Archive for September, 2009

28 September, 2009

Katrina survivors’ struggle for justice

“Revolt and revolution both wind up at the same crossroads: the police, or folly”
Albert Camus

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Katrina survivors’ struggle for justice

By Gloria Rubac
Published Sep 11, 2009 8:00 PM

Four years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, survivors living in Houston are still fighting to keep a roof over their heads. On Aug. 31, three women spoke at a news conference at the Kensington Club II townhome apartments to expose the owner’s corruption and the squalid living conditions he allows.

The news conference was organized by Lenwood Johnson, a housing advocate with the Free Man’s Neighborhood Association. Johnson explained that the Kensington Club II owner is accepting Disaster Housing Assistance Program vouchers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency—yet is not crediting all of the renters’ accounts as being paid. Kofi Taharka, president of the National Black United Front and a representative of the International Action Center, also spoke.

Then residents Eugenia Brown, Quinna Brown, and Jennifer Whittington addressed reporters.

Whittington, who is severely disabled with arthritis and also has cancer, cannot work. She said she was depending on DHAP to contribute to her rent, but after complaining about conditions she received an eviction notice.

Whittington explained that her two sons had tried to find jobs ever since the family came to Houston, but as soon as they told prospective employers they were from New Orleans, they were told, “We aren’t hiring Katrina criminals.”

Eugenia Brown, who suffers from asthma, later showed reporters the mold growing in her apartment, as well as leaking ceilings and pipes. Volunteer movers were packing her belongings in a moving van as she spoke. Yet with nowhere to move to, Brown put her things in storage; for now she is staying with various friends.

Quinna Brown also allowed reporters into her apartment—which had mold, water stains, appliances that did not work, light fixtures falling from the ceiling and leaking pipes. She was in tears as she spoke. “I work at Wendy’s and am trying to keep a home for my 11-year-old daughter, yet the Disaster Housing Assistance Program is not paying the money it is receiving from HUD to the apartment owner,” she told reporters. Brown was trembling and sobbing as said she was about to totally fall apart over losing her home.

Because these women had complained to the owner about the unsafe conditions, he was evicting them rather than make required repairs.

A week after the news conference, Whittington was looking for a shelter to move to, even though she is still appealing her eviction orders and is in her apartment. “Men with guns keep coming to my apartment and threatening and intimidating me,” she told Johnson. “They are from the constable’s office and I am afraid.” Lenwood Johnson is helping her find a shelter to move to.

Johnson told Workers World that the owner wants Whittington out because she is fighting to make him make repairs. When these women complained to DHAP that the living conditions were unbearable, DHAP told them they “weren’t supposed to watch the apartment owners, but the criminals from New Orleans.”

Johnson said: “The struggle continues. We need a full-time watchdog to keep up with the unscrupulous landlords and FEMA. We have contacted the U.S. Justice Department as well as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and hope they respond. It is criminal the way Katrina survivors are treated.”

The writer spoke on behalf of the International Action Center.

Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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23 September, 2009

Sugar Shortage – Marion Nestle

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Marion Nestle, food activist, of FOOD POLITICS, talks here on The Colbert Report, about the fake ‘sugar shortage’ in order for manufacturers to import more sugar.

Often from farmers in much poorer countries than the United States, who grow sugar instead of crops to feed their own people.

An issue covered here: G20 countries practice ‘agri-colonialism’ in developing countries in more detail.

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18 September, 2009

Tweeting As Direct Action

I hate that Biteback say “News from the frontlines”, as if those not involved in DA are not on the “frontlines”. We are. We promote veganism

This is given to me by someone who saw this in their time line. All I can say is… hahahaha!!

