An Appeal from Michael Moore Sept. 14
News from Inside New Orleans Sept. 7
Backwater Blues ~1927
Crisis Shames US: A BBC Editorial Sept. 4
Michael Moore's Open Letter to Bush Sept. 2
Dennis Kucinch's Speech to the House Sept. 2
H O M E
Breaking News: Bush to Sell Louisiana Back to France!|
Read about it.
An Appeal from Michael Moore|
Last week I closed my New York production office and sent my staff down to New Orleans to set up our own relief effort. I asked all of you to help me by sending food, materials and cash to the emergency relief center we helped set up on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain with the Veterans for Peace. We did this when the government was doing nothing and the Red Cross was still trying to get it together. Every day, every minute was critical. People were dying, poor people, black people, left like so much trash in the street. I wanted to find a way to get aid in there immediately.
I hooked up with the Vietnam veterans and Iraqi war vets (Veterans for Peace) who were organizing a guerilla, grass-roots relief effort. They were the same group that had set up Cindy Sheehan's camp in Crawford and now they had moved Camp Casey to Louisiana.
I have good news and horrible news to report. First, your response to my appeal letter was overwhelming. Within a few days, a half-million dollars was sent in through my website to fund our relief effort. This money was immediately used to buy generators, food, water, a mobile medical van, tents, satellite phones, etc.
Others of you began shipping supplies to our encampment. People in communities all over the country started organizing truck caravans to us in Louisiana. Twenty-two trucks from southern California alone have already arrived. A semi-truck from Chicago delivered ten tons of food. A group of friends in New Jersey got two 24 foot trucks, got their community to load them up with goods, and arrived in Covington tonight. Fifteen iMacs are inbound from California. One man gave us his pick-up truck and another donated truck is en route from Houston.
Your response to my appeal has been nothing short of miraculous. And it has saved many, many lives.
A number of you decided to just get in your cars and drive to our camp to volunteer to help. We now have had 150 volunteers here doing the work that needs to be done. Last night they unloaded twenty tons of food from a tractor trailer in under two hours. Each day more volunteers arrive. Everyone is sleeping on the ground or in tents. It is a remarkable sight. Thank you, all of you, for responding. I will never forget this outpouring of generosity to those forgotten by our own government.
My staff and the vets spend their 18-hour days delivering food and water throughout the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. What they have seen is appalling. I have asked them to post their daily diaries on my website (www.michaelmoore.com) along with accompanying photos and video so you can learn what is really going on. What the media is showing you is NOT the whole story. It is much, much worse and there is still little being done to bring help to those who need it.
Our group has visited many outlying towns and villages in Mississippi and Louisiana, places the Red Cross and FEMA haven't visited in over a week. Often our volunteers are the first relief any of these people have seen. They have no food, water or electricity. People die every day. There are no TV cameras recording this. They have started to report the spin and PR put out by the White House, the happy news that often isn't true ("Everyone gets 2,000 dollars!").
The truth is that there are dead bodies everywhere and no one is picking them up. My crew reports that in most areas there is no FEMA presence, and very little Red Cross. It's been over two weeks since the hurricane and there is simply not much being done. At this point, would you call this situation incompetence or a purposeful refusal to get real help down there?
That's why we decided not to wait. And we are so grateful to all of you who have joined us. The Veterans for Peace and my staff aren't leaving (and that's why we are hoping those of you who can't get to Covington will make it to the Veterans for Peace co-sponsored anti-war demonstration in DC on September 24.)
If you want to help, here's what we need in Covington right now:
Cleaning Supplies (glass cleaner, bleach, disinfectant, etc.)
Consider sending supplies in reusable containers. List the contents on the outside of the package so the folks in the warehouse can easily sort the items.
Clothes are not needed. If you go, keep in mind that you MUST be self-sufficient. Bring a tent and a sleeping bag. People are driving to Covington from across the country and often have extra room in their cars for you or for an extra box of supplies. For more information, go to the Veterans for Peace message board:www.vfproadtrips.org/katrina/.
