Friday, September 30, 2005

MUST SEE VIDEO: George Bush Don't Like Black People

Mac users click above. Windows folk use this link.

Buy the shirt here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

For the Women

Just came across this site and thought you might be interested if you'd not heard of them yet. For all I know, there may well be some charter members in here, but just in case...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

getting my AL GORE freak on

ah saturday morning...

getting my FREAK on

those were the days; sunshine daydream etc...


2000 stolen dreams. what a difference ONE VOTE

what a difference ONE YARD

the GENTLE GIANTS of Tennessee



Wednesday, September 21, 2005

so, is NOAA trying to tell us something?

this is a screenshot. click the link before it's gone. :)

a closer look:

$5.00 a gallon gas?

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Remember when gas spiked to $3-plus a gallon after Hurricane Katrina? By this time next week, that could seem like the good old days.

Weather and energy experts say that as bad as Hurricane Katrina hit the nation's supply of gasoline, Hurricane Rita could be worse.

Katrina damage was focused on offshore oil platforms and ports. Now the greater risk is to oil-refinery capacity, especially if Rita slams into Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas.

"We could be looking at gasoline lines and $4 gas, maybe even $5 gas, if this thing does the worst it could do," said energy analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover. "This storm is in the wrong place. And it's absolutely at the wrong time," said Beutel.

might be a good time to hoard gas

offshore RIG locations

Hey Julie Fann, where you'd go?

I don't see you listed as a blog member any more. Given recent events, that's got me somewhat concerned. This last full moon has swept through the lives of everyone I know like Hurricane Katrina, and I don't say that lightly. Julie, if you're out there, give a shout to let us know you're ok.

BUSH appoints VETERNARIAN as acting DIRECTOR of WOMEN'S HEALTH at FDA, then LIES about it, but GOOGLE catches them.

(this story has been kicking around and i meant to post it when it first broke but got distracted. it happens. enjoy this in all it's dystopic bushworldian excellence -- brook)

One week ago, the Office of Women's Health of the FDA "sent an e-mail notice to womens groups and others announcing the appointment of Norris Alderson as its new acting director."

Immediately, eyebrows were raised. Alderson was a Mike Brown-redux -- an "FDA veteran trained in animal husbandry who spent much of his career in the agency's Center for Veterinary Medicine":

Three days after the Alderson announcement, the FDA main press office sent out a very different announcement. It said that 20-year FDA veteran Theresa A. Toigo would be the new acting director of the women's health office... Alderson -- and the statement announcing his appointment -- was never mentioned.

Asked yesterday who exactly was running the office, FDA spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said that Alderson had never been appointed acting director. She said that Toigo would take over from the departed Wood, and that her office knew nothing about the statement regarding Alderson, who is the agency's associate commissioner for science.

Alderson had never been appointed acting director? Then what explains this, on the Office of Women's Health website?

(P.S. It's since been deleted.)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

FEMA holds up recovery of THE DEAD -- insists bodies are PRAYED OVER

In the most macabre mishap, the chief body collector nearly pulled out of New Orleans over a dispute with FEMA. Kenyon Worldwide Disaster Services dispatched a small team and a mobile morgue to New Orleans as Katrina hit. With the death toll rising, Kenyon offered more staff and morgues if FEMA could broker a deal with Louisiana.

But FEMA and the company argued for two weeks until Kenyon finally gave the Feds an ultimatum: Work out a deal or find a new mortician.

The issue raised by the Feds that Kenyon found distasteful: an instruction that chaplains bless recovered bodies. A company source said the Feds are insisting on this, and the first chaplains are supposed to go out this week. Asked if that was mixing church and state, a FEMA spokeswoman responded: "A prayer is not necessarily religious. Everybody prays."

you're gonna wanna bone up on your ELECTION FRAUD knowledge

(i'll say no more except you must check out this vid at VELVETREVOLUTION. jit's in every format you can imagine, so no excuses. you'll be quizzed later -- brook)

America's Illegitimate Election 2004
It is our hope that this video may serve as the definitive record of what happened in American during the 2004 Presidential Election. It documents -- in a few short minutes -- how your American right to a free, fair and transparent electoral system has been taken from you by the cynical and un-democratic powers-that-be (and everyone who doesn't take heed -- b).

This sort of thing should never happen in the world's most important democracy. And yet -- again in 2004 -- it did. Enough is enough.

It's time for the people to take both our country and our democracy back.
take a look at this video:

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Looking for a Corpse to Make the Case

Federal troops aren't the only ones looking for bodies on the Gulf Coast. On Sept. 9, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions called his old law professor Harold Apolinsky, co-author of Sessions' legislation repealing the federal estate tax, which was encountering sudden resistance on the Hill. Sessions had an idea to revitalize their cause, which he left on Apolinsky's voice mail: "[Arizona Sen.] Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with."


For now, getting repeal back on the agenda may depend on Apolinsky and his team of estate-sniffing sleuths, who are searching Internet obituaries among other places. Has he found any victims of both the hurricane and the estate tax? "Not yet," Apolinsky says. "But I'm still looking."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Think I Give a Fuck?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

THE BRAD BLOG -- Diebold voting machines had backdoor -- Homeland Security issued threat warning

(this is something we've known for a long time, but didn't have an insider to speak out. now we've got both. justice is slow, but oh so sweet. stay tuned -- brook)

DIEB-THROAT : 'Diebold System One of Greatest Threats Democracy Has Ever Known'

Identifies U.S. Homeland Security 'Cyber Alert' Prior to '04 Election Warning Votes Can be 'Modified Remotely' via 'Undocumented Backdoor' in Central Tabulator Software!

In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a 'Diebold Insider' is now finally speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws within Diebold, Inc's electronic voting systems, software and machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company's 'upper management' -- as well as 'top government officials' -- were keenly aware of the 'undocumented backdoor' in Diebold's main 'GEM Central Tabulator' software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.

Pointing to a little-noticed 'Cyber Security Alert' issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold -- who 'for the time being' is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company -- is charging that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it.'Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal,' the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. 'In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated.

'In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a 'culture of fear' had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.

The 'Cyber Security Alert' from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that 'A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could a [sic: allow] local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes.

'The alert, assessed to be of 'MEDIUM' risk on the US-CERT security bulletin, goes on to add that there is 'No workaround or patch available at time of publishing.'"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

BUSH asks CONDI if he may go PEE (this is real, HA!)

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Sunday, September 11, 2005

George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People

hey all... long time, no ... blog? post? whatever... lots of katrina inspired music is emerging ... this is from The Legendary K.O. of Houston, Texas.
check out: George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People.

if you get a chance... stop by ugly is as ugly does...
hope you and you'uns are well! later!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My Home Town

So Ernie and I moved to Portland the week of August 22. I'd barely unpacked the first boxes when Katrina wiped out my home town. Yeah, the city I was born in, raised in, educated in... the city in which I spent the first 33 years of my life is devastated. My family there is now mostly homeless, scattered over Texas, Mississippi and Georgia. The friends I have there aren't there anymore. They are all over the damned place.

Every time I see another photo, video clip or article about what happened there I want to scream - run away - but I can't tear my eyes away because I see what's in the background of those images and it's home. Or it used to be.

So everyone, please, grab a glass of something and raise it high while I make a toast to the city that care forgot... the city that FEMA forgot... the city that paid the price for Bush's sins. And play some music in the background - something from Fats or the Professor or the Nevilles - and remember.

Thanks, I needed that,

no one expects the spanish inquisition

everyone with a camera is needed in NOLA right now!

