Enzo Titolo

Politics, Paranoispiricies, neologisms, diary, creative, ruminations

Friday, March 31, 2006

Bush Proposed a FALSE FLAG Operation to draw the UN into Iraq War

"Bush was so committed to going to war that he discussed painting a U.S. surveillance plane in U.N. colors in hopes of drawing Iraqi fire. 'If Saddam fired on them,' Bush said, 'he would be in breach.'"

(British Memo: War of choice, Editorial, by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board. March 29, 2006.)

This is known as a false-flag operation, something done in as a covert action to cause nations to go to war under false pretenses, like:
  • the 'accidentally' mistranslated or untranslated Gulf of Tonkin incident tranmissions leading to the Vietnam Catastrophe in 1964 (and lasting almost ten years more to the profit of KBR and Halliburton),
  • the destruction of the USS Maine (by 'machine failure' but blamed on a Spanish mine), precipitating the Spanish-American War in 1898 under conservative favorite, McKinley. leading U.S. influence in P.R., Phillipines, Cuba, and D.R, as well as big profits for industry and railroads, or
  • the Operation Northwoods plots proferred by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which President Kennedy nixed in 1963, in which passenger planes would be switched with military aircraft drones to be shot down and blamed on Cuba, or in which the U.S. sank a U.S. naval ship with sailors aboard all to precipitate war with Cuba.

Still, not only is this sort of action (drawing fire on a U.S. spy plane painted to look like a UN plane) proposed to be ordered by President Bush prohibited under the U.S.' Rules of War, but it is stupid.

What would be the rationale: that the UN would be mad at Iraq for downing a spy plane that would have been the UN's, if it weren't the US' plane flying provocatively?

Or that maybe we could fool the UN, as well as Iraq, into thinking that that plane was operated by the UN, even though no one in the UN would know about the plane's provenance or have any association with the lost crew?

The most illuminating things about this memo is that it is more proof that Bush wanted war with Iraq badly, desperately.

He was willing not only to lie about wanting war, which he did again this week in a town hall meeting and in reply to Helen Thomas' pointed question, but he was willing to run a prominent false flag operations to precipitate war with Iraq, which would mean a ton more lies committed by thousands of people for a long time, involving cover-ups, etc.

What else is President Bush lying about? What else is he and his cronies covering up? What is worth it to them to risk perjury and calumny and impeachment? That is, what are the motives behind the lies taking us into Iraq?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Thank you for Censuring the President, Senator Feingold

Thanks for your courage censuring President Bush, Senator Feingold. What a pack of passes he's been getting all these years!

Could you imagine if 9/11/01 had happened under Gore? All the blame.

And then if he were blocking the investigations, letting the Bin Ladens leave the US when we couldn't fly, and then dropping the ball in Afghanistan allowing Bin Laden still at large? And then starting war in Iraq by lying about it? And then botching up the occupation? And those lost billions of dollars? Those thousands of lives, including American troops without armor, and tens of thousands of Iraqis who had nothing to do with 9/11/01. The torture in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and Abu Ghraib? Letting the rank and file take the blame for that...

And then strumming a guitar while on yet another long vacation while we lost a major American city? Something that's never happened before in our history!

And then we find out that he's been spying on Americans, in specific contravention to the FISA?
Plus, blowing a surplus and turning it into a huge debt? A five year long undeclared recession? Blocking stem cell research? Gas prices skyrocketing up and staying there...

This administration is an unmitigated disaster! The only 'effective' thing about it is the privatized pillaging of our treasury and whatever their cronies can take from the rest of the world.

They impeached Clinton for lying about sex with an intern which obstructed a (politically motivated?) civil suit!

They pilloried Carter for trying at first unsuccessfully to rescue the hostages in Iran with the military, and he freed those hostages without trading arms for them and without supplying terrorists and death squads in Central America.

But Carter gets no credit for his principles or results, and Clinton was impeached.

Meanwhile, no one in the Bush administration is ever held accountable for their tremendous failures, lying, and incompetence! This has to stop, and I'm glad you started by holding him accountable, bringing up Censure. Long overdue!

The next step is impeachment, but we need to impeach both Bush and Cheney.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shark & Awe - The Costs of FULL spectrum dominance on the US

I love Asia Times. I love it so much that I'm reprinting an article by Tom Engelhardt with my annotations in (parenthesed italics).

But since I have such a peripatetic brain, this article called to mind a BBC article beyond meatspace about the Pentagon's literal plans for full-spectrum dominance. I cite that article inside italicized [[square brackets]].