Is this person seriously comparing what they do

This is from the Biteback website, for the beginning of September only

September 8, 2010 – Sweden – RED PAINT DUMPED ON FUR STORE
September 7, 2010 – Germany – MINK FREED FROM CAGES
September 6, 2010 – Northern Ireland – BUTCHER SHOPS, BETTING SHOPS SABOTAGED
September 5, 2010 – Ireland – CIRCUS POSTERS DESTROYED
September 4, 2010 – Italy – THOUSANDS OF QUAIL LIBERATED
September 3, 2010 – Sweden – BUSY IN ÖREBRO!
September 2, 2010 – Switzerland – CRUEL FESTIVAL TARGETED

Um, yep, I can see how you can think tweeting is exactly just like the same as being “on the frontlines” too.

I did some research (looked up WIKI) for the meaning of “front line” and this is what it said:

Frontline… is a term used by most armed force services worldwide. It is a battlespace control measure that designates the forward-most friendly and hostile forces that are presently on the battlefield during an armed conflict or war; whether it be regular infantry or reconnaissance. It can also identify the forward location of covering and screening forces

While I don’t doubt that tweeters are involved in “direct action”, I don’t see what “hostile forces” or “armed conflict” or “war” they are encountering.

And, to be fair, to this person whose name I blacked out, I am not really attacking them, their comment just made me laugh. How do you compare a group like Biteback, to someone who “promotes veganism”? Although, they probably do more than just tweet and retweet. And, promoting veganism, is a good thing, I’m not knocking their efforts, just their comparison to Biteback. And, if someone did the same to me, they could probably find things that can be taken out of context and pick it apart…. oh wait, they have….

H$U$ (Human Society of United States) recently had a petition against “cruel factory farms“, when I replied to their tweet, “how about: ending all factory farms?”. To say that there are cruel factory farms, implies that there are factory farms that are not. All factory farms are cruel, all farms are cruel, any use of animals for any reason is exploitation and cruelty.

The comments didn’t stop for days, accusing me of being a ‘welfarist’, ‘supporting animal abuse’, being an ‘abuse enabler’, ‘supporting farming’… wow, people, back off. Attacking other vegans, and with such vitriol and viciousness, and then claim to be about peace is just bizarre and does not do anything to promote the vegan message.

When using social network sites, particularly Twitter, be careful what you say, someone is always reading, and usually not the people you expect.

Or maybe Vegans need to just stop attacking each other.

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13 September, 2009

Super Size Me (full-length): Morgan Spurlock

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Super_Size_Me_, posted with vodpod

Morgan Spurlock’s expose on McDonalds as an example of Fast Food restaurants which have contributed to USAmerica becoming one of The most obese nations on earth.

Receiving an Academy Award nomination for this 2004 documentary which follows the film maker for 30-days during Febuary 2003 which he ate Only McDonalds food. He gave himself the following rules, eat only McDonalds, eat only products on the menu, eat three meals a day, consuming every item at least once, And, if offered the option to supersize, he took it. This documentary follows his journey and the impact of this diet on his lifestyle and health, both mental and physical.

He consumed an average of 5,000 calories (the equivalent of 9.26 Big Macs) per day during the experiment.

11 September, 2009

Family Guy – Visit Ground Zero

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11 September, 2009

Noam Chomsky, September 11

Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.


Right after September 11, the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, said the first thing that had to be done to combat terrorism was to pass fast-track. Now that should really make Osama bin Laden tremble in his boots – that the President has Kremlin-style authority to sign economic agreements.

~NOAM CHOMSKY, (Interview by V. K. Ramachandran in Frontline, November 11, 2001)

I think that the polls taken in Baghdad explain it very well, they seem to understand. The United States invaded Iraq to gain control of one of the major sources of the world’s energy, right in the heart of the world’s energy producing regions. To create, if they can, a dependent client state. To have permanent military bases. And to gain what’s called “critical leverage” – I’m quoting Zbigniew Brzezinski – to gain critical leverage over rivals, the European and Asian economies. It’s been understood since the Second World War, that if you have your hand on that spigot, the main source of the world’s energy, you have what early planners called “veto power” over others. Iraq is also the last part of the world where there are vast, untapped, easily accessible energy resources. And you can be sure that they want the profits from that to go primarily to U.S.-based multinationals and back to the U.S. Treasury, not to rivals. There are plenty of reasons for invading Iraq.

