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11.18 How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet

11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

11.13 What would a smog-free city look like?

11.13 Global report highlights Australia’s renewables potential amid mixed signals for coal

11.13 Interior department whistleblower: Ryan Zinke hollowed out the agency

11.12  This Land is Your Land:  The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]

11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

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11.19 The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About

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11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]

11.19 Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Giving $1.8 Billion for College Financial Aid

11.19 Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage

11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder

11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]

11.19 SNL explains Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s HQ2 strategy: trolling President Trump [2:55 SNL video]

11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]

11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]

11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]

11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]

11.17 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare

11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 Trump Is Starting to Panic

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11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

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11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]

11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]

11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]

11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

International & Futurism

11.18 New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit

11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

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  Print view: Katrina's Destructive Aftermath
WILLFUL SOCIAL ENGINEERING:

Katrina's Destructive Aftermath

New Orleans is now two cities, one for the white and rich that has largely recovered, the other for far fewer poor and Blacks.

by Stephen Lendman
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Post-Katrina, New Orleans bears testimony to a callous, uncaring nation. "America the beautiful" is for the privileged alone - no one else, especially people of color, the poor and disadvantaged, "The Big Easy" their ground zero.

August 29, 2005, a day of infamy remembered less for the storm, catastrophic floods and destruction, and more as a metaphor for disaster capitalism, exploiting security threats, "terror" attacks, economic meltdowns, and "natural" disasters like Katrina.

It turned this aging senior into a writer and radio host, furious over federal, state and local authorities using it to reward business at the expense of New Orleans' poor Blacks. Five years later, their lives remain in disarray through no fault of their own.

Levies protecting their neighborhoods were left weak, vulnerable to fail as they did, then Congressman Richard Baker (R. LA) saying, "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it but God did," with considerable willful negligence help.

Malik Rahim, (New Orleans) Common Ground Relief (CGR) co-founder said:

"They wanted them poor niggers out of there and they ain't had no intention to allow it to be reopened to no poor niggers, you know? And that's just the bottom line."

Blank is beautiful. Ethnic cleansing was long-planned, the scheme, of course, to erase poor neighborhoods, replacing them with upscale condos and other high-profit projects on choice city land, New Orleans developer Joseph Canizaro saying, "we (now) have a clean (slate) to start (over and take advantage of) big opportunities."

A year later, an affected resident spoke for many saying:

"They('re) just messing all over us. Putting me out of our own house. We (try going) back and when we get there they got the police there putting us out....they ain't letting nobody in....but where (am I) going to go - me and my kids?"

Rahim calls New Orleans two cities, one "for the white and rich, (the other) for the poor and Blacks. (The former) recovered. They had a Jazz Fest....a Mardi Gras....But for those who haven't recovered, there's nothing." Most haven't been allowed back. Their neighborhoods were stolen for development, Katrina a chance to wage class warfare against them, no match for predators turning tragedy into profit.

It's a familiar pattern nationwide and in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, commerce following the flag abroad and exploiting natural disasters at home, complicit politicians easing "free market" solutions for the privileged.

Though no match against dark, entrenched forces, Rahim's Common Ground Relief fought back. Founded right after Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward, it's a volunteer not-for-profit organization running numerous projects, including new home construction, free medical and legal help, education for school children, community gardening, a women's shelter, job training, wetlands restoration, food security and environmental science.

By mobilizing people to work together against long odds, it provides hope through "short term relief for victims (and) long term support in rebuilding" destroyed communities. In the Lower 9th alone, 14,000 people and 4,800 homes were affected, most residents with longstanding neighborhood roots, enjoying "the highest percentage of African American home ownership of any city" in America. Losing them meant "the disappearance of (their) major asset, economic livelihood and, as a result, their future."

Bill Quigley is a longtime activist/Law Professor, Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director, and former Loyola University, New Orleans Director of the Law Clinic and Gillis Long Poverty Law Center.

