“If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history.”

“It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq.”
Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish,
speaking to New Orleans Times-Picayune,
June 8, 2004
 

New Orleans police officers, their attorneys and supporters arrive to turn themselves in at the city jail in New Orleans.

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Photo: MSNBC
New Orleans police officers, their attorneys and supporters arrive to turn themselves in at the city jail in New Orleans.
Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.
Photo: MSNBC
National Dental Association (NDA)
‘Gross Injustice’ in Katrina Police Killings
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 8, 2007 – Expressing outrage over what has been characterized as an injustice in the court and by the New Orleans Police Department,the National Dental Association (NDA) has mobilized its membership to challenge what has been called a “gross injustice” in the court and the police department handling of a “rogue” police killing of two unarmed African American men and the wounding of four others in an incident on Danziger Bridge in New Orleans on Sept.4, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The facts of the incident and the miscarriage of justice since then are as follows: Ronald Madison, the 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison, was shot in the back seven times by police on Danziger Bridge in New Orleans on Sept. 4, 2005.
Ronald Madison died of his wounds, as also did James Brissette, another man who the police shot that day on Danziger Bridge.
Ronald Madison on ground.

Ronald Madison is a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison, 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Ronald Madison on ground.
Seven police officers have been indicted Thursday on murder or attempted murder charges.
Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
National Dental Association (NDA)
‘Gross Injustice’ in Katrina Police Killings
Dr. Madison describes his brother as having the mental capacity of a 7 or 8 year old child, gentle and never aggressive.
“Killing Ronald was like shooting down a child.”
Ronald Madison lived with his mother, Mrs. Fuki Madison, in New Orleans East in the Ninth Ward and attended St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church.
The Ninth Wardwas completely flooded when the levee burst during Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Madison says, “All the neighbors had a fondness for Ronald.   There is no one who would be able to say anything negative about Ronald.”
In addition to the killing of Ronald Madison and James Brissette, four other unarmedmen and women were wounded that day on Danziger Bridge when out-of-uniform police pulled up at the foot of the bridge in an unmarked rental truck, got out and began firing at the men and women on the bridge.
Contrary to early police reports, there has been no evidence that any of the people killed and woundedhad any weapons, and they did not fire on the police.
The testimonies of witnesses state that the men and women shot by the police were hurricane survivors merely trying to run away from unidentified men who were shooting at them.
An internal police investigation cleared the police officers involved in the incident.
Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan stands outside of the New Orleans Criminal Court building during a break at the grand jury verdict in New Orleans Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006.

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Photo: AP/Judi Bottoni/Washington Post
Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan stands outside of the New Orleans Criminal Court building during a break at the grand jury verdict in New Orleans Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006.
Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges.
Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Photo: AP/Judi Bottoni/Washington Post
National Dental Association (NDA)
‘Gross Injustice’ in Katrina Police Killings
However, on Dec.28, 2006, a state grand jury indicted seven New Orleans police officers on an array of murder and attempted murder charges, refuting the New Orleans police department account that what happened that day was an appropriate response to a report of officers down, of sniper fire and people shooting atpolice officers near the Danziger Bridge.
In fact, no officers involved in the incident at the bridge were injured that day.
Four of the police officers, Officer Robert Faulcon, Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Sgt. Robert Gisevius and Officer Anthony Villavaso, were charged in the first-degree murder of 19-year-old James Brissette.
One of those four, Officer Faulcon, was also charged with the first-degree murder of Ronald Madison.
Three other officers were charged with various counts of attempted murder.
The grand jury cleared Ronald Madison’s brother Lance Madison of charges of attempted murder.
Lance Madison was on the bridge with his brother Ronald, but was not hit by the gunfire.
However,he was arrested, charged with attempted murder, jailed for a month and held under house arrest for several months.
Lance Madison is shown being arrested on Sept. 4, 2005 on the Danziger Bridge in east New Orleans.

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Photo: NNS/Times-Picayune /Landov
Lance Madison is shown being arrested on Sept. 4, 2005 on the Danziger Bridge in east New Orleans.
Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges.
Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Photo: NNS/Times-Picayune /Landov
National Dental Association (NDA)
‘Gross Injustice’ in Katrina Police Killings
Raymond Bigelow, the chief judge of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court who received thegrand jury indictments, at the time said he would not set bond for the officers facing first-degree murder charges.
When the indicted officers reported to Central Lockup on Jan. 2, 2007, to be booked, they were greeted by a crowd of supporters, including several area police officers, who called them heroes, a scene that made the victims and their families fear that justice may be hard to come by in the case.
In an arraignment hearing on Jan. 5, 2007, when attorneys for the officers submitted a motion that their clients be released on bail, District Attorney Eddie Jordan did not object, and Judge Bigelow reversed himself and allowed the charged officers to be released on bail.
Also on Jan. 5, 2007, Judge Bigelow signed and filed notice of a disclosure that there are “relationships that exist between members of my staff and individuals identified with the defense…”
Specifically, the disclosure indicated that defendant Sgt. Kenneth Bowen is represented by the lawfirm of Desalvo, Desalvo and Blackburn, who are the father, brother and husband, respectively, of one of Judge Bigelow’s minute clerks, Emily Desalvo Blackburn.
Fraternal Order of Police spokesperson Sgt. Donovan Livaccari is the husband of another of Judge Bigelow’s minute clerks, Claire Livaccari.
Bruce Whittaker, counsel to the defendant Officer Ignatius Hills, was the longtime law partner of Judge Bigelow’s law clerk Michael Riehlmann.
Madison family lawyer notes that the last three lines of the New Orleans police's Gist Sheet describing the Danziger Bridge incident:

'The perpetrator fled and threw his handgun into the industrial canal and was apprehended a short time later' - were added by a different person.

He says the police are trying to frame Lance Madison.

In sworn testimony, the NOPD's Sgt. Arthur Kaufman said he added the lines to the report later because 'I was told that by one of the other officers.'

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Madison family lawyer notes that the last three lines of the New Orleans police's Gist Sheet describing the Danziger Bridge incident:
'The perpetrator fled and threw his handgun into the industrial canal and was apprehended a short time later' - were added by a different person.
He says the police are trying to frame Lance Madison.
In sworn testimony, the NOPD's Sgt. Arthur Kaufman said he added the lines to the report later because 'I was told that by one of the other officers.'
National Dental Association (NDA)
‘Gross Injustice’ in Katrina Police Killings
Officer Hills was charged with attempted second-degree murder in the case.
The New Orleans Police Department allowed six of the seven officers to return to work wearing monitoring devices on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, in what it described as unarmed, out-of-uniform, low-profile assignments.
The seventh officer, Robert Faulcon, has resigned from the New Orleans Police Department and has reportedly moved to Texas where he works as a truck driver.
The case will be back in court on March 9, 2007, to hear motions and testimony on behalf of some ofthe officers who are pushing to have the charges dropped.
Danatus King, president of the New Orleans branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), has asked the U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and the civil rights division ofthe U.S. Justice Department to investigate the case.
The victims and the victims’ families have filed three separate lawsuits against the city and police department.
“We are outraged that the court would allow these police officers charged with first-degree murder to be released on bond.   We are further offended by the police department’s decision to allow the officerscharged to go back to work. Moreover, we cannot understand how the court could allow Mr. Faulcon to leave the state,” states Dr. Romell Madison, who served as president of the NDA in 2003.
“We will join with the NAACP in seeking the involvement of the federal justice department in thiscase,” continues Dr. Madison.
“We will not rest until justice is served in this case.”
The Madison family lawyer requested a second autopsy of Ronald Madison.

New York pathologist Dr. Michael Baden also found seven gunshot wounds. 

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Madison family lawyer requested a second autopsy of Ronald Madison.
New York pathologist Dr. Michael Baden also found seven gunshot wounds.
National Dental Association (NDA)
‘Gross Injustice’ in Katrina Police Killings
Robert S. Johns, executive director of the National Dental Association, adds, “The NDA is launching anational campaign to enlist all people in the community, and especially dentists, dental students, dentalhygienists, dental assistants and dentists’ spouses in an aggressive effort to reverse this gross injustice and take a stand against rogue police killings across the country.”
Dr. Robin Daniel, president of the National Dental Association, states further,
“We will not be deterred in our campaign for justice for the Madison family and all of those who were hurt by this horrible and inexcusable act by members of the New Orleans Police Department.
It appears that the local authorities are not making every effort to obtain justice for the victims in this case.
Lance Madison was held for four weeks on an attempted murder charge that was later thrown out by a grandjury, while the accused officers, who have been indicted on first-degree murder charges, were allowedout on bail after only a few days in jail, and furthermore, they were also allowed to go back to work.”
Dr. Daniel adds, “We call on the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Congress and all Americanswho care about a fair and just society to join us in this quest to assure justice in this case.”
The National Dental Association has issued a “Resolution on Behalf of Justice for Ronald Madison ofNew Orleans, La.”
Included in the language of the resolution is the statement:
“The National DentalAssociation will use all measures within its powers to monitor the case until its conclusion to ensurefairness and justice including distribution of this resolution to the members of the United States Houseof Representatives and Senate, United States Justice Department, State Legislators, Local Legislators,and organizations in the media.”
A copy of the full resolution can be viewed at www.ndaonline.org
The National Dental Association was founded in 1913.
It serves as a national forum for minority dentists and a leader in advancing their rights within the dental profession, the armed services, thegovernment and the private sector.
Through scholarships, research and support programs, the NDA promotes dentistry as a vital profession for the global health concerns of the community.
The Association’s goals and commitments are shared by its auxiliary organizations, namely the Auxiliary to the NDA, the National Dental Assistants Association, the National Dental Hygienists’ Associationand the Student National Dental Association.
Together, these organizations compose a membershipmore than 10,000 strong, representing all 50 states and several countries abroad.
The mission of the National Dental Association is to represent the concerns of ethnic minorities indentistry, to elevate the global oral health concerns of underserved communities, to enhanceeducational and financial opportunities, and public policy awareness, for its members, and to recruitunderrepresented minorities into the profession through advocacy and mentorship.
Dr Romell Madison, brother of slain Ronald Madison

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Romell Madison, brother of slain Ronald Madison
Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison.
cnn.com
Katrina autopsy: Police shot mentally disabled man in back
May 23, 2006
By James Polk, Drew Griffin and Kate Albright-Hanna CNN
Ronald Madison

Seven police officers have been indicted on murder or attempted murder charges of Ronald Madison a 40-year-old mentally handicapped brother of New Orleans dentist Dr. Romell Madison. 

Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.

