Friday, October 12, 2007


The following piece was written by my friend Bill Berkowitz and appeared at Talk To Action.

James Dobson and the Implosion Factor

Is the Christian Right's threat to consider supporting a third party candidate smoke and mirrors?

Despite its oft-written obituary -- particularly in the mainstream press -- the Christian right wing in the United States is alive and ... uh, alive.

It continues to be the most significant sector within the Republican Party; it still brings in large sums of money for its various religious and political enterprises; and it still has a well-oiled infrastruture to go along with high-profile well-connected leaders.

Over the past few years, however, the Christian right has suffered more than its fair share of setbacks including the demise of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition; the deaths of movement leaders, the Rev. Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy; Pastor Ted Haggard's sex and drugs scanda; Ralph Reed's connection to the jailed Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff; and a roster of front-running Republican presidential candidates who are less than desirable to so-called values voters.

Now, Dr. James Dobson is threatening to leave the party.

Marquee leaders meet

In late September, the highly secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) met at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed the group.

The CNP was founded in 1981 by Paul Weyrich, chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, and the Rev. Tim LaHaye, the bestselling author of the apocalyptic "Left Behind" book series, as an invitation-only group of well-heeled and well-connected conservative movers and shakers. In 1999, then Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush spoke at a CNP meeting. The transcript has never been released.

During the course of the weekend, a smaller group of marquee movement leaders held their own gathering to discuss what might be done if former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- a lukewarm supporter of abortion rights and gay rights -- wins the Republican Party's 2008 nomination.

A late September ABC News/Washington Post Poll placed Giuliani easily at the head of the pack, with 30 percent support among self-identified Republicans -- twice that of the next lead contender, former senator Fred Thompson, who had 15 percent.

On abortion, Giuliani doesn't stand alone; none of the other top-tier candidates -- Thompson, Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney -- have garnered enthusiastic support from religious right leaders.

Attendees at the smaller gathering included James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, one of the nation's largest ministries; Tony Perkins, the head of the Washington-based lobbying group, the Family Research Council; Richard Viguerie, the right-wing guru of direct mail, who recently authored "Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Republican Base"; James Clymer, chairman of the U.S. Constitution Party, a relatively small conservative party; and a host of other Christian conservative leaders.

Viguerie speaks out

Richard Viguerie told ABC News that the meeting was attended by "nationally known conservative leaders, and we took a very strong stand against supporting any pro-abortion candidate."

"Giuliani is beyond the pale," Viguerie said. "It's just not going to happen. There's no way that conservative leaders are going to support a pro-abortion candidate. It was unanimous."

Before last fall's midterm elections, Viguerie declared that a Republican loss might be "cathartic", providing an opportunity for conservative evangelicals within the party. He pointed out that, "In the last six months, I've seen a vast majority of my colleagues, at the national level, move in that direction, including a willingness to go third party. They're even further along on the third-party idea than I am."

According to the New York Times, "almost everyone present at the smaller group's meeting expressed support for a written resolution stating that 'if the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate we will consider running a third-party candidate,' participants said."

An unsigned piece posted at -- a conservative online news site -- noted that "Not only was there a consensus among activists to withhold support for the Republican nominee, there was even discussion about supporting the entry of a new candidate to challenge the frontrunners."

Gary Bauer, the head of AmericanValues and a former candidate for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, participated in the smaller group discussion by phone. He later issued a statement urging his colleagues to "be cautious", since he couldn't "think of a bigger disaster for social conservatives, defence conservatives and economic conservatives, than Hillary Clinton in the White House."

Bauer also noted that "that there are certain core issues for the Republican Party -- low taxes, strong defence, and pro-life -- and if we nominate someone who is hostile on one of those three things, it will blow up the GOP [Republican Party]."

There's no question that the leaking of information about the "secret" meeting has created media buzz. But is it an empty threat? A well-placed leak to force the party into rejecting Giuliani?

"The idea that the Christian right would endorse a third-party candidate is ludicrous, given its pathological need to defeat Hillary Clinton and ultimately maintain sway over the White House," Sarah Posner, a freelance journalist who has followed the right for a long time, pointed out in The American Prospect.

In this coalition of the unwilling, Dr. James Dobson is the man to watch. Over the past several months he has nixed supporting McCain because the Arizona senator didn't support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. He questioned Thompson's religious commitment, and recently stated in an e-mail to supporters that Thompson "has no passion, no zeal...And yet he is apparently the great hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"

Dobson also said that he would rather sit out the election than vote for Giuliani, who he called an "unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand".

Bear in mind that Dobson has been down this road before. He periodically threatens to bolt the party over one issue or another. The threat could be seen as a way to force the party into putting a candidate acceptable to the Christian right, such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, on the ticket as vice president. Huckabee, who has performed well in recent polls but is still sitting in the second tier of candidates, is a Baptist minister who opposes abortion and gay marriage, making him an attractive candidate to Dobson, et al.

Successful political movements -- and the Christian right has been both successful and decidedly political for nearly 30 years -- encounter their ups and downs. Key leaders pass on, member organisations overreach and lose their focus, the unaffiliated public loses interest in what they're selling, and internal differences develop.

The threat leveled by Dobson and other leaders of the Christian right against the Republican Party could be seen as a politically savvy stare down, or a desperate attempt to hold onto the levers of power within the party. Dobson is betting that Republican officials will blink.


This just came in from the Center for Nursing Advocacy.

Naughty nurses too scary for Halloween

Nurses say "naughty nurse" costumes are too spooky even for Halloween--and they're conjuring a spell to exorcise the sexy demons.

The Center for Vampire Slaying Nursing Advocacy leads a torch-wielding mob urging all who make, sell, or wear the costumes to end the naughty nightmare. The group says the stereotype that nurses are sponge-bath sex zombies has bedeviled real nurses for decades. A monstrous example: the lingerie-like "nurse" costumes worn at Halloween.

"The Hospital shouldn't be a House of Horror," rasped Sandy "Scream" Summers, the Center's executive director, and a reported Wiccan. "The naughty nurse is a corpse bride. She scares away the resources we need to resolve the nursing shortage--which is sending thousands to the graveyard. Real nurses save lives with advanced skills. But having a naughty nurse is as dangerous as having an operation performed by Doctors Itchy and Scratchy," said Summers, laughing insidiously.

The Center has been haunting major costume retailers, including Party City, 3 Wishes and Costume Express, urging them to leave naughty nurses out of their ghastly Halloween marketing plans. The group is also asking consumers to tell some other tale from the crypt. It notes that the Southern Poverty Law Center's highly regarded "Teaching Tolerance" campaign has likewise urged the public to reconsider harmful stereotypes in its Halloween costumes.

"This is no 'X-File,'" croaked Andrea "Blood" Brassard, the Center's board chair, a nursing professor at The George Washington University. "We know what the problem here is: fusing the image of nursing with easy workplace sexuality. When nurses don't get respect, the result is skeletal staffing and the curse of the mummy's mandatory overtime. That can mean worse patient outcomes--a real dawn of the dead."

The Center does not fear the sexual element of the costumes. But it says the nursing theme discourages nurses, encourages sexual abuse, and trivializes the need for more clinical and educational resources. Last year, the Center protested bone-chilling naughty nurse posters used in a Halloween blood drive to promote the horror film "Saw III."

Brassard had a suggestion for anyone who missed the naughty nurse at Halloween. "Try dressing up as the 'naughty nurse''s patient," she cackled. "The gown ties in the back, but don't forget that cute little toe tag the morgues use! For more fun, try post-autopsy!"

Center leaders declined to comment on reported links between the group's Baltimore base and unexplained nocturnal events at the nearby grave of Edgar Allan Poe. However, an informed source nervously dismissed rumors that the group's headquarters was a deserted mansion filled with strange black birds and a telltale thumping sound.

The Center for Nursing Advocacy, founded in 2001, is an international non-profit organization based in Baltimore that seeks to increase public understanding of the central, front-line role nurses play in modern health care. The focus of the Center is to promote more accurate, balanced and frequent media portrayals of nurses and increase the media's use of nurses as expert sources.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


What do you do when you've had enough?

One man in Torrington, Connecticut (see article below) took his protest about drug dealers taking over his neighborhood to city hall and everyone there said the problem had already been fixed.

Is the guy crazy?

Who would you believe?

And what would you do if you couldn't walk down your block without being confronted by the neighborhood dealer

(Note: keep reading to the end, that's where you'll find the best overall idea for dealing with this problem and what the symbol accompanying this article is all about)

Call the police. Yeah, right. What are they gonna do? Busting some users and toss them in the clink is usually what they think of as dealing with the problem.

Sam Draper's method of ridding his neighborhood in Elmira, New York of drug dealers is a simple one...if you've got the guts to try it.

He takes photographs of drug users and drug sellers -- their faces, cars and license plates.

"I couldn't stand by and do nothing," says Draper, who has lived on the Westside for 17 years. "The drug dealers were destroying my neighborhood. I have too much invested in my home."
It seemed to work his block.

Seems like a good way to get shot to me, but whatever.

How about block clubs. They've worked in some places.

The Chicago Report writes the 900 block of North Ridgeway Avenue is quiet, with little traffic. A welcome sign tells visitors that drugs, loud music, alcohol drinking and repairing cars are not allowed. Yard lights illuminate the street, and there are permit parking signs every few steps. The street corners are vacant.

Eight years ago, however, things were different, residents say. There were dice games being played in the middle of the block, and the street was congested with traffic as people double-parked their cars to buy drugs.