Send supplies via UPS to:
Thanks again for funding and supporting our relief efforts. It has been a bright spot in this otherwise shameful month.
Read Chuck D's take on Katrina.
News from Inside New Orleans
Berkeley poet and ecology center guy Kirk Lumpkin passes along these reports from inside the city.
Brad Ott writes:
I am adjusting to the fact that I probably will not be returning to New Orleans anytime soon. The University of New Orleans has cancelled its Fall 2005 semester so I have enrolled part-time at LSU Baton Rouge, taking two Sociology classes (including a 4000-level course on Death and Dying) in order to retain partially my educational grants and loans. Thanks to everyone who has emailed well wishes and offers of material support. And special thanks to my friend and host Paula Henderson in particular and the Baton Rouge community in general for your hospitality.
Just a quick overview: My contention of loose barges breaking hurricane protection levees has been confirmed via The Times-Picayune's special Hurricane edition (and via http://www.nola.com) in a September 6th article entitled: "Barge may have caused breach in floodwall". The article outlines that the Army Corps of Engineers acknowledged that the INDUSTRIAL CANAL LEVEE was broken by a barge found "on the land side of the floodwall..." Additionally, the article acknowledges for the first time the presence of "pontoon barges in the 17th Street Canal..." although their location and Army Corps view that they couldn't have broken that floodwall: (quoting Army Corps Project Manager Al Naomi): "The barges were used mainly as a platform for workers to stand on (in the "hurricane proofing" of the Old Hammond Highway bridge across the 17th Street Canal)... Some of them are not much bigger than a couple of desks put together. It would depend on the velocity... But it would be very difficult for those barges to get to that location. It's possible, but I don't think so."
The article goes on to confirm that those barges have yet to be found. And Governor Blanco plus several local and state officials have been sharply criticial of the Army Corps for not starting to repair the breach of the 17th Street Canal until almost four days after the storm. As a result by Day Three the New Orleans Central Business District, Charity Hospital, the Superdome and previously unflooded parts of Uptown and Treme were covered in floodwaters.
As to the areas of the eastbank of New Orleans that were largely FREE OF FLOODING, they include most of the Lakefront Campus of the University of New Orleans, Lakefront Airport, the most-northern parts of the following neighborhoods: Lake Oaks, Lake Terrace, and Lake Vista; most of the French Quarter; the Marigny Triangle; areas on the riverside of Magazine Street from the Central Business District to Audubon Park (including my home).
Also largely free of flooding was Algiers and much of the Westbank of Jefferson Parish. Floodwaters in East Jefferson except for around Old Metairie have largely receeded, though flooding remained for a minimum of one day in nearly all of Metairie, Kenner, River Ridge and Harahan. FIRES remain a big concern, especially when New Orleans water was shut down for three days to repair a broken water main underneath City Park. As of earlier this evening (September 7) water service has been restored though only for firefighting and flushing toliets.
Areas of New Orleans not mentioned above being free of flooding have several feet of water still in them. Treme and the Central Business District's floodwaters are slowly receeding as the 17th Street Canal break is repaired for the moment. In addition, though the floodwaters are lowering, the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans; all of St.Bernard Parish; and Plaquemines Parish below Myrtle Grove remain under water for a ninth day.
Areas east of New Orleans have a different sort of devastation -- near total failure of small structures caused by wind and up to a 30-foot storm surge. They include much of Slidell, Pearl River, Lacombe, LA; plus the counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson in Mississippi (including near total devastation in Waveland, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Biloxi); and Mobile County, Alabama. Latest estimates of expected deaths number over ten thousand (10,000!). According to the September 6 edition of UNDERNEWS/The Progressive Review, morticians and coroners in the affected areas are being given a total of forty-thousand (40,000!) body bags.
I remain both anguished and angry in the wake of this disaster. Two insightful commentaries follow my list of friends and loved ones that are confirmed survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Some resources are also listed below.
Thanks for your love and concern, Brad Ott
Jordan Flaherty writes:
Friday, September 2, 2005
I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.
