Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:54 pm

VIDEOS OF MAYOR NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS SURVIVORS, AND MORE, by Charles Carreon

9:56 pm, September 7, 2005

The video reports coming out of New Orleans are shocking in their consistency. This isn't accidental neglect, but the imposition of a cruel lie on the entire country. The people of New Orleans are being treated as if they were to blame for this disaster, as if they have something to apologize for. There cannot be enough outrage in response to this callousness, which is perfectly exemplified by Barbara Bush's observation that the survivors huddled in the Houston arena are getting some kind of a vacation from struggling for a living because they're getting to spend the night in a stadium. Is this lady insane? People lived in New Orleans like they do anywhere else, in houses, on dry land. But why should I rant when the people themselves are on video to speak? Please watch the video of Mayor Nagin, who handles himself very well, and would clearly govern the nation better than the clique of chickenhawks and self-serving “tycoons” who fiddled while New Orleans drowned.

This video of Charmaine Neville of The Neville Brothers musical family is absolutely horrifying. If you can't play it, please read the transcript at the bottom of this post. Additionally, the American-Buddha.com website has put together a page of publicly available newscasts and videos documenting the Katrina disaster in a very accessible format. Although you do have to sign up to join this website, it just takes a second, and is really worth it for all of the incredible material on there. Clicking on any of the links below will take you directly to a special Katrina Little Movie page as soon as you sign up (for free). Just sign up once, then you can stay logged in. Use Winamp to play the movies on your computer.

60 Minutes: Interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin - 9/4/05
Barbara Bush -- Audio
Bob Shieffer Blasts the Response to Katrina
Boustany Flip Flops
Cafferty: The Blame Game
Call For Help
Celine Dion's Crying Plea
Charmaine Neville: New Orleans Evacuee [1]
Chertoff Blames the Media for His Failings
Hillary Clinton Wants an Investigation Into Katrina
Jack Burkman in Damage Control: Wanker
Mary Landrieu to Bush: "I'll Punch Him"
Olbermann's Rant on Katrina
Oprah Winfrey and Katrina
Pelosi: Bush [is] "Oblivious, in denial, dangerous"
Rumsfeld Says We Have Too Many Troops!
Russert Blasts Government Over Handling of Katrina
Scott McClellan's Latest Press Conference
The Daily Show and Katrina
"We Have Been Abandoned By Our Own Country"

CHARMAINE NEVILLE, NEW ORLEANS EVACUEE

”I was in my house when everything first started. I live by the high water in the 9th Ward in New Orleans. When the hurricane came, it blew all of the left side of my house, the north side off, and the water was coming in my house in torrents. I had my neighbor, an elderly man who's my neighbor and myself in the house, with our dogs and cats, and we were trying to stay out of the water, but the water was coming in too fast, so we ended up having to leave the house. We left the house and we went up on the roof of a school. I took a crowbar and I burst the door open on the roof of the school to help people, to get them up on the roof of the school. Later on we found a flat boat and we went around in the neighborhood in the flat boat getting people out of their houses and bringing them to the school. We found all the food that we could and we cooked and we fed people.

But then, things started getting really bad. By the second day, the people that were there, that we were feeding and everything, we had no more food, no water. We had nothing, and other people were coming into our neighborhood. We were watching the helicopters go across the bridge and airlift other people out, but they would hover over us and tell us, “Hi,” and that would be all. They wouldn't drop us any food, any water, nothing. Alligators were eating people, they had all kinds of stuff in the water, they had babies floating in the water, we had to walk over hundreds of bodies of dead people, people that we tried to save from the hospices, from the hospitals, and from the old folks' homes, I tried to get the police to help us but I realized, we rescued a lot of police officers in the flat boat from the 5th district police station. The guy who was driving the boat, he rescued a lot of them and brought them to different places where they could be saved. We understood that the police couldn't help us, but we couldn't understand why the National Guard and them couldn't help us, because we kept seeing them but they never would stop and help us.

Finally, it got to be too much. I just took all of the people I could, I had two old women in wheelchairs with no legs, and I rolled them from down there in the 9th ward to the French Quarter, and I went back and I got more people. There were groups of us, you know, there were about 24 of us. And we kept going back and forth and rescuing whoever we could get and bringing them to the French Quarter, because we heard that there were phones in the French Quarter, and that there wasn't any water, and they were right, there were phones, but we couldn't get to them. I found some police officers, I told them that a lot of us women had been raped down there, by guys who had come [CENSORED BY WAFB9] neighborhood where we were that were helping us to save people, but other men, and they came and they started raping women, and [CENSORED BY WAFB9] and they started killing, and I don't know who these people were. I'm not going to tell you I know who they were because I don't. But what I want people to understand is that if we had not been left down there like the animals that they were treating us like, all of those things wouldn't have happened. People are trying to say that we stayed because we wanted to be rioting, and we wanted to do this, and we didn't have resources to get out. WE HAD NO WAY TO LEAVE! When they gave the evacuation order, if we could have left, we would have left. There are still thousands and thousands and thousands of people trapped in the homes in the downtown area.

When we finally did get — in the 9th Ward, and not just in my neighborhood, but in other neighborhoods in the 9th Ward, there are a lot of people who are still trapped down there. Old people, young people, babies, pregnant women. I mean, nobody's helping them. And I want people to realize that we did not stay in that city so we could steal and loot and commit crimes. A lot of those young men lost their minds because the helicopters would fly over us and they wouldn't stop. And we'd do SOS on the flashlights, we tried everything. And it came to a point, it really did come to a point, where these young men were so frustrated that they did start shooting. They weren't trying to hit the helicopters, they figured maybe they weren't seeing, maybe if they hear this gunfire, they would stop then. But that didn't help us. Nothing like that helped us.

Finally, I got to Canal Street, with all of my people that I had saved from back there — there was a whole group of us — and I — I don't want them arresting nobody else — I broke the window in a RTA bus. I never learned how to drive a bus in my life. I got in that bus, I loaded all of those people in wheelchairs and everything into that bus, and we drove and we drove [breaks down in sobbing] and we drove. And millions of people was trying to get me to help them to get on the bus. [breaks down crying] What I did was with all of the willpower I had. I just tried."

(Transcribed from the Video at WAFB9, Baton Rouge, LA, by Tara Carreon, http://www.american-buddha.com )
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:09 pm

THE RAMONES SUGGEST: HAVE A NICE DAY, by Charles Carreon

5:21pm, September 10, 2005

Lately the NewSpeak agency has turned up the volume real loud. You remember NewSpeak, don't you — Orwell discovered it back in 1984. Remember Winston Smith? Remember O'Brien? Remember when you had a brain? Before you became a spineless Party Member?

"'I had been hoping for an opportunity of talking to you,' he said. 'I was reading one of your Newspeak articles in The Times the other day. You take a scholarly interest in Newspeak, I believe?'

Winston had recovered part of his self-possession. 'Hardly scholarly,' he said. 'I'm only an amateur. It's not my subject. I have never had anything to do with the actual construction of the language.'

'But you write it very elegantly,' said O'Brien."


From 1984, by George Orwell

Before we all learn to write NewSpeak, it's time to fight back. Somebody tries to give you a raft of bullshit, like the Bush Administration isn't racist, tell them to Have A Nice Day, then crank this vintage Ramones in their ear to drive home the point.