“We just got tired of it. You couldn’t even go outside your door,” said Willie Harvey, 70, president of the block club for the 900 block of North Ridgeway. “We were like, ‘We have to do something.’”

The change was not immediate. In 1995, when drug dealers often stood in front of their homes, Almeta Levy, 70, and about five other women started the block club.

When the women asked the dealers to leave, they just moved to the street corner and continued to sell drugs, Levy said. Once Harvey and a few other men joined the block club, they approached the dealers again.

They didn’t demand that the dealers stop selling drugs, Harvey said. He told them residents didn’t want “that sort of thing” happening on their block. And some of the dealers left, he said. “Some of them I could talk to like I talk to my kids and some of them I couldn’t.”

To discourage the dealers who remained, about eight residents began to do “positive loitering.” Every Saturday, for seven weeks in a row, they walked their block—sweeping the sidewalks and standing on the corners where drugs were sold. Levy said the drug dealers eventually stopped coming.

Block club members notified other residents of the changes they were making and posted their block club sign at one end of the block. Some residents installed wrought iron fencing around their property to keep dealers from running through their yards to get to the alleys.

They also posted a “We Call Police” sign in a window of an unoccupied building where, Harvey said, crowds would gather to sell drugs and hold dice games.

Block club members exchanged phone numbers and formed a phone tree. When someone spotted a drug dealer, every block club member would get a call about it.

The block club also collected signatures from at least two-thirds of the block’s residents to get permit parking, which stopped visitors from double-parking their cars, Harvey said.

Harvey’s block partnered with the 800 and 1000 blocks of North Ridgeway for meetings, parties and clean-ups.

For the last five years Harvey’s block has not had a problem with drug dealers, but he says that drugs are still being sold in the alley of a neighboring block.

I would note though even on Harvey’s block, residents were reluctant to call the police on drug dealers with good reason.

“Sometimes calling the police doesn’t help because the police will come right to the house where the call came from and ask ‘Where did you say they were selling drugs?’” Levy said.

That's real helpful.

More than ten years ago a neighborhood in a town in Virginia started a patrol. The Park Place Citizens Patrol was a partnership of neighborhood residents, police, the civic league, the Park Place Community Development Corp. and the Norfolk Masjid, a local Muslim center, which provides 10 volunteers. The patrols included walking, driving cars or bicycling to make more-visible impressions on criminals and law-abiding neighbors alike.

The only problem with this idea is who is in charge. I wouldn't want local Minutemen, for example, patrolling my neighborhood.

Whatever methods communities take, its my opinion they should include what follows.

That would be the harm reduction model. It has worked in places around the world but it's hard to imagine in the USA. It includes things like setting up safe injection sites, red light districts and the like. Imagine making drugs legal and controlled. You simply wipe out the need for dealers and you keep users alive and offer them help if they want it and a way to do what they do without creating a crime problem - and without making users criminals - if they don't.

"You just can't incarcerate your way out of this," former Vancouver mayor Philip Owen, a member of the Beyond Prohibition Coalition, said Friday. "The United States locks down 2.3 million people every night." The former mayor was speaking out against the Conservative government plan to copy the failed US War on drugs.

The Vancouver plan posits that harm reduction involves establishing a hierarchy of achievable goals, which when taken step by step, can lead to a healthier life for drug users and a healthier community for everyone. It accepts that abstinence may not be a realistic goal for some drug users, particularly in the short term. Harm reduction involves an achievable, pragmatic approach to drug issues.

Harm reduction interventions have proven successful in decreasing the open drug scene, the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, overdoses and overdose deaths in countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Australia.

In Vancouver, harm reduction programs include the supervised injection site (SIS), needle exchanges and low-threshold community health services. Vancouver now has expanded 24-hour-a-day access to needles - through low-threshold, peer-based needle exchange, to mobile needle exchanges and needle exchange attached to primary health care services.

Insite, the safer injection facility in Vancouver, is similar to programs already in operation throughout Europe and in Australia, but met a great deal of opposition in Canada when it sought to open its doors more than three years ago. With support from Vancouver's past mayors, the facility opened and has since been incredibly successful.

Last July current Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and the Vancouver City Council voted to support two public health-oriented drug policy measures. One would extend the operation of the city's safer injection site, the first in North America, for three and a half years. The other would create a research trial to transition people struggling with addiction from using illegal street drugs to using legal prescription drugs.

Is there a politician in your community with the guts to propose such a plan?

Not in my town.

The following is from the Register Citizen (Torrington, CT.)

City man protests neighborhood drug dealers

TORRINGTON - A city man protested in front of City Hall Wednesday afternoon, denouncing city leaders for what he considers to be their failure to combat illicit drug use and other crimes in his neighborhood.

Robert Phelps, of 322 South Main St., held a sign that read "Mayor lets drug dealers sell in Torr." while shouting similar sentiments to passing motorists and pedestrians.

"The mayor told me that the drug dealers would be gone from the neighborhood by Oct. 1. They are not gone," Phelps said. "There are at least three drug houses operating on South Main Street that sell drugs for 24 hours a day."

Police chief Robert Milano rejected Phelps' claims. On the contrary, Milano said that the police department has increased its presence in the South Main Street neighborhood in question. Officers have made 13 arrests at one particular residence on South Main Street since Oct. 21, 2006, he said.

"We've done a tremendous amount of work down there and have made several arrests," Milano said. "Since this gentleman has been complaining, we've made 13 arrests for drugs, disorderly conduct, and violation of probation. We have a very aggressive drug-enforcement program in charge of patrolling the neighborhood."

"I've got 40 square miles to patrol. It is not financially feasible to the taxpayer to have a police officer on every street corner," Milano said.

Mayor Ryan Bingham also rejected Phelps' claims.

"We've done something about [illicit drug use] in his neighborhood," Bingham said. "And we are continuing to patrol the neighborhood."

One matter upon which Phelps, Milano and Bingham did agree was that they met on two occasions this past summer to discuss the police department's responses to people who sell and buy drugs along South Main Street and in Coe Memorial Park.

On Wednesday, Milano and Bingham repeatedly stressed that Phelps has the constitutional right to engage in an act of peaceful public protest.

Standing in front of City Hall, Phelps said he would not allow his neighborhood to be controlled by drug dealers.

"I've been putting up with the dealers for a year now. I am not going to move out of my neighborhood just because of some scuzzy drug dealers. I am not afraid of them," Phelps said."The city officials are afraid of the dealers, however."

Around 5:45 p.m., a police cruiser parked on the south side of City Hall, about 100 feet from where Phelps was conducting his protest. Upon seeing the police car, Phelps remarked that he was going to be arrested. Asked why he feared being arrested, Phelps did not respond.


Rainforest Action Network (RAN) launched a campaign today to stop U.S. agribusiness expansion in the rainforests by draping a 50-foot banner on the historic Chicago Board of Trade building at the start of this morning’s trading. Calling them the “ABC’s of rainforest destruction,” RAN singled out agribusiness giants Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge and Cargill for their roles in destroying tropical rainforests and trampling human rights in South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

By the time police and medics arrived on the scene to remove them from their perch, the activists had climbed to the 23rd floor of the 45-floor building. The 50-foot banner was an attempt to draw attention to and hopefully to "halt agribusiness expansion in the rain forests of South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific," according to the protesters.

“Rainforests are our last and best defense against catastrophic climate change,” said Leila Salazar-Lopez, director of RAN’s new Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign. “ADM, Bunge and Cargill have a responsibility to stop converting the world’s remaining rainforests into factory farms and to immediately address the grave human rights abuses associated with their operations.”

Rainforest Action Network ran a full-page ad in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, which read in part:

"ADM, Bunge and Cargill are driving climate change by having rainforests slashed and burned to make way for massive biofuel crop plantations. Not only does this intensify global warming, it also threatens endangered species like the orangutan, displaces family farmers, and exploits Indigenous communities. Why would they do this? They’ll tell you they’re making the world a better place. But they’re really just making a buck."

Cargill, an agricultural giant that had $88 billion in sales last year, has operations in 66 countries, including a large operation in South America, where it buys and processes soybeans used for vegetable oil and animal feed.

RAN is far from alone in its concerns about the policies and practices of Cargill.

Co-op America says the company may tout the motto "nourishing ideas, nourishing people" as its international operations flourish, but Cargill is no stranger to criticism across its business interests. A nonprofit human rights organization, is suing Cargill on charges that they knowingly source cocoa plantations that use child slave labor. The Environmental Justice Foundation named Cargill as a major purchaser of Uzbek cotton, which is produced using largely uncompensated labor. In both instances, Cargill claims to have no knowledge of any misconduct. Within the U.S., Cargill poses a threat to farmers by pushing its genetically modified products onto the market, aggressively seeking patents for its seeds, and suing farmers that unknowingly cultivate Cargill-patented products on their farms. Cargill has tried to "green" its image with NatureWorks PLA, a biodegradable synthetic material that uses a corn base instead of petroleum, but Cargill does not publicize the fact that the corn used to produce NatureWorks PLA is genetically modified.

In addition, with the upsurge in interest in ethanol Brazil has become a target of major US based corporations. Why, you ask? Brazil produces ethanol from sugarcane that is five times more efficient than American corn-based ethanol. That's why.

On the blog "Young Philosopher" the scenario laid out is an ominous one:

"In 2009 the tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports - 54 cents per gallon - is set to expire. By then, presumably, there will be no choice: ethanol proponents will argue that to fill the federal mandate, the tariff should be dropped, and that will be the death knoll for the Brazilian rainforests."

