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Bush Refuses Aid, Accepts Cash

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    Orleans in Bush s Amerikka: Photos FEMA Wants to Hide http://www.livejournal.com/users/mparent7777/2569812.html === Offers Pour In, but the U.S. Is Unprepared
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 8, 2005
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      Orleans in Bush's Amerikka: Photos FEMA Wants to Hide



      Offers Pour In, but the U.S. Is Unprepared
      September 8, 2005

      WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 - Generous offers of aid for Hurricane Katrina
      victims are pouring in from scores of nations, but in many cases the
      United States is unprepared to receive the goods.

      As a result, the State Department is pressing countries that are
      offering the use of helicopters, water purification equipment and
      telecommunications gear, among other items, to provide cash or
      ready-to-eat meals instead.

      [See icna.org for Muslim Relief efforts]

      "The worst thing we could do, the worst thing, is to take things" and
      "have them sit on the ground and not be utilized, to have something
      rot," said Harry K. Thomas, the State Department's executive
      secretary, who is coordinating with other governments. Many countries
      are being told that the most useful donation is money, and some
      European countries are bemused - or frustrated.

      "There is a lot of stuff offered, but we are having a problem getting
      it over," said Claes Thorson, a spokesman at the Swedish Embassy in

      Even with the difficulties, foreign aid is beginning to arrive at or
      near the Gulf Coast, including ready-to-eat meals from Britain, tents
      from France, first-aid kits and baby formula from Italy. All told, the
      State Department said Wednesday, donations from 49 nations or
      international organizations have been accepted - including $428
      million in cash.

      The bulk of the cash came from three oil-rich Arab nations. Kuwait,
      Qatar and the United Arab Emirates each offered $100 million.

      The State Department says 95 countries, half of the world's nations,
      have promised aid in one form or another. But the department says the
      government is still evaluating many of the proposals to see if they
      can actually be used. Among the nations that have pledged assistance
      are several that receive significant American aid, including Israel,
      Afghanistan and Iraq.

      The United States is more accustomed to giving aid than receiving it,
      and the Bush administration seemed to have trouble accepting the role
      reversal, at least at first. Early last week, President Bush said the
      United States could take care of itself.

      "I do expect a lot of sympathy, and perhaps some will send cash
      dollars," he said. "But this country is going to rise up and take care
      of it."

      As the size of the crisis became apparent, the view changed. But the
      preparations to receive anything but the simplest forms of aid have
      not caught up.

      Mr. Thomas explained that the United States has no experience with
      situations like this. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he said
      several times, "This is unprecedented."

      Last weekend, the State Department sent urgent requests for
      international aid through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the
      United Nations and the European Union. At the top of the list was
      cash. Most of the other items requested were basic goods like food,
      water, medical supplies and diapers.

      When Sweden received the American request, it loaded a Hercules C-130
      transport plane with water purification equipment, emergency power
      generators and components for a temporary cellphone network. The plane
      has been ready to take off since noon Saturday, but has not been given
      clearance by Washington.

      "We are still waiting for the green light," Victoria Forslund said at
      the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm. Sean McCormack, the State
      Department spokesman, said, "If there are any miscommunications on
      this matter, we want to make it very clear we value their offer of

      Sweden is not the only country that has encountered a problem. France,
      Germany, India and Taiwan, among others, are awaiting answers to
      offers. The slow acceptance after the urgent request has only
      increased the puzzlement of many countries. Mr. Thomas said embassy
      officers in each country have tried to explain why the aid requests
      are being handled as they are and insisted "every country has heard
      back from us."

      On Monday, only one plane bearing foreign aid arrived in Little Rock,
      Ark., a staging area. On Tuesday, 11 planes arrived. Wednesday and
      Thursday, more planes - from Britain, China, France, Russia, Spain and
      Israel - are due.

      As Europe prepares more supplies, officials say they are beginning to
      wonder whether the aid is really needed or will ever be used.

      "That's our preoccupation right now," said Barbara Helfferich, a
      spokeswoman for the executive branch of the European Union.


      Listening to Your Neighbors Die
      Sep 8, 2005, 04:43

      For three days, Glen Williams sat on his rooftop in New Orleans,
      watching the water lap at the eaves and listening to unimaginable
      sounds in his once quiet, close-knit neighborhood.

      The cries for help from neighbors, in attics with the waters up to
      their necks, grew more piteous as the days went by and no help

      But it was the calls from his elderly neighbor, Doris, that haunts

      "I heard her die," Williams said, bowing his head and running a
      scraped hand over his graying, close-cropped hair.

      "She cried for two nights, 'Help. Someone help me please!' Then the
      last time I heard her call it turned into a gurgle. That was her last

      "I wish I could have saved her. There wasn't nobody there to save

      Williams is an amiable man who smiles more than he talks. A burly man
      with an impish sense of humor, he said he's so laidback he decided to
      take a nap when his wife, Viola, left the house to gather her mother
      and evacuate the city.

      As the waters crept up the foundation of his house, he shrugged his
      shoulders and went back to sleep. The waters have risen like that
      before, but they always stop at the porch, he said, smiling wide.

