Thursday 18th of August 2022

"Shoot to kill"

saved from new orleans .....

The Reverend Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, certainly isn’t pointing the finger at junior.


The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" - an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week - God's judgment would be felt.


“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion - it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there - and now we're going to start over again."


News from Agape Press

From the book of excuses

Article in SMH

In his article “Indignant voices drown out the facts

Cheap political points

From QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: Hurricane Katrina > Beazley, Kim, MP; Howard, John, MP; Beazley, Kim, MP; Rudd, Kevin, MP > 14:12:00
That was the view of the member for [insert your choice here, this piece for artistry could have come from either side] when he was in Mr Responsible mode yesterday. But a day later he is in Mr Populist mode and he thinks he can score a cheap political point. I think that the Australian people will understand it. Some will be critical of me, some will not—that has always been the case; it always will be the case. But I say to that lady: I understand how she feels, but it is not fair to blame the efforts of the consular officials, it is not fair to blame the behaviour of the government. We did what we could in the circumstances. I think the attempt by the [ditto] to make a bit of political mileage out of this is absolutely pathetic.

Speech: PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS > Beazley, Kim, MP; SPEAKER, The > 16:16:00
Look, I was Defence minister for a few years. You’ve got your special mates in your equivalent defence forces in the United States. You ring up your special mates and you jump on a chopper. That’s what you do.

This "plan" from a bloke who has had bath-tubs installed in every room, to accommodate his fleets of toy battleships. A bloke who has converted the upper story of his house into miniature replays of every war since the Siege of Troy. By his own inference, he has buddies in the US military, so he could have had first hand knowledge of the real-time capabilities of the army, navy, marines, etc. This is a bloke who wants a Coast Guard and Homeland Defense for Oz. If he'd read the reports, he would have known that the levee breach was high on the list of possibilities. Here was a set piece in the waiting, for him to display his intimate ken of how the military can get a relief effort on the go, and he had the existing model - the relief of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy. Was Kim serious, saying that our officials should have gone in, under their own steam, and plucked only Aussies out of the rubble? Has Kim had a word with Bill Clinton, who is pre-empting a Congressional inquiry, where all the problems will be talked out?

There is a fair bit of blog traffic on the positioning of the Bataan, with its hospital facilities.
From Chicago Tribune: Navy ship nearby underused
ON THE USS BATAAN -- While federal and state emergency planners scramble to get more military relief to Gulf Coast communities stricken by Hurricane Katrina, a massive naval goodwill station has been cruising offshore, underused and waiting for a larger role in the effort.

If Kim was up to the job, he would have had *his* plans out last week, showing how the US Navy should have responded. If he wants to be a wartime Governor-General, he has to do some homework.

In the meantime, Kim could do worse than tune in to Terrorism, Security and America's Purpose a conference of  The New America Foundation. It's on live webcast, and speakers include Bob Pape, Nir Rosen, Wes Clark, Warren Rudman and Senator Chuck Hagel.

staying the course .....

‘As the world views the global coverage of this disaster, it is witnessing another America - not an all powerful nation on a mission to bring democracy to the world, but a country with its own enormous and growing numbers of poor, disadvantaged citizens, left pitifully to struggle on their own long before the hurricane season even arrived.

While our emotions are raw, perhaps it's time to reassess our priorities. Numerous telethons and concerts are airing in the next few days to raise private funds to aid in this disaster.


That's fine, but I would like to suggest we use federal funding to help our people and hold telethons to raise money for the war in Iraq.


While the president expounds on the virtues of "staying the course," I would suggest we change our destination.


Our president may have given up drinking, but I think we have a drunken driver at the wheel.’

The Whole World Is Watching

bush to new orleans: drop dead .....

‘Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration.


And it is this incompetence and indifference to suffering (yes, the carnage continues to mount in Iraq) that makes it so hard to be optimistic about the prospects for the United States over the next few years. At a time when effective, innovative leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of war and peace, terrorism and domestic security, the economic imperatives of globalization and the rising competition for oil, the United States is being led by a man who seems oblivious to the reality of his awesome responsibilities.


Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble.’


A Failure Of Leadership

Little bubbles behind

I'd like to draw attention to the fact that in the cartoon leading this blog, I have drawn GWB (apus gradliloquensis) farting under water... Just for the record.

Two Americas, naked.

From The Larger Shame by Kristof at New York Times.
So the best monument to the catastrophe in New Orleans would be a serious national effort to address the poverty that afflicts the entire country. And in our shock and guilt, that might be politically feasible. Rich Lowry of The National Review, in defending Mr. Bush, offered an excellent suggestion: "a grand right-left bargain that includes greater attention to out-of-wedlock births from the Left in exchange for the Right's support for more urban spending." That would be the best legacy possible for Katrina.

I'm not too sure what they mean by their reference to 'out-of-wedlock births', but I am sure there will be no tolerance for men and women who cannot limit their reproductive capacity. The secular West (including those parts that are nominally, and even overtly, religious) have taken great pride in reduction of the fertility rate. A family of controlled size, usually 2 or 3, is the sine qua non of modernity. Resources are limited, even in the prosperous West, so it makes sense to restrict consumption by having fewer consumers. It makes even more sense to expect poor people, including starving Africans, to produce only as many children who can have a good chance of life. Thoughtlessly bringing children into this world, only to have them die miserably, is a profound offence against all that is decent. There is more likely to be a backlash against the 'kinds of people' who live like that, and calls for further strengthening of the borders.