Each officer faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Lohman, a former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow NOPD officers to obstruct justice by covering up a police-involved shooting that killed their brother, Ronald Madison, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Ronald Madison
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — Autopsy results obtained by CNN show a mentally disabled man was shot in the back when he was killed by New Orleans police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
This contradicts testimony by a police sergeant that the victim had turned toward officers and was reaching into his waistband when shot.
"Clearly he was shot from behind," said famed New York pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who examined the body for the family's lawyer.
(Click to view CNN page where link to watch video of where Ronald Madison died and details of the autopsy)
A prosecutor said the case will go before a grand jury soon and acknowledged the investigation includes the possibility of police wrong-doing.
Ronald Madison, 40, was mentally disabled and lived at home with his mother.
He had no criminal record.
He was shot when police responded to a report of gunfire on a bridge over the flooded Industrial Canal on Sunday, September 4, six days after Katrina hit New Orleans last year.
It was a week of dire flooding, rampant looting, death by drowning. Police were strained, beset by suicides and desertion.   Four people were killed in confrontations with police that weekend alone.
Madison's older brother, Lance, said he and Ronald were walking across the Danziger bridge toward another brother's dental office when teen-agers ran up behind him and opened fire that Sunday morning.
By his account, he and Ronald were running away toward the crest of the bridge when a police team, responding to the report of gunshots, arrived in a rental truck and opened fire on people on the bridge.
Police Superintendent Warren Riley told CNN, "Several of the people were shot and two were killed by our officers in a running gun battle... Most police shoot-outs last somewhere between six and twelve seconds, and it's over with.   This was a running gun battle that went on several minutes."
One teen-ager, still unidentified, was killed near the base of the bridge.   Another was critically wounded.   Three other people with them were also shot and were hospitalized.
Lance Madison said a policeman pointed a rifle at Ronald and shot him as the two of them were running up the bridge.   Lance said he helped carry his wounded brother to a motel on the other side of the canal and left him there as Lance kept running to seek help.
The Police Department said in a press release last fall that Ronald Madison, whom it called a second unidentified gunman, "was confronted by a New Orleans Police Officer.   The suspect reached into his waist and turned toward the officer who fired one shot fatally wounding him."
Testifying in a preliminary hearing last fall, Police Sgt. Arthur Kaufman said much the same thing: "One subject turned, reached in his waistband, turned on the officers."
Autopsy results, made available to CNN by a source involved in the investigation, directly contradict that police account.
The findings list five separate gunshot wounds in Ronald Madison's back.   Three went through the body and exited in front.   There were two other wounds in his right shoulder.   None of the shots entered his body from the front.
CNN had sued the coroner of Orleans Parish to try to get official access to the autopsy report.   At a court hearing on that lawsuit in New Orleans a week ago, the coroner, Dr. Frank Minyard, verified the handwritten autopsy report obtained elsewhere by CNN was indeed prepared in his office by a pathologist on his staff who listed the wounds in the victim's right back.
Under cross-examination by a CNN lawyer, Dr. Minyard testified those five wounds in the back "were entrance wounds, yes."
Dr. Michael Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, met with CNN in New York City two weeks ago to discuss his own observations when he examined Ronald Madison's body for the family lawyer last fall.   Asked if Ronald could have been facing the police when shot, Dr. Baden said, "Absolutely not."
No weapon was found on or near Ronald Madison's body.
Assistant District Attorney Dustin Davis, testifying in the same court hearing on the CNN lawsuit, said a grand jury has been assigned to investigate the Danziger Bridge shootings.   However, the grand jury has not yet met on the case because the New Orleans Police Department has yet to complete its final report, eight months after those deaths.
The CNN attorney asked Davis, "What you are investigating in that case is whether any of the police officers may be indicted for homicide, is that correct?"
Davis answered, "That's partially correct.   We are also looking at Mr. Madison's involvement in the incident."
Lance Madison was arrested on the other side of the bridge where his brother was killed and was accused of shooting at the police officers in the gun battle.   He, too, had no weapon when taken into custody.   He was released from jail after six months because the District Attorney's office had not initiated any prosecution, although the investigation remains pending.
Sgt. Kaufman testified at the bail hearing for Lance Madison last fall that another policeman saw Lance throw a gun into the Industrial Canal as he was going over the bridge.   Lance Madison denies that.   He told CNN correspondent Drew Griffin, "I had no gun, at all."   Asked if Ronald had a gun, Lance answered, "No, he didn't."
In a CNN interview earlier this month, Griffin told Police Chief Warren Riley, "We understand Ronald Madison was shot in the back five times."
Riley said, "Those are things I can't comment on and no one can comment on until the investigation is concluded."
Griffin asked Riley if he was concerned about his officers' actions and Riley replied, "Certainly, we do not condone our officers overreacting, even in the most chaotic time," but he went on, "We don't know that they overreacted.   From the radio transmission, it sounds like their lives were in danger."
Riley turned down a request by CNN to interview the officers who were involved.
A 25-year career employee at Federal Express, Lance Madison has no criminal record.
At the end of the CNN interview, Riley conceded the two Madison brothers may not have been connected with the other people on the bridge that day.
"I don't know if those young men were innocent or not.   I really don't know if they were with that group or not," Riley said.   "I really don't know."
© 2006 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
An AOL Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Jailed in New Orleans Two Weeks Before Katrina, Fmr. Corrections Officer Held for Four Months Without Charge — Click Here
Roderick Dean, a former corrections officer, recounts his harrowing ordeal two years ago when he was arrested and jailed without charge on August 11, 2005 - two weeks before Hurricane Katrina.
When the storm hit, Dean was in New Orleans Parish Prison where he narrowly escaped drowning after the jail flooded.
He was never charged and released four months later.
The Danziger Bridge Killings: How New Orleans Police Gunned Down Civilians Fleeing the Flood — Click Here
On the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we take a look back the Danziger Bridge killings.
Seven police officers been indicted for opening fire on two African American families on the Danziger Bridge days after the storm, killing two people and wounding four others.
At the time, the official story was that they gunned down snipers.
Now the question is why they shot at two families fleeing the flood.
"The Resilience of the People Is What Carries This City Forward": Poet Sunni Patterson & Hip-Hop Artist Truth Universal Reflect on New Orleans Two Years After Katrina — Click Here
We end today's show from with a pair of spoken word acts from New Orleans: poet and performer Sunni Patterson and hip-hop artist Truth Universal.
February 25, 2010
Guilty plea in Danziger Bridge case
In his guilty plea Wednesday, Lohman acknowledged that he arrived on the bridge to find a 'bad shoot,' an unjustified police shooting.
He then conspired with the officers, coached statements and helped concoct a cover story explaining the circumstances.
He also admitted that he made sure another officer planted a "clean" handgun at the scene, meaning it couldn't be traced back to a crime.
Katrina police killing of two people on Danzinger bridge trying to cross to safety after Katrina.
Posted as a comment by Trumpeting TheTruth, March 07, 2010, on NOLA.com
Crooked Judge Bigelow was not dumb enough to throw the case on Lohman's word alone otherwise the DAs would have gone to the Appeals Court and had the ruling reversed rather easily.
Crooked Judge Bigelow was in on the fix as he had family members of police officers employed in his courtroom as well as he enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Frankie Baby DeSalvo — so the fix was in one way or another.
Also, remember Crooked Judge Bigelow allowed these officers to remain out on bond after being charged with FIRST DEGREE MURDER which is unheard of and mind you, illegal.
Ronald Madison lying on the ground after police killing
Ronald Madison was shot in the back seven times.
World-wide disease of
police out of control
Comment from Kewe, March 8, 2010
Police killing people they are supposed to be protecting
These people were trying to get across the bridge to safety after the Katrina hurricane.
As were many others that were stopped because of what amounts to 'armed thugs' on the bridge.
Searching any of the current news media articles that mention the Police lieutenant Michael Lohma admitting his role in the cover-up this is never mentioned.
All those people in the stadium, the sewage overflow.
Why were the police on the bridge stopping people getting across to safety.
One more example of a world-wide disease of police out-of-control, not knowing what they are doing, certainly not assisting anyone, yet being paid by the people they are killing, injuring and treating like dirt.
Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)
Cover-up exposed in post-Katrina
police killings
    Police shooting of six people
By Patrick Martin
6 March 2010
A New Orleans police supervisor pled guilty February 24 in a federal court to charges of conspiracy to cover up the police shooting of six unarmed people a few days after Hurricane Katrina struck the city.
Two of the victims, Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, and James Brissette, 19, were killed, while the other four were seriously wounded, one losing part of her arm.
Police lieutenant Michael Lohman, who just retired from the force at age 42, admitted taking the lead in efforts to manufacture evidence that the police shooting was legitimate.
He described the events of that day in detail in sworn testimony before US District Judge Ivan Lemelle.
Lohman is now cooperating with federal authorities, who began an investigation into the shootings on the Danziger Bridge shortly after a local judge dismissed murder and attempted murder charges against seven policemen in 2008.
He is expected to testify against the cops who actually fired the shots on September 4, 2005.
The retired police supervisor remains free on $50,000 bond.
Judge Lemelle set a May 26 sentencing date for Lohman, who faces up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Danziger Bridge crosses the Industrial Canal in eastern New Orleans, connecting the Gentilly neighborhood on the west and the New Orleans East neighborhood.
It was one of the few ways of moving across the city in the flood conditions that followed Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans on August 29, 2005.
Ronald Madison was shot to death near a motel on the west side of the span.
He was crossing the bridge with his brother Lance, a FedEx worker, as they tried to reach the dentist’s office of his brother, Romell.
The other five victims were shot while walking together on the eastern side of the bridge.
Leonard Bartholomew III was shot in the head, his wife Susan Bartholomew lost part of her arm, their daughter Leisha and a nephew, Jose Holmes, were hit by multiple gunshots. Brissette, a cousin of the Bartholomews, was killed.
A total of seven policemen were involved in the shootings.
Officer Robert Faulcon, who quit the NOPD soon afterwards, shot Ronald Madison.
The other six, who fired on the Bartholomews, are Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Sgt. Robert Gisevius Jr., Officer Anthony Villavaso II, Officer Mike Hunter Jr., Officer Robert Barrios and Officer Ignatius Hills.
All six have been assigned to desk duties since the killings.
Lohman arrived at the bridge in response to the report of police opening fire, and immediately understood that it was a “bad shooting,” he told the court last week.
None of the victims had been armed, and no shots had been fired at the cops, so the evidence would not support a claim of self-defense.
He therefore proceeded to manufacture evidence, while coaching the police on the scene so their statements would sustain the planned cover-up.
Lohman worked with two NOPD investigators, Sgt. Arthur Kaufman and Sgt. Gerard Dugue, to concoct a report justifying the shootings.
He described how he frequently discussed with Kaufman how to make the report “more plausible.”
At one point, he threw out the draft report the others had produced and wrote a 17-page substitute, in which he made changes such as increasing the number of policemen who had allegedly seen Ronald Madison throw a gun into the Industrial Canal—there was no such weapon—from one to four.
The additional three policemen then had to be told what they had “seen” so their statements would be in synch.
Lohman’s report also falsified the testimony of the Bartholomews, portraying them as admitting that some members of the family had fired on the police.
Lance Madison had been arrested at the scene and charged with attempted murder against the police and Kaufman logged into evidence a gun that was described as belonging to Madison, although it had been planted on him.
In their discussions, Lohman testified, he asked Kaufman whether “the gun was ‘clean,’ meaning that it could not be traced back to another crime.”
This was necessary to conceal the fact that the gun had been in the possession of the police before it was planted at the shooting scene.
Lance Madison was held in prison for weeks on the bogus murder charges.
He was taken before a grand jury, which refused to indict him.
He obtained legal representation from longtime civil rights attorney Mary Howell, and the charges were eventually dropped.
Both families, the Madisons and Bartholomews, filed federal civil rights lawsuits against the NOPD.
Under pressure from public outrage over the killings, Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan brought charges against the seven cops in December 2006.
A New Orleans grand jury indicted Bowen, Gisevius, Villavaso and Faulcon on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Hunter and Barrios were charged with attempted first-degree murder, and Hills with attempted second-degree murder.
The seven cops were treated as heroes by the NOPD and the police union when first arraigned, and their case (the “Danziger 7”) became a rallying point for right-wing political forces.
District Judge Raymond Bigelow dismissed the charges on August 13, 2008, seizing on alleged misconduct by the prosecutor’s office in what may have been a coordinated effort to “throw” the case.
Soon afterwards the families and local civil rights groups petitioned for federal intervention in the case, and the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice agreed to begin the investigation that has now blown open the cover-up.
Lohman was an early target, and as late as May 27, 2009, in an interview with federal investigators, he continued to stonewall.
But some time after that date, he began cooperating in the hope of a lighter sentence.
According to the current Orleans Parish district attorney, Leon Cannizzaro, Lohman’s admission of a police cover-up and his role in it will affect many other cases in which Lohman was a key witness, since defendants convicted on the basis of his testimony will now be able to file claims that his credibility is now impeached.
The exposure of the police cover-up in the Danziger Bridge shootings also adds to suspicions over a series of police killings and unexplained murders in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
These include:
Matthew McDonald, shot to death by police on September 3, 2005.
Police claimed he was reaching into a plastic bag carrying a handgun, despite orders to drop it.
The autopsy of the victim has since “disappeared” from the coroner’s office.
Henry Glover, shot by unknown persons September 2, 2005, and brought by friends to a police checkpoint, at which the friends were arrested and a car with Glover in the back seat was driven away by police.
The car was found days later, badly burned, with Glover’s incinerated remains inside.
Danny Brumfield Sr., shot to death by police after Hurricane Katrina, in front of the Morial Convention Center, after allegedly attacking police with a pair of scissors.
There is, in addition, the notorious police beating of Robert Davis, a 64-year-old retired teacher, in the French Quarter shortly after the hurricane.
A videotape of the brutality was widely viewed at the time, but the policeman involved, Officer Robert Evangelist, has been reinstated and returned to work.
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All rights reserved
“However, after 2003 the flow of funds to SELA were diverted to the war in Iraq.
During 2004 and 2005 the New Orleans Times-Picayune published nine articles citing New Orleans' loss of hurricane protection to the war in Iraq.”
“Bush's war left the Corps of Engineers only 20% of the funding to protect New Orleans from flooding from Lake Pontchartrain.
On June 18, 2004, the Corps' project manager, Al Naomi, told the Times-Picayune: ‘the levees are sinking.   If we don't get the money to raise them, we can't stay ahead of the settlement.’”
Riptide of the Brownshirts
A senior Bush administration official planted on the Washington Post the disinformation that FEMA could not act because the Louisiana governor had not declared a state of emergency.
Hours after printing this disinformation, a red-faced Washington Post issued a retraction, which reads:
"A Sept. 4 article on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina incorrectly said that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) had not declared a state of emergency.
She declared an emergency on Aug. 26."
Nevertheless, the disinformation was widely spread by Brit Hume and other Bush shills who operate out of Fox News (sic), and it continues to be spread via rightwing talk radio and pro-Bush Internet sites.
Fox News (sic) host Bill O'Reilly spread similar disinformation.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff added to the disinformation against Gov. Blanco.
Most Republicans cling tightly to the orchestrated disinformation as it coddles their state of denial about the failure of leadership in the White House.
Paul Craig Roberts, September 12, 2005, www.counterpunch.org
www.counterpunch.org
September 3/4, 2005 By Paul Craig Roberts
Impeach Bush Now, Before More Die
The raison d'être of the Bush administration is war in the Middle East in order to protect America from terrorism and to insure America's oil supply.
On both counts the Bush administration has failed catastrophically.
Bush's single-minded focus on the "war against terrorism" has compounded a natural disaster and turned it into the greatest calamity in American history.
The US has lost its largest and most strategic port, thousands of lives, and 80% of one of America's most historic cities is under water.
If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history.
 
