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Submerged 29 August 2006

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.
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  New Orleans Aquarium May 2005

Just throwing up an Open Thread… the above photo is from New Orleans, the aquarium there, taken spring of 2005.  I landed on an index of photos, all of the aquarium, murky, floating images, sometimes mixed with reflections of humans or odd shafts of light.

Seems to fit.  George is in New Orleans.  A city they have sacked and are taking down.  Well that is the way I see it.  I heard his speech and certain lines flat out scared me to death.  When whitehouse.gov posts the text I will put it up.

They are now on to the interfaith service.  What Ceasar does not kill, fake Jesus will.  And I am all for spirituality.  The narrow, state serving religion we worship is not it. 

If anything the Catholic bishop of New Orleans was worse than George… and that is saying a lot.  He claimed Katrina was ”cleansing”.  And the mission is to build a safe city, that the old one was crime ridden.  All we hear is coded language, to mask the hatred.

It was the fundamentalist take on Katrina.  Killing the 10 abortion clinics, the avenging eye of the storm being a fetus. 

Let’s make sure we know what is important and what is not.  And if we appear not to know, they will impose rules upon us.  George in his speech said, the ”rules must be made clear”.

 

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Update, 3:20 pm

George and Laura this morning in New Orleans, text from WH.gov:

[B]ut I also want to remind you that the federal government cannot do this job alone, nor should it be expected to do the job alone. This is your home; you know what needs to be done. And a reborn Louisiana must reflect the views of the people down here and their vision, and your priorities.

State and parish authorities have a responsibility to set priorities, and they’re doing so. We all have a responsibility to clear obstacles that stand in the way of meeting goals. And we’ve got to make sure the money that has started to flow continues to flow. [...]

At this critical moment there are a lot of people making big decisions about where their future lies. I understand that, and so does the LRA and Governor Blanco and local authorities. We all understand that. We know there are people weighing a big decision.

We want to make sure that when they do make the decision to rebuild that the rules are clear, and that the zoning decisions by local authorities make sense. That’s a local decision to make. But we are going to make sure that we work closely together to clear up any ambiguity. See, we want people coming home. We want the rules clear, so when people come home they know that they’ll be coming to a safer, better place.

 

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”Bush “palace” shielded from Iraqi storm’, a McGeough piece from The Age:

[T]he prime 25-hectare site was a steal — it was a gift from the Iraqi Government. And if the five-metre-thick perimeter walls don’t keep the locals at bay, then the built-in surface-to-air missile station should.

Guarded by a dozen gangly cranes, the site in the heart of the Green Zone is floodlit by night and is so removed from Iraqi reality that its entire construction force is foreign.

After almost four years, the Americans still can’t turn on the lights for the Iraqis, but that won’t be a problem for the embassy staffers. The same with the toilets — they will always flush on command. All services for the biggest embassy in the world will operate independently from the rattletrap utilities of the Iraqi capital.

Scheduled for completion next June, this is the only US reconstruction project in Iraq that is on track. Costing more than $US600 million ($A787 million), the fortress is bigger than the Vatican. It dwarfs the edifices of Saddam’s wildest dreams and irritates the hell out of ordinary Iraqis.  [...]

  

Up to 200 bodies are delivered to the morgue each day. Sometimes there is the dignity of a body bag, but often body parts are delivered in banana boxes discarded at city bazaars. The Iraqi Government threatens the morgue staff with reprisals if they reveal information to reporters because the statistics are such devastating indicators of the Government’s — and the United States’ — failure. But one of the doctors agreed to talk to The Age as long as his name was not published. “It just gets worse, especially in this heat,” he said.

“The bodies have been in the sun for so long that they fall apart in our hands, just like that. It’s a nightmare. At home I can’t say anything about it to my family. And how can we believe it’ll get any better? We don’t have enough doctors to do the autopsies and we’re getting more and more bodies every day.”