That cardboard cutout of a person, called G.W.Bush, is a mere reflection of the dominant society. Scratch him, and you see the white power elite. It's hard to know whether any political movement can pull the margins together, and turn the tables on the Bushites.

So, I am very pleased to read one of Joseph Turner's paintings got a vote of appreciation (in the UK). Home-grown victory as Turner tops poll for best painting.
It's the 'Fighting Temeraire ...', and it's been my desktop wallpaper for a while, already. There's an image here, and though I cannot vouch for the original, the images elsewhere on the web may look better (or a darn sight worse).

It isn't just the cool shivers evoked by that sunset, as written about by Henry Newbolt ('The Fighting Temeraire', 1898).

Now the sunset breezes shiver
Temeraire! Temeraire!
And she's fading down the river.
Temeraire! Temeraire!
Now the sunset Breezes shiver
And she's fading down the river,
But in England's song for ever
She's the Fighting Temeraire.

From Turner's Britain
The Fighting 'Temeraire', tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up, 1838, painted when Turner was sixty-three, expressed a poignant evocation of the end of an age. Grimy, dirty, unlovely, chugging along with its plume of coal-fueled smoke, the industrial-era tugboat tows the ghostly grace of the retired tall ship Temeraire, veteran of the Napoleonic Wars and hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, to its final destination: the shipyard where it will be broken up. Beauty and significance meld in this work, in which Turner himself may also have felt a sense of superannuation, a nostalgia for the passing of his own time.

The central feature, to my eye, is that fiery smoke belching out of the steamer's funnel. During the age of discovery of the Americas and Australia, the hours alluded to by Turner (a full tide and a stiff offshore breeze) would have been the time the old sailships set out for the new world. That tugboat is the industrial age in full swing, man is using his tools and ingenuity to work in opposition to nature. I think Turner knew that the way of progress had its limits. He had probably seen the remains of the oak forests that were cut down and turned into planks and masts. Frederick McCubbin may have had a similar feeling about the Australian forests.

Turner's painting marks the beginning of the post-modern age, and a denuded planet, stripped of its tall trees. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Generosity for show

I would suggest that the leaders in our warring countries like the US, UK and Australia, may have strong psychopathic tendencies. They have taken charge of our destiny, without an ounce, or so little in appearance and words, of compassion for human tragedies that they may cause or encounter. But when alerted to the outrage created by their lack of adequate action or response — responses that could cost a few bucks from their far-right wing budgets — they show a few pointed activities that would make the most charitable man proud only if the genuine concern was really that of the weak and under-privileged. Yes psychopath can show compassion in an hour of need — their need when their own grubby position is untenable. Their generosity is only for show — to maintain position. In the end, I hope the Boosh apologists will not win the day by wheeling out all the excuses in the book to cover his failures, and praise his promises of good deeds with his good words being peddled, to give hopes to those who suffer. One can sense his heart is not there. Even during the presidential photo ops with a few black people, one can see his total lack of feelings, as if with a fake smile on his face he was thinking that the hair of this young black girl smelled of rancid coconut oil. The eyes of the president are those of someone who fake seeing what there is to be seen, because he seems unable to see the reality, in order to remember exclusively the luna-park fantasy atmosphere inside a small-minded mind.


Remember the scene in the Grieg Funeral Home for Silence of the Lambs? We'll know Bush is a human being, after all, if he dares to step inside this shed to count the toe-tags. I bet Uncle Dick would rather nuke Pyong-yang, than let him puke on his cowboy boots. 

Majority shareholder

The directors of Telstra told the truth, so Peter Costello has rendered them to ASIC for interrogation. The prospect of being whacked on the wrists with damp bus tickets has, no doubt, terrorised Sol and pals. So much, they would prefer to be in the hands of the Egyptians, the Saudi secret police, the Syrian torturers or the rejuvenated Mukhbarat under Allawi.

If that snippet wasn't enough duplicity for a day, there was much more at breakfast. It's a dangerous thing, combining the news with weetbix.

First up, Costello boring the bonnets off Acehnese kiddies, by explaining the merits of Australia's robust, debt-incurring economy in broken Bahasa. Why? Was he competing with his master's effort last week, in the Muslim school. "You .. are .. speaking .. very .. good .. English. .. When .. did .. you ..get .. off .. the .. boat?"

The Tory plans to 'strengthen' Australia includes selling off communications assets, and giving over control of media, to foreigners. But, which foreigners? Saudi prince ups News Corp stake

Peter Pentecostello's preaching to the faithful at the verandah of Islam, on the benefits of maxing out the credit on Chinese whitegoods, must have had the Saudi prince reaching for another stimulating cup of tea.

All very good, at 6.45am, until this popped up. From Downer defends tardy spending of tsunami fund
... A quarterly report on Australia's response to the Indian Ocean tsunami issued yesterday revealed that on June 30, the Australian Government had spent only $7.8 million of the $1 billion it pledged in reconstruction grants and loans. ...

