Hurrican Sandy, Climate Change and a Protest Against Drone Strikes
By Debra Sweet, National Director World Can't Wait. Thanks to all who have messaged those of us in the northeast to check how we're doing. We know many of you have been affected, and are not even able to read this, or follow the news. The scale of the disaster in the US is unprecedented, and still remains to be grasped, as tens of millions are affected. A reminder, given how seriously people in NYC/NJ are affected... proportionately, the poor countries who got the storms brunt first, especially Haiti, suffered more loss. People in Haiti's slums who have nothing — a situation fostered by centuries of U.S. actions — were washed away, and survivors face cholera. This is an international problem, and we can't get all "Ah-MUR-i-can" as the politicians do.
Some of our activists have been affected by the storm surge directly cutting off power and access to where they live. Everyone is affected by the shut off of transport. Yesterday we learned how widespread the loss of power is, affecting most of the people in public housing (but Wall Street got opened!). Today, we are seeing horrific reports of Katrina-like conditions in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, with bodies being found today as houses are searched. Beyond the politicians and press conferences on CNN, see these 2 reports from on the ground:
revcom.us: Reports from those affected by Hurricane Sandy
alternet.org: Residents of New York Face a Huge Range of Crises
We'll be talking with people who went through the storm, and are involved in helping and researching conditions, tonight on our regular conference call. Please join in.
Two words as we go forward: "climate change." Do you think either candidate will mention climate change? Even if they do, they offer no solutions.
The debate on whether one should vote for Obama scheduled for Monday between Daniel Ellsberg and David Swanson on KPFK should be worth listening to. David wrote a remarkable account of a visit this week to Obama headquarters in Charlottesville, where he asked former UN ambassador Madeleine Albright whether she "still believed that killing a half a million young Iraqi children was 'worth it.'" He described a scene where Obama supporters jumped on him:
Not a single person present expressed the slightest concern over Albright's having taken part in the murder of so many young lives and many more older ones. Not a single person expressed an interest in learning about a history they were perhaps ignorant of. Not a single person offered an argument for what the positive "it" was that could have made such slaughter "worth it." Not a single person offered a claim that George Bush Sr. or Bob Dole would have killed even more children.
I don't mean to give the impression that Albright's audience was comatose. On the contrary, numerous individuals began grabbing me, shouting at me, pushing me, grabbing my camera, twisting my arm, and spitting out the most vicious hatred. In theory they would all, no doubt, agree that in a system of self-governance people should be able to question their elected officials, former elected officials, and at-large mass-murdering former elected officials. But in this case, this official was playing for the Good Team. The proper role, they believed, therefore, was that of cheerleaders, the highest value deferential respect.
Do they believe the wholesale slaughter of human beings, whether by sanctions or bombs, is sometimes justified by some mysterious "national interest"? Do they believe I was a raving lunatic and that Albright would never have hurt a fly? Do they just believe it's most appropriate not to ask, because that would involve disrespect toward someone on the Good Team? No matter which way you slice it, you come back to a room full of well-dressed polite supporters of mass-murder.
9 Arrested for Blocking Gate of Beale AFB to Protest Drone Strikes
Nine military veterans and peace activists from throughout California were arrested around at the main gate to Beale AFB (North Beale Road), protesting the inhumane and cruel U.S. Drone Program, now killing thousands of innocent men, women and children around the world.
Meanwhile, the U.S. detained a candidate for the presidency of Pakistan who opposes US drone bombings there, for questioning: US Detention of Imran Khan Part of Trend to Harass Anti-Drone Advocates.
Our friends Andy Worthington and Kevin Gosztola bring out the important of military trials going forward in Guantanamo now:
Who Are the 55 Cleared Guantánamo Prisoners on the List Released by the Obama Administration?
Guantanamo Military Commissions: ‘Piece of a Larger Disturbing Trend Toward Centralized Presidential Power’