Friday, November 25, 2005

Crappy Thanksgiving

It was a very emotional Thanksgiving as I was excorting an elderly black woman in to the part of New Orleans that is still secured by Military, to see her home and recover what she could. Our spirits were high as we joke and laughed our way to the "forbidden zone".

Residents can ride a "tour bus" through and take still photographs from the bus but are not allowed to get out. When I meet Shirley a few days earlier she said she was going in and they'd have to shoot her to keep her out because she had nothing left to live for. I suggested that she wait a couple days until I recieved my Press Pass which would get us in without getting shot. I now have a legitimate Free Speech TV Press Pass (channel on the dish network). All sorts of press (and fake press) have been allowed in without question.. but we got turned away.

When our rage subsided we contacted FEMA and spent an hour or so on the phone, mostly on hold, only to be left with 2 other FEMA numbers that she should call. FEMA will not give her anything to cover her "stuff" (because she didn't have flood insurance) and she's not permitted to get any of her "stuff" because of health risk. ... It's her stuff and her risk... She was fully prepared with all the protective gear clean up crews are using. They have been routinely giving money to home owners to cover their "stuff" regardless if they had flood insurance or not. .. Low income renters can apparently do without "stuff".

Before taking her back to her daughters for Thanksgiving Dinner we stopped off at the Common Ground distribution center where her sadness and rage melted in front of the stacks of free food available. I met Shirley at the Common Ground Free Clinic but she had been unaware of the distribution center and legal council. She was able to pick up a toy for her grandson and a winter coat as well as a couple of large bags of food and necessities. I left her even more pissed at the government; but joyous, thankful for the solidarity of real people and armed with some free legal advice for her appeal to FEMA. I could tell from our early conversations enroute to the "forbidden zone" that she was feelng like a finacial burden to her daughters family and it made her very happy to walk in with a cache of food at the end of the day.

I tried to get in alone today and was again turned away.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hurricane Turkey Week

I visited Waveland Mississippi yesterday, where the destruction is much more complete and the monetary loss roughly equivilent to that of New Orlean's 9th ward district. However the number of lives effected in Waveland was far lower than that of the poorer, darker, more densely populated 9th ward. The Rainbow Family run The "new" Waveland Cafe and expect to serve thousands of Thanksgiving Meals... and then their going to pack up and leave, but not without throwing a parade first. (look for it on the news Next Saturday).

A contingent from the Waveland Cafe will be relocating their operations to St. Bernard Parish (Parish means county in Louisianna). This is a badly destroyed yet unihabited area just south of the 9th ward. They feel the need for them in Waveland is no longer present as local businesses have begun to reopen and they're mission is to help when needed, not to compete. (ALL Waveland Cafe Services are FREE).

This week in New Orleans is Road Trip Week for the Common Ground Collective. A few hundred Students and active youth from all over the country are road tripping to NOLA to spend their Thanksgiving Break helping with the clean up efforts. In recent days there has been increased harasment of Common Ground Volunteers and some have been ARRESTED FOR DOUBLE PARKING. This week of thanks and giving could be tense in this city that (ask anybody) is doing all it can to prevent lower income people from returning to their homes and property. Some of the road trippers arrived last night, most will arrive today.

You can look forward to seeing these events unfold on video after Thankgiving. The generousity of several viewers has helped me make the editing machine I've needed appear. Thanks. I be giving again soon.

Related Links ::: see Katrina Relief links on right side column

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Katrina Relief Audio Message from The Barefoot Doctor

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Posse Comitatus Conundrum

Soldiers Patrol the streets of New Orleans at all times of the day, in all areas of the city.

They are welcomed by and friendly with people who live here, the relief workers who have come to volunteer and the previously unemployed from all parts of the country who've come here for jobs, which are plentiful.

If the New Orleans Police weren't brutalizing people and making complelty unfounded arrests... We'd all be screaming about the Posse Comitatus Law... but under the circumstances..

For example.. to relate just a few of the many stories I've heard since being here.

On the day that residents were "welcomed Back" to their city some were arrested for being on their own porch after curfew (their homes had not been demolded yet and staying inside was not safe). One man was arrested for "stealing" his own car. volunteer, non governmental, relief workers have recently been arrested for disorderly conduct & drunk in public when they were simply walking to where they were staying after attending organizational meetings where drinking was not involved.(in a city that allows people to walk around drinking alcohol openly) Any black man walking with a white woman should try to pretend they are not together.. for his own safty. Arrests have be brutal, some times accompanied by threats that in most cases would be considered terrorism. (we're gonna kill you, make it look like a suicide and throw your body in the river).