More arm-waving may be required, Peter. But, the free-riding hacks are treating you like the anointed one, so why worry?

This seemed like a script of the same-old boring-old, until GWB broke into song, back on the GWOT. The dog heard Bush, too, choked with fright on the meaty-bite, and we had to do a Heimlich on her. If it had been GWB choking in his pretzel, in the presence of Honest John and Rupert, I'd prefer this definition - The Heimlich manoeuvure explained.

G_d help us! No mud on his boots, no flies on George. Any stage will do, even a massive disaster, to promote Uncle Dick's interests. What a boy!
From US to dissect Katrina response
"We want to make sure that we can respond properly if there's a WMD [weapons of mass destruction] attack or another major storm."

Back to the script - Endgame - Blueprint for Victory for Winning the War on Terror

Back to Cheney's 'Spoon-Benders' Pushing Nuclear Armageddon

But why, why? Wh ... ... C ... ar ...... l ....y.l...e.. ... Carlyle! Carlyle?

But, but, but ... the Saudis sold out of Carlyle, after 11/9/01, so there can't be any connection between the Bush family and the House of Saud, can there? Except that, by now, the Saudis own more of the Bushites. So when, Saudi Arabia's battle with extremists heats up, Uncle Dick is there to remind the Georges where their duty lies. And who is the sworn enemy of the House of Saud? That bloke in a cave in the wilds of west Pakistan.

From President's Remarks at National Prayer Breakfast (2002)
... For half a century now, the National Prayer Breakfast has been a symbol of the vital place of faith in the life of our nation. You've reminded generations of leaders of a purpose and a power greater than their own. In times of calm, and in times of crisis, you've called us to prayer. In this time of testing for our nation, my family and I have been blessed by the prayers of countless of Americans. We have felt their sustaining power and we're incredibly grateful. Tremendous challenges await this nation, and there will be hardships ahead. Faith will not make our path easy, but it will give us strength for the journey.

From SPENGLER: BOOK REVIEW - Deep in denial (or in de Mississippi)
... But archeological evidence tells a clearer story, notes Ward-Perkins. "Much of central Italy and parts of Gaul seem to have been in decline during the third and fourth centuries," while Britain was abandoned, shrinking the recruitment base for the Roman legions and the tax base with which to pay them. It is telling that central Italy, the Latin heartland, showed the sharpest decline. I tend to credit the old-fashioned view, unpopular in the academy, that infertility due to infanticide, contraception, promiscuity and general immorality rotted out Rome long before it collapsed. ...

... Mayan cities came to a sudden end by denuding their land of trees; Rome came to a sudden end by denuding their empire of people. ...

perfect storm .....

From Steve Bradenton


Perfect Storm

Eternal sands of araby

From AL-QAEDA AND THE HOUSE OF SAUD : Eternal enemies or secret bedfellows?
... [the invitees] sat listening to senior Saudi princes, who have been routinely accused of at the very least failing to prevent the funneling of money from Saudi-based charities to terrorist organizations, give speeches condemning terrorism. ...
...Townsend implicitly acknowledged in Riyadh that, if bin Laden's goal was to overthrow the House of Saud and subsequently to gain the prestige that would come from the custodianship of Islam's two holy mosques and control of one-quarter of the world's known oil reserves, then the main US policy objective in response must be to guarantee the royal family's survival. ...
... Riyadh's relentless fight against militants and repeated calls for national unity have conveniently provided a facade behind which the monarchy can abandon the few reform initiatives previously in place and reverse any movement, at least in the short term, toward democratic change. By remaining complicit with the regime, particularly at a time when Saudi citizens remain oppressed, unemployed and in some cases even impoverished, Washington is essentially allowing the kingdom to become a recruiting ground for al-Qaeda. The United States is dependent on Saudi oil, but the Saudi regime is dependent on the US for its survival. Current US policy toward the kingdom should use that leverage to call for genuine reform, rather than just supporting the royal family in the belief that it will keep terrorists at bay. If the US does not look beyond the short-term benefits of stability resulting from its relationship with the Saudi regime, it will face far more severe, long-term consequences.

A fully researched article, full of names, places, numbers and references. I await Sheik Sheridan's refutation to be bannered in The Oz.

The Song Against Grocers, by GKChesterton

photo ops .....

‘It's the most fucked up because it is easily the most crassly political act ever taken by this administration. Bush is so thoroughly a PR vessel that he can't even tour a disaster zone without his human backdrop. He's been a PR marionette for so long -clear brush for the cameras!


That he's become thoroughly incapable of keeping it real. God forbid he try to connect with people, get a better understanding of their efforts to cope with real disaster. That's not worth his time. Nope, it's got to be turned into a frickin' Bush campaign commercial. Everything is political. Everything.’  


Bush's Use Of Firemen As Props



whoopsi gras .....

From Mark Fiore


Whoopsi Gras

"Sinsible" or sensitive censorship?

