty chaos," the Miami Herald reported. "About 30,000 refugees eventually arrived under the vigilance of the Louisiana National Guard. The frustrated line to get into the stadium stretched the length of several football fields. People sucked at empty water bottles, lugged their belongings in plastic grocery bags, fanned themselves in the humid air, brought their beer and cigarettes and braced for what could be a two-day stay as torrents of rain started soaking them about 4 p.m."

Once inside the Superdome, the evacuees were ordered to stay in their seats after curfew. There were insufficient numbers of toilets, and when electrical power failed, the generators could support lights, but not air conditioning. The storm ripped several holes in the roof, and those below had to scramble away from the rain that poured in.

When the levee system failed and New Orleans started flooding after the hurricane passed, the Superdome became an island surrounded by hip-deep water, polluted by oil and debris. Conditions inside the stadium continued to "deteriorate," as press reports put it--at least two people had died inside the Superdome within the first 36 hours.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

While New Orleans is inherently vulnerable to hurricanes--much of the city lies below sea level--governments at all levels refused to take necessary precautions to minimize risk or ensure a safe and orderly evacuation procedure.

The levee system, crucial to the survival of a city surrounded on three sides by water, hasn’t been upgraded to withstand a Category 4 or 5 storm. Thanks to George Bush and his "war on terror." During the 1990s, following floods that killed six people, the federal government established the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (known as SELA). The Army Corps of Engineers was put in charge of implementing the project and spent nearly 0 million shoring up levees and building pumping stations.

"But at least 0 million in crucial projects remained," wrote a blogger on the Philadelphia Daily News Web site who goes by the name Attytood. "Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security--coming at the same time as federal tax cuts--was the reason for the strain…In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to [a] Feb. 16 , 2004 article in New Orleans CityBusiness."

According to Attytood’s research, though 2004 was one of the worst hurricane seasons in history, the federal government this year imposed "the steepest reduction in hurricane- and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history."

Why the neglect? Though it is best known as a tourist destination, New Orleans is one of the poorest cities in the U.S., with a population that is 67 percent African American. In the parish, or county, of Orleans, 34 percent of households live below the federal poverty line--an issue that was the focus of a new community coalition at a meeting just a few days before Katrina hit.

The scale of the threat has been well known for years. Oceanographer Joe Suhayda created a detailed model of the impact of a Category 5 hurricane hitting New Orleans, showing that much of the city could be plunged under 20 feet of water, causing tens of thousands of casualties. And in 2004, Hurricane Ivan barely missed the city, again highlighting the urgent need for a viable evacuation plan.

"Affluent white people fled the Big Easy in their SUVs, while the old and car-less--mainly Black--were left behind in their below-sea-level shotgun shacks and aging tenements to face the watery wrath," activist Mike Davis wrote of the evacuation plans for Ivan. "New Orleans had spent decades preparing for inevitable submersion by the storm surge of a class-five hurricane. Civil defense officials conceded they had 10,000 body bags on hand to deal with the worst-case scenario. But no one seemed to have bothered to devise a plan to evacuate the city’s poorest or most infirm residents."

Global warming is almost certainly to blame for the increasing strength and frequency of hurricanes, Davis told Socialist Worker last year. A number of climatic factors are at work. For example, something known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which involves variations in air pressure and sea temperatures, is a contributing factor to the above-normal number of hurricanes. But global warming caused by air pollution has probably made matters worse.

"Sea temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are higher than normal, thus supplying more energy to hurricanes," Davis said. "This can’t be directly attributed to global warming, but an intensification of the NAO is exactly what you might expect. Every North Hemisphere summer now seems to guarantee climate disaster of one kind or another."

But climate disaster can be profitable--if you happen to be a stockholder or executive for a major U.S. oil company. The oil giants were set to use the excuse of Katrina to hike gas prices still further beyond the record pump prices set last month.

The scale of the devastation resulting from the hurricane won’t be known forweeks. But we know already who will suffer the brunt of this tragedy--the poor in New Orleans and all along the Gulf Coast.

