Archive for August, 2005

White supremacists claim Cindy’s cause

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

The latest entrants in the saga of Cindy Sheehan vs. the White House are white supremacists, as they plan to rally against the Iraq War this weekend in Crawford, Texas.

Members of are tossing their figurative hoods into the mix, as they invite supporters to come to Camp Casey to “let the world know that white patriots were first and loudest to protest this war for Israel.”

As Cindy Sheehan renews her vigil outside the Bush ranch, a group of “White Supremacists” have shown up just in time for the mainstream media to proclaim that the peace movement harbors racists and (shudder) anti-Semites!

The timing is just too cute to be believed, and in an age where Karl Rove has redefined political dirty tricks to a degree that even Dick Nixon would admire, one has good reason to be skeptical who the “White Supremacists” are and more to the point, who they work for.

So, a Whatreallyhappened reader did a DNS search on, the supposed top of the heap in anti-Semitic groups, whose existence is cited as grounds for continued funding of various holocaust museums and the passage of draconian “hate” laws used to silence criticism of Israel.

Here is the DNS record whois returns on Better verify it yourselves, because as soon as this article hits the net count on it to be changed.

Environmental Racism: How Minority Communities Are Exposed to “Toxic Soup”

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

DAMU SMITH: Well, between Baton Rouge, which is north of Louisiana — north of New Orleans, and New Orleans itself, there are scores of polluting facilities lining the Mississippi River on both sides of the river. You’re talking about numerous petrochemical plants, plastic production facilities and other heavy industries that are contributing to the pollution flowing into the Mississippi River. Now, near these facilities, in the shadow of these plants, are scores of African American communities, mostly African American impoverished communities. People, black and white and Latino, who live in these areas, are exposed to a toxic soup of chemicals regularly released into the air, into the soil, into the water.

Now, one of the things I want to add to this discussion, Amy, is that within New Orleans itself, there are a number of superfund toxic sites in neighborhoods. The Agricultural Street Landfill superfund site has been one of the most controversial sites in the city of New Orleans. We have been working with Elodia Blanco and her group, Concerned Citizens of Agriculture Street. I spoke to Ms. Blanco as she was hurriedly trying to get her invalid father and her daughter out of the house on Sunday in preparation for the hit by the storm. It’s impossible to reach any of them now because the phone services are down. But I’m just imagining the water, if the water is flooding her neighborhood, and I’m imagining that it is, all of those toxic chemicals below their homes have come up. And the water that we see in the footage coming through the television footage contains all of these toxic chemicals. So we’re not just talking about fireflies and ants that we’re hearing in the major media. We’re talking about serious chemicals that are a threat to human health. And now all of this is in the water and being washed into people’s homes and is contaminating the water.

St. Charles parish, just north of New Orleans, has the Shell Norco chemical plant and numerous other polluting facilities. It’s not clear what’s happening in that parish but I would imagine that St. Charles parish has also been hit. East New Orleans has been hard hit. I’ve been to East New Orleans, there are a number of toxic sites in that area right near poor and African American communities. So this is a disaster, not only in terms of the flooding that’s going on, the long-term economic consequences, but it is also an environmental disaster.

One more thing I would like to add, Amy, is that this issue of climate change is very, very serious, as our other guest has stated. The Gulf waters have been very warm, and the warming of the waters contributes to the power and the force of these hurricanes. So while we know hurricanes are indeed a natural disaster, manmade industrial processes are contributing to the enhancement of the power and destruction of hurricanes because of global warming. So this is a critical issue that we have to face as we move into this century. But we also have to face the fact that the infrastructure deficit in New Orleans has also contributed to this disaster. I believe that had — we’re not just talking about poor planning. We’re not just talking about the issues of planning, but we’re talking about issues of investment in the infrastructure necessity that are needed to protect the people of New Orleans from this kind of disaster. And that obviously did not occur.

Bridge Accident Reportedly Kills at Least 640 in Iraq

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — At least 640 Shiite pilgrims were killed Wednesday when a railing on a bridge collapsed during a religious procession, sending scores into the Tigris River, Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Hussein Ali Kamal said.

There was confusion over what caused the railing to collapse on the bridge to the city’s heavily Shiite Kazamiyah district, but police also said there were unconfirmed reports that the stampede may have been caused when someone in the crowd shouted there was a suicide bomber among them.