From ABC online

"""US military bars media from Katrina corpse recovery

The US military says it will ban journalists and photographers from documenting the recovery of bodies left littering New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

The military ban follows a request by the Federal Emergency Management Team (FEMA) not to photograph the dead.

The Pentagon has an existing banned photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq.

Lieutenant General Russel Honore, the commander of the relief operation on the US Gulf Coast, said that while the military had allowed reporters covering the catastrophe free rein, it was now slamming the door shut out of respect for the possibly thousands of victims and their families.

"We've had total access to everything we've done - the good, the bad and the ugly - but that operation (the recovery of corpses) will be conducted with dignity and respect for the families," Lt Gen Honore said."""

losing faith .....

"We had no plan for making the peace. We continue as a superpower: to be arrogant & we have acted as though all is well, when, in fact, daily we have reports of suicide bombings & more disruptions in Iraq." said the Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, a coalition of mainline Protestant and Orthodox denominations.


Bush Support Eroding As Christians Condemn Iraq Involvement

From the ABC Moussaoui case

From the ABC

Moussaoui case lawyer on leave after trial disaster
The government lawyer who improperly contacted witnesses, dealing a blow to the US case against September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, has been put on administrative leave.

Officials from the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security said Carla Martin, 51, was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday.

They did not say what disciplinary measures, if any, might be taken.

The move was taken after the discovery that Ms Martin, a TSA lawyer who served as the liaison with federal prosecutors and the Federal Aviation Administration for the Moussaoui trial, had violated a court order and damaged the case.

Moussaoui, an admitted Al Qaeda member who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, is on trial to see if he will be executed.

Ms Martin emailed transcripts of the trial's opening arguments to aviation witnesses who were to testify for both the Government and the defence. She also attempted to coach some of the witnesses about their testimony.

She also told one of the witnesses, who had been called to testify for the defence, not to talk to Moussaoui's lawyers before the trial.

Due to Ms Martin's actions, US District Judge Leonie Brinkema threw out all aviation-related testimony and evidence on Tuesday - about half of the Government's case against Moussaoui.

She also warned Martin she might be held in civil or criminal contempt.

Ms Martin's lawyer, Roscoe Howard, issued a statement saying his client had been "viciously vilified" and that she must have the chance to give her side of the story.

Ms Martin, a former flight attendant, is a veteran aviation attorney who often dealt with aviation security issues.


Gus laughs:

The US government can't even do things like a very important trial properly... But the fodder-soldiers are trained to put their jackboots on quick...

In your own words, ma'am

From the NY Times

Judge Gives Prosecutors New Chance in Terror Case
Published: March 18, 2006
WASHINGTON, March 17 — The judge in the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui said on Friday that prosecutors could try to find new, untainted aviation-security witnesses to replace those who were barred from testifying because they were improperly coached by a government lawyer.

The ruling effectively allows the government to try to salvage its effort to execute Mr. Moussaoui, the only person charged in a United States courtroom with responsibility for the deaths in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The judge, Leonie M. Brinkema of Federal District Court, declined to undo her earlier decision prohibiting the prosecutors from using any of the aviation officials they originally intended to call as witnesses because they had been coached by Carla J. Martin, a government lawyer who was assisting the prosecutors.

The trial, which is solely about whether Mr. Moussaoui should be executed or jailed for life, was on the brink of falling apart after the judge's ruling on Wednesday struck at the heart of the government's case. The chief prosecutor, Robert J. Spencer, had told the judge there would "be no point in going forward" unless she relented in some manner.

But even as Judge Brinkema denied the prosecutors' request that she reconsider her striking of those witnesses, she accepted a suggestion that they put forward in a court filing: that they be allowed to try to find someone new to present the same testimony.

Gus has no idea:
In your own words, ma'am... what was that again?

protecting the gulag .....

Do you really expect anything less from an asylum run by nazikans Gus?

‘Remember those big headlines last week
about Abu Ghraib?  

According to the media splash, the US was
preparing to close those notorious chambers within three months. That would
mean by June 2006. Well, guess what?  

Those stories were just another piece of

According to the US Department of Defense
news service DefenseLink, "News reports that the U.S. military
intends to close Abu Ghraib within the next few months and to transfer its
prisoners to other jails are inaccurate."

Like everything else in Iraq, the actual
timetable for any closure of the prison will be based on "the readiness of
Iraq's security forces to assume control of them" and some kind of infrastructure
improvements at other facilities. (DefenseLink 3/12/06) If previous reality
holds true in this instance, that means that the Abu Ghraib facility will not
be closing any time soon.  

Just like the reports of soon-to-come troop
withdrawals rumored every few months, the stories of the closure of Abu Ghraib
are just one more part of the government's attempts to keep us hopefully

Whether the media's intention is to deceive
or clarify by reporting these statements, the objective reality is the former.’ 

Shut Down The
Prisons & Shut Up The Warmongers

White House porkies

Hi John,

I saw a link in the "Scotsman" (or was it the Seattle Times? I'll have to check this one...) about a couple of weeks ago on this subject... but the link to the story did not work... I suspect there was a bit of tempering with it from external forces... As the web site was saying that the "Department of Defence" denied the closure of the infamous prison, the rest of the media was frothing up the crap coming out the White House... This was why I did that cartoon with the SAME prison walls (we don't do torture .....) with "better improved" humane torture posted here on March the 8th... With all this stuff it is always hard to know exactly what's going on because of the extraordinary badwill from most of press, but one thing was for sure, Abu Ghraib did not move... If you know what I mean...