HAVE A NICE DAY

I heard it from the gangster I heard it from the priest I heard it from my best friend Way down in the middle east

Have a nice day. That's all I hear every day Have a nice day. I don't believe a word you say

I heard it from the landlord When he kicked me out I heard it from the spirits As they possessed my house

Have a nice day. That's all I hear every day Have a nice day. I don't believe a word you say

When they look me in the eye, I turn the other way It's just a trained reaction something they gotta say... yeah

I heard it from New Zealand I heard it at the club I heard it from my doctor Before he pulled the plug

Have a nice day. That's all I hear every day Have a nice day. I don't believe a word you say Have a nice day. That's all I hear every day Have a nice day. I don't believe a word you say


Click here for more Rock and Roll Radio at American Buddha The American Buddha Online Library website offers music for study and scholarship and other nonprofit purposes.

For even more Rock and Roll Radio, visit http://www.Joey Ramone.org

Click here to download Have A Nice Day

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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:14 pm

CRANK, CRAP & CRUELTY, ERIC SCHLOSSER'S FAST FOOD NATION, by Charles Carreon

7:42pm, September 11, 2005

Crank, Crap & Cruelty

A Review of Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation”


It may only take a village to raise a child, but it takes an entire planet to build a Big Mac. That’s the message of Eric Schlosser’s nonfiction thriller, “Fast Food Nation.” Nonfiction, as in every line of it is true. Thriller, as in, money, power, drugs, oceans of spilled blood and shit, and a runaway train loaded with biological weapons set to destroy the entire planet. It’s a cliffhanger, a role-playing story for all humanity. It turns out that, a couple of million years after we left the trees and conquered the savannahs with our omnivorous appetites and tool-making ways, it’s time to return to eating like gorillas.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Schlosser is a big magazine writer, but don’t let that turn you off. He writes like a good cop thinks. His style is tuned liked a Kawasaki 1000 police motorcycle and he investigates like he’s got a grudge against corporate evil. He chases down the bad actors other reporters call boss for the same reason every muckraker rakes muck – he hates what he sees because what he sees is ugly as hell. But he’s a diligent professional. He doesn’t babble jargon like a zealot. He builds his case. He bags and tags his evidence meticulously, unobtrusively footnoting his extensive sources. Then he presents it all in a very detailed and convincing exposition that reveals a complex criminal conspiracy operating an ongoing criminal enterprise. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to issue indictments.

We’re a long way even from defunding the fast food industry, much less indicting it for its crimes. Our parents didn’t eat the way we do. We don’t know why we’re eating corporate burgers, munching oil-soaked fries, and downing vats of iced sugar soda. We don’t know why we eat in plastic environments built like school cafeterias, attached to plastic playgrounds. We don’t know why we don’t find fresh foods attractive, why antacids are the most popular over-the-counter medicine.

Knowledge is power, and knowledge is often difficult to acquire, which may be why so few people have any power. This book makes acquiring vital knowledge easy, with crisp chapter titles and a story that starts at the beginning, studying the deeds of four old white guys — Walt Disney, Ray Kroc of McDonalds, Carl Karcher of Carl’s Junior, and Colonel Sanders of KFC. These four men each streamlined their products, automated production, marketed uniformity, and anonymized their employees to proselytize their visions of life and commerce. Although Kroc approached Disney solicitously with a plan to operate McDonalds restaurants in Disneyland, and was painfully rebuffed, Ronald McDonald is now far better known than Mickey Mouse. Indeed, the surrealistic purveyor of Happy Meals is giving Santa Claus, the number one imaginary being, a run for the money.

The Mechanization of Food Production

Kroc didn’t invent Ronald McDonald out of whole cloth. The original McDonald brothers operated a massive drive-in burger joint in San Bernardino, complete with young waitresses bringing trays of food to those enormous rolling fortresses they called cars. The cars were filled either with families or young men looking to hit on the carhops. The business was very successful, but the brothers tired of hiring platoons of carhops and replacing broken glasses and stolen silverware. So they closed the place for retooling, installing bigger grills and a burger production line, so skilled cooks were no longer needed. They threw away all the glasses and silverware, and henceforth served only foods that could be wrapped in wax paper or sucked through a straw. They ditched the carhops and made everybody line up at the window, but the burgers were cheap and business took off like a rocket. Kroc, then a traveling salesman in his early fifties, admired the McDonalds operation because they bought enough mixers to make forty milkshakes at one time.

The formula that Kroc bought from the McDonalds and franchised to the masses was a hit, and others followed the trend toward assembly-line food preparation. Carl Karcher copied McDonalds because they were just twenty miles away from his successful barbeque restaurant down in Anaheim, and Karcher knew the future when he saw it. Harland Sanders reinvented himself as a Southern gentleman, adopting the string tie and white suit as a marketing gimmick, and achieved his goal of putting at least two drumsticks in every bucket by adopting the new method of mass-produced cooking pioneered by the McDonalds brothers. Southern California loved the new way of eating, that fit perfectly into the seventy-mile an hour lifestyle, and soon the era of monumental sign architecture began to mark the landscape. Kroc built Golden Arches so big they dwarfed the stores, but they could be seen from a distance in time to let freeway drivers maneuver to the next exit. Eventually, the profile of the fast food industry has come to loom equally large over our entire civilization. Schlosser summarizes the numbers: “In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2001, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music – combined.”

The mechanization of food production turned people called cooks and waitresses into something much less dignified – burgerflippers. Burgerflippers are underpaid, and generally work a job less than six months. Small wonder. The job is statistically incredibly dangerous, like late night cashiering in a gas station or liquor store. Bet you didn’t know that the largest cause of employment death today is homicide. That’s because security at your average McDonalds sucks, because the money handling system is as uniform as the food, and sometimes angry employees come back to take their share of the loot they used to count, and sometimes decide to even the score with an assistant manager or two. Schlosser interviews one McDonalds employee who matter of factly packed a pistol to work and expressed no concern about a possible holdup, since he intended to act proactively in any armed encounter.

The Cruelest Business

The philosophy and method of manufacturing fast food turned into a machine with such tremendous money-moving power that today, when McDonalds says “jump,” the meat industry says “how high?” For years the USDA has been unable to obtain clean ground beef for the school lunch program, and it still can’t. But when McDonalds saw European store sales falling off the chart, and Jack In The Box demanded clean meat for its restaurants, the meat packers fell into line. Fast food ground beef at Jack and Mac’s are much cleaner than the cow crap laden meat that the nation feeds to its schoolchildren. And it make them sick, by the thousands. Food poisoning is far more common and deadly than you would think, afflicting 200,000 Americans every day, sending 900 to the hospital, and 14 to the morgue. For those whose eyes glaze over when they see latin names like Salmonella, Listeria, Staphylococcus, Clostridium or E Coli, Schlosser boils it down into “a simple explanation for why eating a hamburger can now make you seriously ill: There is shit in the meat.”