After almost four years of trying to build Washington’s democracy beachhead in the Middle East, US defence officials now concede that the violence in Iraq is at its worst — in terms of body count, public support and the ease with which Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias exploit gaps in the American forces.

At most critical points the Americans have misread the social, tribal, political and military landscape and they have wrong-footed themselves by denying evolving realities that were all too apparent.

We have to be willing to acknowlege that the plan was for chaos.  Chaos past the drawbridge and over the moat.  Out in the fields where the serfs toil.

We divorced a king, an 18th c Cincinnatus led us then.  Now we have tacitly agreed – all but – to an emperor.

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Update… 6:20 pm

I braved the murky depths of the WashTimes… to get this snippet from Arnaud de Borchgrave:

    Mr. Bush believes deeply that Iran poses an existential threat to close ally Israel. Congress recently voted a resolution that said an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Mr. Bush also believes Iran is determined to sabotage American hopes of establishing a new democratic Middle East.   [...]

   Mr. Bush’s national security advisers have also pointed out that an escalating danger of U.S.-Iran military confrontation automatically intensifies internal and regional opposition to U.S. objectives in Iraq. The president keeps reminding private interlocutors to think of how history will judge this critical period 15 to 20 years hence. He sees personal and national humiliation if he were to leave office having acquiesced to an embryonic Iranian nuclear arsenal.
    So odds makers bet sometime before the end of his second term President Bush will order a massive air attack on a wide range of carefully selected targets in Iran, in partnership with Israel, and against the advice of many of his advisers. Mr. Bush is convinced a nuclear Iran would pose an intolerable threat to U.S. national security and, as one former intelligence topsider put it, “he is firm in his faith that God agrees with him on that point, and certain that history will eventually recognize and properly appreciate his courageous and visionary leadership.”

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Update, 8:40 pm

A memento mori, blksista’s diary, This was Our House

Close your eyes.  I want you to imagine trees that shaded the street, old trees that had thick trunks that provided shade and were not replaced after hurricanes.  I want you to imagine that the house is white with green trim, not the cartoonish pink color.  Pigeons cooed and nested in its eaves, undermining the roof and spreading dirt and feathers, until my grandparents brought in someone who installed netting to keep them out.  There was a prolific bush that hid the rusted manhole cover.  A well-tended lawn that my uncle mowed for his mother.  I want you to see her rose bushes, her geraniums, her Easter lilies lining the side of the house that faced Magnolia Street.  

There was plenty of backyard to play in with the other flowers and bushes.  For one thing, there were fig trees. My grandmother made preserves from each harvest, and the little boys that lived upstairs and I used to eat the rest.  My grandmother was from the country, born in St. James Parish.  She thought that she could raise chickens back there.  Now, in the early part of the 20th century, in certain parts of black New Orleans, incorporated or not, you could raise chickens.  She had my uncle, who was good with his hands, build a kind of coop.  The city turned a blind eye to some of this, but when she brought in turkeys, she was told that she had to cease and desist.  

All around was the hum of birds and insects.  We called dragonflies “mosquito hawks.”  We heard cicadas hissing in their mating call almost all day long in the spring and summer, particularly at five when Mr. E, father of the boys upstairs, would come home from his railroad job, carrying a fresh loaf of French bread or some bagged groceries from Canal Villerie or Schwegmann’s or Winn-Dixie, and tip his wide-brimmed hat to us.  There were green lizards all over who lived in the shrubbery and dined off insects and eyed us cautiously.  We knew better not to upset a hill of red ants.  And then there was the ubiquitous cockroaches that ran around at night outside of everyone’s house and that we crushed with regularity.  [snip]

    

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UPDATE, 10:10 pm

In case anyone is not depressed yet, Naomi Klein in the LA Times today:

THE RED CROSS has just announced a new disaster response partnership with Wal-Mart. When the next hurricane hits, it will be a coproduction of Big Aid and Big Box.