From that great article at information clearing house...

"The astonishing success of commercial media in co-opting public opinion for Washington’s wars of aggression has exceeded all expectations. On any day, it is possible to find between 500 to 2,500 articles written on the topic of Iran (from different sources Reuters, AP, NY Times, Washington Post, ABC etc) written from the very same perspective, invoking the same talking points, language, buzz-words and quotes, and creating the same impression that Iran is in “noncompliance” with its treaty obligations. Without question, the corporate propaganda system is the most impressive weapon in the Pentagon’s arsenal. It’s clear that the administration would be incapable of pursuing its current war-strategy without the combined efforts of the corporate media."


We are fighting a massive lie... We are fighting a Colossus...

it's always been thus ....

Yes Gus, but it's always been thus.

Only the names of the players, the scale of disinformation / propaganda involved & the stakes have changed.

That's why it's even more important to expose these criminals. 

Passing the buck

From the New York Times

Senate Panel Calls for New Agency to Replace FEMA

Published: April 27, 2006
WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Federal Emergency Management Agency was so fundamentally dysfunctional during Hurricane Katrina that Congress should abolish it and create a new disaster response agency from scratch, leaders of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee said today.

"The first obligation of government is to protect our people," Senator Susan M. Collins, Republican of Maine and chairman of the panel, said at a news conference. "In Katrina, we failed at all levels of government to meet that fundamental obligation."

Read more at the new York Times


Gus: Thank you Senator Susan M. Collins, but was it not the management of FEMA that screwed up rather than the organization itself? When that organization was headed by professionals under the Clinton administration, did it not move mountains and achieved results only dreamed of by this inept administration?...

Then when the little inept present president was voted in — with the help of corrupt practice in Florida — he started to place his inept mates in charge of this most important organization, then he absorbed it in his greater network of national security fiasco... FEMA lost its initiative and responsive responsibilities... Sure something needs to be done but why not call a spade a shovel since it was El Bonsaio's fault for the debacle... Impeach the moron, impeach the inept, Impeach the big liar, Impeach the opportunist, impeach the dangerous decider... But really revive FEMA in its own right, use the good people there whose hands were tied, untie their hands and give them the power to act... The US will sure need that sooner that you think... creating a new organization takes time, the twister season is in full swing and the hurricane season is starting soon... Not to mention the "big one" that could hit the US western coast line any time... Wake up and point the finger at YOUR republican prez, little miss... and see the cartoon of the farting-under-water-president heading this line of blogs...

shoot to stop them escaping disaster...

from the BBC

Six New Orleans police officers have been charged in connection with the fatal shooting of civilians on a bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

Four officers are alleged to have opened fire on unarmed people on the city's Danziger Bridge. Two died and four were hurt in the 2005 incident.

Two supervisors are accused of joining the four officers in attempting a cover-up in subsequent investigations.

The six accused have so far not responded to the charges.

According to the US justice department indictment, police officers Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso opened fire on a family on the east side of the bridge on 4 September 2005, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring three other people.

Minutes later, officers were involved in a second shooting on the west side of the bridge, resulting in the death of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with learning difficulties, the indictment says.

If convicted over the deaths of civilians, the four face maximum sentences of life in prison or the death penalty.

They also face charges related to a conspiracy to cover up what happened on the bridge and a conspiracy to file charges against two of those injured in the incident, claiming that they had fired at police.

Sgts Arthur Kaufman and Gerard Dugue are accused alongside the four officers with trying to cover up what happened.


see toon at top...

rebounding well from the devastation

Katrina, Five Years Later

New Orleans is rebounding well from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and could conceivably end up on a stronger economic footing than before the storm — if the city redevelops in the right way. For that to happen, federal, state and local authorities must step up the effort to restore flood-damaged neighborhoods, some of which are heavily blighted and still have less than half their prestorm populations.

For starters, the state and federal government need to find more effective ways of working with community-based, nonprofit programs that have a good record of helping cash-strapped property owners restore their homes. (The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Louisiana are collaborating on a pilot program, but more needs to be done.)

Congress, which has failed the city in any number of ways, must quickly extend the life of a crucial tax credit for corporations that invest in desperately needed affordable housing projects. Without that fix, the region will likely lose financing for thousands of apartments, many of them earmarked for the most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and the disabled.

A new report prepared by the Brookings Institution and the nonpartisan Greater New Orleans Community Data Center contains a great deal of good news.

Entrepreneurs are starting new businesses in significantly higher numbers than before the storm. Wages and median household incomes have risen compared with a decade ago. Arts and cultural organizations appear to be thriving. Thanks to reform-minded school leadership, the public school system has improved and become a magnet for teacher talent.

A new system of more than 90 community centers has given the city’s poor residents better access to mental health services and preventive medical care. And the city now boasts a population that is more engaged civically — and more deeply involved in matters of governance — than ever.