The meat is full of crap and the meatcutters are tweaking on methamphetamine, aka “crank.” Crank is the drug of choice for immigrant slaughterhouse workers that have to “make a knife cut every two or three seconds, which adds up to about 10,000 cuts during an eight hour shift.” The pace of production is insane, surpassing any prior known levels of cattle butchering: “The old meatpacking plants in Chicago slaughtered about 50 cattle an hour. Twenty years ago, new plants in the High Plains slaughtered about 175 cattle an hour. Today some plants slaughter up to 400 cattle an hour – about half a dozen animals every minute, sent down a single production line, carved by workers desperate not to fall behind.” No matter how much meth you do, though, there is no way to gut and extract the gastrointestinal system of a cow that fast and not make a regular mess of it, spraying shit all over the beef that is destined for America’s dinner table.

What’s A Prion?

In an afterword entitled “The Meaning of Mad Cow,” Schlosser updated his first edition of Fast Food Nation. In the afterword, Schlosser establishes that the destructive power of the meat machine has not been fully unleashed, because the truth about mad cow disease – its causes, vectors of transmission, and incubation period, are still unknown. Similarly unknown is how many people in the USA have in fact eaten meat infected with “prions,” the nearly-indestructible protein-based agents for the transmission of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (“BSE”). The answers to these unknowns will determine the number of victims and the scope of the cattle-destruction effort that the USA will have to undertake. The answers are lacking of course, for the same reason we don’t know how many Iraqi civilians have been killed in our liberation operation – bureaucrats aren’t good with big numbers.

Since the date of Schlosser’s afterword, published in 2002, we have been treated to a continuing coverup by the USDA about the extent to which BSE has afflicted the American cattle population. In case you thought your meat was cleaner because you live in the Pacific Northwest, where everything is better, it’s time to take a reality check. On August 20, 2005, the Associated Press reported that “slaughterhouses in Oregon and Washington have been cited at least eight times for breaking federal rules to protect against mad cow disease, putting the Northwest above average for violations.” The federal rules to protect against mad cow disease don’t require testing to be sure that BSE-prions aren’t in the meat, they just forbid the meatpackers from feeding people any “tonsils or small intestines,” or if the cows are over thirty months old, “the ban extended to the brain, skull, eyes and parts of the spinal column,” because these parts are “the most prone to mad cow infections.”

Are you surprised that the USDA tells you there’s no risk of BSE turning your brain into a mass of spongiform encephalopathy, but it still doesn’t test to see if cows have it? Well don’t be! It would be way too much trouble to test every one of those cows for mad cow disease. What’s a priority with our current President, as he made clear in one of his “State of the Union” addresses, was testing athletes for drugs, because an athlete on drugs would be far more dangerous than a hamburger full of BSE. Hmmm, now that I think about it, “athlete on drugs” describes California governor Schwarzennegger pretty well, and may be a good description of Bush himself. It just goes to show, politicians often know what they’re talking about.

More Than The Meat Is Rotten

Speaking of politicians, it’s not just the food supply that’s contaminated, my friends. The consolidation of food production forced by the fast food industry’s demand for uniform goods has turned potato production, beef production, chicken farming, and flavoring production into highly concentrated industries, each dominated by a handful of corporations that fix prices, suppress wages, and jointly wage a pitched battle against government regulation. But for the European ban on “Frankenfoods,” genetically engineered potatoes would be in every bag of French fries, and Taco Bell would still be feeding people corn that was meant for animal feed only. We know more about the industry’s insane drive to act as a law unto itself due to the heroic efforts of a couple of London Greenpeace activists who defended themselves, with almost complete success, against a libel suit McDonalds filed in England, by proving the truth of their harshest accusations. After eight years of litigation and a trial, Justice Rodger Bell concluded, in an 800 page judgment, that McDonalds advertising exploited children, McDonalds food endangered diners, McDonalds wages were unreasonably low, and McDonalds was to blame for animal cruelty violations by its suppliers. Through the litigation, the Greenpeace activists learned that their London group had been infiltrated by at least seven private detectives hired by McDonalds, so many that sometimes half the people at Greenpeace meetings were working for the Big Clown. At trial, Sidney Nicholson, a former South African policeman who supervised the Greenpeace spying, testified that McDonalds enlisted Scotland Yard’s Special Branch to track Greenpeace as a subversise organization, who then passed the information on to McDonalds.

Time To Take ‘Em Down

Like cancer, the fast food industry has taken over the productive capacity of the planet, and is busy reproducing its own cells at the expense of the entire organism. Like the tobacco companies, the fast food industry has been attacked for its policies, but has more successfully controlled the media and obtained government protection. Of course, when you can get a fat pig like Limbaugh to ridicule lawsuits filed by obese people, you’ve got a pretty good weapon. The fast food industry and its minions, agribusiness and the cattle and chicken tycoons, contribute disproportionately to publican candidates, seeking and obtaining the deregulation that makes the assembly lines move faster, keeps the crap in the meat, the grease in the fries, and all of their workers underpaid, uninsured, and at risk of violent death. Fortunately, Schlosser notes, we can vote with our feet. Here in Ashland, the voting has already started. A&W shut down a decade ago, McDonalds closed last year, and last week, we bid adieu to Dairy Queen. Perhaps 2005 will mark the high-water point for the industry that currently sits astride the world’s population like a huge, gross parasite. Do your part. Eat beans.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:17 pm

EVACUEES NEED CLOTHING? "LET THEM WEAR KNOCKOFFS", by Charles Carreon

10:00pm, September 13, 2005

This just in from the Dept of Homeland Security website — the Customs arm of the Dept of Homeland Security is delivering $17 Million worth of clothing seized because it was "in violation of trademark laws." That is to say, these clothing are fakes, knockoffs of famous brands like Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and other popular consumer names.

From the DHS website: "Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - U.S. Customs and Border Protection(CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) trucks delivered several thousand items of clothing to Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Jackson, Miss., Houston and San Antonio, Texas. The clothing, seized in violations of U.S. trademark laws is worth estimated at over $17 million."

One of the problems of clothing like this is it's not just got fake brands, it's shitty apparel. It falls apart quickly. As Bruce Sterling described this phenomenon in a recent Wired article:

"They say you can't understand people until you've walked a mile in their shoes. I just walked across Belgrade in a brand-new pair of Nikes. Now I understand something: The citizens of this city are the vanguard of a new phase of capitalism. They're busily subverting conventional multi-national commerce and creating a dark parallel process - call it black globalization.

My new shoes look authentic, but they're a scam of ominous sophistication. The insole logo is silk-screened on; my socks erased the Nike swoosh in a single afternoon. The stitching is coarse and sloppy - the pull tab at the heel ripped loose the first time I tried to use it. The sporty soles are slippy, not grippy. The tag proclaims MADE IN KOREA, although the product is almost certainly a fake churned out by a Chinese factory. Adding insult to Nike's injury, the phony barcode denotes a pair of Reeboks."

So, while FEMA is actively turning away donations of decent clothing being offered by people all across America, DHS is rushing them all the fake, crappy apparel they have on hand. It must strike the guys in Customs as very funny: "And ye shall know them by their phony baseball caps and pirated pants." Other good jokes, "Hey whaddaya mean you're not from New Orleans. You tell me you bought that Louis Vuitton on Rodeo Drive?"