Help 'too late' to save patients
As they awaited help, staff and family members tried desperately to ease the suffering of patients wilting in the heat — but to no avail.
While refusing to apportion blame, a hospital administrator told the BBC that he was "disappointed" by a lack of co-ordination in official efforts to evacuate the 317-bed facility.
Hospital administrator Dave Goodson said: "The care to patients was heroic, but I was disappointed in the system."
National Guard troops sent to check the 317-bed hospital had been fully evacuated apparently went to a similarly named centre on the other side of New Orleans, said the official.
The main source of help came from family members and staff with boats.
Help from the authorities failed to arrive until it was too late, Mr Goodson said.
By Matthew Davis, Tuesday, 13 September 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/
www.counterpunch.org
September 3/4, 2005 By Paul Craig Roberts
Impeach Bush Now, Before More Die
Despite the dire warnings delivered by the 2004 hurricane season, the Bush administration made deep budget cuts for flood control and hurricane funding for New Orleans.
The US Senate, alarmed at the Bush administration's insanity, was planning to restore the funding for 2006.
But now it is too late.
Many multiples of the funding that would have saved the city now have to be spent to rescue it.
Not content with leaving New Orleans unprotected, it took the Bush administration five days to get the remnants of the National Guard not serving in Iraq, along with desperately needed food and water, to devastated New Orleans.
This is the slowest emergency response by the US government in modern times.
By the time the Bush administration could organize any resources for New Orleans, many more people had died and the city was in total chaos.
Impeach Bush Now, Before More Die
But now it is too late.
Many multiples of the funding that would have saved the city
now have to be spent to rescue it.
Despite the most dismal performance on record, Bush's Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, said on Thursday that the Bush administration has done a "magnificent job."
The on-the-scene mayor of New Orleans sees it differently: "They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning and people are dying."
"They're thinking small man, and this is a major, major deal."
It is a major deal, one that will affect Americans far beyond New Orleans.
According to reports, 25% of our oil and gasoline comes through the New Orleans port and refineries, all out of commission.
Needed goods cannot be imported, and exports will plummet, worsening an already disastrous deficit in the balance of trade.
The increased cost of gasoline will soak up consumers' disposable incomes, with dire effects on consumer spending.
US economic growth will be siphoned off into higher energy costs.
American lives far from New Orleans will be adversely affected.
The destruction of New Orleans is the responsibility of the most incompetent government in American history and perhaps in all history.
Americans are rapidly learning that they were deceived by the superpower hubris.
The powerful US military cannot successfully occupy Baghdad or control the road to the airport — and this against an insurgency based in only 20% of the Iraqi population.
Riptide of the Brownshirts
With 40 members of the New Orleans power elite having seized the opportunity to meet in Dallas on September 9 "to begin mapping out a future for the city," you can bet federal agencies will use the same opportunity to grab heightened powers.
The rights that protect US citizens from government power are rapidly disappearing if not already lost.
This is the real crisis faced by the vast majority of Americans who are not a part of the power elite.
In the end not even the power elite will be safe.
Hitler exterminated his own Brownshirts before he went to work on the Jews, and Stalin exterminated the Bolshevik heros of the Russian Revolution.
Once power is unaccountable, it becomes the possession of the most ruthless.
Loyal party membership protected neither the Brownshirts nor the Bolsheviks.
And it will not protect Bush's Republican apologists.
Paul Craig Roberts, September 12, 2005, www.counterpunch.org
Bush's pointless war has left Washington so pressed for money that the federal government abandoned New Orleans to catastrophe.
The Bush administration is damned by its gross incompetence.
Bush has squandered the lives and health of thousands of people.
He has run through hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars.
He has lost America's reputation and its allies.
With barbaric torture and destruction of our civil liberty, he has stripped America of its inherent goodness and morality.
And now Bush has lost America's largest port and 25 percent of its oil supply.
Why?
Because Bush started a gratuitous war egged on by a claque of crazy neoconservatives who have sacrificed America's interests to their insane agenda.
The neoconservatives have brought these disasters to all Americans, Democrat and Republican alike.
Now they must he held accountable.
Bush and his neoconservatives are guilty of criminal negligence and must be prosecuted.
What will it take for Americans to reestablish accountability in their government?
Bush has got away with lies and an illegal war of aggression, with outing CIA agents, with war crimes against Iraqi civilians, with the horrors of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture centers, and now with the destruction of New Orleans.
What disaster will next spring from Bush's incompetence?
 
Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana, appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press.
And she drowned Friday night
The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything.
His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son?    Is somebody coming?"
And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you.   Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday.   Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday.   Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday.   Somebody's coming to get you on Friday."
And she drowned Friday night.
She drowned Friday night.
 Hospital ship leaves Florida September 5th
Five days after hurricane
Ten days after knowing Katrina was heading for New Orleans
100 year old levees
Money taken from rebuilding — used in Iraq
Times-Picayune
Sunday 04 September 2005   Open Letter to the President
...Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason:  It's accessible.   The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.
How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.
Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.
Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection.
On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.
Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets.   Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.
Yet, 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.
We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry.
Our people deserved rescuing.
Many who could have been were not.
That's to the government's shame.
Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome.
We still don't know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain:  Had the Superdome not been opened, the city's death toll would have been higher.   The toll may even have been exponentially higher.
It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home.
It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President.
So why weren't they evacuated out of the city immediately?
We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn't suitable as a long-term shelter.
So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?
State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn't have but two urgent needs:  "Buses! And gas!"
Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.
Home not fixed since Katrina struck 18 months ago
In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn't known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We've provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."
Lies don't get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.
Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You're doing a heck of a job."
That's unbelievable.
There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground.
The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.
We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard.
We're no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.
No expense should have been spared.
No excuses should have been voiced.
Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn't be reached.
Strategy of disguised redistribution of national resources from the bottom to the top is carried out by a combination of:
(a) drastic hikes in the Pentagon budget
(b) equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy.
April 16, 2007
Income Redistribution in Disguise
Escalating Military Spending
By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
C ritics of the recent U.S. wars of choice have long argued that they are all about oil.
"No Blood for Oil" has been a rallying cry for most of the opponents of the war.
It can be demonstrated, however, that there is another (less obvious but perhaps more critical) factor behind the recent rise of U.S. military aggressions abroad: war profiteering by the Pentagon contractors.
Frequently invoking dubious "threats to our national security and/or interests," these beneficiaries of war dividends, the military-industrial complex and related businesses whose interests are vested in the Pentagon's appropriation of public money, have successfully used war and military spending to justify their lion's share of tax dollars and to disguise their strategy of redistributing national income in their favor.
This cynical strategy of disguised redistribution of national resources from the bottom to the top is carried out by a combination of (a) drastic hikes in the Pentagon budget, and (b) equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy.
As this combination creates large budget deficits, it then forces cuts in non-military public spending as a way to fill the gaps that are thus created.
As a result, the rich are growing considerably richer at the expense of middle- and low-income classes.
Death was US
taxpayer supplied
and paid
U.S. military no longer simply a means — more importantly now an end in itself
Despite its critical importance, most opponents of war seem to have given short shrift to the crucial role of the Pentagon budget and its contractors as major sources of war and militarism — a phenomenon that the late President Eisenhower warned against nearly half a century ago.
Perhaps a major reason for this oversight is that critics of war and militarism tend to view the U.S. military force as primarily a means for imperialist gains — oil or otherwise.
The fact is, however, that as the U.S. military establishment has grown in size, it has also evolved in quality and character: it is no longer simply a means but, perhaps more importantly, an end in itself — an imperial force in its own right.
Accordingly, the rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent years is driven not so much by some general/abstract national interests as it is by the powerful special interests that are vested in the military capital, that is, war industries and war-related businesses.
Bilin ongoing protest against US Israel stealing of land
It appears clear that content areas and content limitations for this interview were negotiated in advance.
Or it could be that Simon and Albright have so internalized Zionist prohibitions on discourse that no overt agreements were necessary.
For the Democratic Party as for NPR it is forbidden to discuss Palestine-Israel in the same interview as one discusses Iraq, Iran or the Middle East in general.
The Magnitude of U.S. Military Spending
Even without the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are fast surpassing half a trillion dollars, U.S. military spending is now the largest item in the federal budget.
Officially, it is the second highest item after Social Security payments.
But Social Security is a self-financing trust fund.
So, in reality, military spending is the highest budget item.
The Pentagon budget for the current fiscal year (2007) is about $456 billion.
President Bush's proposed increase of 10% for next year will raise this figure to over half a trillion dollars, that is, $501.6 billion for fiscal year 2008.
A proposed supplemental appropriation to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq "brings proposed military spending for FY 2008 to $647.2 billion, the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II-higher than Vietnam, higher than Korea, higher than the peak of the Reagan buildup."[1]
Using official budget figures, William D. Hartung, Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York, provides a number of helpful comparisons: policy.
Iraq war spending larger than military budgets of China and Russia combined
Proposed U.S. military spending for FY 2008 is larger than military spending by all of the other nations in the world combined.
At $141.7 billion, this year's proposed spending on the Iraq war is larger than the military budgets of China and Russia combined.
Total U.S. military spending for FY2008 is roughly ten times the military budget of the second largest military spending country in the world, China.
Proposed U.S. military spending is larger than the combined gross domestic products (GDP) of all 47 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The FY 2008 military budget proposal is more than 30 times higher than all spending on State Department operations and non-military foreign aid combined.
The FY 2008 military budget is over 120 times higher than the roughly $5 billion per year the U.S. government spends on combating global warming.
The FY 2008 military spending represents 58 cents out of every dollar spent by the U.S. government on discretionary programs: education, health, housing assistance, international affairs, natural resources and environment, justice, veterans' benefits, science and space, transportation, training/employment and social services, economic development, and several more items.[2]
 
Caution tape over a walkway running alongside the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans, November 10, 2005.

Prosecutors said on Thursday they would not seek the death penalty for four New Orleans police officers charged with shooting dead two people on the bridge shortly after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city.

Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Caution tape over a walkway running alongside the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans, November 10, 2005.
Prosecutors said on Thursday they would not seek the death penalty for four New Orleans police officers charged with shooting dead two people on the bridge shortly after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city.
Guilty plea in Danziger Bridge case — click here
Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Image inserted by TheWE.biz
Real military budget twice as much as official budget
Although the official military budget already eats up the lion's share of the public money (crowding out vital domestic needs), it nonetheless grossly understates the true magnitude of military spending.
The real national defense budget, according to Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute, is nearly twice as much as the official budget.
The reason for this understatement is that the official Department of Defense budget excludes not only the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also a number of other major cost items.[3]
These disguised cost items include:
Budgets for the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.
Nuclear weapons research and development, testing, and storage (placed in the Energy budget).
Veterans programs (in the Veteran's Administration budget).
Most military retiree payments (in the Treasury budget).
Foreign military aid in the form of weapons grants for allies (in the State Department budget).
Interest payments on money borrowed to fund military programs in past years (in the Treasury budget).
Sales and property taxes at military bases (in local government budgets).
Hidden expenses of tax-free food, housing, and combat pay allowances.
After adding these camouflaged and misplaced expenses to the official Department of Defense budget, Higgs concludes:
"I propose that in considering future defense budgetary costs, a well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagon's (always well publicized) basic budget total and double it.
You may overstate the truth, but if so, you'll not do so by much."[4]
Escalation of the Pentagon Budget and the Rising Fortunes of Its Contractors
The Bush administration's escalation of war and military spending has been a boon for Pentagon contractors.
That the fortunes of Pentagon contractors should rise in tandem with the rise of military spending is not surprising.
What is surprising, however, is the fact that these profiteers of war and militarism have also played a critical role in creating the necessary conditions for war profiteering, that is, in instigating the escalation of the recent wars of choice and the concomitant boom of military spending.[5]
Giant arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman have been the main beneficiaries of the Pentagon's spending bonanza.
This is clearly reflected in the continuing rise of the value of their shares in the stock market:
"Shares of U.S. defense companies, which have nearly trebled since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, show no signs of slowing down. . . . The feeling that makers of ships, planes and weapons are just getting into their stride has driven shares of leading Pentagon contractors Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., and General Dynamics Corp. to all-time highs."[6]
 
Eighteen months after
United States Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs Committee
Income Redistribution in Disguise
By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
L ike its manufacturing contractors, the Pentagon's fast-growing service contractors have equally been making fortunes by virtue of its tendency to shower private contractors with tax-payers' money.
These services are not limited to the relatively simple or routine tasks and responsibilities such food and sanitation services.
More importantly, they include "contracts for services that are highly sophisticated [and] strategic in nature," such as the contracting of security services to corporate private armies, or modern day mercenaries.
The rapid growth of the Pentagon's service contracting is reflected (among other indicators) in these statistics: "In 1984, almost two-thirds of the contracting budget went for products rather than services. . . . By fiscal year 2003, 56 percent of Defense Department contracts paid for services rather than goods."[7]
The spoils of war and the devastation in Iraq have been so attractive that an extremely large number of war profiteers have set up shop in that country in order to participate in the booty:
"There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military's first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield," reported The Washington Post in its 5 December 2006 issue.
 
Outsourcing and privatizing
T he rise in the Pentagon contracting is, of course, a reflection of an overall policy and philosophy of outsourcing and privatizing that has become fashionable ever since President Reagan arrived in the White House in 1980.
Reporting on some of the effects of this policy, Scott Shane and Ron Nixon of the New York Times recently wrote:
"Without a public debate or formal policy decision, contractors have become a virtual fourth branch of government.
On the rise for decades, spending on federal contracts has soared during the Bush administration, to about $400 billion last year from $207 billion in 2000, fueled by the war in Iraq, domestic security and Hurricane Katrina, but also by a philosophy that encourages outsourcing almost everything government does."[8]
Redistributive Militarism: Escalation of Military Spending Redistributes Income from Bottom to Top
But while the Pentagon contractors and other beneficiaries of war dividends are showered with public money, low- and middle-income Americans are squeezed out of economic or subsistence resources in order to make up for the resulting budgetary shortfalls.
For example, as the official Pentagon budget for 2008 fiscal year is projected to rise by more than 10 percent, or nearly $50 billion, "a total of 141 government programs will be eliminated or sharply reduced" to pay for the increase.
These would include cuts in housing assistance for low-income seniors by 25 percent, home heating/energy assistance to low-income people by 18 percent, funding for community development grants by 12.7 percent, and grants for education and employment training by 8 percent.[9]
Combined with redistributive militarism and generous tax cuts for the wealthy, these cuts have further exacerbated the ominously growing income inequality that started under President Reagan.
Ever since Reagan arrived in the White House in 1980, opponents of non-military public spending have been using an insidious strategy to cut social spending, to reverse the New Deal and other social safety net programs, and to redistribute national/public resources in favor of the wealthy.
That cynical strategy consists of a combination of drastic increases in military spending coupled with equally drastic tax cuts for the wealthy.
As this combination creates large budget deficits, it then forces cuts in non-military public spending (along with borrowing) to fill the gaps thus created.
Signs pointing to where the streets of Jourdan and Galvez should be.