This, apparently, is the lesson learned from the government’s calamitous response to Hurricane Katrina: Businesses do disaster better.

Well if Iraq is any indication, they like disasters.  Like making them, wallowing in them and collecting on the contracts.

We are fully trapped inside a horror movie inside Real Life…

In truth, when it comes to reconstruction, contractors are hardly wizards. “Where has all the money gone?” ask desperate people from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf Coast. One place a great deal of it has gone is into major capital expenditures for the private corporations. Largely under the public radar, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on privatized disaster-response infrastructure: the Shaw Group’s new state-of-the-art Baton Rouge headquarters, Bechtel’s battalions of earthmoving equipment, Blackwater USA’s 6,000-acre campus in North Carolina (complete with paramilitary training camp and 6,000-foot runway).

And when the fun is over… we are going bankrupt anyway.

But here’s the catch: The U.S. government is going broke, in no small part thanks to this kind of loony spending. The national debt is $8 trillion; the federal budget deficit is at least $260 billion. That means that sooner rather than later, the contracts are going to dry up. And no one knows this better than the companies themselves. Ralph Sheridan, chief executive of Good Harbor Partners, one of hundreds of new counter-terrorism companies, explains that “expenditures by governments are episodic and come in bubbles.”

But if you recall the de Borchgrave commentary up post, Bush is convinced in 15 or 20 years history will know what a visionary he has been. 

So screwed…

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Comments»

1. Madman in the Marketplace - 29 August 2006

I can’t remember if you posted this link already, so just in case, re: Israel:

Interview With Ray McGovern, Part 2
By Dahr Jamail

He said that in such a way as to indicate that that would be fine with him, it’s a possibility, and why not? Since then, the president in the US has time after time talked about “our ally Israel.” That “our ally Israel” deserves our support, and if “our ally Israel” is attacked, we will automatically spring to its aid under our defense treaty.

Now, Americans who might be reading this, listen up, as we used to say in the Army. There is no treaty of mutual defense between the US and Israel. That’s a lie. It’s a misrepresentation; juridically speaking Israel is not our ally.

I’ve often been interested in that. When I started out as an analyst I wondered, why is there no treaty? And I concluded, very understandably, that this was a mark of US prudence. Why would we want to tick off the Arabs even more than we already have? Why would we want to be juridically obliged to engage in hostilities in the Middle East?

But guess what? That wasn’t the case at all. In 1967 after the first Arab/Israeli War, we offered Israel a mutual defense treaty with the rationale that perhaps this would give the Arabs pause from attacking Israel again, and give us a certain leverage over the Israelis. And guess what? The Israelis said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I was surprised to hear that. I asked the people who were involved in this, who happen to be involved in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, including one person who was actually in the process of making this overture to Israel. I said, “Why did they turn it down?” He said, “Ray, mutual defense treaties require clearly defined international boundaries. And the Israelis, after they took the occupied territories in ’67 and ’73, didn’t want any part of clearly defined international boundaries. And also, the Israelis really like to be able to do what they want to do. If they want to attack Iraq and take out the Osirak nuclear reactor as they did in 1981, they don’t want to have to ask Washington, they just want to do it. So they didn’t want to be inhibited by any of the normally accepted norms of behavior. If you have a mutual defense treaty, you usually tell the other partner what you’re going to do, if you are going to invade or bomb another country.”

So what’s the upshot of all of this? There is no mutual defense treaty between Israel and the US. But why does the president say there is? Well, I don’t know why he says there is. General Scowcroft, his father’s National Security Advisor, told us, “Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger.” He had our president “mesmerized,” according to Scowcroft.

In any case, he has made it out that there is a defense treaty with Israel. So, the Israelis are smiling all the way to the bank and saying, “Hey, we have no treaty obligations on the one hand, and yet we’ve got just as good as a treaty because the president either really believes there is one or he’s going to act as if there is one. So we’ve got the best of both worlds. We can have our cake and eat it too.”

