Betreff: Next waves of information and insight about Katrina
Datum: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 19:45:57 EDT

In a message dated 9/7/05 12:09:07 PM, cii.igc writes:

<< "Thank God there is no one to bomb in retaliation."
- Bill and Debbie Quigley, New Orleans evacuees
<> "So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." - Barbara Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston <> "Change for the better begins by reckoning with the worst, which Katrina helped us do." - columnist James Carroll in "Katrina's truth" <> ========== CONTENTS Highlights, lowlights, perspective Katrina, New Orleans, and peak oil Katrina, civilization and the environment Katrina, racism and classism Katrina as teacher FEMA as obstacle Outraged, insistent, speaking out together 9/12 Positive notes from the NCDD Listserv ========== HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS, PERSPECTIVE Wikipedia's ongoing coherent updating of materials related to Katrina in New Orleans <> A BBC analysis raises questions and introduces the complexity of the scene "Multiple failures caused relief crisis" <> A story of an effort to leave New Orleans, blocked by police "First By the Floods, Then By Martial Law: Trapped in New Orleans" <> ========== KATRINA, NEW ORLEANS, AND PEAK OIL By Richard Heinberg Global Media Public September 5, 2005 In Brief: The scenes were heart-wrenching and mind-boggling: an entire modern American metropolis had effectively ceased to exist as an organized society...when it came to reporting on the damage to oil production and refining facilities, most media outlets took at face value the glib and non-specific assurances of the petroleum industry... And all of this is occurring at a time when the global supply of oil is barely able to meet demand... ........... Like just about everyone else, I was transfixed by news reports from New Orleans and the Gulf coast of Mississippi and Alabama last week. My wife Janet grew up in New Orleans, most of her family members still live there (to the degree that anyone can for the moment say they live in the Big Easy), and we visit the city every year. The scenes were heart-wrenching and mind-boggling: an entire modern American metropolis had effectively ceased to exist as an organized society. The tens of thousands of survivors who had been unable or unwilling to evacuate prior to the storm were utterly helpless as they awaited rescue from the outside, some of them reduced to looting stores to obtain food and other necessities, a few even joining armed gangs. Soon the Internet began pulsing with stories of how the Bush administration had exacerbated the tragedy by encouraging the destruction of wetlands and barrier islands, by appointing FEMA heads with no experience in disaster management, by focusing the agency's resources on counter-terrorism rather than disaster relief, by refusing funds for upgrading New Orleans' levees, and so on. By the end of the week, mainstream media had begun picking up on some of these stories. However, when it came to reporting on the damage to oil production and refining facilities, most media outlets took at face value the glib and non-specific assurances of the petroleum industry that damage was relatively minor and temporary. Meanwhile, however, one report, allegedly from an unnamed industry insider, described at least 20 oil platforms as missing and presumed sunk, with others drifting, having sustained serious damage. Port Fourchon, the hub for oil and gas production in the gulf, likewise appears severely damaged, according to this source, along with the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is the only port in the nation designed to receive supertankers. In addition, most of the region's refineries were closed, with some likely to be shut down for many weeks or months. Whether or not this description exaggerates the damage, repair efforts will be hindered by the lack of a nearby functioning port or city from which to base operations. And all of this is occurring at a time when the global supply of oil is barely able to meet demand. Indeed, many petroleum analysts were already looking to the fourth quarter of 2005 as the likely moment of the all-time world oil production peak. The head of International Energy Agency forecast on Saturday that Hurricane Katrina could spark a worldwide energy crisis. "If the crisis affects oil products then it's a worldwide crisis. No one should think this will be limited to the United States," Claude Mandil told the German daily Die Welt. That same day, 26 nations -- including the United States -- agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products from their emergency reserves over the next 30 days. This nearly unprecedented move (the IEA also opened its taps during the first Gulf War) was surely a measure of the seriousness with which national leaders viewed the problem. While the bringing to market of a few tens of millions of barrels of stored oil and gasoline may temporarily calm speculators and thus prevent dramatic price spikes, it cannot balance the global supply-and-demand equation for more than a few weeks (the world uses 84 million barrels of oil each day, after all). And once these stores are gone, few nations will have any cushion in the event of other supply threats. Hence Katrina may mark the beginning of the inevitable unraveling of the petroleum-based industrial world system. The United States is the center of that system. Think of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as a gaping wound in the national body. Organisms need a steady flow of energy in order to maintain their ordered existence; a wound is like an intrusion of entropy within the system. When wounded, the body essentially takes energy away from other parts of itself to restore order at the site of injury. In ordinary times, nations as "organisms" do this very well. But in this case the timing is bad, as energy is scarce anyway (the wound was incurred at the onset of what will soon become a global energy famine); the nation has already been hemorrhaging materiel and trained personnel in Iraq for three years; and the site of the wound couldn't be worse: it is in the part of the national body through which much of its energy enters (the region is home to half the nation's refining capacity and almost 30% of production). Thus it seems likely that the available energy may not be sufficient to overcome the entropy that has been introduced; rather than being contained and eliminated, disorder may fester and spread. New Orleans will be rebuilt. It must be: the nation needs a port at the mouth of the Mississippi, and the port needs a city to support and service it. It is one of the few US cities with character and charm, and people will desperately want to return to their homes. The only event likely to prevent rebuilding would be another strong hurricane hitting Louisiana later this season. However, rebuilding will proceed in the context of a national economy that is crippled and perhaps mortally wounded, and a global complex system of production and trade that is starting to lose its battle against entropy. PEAK OIL PRIMERS: WHAT IS PEAK OIL? ========== KATRINA, CIVILIZATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT from "Katrina Takes Environmental Toll" <> In the first formal assessment of the environmental devastation wrought by Katrina, state authorities in Baton Rouge announced a litany of contaminants likely to be found in the floodwaters, including tens of millions of pounds of concrete, lumber, cars, animal carcasses and all the other solid waste of a major metropolitan area. Most sewage-treatment plants in New Orleans were destroyed. Two major spills sent 78,000 barrels of oil into Lake Pontchartrain, and fuel has coated the city from 2,200 fuel tanks and leaking gasoline from flooded cars and boats. For a more detailed account of the likely toxic aftermath, read "After Katrina: The toxic timebomb" <> excerpt: The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has created a vast toxic soup that stretches across south-eastern Louisiana and Mississippi, and portends the arrival of an environmental disaster to rival the awe-inspiring destruction of property and human life over the past week. Toxicologists and public health experts warned yesterday that pumping billions of gallons of contaminated water from the streets of New Orleans back into the Gulf of Mexico - the only viable option if the city is ever to return to even a semblance of its former self -would have a crippling effect on marine and animal life, compromise the wetlands that form the first line of resistance to future hurricanes, and carry deleterious consequences for human health throughout the region. The full extent of the danger is unknown and unknowable, but the polluted waters are known to contain human and animal waste, the bodies of people and animals, household effluence, and chemical and petrochemical toxins from the refineries that dot the Gulf coast in and around New Orleans. ============ KATRINA, RACISM AND CLASSISM An engaged Buddhist perspective on Katrina and racism "Waking up to the Tragedy of New Orleans" by Maia Duerr, Buddhist Peace Fellowship Executive Director <<>>