Ninth Ward area residents attend a memorial anniversary ceremony dedicated to the victims of the breaking of the underfunded levee at the now reconstructed wall of the levee at the Lower Ninth Ward canal in New Orleans August 29, 2006.

Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Ninth Ward area residents attend a memorial anniversary ceremony dedicated to the victims of the breaking of the underfunded levee at the now reconstructed wall of the levee at the Lower Ninth Ward canal in New Orleans August 29, 2006.
 
Had to cut through roof
With 18 others paddled a fishing boat
Cut includes over 140 programs that provide support for basic needs
For example, at the same time that President Bush is planning to raise military spending by $50 billion for the next fiscal year, he is also proposing to make his affluent-targeted tax cuts permanent at a cost of $1.6 trillion over 10 years, or an average yearly cut of $160 billion.
Simultaneously, "funding for domestic discretionary programs would be cut a total of $114 billion" in order to pay for these handouts to the rich.
The targeted discretionary programs to be cut include over 140 programs that provide support for the basic needs of low- and middle-income families such as elementary and secondary education, job training, environmental protection, veterans' health care, medical research, Meals on Wheels, child care and HeadStart, low-income home energy assistance, and many more.[10]
According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center:
"...if the President's tax cuts are made permanent, households in the top 1 percent of the population (currently those with incomes over $400,000) will receive tax cuts averaging $67,000 a year by 2012. . . . The tax cuts for those with incomes of over $1 million a year would average $162,000 a year by 2012."[11]
 
Escalating military spending
Official macroeconomic figures show that, over the past five decades or so, government spending (at the federal, state and local levels) as a percentage of gross national product (GNP) has remained fairly steady-at about 20 percent.
Given this nearly constant share of the public sector of national output/income, it is not surprising that increases in military spending have almost always been accompanied or followed by compensating decreases in non-military public spending, and vice versa.
For example, when by virtue of FDR's New Deal reforms and LBJ's metaphorical War on Poverty, the share of non-military government spending rose significantly the share of military spending declined accordingly.
From the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s, the share of non-military government spending of GNP rose from 9.2 to 14.3 percent, an increase of 5.1 percent.
During that time period, the share of military spending of GNP declined from 10.1 to 5.8 percent, a decline of 4.3 percent.[12]
That trend was reversed when President Reagan took office in 1980.
In the early 1980s, as President Reagan drastically increased military spending, he also just as drastically lowered tax rates on higher incomes.
The resulting large budget deficits were then paid for by more than a decade of steady cuts on non-military spending.
Income inequality also rose considerably
Likewise, the administration of President George W. Bush has been pursuing a similarly sinister fiscal policy of cutting non-military public spending in order to pay for the skyrocketing military spending and the generous tax cuts for the affluent.
Interestingly (though not surprisingly), changes in income inequality have mirrored changes in government spending priorities, as reflected in the fiscal policies of different administrations.
Thus, when the share of non-military public spending rose relative to that of military spending from the mid 1950 to the mid 1970s, and the taxation system or policy remained relatively more progressive compared to what it is today, income inequality declined accordingly.
But as President Reagan reversed that fiscal policy by raising the share of military spending relative to non-military public spending and cutting taxes for the wealthy, income inequality also rose considerably.
As Reagan's twin policies of drastic increases in military spending and equally sweeping tax cuts for the rich were somewhat tempered in the 1990s, growth in income inequality slowed down accordingly.
In the 2000s, however, the ominous trends that were left off by President Reagan have been picked up by President George W. Bush: increasing military spending, decreasing taxes for the rich, and (thereby) exacerbating income inequality (see Figure 1).
 
1968 lowest level of inequality
Leaving small, short-term fluctuations aside, Figure 1 shows two major peaks and a trough of the long-term picture of income inequality in the United States.
The first peak was reached during the turbulent years of the Great Depression (1929-1933).
But it soon began to decline with the implementation of the New Deal reforms in the mid 1930s.
The ensuing decline continued almost unabated until 1968, at which time we note the lowest level of inequality.
After 1968, the improving trend in inequality changed course.
But the reversal was not very perceptible until the early 1980s, after which time it began to accelerate-by virtue (or vice) of Reaganomics.
Although the deterioration that was thus set in motion by the rise of neoliberalism and supply-side economics somewhat slowed down in the 1990s, it has once again gathered steam under President George W. Bush, and is fast approaching the peak of the Great Depression.
It is worth noting that even at its lowest level of 1968, income inequality was still quite lopsided: the richest 20 percent of households made as much as ten times more than the poorest 20 percent.
But, as Doug Henwood of the Left Business Observer points out, "that looks almost Swedish next to today's ratio of fifteen times."[13]
Income of top one percent of population tripled
The following are some specific statistics of how redistributive militarism and supply-side fiscal policies have exacerbated income inequality since the late 1970s and early 1980s-making after-tax income gaps wider than pre-tax ones.
According to recently released data by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), since 1979 income gains among high-income households have dwarfed those of middle- and low-income households.
Specifically:
The average after-tax income of the top one percent of the population nearly tripled, rising from $314,000 to nearly $868,000-for a total increase of $554,000, or 176 percent. (Figures are adjusted by CBO for inflation.)
By contrast, the average after-tax income of the middle fifth of the population rose a relatively modest 21 percent, or $8,500, reaching $48,400 in 2004.
The average after-tax income of the poorest fifth of the population rose just 6 percent, or $800, during this period, reaching $14,700 in 2004.[14]
Legislation enacted since 2001 has provided taxpayers with about $1 trillion in tax cuts over the past six years.
These large tax reductions have made the distribution of after-tax income more unequal by further concentrating income at the top of the income range.
According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, as a result of the tax cuts enacted since 2001:
In 2006, households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts (averaging $20) that raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 0.3 percent.
Households in the middle fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts (averaging $740) that raised their after-tax incomes an average of 2.5 percent.
The top one percent of households received tax cuts in 2006 (averaging $44,200) that increased their after-tax income by an average of 5.4 percent.
Households with incomes exceeding $1 million received an average tax cut of $118,000 in 2006, which represented an increase of 6.0 percent in their after-tax income.[15]
April 16, 2007
Income Redistribution in Disguise
Escalating Military Spending
By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
One of only two new
homes built, Ninth Ward
18 months since
Hurricane Katrina hit
C lose scrutiny of the Pentagon budget shows that, ever since the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, opponents of social spending have successfully used military spending as a regulatory mechanism to cut non-military public spending, to reverse the New Deal and other social safety net programs, and to redistribute national/public resources in favor of the wealthy.
Close examination of the dynamics of redistributive militarism also helps explain why powerful beneficiaries of the Pentagon budget prefer war and military spending to peace and non-military public spending: military spending benefits the wealthy whereas the benefits of non-military public spending would spread to wider social strata.
It further helps explain why beneficiaries of war dividends frequently invent new enemies and new "threats to our national interests" in order to justify continued escalation of military spending.
Viewed in this light, militaristic tendencies to war abroad can be seen largely as reflections of the metaphorical domestic fights over allocation of public finance at home, of a subtle or insidious strategy to redistribute national resources from the bottom to the top.
External Wars as Reflections of Domestic Fights over National Resources
Despite the critical role of redistributive militarism, or of the Pentagon budget, as a major driving force to war, most opponents of war have paid only scant attention to this crucial force behind the recent U.S. wars of choice.
The reason for this oversight is probably due to the fact that most critics of war continue to view U.S. military force as simply or primarily a means to achieve certain imperialist ends, instead of having become an end in itself.
Yet, as the U.S. military establishment has grown in size, it has also evolved in quality and character: it is no longer simply a means but, perhaps more importantly, an end in itself, an imperial power in its own right, or to put it differently, it is a case of the tail wagging the dog-a phenomenon that the late President Eisenhower so presciently warned against.
Accordingly, rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy in recent years is driven not so much by some general/abstract national interests, or by the interests of Big Oil and other non-military transnational corporations (as most traditional theories of imperialism continue to argue), as it is by powerful special interests that are vested in the war industry and related war-induced businesses that need an atmosphere of war and militarism in order to justify their lion's share of the public money.
Preservation, justification, and expansion of the military-industrial colossus critical big business objectives
Preservation, justification, and expansion of the military-industrial colossus, especially of the armaments industry and other Pentagon contractors, have become critical big business objectives in themselves.
They have, indeed, become powerful driving forces behind the new, parasitic U.S. military imperialism.
I call this new imperialism parasitic because its military adventures abroad are often prompted not so much by a desire to expand the empire's wealth beyond the existing levels, as did the imperial powers of the past, but by a desire to appropriate the lion's share of the existing wealth and treasure for the military establishment, especially for the war-profiteering contractors.
In addition to being parasitic, the new U.S. military imperialism can also be called dual imperialism because not only does it exploit defenseless peoples and their resources abroad but also the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens and their resources at home.
Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism
His Web page is http://www.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh
Notes
[1] William D. Hartung, "Bush Military Budget Highest Since WW II," Common Dreams(10 February 2007).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Robert Higgs, "The Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think," antiwar.com (25 January 2004).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ismael Hossein-zadeh, "Why the US is Not Leaving Iraq,".
[6] Bill Rigby, "Defense stocks may jump higher with big profits," Reuter(12 April 2006).
[7] The Center for Public Integrity, "Outsourcing the Pentagon" (29 September 2004).
[8] Scott Shane and Ron Nixon, "In Washington, Contractors Take On Biggest Role Ever," The New York Times (4 February 2007).
[9] Faiz Shakir et al., Center for American Progress Action Fund, "The Progress Report" (6 February 2007).
[10] Robert Greenstein, "DESPITE THE RHETORIC, BUDGET WOULD MAKE NATION'S FISCAL PROBLEMS WORSE AND FURTHER WIDEN INEQUALITY," Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (6 February 2007).
[11] Ibid.
[12] Richard Du Boff, "What Military Spending Really Costs," Challenge 32 (September/October 1989), pp. 4-10.
[13] Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer, No. 114 (31 December 2006), p. 4.
[14] Congressional Budget Office, Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates: 1979 to 2004, December 2006; as reported by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
[15] See Tax Policy Center tables T06-0273 and T06-0279 at.
 
 Biloxi/Gulfport
empty lots where
houses and businesses
used to stand
http://www.counterpunch.org/
September 5, 2005   By Peter Linebaugh
Loo!   Loo!   Lulu!   Loot!
The New York Times on Saturday may write that Bush made "his first on-the-ground look at the desperation that has gripped the region for the last five days" but they also say he made his tour in a helicopter.
He was frightened, and never actually got down to earth except when he left at the airport tarmac if you want to call that "earth".
At one time it was part of one of the planet's greatest alluvial systems.
Bush with his beady bee-bee eyes had himself a look-see out the window which they call an "on-the-ground look".
In Zora Neale Hurston's great flood novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the people become a chorus to the events of the mighty.
"It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road.   The sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human.   They passed nations through their mouths.   They sat in judgment."
This helps explain why Bush could not visit the Convention Center or the Superdome.   Tens of thousands sit in judgment.
The history of New Orleans is a history of class war; and class war brings out the actualities in the potential of communism:  the thirsty do not ask permission to take a drink, nor the hungry food.
Is it the new society?
Of course not.
But it could be; this is self-activity.
The ruling class does all it can to prevent it from happening.
But what about the "looting"?
Yes, precisely.
Massive media and ideological and legal resources are concentrated on the point, the fears of the ruling class, its guilty self-knowledge for all the commodity capital flowing down the river from the granary of the Midwest, from the one-time factories of the Great Lakes.
All down the river and out to sea, past the dockers, the Black Indians, past the slaves and cotton pickers, the prisoners at Angola, the Cajuns, the maroons, and creole, and back again, now as surplus value, as finance capital.
The "loot"?
Etymologically, it's a Hindu word with a Sanskrit root, and it signified what was taken from an enemy in war, such as the clothing ('clobber') of the dead.
Rudyard Kipling knew all about it, singing to his comrades, the soldiers of imperial India.
If you've ever stole a pheasant-egg be'ind the keeper's back,
If you've ever snigged the washin' from the line,
If you've ever crammed a gander in your bloomin' 'aversack,
You will understand this little song o'mine.
But the service rules are 'ard, an' from such we are debarred,
For the same with English morals does not suit.
Why they call a man a robber if 'e stuffs 'is marchin' clobber
Withh the —
Loo!   Loo!   Lulu!   Lulu!   Loo!   Loo!   Loot!   Loot!   Loot!
Ow, the loot!
Bloomin' loot!
That's the thing to make the boys git up an' shoot!
It's the same with dogs an' men,
If you'd make 'em come again
Clap 'em forward with a Loo!   Loo!   Lulu!   Loot!
Whoopee!   Tear 'im puppy!
Loo!   Loo!   Lulu!   Loot!   Loot!   Loot!
http://www.counterpunch.org/
September 5, 2005   By Peter Linebaugh
Loo!   Loo!   Lulu!   Loot!
Yes, at one time loot was the soldier's pay, it was part of the wage deal.
A generation ago a huge amount of international scholarship was devoted to this process, how criminalization is essential to a) the formation of the wage, and b) the creation of a terrorized, divided proletariat.
"English morals" boiled down to little food and worse commons all under the gallows tree.
Nowadays loot is nothing less than the surplus value of the capitalist class in a deadly class war, fearful for its surplus in whatever form, commodity, money, production, real estate, futures, assets, development.
In New Orleans when they asked for bread they were given a stone.
It's an old story.
Lafcadio Hearn was a great nineteenth century creolist, journalist, story-teller, student of Japan, and inhabitant of New Orleans where he was assistant editor for the Item, a readable journal of reform.
"Were there Communists in Antiquity?" was the question for its readers on August 23, 1878, only a few years following the Paris Commune.
Evidently a correspondent of a rival paper in endeavoring to prove the nuisance of "tramps" in antiquity, made a complete mess of both Greek and Latin philology, and Lafcadio Hearn patiently set them right before moving on to answer the question of the day.
Yes, he concluded, there were communists.
"The rich were killed or exiled; their lands and goods shared among the poor.
At Megara every wealthy man in the city was exiled ­ a punishment which antique society rendered almost equal to death ­and their goods confiscated.
At Samos two hundred wealthy citizens were killed, four hundred exiled, and their wealth distributed among the poor.
At Syracuse the same thing occurred. So also at Messina."
This is the justice that Bush could not risk by standing on the ground. Lafcadio Hearn, a man who could pass within the races, continued his account of classical communism and its grim lesson for his era, as he thought.
"At Miletus, the children of the rich men, who had fled the city, were taken by the rioters and trampled to death by trained oxen.
Subsequently the rich party, prevailing after a savage context, revenged itself by seizing the children of the poor, plastering their bodies with pitch, and burning them alive.
Yet in those days the hatred of the poor classes against the rich was hardly greater than it is today.
At that era the war between the rich and poor invariably terminated in a loss of liberty for the former.
The efforts of communism had only a temporary success, and their ultimate result was the establishment of a despotism at once merciless and all-powerful.
A violent outbreak of communism in this republic might lead to a change in government which would leave the riotous classes everything to regret."
Is it not the case that in our era the situation is the reverse of that described in antiquity by Lafcadio Hearn?
Our tyrants are despotic privatizers; popular commoning must follow them.
True, ours are not the riotous classes yet.
Nor have we trained oxen to trample the rich.
After the Superdome none can now say that the rich have not plastered our bodies with pitch.
We have seen the tyrants tremble, the public relations stutter, the leader of the House expresses urbanocide.
And the leader of their class peers out the window jaw twitching in premonition of the Loo!   Loo!   Lulu!   Loot!
"Just send cash," he says.
Katrina as it descends upon New Orleans and the states of Louisiana and Mississippi 
 
