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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:40 AM

Chris Hedges: Katrina, All Over Again


from truthdig:



Katrina, All Over Again

Posted on Dec 2, 2012
By Chris Hedges


Avgi Tzenis, 76, is standing in the hall of her small brick row house on Bragg Street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She is dressed in a bathrobe and open-toed sandals. The hall is dark and cold. It has been dark and cold since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast a month ago. Three feet of water and raw sewage flooded and wrecked her home.

“We never had this problem before,” she says. “We never had water from the sea come down like this.”

Hurricane Sandy, if you are poor, is the Katrina of the North. It has exposed the nation’s fragile, dilapidated and shoddy infrastructure, one that crumbles under minimal stress. It has highlighted the inability of utility companies, as well as state and federal agencies, to cope with the looming environmental disasters that because of the climate crisis will soon come in wave after wave. But, most important, it illustrates the depraved mentality of an oligarchic and corporate elite that, as conditions worsen, retreats into self-contained gated communities, guts basic services and abandons the wider population.

Sheepshead Bay, along with Coney Island, the Rockaways, parts of Staten Island and long stretches of the New Jersey coast, is obliterated. Stores, their merchandise destroyed by the water, are boarded up and closed. Rows of derelict cars, with the tires and license plates removed and the windows smashed, line the streets. Food distribution centers, most of them set up by volunteers from Occupy Sandy Recovery, hastily close before dark every day because of the danger of looting and robbery. And storm victims who remain in their damaged homes, often without heat, electricity or running water, clutch knives against the threat of gangs that prowl at night through the wreckage. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/katrina_all_over_again_20121202/



37 replies, 3950 views

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Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply Chris Hedges: Katrina, All Over Again (Original post)
marmar Dec 2012 OP
Junkdrawer Dec 2012 #1
Bibliovore Dec 2012 #7
xchrom Dec 2012 #2
butterfly77 Dec 2012 #3
heaven05 Dec 2012 #11
kelliekat44 Dec 2012 #16
butterfly77 Dec 2012 #20
dotymed Dec 2012 #23
malaise Dec 2012 #4
Junkdrawer Dec 2012 #5
OldDem2012 Dec 2012 #8
lapislzi Dec 2012 #18
starroute Dec 2012 #24
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #6
think Dec 2012 #9
pnwmom Dec 2012 #10
truth2power Dec 2012 #21
pnwmom Dec 2012 #25
George II Dec 2012 #12
marmar Dec 2012 #13
Junkdrawer Dec 2012 #15
ShadesOfBlue Dec 2012 #19
starroute Dec 2012 #27
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #29
dkf Dec 2012 #30
grahamhgreen Dec 2012 #14
SidDithers Dec 2012 #17
blackspade Dec 2012 #22
Skidmore Dec 2012 #26
starroute Dec 2012 #28
starroute Dec 2012 #34
dkf Dec 2012 #31
coalition_unwilling Dec 2012 #32
allrevvedup Dec 2012 #33
starroute Dec 2012 #35
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2012 #36
FarCenter Dec 2012 #37

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:48 AM

1. Sacrifice Zones....

As more and more GW-induced disasters hit, there will be more and more of these.

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Response to Junkdrawer (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:52 AM

7. I misinterpreted "GW" at first...

I know you meant "GW" for global warming -- it's the obvious acronym -- but I confess at first glance I thought you meant "GWB." It's really not all Bush's fault (though if Gore had taken office there'd've been a lot more attention paid to climate change), but he was surely involved with a lot of disasters. *wry grin*

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:50 AM

2. Du rec. Nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:51 AM

3. It should also reveal..

to anyone who is really paying attention that,the republiCONS have been stalling for four years really before that on paying for and rebuilding infrastructure.

I notice that the media is also against it as stimulus in the President'plan that he put on the table. Does anyone remember when the bridge fell down when Pawlenty was governor?

Does anyone remember in 2010 when the republiCONS gained many seats because the Dems didn't come out and the teabaggers did?

Does anyone remember when during the primaries for the 2010 campaigns republiCONs promised they would create jobs but did nothing but ask for birth certificates and followed McConnell's storyline which they really are doing now.