The following is from ENN.

Save the Rainforest Banner Raised at Chicago Board of Trade

CHICAGO, Illinois, October 11, 2007 (ENS) - Five members of an environmental group protesting destruction of the world's rainforests were arrested Wednesday after draping a 50 foot long banner across the front of the Chicago Board of Trade building on the Loop.

On their banner, the Rainforest Action Network singled out agribusiness giants Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill for "destroying tropical rainforests and trampling human rights" in South America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

The area was cordoned off for two hours while the Chicago Fire Department used ladder trucks to get the protesters down and to remove the banner. There were no injuries.

The demonstrators, four men and a woman from the San Francisco based Rainforest Action Network, RAN, were each charged with criminal trespassing, reckless conduct and criminal damage to property.

Archer Daniels Midland, ADM, Bunge and Cargill buy and sell commodity crops at the Board of Trade, including soybeans, which, along with oil palms, are planted on newly cleared rainforest land.

Growing demand for these crops has caused a spike in deforestation, RAN says, particularly in Indonesia and Brazil. With the world's two largest rainforests, these countries have become the world's third and fourth largest greenhouse gas emitters after China and the United States.

"Rainforests are our last and best defense against catastrophic climate change," said Leila Salazar-Lopez, director of RAN's new Rainforest Agribusiness Campaign.

"ADM, Bunge and Cargill have a responsibility to stop converting the world's remaining rainforests into factory farms and to immediately address the grave human rights abuses associated with their operations," she said.

RAN accuses the U.S. agribusinesses of "egregious human rights violations on and around industrial soy and palm oil plantations, including displacement of Indigenous and local communities, poor working conditions and, in some cases, slave labor."

"Agribusinesses like to say they're making the world a better place," said Salazar-Lopez. "But they're really just making a buck by pretending to solve climate change while they actually make it worse."

Archer Daniels Midland responded to RAN's accusations by saying, "Our rejection and denunciation of slave labor and other inhumane working conditions is unequivocal."

In a letter to Michael Brune, executive director for Rainforest Action Network, ADM officials write, "We extend that commitment in Brazil through clauses in our contracts with suppliers and customers requiring that products come from or will be used on property the use of which complies with Brazilian environmental, ground use, and labor legislation, particularly legislation related to the prohibition of child labor, forced labor and degraded working conditions."

Victoria Podesta, ADM vice president of corporate communications and Dennis Fisher, director of ADM's Office of Compliance and Ethics, write that the company will sign Brazil's National Pact for the Eradication of Slave Labor.

The ADM officers pledged to "make public a clear statement against forced labor and other inhumane working conditions throughout the world and detail our policies and practices in support of this position."

They write that the company "believes in the responsible and sustainable development of agriculture and bioenergy throughout the world" but has realized through conversations with Brune that "we have not as clearly stated that it must only happen in sustainable, responsible ways."

"ADM does not directly own or operate commercial farms or plantations," the letter states. "Therefore, we are not in a position to address directly some actions you ask for: adopt a "no burn" policy for forests, make a public commitment to stop new soy and palm oil expansion into environmentally sensitive ecosystems, and verify free, prior and informed consent before any soy or palm development takes place on the lands of local and indigenous communities."

The company already supports a soy moratorium in the Amazon Biome.

Bunge and Cargill have not responded directly to RAN's demands.

RAN says that it and other environmental advocates question the value of large-scale commercial biofuels, or agrofuels, as a green alternative to fossil fuels.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.


A white supremacist prison gang is being blamed for the death of a Texas man. The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas described by the Justice Department as a criminal organization that originated nearly 40 years ago in San Quentin State Prison in California. It has reportedly been operating in as an independent gang in Texas since the 1970s. It is known today as an especially violent prison gang. In Texas, the group has more than 1000 members.

Last month, Gregory Willkomm’s body was found by the San Jacinto River, in northeast Harris County. Police have now arrested eight people several of whom have already been identified as members of the racist gang.

Magnolia, Texas Police Lt. Joe Sclider said one of the killers had been living in Willkomm's home at the time of the murder.

The Brotherhood has been involved in other murders and acts of violence throughout the years across the state.

In September David Mitchamore, Jr. of Lufkin, and Christy Rochelle Brown of Hudson, were found face down, shot execution style. Sheriff Thomas Kerss said at the time, "..."we do believe that this was an ordered execution uh by the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas"

In that case Charles Frazier, April Flanagan, husband and wife, Brent and Terrie Stalsby and Carl Carver are all charged with being part of an intricate contract murder plot. Police believe these killings could be part of a war between parts of the Aryan Nation as it appears various faction of the group may be at war with each other.

Just yesterday the FBI issued an intelligence warning for Dallas-area law enforcement officers because of information that an alleged leader of the Aryan Brotherhood was trying to gather the names of federal agents, state troopers and police officers.

Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT reported Tuesday that the intelligence bulletin warns that an alleged Aryan Brotherhood leader awaiting trial is seeking out members of the brotherhood who were recruited as police informants to gather the information about officers.

The warning centers on Jason Lee Hankins, a reported general for the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Hankins is being held at Lew Sterrit awaiting his capital murder trial.

The FBI fears the officers' names will be used to locate their residences, telephone numbers or undercover status.

The intelligence bulletin also warns of another possible threat from members of the Aryan Circle threatening to steal weapons from the homes and cars of officers.

The FBI said an intelligence bulletin means there's enough information for a warning.

The following comes from the Houston Chronicle.

Man's burned body linked to white supremacist gang

Investigators say several members of a white supremacist prison gang are linked to the disappearance and death of a Magnolia man last month, said Montgomery County Sheriff's Office officials.

Gregory Willkomm was reported missing on Sept. 28 after he was last seen mowing his lawn. On Sept. 29, authorities discovered a burned body along the banks of the San Jacinto River in northeast Harris County near the Montgomery County line.

Authorities have since identified the body as 52-year-old Willkomm, who was a white man.

"We don't know the cause of death right now," said Detective Sgt. Ken Culbreath of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives were able to find eight suspects, many linked to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, by tracing suspicious credit card use and attempted bank transactions with Willkomm's identifying information.

"Through critical transactions we began to identify suspects in photos," Culbreath said.

A primary suspect was Willkomm's roommate, a 32-year-old male member of the Aryan Brotherhood who had recently moved into the victim's house. In all, three people are facing murder charges, while five others are facing charges of attempted use of Willkomm's identifying information.

The suspects are all in custody, but they have not been indicted yet, authorities said.

"We're hoping that we may be able to make more arrests," Culbreath said.

The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas is a criminal gang with affiliations in both prisons and the free world, Culbreath said.

Montgomery County deputies said they arrested the suspects with assistance from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Anderson County Sheriff's Department, the Henderson County Sheriff's Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The investigation is ongoing, detectives said, and anyone with information is urged to contact the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office at 936-760-5800.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I'm at it again. Backing some anti-gun control advocates. These folks are basically concerned about proposals that would ban shotguns in their state. Now, shotguns are legitimate weapons. Hunters use them (not that I support hunting) and they are a good weapon to have in the home for self-defense. You don't have to be a great shot to use them to defend yourself or your family and they are damn scary looking to boot.

Anyway, there is a movement in Illinois to turn back the ban idea. These folks aren't pushing assault rifles and the like, they just don't want gun control advocates to take away everything. They are trying to get resolutions passed in counties throughout the state (with a great deal of success)that would promise the 2nd amendment would be protected.

They believe Chicago and Cook County is trying to run the rest of the state of Illinois. That's because Cook County put a gun ban into effect this past February on long guns, like rifles and shotguns. The ban says people can't even have the guns in their own home.

"I don't understand how one county can do that to their citizens," Guns Rights Advocate Valinda Rowe told WCIA-3 in Urbana. "Then turn around and try to do it to the rest of the state. We've got to take a stand."

Now, I know some of you probably think I've lost my mind, but as I've said before I think possessing weapons for self defense in this day and age is far from stupid and shouldn't been seen as antithetical to being a child of the left.

I know that I probably disagree with lots of the people pushing this campaign in Illinois on a whole bunch of issues but so be it. On this one I agree.

Maybe they're using it to push an agenda I don't like. Maybe. But then "not being there" only allows that to happen more easily.

We simply cannot allow ourselves to be pushed into illogical positions becasue they don't fit the mold we're used to be cast in.

That IS stupid.

FYI: Pictured here are some anti-gun control advocates from the 60s....

The following is from the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier (Illinois).

County OKs gun measure
By DAVE FOPAY, Staff Writer

CHARLESTON — The Coles County Board on Tuesday gave its backing to a movement to oppose gun control laws.

The board voted 12-0 to adopt an advisory resolution pledging it will “oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the rights of the people to keep and bear arms.”

There was no board discussion on the matter other than member Marc Weber’s introduction of and motion to adopt the resolution. Weber is chairman of the board’s health and safety committee, which recommended the resolution to the board.

He said the statewide effort behind the resolution, which has been adopted in more than 45 counties, came about because of proposed legislation to eliminate shotguns.

“They do have a downside, but in this case we are preserving them for hunting,” Weber said.

John Hamilton, a Charleston resident, brought the resolution to the committee and is working with a group called Illinois Pro Second Amendment Resolution to get it adopted in area counties. He and another supporter, Roy Kubicek of rural Charleston, attended Tuesday’s meeting, but neither man addressed the board, though later Hamilton said he was grateful for the vote.