      But there's a stunned quality to his grin now and tears hover right
      below the surface. The tales of near-death overshadow even his joyous
      reunion with Viola on Sunday in a church-turned-shelter just outside
      Houston and survival they had to tell each other.

      As families like the Williamses begin to find missing members through
      phone calls, Red Cross databases and the kindness of strangers, the
      reality of what they have been through and the uncertainty of what
      lies ahead is setting in.

      There are paychecks that were never received and jobs that are gone.
      Houses, furniture, cars, financial records, appliances _ all were
      swallowed by water.

      Rebuilding will take money _ billions by federal estimates _ and help
      from communities, private businesses and the government for years,
      disaster experts say.

      "There's no finite date on how long this will take. But we know it's
      not going to be anytime soon," said George Hammerlein, a spokesman for
      Harris County, Texas, government agencies.

      Houston, which was the first city to step up and offer official refuge
      to evacuees from New Orleans, is now feeling the brunt of the strain.

      Thousands of evacuees are pouring into Texas, which has begun sending
      them to other states. Convention centers and emergency shelters
      throughout Texas are full with an estimated 139,000 Louisiana
      residents, according to the governor's Web site. Another 100,000 are
      staying in hotels statewide.

      Electronic signs along major highways in Houston flashed directions to
      newly arriving evacuees to head to Arkansas. Other states such as
      California, Michigan and Utah have offered to take some of the load
      off Texas.

      Texas Gov. Rick Perry has issued several orders and made federal-aid
      requests designed to help evacuees get back on their feet as they
      reside in his state.

      For example, the IRS approved a waiver request that will allow 18,000
      vacant low-income housing units to be used by Louisiana residents.

      In addition, five school districts in the Houston area will be taking
      up to 8,000 elementary and high-school students from Louisiana. And
      the state employment agencies have set up special programs to help
      evacuees find work.

      That's what Viola Williams wants: a job. She wants to stay in Houston,
      too, she told her husband. It's been kind to her.

      Glen Williams is not so sure right now. The former shuttle operator
      wants to go to Alabama and Mississippi and search for other missing
      relatives now that he has found his wife. Mostly, though, he wants to
      go back to New Orleans and sift through the ruins of his home and
      former life.

      "I just need time to take in what's happened to us," he said.
      "Everything was gone, changed in the blink of an eye."

      (Contact Tamara Koehler of the Ventura County Star in California at

      © Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue



      Celebrating Hurricane Katrina

      Katrina opened a can of worms and told us many ugly stories, but there
      is one story that people always fail to see, which I'd like to
      talk about here. Two days ago, I circulated an email to share with
      friends and colleagues what I considered a shocking quote about the
      Katrina disaster that I came across in a Financial Times article

      I simply wanted people to know that the disaster which shook the US
      and the rest of the world, and which also publicly exposed many rotten
      aspects of the dominant power relations, could be inferred in ways
      previously unimaginable to many of us by some of the leading financial
      analysts: the leaders of the globalizing financial industry. The
      importance of the quote that I had circulated before was in that it
      referred to what it considered a "general" US market sentiment about
      Katrina, specifically Wall Street's, that defies basic widespread
      emotions about the disaster, and in that it was published in what most
      financiers would readily consider an "expert" journal. In fact,
      together with The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, the Financial
      Times is perhaps among the most important and most powerful of such
      "expert" journals, and collectively they can very well be considered
      as the mouthpieces of market thinking. I was contacted shortly after
      circulating this quote by friends who asked me to provide them with
      the source of the quote because they wanted to distribute it to
      various alternative media platforms and they wanted also to refer to
      the source article. So, I went back to ft.com looking for the URL. To
      my surprise, I did not find the version from which I had selected the
      quote that I circulated. I found instead two modified, or "updated,"
      versions which clearly tried to hide the problematical parts from the

      The quote that I had first read and circulated (was in fact cut and
      pasted from the original article), went as follows: "Already
      hopeful about the prospects for an interruption in interest-rate
      increases, Wall Street also expressed optimism that the rebuilding of
      the Gulf Coast would provide a stimulus for the economy […] Hurricane
      Katrina was still creating winners and losers in the stock market.
      Home Depot added 1.3 per cent to $40.84 on the belief that the
      home-improvement retailer would see increased sales in the rebuilding
      effort. Tenet Healthcare, meanwhile, fell another 2.4 per cent to
      $11.71 as the six hospitals it operates in the affected region
      continued to evacuate patients and employees."

      The first "update" changed the first part of the quote to the
      following: "Hopeful for an interruption in interest-rate
      increases, Wall Street was also optimistic the rebuilding of the Gulf
      Coast would stimulate the economy;" instead of "Already hopeful about
      the prospects for an interruption in interest-rate increases, Wall
      Street also expressed optimism that the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast
      would provide a stimulus for the economy" as it originally was. In a
      following "update" the statement was even further changed to,
      "Hoping for a halt to interest-rate increases, investors felt
      rebuilding the Gulf Coast would revive the economy."