After the collapse, thousands of people rushed to both banks of the river to search for survivors. Hundreds of men stripped down and waded into the muddy water downstream from the bridge, trying to extract bodies floating in the water.
Tensions had been running high after a mortar and rocket attack some two hours earlier killed at least seven people and injured at least 40 near the Imam Mousa al-Kadim shrine, the destination of the worshippers. The shrine is about a mile from the bridge. U.S. Apache helicopters fired on the attackers, a U.S. statement said.
A medical worker told Associated Press Television News that he rushed in to help those hurt in the attack.

“We saw the dead scattered on the ground and the injured were taken to al-Kadimiyah hospital for treatment. There are more injured children than the men and women,” the medical worker said.

Arab League Warns Iraqi Charter ‘Will Bring Chaos’

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Thousands of Sunnis demonstrated in Iraq against the new constitution as the campaign for its rejection in a coming referendum swung into action.

And, in what was seen as another blow to the United States and Britain, the secretary general of the Arab League warned that adopting the constitution in its current form will be a ” true recipe for chaos” with reverberations around the region.

The draft document, approved by the Shia and Kurdish factions but rejected by Sunni Arabs, was finally delivered to the National Assembly at the weekend.

But Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary general, said yesterday: “I share the concerns of many Iraqis about the lack of consensus on the constitution. I do not believe in this division between Shia and Sunni and Muslims and Christians and Arabs and Kurds.

“I find this is a true recipe for chaos and perhaps a catastrophe in Iraq and around it.”

Floodwaters, tensions rise in New Orleans

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

A day after being pummeled by Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City had no power, little drinking water, dwindling food supplies and water rising in the streets.

Water levels continued to rise downtown after sections of two levees collapsed, leaving 80 percent of the city under water as deep as 20 feet in places. (See photographer’s account of coastal damage — 3:29 )

Authorities warned that efforts to limit the flooding have been unsuccessful, and that residents may not be able to return home for a month.

“It’s a difficult, difficult situation,” Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco told CNN. “The Corps Of Engineers has attempted to fix the situation under emergency conditions. They’re not the best conditions, and probably too little, too late.”

Water from Lake Pontchartrain was pouring into downtown from levee breaches, rising steadily throughout the day along Canal Street, the main thoroughfare that separates the central business district from the French Quarter. (Map)

Coast Guard crews in helicopters continued to pluck people stranded on the roofs of their inundated houses, while state and local rescue crews used boats to reach residents marooned by the floods. (Watch the video account of unanswered screams — 1:57)

Wildlife and Fisheries workers rescued more than 3,000 people Tuesday, Sen. Mary Landrieu told a reporter.

More than 1,200 people were rescued Monday, and a Coast Guard spokesman said Tuesday night that rescuers “really have no idea” how many people remain stranded.

Two major medical centers, Charity Hospital and Tulane University Hospital, had to be evacuated because of rising water and power outages.

Hundreds of people were looting businesses downtown, throwing rocks through windows and hauling away goods from stores. Some looters were brazenly trying on clothes in the street. Police said the looting was happening citywide.

Landrieu said she “can understand” how some people might loot to get food or water, but said she had no tolerance for people motivated by avarice. Such lawlessness “is the worst kind of behavior.”

By mid-afternoon, officers armed with automatic weapons could be seen on downtown streets, and sporadic gunfire could be heard, although the source was unclear.

New Orleans shelters to be evacuated

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — New Orleans resembled a war zone more than a modern American metropolis Tuesday, as Gulf Coast communities struggled to deal with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Deteriorating conditions in New Orleans will force authorities to evacuate the thousands of people at city shelters, including the Louisiana Superdome, where a policeman told CNN unrest was escalating.

The officer expressed concern that the situation could worsen overnight after three shootings, looting and a number of attempted carjackings during the afternoon. (See video of the looting — 1:25)

Officials could not yet provide accurate estimates for fatalities or time needed for recovery in the area and are focusing, instead, on widespread search-and-rescue operations.

In Search of a Place to Sleep, and News of Home

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

SARALAND, Ala., Aug. 30 – Hundreds of thousands of evacuees from the New Orleans area stranded in overcrowded hotels, motels and makeshift shelters and on highways across much of the South underscored a new reality on Tuesday: an extended diaspora of a city’s worth of people, one rarely seen in the annals of urban disaster.

As news spread that the devastated, largely emptied and cordoned-off New Orleans area would not be habitable until at least next week, hurricane refugees gathered in hotel lobbies and shelters around television sets beaming images of their waterlogged city and turned to cellphones and laptops, usually in vain, for information about the homes, relatives and neighbors they had left behind.