The Conservatives' Meltdown

By: W. David Jenkins III on: 31.08.2005 [17:03 ] (54 reads)

(10553 bytes)

taken from

The conservatives' meltdown

W. David Jenkins III

August 31, 2005-My, what a busy summer it's been! I've been away for awhile enjoying time with the family and, during my travels, I noticed something very odd happening out there. People are talking about Iraq instead of "American Idol." They're bitching about gas prices instead of bitching about the wrong person being "fired" by The Donald.

There are more and more people expressing outrage about what they're reading and seeing on the media rather than being outraged with the media itself. There seems to be a tsunami of buyer's remorse sweeping over the land and the size and nature of this phenomenon prohibits the lazy media from engaging in their usual practice of ignoring what's really going on.

Bush is scheduled to emerge from his western hidey hole soon and quite honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to extend his vacation just a bit longer. Really, who could blame him? Even with the controlled settings of his last two public appearances in Utah and Idaho, Bush came across as a guy who is just not well. After my time off, I'm feeling pretty rested and all but Bush looks and sounds tired, irritated, pale, thin and-well just plain sick. One might speculate that the bubble Bush's people have tried to keep him in is beginning to burst. After all, it's been a busy summer.

Bush's poll numbers are so bad right now that you need the toilet plunger just to get a look at them. Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate had better numbers than Bush does right now. Bill Clinton's numbers at the same point in his second term were going up-largely due to the public's support of him during the obsessive right-wing witch hunt. Maybe Bush should get himself an intern to help his numbers? Okay, sorry. That grossed me out, too.

Bush can take some solace in the knowledge that he still has the support of his base but these folks seem to be losing it too. From the super-patriots in Texas firing shotguns and driving their pick 'em up trucks over makeshift memorials to the war dead (Bush's war dead), to the wacko right-wing televangelists calling for the assassination of democratically elected leaders, Bush's base is starting to cause the administration to "distance itself" from its most staunch supporters.

Then we have Ann Coulter calling New Yorkers "cowards," Paul Harvey advocating nuclear war in the Middle East, Jerry Falwell supporting "bombing terrorists in the name of the Lord," and RNC Chairman Ken Melman accusing Democrats of being the "party of fear!" If you listen real close, you can hear the sound of millions of foreheads being slapped in disbelief. Seriously, would you want to come out of hiding after a season of this kind of behavior done on your behalf in a crippled attempt to somehow defend you? And that's not the worst of it.

There are turncoats in the Republican Party now. Bush must attack the credibility of his fellow conservatives in order to defend his failures. Senator Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam vet, has come out and stated that Iraq is beginning to resemble Vietnam on many levels. You have Trent Lott hawking his book while spilling the beans about pre-Iraq invasion meetings with Bush and how determined he was to invade days after 9/11. There is also the nuisance of Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and his determination to get to the bottom of what happened to Operation Able Danger. Then there's Pat and Bay Buchanan blasting Bush on his Iraq policy, while giving Cindy Sheehan a wink and a nod. Oh yes, what about that Sheehan woman?

In the tradition of Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Colleen Rowley, Sibel Edmonds, Bunnatine (Bunny) Greenhouse and other remarkable American women, Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan has done more to irritate Bush in her quest for honesty and accountability than anyone would have thought possible. What started as a personal desire for answers from the man responsible for the lies that led to her son's murder, Sheehan's vigil has blossomed into a national movement so enormous that the mainstream media was forced to take notice. What's more, her steadfast nature and her visibility have brought out the absolute worst behavior of her detractors, otherwise known as the "patri-idiots." You know, the Bush people.

Bush neighbor, Larry Mattlage, fired off his shotgun in the vicinity of the vigil because he was "getting ready for dove season." Mattlage told reporters to "figure it out." Aw, how positively clever, Larry.

Of course, we can't forget Larry Northern of Waco (or is that Wacko) who felt the need to destroy over 500 crosses and 40 American flags that had been set up by Sheehan supporters as a makeshift memorial to Americans who lost their lives in Iraq. Really, exactly how does this translate into "patriotism?"