Witnesses with camcorders and digital cameras NEEDED NOW
Reply to: see below
Date: 2005-09-07, 2:02PM PDT

I was born in New Orleans.
I now live in Daly City.
My family evacuated to relative's homes in Oklahoma.
My father just called...he is in our old neighborhood...where he still lives, or maybe I should say lived...

He called to tell me that a Federal Agent just confiscated his camcorder and escorted him out of the neighborhood. He isn't sure what is going on..... except this...

FEMA and other Federal Agents are starting to remove anyone with a camera or camcorder. My father saw at least six people who had their cameras confiscated.

I am leaving tonight to go to New Orleans with a videographer. We, as families of the people in the storm's path, ask all documentarians, all professional photographers, all amateur and professional journalists to report to duty in New Orleans and throughout the storm ravaged areas. Don't let Bush stop the documentation of this tragedy. This monumental failure by the Bush Administration.

We need witnesses. We need documentation. We need to see, hear and understand the truth about this STORM and the response or lack of response to this disastor.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tom DeLay to evacuees: 'Is this kind of fun?'

A report in the Houston Chronicle claims that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay asked Hurricane Katrina evacuees if their current situation was 'kind of fun.'

While on the tour with top administration officials from Washington, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, DeLay stopped to chat with three young boys resting on cots.

The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, 'Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?'Advertisement

They nodded yes, but looked perplexed.

'You are becoming famous all over this country and even the world,' he said, adding that he's often approached by lawmakers commending Houston's response to the disaster."


FEMA head gone

i wonder why.

Glenn Beck: "Hurricane survivors are scumbags."

I think we knew Glenn Beck hates minorities (part of what fuels his show) but this is interesting for a guy who’s been a disk jockey---and nothing else--- since he was 14, skipping any military service along the way, of course.

Philly radio host calls hurricane survivors "scumbags"

And you can probably guess which one: Nationally syndicated right-wing ranter Glenn Beck, who makes his home at Philly's own WPHT 1210, "The Big Talker." Earlier this summer, Beck's producer sent us an email asking why the radio host had placed a fairly high No. 15 on Attytood's list of "The 100 People Screwing Up Philadelphia" (ahead of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and David Bell, among others).

This morning, Beck answered the question himself. He kicked off his 9 a.m, show -- in which, believe it or not, he's apparently seeking to raise money for the American Red Cross and others aiding Katrina victims -- with a rant about the mayhem yesterday at the Houston Astrodome, site of the seemingly poorly managed doling out of $2,000 debit cards to several thousand New Orleans survivors.

He said, "I probably shouldn't say this," and then started talking about how he tries not to wait on a restaurant buffet line -- which struck us as not an apt comparison...the dining habits of a six-figure radio host versus people anxious to rebuild their shattered lives with roughly the amount of money that Beck earns for one three-hour show.

Then, he noted that it took him about a year "to start hating the 9/11 victims' families," a nice observation on the very week that so many Americans are mourning the fourth anniversary of the day that terrorists killed a family member or a friend. Well, OK, he hates maybe ten of them, he explained. (We assume he was talking about these 9/11 survivors, who had the nerve to wonder government negligence had something to do with their husbands' murders).

But now, 11 days after the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, Beck said he's starting to hate the Hurricane Katrina survivors. In fact, he called them "scumbags." (Apparently, this is the word that Beck likes to use to describe people who lost a loved one though tragedy or terrorism, because last year he called the father of Iraq beheading victim Nick Berg "a scumbag.")

He wasn't very clear, so assume that Beck -- just as with 9/11 -- doesn't think that all hurricane survivors are "scumbags," just the poorest ones, the ones who had the nerve to be impatient about collecting a little humanitarian aid after 10 days in hell.

That business done, Beck said he was now going to start raising relief money for "regular people," folks in the (supposed) 90,000-square mile disaster zone and not just the 181 square miles of New Orleans. We honestly have no idea what he meant by "regular people."

Surely he didn't mean white people, because they would never allow someone who thought like that on the radio.

Would they?

fall migration butterfly blogging

All Unrescued NOLA Dogs to be Shot

The Pasado's Safe Haven Rescue Team:

UPDATE: 4:03pm PST
Authorities have informed our rescue team that they have three days to rescue all dogs before they start shooting them. They believe that dogs are eating dead bodies to stay alive and need to eliminate them. We are outraged. Animal rescue groups were not allowed into the water until last Tuesday. To give us just another 72 hours to get a job, of biblical proportions done, is ludicrous. We are doing our best to beg for more time. We would ask you to call or write to someone but frankly, the lines of communications are so poor, we have no clue where you can begin. Because our team is on the ground, they have direct contact with law enforcement. If we have to, we'll work 'under the radar' to get the job done.

UPDATE: 1:18pm PST Our team is heading into the hot zone with a team from AZ. They must wear dry suits to be allowed into the toxic waters. They are using a list of abandoned pets that pet owners have supplied to a national database. They are breaking and entering to get the animals out. Many are too weak to bark, or come to a window or door.

Hard to Find Good Help These Days...

Three FEMA contractors arrested for looting in Plaquemines Parish

Three Texas truck drivers under contract with the federal government to bring in storm relief supplies for Plaquemines Parish have been arrested for allegedly looting toys, dolls, women’s lingerie and other merchandise from a Belle Chasse Family Dollar store, authorities said.

Booked late Wednesday night with one count each of looting were Gerald W. Thomas, 47, of Tyler, Texas; Thomas Sherman, 39, also of Tyler; and Lasharon Lemons, 36, of Dallas, said Major John Marie with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Marie said that since the relief effort began, drivers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been allowed to take drinks, personal grooming supplies and other small items from the Family Dollar store at 7902 Louisiana 23.

But he said the three suspects went much further, loading the cabs of their trucks with toys such as Barbie dolls, kitchen appliances, telephones, answering machines, waste paper baskets and other goods.

“When we arrested them, they had enough stolen stuff to fill five grocery carts full of property,” Marie said.

No bail had been set on the three drivers because there is no judge in Plaquemines to hear their cases, Marie said.

The arrests were the first in the parish for looting, a problem that has been widespread in neighboring New Orleans and Jefferson Parish since Katrina hit on August 29.

Under Louisiana law, a conviction for looting carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

check this out

"Go to Network Solutions, and look up

" ... type in the name of this website or domain, as if you wished to reserve or purchase it. You will receive the message that it has already been taken, of course ..."

"Now, scroll to the place where you can learn more information about the owner of this domain."

"You will learn in the WHOIS Record that was registered by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, 55 W 125th Street, New York, NY 10027 US, and the record was created 02-Sep-2005, expiring on 02-Sep-2005.

"Now, scroll down further. Note the underlying registry data for this record. Here is what you will find:

IP Address: (ARIN & RIPE IP search)


Y! Directory: See listings

Web Site Title: Welcome to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund Official Web Site

Data as of: 14-Jun-2005

Does anyone here who's IP or IT savvy ... KNOW what this really means?

It LOOKS as if the "Bush/Clinton Katrina Fund" was established--

Two months BEFORE Katrina!!

March to Bushville, DC on 9/11/05

(just found this. interesting. --b.)

On 9/11 survivors of Katrina will commit a
NONVIOLENT act of Civil Disobedience:

Help build an encampment on the Washington DC Mall.

Spread the word and join us.

We will post info here as we progress.
It’s up to you to be creative and spread this link:

See you on the Mall on 9/11.


Bushville, DC:

10,000 Katrina survivors will eventually camp on Bush’s doorstep.

They will camp in the seat of power and media demand truth and action.

They will stay there as long as it takes.
-Through 9/11
-Through the Katrina investigations
-Through the Supreme Court Hearings
-Through Bush’s last days of office, soon.