In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp.
I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess.
One cameraman told me "as someone who¹s been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don¹t want to be here at night."
There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to set up any sort of transparent and consistent system, for instance a line to get on buses, a way to register contact information or find family members, special needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.
To understand the dimensions of this tragedy, its important to look at New Orleans itself.
For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a incredible, glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere else in the world. A 70% African-American city where resistance to white supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras Indians, Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and dance and sexuality and liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.
It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block can take two hours because you stop and talk to someone on every porch, and where a community pulls together when someone is in need. It is a city of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city, state and federal governments that have abdicated their responsibility for the public welfare. It is a city where someone you walk past on the street not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.
It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. The city of New Orleans has a population of just over 500,000 and was expecting 300 murders this year, most of them centered on just a few, overwhelmingly black, neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying that they don¹t need to search out the perpetrators, because usually a few days after a shooting, the attacker is shot in revenge.
There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In recent months, officers have been accused of everything from drug running to corruption to theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile police killings of unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests for several months.
The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child¹s education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest teacher salaries. The equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on any given day. Far too many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the prison. It is a city where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying, transient, insecure jobs in the service economy.
Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana politics. This disaster is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence. Hurricane Katrina was the inevitable spark igniting the gasoline of cruelty and corruption. From the neighborhoods left most at risk, to the treatment of the refugees to the the media portrayal of the victims, this disaster is shaped by race.
Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the tragedies of this week our political leaders have defined a new level of incompetence. As hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us to "Play the hurricane down" to a level two. Trapped in a building two days after the hurricane, we tuned our battery-operated radio into local radio and tv stations, hoping for vital news, and were told that our governor had called for a day of prayer. As rumors and panic began to rule, they was no source of solid dependable information. Tuesday night, politicians and reporters said the water level would rise another 12 feet -- instead it stabilized. Rumors spread like wildfire, and the politicians and media only made it worse.
While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.
No sane person should classify someone who takes food from indefinitely closed stores in a desperate, starving city as a "looter," but that's just what the media did over and over again. Sheriffs and politicians talked of having troops protect stores instead of perform rescue operations.
Images of New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be nsured against loss is a greater crime than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic, just as the eighties focus on "welfare queens" and "super-predators" obscured the simultaneous and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan scams and mass layoffs, the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to cover up much larger crimes.
City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this week’s events, was more about politics and racism than any kind of natural disaster, illustrated exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city. While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending danger to New Orleans and put forward proposals for funding to reinforce and protect the city, the Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the dangers rose with the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the callous disregard of our elected leaders.
The aftermath from the 1927 flood helped shape the elections of both a US President and a Governor, and ushered in the southern populist politics of Huey Long.
In the coming months, billions of dollars will likely flood into New Orleans. This money can either be spent to usher in a "New Deal" for the city, with public investment, creation of stable union jobs, new schools, cultural programs and housing restoration, or the city can be "rebuilt and revitalized" to a shell of its former self, with newer hotels, more casinos, and with chain stores and theme parks replacing the former neighborhoods, cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.
Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a hurricane of poverty, racism, disinvestment, deindustrialization and corruption. Simply the damage from this pre-Katrina hurricane will take billions to repair.
Now that the money is flowing in, and the world¹s eyes are focused on Katrina, its vital that progressive-minded people take this opportunity to fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is a special place, and we need to fight for its rebirth.
Malik Rahim writes:
New Orleans, Sept. 1, 2005- It's criminal. From what you're hearing, the people trapped in New Orleans are nothing but looters. We're told we should be more "neighborly." But nobody talked about being neighborly until after the people who could afford to leave left. If you ain't got no money in America, you're on your own. People were told to go to the Superdome, but they have no food, no water there. And before they could get in, people had to stand in line for 4-5 hours in the rain because everybody was being searched one by one at the entrance. I can understand the chaos that happened after the tsunami, because they had no warning, but here there was plenty of warning. In the three days before the hurricane hit, we knew it was coming and everyone could have been evacuated. We have Amtrak here that could have carried everybody out of town. There were enough school buses that could have evacuated 20,000 people easily, but they just let them be flooded. My son watched 40 buses go underwater - they just wouldn't move them, afraid they'd be stolen. People who could afford to leave were so afraid someone would steal what they own that they just let it all be flooded. They could have let a family without a vehicle borrow their extra car, but instead they left it behind to be destroyed. There are gangs of white vigilantes near here riding around in pickup trucks, all of them armed, and any young Black they see who they figure doesn't belong in their community, they shoot him. I tell them, "Stop! You're going to start a riot."