Then, right on cue, Rush Limbaugh states that the whole Sheehan saga just "isn't real" and compares her to "RatherGate's" Bill Burkett and then denies he said it the next day. Conservative crackpot Michelle Malkin wrote that Sheehan and her supporters were "anti-military, anti-American, terrorist sympathizing agitators," as if anyone with two brain cells to rub together actually took her seriously. Bill O'Reilly said that Sheehan's behavior was "treasonous."(Oh, shut up, Bill). Conservative radio host Mark Williams stated on Fox that "Cindy Sheehan is on a mission to figuratively urinate on her son's grave and make his death stand for nothing." And, finally, U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone claimed that the media is currently devoting substantial coverage to Sheehan because "many in the press . . . do not want us to win this war and think that we don't deserve to win this war." And therein lies a large part of the problem Bush & Co. is experiencing; fewer and fewer Americans are buying the B.S. these days.

The polls show that most people believe Bush has lied about why we went to Iraq and they don't support the way he's handled the subsequent disaster his ideology has produced. Armor is still in short supply while the resistance is anything but in its "last throes." The completion of the Iraqi constitution seems more and more like wishful thinking (not to mention the final draft isn't what people thought it would be) while the violence in Afghanistan is creeping back into the headlines thus reminding Americans that Bush never finished the job there in the first place. People are tired of staying the course, whatever that means, and they're tired of Bush constantly getting their hopes up.

Remember the months prior to the invasion? Americans were told that Iraq would be a "cakewalk" and the oil revenues would pay for everything. When Baghdad fell in less than two months, Bush did his "mission accomplished" strut and everything was going to be okay. But people soon realized, even if Bush didn't, that the mission wasn't accomplished and Americans and Iraqis were paying the ultimate price.

Then there were the string of events that would bring an end to hostilities or at least make things easier over there. The killings of Hussein's sons, Hussein's capture, the passing of sovereignty and the elections were all milestones which were supposed to fix everything. But they didn't and in some cases things got even worse. Now Americans are supposed to believe that the Iraqi constitution is going to be another "fix all," yet most of them aren't buying it. And things aren't helped when you have Safia Taleb al-Suhail (the purple-fingered Iraqi woman who hugged the Marine mom at the State of the Union speech) who now worries that women's rights in Iraq will be a thing of the past due to the influence of Islamic clerics in the draft of the constitution.

Now, put all this together and throw in the following; Rove and Libby targeted in the CIA leak scandal, the Downing Street Documents, the revelation of Operation Able Danger, John Bolton already botching things up at the U.N., Social Security reform falling flat on its face, the possible release of more pictures and videos from Abu Ghraib, the steady chipping away in Ohio which continues to expose Republican corruption in high places and, to top it all off, Cindy Sheehan is not going away.

Just what is the worst president in the history of the United States supposed to do? How does he preserve any sense of legacy?

That's simple. You send Karen Hughes to make America's image better in the eyes of the Arab States, you promote a "Freedom Walk" (do we really have to pay for that?) to celebrate (?) 9/11 and, just to make you feel better, you flip the press the one finger salute. And if that fails, simply stomp your feet and yell "stay the course."

You know, it's got to be tough being a conservative these days.

Thus sayeth Mr. Jenkins. As if all of the above were not enough, add to that the current disaster playing out in Louisiana, US. We see the entire region in disaster, and the mainstream media warning us of repercussions almost certain to follow, like this listing from CNN, CNN/Money: Experts fear gas crisis

which warns of a possible "national gas crisis in the short-term."

All told, this adversity may actually result in a "blessing in disguise." The totality of these events of the ending summer may disrupt the economy, and Shrub's agenda sufficiently that they may reconsider the almost foregone conclusion to attack Iran, and the possible world war which almost certainly would ensue.

But then again it may not. I've felt for quite some time that our situation here in the US will need to become MUCH worse, before it gets better. I sometimes think that it won't be until the economic meltdown happens, when most people have lost their jobs, food is being rationed, fuel is almost non-existent and unavailable, when all the wacko evangelicals have had their trailers repossessed, when it becomes apparent that neither ET nor Jaysus has come to save them from themselves, that is when it will improve.

That day cannot be too far off, because as the above article points out, the deflation and implosion of the wildly insane Zionist NeoCon-inspired nightmare has already begun. Let's all just hope that it happens sooner than later.


Please share these ideas. jamie

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