The commonly consensed reason for these unlawful arrests is that the police force needs to keep the number of arrests at about the same level as before the hurricane or they will be forced to lay off some cops. Problem is, thare are so few people in town that to do this they will need to arrest practically everyone at least once.

The ATF and ICE (which people seem to think are "Homeland Security") have also been harassing those who are here to rebuild the city. WHY ARE THEY HERE AT ALL?

Crime is exceptionally low. The city is full of people living in their vehicles, in tents in parks or in their yards.. The mold makes a great deal of the housing unlivable until cleaned. The rhetoric of welcoming people back but not offering any way for them to live while they seek jobs and clean ther homes is making tempers fly, toward anything governmental, and is bringing a level of solidarity among the people that I have not seen before.

Which brings me back to the Posse Comitatus. It's quite disturbing to me that I myself, having railed against violations of this law at most of the major protests of last year, find myself smiling and chating with the national guard. I'm sitting in a French Quarter bar as I write this and just watched 2 fully armed guardsmen walk by the window. They are needed to protect us from the cops. No one notices them as the walk down the street. If they were N.O.P.D. people would have crossed to the other side of the street to avoid them. NO P.D. :)

Could this be planned? To accustom people to military occupation on American Soil?

Gaurdsmen routinely break rules in order to help the various activists volunteer relief workers in the city. The same groups that are being constanly harassed by the cops and city officials. It seems to be commonly agreed that to get any support to the residents trying to return that rules must be ignored. During Manditory evacuation of Rita (i think) I've heard from passengers of a "hippie bus" that was fueled for free by the miltary guard who wrote on the paper work involved to charge FEMA. Is this a higher level of good cop bad cop? Or are miltary members beginning to see that our bureaucracies are killing us?

Last night there was a house fire in the 8th ward. A friend lived a couple doors down and filmed the entire event, getting spectacular shots of interior explosions, huge flames, and Hero firemen scaling a roof with flames shooting up 20 feet or more above their heads. When the news crews showed up (after the fire was out). I suggested to her that they may want to buy her footage. She showed one of them what she got and while a few of us watched intently he simply packed his equipment and left without shooting a single frame or saying a word. We called a couple of stations and talked to 2 other late comers and the response was "we'll use what we got, we don't buy footage, escpecially for a routine house fire".

I stopped shooting after seeing her footage as well and completly lost interest in being there until the Red Cross showed up. I had not yet seen Red Cross workers anywhere in the city. They came in after the fire was completely out and the onlookers had disbursed. They had 3 large trucks and a couple cars, must have been 20 - 30 Red Crossers hanging around handing water to the neighbors and making sure they weren't too freaked out. WHY WERE THEY THERE AT ALL? It was "just a routine house fire".

I hate to write. I would have much preferred to Show You. But I still can't edit. I'm working on it.

Related Links ::: Posse Comitatus: A principle in need of renewal, The Posse Comitatus Act, New Orleans IndyMedia, AUDIO: aid worker jailed and battered, Malik Rahim speaks on his experience following Katrina and the formation of Common Ground, Common Ground Collective

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Free Grass Roots Feeding Facility in New Orleans to be Shut Down

The only kitchen serving fresh, nutritious meals to the people of New Orleans east of Canal St. is being threatened with closure by city officials.

The loose-knit coalition of groups known as 'the Rainbow Family of Living Light', best known for their yearly 4th of July Rainbow Gatherings at rotating locations throughout the country, have been instrumental in the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina. The mobile kitchen they founded in Waveland, Mississippi, the area hardest hit by the storm, has been consistently serving 2,000 people a day since its inception in early September.

In New Orleans, the Rainbow Family established a kitchen over a month ago serving three meals a day to the homeless, nearly homeless, and underserved people of New Orleans. A half mile away is a facility with huge tents and serving areas set up by FEMA, but it is for FEMA contractors only, and large signs posted outside say "No public services available". In fact, FEMA has been very visibly absent in the city of New Orleans, from their initial arrival five days late to their inexplicable lack of public centers in the city itself.

The "Welcome Home Kitchen", as the Rainbow Family's Kitchen is known, has been serving well over 700 people each day for three meals a day, as well as providing free medical care, a distribution center of clothing and supplies, a community bulletin board and information table, and a sense of camaraderie that has brought smiles and hugs from people in the most desperate of circumstances.