Photo:  AP/Karim Kadim
Katrina as it descends upon New Orleans and the states of Louisiana and Mississippi
Transcription of an interview Charmaine Neville, third generation of New Orleans's Neville musical family, gave to local media outlets on Monday, September 5.
Alligators were Eating People.   Where the Hell was the National Guard?
I was in my house when everything first started.
Charmaine Neville
When the hurricane came, it blew all the left side of my house off, and the water was coming in my house in torrents.
I had my neighbor, an elderly man, 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 on the roof of the school to help people on the roof.
Later on we found a flat boat, and we went around the neighborhood in a 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.
Second day
By the second day, the people that were there, that we were feeding and everything, we had no more food and no water.
We had nothing, and other people were coming in our neighborhood.
We were watching the helicopters going 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 or any water, or nothing.
Babies floating in the water
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 they were in the same straits we were.
We rescued a lot of police officers in the flat boat from the 5th district police station.
The guy who was in the boat, he rescued a lot of them and brought them to different places so they could be saved.
We couldn't understand why the National Guard couldn't help
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 that I could.
I had two old women in wheelchairs with no legs, that I rowed them from down there in that nightmare to the French Quarters, and I went back and got more people.
There were groups of us, 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 through to anyone.
I found some police officers.
I told them that a lot of us women had been raped down there by guys, not from the neighborhood where we were, they were helping us to save people.
But other men, and they came and they started raping women and they started killing, and I don't know who these people were.
I'm not gonna tell you I know, because I don't.
We had no way to leave
But what I want people to understand is that, if we hadn't 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 in that city 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've left, we would have left.
There are still thousands and thousands of people trapped in their homes in the downtown area.
When we finally did get into the 9th ward, and not just in my neighborhood, but in other neighborhoods in the 9th ward, there were a lot of people 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 the city so we could steal and loot and commit crimes.
Helicopters would fly over and wouldn't stop
A lot of those young men lost their minds because the helicopters would fly over us and they wouldn't stop.
We would make SOS on the flashlights, we'd do everything, and 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 will stop then.
But that didn't help us. Nothing like that helped us.
Finally, I got to Canal St. with all of my people I had saved from back there.
I don't want them arresting nobody else.
I broke the window in an 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 in everything else into that bus, and we drove and we drove and we drove and millions of people was trying to get me to help them to get on the bus, too.
Residents described the situation as desperate.

They could not leave the city when ordered because they had no transportation.

Despite the long lead-time warning the hurricane gave, neither the Federal, State nor local governments provided transportation out of the city.

People were trapped.

No one came to help. 

For many, help came after it was too late.
 
Photo:  AP/BBC
Residents described the situation as desperate.
They could not leave the city when ordered because they had no transportation.
Despite the long lead-time warning the hurricane gave, neither the Federal nor State governments came with buses to provide transportation out of the city for those who did not have cars.
People were trapped.
No one came to help.
For many, help came only after it was too late.
   Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences   Larry Bradshaw   Lorrie Beth Slonsky  
Police prevented people from leaving.   "The West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City."
As the situation grew steadily worse in New Orleans last week, you might have wondered why people didn’t just leave on foot.  The Louisiana Superdome is less than two miles from a bridge that leads over the Mississippi River out of the city.
The answer: Any crowd that tried to do so was met by suburban police, some of whom fired guns to disperse the group and seized their water.
Two San Francisco paramedics who were staying in the French Quarter for a convention have written a first-hand account that describes their appalling treatment at the hands of Louisiana police
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.
Children waiting at the Superdome, New Orleans, after Katrina.

Photo: Bellaciao
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 the poilice spent hours playing cat and mouse
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 or 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 pooled 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 hotel turned us out
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.
Armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge
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. 
Attempted to cross bridge only to be turned away
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, the 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 truck 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.
Body floating
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.
Media talking about us
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.
Get off the fucking freeway
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.
Friday, September 2, 2005
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.
Camp raided and destroyed
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.
Removes body
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.
Taken at the Astrodome Houston
 
Photo:  Indeymedia Houston
Taken at the Astrodome Houston September 9, 2005
AMY GOODMAN:    We're talking to Judd Legum, who is with the Center for American Progress, speaking to us in Washington.   Well, why don't you go through the list, the list of the top men at the head of FEMA?
JUDD LEGUM:    Well, right at the top you have Michael Brown, and as you mentioned, just a while ago, he was the Commissioner of Judges at the
To give you an idea of what he did there, he spent a year investigating whether a breeder performed liposuction on a horse's rear end.
So, I think that clearly that 11 years he spent there probably didn't serve him too well when he transferred over to FEMA.
AMY GOODMAN:    Was he fired from his job as heading up the International Arabian Horse Association?
JUDD LEGUM:    Well, he was asked to resign, and I think that he was asked to resign, then he offered his resignation.
So, whether that's firing or not I guess no one will ever know, but it was a result of a lot of litigation that stemmed from his oversight of the association.   And that’s essentially what caused him to have to step down.
AMY GOODMAN:    Judd, how did he end up as head of FEMA?
JUDD LEGUM:    Well, as far as I can tell, his primary qualification seems to be that he was the college roommate of Joe Allbaugh, who was the outgoing FEMA director, because prior to that, besides a short stint in a very small suburb of Oklahoma in the 1970s involved with emergency management, he really has no experience.
Besides being a member of this horse association or the Commissioner of Judges of this horse association, he was an estate planning lawyer, a tax lawyer.
So, it seems to me that he knew the guy who was leaving, and that's pretty much how he got the job.
AMY GOODMAN:    And the number two and three men in the agency in FEMA that’s supposedly in charge of dealing with this disaster?
JUDD LEGUM:    Well, the number two at FEMA, he was actually head of advance for the Bush-Cheney campaign.
So, essentially what he was charge of is planning events.
And what's interesting is the FEMA response actually reflects his experience.
Because what happened when there were — you know, when Mike Brown made the request and said finally we need a thousand members from the Department of Homeland Security to come down and help out, they were really charged with representing and putting a good face on the relief efforts.
And that was explicitly what Mike Brown asked for.
And then when these firefighters volunteered from all around the country, they were put — made public relations officers.
So I think really the experience of the number two guy there, the chief of staff, and even as you go down the line, the number three really was a media strategist, did work for Maverick Media, which is the company that did campaign ads for the Bush-Cheney campaign.
So, if you really look at the operation and how FEMA responded to it, they really responded to it more like a political campaign than a disaster.
AMY GOODMAN:    Judd Legum of Center for American Progress, how does this compare to previous administrations, like President Clinton?
Are these usually political appointments in FEMA?
JUDD LEGUM:    Well, certainly they're political appointments in the sense that the President has to appoint them, and these people have to be confirmed.
But they're not generally political jobs or people who have primarily political experience.
For instance, James Lee Witt, who was the director of FEMA under Clinton, all of his top deputies had served for at least three years in the FEMA regional office.
So, all of the people who were in these spots had extensive emergency management experience within FEMA.
And, of course, James Lee Witt, who was really widely respected — Republicans, Democrats — for his work during the Clinton administration, he was the Director of Emergency Management for Arkansas.
So, there's a really big contrast between what FEMA was in the 1990s and what it is now, which is really especially at the top spots a political dumping ground.

“Ideologically opposed to a strong federal role in disaster relief and obsessed with terrorism, the Bush administration let a once-admired agency fall apart.”
Farhad Manjoo     www.Salon.com
AMY GOODMAN:    We're also joined by Farhad Manjoo, who wrote a piece in Salon.com called "Why FEMA Failed." “Ideologically opposed to a strong federal role in disaster relief and obsessed with terrorism, the Bush administration let a once admired agency fall apart.” Talk about this FEMA and the FEMA under President Clinton, Farhad.
FARHAD MANJOO:    Well, I think that your other guest sort of pointed out one of the things, which is that this FEMA is much more political, and that’s how — actually, that's one of the kind of the defining factors of the failure here.
When the Bush administration's FEMA sort of came in, when they came into office, they were determined to change things from the way the Clinton administration did things.
Under the Clinton administration there was a lot more coordination between the federal government and state and local governments in responding to disasters.
I talked to George Haddow, who was one of the deputies in the Clinton administration's FEMA under James Lee Witt, and you know, he talked about how when they knew that a disaster was coming or when a disaster occurred like the Northridge earthquake in California or the Midwestern floods, all of the kind of the principals who were in charge of disaster relief from the federal government, from the state government, from local government would meet in a room and talk about what should be done, and there weren't sort of people pointing fingers at each other and blaming each other.
That's very different from what's happening here.
And it leads to, you know, a complete breakdown in the response and in coordination to the point where federal officials last week had no idea what was going on in New Orleans.
I mean, they didn't learn, even though it was all over TV, they didn't learn until sometime in the middle of the week that there were people at the Convention Center who had no food and water and were waiting to be evacuated.
So — and this was really sort of — one of the things about the FEMA — about FEMA under the Bush administration is that this kind of breakdown between and coordination with — something by design, because when the Bush administration came in, they were sort of determined to put disaster relief — to make it a state and local response, to pull the federal government much more out of that, and you know, this goes along with their, you know, with the general conservative ideology of, you know, keeping state and local governments much more in charge, and I guess this is where it leads you: the failure we saw last week.
National Weather Service message 9:11 A.M. EST Sunday, one day before the hurricane hit.
Devastating damage expected.
Hurricane Katrina.
A most powerful hurricane with unprecedented strength rivaling the intensity of hurricane Camille of 1969.
Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer.
At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure.
All gabled roofs will fall, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed.
The majority of industrial buildings will become non-functional, partial to complete wall and roof failures expected, all wood-frame low-rising apartment buildings will be destroyed, concrete block low-rise apartments will sustain major damage including some wall and roof failure.
High-rise office and apartment buildings will sway dangerously, a few to the point of total collapse.
All windows will blow out.
Katrina hit Monday.
The situation in the city appears to be increasingly desperate, with no electricity and vital supplies running out.
 
Photo:  AFP/Hector Mata
The situation in the city appears to be increasingly desperate,
with no electricity and vital supplies running out
Hurricane Katrina aftermath, New Orleans, 30 August-5 September.