In happier times.
Photo by Gordon Smith
When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night
Photo by Gordon Smith
Viewpoint: New Orleans Crisis Shames US|
BBC News, Los Angeles
At the end of an unforgettable week, one broadcaster on Friday bitterly encapsulated the sense of burning shame and anger that many American citizens are feeling.
The only difference between the chaos of New Orleans and a Third World disaster operation, he said, was that a foreign dictator would have responded better.
It has been a profoundly shocking experience for many across this vast country who, for the large part, believe the home-spun myth about the invulnerability of the American Dream.
The party in power in Washington is always happy to convey the impression of 50 states moving forward together in social and economic harmony towards a bigger and better America.
That is what presidential campaigning is all about.
But what the devastating consequences of Katrina have shown - along with the response to it - is that for too long now, the fabric of this complex and overstretched country, especially in states like Louisiana and Mississippi, has been neglected and ignored.
The fitting metaphors relating to the New Orleans debacle are almost too numerous to mention.
First there was an extraordinary complacency, mixed together with what seemed like over-reaction, before the storm.
A genuinely heroic mayor orders a total evacuation of the city the day before Katrina arrives, knowing that for decades now, New Orleans has been living on borrowed time.
The National Guard and federal emergency personnel stay tucked up at home.
The havoc of Katrina had been predicted countless times on a local and federal level - even to the point where it was acknowledged that tens of thousands of the poorest residents would not be able to leave the city in advance.
No official plan was ever put in place for them.
Abandoned to the elements
The famous levees that were breached could have been strengthened and raised at what now seems like a trifling cost of a few million dollars.
The Bush administration, together with Congress, cut the budgets for flood protection and army engineers, while local politicians failed to generate any enthusiasm for local tax increases.
New Orleans partied-on just hoping for the best, abandoned by anyone in national authority who could have put the money into really protecting the city.
Meanwhile, the poorest were similarly abandoned, as the horrifying images and stories from the Superdome and Convention Center prove.
The truth was simple and apparent to all. If journalists were there with cameras beaming the suffering live across America, where were the officers and troops?
The neglect that meant it took five days to get water, food, and medical care to thousands of mainly orderly African-American citizens desperately sheltering in huge downtown buildings of their native city, has been going on historically, for as long as the inadequate levees have been there.
I should make a confession at this point: I have been to New Orleans on assignment three times in as many years, and I was smitten by the Big Easy, with its unique charms and temperament.
But behind the elegant intoxicants of the French Quarter, it was clearly a city grotesquely divided on several levels. It has twice the national average poverty rate.
The government approach to such deprivation looked more like thoughtless containment than anything else.
The nightly shootings and drugs-related homicides of recent years pointed to a small but vicious culture of largely black-on-black crime that everyone knew existed, but no-one seemed to have any real answers for.
Again, no-one wanted to pick up the bill or deal with the realities of race relations in the 21st Century.
Too often in the so-called "New South," they still look positively 19th Century.
"Shoot the looters" is good rhetoric, but no lasting solution.
It is astonishing to me that so many Americans seem shocked by the existence of such concentrated poverty and social neglect in their own country.
In the workout room of the condo where I am currently staying in the affluent LA neighbourhood of Santa Monica, an executive and his personal trainer ignored the anguished television reports blaring above their heads on Friday evening.
Either they did not care, or it was somehow too painful to discuss.