'Shark and Awe'
By Tom Engelhardt

The US already has "stealth" aircraft, but what about a little of the stealth that only nature can provide?

(At first, this concept was shocking to me: using animals to fight our wars! But then again, the Asyrians used elephants to conquer ancient Palestine, the Cavalry used horses, birds were used as messengers in WWI, BF Skinner taught pigeons to guide missiles in World War II, and we used German Shephards at Abu Ghraib.)

Navy SEALs, move over - here come the navy sharks. According to the latest New Scientist magazine, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the blue-sky wing of the
Pentagon, has set yet another group of American scientists loose to create the basis for future red-in-tooth-and-maw Discovery Channel programs.

(ahh, DARPA, the people who brought us the forerunner to the Internet, DARPANet, which was to connect scientists after a devestating nuclear war knocked out communications and transportation systems. But that was the Cold War, and that was a good idea. Since then Gore really did help convert it to peacetime uses, driving some massive US-based innovation and entrepreneurship.
I think of how much I relied on the Internet in the terrified weeks after the bombings of the WTC and the Pentagon in 2001, and then the unfolding Anthrax attacks on the east coast... I hope that the Internet still stays up, free, and informative if there is another catastrophe, and that it is not hacked by terrorists or militarists from the US or anywhere else so people can communicate directly and get the news...
Truth being the first casualty of war, I doubt it, though...
With DARPA being the original agency that Iran-Contra Anti-hero and almost convicted co-conspirator John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness used to launch the massive database used to detect terrorists and terror plots, it seems that the Internet as threat-medium is on the neo-cons' radar as something to destroy.
It wasn't enough for Bush2 to stomp on the bursted tech bubble, they have to militarize anything good about network technologies and make anything like blogging more and more a liability to bloggers. Did you know that if somone finds any blog offensive, then the blogger could be convicted under a law new against harassment? The right wing slipped that one in.)

(Back to the military, in a recent strategy document, "Informations Operations Roadmap 2003" (signed by DoD Secretary Rumsfeld), they labeled the Internet as a threat that should be fought. The overt implication was that enemies could bring down networks or spy with the Internet, or perhaps they could hack sites and spread disinformation. But I also read into the strategy that there was a homefront to the war as well. That is, if you are a dissenting citizen, excercizing First Amendment rights, then you citizen, could have your site or email shut down, or you could be considered and treated as an enemy/conspirator, even if you are patriotic and law-abiding...."[[When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone. It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system. "Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads. The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap."....
From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war....And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon....And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".
US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

...The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.
Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?
The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.
And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only by the US military's ambitions for it.]]

My sense is that the military wants to stuff the Genie they founded on Coca Beach in the 1960s back to the bottle.
I miss the days of the Peace Dividend when the military let the Internet go and grow, when English majors and Comp Sci Geeks could finally find good work and good pay developing the web. We had the first sense of hope and growth for young people in this country since they killed the Kennedy Brothers.
If the poop really hits the fan next time around, Terror Threat Level Red, probably what will happen to the Internet is the equivalent of the former Soviet Union cutting into TV programming, playing only military tunes whenever a Premier died and the Politburo was sorting out the transition.
That is, the military either will accidentally shut the Net down completely, or they will have it on some sort of 'safe mode' with pre-approved news providers, and most traffic restricted to big business and government use.
Back to the military's planned dominance of the animal kingdom for US' Earth and Sea supremacy...)

In this case, they are planning to put neural implants into the brains of sharks in hopes, one day, of "controlling the animal's movements, and perhaps even decoding what it is feeling". In their dreams at least, DARPA's far-out funders hope to "exploit sharks' natural ability to glide quietly through the water, sense delicate electrical gradients and follow chemical trails. By remotely guiding the sharks' movements, they hope to transform the animals into stealth spies, perhaps capable of following vessels without being spotted."

(Pretty cool. Maybe they can eat enemies in really horrific ways. Teach their friends and those who harbor them a lesson... Even better, give them fricken laser guns! We can get them from afar. Much cooler than drones.)

So far they've only made it to the poor dogfish, "steered" in captivity via electrodes keyed to "phantom odors". As it happens, though, DARPA-sponsored plans are a good deal lustier than that: next stop, the blue shark, which reaches a length of 4 meters. Project engineer Walter Gomes of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, claims a team will soon put neural implants "into blue sharks and release them into the ocean off the coast of Florida". To transmit signals to the sharks, the team will need nothing less than a network of signaling towers in the area. This has "anti-ballistic shark system" written all over it.