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Response to butterfly77 (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:12 AM

11. it

is and always has been about the money. The gated community rich have it and want to keep obscene amounts of it with nary a thought about the unwashed masses needlessly suffering in this country, especially in the northeast. I hope they get taxed fairly or be driven out of this country as unamerican since they are giving nothing back, unlike the ones who pay higher taxes than they. How sad and dilapidated this country has become because of greed and mismanagement of all in our political leadership, especially the republicans..

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Response to butterfly77 (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:43 AM

16. Is there anyway we (the 98%) can revolt against the media and drown out their propaganda for the RW?

We need to declare war our media somehow. They are pimping for the GOP night and day except for a selected few. The real media problem is, as is the political problem, local. Local media gets away with telling more lies and half-truths than the national media. We need people in the trenches of local newspapers and editorials. Exposure is the best way to do this but how else do you expose them except to buy ads in the very media we are trying to expose?

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:15 AM

20. The only thing I can think of is too..

flood their mailboxes and let them know what we think or protest by not watching or with some of your suggestions. I watch as they keep trying to put the Dems on the defensive and when the questions they are asking don't make sense.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:21 AM

23. We do have "Democracy Now."

Which is an invaluable asset against the MSM. A huge problem is that the MSM will not hire real reporters. Only stenographers.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:52 AM

4. Good read except that Sandy was hardly minimal stress n/t

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:07 AM

5. I read it as "it would have crumbled under minimal stress, Sandy came and worse is to come." n/t

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:00 AM

8. I read it the way you did. Sandy, by the record 940 barometric pressure alone, was a Cat 3 storm...

....and should have been reported as such by the NWS. Instead, the NWS chose to use technical jargon to describe the storm as a minimal Cat 1 hybrid storm causing most people along the coast to not take the storm as seriously as they should have. Bureaucratic and emergency responses to the storm were also based on a minimal Cat 1 storm.

The damage produced by the storm was also that of a Cat 3 hurricane, reducing many shore-front structures to kindling. Not only did the surge level at Battery Park top 13.88 feet, surpassing the 10.02 feet record water level set by Hurricane Donna in 1960, but New York Harbor's surf also reached a record level when a buoy measured a 32.5-foot wave that was 6.5 feet taller than a 26-foot wave churned up by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

It all just goes to show that our national and state emergency systems are woefully underfunded and understaffed. I blame that on a Congress more interested in catering to the desires of the super-wealthy than the needs of the people they actually serve.

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:53 AM

18. Stunned.

I am a New Yorker. I live 60 miles inland, north of NYC. We knew the storm was coming as were as prepared as we could be.

When it hit, we experienced hurricane force winds. Because we were deeply concerned, we had our TV on until the power went out at 6:30 p.m.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/inside-the-megastorm.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We saw NONE of the above footage during the day, when it was occurring. When I watched the Nova program weeks later, I was utterly stunned by what I saw unfolding before my eyes.

None of this was reported on the major networks at the time. We did not learn until much later about the flooding of the Battery, the complete submersion of Rockaway and Breezy Point. Nothing on the TV, or later, on the radio. Nothing about Staten Island being razed to the ground.

And yes, the mouths kept saying, "Cat 1 hybrid...Cat 1 hybrid..." as if wishing could make it so.

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Response to lapislzi (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:23 AM

24. The Weather Channel had a lot of it.

The Weather Channel isn't what it used to be -- more infotainment than weather news these days. But they still send Jim Cantore out into the worst of things, and he was there at Battery Park, retreating step by step as the water came up.

http://www.examiner.com/article/jim-cantore-reports-live-as-hurricane-irene-floods-battery-park-video

Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel reported live from Battery Park in New York City as Hurricane Irene made landfall and flooded parts of lower Manhattan. In order to cover Irene’s landfall, Jim Cantore’s crew parked their truck on high, dry land and ran tons of cable so that Cantore could report live from the storm surge and back up as it came closer.

Around 8:00 a.m. ET, Jim Cantore went live from Battery Park and said…

"This is exactly what we feared – the time of high tide maximizing the storm surge. There is 6-8” of rain easily on the boardwalk. The good news is that it’s not much higher than that. It’s an eerie sight to see. A hurricane coming into New York City with storm surge and wave action. It’s just an amazing sight."

Between his live shots, Cantore tweeted about his experience.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 08:14 AM

6. We don't need no stinking infrastructure, we've got billionaires!

 

Why would we waste all that money building and repairing the structures and systems that constitute our nation as a nation when there are multimillionaires out there that have yet to get their first billion?