“We didn’t want to wake up some morning and not have a right to a shotgun and to hunting,” he said.


Twenty-four people were arrested yesterday (and later bailed out) after Greenpeace activists took over a power station in Medway,Kent (UK) Monday.

Greenpeace campaigners (one of whom is pictured here) stopped the conveyor belts feeding coal into the Kingsnorth power plant in Kent on Monday in an attempt to shut the power station, while a handful of others set off up the ladder scaling the power station's 200-metre chimney to paint "Gordon Bin It" as they abseiled down.

Greenpeace stated:

"Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels; it just isn’t fit for purpose in the 21st century. No new coal fired power station has been built in the UK in over 30 years but now Gordon Brown may be giving the green light to a new coal rush."

On Tuesday, the chimney team were forced to take the long climb down, into the arms of the Kent constabulary. On Tuesday evening, most people were released, although four people spent the night in custody.

Although the protest did not succeed in shutting down the plant, three of the four 485-megawatt generation units did slash their output to 230 MW on Monday afternoon, but had returned to near full output by early on Tuesday, according to data from National Grid.

The following is from the Press Association.

Six held over power plant protest

Six people more people have been arrested after abandoning their protest at a power station, police have said.

The arrests came after demonstrators were served with an injunction demanding that they come down from a chimney at the Kingsnorth power station in Medway, Kent.

Eighteen demonstrators were arrested on Monday, but the remaining members of the group painted "Gordon" down the side of the 656ft (200m) chimney.

A Kent Police spokeswoman said four men and one woman had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and unlawful trespass after climbing down from the chimney.

Another man was arrested at the site, she said.

Police officers have left the site and handed it back to power firm Eon, she said.

The protest by around 26 Greenpeace campaigners began on Monday.

Six activists climbed the smokestack at around 5am while 20 others chained themselves to the station's conveyor belt to prevent it burning coal.

They were urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to reject plans for Britain's first new coal plant in more than 20 years.

Eon wants to build a plant on the site which could supply electricity to 1.5 million homes. But activists warn it will pump harmful carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and create a precedent for more coal in the future.


President Bush has urged Congress today to reject a resolution on the genocide of the Armenian people at the hands of the Turks in 1915. The resolution which is supposed to be voted on today calls on the President "to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution."

Bush, of course, who probably never even heard of the Armenian Genocide until recently, doesn't want the US to go on record about it because he fears offending Turkey and losing its support for his war in Iraq.

This is intolerable.

Aram Suren Hamparian, Executive Director,Armenian National Committee of America, says,

"The adoption of the Armenian genocide resolution would represent a meaningful step toward reclaiming our right - as Americans - to speak openly and honestly about the first genocide of the 20th Century, free from the gag-rule that Turkey has, for far too long, imposed on the discussion of this human rights issue by our elected officials.

Turkey has outlawed mention of the Armenian genocide, prosecuting its own citizens under Article 301 of its newly revised Turkish Penal Code for speaking openly on this topic. Among those taken to court have been Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and noted Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated this January outside the offices of his newspaper in downtown Istanbul.

Turkey, apparently not satisfied with stifling debate in its own country, is seeking - using threats, blackmail, and intimidation - to export it efforts to silence discussion of the Armenian genocide to the United States. As Americans, we should never outsource our nation's foreign policy - or our morality - to Turkey or any other nation."

A similar resolution to the one being debated today passed the committee by a 40-7 vote two years ago, but it never reached the full House floor. House Republican leader John Boehner, noting the critical military and strategic alliance with Turkey, said bringing the resolution to the floor would be "totally irresponsible."

"Let the historians decide what happened 90 years ago," Boehner said in a written statement.

They already have.

The Armenian Genocide is said to be the second-most studied case of genocide.

Genocide cannot be hidden. It cannot be denied. It cannot be erased from history for political expediency.

Bush and those doing his dirty work today in Congress should be ashamed.

THIS JUST CAME IN: A U.S. House committee approved on Wednesday a resolution calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians genocide, brushing aside White House warnings that it would do "great harm" to ties with NATO ally Turkey, a key supporter in the Iraq war.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution 27-21. It now goes to the House floor, where Democratic leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November. There is a companion bill in the Senate, but both measures are strictly symbolic, and do not require the president's signature.

The following comes from the Armenian National Committee of America.


The Genocide of the Armenians by the Turkish government during World War I represents a major tragedy of the modern age. In this the first Genocide of the 20th century, almost an entire nation was destroyed. The Armenian people were effectively eliminated from the homeland they had occupied for nearly three thousand years. This annihilation was premeditated and planned to be carried out under the cover of war.

During the night of April 23-24, 1915, Armenian political, religious, educational, and intellectual leaders in Istanbul were arrested, deported to the interior, and mercilessly put to death. Next, the Turkish government ordered the deportation of the Armenian people to "relocation centers" - actually to the barren deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Armenians were driven out brutally from the length and breadth of the empire. Secrecy, surprise, deception, torture, dehumanization, rape and pillage were all a part of the process. The whole of Asia Minor was put in motion.

The greatest torment was reserved for the women and children, who were driven for months over mountains and deserts [see map], often dehumanized by being stripped naked and repeatedly preyed upon and abused. Intentionally deprived of food and water, they fell by the hundreds of thousands along the routes to the desert.

There were some survivors scattered throughout the Middle East and Transcaucasia. Thousands of them, refugees here and there, were to die of starvation, epidemics, and exposure. Even the memory of the nation was intended for obliteration. The former existence of Armenians in Turkey was denied. Maps and history were rewritten. Churches, schools, and cultural monuments were desecrated and misnamed. Small children, snatched from their parents, were renamed and farmed out to be raised as Turks. The Turks "annexed" ancestors of the area in ancient times to claim falsely, by such deception, that they inhabited this region from ancient days. A small remnant of the Armenian homeland remained devastated by war and populated largely by starving refugees, only to be subsequently overrun by the Bolshevik Red Army and incorporated into the Soviet Union for seven decades, until its breakup in 1990. The word " genocide" had not yet been coined. Nonetheless, at the time, many governmental spokesmen and statesmen decried the mass murder of the Armenians as crimes against humanity, and murder of a nation.

Reports of the atrocities gradually came out and were eventually disseminated the world over by newspapers, journals, and eyewitness accounts. In the United States a number of prominent leaders and organizations established fundraising drives for the remnants of the "Starving Armenians". In Europe the Allied Powers gave public notice that they would hold personally responsible all members of the Turkish government and others who had planned or participated in the massacres. Yet, within a few years, these same governments and statesmen turned away from the Armenians in total disregard of their pledges. Soon the Armenian genocide had become the "Forgotten Genocide".

In effect, the Turkish government had succeeded in its diabolical plan to exterminate the Armenian population from what is now Turkey. The failure of the international community to remember, or to honor their promises to punish the perpetrators, or to cause Turkey to indemnify the survivors helped convince Adolph Hitler some 20 years later to carry out a similar policy of extermination against the Jews and certain other non-Aryan populations of Europe.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Keep the day. Dump the Columbus.

That’s long been the rallying cry at Haskell Indian Nations University each year as Columbus Day approaches.

This year Haskell students marched down Lawrence's (the city which is also the home of the University of Kansas) main street in protest of the holiday which is anything but for American Indians.

Haskell students also called upon the Lawrence city council to rename the holiday this year Indigenous Peoples Day. “It (the holiday) is in essence celebrating our genocide instead of celebrating our survival,” Willow Bonga told the Journal World. “It was a time when it decimated our populations and brought the natives to the ground. It only was by our pure strength that we were able to rise up and still be in existence today.”

Mayor Sue Hack said she respects the students’ views, but she said it is an issue probably better handled by state legislators.

“I think you are exactly right about the history,” Hack told students at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. “But our policy has been to not use proclamations to make a political stand or do something that the state should change.”

City Commissioner Boog Highberger, though, said he was in favor of adopting a proclamation declaring it Indigenous Peoples Day. The move wouldn’t be unprecedented. In 1992, the city declared it American Indian Day, but the tradition didn’t stick.

“I think the history of what happened to native people is a story that doesn’t get told well enough,” Highberger said. “I know how those of us in Lawrence would feel if someone were celebrating William Quantrill Day.”

Of course, Lawrence was far from the only one city where protests took place. Denver, of course, is the scene every year of a very vital protest of Columbus day.

"By all accounts, Christopher Columbus was personally responsible for thousands of deaths of the original inhabitants of this hemisphere," American Indian activist Russell Means told Reuters News shortly before he was arrested in Denver Saturday for blocking a downtown parade.

Means, who called Columbus the first “trans-Atlantic slave trader,” was joined by 75 other protestors who were also cuffed and herded onto police buses and later booked for obstructing a lawful assembly.

In Charlottesville, Va., there was a protest Monday over the way the statue of Sacajewea is portrayed. Critics say that the powerful Indian woman is depicted as weak and afraid. They want something done about that.

Hey, the following is from the old home town of the Oread Daily (in its first incarnation) - the Lawrence Journal World (in, you guessed it, Lawrence, Kansas).

Calling out Columbus Day
Haskell group wants holiday to be discussed, honor indigenous peoples
By Crispin Lopez

Shereena Baker, a Haskell Indian Nations University student, was among about 100 people protesting Columbus Day on Monday in South Park. The protest carried into downtown Lawrence and was aimed at starting discussions about why the holiday is celebrated.