(Now, paranoiacs' theories of Ultra Mind Kontrol isn't too far off into the future...)

Actually, it's not the first time the US military has invested in shark technology. As Noah Shachtman of DefenseTech.org pointed out in July, "The navy has tapped three firms to build prototype gadgets that duplicate what sharks do naturally: find prey from the electric fields they emit."

(Finally, we understand why fire ants infest eletrical systems.)

One of them, Advanced Ceramics Research Inc, limned the project's potential benefits this way: "If developed, such a capability might allow for the detection of small, hostile submarines entering a seawater inlet, harbor or channel, or allow objects such as mines to be pinpointed in shallow waters where sonar imaging is severely compromised."

And then there's that ultimate underwater dream, the Microfabricated Biomimetic Artificial Gill System, that could lead to all sorts of navy breakthroughs, perhaps even - if you'll excuse a tad of blue-skying - blue shark/human tracking teams, or if not that, then lots of late-night-TV Aquaman jokes.

Of course, the US Navy has been in nature's waters in a big way for a while with its Marine Mammal Program in San Diego. There, it trains bottlenose dolphins as "sentries" and mine detectors. Such dolphins were "first operationally deployed" in Vietnam in 1971 and a whole Dolphin Patrol (like, assumedly, the shark patrol to come) is now on duty in the Khor Abd Allah waterway, Iraq's passageway into the Persian Gulf. To the embarrassment of the navy, a dolphin named Takoma even went "AWOL" (absent without leave) there in 2003, soon after the invasion of Iraq began.

(Some say Dolphins are the smartest animals...)

DARPA funds research into weaponizing creatures that inhabit just about any environmental niche imaginable - including bees capable of detecting explosives;

(Bees detecting explosives? How about swarms of bees landing on Osama and stinging him to death? But talk about blow-back: what if the killer bees turn on US?)

"eyes" patterned after those of flies that might some day make "smart" weaponry even smarter; gecko wall-climbing and octopus concealment techniques; and electrode-controlled rats capable of searching through piles of rubble. In addition, between nature and whatever the opposite of nurture may be, there's been an ongoing military give-and-take. Consider, for instance, BigDog, highlighted in the same issue of New Scientist. Compared to a pack mule, goat or horse, this "robotic beast of burden" is being developed by Boston Dynamics to haul over rough terrain at least 40 kilograms of supplies soldiers won't need to carry, while being able to take a "hefty kick" in the legs without crumpling to the ground.

(Big Dog is reminiscent of the Imperial Walkers from Star Wars. In fact, the US is morphing into the Empire.)

From sharks to robots, from hacking into your nervous system to manipulating the weather, the Pentagon seems determined to exert "full-spectrum dominance", especially over that top-of-the-line primate, us. To achieve this, it sponsors blue-sky thinking with a vengeance. Nothing that moves or breathes on the planet, it seems, is conceptually beyond conscription by Uncle Sam into possible future war scenarios.

This is undoubtedly what happens when you have an administration that considers the Pentagon the answer to all America's problems and gives it a US$439.3 billion budget to play with - and that's exclusive of actual war-fighting money (which, for Iraq and Afghanistan, at an estimated $120 billion for the year, will come in supplemental requests to Congress). And remember as well that the fiscal 2007 Pentagon budget does not include the $9.3 billion the Department of Energy will put into nuclear weapons or a host of veterans-care benefits, all of which bring the budget at least close to the $600 billion range. Analyzing the 2006 budget, economist Robert Higgs estimated that all military-related outlays - that is, the real Pentagon budget - totaled closer to $840 billion.

Even taken at face value, the 2007 Pentagon budget accounts for more than half of the $873 billion in federal discretionary spending - the funds that the president and Congress decide to spend each year. For 2007, education, the second-largest discretionary budget item, amounts to just over $50 billion, a piddling sum by comparison. But there is probably no way to put any version of the Pentagon's finances into perspective. Militarily speaking, it throws other military spending on the planet into the deepest shadow. As Frida Berrigan, senior research associate at the World Policy Institute's Arms Trade Resource Center and co-author of Weapons at War 2005, points out, "The Pentagon accounts for about half the world's total military expenditures of $1.04 trillion, spending alone what the 32 next most powerful nations spend together."

(Meanwhile if you use a wheelchair, you better not try to leave most NYC subway stations. Or if you are unemployed and need a doctor, forget it. Or if you live in a housing project, you don't have someone guarding your building, even though you need it the most. Or if you are lower-middle class you don't qualify for subsidized housing.)