- - -

by Tom Atlee

Not having a TV or getting a daily paper, and depending primarily on
my email lists for news -- which do not provide pictures -- I did not
at first understand the extent to which class and race seem to be
defining features of this tragedy. When accusations of racism first
surfaced, I imagined them as an understandable part of the reactions
of people, both high and low, coping with an extremely stressful
situation. I now see there is more to it than that.

The most grievous, obvious forms of racism and classism are
personally and intentionally malicious. But there are other forms --
often viewed as "subtle" -- which can do even more damage
collectively. Racism and classism include the ability of those who
are more privileged (including often ourselves) to not notice the
suffering of others. Privilege -- money, status and certain social
assumptions, habits, and institutions -- can protect some of us from
personally experiencing the gritty reality of some other peoples'
lives -- face to face, in our hearts and guts.

Racism and classism also include stereotyping. This becomes publicly
visible in the statements of powerholders and celebrities, such as
Barbara Bush's comment about how things were working out "very well"
for poor evacuees from New Orleans -- and in the media, such as news
reports about black people "looting" stores which, in most cases,
apparently involved people without food or water getting these from
abandoned stores, or trying to get things to sell to buy their way
out of town. (Different aspects of this are poignantly described in
an interview with a reporter about the New Orleans Conventions Center
-- read the incredible full text
<> or search the text for
"looting" or watch the video <>
-- and a discussion of black vs white photo coverage at

Racism and classism also include built-in systemic factors, such as
the fact that poor people often don't have money for transportation
that would allow them to escape an impending hurricane -- especially
a few days before payday. When those in power can comfortably be
oblivious to this fact, the resulting suffering is immense. And the
damage caused can be rightly ascribed to racism and classism, whether
or not there was anything conscious or intentional about it.

Thus, as David La Chapelle notes below, Katrina shows up as a
teaching hurricane.

My own obliviousness to these factors is marked by the fact that a
vitally important question was not included among those I offered for
inquiry and dialogue a few days ago:

QUESTION: What do you think would have been different in how the
Katrina disaster unfolded if the people trapped in and around New
Orleans had been mostly white and middle-class or rich?

For some further info about how these factors played out, see the recent
<> FEMA Planned to Leave New Orleans Poor Behind and <> Authorities Favored VIPs over Superdome's Desperate - Hotel Workers, Patrons Excused from Pre-Storm Evac Given Special Treatment ============ KATRINA AS TEACHER Excerpts from "Pandora's Daughter Katrina" by David La Chapelle The visionaries of many epochs have often been the recipients of the wrath of the established order. The fire of vision and the fire of prophecy, or the ability to look forward, have been consistently resisted and actively rejected. Katrina's effect on New Orleans was a remarkable projection of the power of nature. The nature of the human devastation associated with the hurricane is not so easy to attribute to a capricious act of weather. Much of it is in fact the direct result of entrenched resistance to the obvious that was foreseen for decades. There are numerous well documented scenarios that predicted almost exactly what has occurred. This places Katrina in a class of its own. It is a teaching hurricane. Unfortunately history has not been kind when it comes to civilizations changing course when their behavior begins to outstrip the carrying capacity of their physical and psychic environments. The inhabitants of Easter Island, the Maya, the Anazazi, The Romans, The Greeks and the Summerians are a but a few examples. Katrina and her aftermath has revealed that our own culture can quite quickly devolve into the same vortex of social and environmental ills that spelled the end of so many others. Pandora was the agent of change which released the ills that had been conveniently bottled up. Pandora's daughter, Katrina, has literally taken the top off the various vessels of difficulty, both physical and psychic in our nation, and has sent them spilling across the landscape of our collective experience. When Pandora opened the vessel of ills, all the evils of the world escaped until at the bottom, caught as she tried to replace the lid, was hope. As the lid of normalcy begins to reassert itself, what hope has Katrina captured? Any moderately well informed person, surveying the conditions of our world and the trends at work will recognize a much larger version of New Orleans is present. Numerous unsustainable practices are enabling our current way of living. The stark hope that Katrina brings to our doorstep is that we have the courage to bring through a fire of change before we are condemned to live out the fruits of even more difficult times. The hope that Katrina helps constellate is that our lives will no longer be the same. The power of events as strong as Katrina is in their undeniable revelation of the truth of present conditions and in the capacity this has to inspire the fire of change. Hope is built on kindess, generosity and the realization that we all live within each other's lives. Hope is the final gift of the difficulties that the gods have bestowed upon humanity. David La Chapelle is author of "Navigating the Tides of Change," a book surveying the rapid changes in our world and how best to respond to them. He can be reached at - - - For more on Katrina's lessons as a teaching hurricane, see James Carroll's remarkable column "Katrina's Truths" <> May there be many more such essays, investigations, forums, studies, collective learnings.... =============== FEMA AS OBSTACLE FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations <> FEMA turns away experienced firefighters FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks < 83572800&en=1d14ebfbd942a7d0&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss> FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel < 83572800&en=1d14ebfbd942a7d0&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss> FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans < 8561&rfi=6> FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board <,1,4144825.

FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck
< pt> FEMA turns away generators FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond" FEMA Chief Waited until After Storm Hit FEMA blocks photos of New Orleans dead =============== OUTRAGED, INSISTENT, SPEAKING OUT TOGETHER [I don't usually send out notices of protests, but I have a hunch they are an important part of the current collective learning opportunity that Katrina has given the United States to wake up to the need for transformational change. So here are some people who are making their voices heard on this next Monday, September 12, the day after 9/11, two weeks after Katrina hit New Orleans. -- Tom Atlee] PROTEST AT FEDERAL BUILDINGS ACROSS THE COUNTRY It is a crime for the Government to allow people to die because of their race and class. to treat people like they are the enemy because they are black and poor. to spend billions on war and cut budgets at home, resulting in death and destruction. By now it is clear who is dying on the streets of New Orleans and throughout the area hit by Hurricane Katrina. Those with the money and resources were able to flee the city in plenty of time, while the poor were left behind to face flooding, and lack of water, food, and medicine. Now they are facing the prospect of being shot down in the street by troops sent in by the government to "restore order." The difference between those who got out and those who were abandoned to die is a difference of class and race. Hurricane Katrina is not the cause of the thousands of deaths in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The system that says poor people and black people are expendable is responsible. The government refused to prepare for the hurricane they knew was coming. They made no provision to evacuate to poor, the elderly, and the handicapped, knowing that more than 100,00 would be left behind. They made no effort to get food, water, or medicine to survivors, while dead bodies piled up on the streets on New Orleans. FEMA actually turned back aid trucks as they attempted to get into New Orleans. Rather than mobilizing to provide the aid that should have been in place a week ago, the Bush Administration has sent troops into the streets with orders to "shoot to kill." Brigadier General Gary Jones told the Army times, that "[New Orleans] is going to look like Little Somalia ... We're going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control." We must unite on September 12 to demand: Immediate relief--food, medicine, water, clothing, and emergency shelter for the people of the region. Extended unemployment benefits for all who have lost jobs, and massive a jobs and housing program for the near future. Money for Hurricane Relief, Not War! End the military occupation of New Orleans! People trying to feed their families are not looters! An independent international investigation of the criminal negligence that caused this disaster. Some of the cities where protests are already planned include: New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Amherst, New Haven, Charleston SC, Jackson MS, Miami FL, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Boston, Detroit, Jersey City, Los Angeles, Houston, Raleigh, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, St Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and hundreds of other cities and towns of all sizes, in every region of the country. See the<> Troops Out Now website for the
latest updates on local actions.



Maybe people can pull together and unite with love and genuine
compassion not only to give a handout but to give a hand-up and show
all of us how this country can help Louisiana and Mississippi rebuild
and to encourage and show the people who are in the middle of this
how we can join with them and rebuild their cities using the people
that are there, teaching them new skills and trades in addition
to bringing in new people from the outside to rebuild. Let the money
being earned to rebuild stay in those states with the people who live
there. Give the poor new jobs with better salaries than minimum wage
and raise their standard. Give the people, who's home this is, a
sense of fulfillment and pride and who want to be a part of something
good and turn it around and show them what they can do.

-- Pat Ruppel <> My wife and I just spent a few days volunteering at the Astrodome over the holiday weekend. All of the evacuees that we came into contact with were grateful, well-behaved, and thinking of nothing beyond finding lost loved ones and beginning to figure out what to do now. They had horror stories of their ordeal including a few about misbehavior while at the Superdome and other spots in New Orleans. However, they are now clean, fed, sheltered and cared for. The Red Cross is doing their usual amazing job and Houstonians were volunteering by the thousands as well as folks from all over the world who have flown there just to help. I came into contact with thousands of people, saw no crime, no hostility, little anger, and lots of love and hope, it is unimaginable that anyone who was there helping would have left thinking to buy a gun, in fact almost all of the volunteers I met just kept coming back. There are over 30,000 evacuees in that complex (3 buildings), so I have no doubt there are a few bad apples, but it is by far the exception. There are lots of children and a lot of need--people have nothing with them, many do not even have IDs, they have to start over in a way that none of us can imagine. On a smaller scale, similar shelters are being created almost everywhere in the country. If you can find one, please help--I guarantee that it will do you as much good as those you are helping. We left Houston hopeful, inspired, and reinvigorated in our faith in humanity. The media has spent a lot of time trying to show us just how bad things are, I just wish they would spend as much time on the amazing good as well. There is a lot of it. Peace, Doug Sarno <>


Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * PO Box 493 * Eugene, OR 97440 *
Read THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY * Tom Atlee's blog