I should also point out that all of these counterfeit goods are, in ordinary times, a total liability. When I worked for Louis Vuitton at an LA lawfirm, we paid big, big storage bills on "millions of dollars worth" of Vuitton luggage we'd seized. That was a drag on the system. We couldn't give it away, or give it to charity, because that would defeat the purpose of seizing it — to keep poor people from sporting wealthy people brands. We couldn't burn it because it was an environmental hazard. So we stored it. The people at DHS are very clever, because this is going to free up a lot of storage space.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:33 pm

SHE SHOULD SUE! WAPO & FOX KEEP SLANDERING GOV. BLANCO, by Charles Carreon

10:25pm, September 14, 2005

Back on September 4th, The Washington Post ("WAPO"), mysteriously unable to get hold of public documents of great national importance, falsely accused Democratic Louisiana Gov. Blanco of having not declared a state of emergency. Now, WAPO has a correction on their website, and has deleted the original NewSpeak item. WAPO now admits that Gov. Blanco made the declaration on August 26, but has offered no apologies.

But it's never too late to be wrong twice, when you are all part of one big media cesspool of disinformation. So on September 12th, Fox News presented a "timeline" that eliminated Gov. Blanco's declaration of emergency from the record, while carefully including the declarations of Florida and Mississippi's governors.

Given the gravity of these mis-statements, which accuse Gov. Blanco of criminal negligence in the conduct of official duties, causing the deaths of hundreds of Louisiana citizens, I would recommend that she immediately file suit against WAPO and Fox for displaying reckless disregard as to the truth of the matters asserted by their spincasters. And be sure and sue in Baton Rouge.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:34 pm

HOLBROOK SAYS EXPERTS DENY KATRINA-GLOBAL-WARMING LINK, by Charles Carreon

12:54am, September 16, 2005

The publicans are getting out in front of an issue that could have legs — Katrina was caused by global warming. Out in the forefront of the opposition, bucking the storm winds, is Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe:

Washington post wrote:

Bill Holbrook, spokesman for Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), said ".. the notion that Katrina's intensity is somehow attributable to global warming has been widely dismissed by scientific experts."


Maybe so, but in a recent Science article, Georgia Tech researchers and the National Center for Atmospheric Research reported that the number of major Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has nearly doubled over the past 35 years. And, the researchers expressed the opinion that this strengthens the connection between global warming, rising sea temperatures, and the increasingly damaging hurricanes.

My advice? Invest in brick houses!
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:38 pm

POWER RESTORED FIRST TO PIPELINE WHILE HOSPITALS REMAIN DARK, by Charles Carreon

6:36pm, September 16, 2005

Cheney pulled Mississippi power workers away from their work restoring electricity to hospitals that had been dark for several days, delaying the return of power to those facilities for 24 hours.

The workers weren't told until after they'd worked sixteen straight hours that they were making the world safe for Big Oil and risking their lives to help out Cheney's cronies at Colonial Pipeline Company. Everything about the work was dangerous, their foreman said, likening the job to chainsawing wood in the dark with a flashlight. Given that the job was decorated with broken power lines, flaming tree branches, and floodwaters, it's a tribute to their skill they succeeded.

I can understand Cheney's alarm, and why he felt it was a national emergency. He is very identified with the flow of oil. Having had a quadruple bypass, he knows that continuous, uninterrupted fluid flow is the way to health and survival. He personally identifies with the oil infrastructure almost as if the pipelines were his own veins, and the flow of oil his blood. See illustration below.

Power crews diverted -- Restoring pipeline came first

By Nikki Davis Maute

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast. That order - to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. - delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.

At the time, gasoline was in short supply across the country because of Katrina. Prices increased dramatically and lines formed at pumps across the South.

"I considered it a presidential directive to get those pipelines operating," said Jim Compton, general manager of the South Mississippi Electric Power Association - which distributes power that rural electric cooperatives sell to consumers and businesses.

"I reluctantly agreed to pull half our transmission line crews off other projects and made getting the transmission lines to the Collins substations a priority," Compton said. "Our people were told to work until it was done.

"They did it in 16 hours, and I consider the effort unprecedented."

Katrina slammed into South Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana on Aug. 29, causing widespread devastation and plunging most of the area - including regional medical centers and rural hospitals - into darkness.

The storm also knocked out two power substations in Collins, just north of Hattiesburg. The substations were crucial to Atlanta-based Colonial Pipeline, which moves gasoline and diesel fuel from Texas, through Louisiana and Mississippi and up to the Northeast.

"We were led to believe a national emergency was created when the pipelines were shut down," Compton said.

White House Call

Dan Jordan, manager of Southern Pines Electric Power Association, said Vice President Dick Cheney's office called and left voice mails twice shortly after the storm struck, saying the Collins substations needed power restored immediately.

Jordan dated the first call the night of Aug. 30 and the second call the morning of Aug. 31. Southern Pines supplies electricity to the substation that powers the Colonial pipeline.

Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Mike Callahan said the U.S. Department of Energy called him on Aug. 31. Callahan said department officials said opening the fuel line was a national priority.

Cheney's office referred calls about the pipeline to the Department of Homeland Security. Calls there were referred to Kirk Whitworth, who would not take a telephone message and required questions in the form of an e-mail.

Susan Castiglione, senior manager of corporate and public affairs with Colonial Pipeline, did not return phone calls.

Compton said workers who were trying to restore substations that power two rural hospitals - Stone County Hospital in Wiggins and George County Hospital in Lucedale - worked instead on the Colonial Pipeline project.

The move caused power to be restored at least 24 hours later than planned.

Mindy Osborn, emergency room coordinator at Stone County Hospital, said the power was not restored until six days after the storm on Sept. 4. She didn't have the number of patients who were hospitalized during the week after the storm.

"Oh, yes, 24 hours earlier would have been a help," Osborn said.

Compton said workers who were trying to restore power to some rural water systems also were taken off their jobs and placed on the Colonial Pipeline project. Compton did not name specific water systems affected.

Callahan's Visit

Callahan is one of three elected public service commissioners who oversee most public utilities in the state. Commissioners, however, have no authority over rural electric power cooperatives.

Nevertheless, Callahan said he drove to Compton's office on U.S. 49 North in Hattiesburg to tell him about the call from the Department of Energy. Callahan said he would support whatever decision Compton made.

Callahan said energy officials told him gasoline and diesel fuel needed to flow through the pipeline to avert a national crisis from the inability to meet fuel needs in the Northeast.

Callahan said the process of getting the pipelines flowing would be difficult and that there was a chance the voltage required to do so would knock out the system - including power to Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg.

With Forrest General Hospital operating on generators, Wesley was the only hospital operating with full electric power in the Pine Belt in the days following Katrina.

"Our concern was that if Wesley went down, it would be a national crisis for Mississippi," Callahan said. "We knew it would take three to four days to get Forrest General Hospital's power restored and we did not want to lose Wesley."

Compton, though, followed the White House's directive.

Nathan Brown, manager of power supply for the electric association, was responsible for overseeing the delicate operation of starting the 5,000-horsepower pumps at the pipeline.

Engineers with Southern Co., the parent company of Mississippi Power Co., did a dual analysis of what it would take to restore power and Brown worked with Southern Co. engineers on the best and quickest way to restore power.

Work began at 10 a.m. Sept. 1 and power was restored at 2 a.m. Sept. 2 - a 16-hour job.

Night Work

A good bit of the work took place at night.

Line foreman Matt Ready was in charge of one of the teams that worked to power the substations and the pipeline. Ready's shift started at 6 a.m. Sept. 1; he received word about the job four hours later and saw it to completion.

