Friday, October 07, 2005

Real Reports Returns

Updated: Saturday October 8, 2005
Location: Body in Asheville, NC; heart in Louisiana

Working in solidarity with tribal leaders, Naomi Archer (supported by Asheville medic Dave Pike) has created a dedicated relief effort for Native American communities called Four Directions Relief Project. (

Another truck will be heading from Asheville, NC (piloted by yours truly after a week home in the mountains) to the Native American communities of Louisiana early next week. This will continue the trend of grassroots relief being virtually the only assistance these communities have received. Work teams are also being organized to assist with rebuilding. Help is URGENTLY NEEDED. If you want to get more involved, please contact Naomi at or call 828.230.1404.

Where are the Feds? Well, to answer that question you have to look at the historic relationship between the Federal government and Native American communities. Not real positive is it? And you know, there is that whole 10 million dollar levee improvement project for Dulac and Grand Calliou that got axed by Bush Inc. And of course the dredging of the Houma Navigation Canal and the numerous other dredging projects that have destroyed the cypress swamps and allowed salt water to travel further inland to benefit Big Oil. Wow, you hate to start pointing fingers but...

I mean seriously, you don't think any community would choose to live in such an exposed location do you? At one time there were hundreds of square miles of swamp between these communities and the Gulf of Mexico. But thanks to channelizing the Mississippi which interrupted the deposition of silt (ie. new land) and dredging canals - much of the the wetlands have been lost.

The Pointe-au-Chien burial ground is now in the salt marsh thanks to these man-made impacts. Just another way the white-man has stepped on the original inhabitants of this land. But hey, we have sports mascots to commemorate their existence, right?

Leave it to the Red Cross to further the trend of kicking people when they are down. A news report says they will soon be kicking people out of shelters if they cannot prove they are residents of the disaster area. Forgot your ID? Credentials washed away in the flood? Luggage left behind when they removed you at gunpoint from your home? Guess what - you are now out of luck and out of a home!

I'de laugh at the inhumanity of it all if it didn't make me so @&*$^ angry. Oh, and remember, 70% of hurricane donations have gone to the Red Cross. It's not like they can't afford to house people in shelters. You're Red Cross money at work, aren't you proud?

Well, depending on the day, the hurricane death toll hovers around 1300 or so including those in Mississippi. Despite dire warnings of thousands of deaths - we have yet to see this confirmed. Why is that?

In case you didn't see the Tuesday LA Times story, don't worry. There are another 8000 bodies that lie unidentified in a Baton Rouge morgue.

"It's inefficient and inept out there - it's beyond incompetence,"said William Bagnell, a funeral director who said he was refused access to four bodies at the morgue even though officials had faxed him forms inviting him to pick up the bodies.

Why haven't see heard much about this, or seen human interest story after human interest story about loved-ones lost and the true cost of this disaster?

That's because we have Karl Rove's Sanitize the News effort in place to keep those pesky stories that anger and upset out of the public eye. It's just like Iraq. Keep spoon feeding the media stories of rebuilding and Bush's heartwarming concern, meanwhile keeping the stories and the pictures out of the news.

One day this bubble will burst, and the tragic reality of the government's inaction may finally be felt. Meanwhile, don't look for sobbing parents or worried husbands on TV - it's all be scrubbed to bolster Bush's poll numbers.

Where is - that progressive news wire that is supposedly providing people with the real news and incisive lefty opinions of the world? Well, right before the September protests hurricane relief efforts plummeted off their list of stories for feel good blurbs about DC and the protests. And even now, we have a full editorial diet of Iraq, Iraq, Iraq - but very little news from NOLA or the rest of the storm affected region.

Now, I know if I can get breaking news and updates on relief efforts sitting here in Asheville talking by phone to friends on the ground, certainly the editors of Commondreams could get these stories too, right? Even taking stories off Indymedia. Right?

Out of sight. Out of mind. Pan$ to and the gaggle of lefty columnists for supporting the micro-attention span of the left. We have to do better than this.


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