Hotels as far away as Houston (350 miles from New Orleans), Memphis (395 miles) and Little Rock (445 miles) were booked, and the American Red Cross had opened more than 230 shelters in schools, churches and civic centers spread through six Southern states.

Many found themselves wandering anew after maxing out credit cards or being forced to leave previously booked rooms.

America Williams, 34, evacuated on Sunday, piling into a sport utility vehicle with her boyfriend and 13 of his relatives – seven of them children. “They just told us to drive, to drive east or west to get as far from the storm as possible,” Ms. Williams said. “Our intention was to go to Atlanta, but it was raining so hard we stopped in Birmingham.”

After two nights in three $50 rooms at a motel, the family ran out of money and moved on Tuesday to the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center, where the Red Cross had just opened a shelter. “We’re down to our very last,” Ms. Williams said. “We came here for some type of assistance, some type of help.”

Netanyahu to Challenge Sharon; Move Could Force Election

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

JERUSALEM, Aug. 30 – Benjamin Netanyahu, a former prime minister, announced Tuesday that he intended to challenge the current prime minister, Ariel Sharon, as leader of the governing Likud party, a move that threatened the coalition government and increased the likelihood of early elections.

The two men are longtime rivals in the right-wing Likud party. Mr. Netanyahu quit as finance minister earlier this month to protest Mr. Sharon’s decision to withdraw Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank.

Mr. Sharon “has abandoned the way of Likud, and chose another way, the way of the left,” Mr. Netanyahu said at a Tel Aviv news conference, accompanied by a number of Likud legislators.

“Sharon gave and gave and gave some more, and the Palestinians got more and more and more” he said. “And what did we get in return? The answer is: Nothing, nothing and nothing.”

The stage is set for the real nightmare to begin. Sharon will be recalled as a benign moderate compared to Netanyahu, the miracle baby of 7/7, who was warned ahead of time while hundreds were blown to pieces.

U.S. Poverty Rate Was Up Last Year

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 – Even as the economy grew, incomes stagnated last year and the poverty rate rose, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was the first time on record that household incomes failed to increase for five straight years.

The portion of Americans without health insurance remained roughly steady at 16 percent, the bureau said. A smaller percentage of people were covered by their employers, but two big government programs, Medicaid and military insurance, grew.

The census’s annual report card on the nation’s economic well-being showed that a four-year-old expansion had still not done much to benefit many households. Median pretax income, $44,389, was at its lowest point since 1997, after inflation.

Though the reasons are not wholly clear, economists say technology and global trade appear to be holding down pay for many workers. The rising cost of health care benefits has also eaten into pay increases.

After the report’s release, Bush administration officials said that the job market had continued to improve since the end of 2004 and that they hoped incomes were now rising and poverty was falling. The poverty rate “is the last, lonely trailing indicator of the business cycle,” said Elizabeth Anderson, chief of staff in the economics and statistics administration of the Commerce Department.

Oh. Okay, Elizabeth…

At a 60’s Style Be-In, Guns Yield to Words, Lots of Words

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

SAN MIGUEL, Mexico, Aug. 28 – After four years of hiding, the charismatic leader of the Zapatista rebel movement in southern Mexico has been holding “town hall” meetings with leftists, labor leaders, students, Indian rights advocates and other supporters in an effort to forge a national campaign to rewrite Mexico’s Constitution along socialist lines.

The rebel, who calls himself Subcommander Marcos, emerged from the woods on Sunday morning surrounded by 24 armed rebels for a second day of listening to the leaders of dozens of charities devoted to social work and human rights. All the rebels wore the movement’s trademark black balaclava helmets, including Marcos, who may be the only man in history to make a ski mask and pipe look sexy.

The weekend gathering looked like a cross between the Woodstock concert, a Grange Hall meeting and a convention of Che Guevara fans. At times it looked as if a public hearing in the East Village had been transported to a horse pasture in the rugged green mountains here.

…The attendees included an organization representing lesbian anarchists, a collective of witches, advocates fighting the privatization of waterworks, gay-rights promoters who call themselves polysexuals and well-respected human rights monitors in Chiapas.

ha ha ha. Very funny. Witches, polysexuals, and fighters for water privatization. What a loony bunch. This is the New York Times so so sophisticated take on blatant bias.