"We were told to stay with it until we got power restored," Ready said. "We had real safety issues because there were fires in the trees on the lines and broken power poles."

Ready described working on the lines in the dark like attempting to clear fallen trees out of a yard with a flashlight and a chain saw.

"Everything was dangerous," he said.

Ready said the crew members did not learn they were restoring power to pipelines until after the job was done.

How did they feel about that?

"Is this on the record?" Ready asked. "Well, then, we are all glad we were able to help out."

Compton said he was happy to support the national effort. But he said it was a difficult decision to make because of the potential impact in the region had the plan not worked and the area's power restoration was set back days.

"It was my decision to balance what was most important to people in South Mississippi with this all-of-a-sudden national crisis of not enough gas or diesel fuel," Compton said.

"In the future, the federal government needs to give us guidelines if this is such a national emergency so that I can work that in my plans."


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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:40 pm

THE NEW ISRAELITES, by Charles Carreon

11:01pm, September 19, 2005

Desmond Dekker's "Israelites" is one of my favorite songs going back to my youth. The song has been haunting me, as I work on my essay about the New Orleans diaspora, that I've decided to call "The New Israelites." I downloaded the song from eMusic.com, that seems to have a very nice system and some good tracks among the 600,000 they advertise. Here's the lyrics and the tune in mp3 format, plus an image of a beautiful Ethiopian girl who will cheer you with her smile.

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Ethiopian girl

Click here to download ISRAELITES

ISRAELITES

by Desmond Dekker

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir,
so that every mouth can be fed.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir,
So that every mouth can be fed.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

My wife and my kids, they are packed up and leave me.
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

Shirt them a-tear up, trousers are gone.
I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

After a storm there must be a calm.
They catch me in the farm. You sound the alarm.
Poor me, the Israelite. Aah.

Poor me, the Israelite.
I wonder who I'm working for.
Poor me, Israelite,
I look a-down and out, sir.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:47 pm

DID WARLOCK AID KATRINA?, by Charles Carreon

September 21, 2005

How do you stop a bomb from going off if it will be triggered by a single call from a portable cellphone? Don’t let the bomb pick up the phone. That’s the principle behind Warlock Blue and Warlock Green, technically known as IED jammers, for the Islamic Explosive Devices they’re directed at thwarting. They work well, too, and a cell phone jammer is credited with thwarting an assassination attempt on the life of Pervez Musharraf, the Friend of America and Pakistan’s Ruler for Life in 2003. Warlock Blue is an upgrade from Warlock Green, that allows defensive jamming across a broader range of frequencies, to thwart sneaky channels who switch frequencies and thus get through to their friend Mr. Bomb despite our best jamming efforts. The Warlocks are small, portable units, but larger ones are available, for other uses, including “communication control during riots.” As this ad for the TRJ-89 SERIES TACTICAL RESPONSE JAMMER shows (see below), this unit will tow behind your vehicle and block cell calls in or out up to a radius of five miles. That’s helpful when law enforcement are required to deploy “a blanket of radio frequency silence.”

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The TRJ-89 model was designed specifically for TACTICAL RESPONSE units required to deploy a blanket of RF silence during the following situations:

a. Explosive device location(s) (bombs)
b. Hostage situations (campus environments)
c. Communication control during Riots
d. Military intervention

The TRJ-89 can be easily towed behind most vehicles, is electrically self sufficient, and has a maximum jamming radius of up to five miles.

According to Wayne Madsen, ham radio operators said communications of specific frequencies were intentionally jammed during the flooding of New Orleans from an “intermittent frequency jammer operating south-southwest of New Orleans aboard a U.S. Navy ship. A former Department of Defense source says the U.S. Army uses a portable jammer known as Warlock in Iraq, and the jammer may be similar to the one that is jamming the emergency frequencies.” Whether Madsen is right about the cause of all the cell phone dysfunction in the New Orleans area is difficult to know, unless more disclosures occur. What we do know is that on August 29, 2005, Howard Melamed, CEO of CellAntenna Corp. of Coral Springs, Florida, urged Congress to change the law and let not only the federal government, but also state, county and city law enforcement, buy CellAntenna’s cell phone jammers. In Europe and elsewhere, in fact, small jammers are becoming ubiquitous. They’re in the Greek subways, Mexican churches, Indian temples, and Tokyo theaters and commuter trains. Could one have been deployed by FEMA and the military in New Orleans? Well, duh. But why would they? Given what we know they did – standing around watching people die while sitting on a mountain of supplies – you’d just have to answer, “Why not?"
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:51 pm

IN THE WAKE OF THE FLOOD
by Charles Carreon
September 22, 2005

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Until Katrina crashed ashore in the early morning hours of August 28th, the name New Orleans brought to mind the scent of magnolias at dusk, Spanish moss swaying in musky breezes, cypress swamps, riverboat gambling, Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, zydeco, jazz, Bourbon Street, an endless jambalaya that the city’s website celebrated with cocky pride. Today, it is a ruined necropolis where once a half a million residents worked day and night satisfying the appetites of an endless tourist throng, a toxic wasteland that will certainly be reclaimed for the benefit of industry, but may never be truly fit for human habitation, if it ever was. A giant question mark hangs over the people of New Orleans, who remain at the mercy of weather that continues to threaten tropical storms, government aid providers who move with serpentine slowness, and a news media that seems bent on painting them in the worst possible light.

“The Storm We’ve Always Feared”

That was the first line of the first-ever Internet-only edition of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. They printed no paper copies, because the presses were underwater. For something they’d always been fearing, they had a mighty easygoing way of preparing for it. As the long-feared storm whirled through the gulf, it appeared as a spiral of dense clouds on satellite maps. On the ground, it hit New Orleans like hell’s own sandblaster, hurling salt water and debris at a hundred and forty miles an hour, ripping off roofs, blowing out windows, upending vehicles, and killing unprotected people and animals. All this had been long foreseen.

A flood is a special type of catastrophe that makes water, normally our best friend, into a terrible, desolating enemy. In “Life On The Mississippi,” Mark Twain recounted his observations from a relief boat dispatched by The New Orleans Times-Democrat to aid victims of the 1882 flood:

“One does not appreciate the sight of earth until he has traveled through a flood. At sea one does not expect or look for it, but here, with fluttering leaves, shadowy forest aisles, house-tops barely visible, it is expected. In fact a grave-yard, if the mounds were above water, would be appreciated.”

Scientists had long predicted a catastrophic flood in New Orleans. In October 2001, Scientific American published an article entitled “Drowning New Orleans.” Computer simulations prepared by University of Louisiana scientists predicted that when a storm caused the levees to fail, it would flood 20 feet deep in downtown New Orleans, kill as many as 100,000 people, and evict half a million from their homes and businesses. The SciAm article reviewed the failed efforts to fund the necessary ecological remediation of the region, but expressed hope that Federal funding would come through to protect the city. From June 23-27, 2002, the Times-Picayune published its five part series, “Washing Away,” subtitled “It’s Only A Matter of Time Before South Louisiana Takes A Direct Hit From A Major Hurricane.” In October 2004, National Geographic published “Gone With The Water,” another article on the impending reclamation of New Orleans by an unforgiving sea.