That, to me, bespeaks a violation of the admonition of our very first president, who happened to be a general and knew about this kind of stuff. George Washington warned us, very vividly, against entangling alliances. The kind of alliances where the perceived needs of another country become inextricably woven around what we perceive to be the needs of our country. When, in fact, those needs do not coincide.

2. wu ming - 30 August 2006

there are no words.

3. JJB - 30 August 2006

Don’t know what to make of de Borchgrave’s story. He’s an old CIA hand who got fired from Newsweek for keeping dossiers on his colleagues. He was also notorious for giving writers for other publications these juicy tidbits he’d never include in his own dispatches, probably because they were pieces of disinformation he was trying to spread without having to undermine his own credibility as a reporter. I remember many years ago reading a profile of him written by, iirc, Robert Sam Anson (another CIA man with a journalistic cover) in which RSA talked about being TIME‘s man in Cambodia in the early 1970s, and having Arnaud quietly but forcefully insist they meet in private, only to have AdB peddle a story about Chinese troops fighting alongside Khmer Rouge forces in the same types of uniforms the guerrillas wore, and decapitating whatever corpses had to be left behind so they couldn’t be identified as non-Cambodian. Anson didn’t bite, and the story never appeared in Newsweek either.

Still, this rings true, as I said very recently about another extremely interesting and thought provoking bit of writing. :-)

I saw Bush being intereviewed by Brian Williams on the NBC news show last night, and was struck by the way he’s bragging about reading so many books (he claimed to have read no less than 3 different biographies of George Washington in the last year, BW didn’t ask him the obvious question, “which ones”?), trying to paint himself as an intellectual after posing as a Joe Six-Pack type ignoramus for his entire adult life. It was interesting also to note that he greeted BW’s mention of his supposedly having read L’Etranger with a sneer and claimed he’d also just finished reading a few Shakespeare plays (again he didn’t say which ones and BW didn’t ask), which I guess in his mind provides the macho antidote to that sissified French stuff (I guess one of the plays he read was Titus Andronicus). He did say “I have a very ecelectic [sic] reading list,” which reminds me of how Dorothy Parker, challenged to use the word “horticulture” in a sentence, said “you can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think.” Or trust him/her to profit from vocabulary building exercises, apparently.

Anyway, Bush said something to BW at the end of their chat that was an almost verbatim match of this from the AdB’s story: “The president keeps reminding private interlocutors to think of how history will judge this critical period 15 to 20 years hence.” So that lends even more credence to the notion that an attack on Iran is inevitable as far as I’m concerned. This guy is anticipating how he’ll be viewed in the history books to be written 25-50 years from now, and he’s determined that he’s going to portrayed as another Alexander/Julius Caesar/Churchill. I guess trying to pose as a voracious reader (claiming to have read some 60 books so far this year, many of them more than 500 pages long!) because he’s decided that Really Great Historical Personages can’t have it said that their favorite book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar as he did during one of the debates against Al Gore.

4. marisacat - 30 August 2006

oh I know Arnaud is a bit of a sticky mess… but for the part I extracted – I am fine with that.

When everyone was so taken with the much publicised comment of Bush about history being something that occurs only when we are gone (IOW who gives cares) … I thought that was not really how he sees himself.

For intance his obvious desire to use a nuclear weapon. I think it is for history in part… . Truman stands alone, he used it. My guess is Bush hates that. He wants in on the most exclusive club.

And they have not used it for a while, but he was so clearly fed so much crap that lauded him as the equivalent of FDR and Churchill. And that he is a Great Liberator. The rightie think tanks refer often to his liberating 5o nillion people.

They think the history will write that.

I think history will write very different things.

I feel pretty sure he skipped thru – but did not read – the books on George W. Imagine what they are feeding him about the great Georges.. I be anything, tho they know it would be a scandal for him to say, but I bet they also tell him he is a new George III. Line those Georges up… ;)

LOL Imagine if that got out… LOL.