But the region faces huge challenges. The dearth of affordable housing casts a long shadow on the city’s future. At the moment, nearly 60 percent of city renters spend more than 35 percent of their incomes on housing. Nationally, about 40 percent of renters spend that much. These people skimp on nutrition and medical care, undermining the well-being of children, and are chronically at risk of homelessness. They move often — one step ahead of eviction — which leads to higher employee turnover, higher training costs and lower productivity. And without more affordable housing, some areas of the city could remain permanently vacant.


I have friends in New Orleans who have been working frantically to get things done better and properly for all... But the next question lingers: is there another Katrina around the corner? Are the levies strong enough to hold back the effect of an even stronger storm? Behind Hurricane Earl about to hit the US coast soon, there are presently another three large storms with potential to develop into monstrous hurricanes. Hard to predict but since there was one Katrina, there are chances of another one in the near future. Thus the city below the river level and protected by levies can expect to be hit in the next two years by another super-storm. We'll see... I hope I am wrong. See toon at top.

reminding the south when GOP failed new orleans...


In a speech in the Lower Ninth Ward, Obama said the city “had long been plagued by structural inequalities that left too many people, especially poor people, especially people of color, without good jobs or affordable healthcare or decent housing.”

“What started out as a natural disaster became a manmade one – a failure of government to look out for its own citizens,” Obama said, before touting government efforts to rebuild the city and region.

An estimated 80% of New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level, was flooded in the storm and from levee breaches that followed. Health officials counted at least 971 dead in Louisiana from the storm, and a similar number died in other coastal states.

Resentment in the region has lingered over a dithering initial response to the disaster by the federal emergency management agency (Fema), by perceived disparity in relief efforts that have led some areas to recover more quickly than others, and by difficulty for some residents in accessing relief funds.

Obama highlighted tens of billions of federal dollars that have been funneled to the region to restore coastal areas, rebuild hospitals, homes and schools, and improve emergency response infrastructure.

More needs to be done, Obama said.


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bigger than katrina...


At least 15 cemeteries in seven parishes were affected, the Louisiana Department of Health said Saturday.

Search teams were looking for more bodies or survivors, and will continue to go house to house at least through the weekend, Brant L. Thompson from the State Fire Marshal's office was quoted as saying.

"If we go by and this house has waterline up to the roof line, no one's been there, there's no trash piled out by the road, we want to check that house to see if anyone inside that, maybe, perished," Clint Sistrunk, a firefighter, told the newswire.

About 60,000 homes have been damaged, and 102,000 people have registered for federal assistance. Breitbart says more than 40,000 homes have been destroyed in the state, including in East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Lafayette and surrounding Acadia and Florida Parishes.

The federal government has declared 20 parishes in the state as hit by a major disaster.

At least 13 people have died, with fatalities spread from Tangipahoa Parish to western Rapides Parish, according to, which said East Baton Rouge Parish recorded the most flood-related deaths, with five. Three people died in Tangipahoa Parish, two in St. Helena, two in Livingston and one in Rapides, it added.

As about 2.5 feet of rain fell in parts of Louisiana last week, several rivers in southern parts of the state breached their banks and poured into surrounding homes and businesses, the National Weather Service said.



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In March, the National Weather Service had categorized a flood that had hit St. Tammany Parish as a 500-year flood. The current inundation has been called a 1,000-year flood. These determinations are based on the chances of several factors coming together to cause a weather event. These calculations don’t seem to have factored climate change in to the equation. As I drove, I heard on WRKR, an affliate of National Public Radio, that Louisiana had experienced eight separate “500 year storms” in less than two years.

On Saturday, at the height of the storm, Cherri Foytlin, while driving through rising waters, declared that while we talk about preventing climate change, the climate has changed. 

Once she is finished dealing with her flooded home, she plans to continue her fight to slow down climate change. This coming Saturday Foytlin will join a group of activists trying to prevent the federal government from leasing more areas in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling. Next week, the government plans to auction off 20 million acres along the Gulf Coast for this purpose. 

Major weather events in Louisiana affect not just the state but the nation at large because they interfere with oil and gas production, as well as the transport of a wide range of goods along the Mississippi River and Interstate I-10, a major commerce route. As the climate continues to change, oil and gas operations will inevitably find it difficult to keep running when storms and other extreme weather, which are growing in intensity, strike the Gulf Coast. 

Once the cleanup is well underway, perphaps those who stand firm in Louisiana on allowing the fossil fuels industry to continue to grow will change their outlook. 

sally and others...

A newly formed hurricane is closing in on the US Gulf Coast, threatening several southern US states including Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.

Hurricane Sally grew to a category two storm on Monday and was expected to make landfall early on Wednesday.

The hurricane will bring more than 1ft (30cm) of rain and 85mph (135km/h) winds to some areas, with the potential of deadly storm surges, officials say.

This year's hurricane season has been particularly active.

For only the second time in recorded history, there are five tropical storms churning in the Atlantic basin at the same time. 

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, whose state is still recovering from Hurricane Laura last month, tweeted on Monday to warn residents to "be smart and be safe".

