Monthly Archives: September 2005

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment details human impact on Earth

Over at Irregular Times The Green Man discusses the recently released Millenium Ecosystem Assessment:

In June 2001, the United Nations began a systematic assessment of the health of Earth’s ecosystems. The assessment was completed in March of this year. Reports summarizing the findings of this Millenium Ecosystem Assessment are now available online.

There are a planet’s worth of findings in the assessment’s reports, and so there’s no way for to even summarize them in one blog entry beyond this simple statement: We and the other living things of the Earth are in big trouble.

More about the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment:

The MA synthesizes information from the scientific literature and relevant peer-reviewed datasets and models. It incorporates knowledge held by the private sector, practitioners, local communities, and indigenous peoples. The MA did not aim to generate new primary knowledge, but instead sought to add value to existing information by collating, evaluating, summarizing, interpreting, and communicating it in a useful form.

For a quick overview check the Summary.

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Bush and Co: Hiding behind disaster, hiding the Iraq breadcrumbs

The folks over at Imprison Bush discuss the ongoing coverups:

We’ve been distracted for a while by hurricane Katrina, and the spectacular failure of government officials from Chertoff on down to protect the American people.

But don’t put anything past Bush and his dirty little cronies. Under the cover of darkness provided by this catastrophe–while the mainstream media pat themselves on the back for refusing to uncritically parrot the administration’s lies THIS time–Congressional Republicans have killed the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak and the Downing Street Memos. Again.

That’s right, they’re actually using the shadow cast by their latest shocking failure to cover their sorry asses for their previous shocking failure–which, lest we forget, is still raging away in Iraq.

Via Irregular Times.

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Blackwater mercenaries now operating in New Orleans

The folks over at Democracy Now! put out an excellent show today. In particular I wanted to mention the clip regarding Blackwater and this companion article by By Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans:

Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional
killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without
worry of legal consequences. Their presence on the streets of New
Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining
residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the
government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places
like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here. Some of the men now
patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently
as 2 weeks ago.

The rush transcript is available here.

This is, I fear, a sign of things to come.

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Time to Impeach George W. Bush

The Bulldog Manifesto shouts it from the rooftop: Impeach George W. Bush — A Call to All Blogs and Activists!:

The time has come. It’s time to stay on point. The blogs need to unite around a rallying cry of “IMPEACH BUSH.” As of this post, the term “impeach bush” is the third most popular search term at Technocrati .

President Bush has totally and utterly failed the American people. Almost every day we are presented with further proof why he should not be our president. From 9/11, to WMDs, to Iraq, to Katrina– the reasons are many and obvious. We need to impeach him NOW.

The only point that should be discussed is– “IMPEACH BUSH NOW!” We need to pound this point over and over again. It should be mentioned wherever possible, and it should not stop until the mainstream media and all politicans realize that we, the people, will not stand for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, nor the utter lies, any longer.

The Bulldog Manifesto hereby calls upon every blog, from large to small, from Eschaton to Spontaneous Rising , from Daily Kos to Martian Anthropologist , from Crooks and Liars to Bring it On , from The Rude Pundit to The Talking Dog and EVERY BLOG IN BETWEEN!

The Bulldog Manifesto hereby calls upon every activist, from the national activists to the pissed off mothers, from the local politicians to the military families, from the school teachers to the student, spread the word, it is time to IMPEACH BUSH NOW. Cut and paste this post and email it to friends and family, write letters to your senators and congressperson, start your own impeachment blog, sign the Impeach Bush Petition , just do something! It begins with ALL OF US!

It doesn’t matter whether the House of Representatives consists of a Republican majority, we cannot wait around until 2006 for that to change. We can no longer afford to wait. Impeachment begins NOW, with all of us!

While I agree that he needs to be booted and then jailed I want to add that the Democratic Party is no better. Sure let’s boot Bush but let’s not assume that fixes a damn thing. It doesn’t. The problems we face go far beyond the Republicans and Democrats. We need to deal with global capitalism and it’s attempt to dominate life on our planet… that means taking a long hard look at the “democratic” republic that is the U.S. because it has become a primary base of operations for the very real terrorism of global capitalism. It’s time that the citizens of this country took real responsibility for our culture and “our” government and everything in between.

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Bush spin and denial of reality

Joshua Marshall over at Talking Points Memo discusses George’s recent use of firefighters in his hurricane photo ops:

As specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

I wonder, is there a site out there that tracks the behind the scenes action of Bushie boy’s spin machine? Like the spinning winds of a hurricane, Bush destroys the truth.