5. CSTAR - 30 August 2006

Geesh I wasn’t aware Bush though there was such a defense treaty. Out of curiosity, I Googled “Israel defense treaty”

From a 1998 article published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv UniversityAn Israel-United States Defense Pact?

A defense pact would require broad and full coordination with the U.S. This would diminish Israel’s freedom of action in strategic and military matters.

There are other articles that show up. Amazing. Laughing all the way to the bank, indeed.

6. Madman in the Marketplace - 30 August 2006

I was repulsed/fascinated by the body language of William’s interview w/ our King. Whenever he said something outrageous (though I’ve heard some people describe listening to books on tape as “reading”, so maybe he puts the headphones on before he takes his afternoon nap) he would move in VERY close to BW and spread his arms wide, both emphasising his point AND trapping BW from moving side to side … he’d only be able to step back. It was the body language of the bully hard-sell salesman. It was incredibly agressive, especially paired with that scary heartless smile he has. His face would move in very close to BW’s. He’s a fucking sociopath, and I become more convinced of it whenever I watch him interact with someone who isn’t slavishly supportive.

BW completely caved to him. There were multiple times where he could have asked follow-up questions without being disrespectful to the office (as though there is anything left of the dignity of that office after this long half decade). I hope Murrow haunts them all, the starfucker journalist (and what are so many of them now BUT fucking groupies, and how pathetic do you have to be when your “rock stars” are fucking odious right-wing politicians?!?!), the cowards.

7. marisacat - 30 August 2006

hmmm. Well I saw a diary last night that celebrated how our Dem candidates are Rock Stars. And happily attributed it to Bill, who was our first.

hmmm.

A very big part of the problem is the god damned ‘star fucker in their minds’ electorate.

Not anything new either.

8. JJB - 30 August 2006

Madman:

Excellent point, thanks for mentioning the body language, it definitely was the sort of thing you see from fast talking con artists with aggressively “charming” personae. As to BW’s caving, yes it did look that way, but then the negotiations that preceded this little chat certainly included that no follow-ups be asked, and that Boy George be given the questions in advance. What’s even scarier than that sickly grin of his (which he’s had from an early age, a photo of George Sr. and W. taken when the latter was 9 in the current Vanity Fair shows it in all it’s Demon Seed horror) is the fact that even with advance notice, he can’t give satisfactory answers, or dissemble in a way that makes him sound like a person who actually does read serious books. That they are trying to fashion him in this way is yet one more indication of their total contempt for the American public, and everyone in the MSM.

9. Madman in the Marketplace - 30 August 2006

I have never bought the “agreement” excuse. So what if you never get asked back. It’s there, on tape. You’ve fereted out a bit of truth, a break in the PR lies. ASK THE DAMNED QUESTIONS. That’s their job. Hell, wait for the last question, say:

“Mr. President, why was it necessary for me to submit all of my questions in advance, and for me to agree not to ask follow up questions, or to not show that pile of rubble just yards away? Why, Mr. President, if you’re so certain that you’ve followed the right course, or you so insistent that no one actually question you freely?”

Just seeing the reaction would be vital toward cracking that facade.

10. cactus ed - 30 August 2006

The “rock star” thing is a problem. I think of it this way – too many people, especially on the BBB, see politicians simply as heroes or villains. This childish view underlies the sorry belief that all we have to do is elect the heroes and thereby defeat the villains, and everything will be great. It also explains the wounded cries when someone perceived as a hero – Boxer – does something villainous – endorses Lieberman.

11. Madman in the Marketplace - 30 August 2006

Exactly. I get attacked all the time for being a “purist”, but then attacked when I still support Feingold even when he follows a course I disagree with. Far too many people have an infantile view of life, and especially politics.