The United States is also by far the planet's largest exporter of weapons and military hardware. An annual Congressional Research Service report found that, in 2004, global weapons deliveries totaled nearly $37 billion - with the United States responsible for more than 33% of them, or $12.4 billion - and it hasn't gotten better since.

No other country puts anything like such effort, planning and dreaming into the idea of projecting planet-spanning military power, caught so grimly in that phrase, "full-spectrum dominance". To Pentagon minds this seems to mean: from 20,000 leagues down to 30 kilometers up (and everything that creeps, crawls, swims or flies in between). The phrase first gained attention with the release in 2000 of the US Air Force's Joint Vision 2020 statement - a supposed look into a future world of US war-making.

It's one of those terms that sticks with you - and not just because of the full-spectrum weaponry that's now on the drawing boards, ranging from hypervelocity rod bundles meant to penetrate underground bunkers from outer space (ominously nicknamed "rods from God") to the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV), "an unmanned maneuverable spacecraft that [by 2010] would travel at five times the speed of sound and could carry 1,000 pounds [454 kilograms] of munitions, intelligence sensors or other payloads" anywhere on the planet within two hours, or that permanent base on the moon the administration of President George W Bush has called for by 2020 (and the array of Star Wars-style space-based weaponry that would ring it).

Full-spectrum dominance turns out to include even the US, where in 2002 the Bush administration established the United States Northern Command (Northcom), whose website at present has the following from a visit by assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense Paul McHale as its reassuring quote of the week: "I'm leaving with a clear sense of confidence in the vision and planning of Northcom to deal with any emerging threat, whether an occurrence of pandemic flu, a 2006 hurricane ... or a terrorist attack still being planned by our adversaries."

While the Pentagon quietly begins to take over tasks that once were delegated to civilian agencies, its blue-sky weapons planning extends into the distant future. Take, for instance, the Air Force Futures Game 05, held for several days last October in the Dulles, Virginia, office of consultants Booz Allen Hamilton. The exercise was dedicated to "looking at scenarios for the year 2025", especially one in which a nuclear weapon is loose in a "Middle Eastern country" and a major war is in the offing. Like many other Pentagon war-gaming exercises, this one was largely committed to confirming the usefulness of as-yet-non-existent or hardly existent weaponry, especially in the areas of "space access" and "electronic warfare". According to Colonel Gail Wojtowicz, US Air Force division director of future concepts and transformation, the gamers were "also looking at one of the trickiest issues the air force or another service may have to face: what the Pentagon can do on American soil". Indeed.

Military analyst William Arkin wrote about these particular air-force games, meant to boost "laser, high-powered microwaves, and acoustic weapons", at his Washington Post Early Warning blog. Such blue-sky exercises, he explained, advance new weapons systems (and their corporate sponsors) "along the familiar development path of boosters and patrons feeding information to war gamers who feed study participants who feed researchers who feed manufacturers. At the end of the day, it is hard to tell whether high-powered microwaves and laser came into being because someone conceived it out of need or because its existence in the laboratory created the need."

To support letting inventive minds roam free outside normal frameworks is in itself an inspired idea. But I bet there's no DARPA-like agency elsewhere in the government funding the equivalent for education 2025 or health 2025 or even energy independence 2025. To have this happen, I'm afraid, you would have to transform them into Northcom war games.

Now it's true that much blue-skying may never come to be. Those US Navy stealth sharks may not patrol America's coasts and a good, swift enemy kick to some unexpected spot on BigDog's anatomy may fell the "creature", if budgetary or high-tech wrinkles don't do the trick first - just as an unexpected series of low-tech blows to the United States' full-spectrum military has left the Pentagon desperate and its army unraveling in Iraq.

Wouldn't it be nice, though, if official blue-sky thinking didn't always mean mobilizing finances, scientists, corporations and even the animal kingdom in the service of global death. Wouldn't it be nice to blue-sky just a tad about life?

Tom Engelhardt is editor of Tomdispatch and the author of The End of Victory Culture. His novel, The Last Days of Publishing, has recently come out in paperback.

(The author offers special thanks for Pentagon facts and figures in this piece to Frida Berrigan of the World Policy Institute's invaluable Arms Trade Resource Center.)

(Copyright 2006 Tom Engelhardt.) [all bold was Enzo's addition]

Friday, March 24, 2006

What to Call This Decade: THE NAUGHTIES

In the late 1990s I 'joined' a group of New Yorkers naming this, the next decade, "THE NAUGHTIES." At the time we hoped it would be a continuation of the good fun we'd been experiencing since the mid 1990s. Heck, this was the decade in which the first time the word 'blow job' was used in polite politcal parlance among the general populace. And I liked it.

