Tuesday, September 20, 2005


My dsl line has been having problems. Now, things seem to be back to normal--so I can do things on the internet.

I did not plan to say anything more about Katrina, but so much has occurred (and come to mind) that I feel it necessary to say something additional.

In this nation (and probably elsewhere) we frequently don't deal with things until they happen. The common example: it takes a car load of high school kids coming home from a graduation party--hit by a train at a spot where we need crossing signals and gates--for the powers to be to finally take action.

If you think about New Orleans with thousands and thousands of gallons of water poised above the city, and the Gulf of Mexico very close to the southern end of the city due to the destruction of the large wetland buffer zone----well --- it is a crime not to take preventative measures. We can give tax breaks to the wealthy and spend 400 billion in Iraq, but to spend ten billion or less to prevent this amount of loss of life and property damage---makes NO sense whatsoever.

We have the money in the U.S. We are not broke. We just do not have the correct priorities.

President Bush a few days ago said that he takes responsibility for the situation that has occurred.
He, as usual, said something about praying for the victims, of how he mourns the loss of life and the suffering of those who survived. And then he added, to paraphrase him: "New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will be rebuilt!"

I don't know about you but that smacks of arrogance. Of we can do anything. Almost, we are God.

Why did it take him three to four days to get in gear? Why did he not cancel two speeches on the West Coast, and another one, I think, on the East Coast --- before gettiing either into the Oval Office or on the scene in New Orlean? It seems that the President is either a day late or a dollar short in many cases.

The way our nation's various governmental entities has responded to this calamity was a disaster and there is sufficient blame all.

Why did we have a man in charge of FEMA who had little, if any, experience in this area? For eleven years he had been the Commissioner of Judges for the International Arabian Horse Association until he was asked to resign. He had been involved for a very short time with emergency managment in a small suburb of Oklahoma City. His credentials also include being an estate planning lawyer and a tax lawyer. Oh yes, he had been a college roommate of the outgoing FEMA head, Joe Allbaugh.

Why did not the mayor of New Orleans, the Governor Blanco of LA realize that with around 400,000 African Americans in the city, the majority in poverty, without their own transportation---you cannot just say: "OK evacuate."

The Feds were waiting to be asked for help from the state. And vice versa. "Hello ---Is there anyone really in charge."

There should be when a disaster hits. We cannot wait for all the normal bureacratic protocols to be followed and communications bounced back and forth, and back and forth. Response should be almost automatic, efficient, smooth.

And of course,an ounce of prevention is a worth a pound of cure. FEMA, which is now part of HomeLand Security, was notified by the Head of the U.S. Weather organization that Katrina was going to be a very strong storm, probably a "4" and that it would do grave damage to New Orleans. The Mayor also was informed.

Now the Mayor has asked people to return to the city. Today he says, though,maybe they should wait. The Coast Guard commander on the scene says 911 isn't operational on a solid basis; people will be returning to homes that no longer exist; a 93 acre SuperSite Toxic Waste area has been and is still partially underwater; we need to wait until we know the score. Yet, the Mayor, probably wanting to look "good", positive, courageous---suggests that many should return

The Mayor want business to get going. Bring back the tourists. A reality check>>>>Getting back to normal may take months, years. Let's do things with a modicum of wisdom.

I agree with Rev. Sharpton. I think race was a factor. I don't mean those who acted or did not act said: "Now is our chance to get rid of a lot of the Black Americans." No. However, I do think that if San Diego had such a disaster, the government especially the Federal Government would have really "been hopping".

Already both in public and in board rooms and upper scale restaurants, major contractors are overwhelmed with visions of dollar signs floating in their dreams. What a great chance to make a bundle through reconstruction! Halliburton and Bechtel two companies dear to the hearts of the GOP leadership are already beginning to tear down and rebuild. I don't know whether they have had to transfer any of their assets from Iraq to LA, but probably they can deal with both.

Kristina not only a terrible disaster but fantastic business opportunity!

People broke into a Walgreen's in New Orleans because they were hungry and thirsty. Three times the police arrived to chase them away. When things quieted down a reporter looked into the store and discovered that practically nothing had been taken --- except foodstuffs. Now in the Church I was brought up in -- this is not theft; it does not break the 7th Commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Steal".

FEMA originally had three charities listed on the press release they sent out. One of these, "Operation Blessing," was founded by Pat Roberston many years ago., a wholly non-profit foundation controlled by Robertson and his family. In 2004 fiscal records showed that this organization contributed $885,000 to Robertson's Christian Broadcasting.

BTW, Democracy Now reported this:

" Back in the mid-1990s during the Rwandan genocide, Robertson appealed for assistance for Operation Second Blessing on his 700 Club for money to fly relief supplies to the Rwandan refugees in Zaire. What he -- it turns out that an investigation later by the Virginia Attorney General's office revealed that the planes that were bought by the charity were actually ferrying mining equipment for a diamond mining operation, the African Development Corporation, and low-and-behold, who is the principal shareholder of this private corporation? None other than Pat Robertson himself. So, he eventually had to reimburse his own charity $400,000 for the fact that these planes were being used, not for charitable work, but for his own enrichment." (Is this what Jesus would have done?)

One country that is admired around the world for its organizations to deal with Hurricane disaster is Cuba. They have shared their expertise with a number of countries. Naturally the USA turned Cuba' offer of assistance down,--- and also the 10,000 doctors they were willing to send to help in the Katrina emergency.

The Federal Government is paying Blackwater USA, a national security firm headquartered in North Carolina, thousands of dollars to help secure New Orleans and protect private property, especially commercial property. Katrina for Blackwater is a pot of gold. Maybe they would not be needed if it were not that two-thirds of the Lousiana National Guard is in Iraq.

Powerful business interests both local and national are talking openliy about wanting to seize this "opportunity" to change New Orleands democraphically, politically, and racially. Their vision includes New Orleans as a kind of Las Vegas with casinos and fun for everyone, and money to be made. There is little concern for the poor who might want to return to where they grew up.

James Rice, local businessman, a leader of Audubon Place, a private gated community in the city has said to the Wall Street Journal: "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way...."

Mr. Rice has brought in Israeli para-militaries from an Israeli security firm whose members pride themselves on their former membership in the Shin Beit, the GSS and the Israeli Defence Forces.

Mayor Nagin has said that he wants to have an enormous WalMart built in the ninth ward so whoever of the poor return--they will have a place to shop. Mayor Nagin is an African American but he chief ties are to old time Louisana white Republican families.

Pope Benedict's envoy to the United States for bringing aid to Katrina victims upon being on the scene remarked on the "shameful poverty in rich America." Catholic Charities has donated six million to the victims of both Katrina and our governmental ineptitude and lack of foresight.

Concerned citizens of New Orleans are wondering about the effects of the toxic wastes and various bacteria alive in the city now. And, as people try to return to their homes, if they have any, and try to repair or reclaim them unforseeable accidents will happen which -- historically -- have sometimes claimed more victims that those lost during the storm itself.

One doctor said she expects a severe outbreak of West Nile Virus, which had a significant presence in LA before Katrina, because of the large amount of stagnant water everywhere.

Finally -- of all things -- The Mississippi Clarion Ledger has obtained emails that point toward an effort of the Bush administration to accuse environmentalists of being partially responsible for some of Katrina's damage! (Boy! Rove doesn't miss a beat!) Their argument may be that environmentalists disagreed with some of the plans of the Corps of Engineers over the years. You may know that the Corps of Engineers do not have a stellar record of acting in responsible, environmental ways. In fact, much of the loss of the wetlands buffer south of New Orleans is due to this group and to the petro chemical companies" construction projects.

All for now, bob