On 9/11 Bush will try to blindfold us with our own American flag.

Founding Bushville-DC on 9/11 will keep America’s attention on the criminal negligence of Bush.

History of Protest Encampments in Washington DC and elsewhere:

Hooverville – 1929 – 40’s
Villages of homeless that appeared following the Great Depression.

Bonus Army – June 17th, 1932
assemblage of about 20,000 WWI veterans, their families, and other affiliated groups, who demonstrated in DC during the spring and summer of 32

Dewey Canyon III - Washington, D.C., April 1971
Vietnam Veterans Against the War stage "a limited incursion into the country of Congress."


(more at link!)

it's like in the Matrix when the cat goes by twice

"Go Fuck Yourself, Mr. Cheney!"


CNN (who was showing it live) had a segment called "Obscenity shouted at Vice President". THEY REPORTED IT!

Cafferty: "Didn't he say that to Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor?"

Blitzer: "Yes."

C: "So how could this have been the first time he heard it?"

B: "First time he heard it in this area."

C: "I'm sure it won't be the last."

(thank you whoever you are that got this out here so fast! rock on!)

Here's What Gets Me

(here's a wonderful piece from a blog called "This Is Not Over." i'm posting just a few paragraphs, but it's worth a full read -- brook)

People are going around and around about who should have done what at what time to get food and water to the victims of Katrina, and to get the buses there to evacuate people from the city who didn't get out on their own, and to get medical care to the elderly so they wouldn't die, and to get control of the shelter areas so that people wouldn't be beaten, raped, and murdered at the convention center and the Superdome. Let's assume we're not deciding who should have done what at what time.

My problem with Bush -- and here, I do indeed address Bush individually, as a guy -- is that during the time that the crisis was developing, from Monday to Friday, he never seemed to experience any actual sense of urgency as a result of the simple fact that people were, minute by minute and hour by hour, dying.

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt that he was being prevented from acting by bureaucracy and the sheer magnitude of the situation. Where are the stories of how he was in his office freaking the fuck out because there were tens of thousands of Americans trapped without food and water? Where's the story of how he ripped a strip off of somebody, demanding to know what the holy hell the holdup is getting water and food to those people?"

finally the truth gets out

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bush says to Pelosi: "'What didn't go right?'"

(from yahoo. there's a lot more to the article, but this really jumps out. watch now for the real LOOTING-- brook)

Dems Assail White House on Katrina Effort

At a news conference, Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush's choice for head of theFederal Emergency Management Agency had 'absolutely no credentials.'

She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown.'

He said 'Why would I do that?'' Pelosi said.''I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'''Oblivious, in denial, dangerous,' she added."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Al Gore makes second trip for evacuees

Al Gore Paid For Refugees' Flight To Chattanooga - Breaking News -

"The refugees who were flown from New Orleans to Chattanooga on Sunday had a well-known person along. Former Vice President Al Gore and his son were on the chartered flight.

'I understand that Vice President Gore paid for everything,' Todd Womack of the mayor's office said.

Sheriff John Cupp said he spoke briefly with Mr. Gore. He said, 'He was not visiting with the media. He was busy working to help the refugees.'

Sheriff Cupp said it was an American Airlines plane, and he said a number of American Airlines attendants were along to help."

Santorum calls for criminizing storm victims (from the "NOT-MAKING-THIS-UP" file)

WTAE-TV CH 4 (ABC) Pittsburgh
Media Value: $ 2,239
09/04/2005 11:00 PM - 11:35 PM
Est. Audience: 229,640

[CC] 00:05:40
Senator Rick Santorum is criticizing the government's emergency response to hurricane victims hurricane katrina victims. But he's also criticizing the ones who chose to ride out the storm. I mean, you have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving. Coming up, hurricane relief in Mississippi. The lights are finally coming on in some of the hardest-hit areas. Our coverage continues in about ten minutes. 00:06:12

MUST READ first person account: FED intimidation, confiscation, abuse of power

(this is from DU. had 95 votes for "greatest page." read it and tell me...what do YOU think was going on down there? -- brook)

Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences

Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Walgreen’s store at the corner of Royal and Iberville streets remained locked. The dairy display case was clearly visible through the widows. It was now 48 hours without electricity, running water, plumbing. The milk, yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the 90-degree heat. The owners and managers had locked up the food, water, pampers, and prescriptions and fled the City. Outside Walgreen’s windows, residents and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry.

The much-promised federal, state and local aid never materialized and the windows at Walgreen’s gave way to the looters. There was an alternative. The cops could have broken one small window and distributed the nuts, fruit juices, and bottle water in an organized and systematic manner. But they did not. Instead they spent hours playing cat and mouse, temporarily chasing away the looters.

We were finally airlifted out of New Orleans two days ago and arrived home yesterday (Saturday). We have yet to see any of the TV coverage of look at a newspaper. We are willing to guess that there were no video images or front-page pictures of European or affluent white tourists looting the Walgreen’s in the French Quarter.

We also suspect the media will have been inundated with “hero” images of the National Guard, the troops and the police struggling to help the “victims” of the Hurricane. What you will not see, but what we witnessed were the real heroes and sheroes of the hurricane relief effort: the working class of New Orleans. The maintenance workers who used a fork lift to carry the sick and disabled. The engineers, who rigged, nurtured and kept the generators running. The electricians who improvised thick extension cords stretching over blocks to share the little electricity we had in order to free cars stuck on rooftop parking lots. Nurses who took over for mechanical ventilators and spent many hours on end manually forcing air into the lungs of unconscious patients to keep them alive. Doormen who rescued folks stuck in elevators. Refinery workers who broke into boat yards, “stealing” boats to rescue their neighbors clinging to their roofs in flood waters. Mechanics who helped hot-wire any car that could be found to ferry people out of the City. And the food service workers who scoured the commercial kitchens improvising communal meals for hundreds of those stranded.

Most of these workers had lost their homes, and had not heard from members of their families, yet they stayed and provided the only infrastructure for the 20% of New Orleans that was not under water.

On Day 2, there were approximately 500 of us left in the hotels in the French Quarter. We were a mix of foreign tourists, conference attendees like ourselves, and locals who had checked into hotels for safety and shelter from Katrina. Some of us had cell phone contact with family and friends outside of New Orleans. We were repeatedly told that all sorts of resources including the National Guard and scores of buses were pouring in to the City. The buses and the other resources must have been invisible because none of us had seen them.

We decided we had to save ourselves. So we poured our money and came up with $25,000 to have ten buses come and take us out of the City. Those who did not have the requisite $45.00 for a ticket were subsidized by those who did have extra money. We waited for 48 hours for the buses, spending the last 12 hours standing outside, sharing the limited water, food, and clothes we had. We created a priority boarding area for the sick, elderly and new born babies. We waited late into the night for the “imminent” arrival of the buses. The buses never arrived. We later learned that the minute the arrived to the City limits, they were commandeered by the military.

By day 4 our hotels had run out of fuel and water. Sanitation was dangerously abysmal. As the desperation and despair increased, street crime as well as water levels began to rise. The hotels turned us out and locked their doors, telling us that the “officials” told us to report to the convention center to wait for more buses. As we entered the center of the City, we finally encountered the National Guard.

The Guards told us we would not be allowed into the Superdome as the City’s primary shelter had been descended into a humanitarian and health hellhole. The guards further told us that the City’s only other shelter, the Convention Center, was also descending into chaos and squalor and that the police were not allowing anyone else in. Quite naturally, we asked, “If we can’t go to the only 2 shelters in the City, what was our alternative?” The guards told us that that was our problem, and no they did not have extra water to give to us. This would be the start of our numerous encounters with callous and hostile “law enforcement”.