The real problem wasn’t mother nature, as SciAm, Times-Picayune, and National Geographic made clear. The problem was father industry. Offshore barrier islands had nearly disappeared, allowing the Gulf Coast waves to vacuum away the mainland shores. Construction projects de-silted waterways for oil rig maintenance and fishing boats, opening fresh-water wetlands to salt water, killing soil-retaining fresh-water plants and increasing erosion. Short term solutions like building levees and pumping out occupied areas chiseled away soil in a vicious cycle that erased Louisiana shoreline at the rate of six square miles per year. Commerce brought riches and disaster to the city’s door.

Strumming As The Waters Rose

Gov. Blanco declared a state of emergency on August 26th, requesting assistance from FEMA with all appropriate legalities. On August 28th, Mayor Nagin ordered mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. On August 28th, Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center, insisted on giving President Bush a video briefing on Katrina, because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. Mayfield also briefed Michael Chertoff, the Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), informing both the President and Chertoff that Katrina would strike the coast within 48 hours with catastrophic force. The President then declared a state of emergency for the entire region, placing DHS in control of rescue and recovery.

The President was officially on vacation, but went back on the clock on August 30th to give a speech to military dignitaries in San Diego on Victory in Japan Day, remarking chummily toward the end of the speech that both he and the Japanese Prime Minister were sons of WWII fighter pilots. That’s real military camaraderie: “Your dad bombed my people, my dad bombed your people, so now we’re good!” After giving his speech, the president continued vacationing as the storm struck, the city flooded, and the rescue stalled. The President was photographed playing guitar at a barbecue, but the nation was watching Katrina.

On August 29th, Katrina made landfall at Buras, Louisiana a little after six in the morning, her winds clocking in at 145 m.p.h., but big trouble had already begun in the city three hours before, where evidence indicates the 17th Street floodwall collapsed at 3:00 a.m. By mid-morning, two other floodwalls had suffered breaches at five separate points, and water began pouring into the city from the drainage canals built to protect it. As evacuees filled the Superdome, the storm ripped two holes in the roof, which fortunately did not collapse, and merely allowed filthy rain and howling winds to enter through the gaping tears. The President in Air Force One called Chertoff on the ground, but he just wanted to talk about illegal immigration. Katrina was left in the hands of Mike Brown’s publicity machine. If only the hurricane could have been spun as easily as the media, all would have been well.

“Let Them Eat Sound Bites”

The “National Response Plan” is 426 pages long, the bible for disaster professionals, but it is a safe bet that Mike Brown never read it. Mike resigned under pressure as the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He was also fired from his previous job as the head of a horse-breeding association, but spruced up his resume with lies that weren’t discovered by the resume-readers at DHS. Then again, maybe they were looking for a loser. Mike may have been hired because he was willing to take the job of compliantly allowing FEMA to be defunded without raising a fuss. Certainly that’s what happened. FEMA’s budget was cut and cut, although that didn’t impede its performance when Hurricane Ivan hit Florida in September 2004. But Ivan didn’t hit as hard as Katrina, the money was available to fix Jeb Bush’s state in time for elections, and the publicity machine worked so well that some credited FEMA’s good performance with giving the president’s reelection campaign in Florida an extra bump.

As Brown swung into action on Katrina, he dusted off his Ivan file and shot off this press release, trumpeting the happy news that FEMA had once again saved the day: “As the Category 4 storm surged ashore just east of New Orleans on Monday, FEMA had medical teams, rescue squads and groups prepared to supply food and water poised in a semicircle around the city.”

The Cavalry Isn’t Coming

The supplies began accumulating in a semicircle around the city as FEMA waited for the evacuees to emerge from the flooded pit. But by August 30th, it was obvious to Chertoff and Brown, and maybe even to the President, that the damn flood story was just going to go on and on until they did something about it. So on August 30th, Chertoff declared Katrina an “incident of national significance.” He wrote a letter declaring that the president was creating a task force, and officially gave responsibility to Mike Brown, the man with the phony resume working for the nation’s largest security agency. Three days later, Brown wrote Chertoff a letter asking him to lend FEMA a thousand DHS employees who had sunscreen and walking shorts, to volunteer to rescue the drowned southland and put a good public face on the operation. Four days later, after 700 employees from the Customs arm of DHS volunteered to help with disaster relief, Customs sent a memo to all of its employees, telling them to stop volunteering, withdraw past offers to volunteer, and just settle down to patrolling the nation’s southern border.

During the opening days of the tragedy, President Broussard of Jefferson Parish wept openly on television that he had been promised endlessly that “the cavalry are coming,” but the cavalry never came. FEMA issued press releases trumpeting the delivery of millions of packets of food, millions of gallons of water, hundreds of vehicles and thousands of soldiers to help Katrina victims. However, in New Orleans, FEMA workers are still about as scarce as a dry place to stand, and when Brown claimed that FEMA had delivered “at least one, if not two, meals every single day” to the people in the Convention Center, the Times-Picayune didn’t mince words in its response: “Lies don’t get more baldfaced than that.”

As the rescue finally found first gear, Gen. Honore explained that the huge military trucks we saw plowing through filthy waters on Monday, September 2nd had been unable to penetrate the city until then. The Times-Picayune had this to say about that: “There were journalists … going in and out of the city by the Crescent City connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of thirteen Wal-Mart tractor-trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city. The people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.”

For This I Went To Harvard?

The first DHS Director was Tom Ridge, who resigned in February 2005. The president thought to replace Ridge with Bernard Kerik, the former top cop at NYPD, but his resume was a little flaky. Kerik turned out to be: (a) connected to the Gambino crime family, (b) a philanderer who trysted with employees in a taxpayer-financed love nest overlooking the WTO crater, and (c) a millionaire only because of a stash of inflated Taser stock he paid for by urging police agencies to buy the often-lethal stun-guns. Kerik would have made a great political cretin, and might even have handled New Orleans better, but there’s no point crying over spilled milk.

Chertoff clearly wanted to direct DHS, which was created to centralize our nation’s response to terrorist events and national disasters, because he walked away from lifetime tenure as a federal judge, generally known as the ultimate plum for lawyers, who thereby get to while away their declining years getting, as they surmise, wiser and wiser. Chertoff is a Harvard Law graduate, Supreme Court Clerk to the liberal William Brennan, and a former Assistant Attorney General who convicted whole crime families. During mid-2003, the President appointed Chertoff to a lifetime job as a Third Circuit federal appellate judge. Perhaps Chertoff would have been wise to remain on the bench. He’ll never get back there now, that’s for sure. Internal memos indicate Chertoff committed the unforgivable lawyer-sin. He was caught off-guard, apparently not realizing that disaster relief was actually his job, and when he caught the ball, he didn’t know what to do with it.