Photo: Michael Appleton, USA, New York Daily News
Hurricane Katrina aftermath, New Orleans, 30 August-5 September
September 15, 2005     Wiscasset Newspaper (Maine)     by Christopher Cooper
Sugar for Sugar, Salt For Salt
Go Down In The Flood Gonna Be Your Own Fault
This won't take long.   And it won't be much fun.   But duty and decency demand that we do it.
Sometimes you buy a cantaloupe because it looks good and you have enjoyed some fine ripe cantaloupes in your time, even though a buck and a half for a little melon that went three for a dollar within living memory seems pretty pricey.
And you leave it on the kitchen counter for a few days, because it's a little green, but it softens and gets a better color so you slice it open, but it's mushy and rotten and smells like feet and tastes like vomit and you remember other, similar, corporate grocery chain cantaloupe experiences and vow as you heave the mess into the compost not to get fooled again.
Maybe you've bought a car.
Reasonable mileage, no rust, convincing salesman who chatted you up about your hobbies, agreed with your prejudices, and made you feel you were a pretty clever guy for choosing this vehicle from his selection.
But you couldn't keep it aligned, it ate tires, the brakes, exhaust system and radiator didn't survive the life of the payment book, and when you tried to sell it three years later every seventeen-year-old who looked at it was astute enough to reference the oil blown past the rear main seals as his reason for declining your “Best Offer Over $500 Dollars” prayer.
Some of you lady readers married men whose virtues are now no more apparent to you than they were pre-nuptually to your mothers, friends or even relatives of the groom himself.
True, he was a successful inseminator but, sadly, the children look disturbingly like him.
Of you, people say, “She could have done so much better.”
What were you thinking?
What can you do?
Or let's say a whole country was riding a foaming crest of good times, new cars, low interest rates, affordable gas, electronic gadgets and a We're Number One world view that was maybe weak on history, geography and empathy, but sure did by God show the big stick to the heathen foreigners.
Such a people might toss a coin in a contest between a dorky, dull Democrat and an insipid dry drunk Texas fratboy Republican whose every and many failures had been rendered moot by family money and connections.
They might not be paying much attention.
Then, let's say, some really nasty guys from a country larded up with ugly, corrupt fat cats blew a great big hole in a part of that country.
Suppose the new president “rose to the occasion” by starting a war with another country in the same part of the world as the one where the bad guys came from, but which, for political and personal reasons and reasons having very much indeed to do with very valuable mineral resources and very profitable corporations and some other complicated considerations having to do with weapons sales, it was not convenient to invade because those particular rich foreigners were personal friends and business partners of that new chief executive.
And further (stay with me; I know it's a weird trip), imagine that just as it was made startlingly clear that pretty much everything this president had advanced as a reason for that war was a fabrication, a misdirection, a deliberate under- or over-statement (well, hell, yes, I guess just a pile of tremendous lies, really, if we need to use such an ugly word), imagine that he got re-elected despite his manifest incompetence and venality and smugness because the same Democrats who had advanced the very dull, unappealing candidate four years previously selected this time a cipher who ran against his own finest, most decent history and tried to seem more and more like the dull incumbent until, finally, some voters stuck with the dummy they knew, and some voted against the sad-sack they'd come to not respect, and the rigged Republican voting machines in two critical states made up the shortfall.
Now what if the best-studied, most carefully-observed, best-tracked, most predictable-coursed hurricane ever seen, and one of the biggest, wiped out a major coastal city that, had the president in question not been so intent upon “drowning government in a bathtub” and reducing the unwelcome sting of taxation upon the richest people and corporations he knew (outside of his friends in Saudi Arabia, I mean), might have received enough money to fortify its dikes and seawalls in the true spirit of “Homeland Security”, and maybe every old lady trying to board an airplane could have been spared the burden of taking off her shoes.
(OK, I know it doesn't cost much to humiliate old ladies, and I know the money saved wouldn't have been diverted to New Orleans, but great craziness must be recognized and ridiculed and, when it is public policy, repudiated, and that's what they pay me to do here.)
You've seen the pictures.
Twenty per cent of the residents of New Orleans lacked the resources, the vehicles, the health, the money to evacuate ahead of the storm.
Too old, too sick, too poor to save themselves, and mostly, given America's great secret still, all these years after we thought we'd equalized these things, even after the token Scalia wannabe on the Supreme Court and the sad yes-man who abandoned the Secretary of State job after the lies he told finally began to curdle on his lips, mostly black.
Poor blacks.
Indeed.
You've seen the Superdome, the convention center footage.
You've heard the first-person accounts of scores of hurting, hungry homeless (poor, black) persons trying to cross a bridge to dry ground but ordered back by white officials with guns.
You've seen the misery, the neglect, the abuse.
So has the rest of the world.
We're Number One!
Say it loud.
Is it time yet?
Can we all just admit we made a stupid mistake?
We weren't paying attention?
We heard what we wanted to hear?
We succumbed to slick advertising?
The fruit was rotten; the car was a lemon; that bum was just piss-poor husband and father material and your momma was right.
Stay the course?
What course?
Our country, its citizens, its principles have been reduced, abused, worked-over, bled-out, violated and humiliated.
Not by terrorists or foreign enemies or tsunamis or tornadoes or an angry god.
We have rotted from within.
“The war in Iraq is taking away our resources.

The war in Iraq is the reason that one-third of the National Guard troops in Louisiana were not available because they were deployed to Iraq.

Almost half of the equipment of the National Guard in Louisiana was not available because it's in Iraq.

All of the amphibious equipment, amphibious boats.

The National Guard in Louisiana is the only National Guard in the United States that has that kind of equipment.

They're the only ones who need it.

But they can’t get to it now, because it's in Iraq.

All but two of their rescue helicopters are not available because they're in Iraq.”

PHYLLIS BENNIS     Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.



September 15, 2005     Wiscasset Newspaper (Maine)     by Christopher Cooper
Sugar for Sugar, Salt For Salt
Go Down In The Flood Gonna Be Your Own Fault
Blame the Republicans?
Nah, they're just “protecting their base.”   Like helping like.   It is the party of wealth and privilege.
Blame the Democrats?
Sure, if you can distinguish 'em from the Republicans.
It sure ain't the party of FDR any more.   Or even Jack Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson or Jimmy Carter.
I'll see your Tom DeLay and your Bill Frist and raise you a Joe Biden and a Joe Lieberman.
Blame the press for avoiding or killing any story that wasn't a press release from the Pentagon, the White House or the American Association of Yellow Ribbon Manufacturers.
Blame our stars.
Blame ourselves; we weren't paying attention; we didn't do the work democracy demands.
Do I exaggerate our desperate straits?
The man at the top in his own words and by his own actions.
Add the smirk and swagger yourself; you've seen it often enough.
First response?
Fly over on Air Force One; go play golf.
Condi Rice shopped shoe boutiques.
Dick Cheney bought a three million dollar vacation home.
While you and I watched the Superdome and convention center fiascoes?
Lunch with Al Greenspan.   “Hurricane Katrina will represent a temporary setback for the U.S. Economy and the energy sector.”
As WalMart water trucks, Red Cross workers, TV reporters and Canadian Mounted Police forces tended the stricken city while FEMA and the National Guard waited for orders that didn't come?   “Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job.”
Days after we'd all heard testimony from the engineers and planners who'd repeatedly sounded the alarm about Category Five storms and Cat. Three levees:  “I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.”
With hundred of thousands homeless, uncounted dead, the poorest among us hit the hardest:  “Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house — the guy lost his entire house — there's going to be fantastic house.   I look forward to sitting on the porch.”   [Yes, rubbles, plural.   I know it sounds stupid, but I got it right off the White House website.   He's proud of it, for Christ's sake!]
There's more.
You've seen it, heard it, been repulsed by it.
But did you get this from his mom, the husband of one bad president, the mother of the worst one yet, a woman who you'll remember said she couldn't find the time to trouble her “beautiful mind” about Iraqi civilians we'd bombed to death by the tens of thousands?
Of those who'd lost all they owned, including, in many cases, loved ones, to the flood and were now enjoying the hospitality of Texas shelters:  "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this [chuckle] is working very well for them."
Oh, those lucky, lucky homeless, sick people!
What happy niggras we have here on our grand plantation.
It makes a person feel dirty and disgusted and sick to his stomach.
Don't you suppose a couple billion other people all over the world heard that chortle, you bloated, ignorant, overprivileged mother of a moron?
Hey, folks, things have gotten so bad that even the press is beginning to pay attention.
Presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan said at least fourteen times during two press briefings last week that now is not the time to “play the blame game.”
I say it's an excellent time, while the dead are still floating on the polluted tides and we are not yet distracted by the World's Series or the run-up to Christmas or another newly-discovered “Axis Of Terror” triumvirate.
Now, for pure, wholesome, refreshing local idiocy we have the Maine Republicans' brilliant plan to make us forget the screwing we're getting from Exxon by canceling the state gasoline tax for a few months and (this is really too perfect for me to have made up) forgiving the sales tax on home heating oil (struggling, low wage, two-job homeowners get ready for this!) for business use.
OK. I'm done.
Gotta go wax the yacht and wind my Rolex.
Jesus, I wish I could be homeless and eat some donated food in Texas while my wife rots in a drainage canal and my dogs starve to death on the balcony of our ruined home.
Swiss Re, the second-largest reinsurance company in the world, expects total insured losses from last month's hurricane in the United States could reach US$40 billion.
Plus extra billions (some estimates up to US$200 billion) spent by Federal, State and local governments.
And the loss of tax revenue.
And the many dead.
And a city devastated.
Money diverted by Bush, the Republican Congress and House, for "terrorism."
To make the United States "safer"
"Then we heard a loud boom," says Mr. Anderson, a juvenile detention officer.

"We thought it was a generator at first but then we later learned that it was the levee.   That someone was trying to put a hole in it to relieve some of the water pressure or divert some water or something and that hole led to a much bigger one.

"Someone was trying to do the right thing, I think, and it created a much bigger problem.   It’s going to all come out, what happened.   I don’t think you can blame this on racism."
CBSNews.com
Katrina-Damaged Islands Overlooked
HORN ISLAND, Miss. Sept. 20, 2005



Horn Island, Miss. park ranger Ben Moore discusses the importance of repairing the Gulf Coast's barrier islands. (Photo: CBS)
"If these islands weren't here, I'm sure we would have seen much more significant impact ashore as hard as that may be to believe."
Ben Moore
Horn Island, Miss. park ranger


 
(CBS) For 13 years park ranger Ben Moore has lived and worked on Horn Island, a slip of sand 12 miles off Biloxi, Miss.
"The islands have been decimated," Moore tells CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker.
Not only did Katrina destroy his house, but it chewed off a few miles of the island and ate half of the one to the west. "They protect the coastline," Moore says.
He says the chain of the barrier islands from Florida to Louisiana can't take many more beatings like this.
"It's not so much an isolated hurricane, but the chain of hurricanes we've had over the past dozen years," Moore explains.
The problem is not just the devastation of these barrier islands, but the weakening of our first line of defense against future Katrinas.   These islands act as hurricane speed bumps.
And they are washing away. Katrina laid waste to the islands off New Orleans.
"The coastal wetlands and barrier islands that provide such an important buffer are beginning to erode and disappear at a very serious rate," Peter Frumhoff, a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, says.
Made worse, Frumhoff says, by global warming, as ice caps melt and oceans rise.
Now President Bush's pledge to rebuild the region has other scientists waving red flags.   Restoring cities without restoring barrier islands, they say, is setting the table for another disaster.
"It would be criminally negligent for us as a nation to fix a single broken window in New Orleans, fix a single levee in this city without simultaneously committing to this national program to rebuild the barrier islands," Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network opines.
If these islands weren't here," Moore says, "I'm sure we would have seen much more significant impact ashore as hard as that may be to believe."
Rebuilding the Gulf Coast is a national priority.   So far, rebuilding these islands is not.

© MMV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Friday, 10 February 2006
Gulf Coast road trip: Part 1
Rhonda Buie
Rhonda Buie is a member of the BBC News website's US voters' panel.
She is originally from Slidell, Louisiana, where her family have only now managed to rebuild their home, five months after Hurricane Katrina.
Concerned with the slow pace of rebuilding in other surrounding areas, she hit the road to see for herself how communities on the US Gulf Coast are managing to get on with their lives.
This is the first in a series of pieces she is sending from the region.
SLIDELL-PICAYUNE-WAVELAND-BAY ST LOUIS
A boat lies by the roadside.

Much of the wreckage still lies where it settled after the Katrina storm
Much of the wreckage still lies where it settled after the storm
 I started my drive by dropping my mom off in Picayune, Mississippi, to join her carpool.
Many locals lost vehicles when Katrina struck and with the price of gas being so high, she and her co-workers had to share a car to get to work.
The drive takes more than 40 minutes one-way. I had free rein of my mom's car after that, so I drove to one of the first places I saw when I returned to Slidell after Katrina - Waveland and Bay St Louis, Mississippi.
Waveland and Bay St Louis are two towns side by side. They are both small so they seem as if you are driving through one slightly larger community.
The road there goes entirely through marshland and bayou area.
Along the way there is wreckage, fragments of clothes in trees and on the side of the road and piles of debris.
Some businesses are operating out of tents after Katrina
Some businesses are operating out of tents
The houses along this route are all gone. Many of them were raised houses that stood perhaps six to 12 feet off the ground. This kind of construction is common in this part of the Gulf Coast.
There are businesses along the way (mainly welding and the like) that look as if they are trying to operate, although they now work out of half-destroyed buildings.
Some have one or more trailers outside the buildings. Some have large tents.
Pylons that I saw nearly standing when I was last here in December have now fallen over. I'm not certain if they were demolished or if they simply fell over.
Much of the wreckage still lies where it settled after the storm, five months ago.
Overdue for repairs
Waveland is the first destination. There are many businesses open but they are scattered among others that have simply died - for now.
Wal-Mart is open, as are various gas stations and small restaurants. The post office and utility offices along the main road are also in decent shape and running.
However, many other businesses are simply untouched. Laundromats, local restaurants, bookstores, and other small businesses were contained in large strip malls that simply did not stand up to Katrina.
It does not seem like much rebuilding is happening here, except for private homes.
At the end of the road is a decimated bridge that is overdue for repair.
It has looked like this since Katrina, and from what I can see no-one has yet been out to even survey for repairs.
Bridge at Bay St Louis

Many roads and bridges remain destroyed
Many roads and bridges remain destroyed
On the other side of this bridge [right] lie other towns that are now very difficult to reach without a very long drive.
It is situations like this that caused many people, even outside of New Orleans, to become stranded where they were after the storm.
This bridge used to lead to the other side of the bay, where there was once a straight drive along the Gulf to Biloxi and beyond, which was beautiful.
I imagine the other bridges on this route look much the same.
No shortage of work
I took a U-turn to go back and asked directions to the centre of town from a young man who was standing outside of a group of town houses in the process of being rebuilt.
His name is James Lagos, and he is a resident in Bay St Louis. He was a painter and told me about his contracting partner who was at work in the yellow house behind him. It had been stripped bare, much like my own parents' house.
James Lagos
Reconstruction will take years, according to some locals
He said reconstruction will take years and there will be no shortage of work for him, his partner, or any other contractors in the area. However, he doesn't see this as a good thing.
There are simply not enough workers available, he said. The local population is not generally trusting of workers from outside Mississippi or Louisiana because they tend to demand payment in advance, and then leave without completing their work.
Because he and his partner are local, they receive far more work, but are generally too busy with previous assignments to fulfil new requests. Some people will be waiting for a very long time before they are able to be serviced, he said.
He and his partner also offer their services for a low price. This also attracts more customers, due to the fact that many do not have much money.
Many pay out of their own pockets, because insurance companies seem to take a long time to award compensation. James' own family waited from September, and were only paid recently.
I then asked him about the bridge: Were there any plans to rebuild it? He said it was due to have work done on it a month ago, but no-one has ever arrived to repair it.
As we spoke, a black utility vehicle arrived at the foot of the bridge. It idled there for about five minutes, and then left.
Historic African-American New Orleans Church Reopened After Weeks Of Protests & Rectory Sit-In — Click Here
Historic St. Augustine Parish in New Orleans was reopened and its church re-consecrated Saturday after weeks of protests and a rectory sit-in that lasted 19 days.
St. Augustine, founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color, is one of the nation's oldest black parishes.
New Orleans Residents and Evacuees Blast State of Schools, Housing, Jobs at Mayoral Forum — Click Here
The religious organization Jeremiah Group hosted a mayoral forum at the Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans on Saturday.
At the event, a number of the city's residents and evacuees posed questions and expressed concerns about the direction of the city on issues ranging from schools to housing to jobs.
"Poor People, Disabled People, People of Color Are Not Welcomed Back to New Orleans" — Activists Paint Grim Picture of Struggling City — Click Here
We speak with two activists about the current state of New Orleans: Bill Quigley is a law professor at Loyola University and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola and Tracie Washington, the director of the NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center.
 