When President Bush told "Good Morning America" on Thursday morning that nobody could have "anticipated" the breach of the New Orleans levees, it pointed to not only a remote leader in denial, but a whole political class.
The uneasy paradox which so many live with in this country - of being first-and-foremost rugged individuals, out to plunder what they can and paying as little tax as they can get away with, while at the same time believing that America is a robust, model society - has reached a crisis point this week.
Will there be real investment, or just more buck-passing between federal agencies and states?
The country has to choose whether it wants to rebuild the levees and destroyed communities, with no expense spared for the future - or once again brush off that responsibility, and blame the other guy.
"The name of Bush's relief plan is 'The Aristocrats'."|
-- posted on a Yahoo forum
Vacation is Over... an Open Letter George W. Bush
Dear Mr. Bush:
Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.
Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?
Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!
I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?
And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!
On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.
There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.
No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!
You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.
P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.
"Is this an example of the administration's idea of homeland security? If so, we are in trouble."|
-- US Representative Barbara Lee
Congressman Dennis Kucinich's Speech to the House|
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech today on the House floor during a special session to provide relief money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina:
"This amount of money is only a fraction of what is needed and everyone here knows it. Let it go forward quickly with heart-felt thanks to those who are helping to save lives with necessary food, water, shelter, medical care and security. Congress must also demand accountability with the appropriations. Because until there are basic changes in the direction of this government, this tragedy will multiply to apocalyptic proportions.
"The Administration yesterday said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees. Did the Administration not see or care about the 2001 FEMA warning about the risk of a devastating hurricane hitting the people of New Orleans? Did it not know or care that civil and army engineers were warning for years about the consequences of failure to strengthen the flood control system? Was it aware or did it care that the very same Administration which decries the plight of the people today, cut from the budget tens of millions needed for Gulf-area flood control projects?
"Countless lives have been lost throughout the South with a cost of hundreds of billions in ruined homes, businesses, and the destruction of an entire physical and social infrastructure.
"The President said an hour ago that the Gulf Coast looks like it has been obliterated by a weapon. It has. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction.
"Our indifferent government is in a crisis of legitimacy. If it continues to ignore its basic responsibility for the health and welfare of the American people, will there ever be enough money to clean up after their indifference?
"As our government continues to squander human and monetary resources of this country on the war, people are beginning to ask, "Isn’t it time we began to take care of our own people here at home? Isn’t it time we rescued our own citizens? Isn’t it time we fed our own people? Isn’t it time we sheltered our own people? Isn’t it time we provided physical and economic security for our own people?" And isn’t it time we stopped the oil companies from profiting from this tragedy?
"We have plenty of work to do here at home. It is time for America to come home and take care of its own people who are drowning in the streets, suffocating in attics, dying from exposure to the elements, oppressed by poverty and illness, wracked with despair and hunger and thirst.
"The time is NOW to bring back to the United States the 78,000 National Guard troops currently deployed overseas into the Gulf Coast region.
"The time is NOW to bring back to the US the equipment which will be needed for search and rescue, for clean up and reclamation.
"The time is NOW for federal resources, including closed Army bases, to be used for temporary shelter for those who have been displaced by the hurricane.
"The time is NOW to plan massive public works, with jobs going to the people of the Gulf Coast states, to build new levees, new roads, bridges, libraries, schools, colleges and universities and to rebuild all public institutions, including hospitals. Medicare ought to be extended to everyone, so every person can get the physical and mental health care they might need as a result of the disaster.
"The time is NOW for the federal government to take seriously the research of scientists who have warned for years about the dangers of changes in the global climate, and to prepare other regions of the country for other possible weather disasters until we change our disastrous energy policies.
"The time is NOW for changes in our energy policy, to end the domination of oil and fossil fuel and to invest heavily in alternative energy, including wind and solar, geothermal and biofuels. "As bad as this catastrophe will prove to be, it is in fact only a warning. Our government must change its direction, it must become involved in making America a better place to live, a place where all may survive and thrive. It must get off the path of war and seek the path of peace, peace with the natural environment, peace with other nations, peace with a just economic system."
H O M E