Noam Chomsky (Interview by Bill Maher on HBO, November 10, 2004)

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8 September, 2009

Everything is wrong: Why does my heart feel so bad?

The following is taken from his Everything is Wrong album sleeve.

Everything is Wrong
By “everything is wrong” I mean EVERYTHING. I look around me – I’m typing on a plastic and metal and glass computer perched on a desk made from cut down trees and toxic paint. I sit in a building made of wood and bricks that were taken from the earth on a street made of poisonous asphalt that was laid over an ecosystem that had thrived for hundreds of thousands of years. I’m clothed in cotton that was saturated with pesticides while it grew and treated and dyed with toxic chemicals while it was being processed. All of my possessions were made hundreds or thousands of miles away and shipped in styrofoam and plastic wrap via gas burning engines and destructive road and air ways to me. My food, although organically grown and completely vegan, is shipped from where it was grown to my local store and is often packaged in paper, plastic, metal, and toxic inks. I know tons of people that eat meat, smoke cigarettes, drive cars, use drugs, etc., even though they know that these things will ultimately hurt the quality (and length) of their lives. I live in an apartment building where no one is on a first name basis. I know more about idiot actors in hollywood that I’ve never met than I do about the woman who lives next door to me (and is probably more interesting). While walking to work I inhale toxic exhaust from cars sitting in traffic. To make sure that eating 3 cans of oven cleaner will make you sick, or to make sure that pouring nail polish remover into your eyes will hurt you, we torture mice, rabbits, dogs, cats, etc. We use toxic chlorine bleach to keep our underpants white. We cut down the rainforests to drill for oil so that we can drive to the video store. Do you see what I mean? Everything really is wrong. Even the back to nature people still drive cars and use products made from materials ripped out of the earth. People struggle all of their lives doing work that they hate just to be a functioning member of a system that is wasteful, destructive and unhealthy.

What I advocate is this a sensible, pragmatic, and non-destructive approach towards existence, we need to re-evaluate our practices. Just as it doesn’t make sense to hire an elevator operator to run an automatic elevator it doesn’t make sense for billions of people to drive to work alone in their cars. It doesn’t make sense to consume animal products. It doesn’t make sense to use pesticides on agricultural products. It doesn’t make sense to derive power from nuclear, coal, and petroleum when we have solar, hydro, and wind power. It doesn’t make sense to maintain destructive systems just because people earn their livings from them. It doesn’t make sense to pour billions of tons of toxic chemicals onto our lawns so that they’ll look pretty and green. I could go on but you’re probably either bored or overwhelmed by now. I advocate change; massive, massive change.

Basically we should stop doing these things that are destructive to the environment, other creatures, and ourselves and figure out new ways of existing.

Why does my heart feel so bad – Moby

Publishing this essay from Moby is in no way intended to over ride Moby’s copyright. I believe that it is an important essay, that is becoming harder to find online, and people should read it while it is still available.

3 September, 2009

UK Counter Insurgency Operations Doctrine 2007

One person’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.

This original document first published on Wikileaks details the UK response to insurgents, in various places, including in Northern Ireland. It covers strategy and operations.

It provides an insight into how people within the government of United Kingdom think about those they are now calling “insurgents”.

Another name for Insurgency could be rebellion, anarchy, mutiny, revolution, sedition, irregular warfare, guerrilla war, the resistance. Depending on your perspective.

The quote accompanying this document is from Capt Sir B Liddell Hart’s 1944 ‘Thoughts On War’

“If you wish for peace understand war, particularly the guerrilla and subversive forms of war”

The oppressed always knows the oppressor better than vice versa, if you wish for change understand those in who have power. Learn how the other side thinks.

For the full article: UK Counter Insurgency Operations Doctrine 2007

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