We walked to the police command center at Harrah’s on Canal Street and were told the same thing, that we were on our own, and no they did not have water to give us. We now numbered several hundred. We held a mass meeting to decide a course of action. We agreed to camp outside the police command post. We would be plainly visible to the media and would constitute a highly visible embarrassment to the City officials. The police told us that we could not stay. Regardless, we began to settle in and set up camp. In short order, the police commander came across the street to address our group. He told us he had a solution: we should walk to the Pontchartrain Expressway and cross the greater New Orleans Bridge where the police had buses lined up to take us out of the City. The crowed cheered and began to move. We called everyone back and explained to the commander that there had been lots of misinformation and wrong information and was he sure that there were buses waiting for us. The commander turned to the crowd and stated emphatically, “I swear to you that the buses are there.”

We organized ourselves and the 200 of us set off for the bridge with great excitement and hope. As we marched pasted the convention center, many locals saw our determined and optimistic group and asked where we were headed. We told them about the great news. Families immediately grabbed their few belongings and quickly our numbers doubled and then doubled again. Babies in strollers now joined us, people using crutches, elderly clasping walkers and others people in wheelchairs. We marched the 2-3 miles to the freeway and up the steep incline to the Bridge. It now began to pour down rain, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm.

As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander’s assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.

Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our options and in the end decided to build an encampment in the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center divide, between the O’Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have some security being on an elevated freeway and we could wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses.

All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was by vehicle. We saw workers stealing trucks, buses, moving vans, semi-trucks and any car that could be hotwired. All were packed with people trying to escape the misery New Orleans had become.

Our little encampment began to blossom. Someone stole a water delivery trick and brought it up to us. Let’s hear it for looting! A mile or so down the freeway, an army truck lost a couple of pallets of C-rations on a tight turn. We ferried the food back to our camp in shopping carts. Now secure with the two necessities, food and water, cooperation, community and creativity flowered. We organized a clean up, and hung garbage bags from the rebar poles. We made beds from wood pallets and cardboard. We designated a storm drain as the bathroom and the kids built an elaborate enclosure for privacy out of plastic, broken umbrellas, and other scraps. We even organized a food recycling system where individuals could swap out parts of C-rations (applesauce for babies and candies for kids!).

This was a process we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of Katrina. When individuals had to fight to find food or water, it meant looking out for yourself only. You had to do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food for your parents. When these basic needs were met, people began to look out for each other, working together and constructing a community.

If the relief organizations had saturated the City with food and water in the first 2 or 3 days, the desperation, the frustration and the ugliness would not have set in.

Flush with the necessities, we offered food and water to passing families and individuals. Many decided to stay and join us. Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

From a woman with a battery powered radio we learned that the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on their way into the City. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway? The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. “Taking care of us” had an ominous tone to it.

Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, “Get off the fucking freeway”. A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Once again, at gunpoint, we were forced off the freeway. All the law enforcement agencies appeared threatened when we congregated or congealed into groups of 20 or more. In every congregation of “victims” they saw “mob” or “riot”. We felt safety in numbers. Our “we must stay together” was impossible because the agencies would force us into small atomized groups.

In the pandemonium of having our camp raided and destroyed, we scattered once again. Reduced to a small group of 8 people, in the dark, we sought refuge in an abandoned school bus, under the freeway on Cilo Street. We were hiding from possible criminal elements but equally and definitely, we were hiding from the police and sheriffs with their martial law, curfew and shoot-to-kill policies.

The next days, our group of 8 walked most of the day, made contact with New Orleans Fire Department and were eventually airlifted out by an urban search and rescue team. We were dropped off near the airport and managed to catch a ride with the National Guard. The two young guardsmen apologized for the limited response of the Louisiana guards. They explained that a large section of their unit was in Iraq and that meant they were shorthanded and were unable to complete all the tasks they were assigned.

We arrived at the airport on the day a massive airlift had begun. The airport had become another Superdome. We 8 were caught in a press of humanity as flights were delayed for several hours while George Bush landed briefly at the airport for a photo op. After being evacuated on a coast guard cargo plane, we arrived in San Antonio, Texas.

There the humiliation and dehumanization of the official relief effort continued. We were placed on buses and driven to a large field where we were forced to sit for hours and hours. Some of the buses did not have air-conditioners. In the dark, hundreds if us were forced to share two filthy overflowing porta-potties. Those who managed to make it out with any possessions (often a few belongings in tattered plastic bags) we were subjected to two different dog-sniffing searches.

Most of us had not eaten all day because our C-rations had been confiscated at the airport because the rations set off the metal detectors. Yet, no food had been provided to the men, women, children, elderly, disabled as they sat for hours waiting to be “medically screened” to make sure we were not carrying any communicable diseases.

This official treatment was in sharp contrast to the warm, heart-felt reception given to us by the ordinary Texans. We saw one airline worker give her shoes to someone who was barefoot. Strangers on the street offered us money and toiletries with words of welcome.

Throughout, the official relief effort was callous, inept, and racist. There was more suffering than need be. Lives were lost that did not need to be lost.

'Psychological resistance to facing election fraud'

Psychological Resistance to Facing
Election Fraud
Diane Perlman, Ph.D.,
Licensed Clinical

April 20, 2005

SILENCE OF THE SCAMS: Psychological Resistence to Facing Election Fraud

Few Americans know about the historic event that happened on
January 6, 2005,
the official date for counting electoral votes. For the first time since 1877,
congressmembers challenged the electoral count. Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio, accompanied by the lone senator, Barbara Boxer of California, led the challenge to the Ohio vote count. Although massive fraud was reported around the country, only Ohio was officially cited.

It is curious that an issue so profound and consequential is
barely on the radar screens of most Americans, especially those who supported Kerry.

Though we are not certain of the actual outcome, statistically impossible discrepancies exist between results of exit polls and official counts in counties without paper trails. Also documented are patterns of anecdotes about corrupted procedures and accounts of strange behaviors, phenomena and illegal interventions in Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania and other places. Many say there is fraud in every election, but there was far more in 2004 than in any previous year, and if the errors were random, about half would go in Kerry's favor. Virtually all went in Bush's favor.

But rather than demanding a thorough investigation, the many
Americans seem eager to forget the incidents and put the election behind them, thus implicitly supporting such corruption. In my conversations, I observed that white, US
born males were more emphatic about accepting the outcome and the futility of challenging it, while others were more willing to recognize being dominated and open to questioning what happened. White males may be more susceptible to obeying patriarchal authority, and the fish does not know it is swimming in the water.

This difference was reflected in Congress. Women and members of the Congressional Black Caucus were most active. Representative John Conyers lead the investigation and press conferences, and women, Stephanie Tubbs Jones in the House and Barbara Boxer in the Senate led the historical challenge.

A Political Psychological Puzzlement

Under what conditions do millions of allegedly 'free' people knowingly acquiesce to being deceived, dominated and deprived of their own political will? How is it that even those who were politically engaged for the first time resign themselves to an unjust fate, refusing even to consider what happened to our country? Why do progressive citizens actively dismiss and even malign a small group of courageous, devoted people working day and night on their behalf to uncover, calculate, analyze,
and evaluate the extensive, varied forms of criminal sabotage that undermined their democracy? How are Americans becoming complacent with escalating fraudulent activity? In other words, how do so many people live with the knowledge that they have been tricked before, were just tricked again--and then
submit to life under the power of those who tricked them?

Why were hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians out for days in
the freezing cold, refusing to accept fraud, while Americans helplessly colluded with forces of domination?