But now the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of the New Orleans Emergency Operations Center, Ms. Cynthia Lear, has declared that the city will unilaterally shut the kitchen down on Wednesday, providing no alternative and no resources for the underserved in New Orleans. Ms. Lear has stated that there is no appeals process for this decision, even though community members at the Fauberg-Marigny neighborhood council meeting on Monday gave virtually unanimous support to the ongoing work of the kitchen.

Please call ms. cynthia sylvan lear, the deputy chief administrative officer of the new orleans emergency operations center at 504-658-2180

and Mayor Nagin at (504) 658-4924, Fax: (504) 658-4938
to express your dismay that such a resource would be unilaterally dismantled by the government while it is providing such an important resource for the community.

I'm in New Orleans, now.
I recieved the above post yesterday morning.
They Still Need People To Call.

They didn't shut it down today but there is always tommorrow. No official will say they won't. There was a communty meeting today (i filmed it) Nagin say'd they would work with us but then offered 3 liasons one after another each one was rebuked by the founder of the encampment one for for bringing in the cops to harass, one for bringing in the ICE (homeland security?) to harass, and the last for showing up this morning with health inspectors looking to shut it down.

They have served 16,000 free meals and no ones got sick.
This started as a free medic place and the communty started pitching in ... and needing food... there are a little over 30 full time volunteers working to feed this communty.

I got some great footage of houses in the middle of the street, a boat in a tree and interviews with people surveying their damage.

The Barge... on a school bus
The Barge sitting on the front of a school bus
photo by On The Ground
I haven't yet made it to the really bad part. I need to print myself a press pass 1st cause it's "the forbiddn zone".

I'm still with out a video editing machine so it'll be awhile before I can release the footage.

There are wireless cafes & bar's available to work from. :)

Related Links ::: Rainbow Family, REMA, Fluxvew Katrina Video anArchive
... I could find no press coverage of today's meeting... Many citizens BLASTED the Mayor, FEMA and the electric utility for.. their neglect... for out sourcing clean up jobs and filling the available housing with cheap immigrent labor and contractors.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Video Shows US Used Chemical Weapons on Civilians in Fallujah

english version
For other languages visit RAI News Italia

The term War Crime does not even begin to describe the horrific HELL that these sick fucks unleashed on Fallujah. When "doing your Job" involves burning the flesh off of civilian women and children with chemicals that don't effect clothing or buildings ... just flesh.. I would expect a good person to quit that job.

Our leaders, Democrat & Republican, ARE FUCKING WAR CRIMINALS.
The troops that carried out these unlawful orders are FUCKING WAR CRIMINALS.
And so are you.. and me for allowing it to continue.

This film and the Depleted Uranium Documentary "Beyond Treason" clearly paint a shameful, yet True, image of the Great United States in the eyes of the world. To the world we are the most barbaric, cruel, ruthless murderers to ever walk the planet. Because the rest of the world isn't being sheltered from the truth by our FASCIST MEDIA.

We can't possibly appologize enough. We are the ass of the universe.

In hind site do you blame the people of Germany for supporting Hitler?
In hind site do you find it utterly incomprehensable that Good People could allow such things to happen at the hand of their countrymen.
In hind site do you think the people who "Followed Orders", "Just Doing Their Job" in Hitlers Germany deserve the fate of war criminals?

And NO the Democrats won't save us. They are part of it. They weren't mislead into supporting the war. Many of the top Democrats were beating the Iraq war drum even before Bush and the Project for the New American Century got on board. How could they have been mislead? Half the country knew we were being lied to before the war started. If they are honestly dumber than most.. they shouldn't be leading anything, let alone US. .. the land of the free?

But Sadam Is Evil...

Related Links ::: Download A Higher Quality English Version of the Above Video, Beyond Treason, Fluxview Iraq Video anArchive, George Galloway testimony ~Audio

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Interview With Those Alive In Baghdad

Brian Conley, independent journalist in Iraq, interviewed on Pacifica Station WBAI 99.5 in New York. Conley is in Baghdad now covering how the occupying American military, the attacks by resistance fighters, and the new government effects the everyday lives of the citizens who must deal with the war in their own neighborhoods.

Related Links ::: Alive in Baghdad

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Confessions of a Wal-Mart Hit Man

It has been a wild couple of weeks as the release of the Wal-Mart film gets closer, and Wal-Mart gets angrier.

They've touched a nerve in Bentonville with the release of an extended video of former Wal-Mart manager Weldon Nicholson, just one of the stories they tell in the film. A manager for 17 years, he confesses deeply personal stories about his crisis of conscience, how it was to see workers who couldn't afford to eat, marking family businesses for destruction, and bribing local officals.
~ Watch extended scenes from the interview with Weldon here
Wal-Mart ... Made in China

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