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New Orlean’s toxic soup and our collective future

Solidwaste Magazine has posted an excellent article about the leeching of highly toxic chemicals into the floodwaters: Katrina: “Love Canal-type landfill” submerged in floodwaters:

Overlooked in many news reports about the unfolding storm disaster in the southern United States, especially in the City of New Orleans, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, is a potentially dramatic pollution issue related to a toxic landfill that sits under the flood waters right in the city’s downtown, according to map overlays of the flooded area. The situation could exacerbate the already dire threat to human health and the environment from the flood waters.

The Agriculture Street Landfill (ASL) is situated on a 95-acre site in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. The ASL is a federally registered Superfund site, and is on the National Priorities List of highly contaminated sites requiring cleanup and containment. A few years ago the site, which sits underneath and beside houses and a school, was fenced and covered with clean soil. However, three feet or more of flood waters could potentially cause the landfill’s toxic contents – the result of decades of municipal and industrial waste dumping – to leach out.

What a terrible, terrible fucking mess.

I’m watching them pump this water back into the lake and listening to folks talk about moving back in and rebuilding the city… the stupidity and ignorance is overwhelming. It’s all reaction and no thought which really reflects the way our society deals with reality. It is not rational. We continue to create and dump these terrible toxic chemicals and eventually we will pay the price. New Orleans will be a dark, miserable example of what awaits us if we continue our current path.

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George Bush, the son…

This is the bottom, I hope:

[After visiting the Astrodome,] Barbara Bush said: “Almost everyone I’ve talked to says we’re going to move to Houston.”

Then she added: “What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them.”

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Kayne West tells the simple truth…

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” — Kayne West

Last night at the hurricane benefit put on by the entertainment industry Kayne West stepped away from the script and told the simple, hard truth. A tip of the hat to him.
I’ve felt for a long time that George Bush just doesn’t care about people… none of us… at all. Lost lives mean nothing to him. He is a man of lies, spin, and political power.

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Katrina: Those left behind

There are those that seem to think that the folks left in New Orleans should pay for their rescue. Look, while I’m sure some did actually choose to remain it is probably safe to say that many, probably the vast majority had no choice in the matter. Poverty is real and poverty means limited choices and a lack of access to resources. It means not everyone has access to a car or the money for gas.
Another thought about paying for the rescue: FEMA dropped the ball on this. I’m certainly not an expert but I think common sense indicates that they fell flat on their face. My guess is that this is largely because of a lack of organization within FEMA and the larger structures in which it fits. You don’t pay for services that leave you in pools of feces for 4 days with little to no food or water.
Those that were left behind are not only victims of a natural disaster, they are victims of a society largely based upon the backs of poor and the working class. Class is one of those things that we in this country no longer talk about but it does indeed exist. New Orleans has a long history and I’d suggest that now is the time to remember that history and learn from it.
America has a great deal to learn about itself. If we are an intelligent society we will learn from this event. It’s long past the time that we begin dealing with the fact that our society is organized for the benefit of the few on this planet. We need to deal with problems we have long chosen to ignore. The levees of New Orleans are one example. War waged on behalf of capital and the over use of limited resources by a small portion of the planet’s population is another. Global warming and destruction of important habitats such as the wetlands are other problems we are ignoring. Peak oil is yet another. It is important to react to our problems before they are in our face. Better to look for the root causes of the problems, better to not ignore the symptoms.
We are all accountable. This is not just about a president and his misguided policies. It is about all of us who choose to live a life in which we are not responsible citizens on a daily basis.

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Katrina: What to do with the toxic remains of a dead city

The Washington Post discusses the clean-up: Extraordinary Problems, Difficult Solutions:

…there may be nothing normal about New Orleans, because the floodwater, spiked with tons of contaminants ranging from heavy metals and hydrocarbons to industrial waste, human feces and the decayed remains of humans and animals, will linger nearby in the Gulf of Mexico for a decade.

“This is the worst case,” Hugh B. Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, said of the toxic stew that contaminates New Orleans. “There is not enough money in the gross national product of the United States to dispose of the amount of hazardous material in the area.”

My first thought is that New Orleans should be abandoned. Remove what must be removed then let the city fill. Perhaps that is a terrible idea. I guess what I see at the end is that the city should not be rebuilt as it was. If anything is going to be rebuilt it should be on a smaller scale with a focus on providing for the ports. A mini-city built on higher ground and surrounded by new wetlands. The new wetlands would be more in tune with what should be there naturally and the mini-city would on higher ground surrounded by a smaller but higher levee system. This new city of practical purpose should be minimal and really would exist only to provide a base for port operations. Cut the population down to 50,000. Last, I would suggest that this should be a green city. Rebuild it as a model of energy efficiency and green technology and put the burden on the energy industry.
I’d also add that the toxic stew currently brewing in the city should not just be dumped into the gulf untreated. Of course I don’t have an answer there but I think some effort should be made to clean and filter the water before pumping it anywhere. There should be no hurry to get this job done. Get the people out and make it a know fact that the city as it was in no more. People should not return.

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