Granted, we face a conspiracy of silence in the media, a propaganda campaign discrediting exit polls (which are accurate in counties with paper trails and other countries), and a dismissal of those who challenge the vote as nuts, sore losers and 'conspiracy theorists.' Censorship, brainwashing and intimidation create an environment of passivity and fear in subtle yet powerful ways that keep the system going with the complicity of those who have been robbed.

Another significant reason, pointed out by readers commenting on an earlier version of this article, was that Yushchenko himself
was bold and courageous about challenging the vote. Unlike Gore, who discouraged a challenge, and Kerry who backed down easily after Edwards promised to count every vote, Yushchenko, who was poisoned and scarred, provided a powerful model of leadership, inspiring his supporters to be brave as well. The Democratic Party itself, except for the few who lead the challenge, acted cowardly, hardly inspiring the public. Why should they rise to the challenge if their maligned leaders wimped out?

Another reason is that citizens of the Ukraine know their history of oppressive, deceptive government. Unlike Americans, they are not inclined to trust the integrity of their leaders and system, and hunger intensely for justice and the freedoms that we have enjoyed.

Even with these explanations, we must still wonder what is going on in the collective psyche that allows mass submission to the systematic and progressive usurpation of power."

(much more at link. very good article! -- brook)

Monday, September 05, 2005

SEPT 24TH MUST BE NON-VIOLENT - Governor Blanco Blackmailed?

SEPT 24TH MUST BE NON-VIOLENT - Governor Blanco Blackmailed?
Edited on Mon Sep-05-05 02:52 PM by Nictuku

I'd like to know what the official system for directing the National Guard is. I don't think that the Louisiana Governor can 'call other states National Guard' into Action, I think that through FEMA, they can be requested from other states.

The Louisiana Governor requested Federal assistance on 8/28, thereby activating FEMA and her own National Guard. In her request to the Federal Government she said that the local assets would be overwhelmed.

I've been collecting information at another site, some of it from DU, some from other sources. I've been trying to figure out what the delay was caused by.

I think I have figured it out, and it is big.

It is going to be relevant to the protests on 9/24. I think we need to get the word out that non-violence in our protests has never been more important, because this administration is trying to declare Marshall Law on the entire country, using the disaster as a precurser.

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

Political Blackmail?
There is a bit of history to be found on Bush trying to Federalize the National Guard:

Governors Urge President Not to Federalize Guard Troops
(March 6, 2002) - The nation's governors have urged President Bush not to federalize National Guardsmen for border patrol missions and to reaffirm the vital role the state chief executives play in meeting challenges of securing and defending the homeland.

The governors object to using Guardsmen in federal Title 10 status not only because they would lose their control over the personnel, but because it will interfere with soldier training in addition to "effective force management of the states' military personnel." They say it will also "prevent certain personal accommodations of soldiers' and civilian employers' special needs during the term of federal service."

The governors also warned the president that he may be on shaky legal ground using federalized Guardsmen for border duty. Guardsmen under Title 10 are subject to the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of federal troops in law enforcement.


Guard Leaders Urge President to Keep Guardsmen Under State Control in Homeland Security Missions
For immediate release
Contact: John Goheen or Kristin Patterson - (202) 789-0031

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2002) - National Guard leaders from across the country have urged the president to leave Guardsmen under state control for most homeland security missions-most notably and urgently, U.S. border patrol.

They are concerned by Office of the Secretary of Defense attempts to "federalize" Guardsmen to assist non-Defense Department federal agencies. Doing so would lead to the "unwise and unacceptable precedent" of eliminating the nation's governors from their role in homeland security, Guard leaders say.

It could also violate prohibitions of using federal troops in law enforcement, they warn. Guardsmen serving at commercial airports receive federal pay but are under state control. Guard leaders urge using their personnel in this status, or "Title 32," for all homeland security missions.

"We are trying to prevent what could develop into de facto national policy," said Maj. Gen. John Kane, Adjutant General Association president and Idaho adjutant general. "Routinely federalizing the Guard for homeland security missions erodes the control of the governor over our soldiers and airmen. It also degrades our training and readiness for other state emergencies and for overseas missions in support of the Army and Air Force."

In addition, Guardsmen serving under Title 32 do not fall under the Posse Comitatus Act, the 1878 law that prohibits the use of federal troops in law enforcement.

The generals' request comes as the OSD plans to begin federalizing Army National Guardsmen for U.S border patrol this week. Defense officials issued call-up orders Feb. 22.

These are very very serious matters, which all citizens of the U.S. should be concerned about.

This is what the the 'right to bear arms' is all about. We do not want the government to be able to use its military against its citizenship, as expressed in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

The main concern back then was that the military was overseeing elections. Think about it.

I believe the Govenor of Louisiana was blackmailed into allowing the federalization of the National Guard, this is what she needed time to think about. But it is political blackmail.

Did Bush 'withold' assistance and support to the City of New Orleans so that the situation would degenerate into such a desperate situation that the Governor would have no choice but to allow the Federalization of her National Guard?

Is this why FEMA (under the control of Homeland Security) was TURNING AWAY WATER, GAS, BOATS, FOOD brought in by American Citizens?

And think about it, if the upcoming protests turn violent (and even if we are all non-violent, they could plant agents provacateur in the crowds, purposly causing the violence.

I already believe that the violence we are seeing in New Orleans would have not been as prevelant had they had water and food. (I'm sure there would be some looting, so I'm not saying that). But the varying stories of the shooting on the bridge yesterday...

Anyway, I digress.

Blianco was very smart:
The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law.

Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. "Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals," said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly.

A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor.


So.. withold, and PREVENT assistance, until the dehydrating masses rioted, so they could justify Military Takeover?


Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort.

Bush, who has been criticized, even by supporters, for the delayed response to the disaster, used his weekly radio address to put responsibility for the failure on lower levels of government. The magnitude of the crisis "has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities," he said. "The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable."


So..... the only way any city can expect help from the National Guard, FEMA, even other citizens, is if we relinquish all State authority to the Government?

This is wrong. It goes against the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

America needs to open its eyes and see what is really going on here.

Democratic Underground - The Greatest Government Taking of Property in History?

(from DU. thought you guys might be interested. emminent domain -- brook)

I was reading this article at CNN about the thousands of people who refuse to leave New Orleans, and it occurred to me that if the Bush gameplan is to bulldoze New Orleans and remake it as a new tourist destination, sans original residents, these people are the last line of defense against it becoming an American Fallujah.

Does anyone else suspect that we may soon see these people being forcibly removed from their homes by the National Guard so that the bulk of New Orleans can be razed?

Someone mentioned that many of the ownership documents that would have corroborated claims of property ownership in the area were likely destroyed in the flood, and that got me thinking that if the plan, as it seems to be, is to evacuate, demolish, and rebuild, then New Orleans will likely be the site of the biggest government taking in U.S. history.

After all, if confirming the ownership of a vast number of buildings in New Orleans is going to be impossible, and the populace is being forcibly removed, then the end result is going to have to involve the Feds not only taking control of the city, but actually taking a good deal of property away from the actual owners."(from DU. thought you guys might be interested. emminent domain -- brook)

I was reading this article at CNN about the thousands of people who refuse to leave New Orleans, and it occurred to me that if the Bush gameplan is to bulldoze New Orleans and remake it as a new tourist destination, sans original residents, these people are the last line of defense against it becoming an American Fallujah.

Does anyone else suspect that we may soon see these people being forcibly removed from their homes by the National Guard so that the bulk of New Orleans can be razed?