Silly marmar.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:03 AM

9. When a country's priority is feeding the war machine real people will suffer.

Isn't it time for the war machine to retool and rebuild America? They can still make a great profit selling to the Government.

Wouldn't it be nice to take a break from selling death and destruction and sell a better American infrastructure based on 21st century technology?


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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:04 AM

10. Hyperbole. How many people died in Katrina?

This event covered a much larger area and if Bush had handled it the way he handled Katrina, the disaster would have been much, much worse than it was.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:18 AM

21. Hyperbole? Could you please point out where Hedges is exaggerating

the impact of Sandy in that article?

And pointing out that GW's response would have been worse is a pretty low bar to set, IMO.

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Response to truth2power (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:25 AM

25. He exaggerated the impact by comparing it to Katrina. Very few lives were lost

because Obama's FEMA in cooperation with the state governments acted to prepare for the storm.

Property can be replaced. Lives cannot.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:15 AM

12. The impact of this storm wasn't even close to the impact of Katrina

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Response to George II (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:18 AM

13. I don't think that's his point......

...... this is:

This is the new America. It is an America where economic and environmental catastrophes converge to trigger systems breakdown and collapse. It is an America divided between corporate predators and their prey. It is an America that, as things unravel, increasingly sacrifices its own.


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Response to marmar (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:37 AM

15. As we keep chasing growth with Drill Baby Drill, Nature keeps erasing our "gains"...

...

But it gets worse. The costs of climate change are mounting. With more record droughts and massive storms we’ll see those costs mushrooming to the point where they are equal to or greater than the amount of economic growth the U.S. has been clocking per annum. That’s right, if we decide to forget climate change in order to go for the growth, Mother Nature will make sure whatever growth we do see comes mostly from spending on disaster recovery.

...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021877713

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Response to marmar (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:15 AM

19. Then he should make his point better

or he or his editor should choose a more appropriate title. Because "Katrina, All Over Again" is an insult not only to the government officials who were better prepared and better at responding than the jokers who dealt with Katrina, it is also an insult to the much higher number of people who lost their lives as a result of that storm.

As for the any of the lingering post-storm problems such as cleanup, return of services and restoration of homes....it is irresponsible to judge and compare so quickly. Sandy hit the US about a month ago for God's sakes and the writer is already comparing its ultimate outcome to Katrina's which affected the Gulf region for years on end. Can we wait at least a few more months before making such snap judgments?

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Response to ShadesOfBlue (Reply #19)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:40 AM

27. No, it's not Katrina -- but it's a lot more than"lingering problems"

Much of New Orleans is below sea level, so 80% of the city flooded, many people died, and the water just stayed there. That isn't the problem in New York and New Jersey. But the amount of damage was significant, and there hasn't been much official effort going into either cleaning things up or tending to the people -- many of them elderly and inform -- left homeless or cold and hungry in their intact but powerless apartment buildings. Those people can't wait until February for relief.

It's the abandonment that's the real similarity between the two storms. The very fact that Sandy's damage was confined to smaller areas should have made the post-storm efforts simpler and prompter. But that doesn't seem to be happening -- and the mayor's office is even threatening to shut down the unofficial hubs that have been distributing needed supplies.

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Response to marmar (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:39 AM

29. Bingo! We are all on our own now. Unless you're a 1%er, you are

 

eminently disposable and replaceable.

Or, as a right-winger once asked me, "Why didn't those people leave New Orleans? They were told to but refused to leave."

Do I really need to post the progressive rebuttal to the preceding?

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #29)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:47 AM

30. When was it ever not the case?

 

At best they loan you money.