Rae Lynn hopes a protest march on Monday educates the community and, perhaps, serves as a catalyst for change.

Lynn, a Haskell Indian Nations University senior, was among about 100 people who first gathered at South Park and then carried their protest of Columbus Day into downtown Lawrence.

“We want to generate discussion within families,” Lynn said. “For them to talk about why we actually celebrate this holiday.”

Last week, Lynn and others from Haskell unsuccessfully lobbied the city to change the holiday’s name from Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples Day.” On Monday she participated in the second annual demonstration against the holiday in Lawrence.

The event, organized by Haskell’s American Indian Studies Club, included speakers presenting their views and reciting poetry, and people singing songs.

Jodi Voice, a Haskell sophomore, attended the 2006 rally. She said she wanted this year’s event to focus on awareness and education.

“We’re here to educate everyone,” Voice said. “You see people walking around, and they could stop and hear something and remember that for another day.”

After the gathering in South Park, attendees took to the streets with signs and banners. They marched along Massachusetts Street to chants of “We will never go away, this is Indigenous Peoples Day” and “Fight imperialism, fight genocide, no more Columbus Day.”

“It’s a time for celebration,” Haskell senior Jimmy Beason said of the event. “We’re still here, we’re still resisting.”

The day’s events concluded at Haskell, where participants took part in “teach-ins” and discussions concerning the demonstration and the march.


Obviously I have no problem with those calling to end the Israeli occupation and for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state to exist once and for along side Israel. However, I do have a problem with those who cross the line into anti-semitism to express it.

In California, the Jewish holiday of Sukkkot has been marred twice this year.

The first incident occurred at San Jose State University when someone burned the outdoor shelter - known as a sukkah - that marks the Feast of the Tabernacles. Now there is no way to know who did this or exactly why. There were no notes or writings and no one has been apprehended.

That was not the case with the second incident which occurred at the Davis Campus of the University of California. There anti-Israel statements including "End Israeli Occupation" and "Free Palestine" were spray-painted on the inside of the sukkah.

As Rabbi Shmary Brownstein, co-director of the Chabad House, said in an interview with the California Aggie newspaper a Sukkah is a religous "requirement" It is not political.

A sukkah is a structure consisting of a roof made of organic material which has been disconnected from the ground. During the holiday of Sukkot religious Jews eat their meals and sometimes sleep in the sukkah.

Mike Amerikaner, program director of Hillel, said that the vandalism is unrelated to the holiday, though it made reference to Israel. "This is a religious structure that has nothing to do with Israel," he said.

The following editorial appeared in the California Davis student newspaper - The Aggie. It's a little smaltzy for the OD, but whatever.

Editorial: Dialogue, not vandalism, is needed
By: Caitlin Kelly-Sneed

Student Programs and Activities Center representatives reported a hate crime on Oct. 4 after finding that a booth on the Quad had been vandalized with graffiti. The booth, or "Sukkah," was set up as part of the Jewish holiday Shalosh Regalim.

The message on the Sukkah was political, reading "FREE PALESTINE" and "END ISRAEL OCCUPATION," which in itself is not wrong. But for the message to be branded on a Sukkah with a black marker shows no respect for the sacredness of religious tradition and expression.

Hate crimes on this campus are an embarrassment and disgrace to the UC Davis community. This is an institution principled on higher learning and healthy debate. As such, when a person has political frustrations, he or she should express those frustrations at a venue where one's ideas are heard and other cultures are respected.

If the party responsible for the graffiti believed that the best way to be heard was through vandalism, then we in the campus community have a greater problem.

Every person should feel that there is an accessible venue to productively voice their opinions and beliefs, and nobody should feel that damaging somebody else's property is the best outlet for self-expression. More than that, this gesture impinges on somebody else's right to celebrate their religion and share their culture with others.

Now is the time for us to evaluate ourselves. Are we promoting healthy dialogue so that people feel comfortable sharing their beliefs - whatever they may be - in a positive manner?


Working Americans are either going without it, fear going without it, barely can afford it, and, or have numerous complaints about what they're getting in return for what they're paying.

I'm talking about health insurance.

You would think the voices of a gazillion people would have long ago been heard by their supposed representatives.

But then again those representatives as we know don't have the problem.

We've all heard by now about the great health insurance Congress gets, but maybe you should look a little closer to home. Check out what's going on with your city and state officials.

In Michigan, for instance, it seems that after a few years of oh, so hard work legislating, in addition to all their other perks and benefits, the legislators get a lifetime of free health insurance. Not a bad deal, huh?

No one else working for the state gets a deal like this, just the folks who are the "deciders." Well, duh, they decided they deserved it and by golly they're gonna get it.

But don't think they're not concerned about health care costs or the state's budget crunch. Red Tape Blog reports last week, the Michigan Legislature took action and voted to scale back school employees health care benefits in retirement. School employees have been eligible for retiree health care benefits after working 30 years, or after 10 years if they work until age 60.

Richard Carlson, a GM retiree from Dimondale, said he had to work 30 years to earn health care benefits.

Lawmakers seem to get better benefits after a couple of terms, he said.

"They set up all these programs for cuts here and cuts there, but it doesn't seem to affect them," he said. "Enough is enough."

Enough people agree with Mr. Carlson that a petition drive is underway to force the legislators to get their act together. The petition reads in part:

"While Michigan faced a dire budget crisis, the State Senate conveniently forgot to act on a plan that would end lawmakers free lifetime health care and slash their own salaries. While they protected their pay and benefits, the Legislature slashed health care for teachers, public employees and threatened crucial services that will make it harder for Michigan’s 1 million uninsured to have access to health care. A plan to cut legislators pay and end their free lifetime health care sits in Senate. Senate Majority Leader, Mike Bishop says they need to “study” the plan. The Senate needs to act, not study. Tell the Legislature it needs to lead by example and share in the suffering of Michigan citizens. Tell them to stop stonewalling and act now."

We don't need a bunch of talking heads to figure out why so many are so fed up with their government and why so many have given up on the whole idea of voting.

What's happening in Michigan helps to tell it all.

The following comes from the Michigan Messenger.

Legislator health benefits uncommonly generous
by: Eartha Jane Melzer

As Michigan lawmakers move to balance the state's budget by changing the health insurance system for school employees, the lawmakers are eligible to receive state-paid health insurance for life after only six years of service.

According to Leslie Fritz, spokesperson for the Dept. of State Budget, this benefit is not available to any other type of state worker in Michigan. It is also outside the norm for legislators in other states contacted.

The state, which nearly shut down operations early in October because of a huge budget deficit, remains over $400 million in the red and faces another possible shutdown at the end of the month.

The Michigan Messenger was able to contact the administrators of health insurance plans for five of the seven other states that have full-time legislatures. In Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York legislators are treated the same as other state employees and must pay their own health insurance if they leave public employment before retirement age, typically 55.

Despite the current legislative zeal for cost cutting, a bill to eliminate the lifetime health benefits for all legislators received no action in the House this year. Another that would apply only to legislators who begin service this year is stuck in the Government Operations and Reform Committee which is chaired by Sen. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) -- one of the loudest advocates for cuts. Sen. Bishop's office did not return a call for comment.

"There are some young representatives in the House, with no age requirement health care spending could become a large state expense," said Dominick Pallone, spokesperson for Rep. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy) who introduced the bill to cut legislator benefits.

According to state sources, the Michigan Legislative Retirement System paid out nearly 4.5 million dollars in health care related benefits last year, and as term limits add more and more legislators to the retiree list, that cost could rise substantially.

One official, who preferred not to be named given the recent political heat around health benefits, estimated that so far there are less than 20 lawmakers who have left office before typical retirement age and are receiving benefits. The state is currently paying about 300,000 dollars per year for the health insurance for those people.

In Michigan over a million people -- around 11 percent of the population -- have no health insurance, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.


The Institute for War & Peace Reporting says that amid crucial talks on Kosovo future status, racial prejudice and ultra-nationalism seem to be on rise both within and outside Serbia’s institutions.

Just yesterday, in fact Serbian nazis (two of whom are shown here) were met by anti-fascists in the town of Novi Sad (see article below). A wild confrontation ensued when the nazis attacked the anti-fascist. The Serbian nazis were aided by friends from Slovakia and Bulgaria. Many were arrested but all were later released. The arrested nazis were in possession of knives, Nazi paraphernalia and propaganda material.

Nacionalni stroj, a marginal group of nationalist extremists, led by Goran Davidovic, was among those who helped plan the rally which had been set for Sunday but had been outlawed.

The banned far-right extremist party Slovenská Pospolitosť wrote about the rally on its website. The party invited its supporters to Serbia under the pretext of a demonstration against the separation of Kosovo from Serbia.

However the Czech press agency ČTK writes the real reason for the gathering was to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Nazi boss Heinrich Himmler.

Nenad Canak, the head of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina told BIRN on Monday that “fortunately only a few drops of blood were spilled.”

But Canak warned: “We will avoid drops turning into a stream of blood, only if the government removes neo-Nazis from the streets and puts them behind bars where they belong.”

"It is amazing that the police let those Nazi supporters gather on the streets of Novi Sad despite the ban", said the leader of Serbia's Liberal Democratic Party, Cedomir Jovanovic, who attended the anti-fascist protest.

Novi Sad, was the scene of a 1942 massacre of about 800 Jews and 400 Serbs by Nazi occupiers and Hungarian troops.

The city is currently run by Mayor Maja Gojkovic, a prominent politician from the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party.

The following on the scene report comes from InfoShop News.