Someone mentioned that many of the ownership documents that would have corroborated claims of property ownership in the area were likely destroyed in the flood, and that got me thinking that if the plan, as it seems to be, is to evacuate, demolish, and rebuild, then New Orleans will likely be the site of the biggest government taking in U.S. history.

After all, if confirming the ownership of a vast number of buildings in New Orleans is going to be impossible, and the populace is being forcibly removed, then the end result is going to have to involve the Feds not only taking control of the city, but actually taking a good deal of property away from the actual owners."
(from DU. thought you guys might be interested. emminent domain -- brook)

I was reading this article at CNN about the thousands of people who refuse to leave New Orleans, and it occurred to me that if the Bush gameplan is to bulldoze New Orleans and remake it as a new tourist destination, sans original residents, these people are the last line of defense against it becoming an American Fallujah.

Does anyone else suspect that we may soon see these people being forcibly removed from their homes by the National Guard so that the bulk of New Orleans can be razed?

Someone mentioned that many of the ownership documents that would have corroborated claims of property ownership in the area were likely destroyed in the flood, and that got me thinking that if the plan, as it seems to be, is to evacuate, demolish, and rebuild, then New Orleans will likely be the site of the biggest government taking in U.S. history.

After all, if confirming the ownership of a vast number of buildings in New Orleans is going to be impossible, and the populace is being forcibly removed, then the end result is going to have to involve the Feds not only taking control of the city, but actually taking a good deal of property away from the actual owners."

Emminent Domain nightmare

Fellow DUers, I have been listening intensely to alternative media regarding hurricane Katrina, and I was confused by FEMAs delay tactics and other inconsistencies:

-- Why are there so many cases of FEMA interfering with local relief efforts, such as turning back truckloads of water supplied by Wal-Mart?
-- Why is FEMA so determined to remove *everyone* from New Orleans, even those that are determined to stay in their flooded homes?
-- Why won't FEMA take advantage of ample lodging capacity in Algiers, the 20% of New Orleans that is not underwater?
-- Why is the government determined to get everyone far away from New Orleans?

All of these actions result in circumstances that require the victims to leave the area, as opposed to surviving locally until the crisis is resolved.

My wife's theory (and I'm now close to convinced) is that the Administration is intentionally "cleansing" the area to expedite gentrification (this process had reportedly already begun to some degree).

Note that Bush has stated the following:

"Here's what I believe. I believe that the great city of New Orleans will rise again and be a greater city of New Orleans. (Applause.) I believe the town where I used to come from, Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself -- occasionally too much -- (laughter) -- will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to. That's what I believe."

It is the use of the phrase better place to come to that really got my attention.

The "smoking gun" for this argument will come in the settlement offered by the Administration to the victims. My wife believes that this settlement will include the following:

-- A federal limitation (cap) on damages related to Katrina (provided at the 11th hour by our beloved Republican legislature)

-- A token offer to the victims of some cash compensation in exchange for title to their damaged real estate

You'll know that we're onto something when the deal is structured in a take-it-or-leave it manner which will make it prohibitive for the victims to do anything but accept the deal. We believe that they may be forced to take the deal because the Feds will delay certification of the area as inhabitable for much longer than need be, perhaps years.

We believe that the land will be held temporarily by the Feds, but ultimately resold to private developers with close ties with the Bush Administration. The developers will construct brand new, high end waterfront property, effectively force-gentrifying the area, a goal which before the hurricane would have been unattainable.

At first this theory may seem far-fetched, but in my view it is not inconceivable. The Bush Administration seems capable of almost anything, so taking advantage of this natural disaster (as they did with 9/11) should not be dismissed out of hand.


Advance: Senate Democrats issue relief plan for Katrina
09/05/2005 @ 3:21 pm

The following release, prepared by Senate Democratic leadership and acquired by RAW STORY, will go out to the mainstream press Monday afternoon.

Katrina Relief Plan for Senate Action This Week

Although the Congress last week appropriated $10.5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Defense Department, it is clear much more will be needed given the enormity of this disaster. While government authorities and others assess the scope of the problem and decide how much additional funding will be needed to address specific problems, there are a number of legislative items the Senate can and should promptly approve that can help Katrina’s victims. After the Senate has completed action on this emergency legislation, we hope the Senate will quickly provide significant new funding, and consider other substantive proposals that could help address short- and medium-term needs. These proposals must be followed by a much broader, long-term effort to rebuild and rehabilitate the Gulf Coast region and substantially improve efforts to prevent, mitigate and respond to future disasters.

The following are just some examples of proposals that Senate Democrats believe deserve immediate Senate action this week:

Ensuring health care for all displaced victims

* Immediate access to Medicaid for displaced victims.
* No need to prove residency or assets
* No copayments
* No penalties for failing to sign up for Medicare Part B in time.
To ensure access to medical care, we should ensure immediate access to Medicaid for displaced victims. Paperwork requirements should be streamlined and asset requirements waived to ensure that victims, many of whom have no legal documents in their possession, can enroll in the program with little red tape. Residency requirements for participation should not apply to these victims to allow them to obtain health care services around the country. In addition, copayments should be waived for these people as they struggle to meet other needs as well. The Federal government should bear the full cost of these changes, and ensure that no affected state suffers a reduction in Federal Medicaid funding (their “match rate”) for other populations. This proposal is based on a similar successful initiative after the September 11 disaster.

We also should provide compensation to health care providers who provide a disproportionate share of the care for these victims.

Displaced victims should not be penalized for late enrollment in Medicare Part B because they have become newly-eligible or have lost coverage from another plan during this time. Similarly, everyone from the affected states should have an additional year to enroll in the new Medicare drug benefit and its low income subsidies. The automatic transition of dual eligible beneficiaries from Medicaid to Medicare drug coverage should be delayed in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with the Federal government bearing the full cost of those people continuing Medicaid drug coverage.

Getting victims housing

* Emergency housing vouchers for displaced victims
* Expedited application procedures with no red tape.
* No tenant contributions until they find work.
* Tax incentives for private families to take in victims.
* Identify federal facilities that can house victims.
* Relief for homeowners facing threat of foreclosure
FEMA has said that up to 1 million people may need housing assistance. The Senate therefore should immediately authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create and distribute temporary emergency housing vouchers to victims, without many of the restrictions that apply under the existing Section 8 low-income voucher program. For example, victims should not have to document their income levels, and tenant contributions should be waived until they find work. HUD also should be authorized to increase existing limits on allowable rents given the likelihood that rents in Gulf Coast areas will increase substantially for the foreseeable future. HUD needs to take over primary responsibility for distributing vouchers since many of the region’s local housing authorities are not functioning at full capacity, if at all.

Given the scarcity of rental housing, we will need to rely on private individuals and families to provide free room and board to victims. To encourage this, we should immediately approve a tax subsidy for those who provide such assistance to Katrina’s victims.

To help identify locations to house victims, the Administration should be required, within 10 days, to release an inventory of federal civilian and defense facilities that can be used to provide emergency housing, or as locations for the construction or deployment of temporary housing units.

We should increase aid to owners of damaged homes by waiving current law caps on home repair assistance (now $5200) and home replacement assistance (now $10,200). In addition, we should waive a requirement that individuals leave their home to qualify for home repair assistance, a rule that threatens to exacerbate an already massive demand for shelter in the region.

We should reestablish the Temporary Mortgage and Rental Program, which has been used in the past, including after the September 11 disaster, to provide assistance to homeowners and renters facing financial hardship. This could be important for many victims who otherwise could lose their homes through foreclosure.