In order to get it all fixed up you need to call Ellen Degeneris to get a home makeover.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:32 AM

14. They need to protect us from phantoms in the ME! Hush up!

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:52 AM

17. No. It wasn't Katrina again. It was Sandy...nt

Sid

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:21 AM

22. Another excellent piece by Hedges.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:37 AM

26. It always amazes me how people have the unrealistic expectation that

a disaster area of this scale can be cleaned up in a matter of a few weeks. Our general area was wiped out in the megafloods of 1993 and 2008. Parts of the area had never fully recovered from the 93 flood before the 08 floods hit us. We had major infrastructure damage to dams, levees, roadways, bridges, commercial and industrial areas as well as residential and farm lands. Flood recovery is still in process and people and businesses have been displaced. I realize that the sea surge brought by Sandy is still very recent, but now more than ever is the time for people to step in and participate in the process of rebuilding. I have been very impressed with some of the creative and innovative ways that communities in this region stepped up to deal with the new terrain carved by the floods. Some of these commuities have had to deal with extensive damage from huge tornadoes too. Handwringing and railing will not get the work done. Participation will.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:57 AM

28. It's about the indifference

It's pretty clear to people in the outlying boroughs that Mayor Bloomberg only really cares about Manhattan and the interests of the 1%. That's the only New York that matters to him. And people are getting angry.

&feature=player_embedded

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Response to starroute (Reply #28)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:46 PM

34. And add this complaint about Bloomberg actively blocking aid

&feature=colike

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:49 AM

31. What is an example of a better response to a disaster like that?

 

They all seem pretty messed up.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:49 AM

32. Emphatic K&R! Full article is well worth the read, imho - n/t

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 12:01 PM

33. Hedges, All Over Again

 

I think he writes the same article every week. Only the names have been changed to protect his anti-Obama franchise. Moral of the story, in case anyone missed it: Obama is Bush, only worse. Stay tuned for next week's exiting drone update.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:55 PM

35. Please also read this, about where the *real* battle is being waged

Where Sandy is most like Katrina is not in loss of life or the scale of the disaster but in the opportunities it offers for disaster capitalism.

http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/12/the-best-response-to-disaster-go-on-the-offensive/

It has been more than a month since Hurricane Sandy. Windows of opportunity that have opened will soon close again, and we need to seize the moment. Compared to just a week or two ago, there are now fewer volunteers, fewer people reading the mass emails from Occupy Sandy, fewer hubs in active service. And just like before, the vultures are still circling, hoping to use this period of crisis to replace flooded bungalows and moldy housing projects with the fancy condos and luxury hotels they’ve always wanted. Just like before, the underlying systems and crises — social, economic, political and environmental — still exist, and are still causing damage much deeper than any hurricane ever could on its own. . . .

How the city will be rebuilt, where the resources will go, who will profit from them and how they will affect communities around the city — those decisions are being made as we speak. The city government is already thinking about how it is going to spend the enormous sums of money that will be poured into redevelopment in the near future. The Wall Street investors in unpublicized meetings are confident they will get a big piece of the pie. The disaster-capitalist developers are already out there doing everything they can to ensure that they’re the ones who get the contracts.

Staff members of Navillus, Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite contractor, are out in the Rockaways “volunteering,” probably in an effort to be first in line when the reconstruction contracts are auctioned off. The fossil fuel companies, meanwhile, are hoping none of us will put two and two together and hold them rightfully responsible for the climate crisis; they are probably doing all the lobbying they can to make sure the city rebuilds in a way that is as dependent on fossil fuels as before.

By the time the bulldozers come to knock down the bungalows in the Rockaways, and the contractors come to build condos in their place, the decisions will have already been made. Maybe we’ll be strong enough to reverse them, but we’ve lost too many battles before to bet on that. In some cases, it’s true, those buildings should be knocked down; no one should have to live in prison-like project buildings, or in homes with walls so moldy they make you cough within minutes. The question is, what will be built in their place?

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:18 PM

36. "Many of the 305,000 houses in New York destroyed by Sandy will never be rebuilt."

Ye gads!!!!!

I am sure than more than a few of those homes were fully paid for. Hope everyone had good insurance, but where will they go to find new houses?

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:31 PM

37. They opened some parts of the closed Fort Monmouth to house displaced families -- only 50 takers.

State assemblyman surprised by low interest in post-Sandy Fort Monmouth housing

http://www.nj.com/monmouth/index.ssf/2012/11/state_assemblyman_surprised_by_low_interest_in_post-sandy_fort_monmouth_housing.html

The evacuations were pretty good. Relatively few drownings. Many of the casualties were seniors who died of hypothermia or falls in darkened homes. Some were people who attempted to drive or walk in the storm and were swept away in flood waters.

Forty of our own: The New Jerseyans killed by Sandy, and their stories

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/12/forty_of_our_own_the_new_jerse.html#incart_m-rpt-1

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