Published on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 by CommonDreams.org
Six Months After Katrina: Who Was Left Behind — Then and Now
by Bill Quigley
Nearly six months ago, my wife Debbie and I boated out of New Orleans.   We left five days after Katrina struck.
Debbie worked as an oncology nurse in a New Orleans hospital.   She volunteered to come in during the hurricane so that other nurses with children could evacuate.
There were about 2000 people huddled in the hospital — patients, staff and families of staff and patients.   Plate glass windows exploded in the lobby and on crosswalks and on several floors.
Water poured in though broken windows, ceilings, and down the elevator shafts.   Eight feet of brown floodwater surrounded us.
The entire city immediately lost electricity.   Soon the hospital backup generators located in the basement failed.   No lights.   No phones.   Even the water system stopped.   No drinking water.   No flush toilets.
You can imagine a hospital with 2000 people and no electricity, water, food, or flushing toilets.   Breathing machines did not work.   Cell phones did not work.   Because the computers stopped working medicines were unavailable.   Elevators in the 8 floor building did not work.   We quickly ran out of food because the cafeteria and food were also in the flooded basement.   The gains of 21st century medicine disappeared.   Over 40 people died in the hospital over the next few days as we waited for help.
Now imagine an entire city with no electricity, water, food or flushing toilets and tens of thousands of people left behind.
Debbie and I left five days later by way of a small fishing boat, the back of a garden truck, and the kindness of strangers.   We returned 15 weeks later.   Many of those left behind then who evacuated with us have yet to return.
The Katrina evacuation was totally self-help.   If you had the resources, a car, money and a place to go, you left.   Over one million people evacuated — 80 to 90% of the population.   No provisions were made for those who could not evacuate themselves.   To this day no one has a reliable estimate of how many people were left behind in Katrina — that in itself says quite a bit about what happened.
Who was left behind in the self-help evacuation?
In the hospital, we could not see who was left behind because we did not have electricity or TV.
We certainly knew the 2000 of us were left behind, and from the hospital we could see others.
Some were floating in the street — face down.
Some were paddling down the street — helping older folks get to high ground.
Some were swimming down the streets.
We could hear people left behind screaming for help from rooftops.
We routinely heard gunshots as people trapped on rooftops tried to get the attention of helicopters crisscrossing the skies above.
We could see the people trapped in the Salvation Army home a block away.   We could hear breaking glass as people scrambled to get away from flooded one story homes and into the higher ground of several story office buildings.
We saw people swimming to the local drugstore and swimming out with provisions.   But we had no idea how many were actually left behind.   The poor, especially those without cars, were left behind.
Twenty-seven percent of the people of New Orleans did not have access to a car.   Government authorities knew in advance that "100,000 citizens of New Orleans did not have means of personal transportation."
Greyhound and Amtrak stopped service on the Saturday before the hurricane.   These are people who did not have cars because they were poor — over 125,000 people, 27% of the people of New Orleans, lived below the very low federal poverty level before Katrina.
The sick were left behind.   Some government reports estimated 12,000 patients were evacuated.   I estimate at least an additional 24,000 people — staff and families of patients — were left behind in the twenty-two hospitals which were open at the time.
The elderly were left behind.   The 280 plus local nursing homes remained mostly full.   Only 21% evacuated and as a consequence 215 people died in nursing homes, at least six people died at a single nursing home while they waited four days for busses.
The aged who lived at home also certainly found it more difficult than most to evacuate as they were more likely to live alone, less likely to own a car and nearly half were disabled.
Untold numbers of other disabled people and their caretakers were also left behind.
There were tens of thousands of people with special needs in New Orleans.
A physician reported hundreds of people in wheelchairs were in front of the Convention Center.
A comprehensive study of evacuees in Houston shelters found one in seven physically disabled, 22% physically unable to evacuate, 23% stayed behind to care for someone physically disabled, and 25% had a chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.   There were no provisions made for their evacuations.
Children were left behind.   While there are no official estimates breaking out children left behind, I know from what we saw during our evacuation that many, many children were among those left behind.   About one-fourth of the people living in the areas damaged were children, about 183,000 kids, including 47,000 children under the age of 5.   Over half of the children displaced were African-American and 30% of children in the damaged areas were poor, nearly double the 2000 national census rate for child poverty of 16.6%.   These children were almost twice as likely to live in a female-headed home than children nationally.
Prisoners were left behind.   Local prisons held 8300 inmates, most on local minor charges awaiting trial and too poor to post bond.   Thousands were left behind with no food, water, or medical attention.   Jails depend on electricity as much as hospitals do — doors of cells and halls and pods and entrances and exits are electronically opened and closed.   More than 600 hundred prisoners, one entire building, were left behind once the prisons were evacuated — left in chest deep water, locked into cells.
Ultimately as many as 40,000 people took refuge in the Superdome which lost power, lost part of its roof, the water system failed and the toilets backed up.   Another 20-30,000 people were dropped off at the Convention Center.   Conditions at the Convention Center were far worse than at the Superdome because the Convention Center was never intended to be used for evacuees it did not have any drinking water, food, or medical care at all.   Ten people died in or around the Superdome, four at the convention center.
Unfounded rumors flew about rapes and murders inside these centers — and the myth that rescue helicopters were fired upon — have all been found to be untrue.
But those rumors so upset military and medical responders that many slowed down demanding protection from the evacuees — only to be greeted by "a whole lot of people clapping and cheering" when they arrived.
Debbie and I left the hospital after five days.
Helicopters finally came and airlifted out many patients, their families and staff.
Others, like us, left in small fishing boats piloted by volunteers.
The Coast Guard reported it rescued 33,000 people and the National Guard reported rescues of another 25,000 people.
Louisiana Department of Homeland Security said 62,000 people were rescued from rooftops or out of water — not including those already in shelters.   Many, many others, like us, were rescued by volunteers in boats and trucks.
Some people never made it out of metropolitan New Orleans.   February 2006 reports from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals show 1,103 bodies were recovered from the storm and flood, with over 2,000 people still reported missing.   About 215 people died in local hospitals and nursing homes.
Where did the survivors end up?   According to FEMA, evacuees ended up all over — applications came in from 18,700 zip codes in all 50 states — half of the nation's residential postal zones.   Most evacuee families stayed within 250 miles of New Orleans, but 240,000 households went to Houston and other cities over 250 miles away and another 60,000 households went over 750 miles away.
Who ended up in shelters?   Over 270,000 evacuees started out in shelters.   The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed 680 randomly selected adult evacuees in Houston shelters on September 10-12, 2005.   The results of that survey illustrate who ended up in shelters:
  • 64% were renters
  • 55% did not have a car or a way to evacuate
  • 22% had to care for someone who was physically unable to leave
  • 72% had no insurance
  • 68% had neither money in the bank nor a useable credit card
  • 57% had total household incomes of less than $20,000 in prior year
  • 76% had children under 18 with them in the shelter
  • 77% had a high school education or less
  • 93% were black
  • 67% were employed full or part-time before the hurricane
  • 52% had no health insurance
  • 54% received their healthcare at the big public Charity Hospital
  • The people who were left behind in Katrina were the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, children, and prisoners — mostly African-American.
    Who is Being Left Behind Now?
    "Hurricane Katrina likely made one of the poorest areas of the country even poorer.   Both those who were poor before the storm and those who have become poor following the storm, are likely to face a particularly difficult time in reestablishing their lives, have few if any financial resources upon which to draw."   Congressional Research Service 2005
    Debbie and I ultimately ended up spending several months in an apartment in Houston while New Orleans started its recovery.   Loyola Law Clinic, where I work, moved into the Disaster Relief Center in Houston and our clinic students interviewed and gave assistance to over a thousand evacuees.
    We were able to come back to New Orleans for good in mid-December because our house was located close to the University and only sustained roof damage.   Very few of the people who were evacuated with us have been able to return.
    It seems clear that most of the same people who were left behind in the evacuation for Katrina are being left behind again in the reconstruction of New Orleans.   In fact, now there are even more being left behind.   Hundreds of thousands of people have not been able to make it back.
    Drive through the city away from the French Quarter, Central Business District and the St. Charles streetcar line and you will see tens of thousands of still damaged and unoccupied homes.
    Hundreds of thousands of people have not made it back.
    There were 469,000 fewer people in the metropolitan New Orleans area in January 2006 than in August 2005.
    Why?   Many reasons.
    Most of the City was still without power in early 2006.   About two-thirds of the homes in New Orleans did not have electricity in early 2006, even fewer had gas.
    Seventy-three percent of the homes in New Orleans were in areas damaged by the storm.   But, as the Brown University study concluded "storm damage data shows that the storm's impact was disproportionately borne by the region's African-American community, by people who rented their homes and by the poor and unemployed."
    Poor people were hardest hit and are having the hardest time returning.   "The population of the damaged areas was nearly half black (45.8% compared to 26.4% black in the rest of the region), living in rental housing (45.7% compared to 30.9%), and disproportionately below the poverty line (20.9% compared to 15.3%."   Renters are not coming back because there is little affordable housing.   With tens of thousands of homes damaged, the cost of renting has skyrocketed.   An apartment down the block from my house rented for $600 last summer — it now rents for $1400.   Trailers have not arrived because of federal, state and local political misjudgments.   Over 10,000 trailers were still sitting unused on runways in Hope, Arkansas in February 2006.   In my interviews with evacuees who were renters, few were protected by any insurance — most lost everything.
    The little reconstruction that has started is aimed at home-owners.   Louisiana is slated to receive $6.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant money and the Governor says $1 billion "could be used to encourage the rebuilding of affordable housing."   So with 45% of the homes damaged occupied by renters, affordable housing "could" end up with 16% of the assistance.
    Public housing is politically out of the question in early 2006.   There is no national or local commitment to re-opening public housing in the city.   U.S. Congressman Richard Baker, a longtime critic of public housing in New Orleans, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal after the storm saying "We finally cleaned up in New Orleans.   We couldn't do it, but God did."   As the Brown study politely observed "people who previously lived in public housing seem to have the least chances to return, given current policy.   All public housing has been closed (and special barriers bolted to the doors).   Plans for reopening the projects or for constructing new affordable housing have not become public."
    Debbie lost her nursing job when her hospital failed to reopen.   She is not alone.   There are now 200,000 fewer jobs in the area than in August.
    When I teach about the working poor, I tell my students to look for the working poor at the bus stops in the morning and in the evening.   The working poor have not returned.   As the Brookings Institution Katrina Index tells us pre-Katrina public transportation in New Orleans averaged 124,000 riders per week; in January 2006 there were 11,709 a week, only 9% of the pre-storm number.
    The sick are not likely to return anytime soon.   Healthcare in New Orleans is now difficult even for those with insurance but nearly impossible for the poor without it.   While there were 22 hospitals open in New Orleans in June, in early 2006 there were 7, a 78% reduction.   Before Katrina there were 53,000 hospital beds in the area, in February 2006 there were 15,000 — waits of more than 8 hours in emergency rooms are not uncommon.   With so many hospitals closed, people needing regular medical care like dialysis or chemotherapy cannot expect to return.   Worse still for the poor, there is no public hospital in New Orleans any more — the Charity Hospital that over 50% of the people in shelters went to has not been reopened.
    Many of the disabled are still in the areas where they evacuated to, causing financial and medical concerns in those states.   Others of the disabled, who lived at home prior to the evacuation, fear being institutionalized.   Children have not returned to New Orleans.   Most public schools remain closed or have been converted into charter schools.   Before the storm there were 117 public schools with 60,000 students.   In January 2006, there were 19 open, including 8 new charter schools, serving about 13,000 students.   Houston alone has nearly 20,000 evacuated students.   The failure to reopen public schools in New Orleans has prompted litigation to force the charter and public schools to accept children.
    Prisoners have again been left behind.
    Some of those evacuated were kept in jail long after their sentences had run.
    Only 7 of 42 public defenders have returned to represent the thousands still held in jail.
    Even among homeowners, it is much more likely that white homeowners will have the chance to rebuild than black homeowners because of deep patterns of racial disparities in income — white median income is $61,000 compared to black income of $25,000.
    Black businesses were severely impacted by Katrina.
    Rebuilding by homeowners in mostly black low-lying neighborhoods is much less likely at the time of the writing of this article because of bulldozing plans by the city and because rebuilding in those areas depends heavily on planning and homeowners insurance and flood insurance issues, many of which have yet to be resolved.
    As a result, because renters, poor people and those without work are overwhelmingly African-American, "New Orleans is at risk of losing 80% of its black population."
    "New Orleans is not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again," Alphonso Jackson, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told a Houston audience.   Recall some of the characteristics of people who ended up in shelters, then compare to the situation currently in New Orleans:
  • 64% were renters — now rents have skyrocketed and public housing is mostly closed;
  • 22% had to care for someone who was physically unable to leave — now there are many fewer hospital beds;
  • 52% had no health insurance — now the main center of public healthcare is closed;
  • 76% had children under 18 with them in the shelter — most public schools are closed;
  • 93% were black — the areas hit hardest were black and poor;
  • 67% were employed full or part-time before the hurricane — there are now 200,000 fewer jobs than before the hurricane.
  • The people left behind in the rebuilding of New Orleans are the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, children, and prisoners, mostly African-American.   Again left behind.   The television showed who was left behind in the evacuation of New Orleans after Katrina.   There is no similar easy visual for those who are left behind now, but they are the same people.
    Conclusion
    There is not a sign outside of New Orleans saying "If you are poor, sick, elderly, disabled, children or African-American, you cannot return."
    But there might as well be.
    The people left behind in the evacuation of New Orleans after Katrina are the same people left behind in rebuilding of New Orleans — the poor, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, and children, mostly African-American.
    Now that we are back from Houston, Debbie has just started a new job at another hospital.   I am fortunate enough to work at one of the universities which was not severely physically damaged by the storm and floods.
    We are back.   But where are our neighbors, the people we rode out of the city with?   Where are the hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and will they ever be allowed to return?
    Where is New Orleans now, and more important, where is it going to be?
    Finally, if all levels of government and corporate power allow this to happen in New Orleans, do you think it will be any different in your city?
    Bill Quigley is a civil and human rights lawyer and Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.
    Bill's suggestions for further reading on this topic include:
  • "A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina," U.S. House of Representatives.   February 15, 2006. http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/15feb20061230/ www.gpoaccess.gov/katrinareport/mainreport.pdf
    Additional: http://katrina.house.gov/ and http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/index.html
  • "Hurricane Katrina: Social-Demographic Characteristics of Impacted Areas," CRS Report for Congress, November 4, 2005, Summary.   Report available at: http://www.gnocdc.org/reports/crsrept.pdf;
  • "Katrina Index," Brookings Institution, updated monthly.   Available at: http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/200512_katrinaindex.htm
  • John R. Logan, "The Impact of Katrina: Race and Class in Storm-Damaged Neighborhoods," http://www.s4.brown.edu/Katrina/report.pdf"
  • Survey of Katrina Evacuees," This survey of 680 randomly selected adult evacuees in Houston shelters was conducted September 10-12, 2005 by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, questions 11a and 62.
    The entire survey can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost .com/wp-srv/politics/polls/katrina_poll091605.pdf
  • Should links become broken, TheWE.biz have files: Contact TheWE.biz
    Email feedback — ask for file in February2006/US/Katrina/ section
    Common Dreams © 1997-2006
    As Police Arrest Public Housing Activists in New Orleans, Federal Officials Try to Silence Leading Attorney for Low-Income Residents — Click Here
    New Orleans police raided the Saint Bernard housing project this morning where activists had been occupying a building to prevent government plans to demolish it.
    Meanwhile, the Housing Authority of New Orleans has sent a letter to one of the lead lawyers for the residents, Bill Quigley, asking him to stop speaking to the media and to remove statements he made that appear in several online videos.
    US destroyed Fallujah as it tries to destroy the rest of Iraq
    Published on Monday, July 4, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
    by Sheldon Drobny
    Justice O'Connor's decision in Bush v. Gore led to the current Bush administration's execution of war crimes and atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places in the Middle East that are as egregious as those committed by the Third Reich and other evil governments in human history.
    The lesson is clear.
    Those people who may be honorable and distinguished in their chosen profession should always make decisions based upon good rather than evil no matter where their nominal allegiances may rest.
    Justice O'Connor was quoted to have said something to the affect that she abhorred the thought of Bush losing the 2000 election to Gore.
    She was known to have wanted to retire after the 2000 election for same reason she is now retiring.
    She wanted to spend more time with her sick husband.
    Unfortunately, she tarnished her distinguished career with the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore by going along with the partisan majority of the Court to interfere with a democratic election that she and the majority feared would be lost in an honest recount.
    She dishonored herself and the Supreme Court by succumbing to party allegiances and not The Constitution to which she swore to uphold.
    And the constitutional argument she and the majority used to justify their decision was the Equal Protection Clause.
    The Equal Protection Clause was the ultimate basis for the decision, but the majority essentially admitted (what was obvious in any event) that it was not basing its conclusion on any general view of what equal protection requires.
    The decision in Bush v Gore was not dictated by the law in any sense—either the law found through research, or the law as reflected in the kind of intuitive sense that comes from immersion in the legal culture.
    The Equal Protection clause is generally used in matters concerning civil rights.
    The majority ignored their basic conservative views supporting federalism and states' rights in order to justify their decision.
    History will haunt these justices down for their utter lack of justice and the hypocrisy associated with this decision.
    Sheldon Drobny is Co-founder of Air America Radio.
    Unspeakable grief and horror
                            ...and the circus of deception continues...
    — 2017
    — 2016
    — 2015
    — 2014
    — 2013
    — 2012
    — 2011
    — 2010
    — 2009
    — 2008
    — 2007
    — 2006
    — 2005
    — 2004
    — 2003
    Circus of Torture   2003 — now
    He says, "You are quite mad, Kewe"
    And of course I am.
    Why, I don't believe any of it — not the bloody body, not the bloody mind, not even the bloody Universe, or is it bloody multiverse.
    "It's all illusion," I say.   "Don't you know, my lad, my lassie.   The game!   The game, me girl, me boy!   Takes on interest, don't you know.   T'is me sport, till doest find a better!"
    Pssssst — but all this stuff is happening down here
    Let's change it!
    To say hello:     hello[the at marker]Kewe.info
    For Kewe's spiritual and metaphysical pages — click here
    Afghanistan Most Recent
    NATO's silent toxic air-spraying planes
    HAARP
    Weather Warfare
    Full Spectrum Dominance
    Elana Freeland on Buzzsaw with Sean Stone
    Download audio mp3 from thewe.biz server      right click here
    Chemtrails HAARP and the full spectrum dominance of planet earth.