Getting victims to family members and friends

Many of Katrina’s victims have little or no access to transportation. Although FEMA has legal authority to address this, the agency seems overwhelmed and has proven unable on its own to meet the compelling needs of countless numbers of stranded victims. We therefore need to make this a White House priority and direct the President to lead a broad effort to quickly ensure that displaced victims can get to family, friends and others who can provide them with room and board.

Getting students into school

Many of Katrina’s victims are children who need to enroll in a new school. To encourage schools to accept these victims, and alleviate some of the resulting burdens, we should provide funding to school districts that accept displaced children. This funding could be used to hire additional teachers, teachers’ aides, or counselors, or to provide temporary expansions of classrooms. A similar program should be provided for institutions of higher education that admit displaced students.

Bringing victims’ families together and placing them with other families

The government should establish a toll free “800” number and web site through which victims could access a national victim database and information about available assistance. Displaced individuals could register and provide contact information, so that separated family members and friends could find each other. The database also would allow volunteers to sign up if they are willing to provide free shelter to victims.

Getting victims cash to meet other basic needs

To ensure that victims can get cash for their basic needs, we should strengthen and expand the Disaster Unemployment Insurance Program and automatically extend any expiring UI benefits that victims are receiving. We also should give the President authority to increase the $26,200 statutory cap on cash assistance through the Individuals and Households Program, and should waive the 25 percent matching requirement for States in the Gulf region. In addition, victims should be allowed to withdraw funds from individual retirement accounts (IRA’s) penalty-free, with extra contributions permitted later.

Providing financial relief to victims and National Guard

Katrina’s victims, and National Guard involved in disaster operations, should not be obligated to make payments to the Federal government in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. There should be a short term moratorium on obligations such as:

? Student loans ? Individual and corporate income taxes ? Small business loans

In addition, disaster victims filing for bankruptcy should be treated differently under the bankruptcy code in recognition of their particular hardship.

Ensuring victims have access to food

We should ensure that the many victims of Katrina who are struggling to obtain food have access to food stamps through a streamlined application process. States should be provided relief from the additional costs associated with administering the food stamp program for victims.

Restoring order

We should provide law enforcement funding where needed to help protect innocent citizens from crime and to ensure that there are places in which to imprison dangerous criminals. In addition, we should authorize federal courts to convene outside of their ordinary location in the event of an emergency, such as the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Helping victims get jobs

Private employers should be given an incentive to hire displaced victims by temporarily qualifying them for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which can reduce an employer’s tax liability by up to $2400 per qualified new worker. In addition, the Federal government should establish a temporary preference for hiring displaced victims who are qualified for jobs.

Moreover, many displaced workers now lack the documents they need to secure employment under Federal law, such as passports and birth certificates. This law should be relaxed temporarily so that victims can legally obtain work without such documents, so long as they can provide a valid Social Security number.

Supporting the National Guard

We should ensure that Guard units serving in the Gulf Coast effort be considered to have been mobilized under Title 32 (they are currently mobilized through the states). This would qualify them for federal benefits and ensure that their service counts as active duty for the purposes of retirement, health care, and other benefits. It also would make them eligible for the Family Separation Allowance if separated from their families for more than 30 days, and could provide relief from creditors and foreclosures.

Requiring accountability

We should require the President to submit regular reports to the Congress on the status of recovery efforts, the number of victims who remain without decent housing, jobs, etc., and any additional resources or action needed to address the crisis.

Democratic Underground - A Mole in Gov Blanco's office reports

Democratic Underground - A Mole in Gov Blanco's office

Okay, I'm gonna come clean, because I see that Bush and his cronies are going to try to do what I heard they were going to do. I mentioned a few emails back that Bush was doing something despicable and cowardly.

Well, here is the story: a few nights ago, he met with Gov. Blanco. He isolated her, and attempted to get her to sign an agreement that partly would have exonerated the Feds and FEMA, and placed blame squarely on the state government. Well, I see in these NY Times articles that Karl Rove is orchestrating this cowardly attempt to diffuse blame. This story, by the way, comes from someone very high up in Blanco's administration.

From someone pretty high up in Mayor Ray Nagin's administration, word also got out just yesterday that Bush was going to try to aim blame at Nagin and his people. Believe me, this is serious shit. Both the state and city governments have real fears that their lines are being bugged by the Feds (not unfounded by the way). And all this during a disaster such as the aftermath. It is becoming painfully aware that Bush has no conscience, no integrity whatsoever. Okay, so I said if need be, I'd spill the beans on this, and I encourage all of you to pass it around.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Democratic Underground - "It looks like there ain't gonna be no Republican Party no more."

(from DU. just about the only good news i've seen in forever. boy, aren't i just a big downer lately. do you know i haven't had cable thru this whole ordeal. i've been readiing and listening to the radio and for once the tv seems cutting edge. maybe i need cable...nah -- brook -- here's this:)

Tonight, I went to a pig pickin'/fundraiser/Labor Day Party in a small very red town in the Piedmont area of NC, above Charlotte.

My husband's 3 piece band was the entertainment. Since the proceeds are going to a women's shelter, they play for free (and these are all pretty nice folks anyway, so it was a lot of fun).

I was talking to the wife of one of the other musicians. They are both really liberal and we spend a lot of time commiserating over *. She was telling me about her life-long Republican Mother-in-law (Miss Jo).

She said Miss Jo got back from church today and told her how everybody was really upset over *'s mishandling of this whole mess. People were disgusted and very angry. Miss Jo said the general consensus is: 'It looks like there ain't gonna be no Republican Party no more.' This is a church full of the Reddest of the Red. Kool-Aide drinkers of many years. 2-time * voters. People who get their news from church and Fox TV and the Republican owned small-town paper.

Yes, there are * defenders, but this is not just affecting *. This has been a crippling blow to the whole Republican party and I get the feeling the 'pubs don't understand that yet.

Welcome these people when you find them. I know it's hard to bite your tongue, but your acceptance will show them there is a better way to believe and behave."

(amen to that. b)

images of leadership

Declaration of New Orleans

A Declaration of The People of the United States of America Concerning the Present Crisis in the City of New Orleans.

In the name of the People of the United States of America, we declare:

That for the last four and a half years the President and his administration have served the interests of a few wealthy citizens and not the interests of the American People.

That he has acted with contempt for the People and for the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

That an edict of the Supreme Court made him President in 2000 and fraud made him President again in 2004.

That the President has pursued an unprecedented expansion of Executive powers that are a grave threat to the rights and liberties of the American People.

That he has made war on sovereign nations that are no threat to the American People.

That his 'War on Terror' has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives without bringing those responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to justice.

That the failure of his leadership in the present crisis in the City of New Orleans has resulted in the deaths of thousands more. That he is derelict in every duty of his office.

Therefore, we resolve: That President George W. Bush and his administration are illegitimate.

That he should resign from office and new elections should be held immediately.

That if he does not resign, the Congress of the United States should act to remove him from office.

That if the Congress should fail to act, the People will exercise their right to abolish this state and will establish a new government that will better secure their rights and liberties. "

Saturday, September 03, 2005

BECAUSE THEY CAN: Rigorous Intuition

When it all comes down to dust, I will help you if I must;I will kill you if I can. - Leonard CohenMaybe you think the worst is over, now Bush has had his photo op as the clockwork convoy of aid finally rolled into New Orleans. I thought, maybe so. Maybe that's enough death for them.

If you're like I was, you haven't seen this yet:It's Geraldo Rivera, Friday night at the New Orleans Convention Center, where 30,000 Americans are locked down again with their piss and their shit and their dead. Rivera gets it, but he doesn't know what he's got. 'What the hell, man - let them walk out of here!' If anyone tries it, if anyone reaches the perimeter, they're turned back

From the website of the American Red Cross, their disaster FAQ:Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

In the end, there is no understanding evil. There is only opposing it.