Don’t Believe Everything You See On TV

Chertoff sounded out-of-the-loop when he told the press on Tuesday August 30th that he stopped worrying about New Orleans when he read in that morning’s paper that “New Orleans dodged a bullet.” Actually, this wasn’t printed in any newspaper, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune had a one-word headline that day – CATASTROPHIC! Chertoff’s statement didn’t sound that unreasonable at first, though, because during the first days of September, many news agencies, including MSNBC, kept saying that the flooding had been prevented by the levee system. We can only presume that this story came from Karl Rove, who was finally let off his leash after a suitable time in the doghouse for outing CIA-agent Valerie Plame. It had to be Rove, because only he would try to contradict the local officials desperately broadcasting from ham radios that the water was rising, that the floodwalls were failing, that the floodwalls had failed, and finally, that the drainage canals were emptying into the City. This had been the great feared event that would doom all inhabitants unable to reach higher ground, but even as the catastrophe struck, only a handful of news outlets got the story about the floodwall breaches fairly straight — The Wall Street Journal, CBS, The Times-Picayune, and National Public Radio. And aside from David Muir’s interview of salty local Joe Edwards on ABC World News Tonight, none of the major outlets leaked the news that many New Orleans inhabitants heard loud explosions and believed the floodwalls had been blown. Before you disregard this as absurd, remember that using explosives to alter the course of a flood is as common in the south as “backfiring” to prevent the spread of wildfire here in the northwest. For his part, Joe Edwards had no doubts: “I knows it happened. They blew it.”

The vast majority of news outlets engaged in a government-approved blackout on news of the swift, alarming flooding of central New Orleans, thus underplaying the story at the beginning, and providing Chertoff, Brown and FEMA with a convenient smoke screen behind which to hide – they were as ignorant as the rest of the nation! But if news was bad, Chertoff wouldn’t hear it. When NPR anchor Robert Siegel confronted him, saying that thousands of people were starving in New Orleans, Chertoff rebuffed the suggestion, cautioning Siegel that it was “dangerous to extrapolate” from “someone’s anecdotal version of something.” And when Chertoff says it’s dangerous to say something, maybe you want to shut up, unless you want a free trip to Guantanamo and lifetime room and board.

Nearer My God To Thee

The evacuation of the city could not have been less successful. The City of New Orleans seemed to have given up any effort to implement an active evacuation plan. The only real plan was to issue timely evacuation orders, but when the time came, wishbone replaced backbone, officials waited too long hoping the storm would blow itself out, and the evacuation orders were belatedly given. The people trapped in the city, surrounded by and sometimes drowning in corpse-filled waters, reacted in panic, attempting to save themselves by all means. As one would expect, these were mostly poor people who don’t own cars, and depend on public transport, and public transport was missing in action. Buses weren’t deployed to ferry evacuees, and instead were destroyed in the flood. An Amtrak train that could have carried hundreds left empty when city officials declined the aid, apparently too busy to mobilize an evacuation.

The Superdome and the Convention Center, that had no supplies at all to accommodate anyone for even one night, became destinations for capacity crowds for two weeks, who had to provide their own supplies. Convoys of aid were parked outside the city’s perimeter, waiting to give aid to people once they got out of the city, but no buses were going in to bring out the stranded people. When Governor Blanco directed buses from other counties to drive into New Orleans to ferry out evacuees from the two stadiums, they sometimes refused on grounds of safety. More than three weeks after the storm hit, people are still trying to get away from the two stadiums, which have turned to miserable pits of privation, filth, and violence.

Once the FEMA disaster orders went into effect, local authorities were empowered to seize any property needed, but ironically, they most often used that power to prevent the entry of food and water to the drowning city, ostensibly in order to “discourage people from staying.” This is perhaps a new form of “tough love” being dispensed by compassionate conservatives, because heretofore, it has not been government policy to induce compliance with evacuation orders by threat of starvation.

A flotilla of private rescue boats five miles long was turned back by Louisiana law enforcement, leaving hundreds stranded who could have been saved by volunteers. The message seemed to be, “Go home, these folks are supposed to die.” And die they did. While platoons of physicians and vast stocks of medicine were blockaded outside the city, for the many sick and aged in the city’s nursing homes and hospitals, death came in hundreds of gruesome ways as life support equipment failed, food ran out, medicines couldn’t be administered, and all hope faded away. Doctors became the comforters of the doomed. No one had thought to attempt to provide an avenue of escape for these helpless people.

We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us

Perhaps the military character of the rescue operation handicapped the mission. The transfer of disaster management authority to the Department of Homeland Security seems to have given the whole FEMA effort a draconian, military character. The good parts of the military were left out of the project. FEMA rejected an offer from the Captain of the USS Bataan, an aircraft carrier anchored offshore from the drowned city and equipped with physicians and surgeons, six operating rooms, 600 hospital beds, food and water supplies, and the ability to produce 100,000 gallons of clean, fresh water per day. By refusing to deliver aid to people trapped in New Orleans, FEMA effectively put the city under siege, a cruel and bizarre tactic that would only be used against an enemy. However, when we realize that the Iraq-trained National Guardsmen have been applying these very tactics against cities like Mosul and Fallujah, ostensibly to aid the residents, perhaps this is just the face of government aid to come.

Still, I haven’t heard that the US forces in Iraq present Iraqis who are forced from their homes with blockades that simultaneously prevent them from leaving. That would be needlessly cruel. Yet many stories were told by African-Americans who tried to pass over into neighboring areas to get away from the flood, and were driven back by armed, white lawmen who sometimes held, searched and terrorized them before releasing them to fend for themselves in the doomed city.

What Insurrection Did You Have In Mind?

Of course, it’s always possible that the crucial ingredient in the delay of relief was Gov. Blanco’s skittish reaction to what looked like a Washington power grab. As the waters rose in New Orleans killing more by the hour, the administration repeatedly invited Gov. Blanco to ask the President to suppress an insurrection under the Insurrection Act, 10 U.S.C, Section 331. If Gov. Blanco had believed herself to be dealing with a revolt, she presumably would not have resisted the invitation, because the act allows the President “to call into Federal service such of the militia of the other States” to “suppress the insurrection.” But unless the attack of the wind and waves was some type of weather-war attack by terrorists, it is hard to understand what forces were in rebellion against the State of Louisiana. Still, the governor seemed pleased when FEMA sent in battle-hardened National Guard just returned from Iraq to quell civil unrest, and got rid of the notion that Democrats are soft on crime with her comment that the soldiers "have M-16s … locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot to kill ... and I expect they will." Notably, for those watching the race issue, Mayor Nagin, an African-American and a Democrat, also demanded that soldiers shoot looters. Clearly, big city politicians, used to shouting about being tough on crime, overmatched by Katrina, an omnipotent, non-human enemy, turned their aggressive power on the only adversaries they could defeat – other people.

A Free Reality Show

Perhaps it was inevitable that in a media age where “Survivor” was a big hit, that the people of New Orleans would be drafted into starring, non-paying roles in a feast of TV coverage that hovered over the agony but delivered no relief, like the news and military helicopters that mocked the residents who pled for salvation, for food, for water, for humanity, and received only pointed guns and the staring eyes of video cameras in response to their cries. Certainly it was real, all too real, for the participants, who were told to be patient, and they would get prizes – free debit cards, lotteries to own real estate. And so in modern America in 2005, where before the eyes of the world, thousands of Americans suffered needlessly, and uncounted hundreds died wretched, horrible deaths, while the mightiest nation in the world stood with its hands at its side. But then again, disasters have always been a spectator sport.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

It is well known that people see different things looking at the same scene. When large numbers of people with dark skin suddenly dominate the TV for days, this is of course not some movie with a cast of thousands, because there is no such thing as a cast of a thousand black people. It’s clearly some sort of racial event, as if someone scheduled a nightmare, and invited mostly African-Americans.