Three years post-Katrina, his aftermath assessment was disturbing but unsurprising, including:

  • renters getting no financial aid;
  • rental homes not repaired;
  • unaffordable housing for poor and low income people because rents, on average, rose 46%;
  • no rebuilding plans for destroyed public housing;
  • thousands of poor neighborhood homes demolished to prevent residents from returning;
  • half the city's public schools destroyed, replaced by privatized ones; today, 75% are for-profit, favoring Whites, shutting out Blacks;
  • all unionized city school employees fired, then selectively rehired for less pay and few or no benefits;
  • displaced Blacks entirely disenfranchised;
  • four of the 13 city Planning Districts as much at flood risk as before Katrina;
  • only 11% of Lower 9th families returned, the community formerly one of the richest culturally, now destroyed by design; today about 20% are back;
  • 25% of hospitals gone and 38% fewer beds available;
  • thousands still living in temporary trailers; many others displaced across other states, still unable to return;
  • 72,000 vacant, ruined or unoccupied houses;
  • the city's Black population reduced by half;
  • thousands of their children never returned to public schools;
  • new hurricane protection construction barely started, and much more, the city wrecked for corporate predators, the poor exploited for profit.

In his early August article titled, "Katrina Pain Index 2010 New Orleans," Quigley, Davida Finger and Lance Hill updated the disturbing picture, saying:

"....tens of thousands of (New Orleans) homes....remain vacant or blighted. Tens of thousands of African American children who were in the public schools (aren't) back, nor have their parents been able to return." The metro area lost over 140,000 people, the city itself over 100,000. "Thousands of elderly and displaced people (were affected). Affordable housing" is in short supply, poor and low income people forced either to pay up or do without.

Displaced residents were scattered across the country, in as many as 5,500 cities, "the largest concentrations in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and San Antonio." Most are women. "A third earn less than $20,000 a year" - for a family of four, it's below the Census Bureau's $22,000 poverty threshold and well below minimum needs in any US metropolitan area.

In addition, one fourth of area housing is either vacant or blighted, "by far the highest" US rate. As a result, about 58% of city renters and 45% of suburban ones pay "more than 35 percent of (their) income on housing." Above 30% is unaffordable, forcing families to do without, including for essentials like enough nutritious food and health care, less available to poor people throughout the country, especially in New Orleans where the official poverty rate is double the national average. The unofficial one is even higher, given the indifference to Blacks communities five years post-Katrina.

In greater New Orleans, everything they need is in short supply, including schools, medical care, jobs, public assistance, and affordable housing, the number of public apartments down 75%. Destroying them was planned, upscale properties intended for well off White folks. Blacks aren't wanted.

The same holds for schools, mostly privatized, 85% of their students White in a formerly Black majority city. No longer, and a result, less public ones accommodate 43% fewer students, poor Blacks most affected. They also get less public assistance, fewer social services overall, or none at all.

The entire region was affected, nearly 100,000 square miles of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama communities destroyed or heavily damaged. Over one million people were permanently displaced. Hundreds of thousands lost everything, compounded by the spring Gulf disaster, the greatest ever environmental crime, potentially affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions.

Billions of dollars in promised aid never arrived, going instead for luxury hotels, casinos, private clubs, the oil industry and gentrification, the polite term for dispossessing poor communities, replacing them with upscale ones for the rich and well off, a similar pattern across the country, especially impacting Blacks and Latinos. They're victimized by class warfare under Democrat and Republican administrations, destroying the lives of millions. An uncaring nation left them on their own and out of luck.

New Orleans is a metaphor for as bad as it gets, poor Black communities devastated and ignored, most of the two hardest hit still uninhabited - the Lower 9th and St. Bernard Parish back to less than one fourth of pre-Katrina levels.

After it hit, FEMA provided 120,000 trailers throughout the region. Now, they're gone, sold at public auction, some to families using them. On August 20, Newsweek said only 860 Louisiana families were still accommodated, excluding buyers still in theirs.

Getting no federal, state or local help, others now pay unaffordable rents, live in destroyed or damaged houses, double up with relatives, or go homeless, the numbers twice the pre-Katrina rate, south Louisiana's social infrastructure gutted to displace Blacks for preferred Whites.

Even New Orleans levee rebuilding isn't finished, the Army Corps of Engineers estimating completion by late summer or early fall 2011 at the earliest. Some experts say the new system still won't protect adequately against another major hurricane.

Post-Katrina, New Orleans bears testimony to a callous, uncaring nation. "America the beautiful" is for the privileged alone - no one else, especially people of color, the poor and disadvantaged, "The Big Easy" their ground zero.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on September 2, 2010.
 

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