People shake their heads, 'Why would they do this?' Because they can't fathom a reason they deny it's happening, and disbelieve the witness of the tightness in their chests.When Polish Jews first entered the Warsaw Ghetto, they knew they'd been through Hell, but they thought they'd come out the other side.

This is happening, America, to your brothers and sisters. Don't think it isn't because you can't understand it.

Coming this week, count on it: the 'pacification' of New Orleans."

1st person account of FEMA stonewalling - My husband used to work in disaster preparedness/relief ...

(this is a very interesting post. the writer claims he was directed to the DoD/Pentagon in order to get relief going. -- brook)

"My husband used to work in disaster preparedness/relief ...
..he also worked in Russia for years, both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and organized relief in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl. He doesn't post here, but he wrote this - he's been on the phone day and night for the past five days trying to get someone to OK the offered assistance. Everyone knows this is a first-class fuck up, but here's another perspective.

*************Over the years I have worked in and out of government to solve communications and technical problems, save lives and help where possible. I was managing director of a Russian-American telephone company providing rapid communications in the former Soviet Union and have helped with disaster communications projects around the world.

This is the first time I have ever encountered this unbelievable kind of absolutely uncaring, Washington/political two-step. When the storm approached the Gulf coast I called offering simple suggestions to government types (since this was obviously from all reports going to be a terrible storm) of how to bring communications systems up as soon as the storm passed. I recommended bringing in Blimps with portable cell transceivers and VHF, UHF and other types of broadcast equipment and also equipment to aid in the search and rescue effort. No one was interested.

When the storm hit and everyone knew the worst had happened, I contacted the Red Cross, (someone there hung up on me) and then FEMA where someone told me it was all up to the DOD -- and I wondered why the Pentagon was in charge of FEMA? I was also told that FEMA was being privatized and a number of the experienced staff trained in hurricane relief had been told they had to resign from FEMA and then be rehired by the private company.

I called senators and governors, I even tried to get through to my contacts and no one would listen or respond (though a member of Senator Dole%u2019s staff did commiserate with me over the level of incompetence that was growing ever more apparent). Then Putin offered helicopters, search and rescue personnel, water purification equipment, and doctors and so much more. Had the State Department allowed the Russian humanitarian mission to proceed, Russian help would have been on the ground a good 24-48 hours before FEMA was in many of the poorer and worst-affected areas.

Everyone here now knows that all international help was tuned down (Ms. Rice was shopping and taking in a play while these offers were coming in, so she may not be totally lying when she said no offers of help were turned down b/c she wasn't there to turn them down. But she's been caught lying again with a statement that can be proven to be an untruth empirically by simply making one phone call to Putin's offices or the many other nation offering help, or by reading LBN here). The screw-ups continue even now. I can name many ways that the Bush administration not only did not help, but also caused people to die and are still causing so many to die needlessly. It is if the government was actively trying to hinder the relief operations.

I fear there will be the biggest cover-up in the history of America after this is all over (mass graves so reminiscent of Bush 41's Panama disaster). Don%u2019t let anyone tell you everything possible was done to prepare or respond when in fact FEMA may have done more harm than good. Write, yell, do something, but this has to be fixed before the next disaster. I feel that maybe the only hope for America is to impeach the entire Bush Administration."

FEMA stops a rescue convoy of 500 boats - Unbelievable

Edited on Sat Sep-03-05 04:00 PM by Jim4Wes

This was posted on a Clark blog and it has some good information so I wanted to pass it on.

Just to give you a sense of just how badly FEMA has f*cked up.
Posted by Clark Warner on September 3, 2005 - 1:23pm.

This is beyond my comprehension and after spending two frustrating days trying to just get someone to let us help we've FINNALLY been told we can conduct "renegade" boat rescues via the just concluded press conference that Gov. Blanco just held.

Why is this JUST NOW being allowed? Well let's start from the very beginning.

On Wednesday morning a group of approximately 1,000 citizens pulling 500 boats left the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette in the early morning and headed to New Orleans with a police escort from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. The flotillia of trucks pulling boats stretched over FIVE miles. This citizen rescue group was organized by La. State Senator, Nick Gautreaux from Vermilion Parish. The group was comprised of experienced boaters, licensed fishermen and hunters, people who have spent their entire adult life and teenage years on the waterways of Louisiana.

The State Police waved the flotillia of trucks/boats through the barricades in LaPlace and we sped into New Orleans via I-10 until past the airport and near the Clearview exit. At that time we were stopped by agents of the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries. A young DWF agent strolled through the boats and told approximately half of the citizens that their boats were too large because the water had dropped during the night and that they should turn around and go home.

They were pulling a large (24ft) shallow draft aluminum boat that can safely carry 12 passengers and had ramp access which would allow the elderly and infirm to have easier access to the boat. They then politely informed the DWF agent that the local and national media had consistently reported that the water level had risen during the night which contradicted his statement to them that the water was dropping and no boat over 16ft. in length would be allowed to participate in rescue operations.

They then specifically asked the DWF agent that they (and other citizens in the flotillia) be allowed to go to the hospitals and help evacuate the sick and the doctors and nurses stranded there. They offered to bring these people back to Lafayette, in our own vehicles, in order to ensure that they received proper and prompt medical care.

The DWF agent did not want to hear this and ordered them home -- ALL FIVE HUNDRED BOATS. They complied with the DWF agent's orders, turned around and headed back to Lafayette along with half of the flotillia. However, two friends were pulling a smaller 15ft alumaweld with a 25 hp. The DWF agents let them through to proceed to the rescue operation launch site.

They were allowed to drive to the launch site where the FEMA controlled La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries were launching their rescue operations (via boat). They reported to me that there were over 200 DWF agents just standing around and doing nothing. They were kept there for approximately 3 hours. During that time they observed a large number of DWF agents doing absolutely nothing. Why? Because FEMA would n ot let them HELP! After three hours had passed they were told that they were not needed and should go home. They complied with the DWF's orders and turned around and went home to Lafayette.

Watching CNN later that night, there was a telephone interview with a Nurse trapped in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She said that there were over 1,000 people trapped inside of the hospital and that the doctors and nurses had zero medical supplies, no diesel to run the generators and that only three people had been rescued from the hospital since the Hurricane hit!

I can't come up with one logical reason why the DWF sent this large group of 500 boats/1000 men home when we surely could have rescued most, if not all, of the people trapped in Charity Hospital. Further, we had the means to immediately transport these people to hospitals in Southwest Louisiana.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 30, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee asked for all citizens with boats to come to the aid of Jefferson Parish. A short time later Dwight Landreneau, the head of the La. Depart. of Wildlife and Fisheries, got on television and remarked that his agency had things under control and citizen help was not needed. Apparently, Sheriff Lee did not agree with that assessment and had one of his deputies provide the Lafayette flotillia with an escort into Jefferson Parish.

Sheriff Lee and Senator Gautreaux - 1000 of Louisiana's citizens responded to the public's pleas for help. They were prevented from helping by Dwight Landreneau's agency, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries which had been taken over by FEMA. When I learned that Charity Hospital has not been evacuated and that no one has been there to attempt a rescue, I became angry.

It was because of this that my friend and I have been trying launch boats both yesterday and today but to no avail. It looks like FINALLY the Governor has just said SCREW FEMA, get those boats in the water and help save my citizens.

So I think we'll be in the water tomorrow to help but for now I'm immensely frustrated.

If there is anyone on the CCN that is in the Baton Rouge area we are meeting today at the LA State Dem Party HQ at 2pm CST to game out tomorrow.