Alabama and Mississippi each declared states of emergency in anticipation of the hurricane, which at 21:00 GMT on Monday was located 145 miles south-east of Biloxi, Mississippi, and moving towards land at a rate of 6mph.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Sally was expected to make landfall near Biloxi at about 02:00 (06:00 GMT) on Wednesday.



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the poor of new orleans...


From DemocracyNow!


As the death toll from the remnants of Hurricane Ida in the northeastern United States climbs to 46, President Biden is visiting New Orleans, which is under curfew enforced by police and the National Guard as most of the city remains in the dark amid sweltering temperatures. “This is truly déjà vu,” says Malik Rahim, who joins us by phone from the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, where he co-founded the mutual aid group Common Ground Collective after Hurricane Katrina. “This hurricane happened when it was the worst time in America to be poor.”



This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.  

AMY GOODMAN: The death toll from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, that led to flash floods and tornadoes in the northeastern United States, has now topped 46. In a speech Thursday, President Biden addressed the natural disasters across the United States.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The people of Louisiana and Mississippi are resilient and resourceful. We’re going to stand with you for as long as it takes to recover and allow you to rebuild. And to the country: The past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here. We need to do — be much better prepared. We need to act.

AMY GOODMAN: This comes as a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency details how people of color in the United States will bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

Nearly a million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi are without power after Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday. Nearly a week later, most of the city of New Orleans remains in the dark. Reports are coming in of tragic scenes, including in Independence, Louisiana, where four nursing home residents died and nearly 800 more were rescued from a warehouse, after they were taken there to ride out the storm from seven nursing homes, all owned by the same Baton Rouge businessman. They spent six days there, and several officials described the elderly living in inhumane conditions, some calling out for medicine, others stuck in diapers full of feces.

Meanwhile, the city of New Orleans remains under a curfew imposed Tuesday by the mayor and New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson, who spoke Tuesday.

SHAUN FERGUSON: Effective today, 8 p.m. tonight, we will be enforcing our curfew ordinance, meaning that we are expecting everyone to comply. We also continue to enforce our anti-looting deployment. That added capacity in which the mayor mentioned, LANG, Louisiana National Guard, LSP will be in here with us, as well. Our Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office has also assisted with this deployment. So we have more additional capacity to address the needs of our city.


AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to New Orleans, to the neighborhood of Algiers, to speak by phone with Malik Rahim. We spoke to him extensively during Hurricane Katrina — you know that Ida hit on the 16th anniversary of Katrina. We spoke to him during Katrina, its aftermath, when he co-founded the Common Ground Collective, which helped bring thousands of people from all over the world to assist in the rebuilding of the city. He’s also one of the founders of the Louisiana chapter of the Black Panther Party. In 2008, he was a congressional candidate for the Green Party.

Malik, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us. I spent a lot of time with you walking through Algiers. Now you are there, continuing to help people. But talk about who isn’t there and just the condition of where you are right now.

MALIK RAHIM: Well, first of all, Amy, I am honored once again to be able to do an interview with you. I’m in now — can you hear me?

AMY GOODMAN: We hear you perfectly. And I want to tell our audience, we didn’t want to bring Malik on Skype or use anything that would require more energy, because of the complete power outage in New Orleans. So, thank you, Malik, for joining us by phone.

MALIK RAHIM: All right. But, again, it’s an honor to be on your show. But before I go any further, first I’ve got to give praise to my lord and savior, Christ Jesus, and to the God of Abraham.

From there, Amy, I’m going to tell you, this is déjà vu. This is truly déjà vu. And by that, I mean it’s happening again, same day. Then that means in less than a month we have another hurricane coming here. This is not nothing new. This happened in Lake Charles. It was hit by two Category 5 hurricanes in a little over a month. So, if this is déjà vu, then we need to start getting prepared for another one.

Now, as for what is lacking, what is lacking is the understanding that, once again, the poor was left. You know, those who have wealth, they left. Those who had any kind of income, when this hurricane, when Ida came this way, they left. They locked their second and third car up in their yard, in their driveway, and they left. They didn’t worry about giving the food away, that they knew was going to go bad. They just left. So, that’s the reason why, once again, people start looting, because, once again, this hurricane happened when it was the worst time in America to be poor. After spending everything you had on school supplies, now you’re stuck. Now you’re stuck in a city that has a heat index of 105. And the thing that really got to me that was lacking up until yesterday was ice, because if you didn’t have any money because you were broke and you was waiting on the 1st, you couldn’t even go and buy a bag of ice. And if you bought one, walking in this heat back to your home, you already lost at least a third of it. So, you have people like this. Then the frustration came when the 1st came, when they had money in their account but they can’t access it. So that brings about it.

But there is a saying — and I love what President Biden said, because he has the experience. He had witnessed what happened during Katrina. He was in government then. Then he was vice president when other national disasters happened. So, and by that, I mean he has the experience. And the experience is, when he said we need to get prepared, that it can’t be no just one-sided preparation.

In the aftermath of Katrina, we served over half a million people. This has been acknowledged by groups all over the world — with the exception of the city of New Orleans. I mean, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience has designated not me, but my house, as an International Site of Conscience, recognized in over 65 nations — but not in the city of New Orleans.