12. cactus ed - 30 August 2006

Great example. Feingold is someone who occasionally, and much more often than the average politician, does something that could be characterized as “heroic.” But he’s not putting his life on the line, just some votes. If he loses his seat, he’ll still be a well-off person in the richest country in the world. He’s not a hero; he’s a public servant, and a very good one because he takes his job seriously.

13. CSTAR - 30 August 2006

MarisaCat

Thanks for linking to “This was our house” story. Destroying the house or the functioning neighborhood is one part, perhaps the easiest one, of the racialist project. That story/theme repeats itself over and over, whether it’s a favela in Rio de Janeiro, a township in apartheid SouthAfrica or a NOLA neighborhood. The more ambitious and daring goal of the racialists however, is to destroy the memory of the house or the neighborhood…first by denying the validity or accuracy of the recollected human sentiments. This is accomplished by the more “analytical” writers, in our versions of these, these are the Charles Krauthammers and the WIlliam Kristols.

14. TustonDAZ - 30 August 2006

Well I’ve got a gret summer camp idea for all the racialists out there:

EL ALBERTO, MEXICO — “Run! They’re on our tails!” shouted a man in a ski mask as he led 15 people down a steep ravine and into a thorn-infested thicket.

Gunshots pierced the night air. Sirens wailed. Then came a voice, sounding like the Border Patrol. “Don’t cross the river!” someone yelled in a heavy accent. “Go back to Mexico where you belong!”

snip

A park where visitors pay $15 to hike across fields and through treacherous ravines, a grueling experience aimed at simulating an illegal journey across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We want this to be an exercise in awareness,” said Alfonso Martinez, who acts as the chief smuggler at EcoAlberto Park in central Mexico. “It’s in honor of all the people who have gone in search of the American Dream.”

snip

Residents of El Alberto, a Hñahñu Indian village 120 miles north of Mexico City, know the dangers. Most of the townspeople — up to 90 percent, by local estimates — have ventured across the border illegally. And like most of the town’s 2,500 residents, Martinez is a veteran.

He nearly died after he got lost in the Arizona desert in 1999 and readily concedes that the tours are far from realistic.

But, he says, “They let people get a glimpse of the suffering that migrants endure.”

He also uses the tours to educate visitors on the plight of Mexico’s 10 million Indians, who are often treated as second-class citizens by the country’s mixed-race majority.

“The colonizers stole everything but our soul,” said Martinez, who blends philosophy with off-color jokes during the mock crossings..

Houston Chronicle

I’ll even fork over the fifteen bucks for Chucky and Billie the shit to go through it…no hot springs for them though.

15. marisacat - 30 August 2006

I live just North of the historic black district in SF.

It was torn down as part of Urban Redevelopment -early 60s. About 20 blocks. And left torn down for 20 years or so.

in the process of reading aobut the long running litigation (reading legal dox, from the Discovery part) against a mixed use high rise (Fillmore Center) built in what had been the heart of the district… I read that Urban Redevelopment (classicly a “progressive” policy) was based on the destruction of Europe during WWII.

Having seen an alive neighborhood systematically destroyed and to read the original spark for post WW2 Urban Redevelopment… well I ”got it” — fully.

wilfred just sent this… which echoes many of the problems a black family that made it back to NO also mentioned on ABC World News last night (absolutely killing costs, esp the electric bills).

ABC’s report last ngiht was very good. stunningly honest in some ways…

16. bayprairie - 30 August 2006

Arnaud de Borchgrave said:

Mr. Bush believes deeply that Iran poses an existential threat to close ally Israel. Congress recently voted a resolution that said an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Mr. Bush also believes Iran is determined to sabotage American hopes of establishing a new democratic Middle East.

Laughable.

if Bush is the savior of Israel the Jewish people living there are in the deep shit. It’s over, they might as well just shoot themselves and be done with it.

This is the same man that traded Sammy Sosa. Whats sad is, for a while, that was the biggest mistake he ever made.

Now all God’s chillun gets skrewed.

::::travelling in the north a while:::waving at everybody:::


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