Barbara Bush, audiotaped in a candid moment at the Astrodome filled with evacuees, said that, since most of “these people” were “underprivileged already, it was all working out rather well for them.” She sounded like a financial executive remarking that a rival had scored an exceptionally good deal, as she followed her quip with an avuncular chuckle. On television, African-Americans who scavenged for goods in stores were called looters, while Caucasians doing the same thing were said to be hunting for supplies. Yes, different people see things differently. Where some saw hardworking people flooded from their homes, the former First Lady saw lucky freeloaders.

Some think that FEMA’s poor response in Louisiana, compared with its response in Florida in September 2004 when the President’s brother’s state was hit by Hurricane Ivan, shows partisanship in the administration of benefits. When Florida was hurting, the declaration of emergency came immediately from the White House, and 2,000 National Guard and plenty of money poured into Florida. By the time the election rolled around a mere three months later, things were better in Florida than before the disaster, one often heard. Louisiana has also fared less well than Mississippi, which has not received the standoffish treatment like those suffering in New Orleans.

Finally, analyzed purely in terms of procedure, the evacuation of New Orleans applied the following priority, when evacuation was attempted: (1) sick people, (2) hotel occupants, who had access to some stored supplies, and (3) Superdome evacuees, who were receiving a tiny trickle of food and water, starving and dying of thirst. When we count the numbers, groups one and two were of mixed racial composition, while group three was preponderantly composed of African-Americans. How is this significant?

An Unequal Allocation of Benefits

The terror of drowning lies deep in the human soul, and each victim had to face it. Many committed suicide before the last moment came. For each of them, a national debt has been assumed, and a national resolve should be undertaken. It is sad to perform the counting of white bodies and black bodies to figure out the percentages, but people will do it, each for their own purposes. An Internet posting from a white supremacist attempted to sort through the complex muddle of his bigoted feelings by expressing sorrow for the trapped white people, but finding satisfaction in the disaster nonetheless, because the hated blacks were suffering in such larger proportion. Thinking through that tangled web of cruel motivation, we see the madness of trying to judge things based on race. On the other side, African-American leaders must emphasize the imbalance in the body count and the numbers of homeless evacuees. It is impossible to deny a racially imbalanced outcome here, although the significance can be debated, as the white supremacist viewpoint makes clear. But the law also takes an interest in the numbers, when lawsuits are filed. The Supreme Court has said in race discrimination lawsuits that, where there are consistently unequal outcomes in the allocation of benefits, and those unequal outcomes fall along racial lines, the burden shifts to the party defending against accusations of prejudice to show that the unequal result was not in fact the result of racial bias. Imagine if Chertoff were on the witness stand, defending his inaction in the face of Katrina’s destruction. What would he say if asked to compare his non-response to Katrina’s devastation with the job done by Tom Ridge, who oversaw the September 2004 FEMA response to Hurricane Ivan in Florida? What explanation besides politics or race would he provide for the difference in treatment of Louisiana and Florida? Perhaps he would plead, as he has, that he was just reading the papers to find out what his job was. Perhaps, like President Bush, he'd admit he was at fault. But what explanation could he possibly provide for withholding food, water, medical care and transportation from hurricane victims, an unprecedented disaster remedy that killed hundreds and saved no one? It would be interesting to hear his answers, but he is not offering any because he isn’t on the witness stand.

The Boondoggle That Is Yet To Come

It seems that the time for speeches has come again, and after initially not rising to the occasion, the President has apologized for the fumbles, which are once again now all in the past, and promised an all new plan for the future that will require vast expenditures of federal funds. The spigot is open, and the financial press is abuzz with estimates of how much money there is to be made in the rebuilding effort. Municipal funds gurus are declaring this the largest funding opportunity in history. Saudi Arabia and other oil nations have been quickest to write the checks our national government has requested to pump the money engine that will have to be stoked up to power out of this mess. A thousand Mexican soldiers are apparently coming to help out, the first time that many Mexicans have been allowed across the border at one time for over a hundred years. Although Cuba, a little over a hundred miles away, offered to send 1,100 doctors and medicine to aid Katrina’s victims, the administration has rebuffed the offer, while officially stating that it was under consideration.

There are some clouds on the horizon. Delta Airlines, a major southern employer with its hub in Atlanta, and Northwest Airlines, already on the ropes financially before the storm, pulled the ripcord together and filed for bankruptcy in New York during the first week of September. On the other hand, Wall Street knows bankruptcy can free a company from union contracts and pension fund obligations, and thus will look forward to buying airline debt and equity at fire-sale prices, and cashing in on another wave of government bailout money. In further good news for employers on the labor front, the President suspended operation of the Davis-Bacon federal prevailing wage law that would otherwise have required federal contractors to pay employees the prevailing wage in the region for their type of work, thus eliminating an obvious hindrance to reconstruction. In other words, in Washington and by implication, everywhere else in the nation, it is business as usual and full speed ahead.

My Superfund Site Is Missing, Sir

In the rush to pour money into the next round of industrial subsidies, the officials are hiding one crucial fact – New Orleans is a gigantic Superfund site – a toxic waste dump so severe that it has been designated to receive federal cleanup funds. There were four Superfund sites in New Orleans, and they all were flooded and blown together into one toxic stew by the hurricane. A total of 153,000 barrels of oil are confirmed to have spilled into New Orleans. At 50 gallons per barrel, that’s approximately 7,650,000 gallons of oil adrift on the waters. The Exxon-Valdez spilled 11,000,000 gallons, so we are clearly dealing with one of the largest oil spills in history, and it is going unreported. Also unreported are the final resting places of countless barges and railcars filled with toxic reagents and used as “temporary” storage locations for toxic waste. These gigantic containers were bounced around like Dixie cups by the storm, and have been leaking for weeks, creating a brew that is biotoxic in the extreme. The owners of toxin-filled railcars and barges thus disposed of by providence would certainly have cause to observe that it is an ill wind indeed that blows no good for anyone.

Ignoring a Chemical Chernobyl?

Innumerable toxic materials are now loose in the city, being spread everywhere by the flood. The floodwaters in some parts of the city cause toxic burns. The sludge that will remain after pumping is completed will be loaded with matter that should not be touched, inhaled, or ingested. The floodwaters being pumped out of the city are not being processed, and are going raw into Lake Ponchartrain, that was already polluted, and now will simply become the nation’s largest petroleum byproducts leachpit, a dead lake impounding billions of gallons of industrial refuse. Not something you’d want to live downwind from.

Quite possibly, civic leaders will ignore these unpleasant facts just as studiously as they ignored both the risk of catastrophic flooding and the need to evacuate people who didn’t have cars or were marooned in hospitals and nursing homes. Perhaps the human cost of repopulating the site of a chemical Chernobyl will merely be measured as an uptick in the already high levels of cancer that distinguish Louisiana in the national health statistics. Perhaps the affected people will never learn about the dangers, and will once again trust the assurances of their leaders that it is safe to work and live in New Orleans after the flood. Perhaps the disparity in life expectancies in our country will become more extreme, as some Americans live in safe, healthy places, and some can’t get out of unsafe, unhealthy places. That is certainly how it was in New Orleans before and during the flood, and so far there is no reason to think that it will be different in the future.
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