Image: internet
    Climate engineering weather warfare collapse of civilization

Image: internet
    “I had a Sunday dinner a few weeks ago at the house of my dad’s and stepmom’s neighbors.
    The man and woman of the house are in their 60’s and both proud liberals.
    The man said he was a ‘Berkley liberal.’ He supports Hillary, she supports Bernie Sanders.
    Towards the end of the dinner he expressed the opinion that a few nuke bombs on some of the major cities in Iraq would be a good idea.
    Previous to that, he defended the dropping of nuke bombs on Japan.
    The guy’s wife, the Bernie supporter, added something about the barbarous tribal nature of Iraqi society.
    She quoted Deepak Chopra on the [evil] nature of Mohamed.
    Their son is a fighter pilot who is thinking about joining the top gun program.
    He is gay but is too scared to come out to his work colleagues.”
    Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics — click here
    P.S. from Kewe to the above article written by Paul Street.
    I accept the sun is a much greater factor in global weather than human-made activity.
    That it is possible climate change will become a bigger problem but also more probable the sun is presently taking us into a mini-cold period.
    That the increase in human-made carbon dioxide combined in the stratosphere with other Earth-releasing-of-warmth blocking chemicals is causing a wave of new tree/plant growth in areas not seen for many millennium.
    That seeding of the clouds being done by NATO with its toxic compounds is completely destructive to the soil, seas and inland waters beneath, and many vulnerable humans and varied life, and that the politicians responsible for this NATO destructive activity should be held accountable for such as being enemies of Earth's eco-structure and livability.
    From the video 'Holes in Heaven' — Brooks Agnew, Earth Tornographer
    In 1983 I did radio tornography with 30 watts looking for oil in the ground.
    I found 26 oil wells over a nine state area.
    100 hundred percent of the time was accurate, which is just 30 watts of power beaming straight into solid rock.
    HAARP uses a billion watts beamed straight into the ionosphere for experiments.
    Picture these strings on the piano as layers of the Earth, each one has its own frequency.
    What we used to do is beam radio waves into the ground and it would vibrate any 'strings' that were present in the ground.
    We might get a sound back like ___ and we would say, that's natural gas.
    We might get a sound back like ____ and we'd say that's crude oil.
    We were able to identify each frequency.
    We accomplished this with just 30 watts of radio power.
    If you do this with a billion watts the vibrations are so violent that the entire piano would shake.
    In fact the whole house would shake.
    In fact the vibrations could be so severe under ground they could even cause an earthquake.
    Download or watch movie on HAARP — Advanced US Military research weapon on behaviour modification
    weather change, ionesphere manipulation — click here
    Download or watch audio of Dr. Nick Begich talking on HAARP
    — The 2006 update to 'Angels Don't Play This HAARP'.
    'Angels Still Don't Play This HAARP: Advances In Tesla Technology'.
    Planet Earth Weapon by Rosalie Bertell
    ozone, HAARP, chemtrails, space war — click here
    What HAARP Is.. And Everything Its Used For
    Full HAARP Documentary — click here
    Angels Dont Play This HAARP weather manipulation
    1 hour 36 minutes video — click here
    (poor quality to watch but well worth listening)
    Dr. Nick Begich, his book and his articles can be found here
           http://www.earthpulse.com/      
    Article on Chemtrails — unusual cloud formations in the US.
    U.S. Bombing of Fallujah
    — the Third World War continued: Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia
    More atrocities - Ahmed and Asma, story of two children dying
    al-Sadr City
    Iraq's real WMD crime - the effects of depleted uranium
    World War Two soldiers did not kill Kill ratio Korea, Vietnam. Iraq.
    Afghanistan - Terror?

    Photos over past three months.
    Aid agencies compromised by US actions
    US soldiers committing suicide Afghanistan Iraq — Most Recent
    Psychologist Pete Linnerooth was one of three who were part of a mental health crew in charge of the US 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in the Baghdad area of Iraq.   Pete Linnerooth committed suicide by turning a gun upon himself in January of 2013
    Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes.   More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
    Mary Coghill Kirkland said she asked her son, 21-year-old Army Spc. Derrick Kirkland, what was wrong as soon as he came back from his first deployment to Iraq in 2008.   He had a ready answer: "Mom, I'm a murderer."
    A military base on the brink
    As police agents watched he shot himself in the head
    Murders, fights, robberies, domestic violence, drunk driving, drug overdoses
    US soldiers committing suicide Afghanistan Iraq II
    U.S. Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques
    Private Gary Boswell, 20, from Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was found hanging in a playground in July
    She is Jeanne "Linda" Michel, a Navy medic.   She came home last month to her husband and three kids ages 11, 5, and 4, delighted to be back in her suburban home of Clifton Park in upstate New York.   Two weeks after she got home, she shot and killed herself.
    Peterson refused to participate in the torture after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage
         United States Numb to Iraq Troop Deaths       
         All papers relating to the interrogations have been destroyed     
          We stripped them and were supposed to mock them and degrade their manhood     
    US soldiers committing suicide Iraq Vietnam
    The Iraq War - complete listing of articles, includes images
    The House of Saud and Bush
           All with U.S. Money:       
           US and Israel War Crimes       
    All with U.S. Money:

    Israel agents stole identity of New Zealand cerebral palsy victim.

    (IsraelNN.com July 15, 2004) The Foreign Ministry will take steps towards restoring relations with New Zealand. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced she was implementing diplomatic sanctions after two Israelis were sentenced on charges of attempting to obtain illegal passports. Despite Israeli refusal to respond to the accusations, the two are labeled in the New Zealand media as Mossad agents acting on behalf of the Israeli intelligence community.

    Foreign Ministry officials stated they will do everything possible to renew diplomatic ties, expressing sorrow over the "unfortunate incident".
    Projected mortality rate of Sudan refugee starvation deaths — Darfur pictures
    Suicide now top killer of Israeli soldiers
    Atrocities files - graphic images
    'Suicide bombings,' the angel said, 'and beheadings.'

    'And the others that have all the power - they fly missiles in the sky.

    They don't even look at the people they kill.'
           The real Ronald Reagan       
           — Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Africa        
    Follow the torture trail...
           Cowardly attacks by air killing men women and children in their homes, often never seeing those they kill as the drones or aircraft fly back to the cowardly bases       
           If they kill only the husband, see how they care for the family they have destroyed       
           Afghanistan — Western Terror States: Canada, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy       
           Photos of Afghanistan people being killed and injured by NATO     
            When you talk with God        
             were you also spending your time, money and energy, killing people?         
           Are they now alive or dead?       
    Photos July 2004
    US Debt
    Photos June 2004
    Lest we forget - Ahmed and Asma, story of two children dying
    Photos May 2004
    American military: Abu Gharib (Ghraib) prison photos, humiliation and torture
    - London Daily Mirror article: non-sexually explicit pictures
    Photos April 2004
    The celebration of Jerusalem day, the US missiles that rained onto children in Gaza,
    and, a gathering of top articles over the past nine months
    Photos March 2004
    The Iraq War - complete listing of articles, includes images
    Photos February 2004
    US missiles - US money - and Palestine
    Photos January 2004
    Ethnic cleansing in the Beduin desert
    Photos December 2003
    Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Prize winner 2003
    Photos November 2003
    Atrocities - graphic images...
    Photos October 2003
    Aljazeerah.info
    Photos September 2003
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