Anti - fascists rally against nazis in Novi Sad, Serbia
Contributed by: kontrapunkt

Serbian Nazis from informal organization “Nacionalni stroj” (National formation) tried to march at Novi Sad, capital of northern Serbian province Vojvodina, a multinational and multi confessional region famous for its peaceful coexistence of different ethnic minorities and religions. Minor political parties influential in that region (social democrats and liberals), together with NGOs organized anti-fascist rally in order to prevent Nazis from marching in Novi Sad. Anti-fascist action Novi Sad (with tight links with social-democrats) organized a separate block within the protest. That block of radical anti-fascists was made of mixture of anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, commies, queers, punks and alike.

A few days before the rally, Nazi march was forbidden by police, but then clero-fascist organization “Obraz” (literal translation is: Cheek, but it actually means Honor) announced its solidarity with fellow Serb nationalists and promoted its solidarity protest rally. Nazis from “Nacionalni stroj” said that they are going to make their rally no matter what. In the atmosphere of tensions, on the 7th of October (birthday of some Nazi big shot asshole from WW2) cca 3-5.000 people gathered in Novi Sad.

Liberals and NGOs had their speeches, uninspiring and pointless for the most part. The stage was set in front of a church. On it’s left side Antifa radicals took the position. Nazi rally should have been organized just down the street 100 meters away. On the back-right side of the stage, “Obraz” members and supporters gathered chanting nationalist bullshit slogans and singing nationalistic anthems. Bu riot cops prevented any contact.

Then the speeches ended and the protest march headed down the street with Antifa block at its head. At one point Nazis were spotted in a restaurant. Immediately people started to yell at them, and give them big fuck you motherfuckers! Then the Nazis started to chant pre-prepared slogans that should somehow take the fascist stigma off their backs and portray them as god-fearing good nationalists.

But then some of the Nazis came across the yard of a restaurant (a property of Serbian army) right to the fence, just two meters away from police line and Antifa marchers. They did their usual saluting and grim faces, but then the other bastards in the yard started throwing stones at Antifa protesters. Some people got hit, some of them in the head. By then the response intensified and all the stones and more stuff was sent back at them. One of them got a cobble stone right in his fucking head.

All that time cops were letting them do their shit and were keeping an eye on Antifa march. It seems to be that they thought that the numbers of Antifa protesters are more important and that because of that they are more dangerous (and we’re speaking about a bunch of predominately middle age and older people including WW2 veterans), than the fact that Nazi gathering was forbidden and that Nazis nevertheless started throwing stones at peaceful protesters. It lasted for about 10-15 minutes and then cops got an order to star arresting Nazis. And it soon ended.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I'm gong to do something a little different with the section of the Oread Daily now known either as 1)Dispatches from America, 2)Class War in America, 3)The Lawson File (named after an old working class guy who used to live down the street from us way back in the early 70 in Lawrence, Kansas who to be honest I just remember as Mr. Lawson). Anyway, whatever you want to call it today's version will be about the continuing debates in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's visit to New Orleans (the city is pictured here from way up in space). I'm going to start with an introduction, which is actually an email from a friend who resides in New Orleans, Lance Hill (who is the Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University). I think his comments and the op/ed piece and following discussion he refers to fit well the idea of bringing to the "left" issues that impact real everyday Americans...The op/ed piece and the ensuing back and forth come from the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. It's really, really long so it is all I'm posting today.

Okay, first from Lance:

Here's a recent op-ed by a member of a Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce leadership group that visited a few weeks ago. They got some of the facts wrong but the conclusion is heartening. I think that "Katrina Fatigue" (a term invented by right wing Bay Buchannan--Pat Buchanan's sister--to prematurely head off the debate on Busch's bungling of the recovery) is largely a disease of older white Americans. I sense just the opposite among young people, African Americans, and women. They comprise a growing social justice movement that views New Orleans as the symbol of our nation's misplaced priorities and domestic failures. Over one million volunteers have come to the gulf coast in the last two years and their future plans are even more expansive.

The remarkable turn-out for the Jena 6 case protest, and the widespread interest in the issue among young New Orleans' blacks, is reflective of a generation is search of a cause and a movement. In one sense, the local excitement about the Jena 6 case represents displaced anger at post-Katrina racism in New Orleans, which is more subtle and harder to organize around. There are no hangmans nooses hanging from the shuttered Charity Hospital in New Orleans, yet this policy of neglect inflicts real suffering and even death upon poor, uninsured blacks.

I found the exchange by the op-ed readers telling--one Wisconsinite makes a very eloquent case against the misleading argument that building below sea-level is foolish. He points out that trade-nations need ocean ports and ports are by definition at or below sea level and inherently vulnerable. Protecting a port city like New Orleans and the people who make it work is the price we pay for international trade. I would add much of the fertile farmland in the United states is alluvial bottomland created by river flooding, and that living and farming under the protection of levees has contributed greatly to the economic prosperity of the nation. As I have pointed out before, the only thing protecting Uptown New Orleans from a tsunamic flood when the Mississippi River is at its highest stage in the spring is the Mississippi River levee. Every neighborhood in New Orleans deserves the same protection and security. We are a city of faith in more ways than one (consider the performance of the Saints football team).

There is no "safe place" in the world today: only "safer places" made so by compassionate and caring citizens and their governments.

And now below is the op/ed piece and the discussion that followed.

New Orleans must be on candidates' agendas
Jeanne Carpenter, guest columnist — 10/04/2007 11:18 am

More than two years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans continues to struggle with rebuilding homes, hospitals and businesses and at the same time is undergoing a colossal shift in the cultural makeup of the city.

As a member of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program, I joined 34 other leaders-in-training and spent seven days recently in New Orleans, meeting with state and community leaders to discuss the aftereffects of the hurricane. We also spent a day at a work site, helping to remove mold-covered walls and interiors from a home in the 6th Ward and helping paint another home.

One of the most important things we learned was that the majority of those affected by the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina were middle-class homeowners and taxpayers. Whether you lived in the Lower 9th Ward, which was predominantly African-American, or uptown, which was a mixture of whites, Creoles and African-Americans, Katrina knew no color boundaries. Thousands of families lost their homes to floodwaters.

Today, the majority of those homeowners are still struggling to navigate the federal bureaucracy and rebuild their lives.

One of the most disturbing things we learned was that the Red Cross was not allowed to enter the city during the five days after the levees broke. They stood at the city limits, wanting to give people water, food and medical service. Who did their orders come from? The federal government.

The feds were working on their own evacuation plan, which was to wait until they had enough buses to evacuate all 20,000 people from the Superdome and Convention Center at the same time. It took five days for that to happen. In the meantime, you know what happened. Those who had no way to leave the city sat in the baking sun and suffered. Several died of dehydration and lack of medical care.

We met with a number of elected officials, including Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, a New Orleans City Council member. Her district, which includes the Upper 9th Ward and Gentilly neighborhood, transformed into some of the city's most devastated neighborhoods after more than 12 feet of water poured into parts of it.

Today, with the city dotted with FEMA trailers and hundreds of front doors still marked with a spray-painted "X" that includes the number of bodies found inside, Hedge-Morrell continues to work with her constituents and help them move home. Her district lost the majority of its taxpayers and homeowners. In an emotional speech, she told us she felt she had even lost her city.

We met with Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, who is pushing for Congress to appoint an "8/29 Commission" to investigate what went wrong before and after the levees broke. There were as many as 28 breaches in the levees around the city in the hours after Hurricane Katrina hit. Weeks later, more than 1,800 were dead, hundreds of homes were simply washed away, and thousands more were uninhabitable.

We heard from Lance Hill, executive director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University. He remained in the city during the hurricane, and afterward made four trips to the Superdome to deliver water, baby formula and other items to those waiting to be evacuated. He went back a fifth time only to be ordered to retreat at gunpoint by National Guard members who were "protecting" those stranded at the Superdome.

It is still remarkably easy to witness the physical destruction the breaking of the levees caused. Homes are abandoned, businesses shuttered, hospitals torn down. Less noticeable, however, is the effect the disaster has had on the cultural makeup of the city.

New Orleans is emerging with a white political majority, where African-Americans once comprised 70 percent of the population. In addition, we witnessed firsthand that the trust among the city's ethnic groups is gone. Crime is skyrocketing. City services are still limited. I talked with an elderly lady whose house burned down last month because when firefighters arrived, they could not find a working fire hydrant to which they could hook their hoses.

We need to have higher expectations for the leaders we elect and hold them to those standards. We need to work with our national and local leaders to make sure America does not forget the city of New Orleans. This should be on the platform of every presidential candidate. Please join me in ensuring the people of New Orleans are not forgotten.

Jeanne Carpenter lives in Oregon and is a member of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program.

COMMENTS: (hope you can follow this, but if you can't just go to and it'll be easier )

Bill says:

Why are the US government and we taxpayers rebuilding a city that is below sea level and is still in danger of being devastated again due to its geography? This is similar to our insane federal flood insurance program that allows homeowners to rebuild on barrier islands that are repeatedly hit by hurricanes.

I recently read that the federal govt. has spent over $450,000 per New Orleans citizen so far due to Katrina. Enough is enough.

I will personally vote for the politician that has the guts to pull the plug on New Orleans.


Will says:

For that matter, let's pull the plug on all the government subsidized, unsustainable projects out there . . . lessee . . . the oil corporations, the automobile corporations, the clearcutting industry, hell, let's just yank Wall Street while we're at it.