You know, so, again, we have — because the thing that is needed is the emergency disaster teams made up of people of their community. They could work in conjunction especially with the fire department and make sure that their community is taken care of. And if this was going on, then we could be better prepared, that if we’d be hit with another Rita, it wouldn’t catch us in the same dismal situation, where we have to force people to go to shelters. Then we could prepare for it.

And the thing that is needed, that’s happening now, Amy, is the fact that now we have this going on, this going on right now. And look at where the need is. You know what I mean? This is going on during a pandemic. Nobody is talking right now how about what’s going to be the next impact that we’re going to hit — get hit with, with all these roofs that is leaking, where the only person that can afford to get their roof repaired is the rich, and the only person right now that is able to afford to get somebody to put a tarp on their roof is those with some kind of money.

AMY GOODMAN: Malik, on Tuesday, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell imposed a citywide curfew for all the residents from 8 p.m. to 6:00 in the morning. The police chief said that the Louisiana State Police and National Guard are supplementing police patrols. Have you seen these troops? Have you seen the National Guard? How are they being used?

MALIK RAHIM: Well, I’m going to tell you one thing right now, what I’ve seen. I’ve seen more of a — at least until he enforced this anti-looting law, bill, that we was working together, like we didn’t work during Katrina, that they was paying people the type of respect.

But, Amy, you know, I mean, it’s heartbreaking when you see a woman with three kids in a house with no air conditioning, no fan, with nothing, you know, not even ice; when you see people that are fearful of taking their medication because they feel that it’s gone bad, because, again, there’s no ice.

But the thing that we have to look at is the next wave that’s about to hit this city. And that is mold infestations, because every house that got water in it gonna suffer with mold infestation. Are we prepared for it? Will you have people that’s taking bleach and bleaching out their walls and killing themselves in the act trying to rid their homes of mold? Because that’s the next thing that’s going to happen. Mold abatement got to be right there on top of it.

And then the next thing is our — is the Gulf Coast, our wetlands. Our wetlands was hit: Port Fourchon, Galliano, Cocodrie — I could go on — the Grand Isle. These people took the brunt of this. But they also sit right there in the petroleum industry. We have almost — we have thousands of abandoned oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. We have thousands of them. What has been the impact of them? We need groups like Greenpeace to come down here and step up, and not just for agitation or for anything. But how can we work together? How can we work together with companies that have the reputation of working during these type of crisis?


MALIK RAHIM: Next year, we — yes.

AMY GOODMAN: President Biden is coming to New Orleans today. What message do you have for him?

MALIK RAHIM: No, well, he came yesterday. I thought he came yesterday. But if he’s coming today, only thing I could — you know, again, I’m not one of the privileged few that would be able to see him. But my message to him would be, is to work with the community. The community is, you know, a strong community. They don’t need nobody to lead them. They know what to do. Work with the faith-based institutions here. Amy, right now in Algiers, we’ve got three movie studios that have produced movies for over the last 10 years, have made billions of dollars. None of them have contributed nothing to this community, other than making it now unaffordable for you to even rent. That’s the reason why the crisis in New Orleans is so bad. People here can’t rent in New Orleans. They can’t afford it, not the working poor. They’re already making half of what the average white family here are making. And now they can’t afford it. Every time there is a lot that’s empty, you see a house, a big, beautiful home, built in there. But nobody’s helping the poor families and trying to keep them.

Amy, listen, for over 12 years, I’ve been living in this house without water. I haven’t done no repairs. My garage, it just about done fell down. So, the need is — and I’m going to tell you, if something isn’t happening, don’t happen, because we are — we are reorganizing Common Ground with the assistance of mutual aid and other former Common Grounders. Maybe they cannot come down, but they know what is needed to help us. We’re looking for Tyvek suits. We’re looking for respirators. We’re looking for gloves and boots that can be used so that we could show people, when they have to gut out their houses, how to correctly do it and how to do the mold remediation.

But then, at the same time, we’ve got to look at that Gulf. I heard you mention about that oil spill. We’ve got to understand this. That’s why next year, during Katrina, we’re going to have déjà vu again, because I’m calling for an environmental conference to be held here in New Orleans, where we can come together and talk about making sure that the safeguards is in place to assure that that Gulf is kept as clean as possible.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Malik, we’re going to come back to touch base with you. I want to thank you so much for spending this time and the electricity you have in your phone. Malik Rahim, in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, with a powerful message for the world. We first met him during Hurricane Katrina, in its aftermath, when he co-founded the Common Ground Collective, which helped bring thousands of people from around the world to help rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding areas. He’s also one of the founders of the Louisiana chapter of the Black Panther Party, was a congressional candidate for the Green Party. Be safe. And again, we will talk to you soon.

Next up, ahead of this Labor Day weekend, we look at Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America with New Yorker writer Eyal Press and the people he profiles, like a former drone operator and a family member of a meatpacking worker. Stay with us.


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Note that another hurricane (Larry in mid-Atlantic) is on its way towards Florida and possibly New Orleans should it stay on its West-North-West course... But it is likely to veer northward towards New Jersey or peel back towards Europe tomorrow...