      The keyword "also" disaapered completely. Let me go through how I read
      this changes a little bit slowly because I think they are very
      important. I read the original formulation as one that basically
      follows the following logic:

      [because of rising oil prices and out of fear of inflation—it was
      mentioned in parts outside of the quote] the Feds will not be able to
      correct the money market as they planned-to by increasing interest
      rates, and therefore Wall Street is happy that it will still enjoy low
      cost of credit. That is, although the oil prices prevents the feds
      from doing what it thinks best, or actually what must be done as many
      analysts would say, to rescue American Economy (this is of course from
      a strictly speaking neo-liberalist point of view), yet everybody is
      still happy in Wall Street because they will cash on this failure to
      help the US economy. Moving on, "already" "optimistic" about this,
      Wall Street is "also" optimistic because of something else, and both
      "already" and "also" are keywords here. Its other source of optimism
      is in fact the devastation in Gulf Coast. Wall Street views it with
      optimism because it can act as a stimulus to the economy. If I am to
      explain it very simply, what was destroyed had to be rebuilt and
      people will pay money, probably all what they still own (if any) and
      all what they can borrow, for this rebuilding. In other words, the
      original quote referred to two sources of optimism for Wall Street,
      both of which are separate and are in fact detrimental to "America."

      After the changes, excuse me, after the "updates," the story
      becomes very different. The Wall Street that was optimistic about the
      effects of the calamity is slowly changed into "investors," and the
      two issues pointed-to (interest and rebuilding) become integrated into
      one innocent issue. So, the last story could be read as one that tells
      us that the "investors" are hoping for a reduction in interest
      rates, which—if it does occur, and if they use cheap credit to rebuild
      the devastated areas—could also revive the economy. In fact, one can
      read the last version as pointing to that the "investors" hope to
      revive the economy of New Orleans itself, a reading which the first
      version does not at all allow.

      As for the second part of the quote, I discovered that it was first
      "updated" to the following: "Katrina was still affecting the market."
      Instead of the original: "Katrina was still creating winners and
      losers." The second update followed the first one but included as
      well corrections in some of the numbers that were furnished to show
      the winners (real estate companies) and the losers (hospitals
      destroyed in the hurricane). Here I need not say much; the omission
      speaks for itself. Katrina can't be said to have winners, even if the
      winners believe themselves to have indeed won from Katrina.

      I was unable to find the first version from which I had cut and pasted
      the original quotation, perhaps because I did not use the FT search
      engine effectively—in which case I find it bizarre that I managed
      to find only the two updates—or more plausibly, because they removed
      it. I then wonder why the original was removed if these were just
      "updates," and why the subsequent two "updates" were left. Maybe it is
      the company's policy to leave only the last two. In which case, if you
      want something removed from FT, update it twice. But more importantly,
      why does an "update" result in such changes. The main article is not
      at all about the Katrina. In fact the issues that I discussed here are
      very tangential issues in the article referred to and its "updates."
      And this actually very much adds to their significance. Updates in
      such articles are usually needed only to correct numbers and facts
      that have changed since the appearance of the first version. It is not
      uncommon that actual closing numbers are modified in an updated
      version of the same article that appears before closing for example,
      which was also the case in the one mentioned here. That is, figures
      corrections appear in "updates." It however eludes me what figures
      that were being corrected by these modifications. The "updates" were
      clearly "correcting" something else.

      But the happiness because of the devastation could not be withheld for
      long. It must be stated to reflect in stock prices. The main problem
      was finding the right formula and time. And it therefore surfaced
      again very quickly. Without saying it as tough as the first time it
      was said, FT went on today to say "Wall Street increasingly took
      the view that the devastation from Hurricane Katrina might have a
      positive fall-out for the markets and the economy." The article added
      "'It sounds perverse, but Katrina is going to be a boon for the
      economy,'" said Bob Howard, who writes the Positive Patterns
      newsletter. `These people that are holding on to their Cisco, Oracle
      and Dell may have it wrong, but what is this going to do for cement,
      lumber and other building materials?' […]Steelmakers, beaten down over
      the past few months amid falling steel prices, continued to rise on
      expectations that demand for steel in the US after Katrina would
      revive the group." It seems that now that they have found the "proper"
      formulation, and with the disaster getting older and normalized with
      time, they can start celebrating. When they said this about Iraq just
      when they were about to destroy it so as to rebuild it it was clear
      who was celebrating: the oil cartel. I wonder who is throwing a
      Katrina party now.


      Today's article:

      Investors see reconstruction as a silver lining from hurricane

      By Stephen Schurr in New York

      Published: September 8 2005 03:00 | Last updated: September 8 2005

      URL: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/cbaed65e-2004-11da-8

      The many versions of the old article:
      Wall Street rallies as crude prices ease

      By Stephen Schurr in New York

      Published: September 6 2005 15:12 | Last updated: September 6 2005


      Declining crude prices inspire equities to make up storm losses

      By Stephen Schurr in New York

      Published: September 7 2005 03:00 | Last updated: September 7 2005


      Declining crude prices inspire equities to make up storm losses

      By Stephen Schurr in New York

      Published: September 7 2005 03:00 | Last updated: September 7 2005




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