What? Oh, yeah. Those guys aren't poor, or black.

doctorj says:


$450,000? What a joke! It is amazing that Americans get their news from viral e-mails. These are the facts Bill. About $100 billion dollars were spent in the ENTIRE Gulf South. Most of this was spent directly after the storm in rescue and debris removal. 35 billion is 'allocated' for recovery efforts such as rebuilding efforts like sewerage and electrical grids. Only half of this money has been spent. The rest is tied up in mountains of red tape. Of the tax relief incentives, less than 1% has been used in New Orleans. If you don't want to help your fellow TAX PAYING citizens, let us go. We will be glad to tax America for taking our oil and gas (30% of this nations reserve). We will be glad to put tariffs on all the grain that goes through our port. We will be glad to make sure you pay throught he nose for seafood produced in our fisheries. Then we could use proceeds to make our citizens safe, rebuilding our levees THE RIGHT WAY and restoring wetlands that our own government had a hand in destroying. Is this the America you want? American against American. Is this what we have become?

doctorj says:

Here is a video of the reality of New Orleans 2 years after the storm. It shows the worst and the best of America. Bill, notice all the money flowing around. We are having the BEST time on your tax dollar. The building project shown is the largest organized rebuilding project, the Musician's Village. In two years volunteers have built 50 houses.


Bill says:

I'm for helping our fellow citizens but I'm not for wasting billions of dollar to try to rebuild a geographic mistake. How many times does New Orleans have to be destroyed before we decide not to keep throwing money at it.

I'm specifically talking about the City of New Orleans and the fact it is built in a bowl below sea level. Everyday I hear and read about this crisis or that crisis that needs funding. Some I agree with, others I do not, but, spending money to rebuild another disaster in waiting is wasteful.

doctorj says:

Are you for deserting the state of California too? The Big One WILL happen in San Francisco. Are you for deserting Miami, New York and Washington, DC? They will go under with rising sea levels. Where do you draw the line? And, just to let you know, 50% of New Orleans is at or above sea level.

Anonymous says:

Echo Bill. As for Dr.J, San Fran already rebuilt after a quake w/o the gov't. Why don't you just write the checks for everyone everywhere you think may be 'deserted'. Leave us out of it.

Bill says:

DoctorJ- You are right with the question- 'where do you draw the line'. Basically we will bankrupt the country if we take out all the financial risk and bail out every bad decision made by these communities that want to live in geographic areas that are not suitable for long-term human habitation. I thought this is one of the big issues the environmentalists are concerned about.

Don't get me wrong, San Francisco is in a beautiful location, but it is another disaster waiting to happen. Would you build a large city at the foot of an active volcano? No, its all about time frames and assuming that the next disaster won't happen while you are around, or if it happens, the federal govt. will bail you out.

Liberals are always trying to get tax money for social costs associated with bad decisions, why aren't they doing the same for bad decisions to locate in dangerous areas?



Why are the US government and we taxpayers rebuilding a city that is below sea level and is still in danger of being devastated again due to its geography?

Because if we don't we will be called "racist" which is fine with me. I know I am not.

Are you for deserting the state of California too? The Big One WILL happen in San Francisco. Are you for deserting Miami, New York and Washington, DC? They will go under with rising sea levels. Where do you draw the line?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. As Bill says, S Fran has been destroyed before without our help, and will again. The people who live there know it is coming. As for sea levels rising, if it does, it will happen over years, not hours or days. I think that gives them plenty of time to move out.

One thing I will never understand. When a natural disaster strikes, why is the cumulative pain of many, considered worse that each individuals pain. A fire that destroys one house and kills a loved one, can be equally as painful to them as each and every Katrina victim's pain. Truth is, it isn't that their pain is more, it's that our feelings are stirred more.

Bayou Bob says:

There is nothing unsafe about living in New Orleans that prudent policies on coastal erosion (caused by the oil companies)and global warming (caused by the energy and construction companies) cannot solve through reasonable environmental policies and properly built and maintained flood controls. We could elevate the entire state of Louisiana fifty feet for the $190 billion we are spending to reduce Iraq to rubble. The government underwrites the oil industry so people can live warmly in frigid climates unfit for human habitation. No place on the planet is safe these days from some man-made or natural disaster, be it wind, water, or pandemic. I live in New Orleans and you couldn't pay me to live in New York after 9/11. But I sure as hell support spending billions to make New York safe for those who choose to live in harms way. We don't expect people to invent and produce their own bird flu vaccine, do we? Let's use our inventivness and compassion which has defined us as a nation from the beginning to solve our problems rather than tell people to move every time in rains or a tick bites someone. We are a great nation built by pioneers and visionaries who overcame conditions that rest of Europe thought were insurmountable and insane to endure. What has happened to that spirit? Japan and other countries have build virtual cities out of garbage dumps in the middle of the sea and the Neatherlands are much safer surrounded by well-engineered dikes than any American in a double-wide trailer in tornado alley. Maybe we should all move to Wisconsin?


Bill wrote:

Why are the US government and we taxpayers rebuilding a city that is below sea level and is still in danger of being devastated again due to its geography?

Sandi replied:

Because if we don't we will be called "racist" which is fine with me. I know I am not.

No, not racist. Simply uninformed.

Take out a map and look at the location of New Orleans. You will see that it's located at the conjunction of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Our agricultural products from the Midwest flow down the Mississippi and are exported through the port of New Orleans. It's where we import many of the goods critical for our country, such as steel and crude oil. There are tens of thousands of cargo ships, barges and cruise ships that come through this port every year. This spot is arguably the most critical for the economy of our entire country. You can't move a major port away from sea level and you can't have a port of this size without it being connected to a city. Otherwise, where do you expect all of the people who work at the port to work? Do you expect them to move a hundred miles inland and commute to work every day?

All of our major ports are very close to sea level, including some that are below (Boston, New York, and Miami, for example). In fact, the major port cities throughout the world are, by definition, close to sea level.

New Orleans is also central to the oil industry. About 15% of the country's oil comes from Louisiana's gulf region. The refineries are in the New Orleans area and the oil is shipped up the Mississippi. Again, the people who work at the refineries and in the oil industries need a place to live.

It's simply ignorant to imply that we can move a major port city to a place away from the water. The challenge is to protect it from flooding. The Netherlands has solved that problem, as half of their country is below sea level. With global warming we need to start working on improving our infrastructure to protect our port cities from rising sea levels. If we don't, it's going to destroy our economy.


Take out a map and look at the location of New Orleans. You will see that it's located at the conjunction of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

It is also below sea level, and unlike the Dutch we don't build proper levees to allow safe living below sea level.

Our agricultural products from the Midwest flow down the Mississippi and are exported through the port of New Orleans. It's where we import many of the goods critical for our country, such as steel and crude oil.

True. So how is traffic flow on the Mississippi dependent on residents living below sea level in NO? It isn't, port support people could just as easily live in close areas above sea level.



Donna wrote:

Take out a map and look at the location of New Orleans. You will see that it's located at the conjunction of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Sandi replied:

It is also below sea level, and unlike the Dutch we don't build proper levees to allow safe living below sea level

Part of New Orleans is a couple of feet below sea level. The rest, where most of the people live, is above sea level.

Yes, we don't build proper levees. That's not the same as saying that we CAN'T build proper levees. Given the choice between actually doing the job right and just deciding not to rebuild a major port city that is crucial to our economy, I choose doing the job right. That includes building proper levees and re-building the wetlands.

Donna wrote:

Our agricultural products from the Midwest flow down the Mississippi and are exported through the port of New Orleans. It's where we import many of the goods critical for our country, such as steel and crude oil.

Sandi replied:

True. So how is traffic flow on the Mississippi dependent on residents living below sea level in NO? It isn't, port support people could just as easily live in close areas above sea level.

Yes, and most people in NO do live in areas above sea level. Only a very small portion of the city is as much as ten feet below sea level. About half is above sea level, some at sea level, and the rest is less only one or two feet below.

Keep in mind that the problem with the flooding after Katrina was not the sea or even the hurricane. It was that the city was below the level of the lake and the levees holding back the lake failed. The elevation relative to the sea was irrelevant.


Yes, and most people in NO do live in areas above sea level. Only a very small portion of the city is as much as ten feet below sea level. About half is above sea level, some at sea level, and the rest is less only one or two feet below.

Two feet or ten makes little difference. And where was the greater damage, below or above sea level? I think you have made my point.


I'm not sure what your point is, Sandi.

In any case, if you located next to a lake when the levees that are holding it back break, and you're at an elevation lower than the lake, you're going to get flooded whether your elevation is 5 feet below sea level or 500 feet above seal level.

The places that got flooded were closest to the levee breaches.

The Times-Picayune has a great interactive site that shows how all of this happened. Note the areas that were flooded were between the lakes and the river. Also note that as long as they were below the lakes, they were going to get flooded. As the paper pointed out

An estimated 98 percent of the damaged property in St. Bernard sustained major damage, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency statistics. The storm surge combined with canal breaches to inundate Chalmette and Arabi, even where land was several feet above sea level.

The more you argue the better my position looks.

In any case, if you located next to a lake when the levees that are holding it back break, and you're at an elevation lower than the lake, you're going to get flooded whether your elevation is 5 feet below sea level or 500 feet above seal level.

Umm.. Donna anyone 500 feet above sea level would be safe from all but a tsunami, and a bad one at that.

The places that got flooded were closest to the levee breaches.

Yes, thank you.


Sandi, it is clear to me that you don't have a clue what I'm talking about. I assumed you knew too much. I'll take it one step at a time.

1) Sea level measures elevation in comparison to the sea (ocean). For sea level to be relevant, the water that caused the flood would have had to come from the sea. In Katrina, it did not. The levees were holding back lakes. They were not holding back the ocean.

2) The places that got flooded were next to the lakes--not the ocean.

3) What was important in terms of flooding from water in the lakes is the relative height according to the lakes. These neighborhoods were lower than the lakes, so they got flooded. Whether or not they were lower than the sea had nothing to do with it.

Sandi said:

Umm.. Donna anyone 500 feet above sea level would be safe from all but a tsunami, and a bad one at that.

Again, you are assuming the water came from the sea. It came from the lakes.

Imagine a lake at the top of a mountain with a dam holding it back. Think of a town in the valley below. The lake is 4,000 feet above sea level. The town is 1,000 feet above see level. The dam breaks. The water falls down from the lake and floods the town.

The town is not safe from flooding just because the water in some distant ocean can't reach it.

I don't know how much simpler I can make this. -


Imagine a lake at the top of a mountain with a dam holding it back. Think of a town in the valley below. The lake is 4,000 feet above sea level. The town is 1,000 feet above see level. The dam breaks. The water falls down from the lake and floods the town.

WTF has that to do with anything? There is no place around NO that is 1000 feet let alone 4000.

:roll: :roll: :roll:


Sorry, Sandi. I forgot. You traditionally aren't very good with understanding analogies. I'll try to make it more clear so you can understand.

Here's the original post.

Imagine a lake at the top of a mountain with a dam holding it back. Think of a town in the valley below. The lake is 4,000 feet above sea level. The town is 1,000 feet above see level. The dam breaks. The water falls down from the lake and floods the town.

The ocean is, by definition, at sea level. The flooded areas of the city are anywhere from a couple of feet below sea level to a couple of feet above it.

When Katrina hit, these places were not flooded in spite of storm surges.

These parishes are right next to two lakes. These are held back by levees up to sixty feet above sea level. The levees failed, dumping the contents of the lakes on the parishes below.

Neighborhoods that were a couple of feet below sea level got flooded just as badly as those that were a couple of feet above sea level. The reason they were flooded is that they were at a lower elevation than the lake and they were close to the lake.

The only way they could have avoided flooding is by being higher than the lake (i.e., above 60 feet). Whether or not they were higher than the ocean (sea level) had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

(Sandi, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you don't understand, but, really, I think you are yanking my chain.)


Two feet or ten makes little difference. And where was the greater damage, below or above sea level? I think you have made my point.

Can you really not understand this? Your only point seems to be on top of your head.



I don't give a rats ass about the people in that city complaining. They decided to live there and were subject to a natural disaster. Deal with it. Don't ask for others to pay for your mistake on living there. In a perfect world the whole area would have been submerged under water like it should be, but that's not the case. Instead, since land is available people build and bitch when it goes under. I choose to live in WI where some tornados come through. If my house gets demolished I don't expect others to pay for my misfortune. That's why I have INSURANCE!

In summary, I don't care where you live just don't expect ME to pay for your stupid decisions!!! You can live under sea level, but if you get wiped out don't expect MY money to bail you out!!!


Wow, rocksolid. I hope for your sake you don't have some sort of a disaster and find out what many of the Katrina victims discovered. Insurance companies aren't necessarily honest. Many of these victims actually were insured. In fact, if they had mortgages, which just about everyone does, they would have been required to have insurance. The problem is that homeowners insurance companies refuse to pay for floods. Flood insurance companies say the damage wasn't flood damage, it was caused by the hurricane. So the homeowners are stuck in the middle. Or, the companies are giving them low-ball, take-it-or-leave-it offers for settlements much lower than their properties are worth.

In any case, here's why we should pay. These properties weren't destroyed by the hurricane. They were destroyed two days later when the levees broke. It was our government that built the levees and was responsible for maintaining them. Our government blew it. Our government is ultimately responsible and should pay for their mistake.


Wow, rocksolid. I hope for your sake you don't have some sort of a disaster and find out what many of the Katrina victims discovered.

What many of the Katrina victims found out is that it doesn't always work to sit on your ass as wait for the good old government to come and save you. Sometimes you have to get off your ass and do something for yourself.


What many of the Katrina victims found out is that it doesn't always work to sit on your ass as wait for the good old government to come and save you. Sometimes you have to get off your ass and do something for yourself.

Sandi, you sound like Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake".

Keep in mind that most of these people survived the hurricane. It's the flooding from the levee failures that killed them.

In any big city a very large percentage of the population does not have cars. They move around the city itself either by walking, riding bicycles or taking public transportation. They can't just hop in their cars and drive away. They can't just walk from NO to Baton Rouge. The airports were shut down early. You can't get tens of thousands of people on a couple of Greyhound buses. What, exactly, do you expect them to do? Grow wings and fly out of town?

There are also plenty of people who had very good reasons to stay. Nursing home and hospital patients could not leave, nor could the staff who had responsibility for caring for them. Other people had medical reasons to stay near the hospitals, such as scheduled dialysis or chemotherapy. Some of the women were about to give birth. Some city workers were required to stay.

I'm sure you, Sandi, would have been in the "personal responsibility" crowd trying to get out on your own. Many people tried to walk out of town but were prevented from doing so by the police. These were the people who ended up stranded on highway overpasses or sent back to the Convention Center. One group of tourists actually got together and chartered a bus to pick them up, but the government hijacked the bus to rescue other people. Others left their homes and walked to the SuperDome or the Convention Center, as they were instructed to do. We all saw how that turned out.

It's very easy to sit up here in Wisconsin and judge others. As long as you can find some way to label them inferior, then you can feel smug and not feel any responsibility for helping them. You can feel justified in demanding that your tax dollars not be spent on helping these irresponsible people. Lord save us from the compassionate conservatives and Social Darwinists.


Keep in mind that most of these people survived the hurricane. It's the flooding from the levee failures that killed them.

No shit! :roll:

In any big city a very large percentage of the population does not have cars. They move around the city itself either by walking, riding bicycles or taking public transportation.

Then why didn't they walk or bike their way out? Because they were sitting on their ass with their arms folded. The government is my daddy. Come and save me.



Keep in mind that most of these people survived the hurricane. It's the flooding from the levee failures that killed them.

Sandi replied:

No shit!

Good. I'm glad you understand that. Now let's take it a step further.

If you are talking about the fact that they did not leave before the levees broke, then you are faulting them for deciding their shelter was strong enough to hold them trhough a hurricane. If that's your argument, then my point is that people made the right choice--they actually did survive the hurricane. They did not realize the levees were going to also break.

If you are talking about the fact that they did not leave after the levees broke, then you're ignoring the fact that it was too late. Their homes filled up with water and their only way out was through the roof.

Which point are you trying to make?

Then why didn't they walk or bike their way out? Because they were sitting on their ass with their arms folded. The government is my daddy. Come and save me.

If you are asking why they didn't walk or bike their way out before the hurricane, let's assume they are able-bodied. A high number were not. But, for the sake of argument, you don't get out of the way of a hurricane by walking a couple of miles. To get completely out of the way would mean going, perhaps, to Baton Rouge. That's about 75 miles. They certainly would have gotten caught in the storm on their way. The smarter move was to go to some sort of shelter strong enough to withstand the storm, such as the SuperDome.

If you are asking why they didn't walk or bike their way out after the levees broke, then the massive flooding is the obvious answer. For those able to find their way, they were prevented from leaving by the police blocking the overpass.

You choose to see these people as lazy and dependent. I see them as pretty resourceful people. Imagine your home is flooding quickly. Your only hope is to run up to attic. While the water is actually rushing up to the attic level, now your only hope is to find some sort of a tool to smash a hole in the roof and climb out. Anyone who made it that far is a survivor--not a lazy person unable to think and dependent on the government. By the time they make it all the way up to their rooftops, I'm not going to fault them for needing help to get rescued.

If you are talking about the fact that they did not leave before the levees broke, then you are faulting them for deciding their shelter was strong enough to hold them trhough a hurricane. If that's your argument, then my point is that people made the right choice--they actually did survive the hurricane. They did not realize the levees were going to also break.

If you are talking about the fact that they did not leave after the levees broke, then you're ignoring the fact that it was too late. Their homes filled up with water and their only way out was through the roof.

Please let me make my own argument. No, I'm not arguing when they left. Only that many didn't leave at all, because daddy didn't come and get them.

Ahh, that explains it, Sandi. You haven't thought your own argument through.


Ahh, that explains it, Sandi. You haven't thought your own argument through.

Translation. I haven't agreed with you. :)


Sandi, you don't even know your own argument, so how can I agree or disagree with it?

As far as I can see, it's that people should have left on their own. OK. When? Before the hurricane? Between the time that Katrina hit and the levees failed? After the levees failed?

Who, specifically are you talking about? The people on the roofs? The people in Charity Hospitals and nursing homes? The people in the SuperDome and Convention Center? The people stuck under the overpasses?

And, how, exactly, do you propose that they leave? The only indication I have is that you think they should have walked or biked 75 miles to Baton Rouge.

Your argument is that "many didn't leave at all because Daddy didn't come and get them". All that I'm asking you to do is define who you mean by "many", when they should have left, and what other options they had.

Have the courage of your own convictions to stand up and explain why you think the way you do. Otherwise it just comes across as yet another one of your unsubstantiated attacks on the character of other people.