It was the first decade since the death of RFK in which young people had hope for the future, and the first time since the 60s that young people had hope of making a good living, doing better than their parents. English majors and Programming Geeks were kings of the new economy. And I liked it.

Continuing the good-hearted fun only seemed the natural innocent inclination. Naughty had come to mean mischievous or sexy, transgressive. Women were wearing school girl skirts in basement nightclubs, loving it when guys bent them over, spanking them on a bar stool telling them, 'you are so naughty!' We hadn't had naughty fun like this since AIDS shut down Plato's Retreat in the early 1980s.

Plus, even though the first two decades of the Twentieth Century were quite important, they are largely forgotten due to the lack of a catchy name for that era. The closest we come is 'the 'Aughts' or something like that. It was based on zero being before a number, like nineteen-aught-eight. But I don't know anyone who refers to that era as the Aughties, like the Twenties or the Thirties, etc. More likely, if one is conscious at all of the black-&-white era, then their consciousness usually begins with the Twenties.

But as the 1990s waned things quickly took a dark turn, as naughtiness' namesake kicked into gear. Naughty originally derives from nothingness or void. Void is the anti-stuff that the Lord filled-in 'in the beginning' ...of Genesis. And that was Good. Naught is also what the debauched grasshopper was left with after his summer of naughty merry-making in comparison to the hardworking thrifty grasshopper from the allegory. The good grasshopper had a store of food to get him through the winter, and the naughty grasshopper was left with nothing but memories and fear.

In late 2000 the naughty alcoholic Boy King stole the Presidency from the diligent Gore. What is worse than a good thing happening to a bad person, and a bad thing happening to a good one?

For over a month we stared at the tube as 'the Brooks Brothers Rioting' Republican-Youth-thugs (mostly House Staffers and now many in the Bush Regime) were shipped to the Palm Beach Board of Elections' offices, shutting them down and banging on the doors, terrorizing vote counters so that those votes would never be counted. And those votes weren't counted as the Florida bureaucrats called it a day, leaving it maybe for manyana. John Bolton showed up in another county and said he was there to stop the vote count. Naughty, naughty!

Bush won the US election by one vote: Antonin Scalia's. Word has it that his wife greeted him at home with a Martini. The Supreme Court decision was deliberately naughty, as they stated that their decision not to count the votes was not a precedent. That is, nothing could be based on it. And being further naughty, they used the one-man-one-vote rationale to 'justify' this decree, even as blacks' votes were not being counted and hundreds of thousands of blacks and Democrats were already purged from the voter rolls by Katherine Harris and the King-to-be's Brother Governor Jeb. My understanding of one-man-one-vote is empowering individual citizens equally, so this twistedly ironic use of the principle is, well, naughty.

We have a President who uses 'morality' and religion for political purposes and to hide mass killings. What is more cynical and naughty than that? When the devil shows on a recruitment drive, he won't be dressed like the devil, but he'll be wearing a suit and a smile, making you feel comfortable and good about yourself. Or maybe he'll come off as a 'regular' guy that you'd like to have 'a' beer with. Certainly he won't sound like the singer from Panterra. It just wouldn't be a good way to "market a new product," like the war in Iraq.

After stealing the election these Naughties stole Haiti, a few Central European countries with the 'color' revolutions, and they've been trying with varying degrees of success to steal Venezuela, Afghanistan, Iraq, the 2004 election, and post-disaster New Orleans. They are stealing our tax money, our nation's good will, our futures...

And what comes of all this theft? Naught/Nothing! At least for those of us left holding the empty bags and wallets and bank accounts. These guys are only good at coups and fleecing the public through their privatized government service providers like Halliburton, KBR, CSX, BlackWater, Bechtel, and Fluor, while the taxpayers' kids and economy tanks and tanks and tanks. Avast ye Pirates!

What else have we got this decade? Where there were proud Twin Towers we have a hole. Where is that Bogeyman, Osama? In a cave?! Where is our Constitution? In the garbage.

Where there was Fortune's "most innovative company" in the world for years on end, Enron is a big void, but only after stealing thousands of pensions and ripping off the stock market in general, and only after they precipitated an energy crisis in California over nothing, fleecing million$ from them.

Accountants, including the once highly respected Arthur Andersen, are now cheaters that we are supposed to keep an eye on. Accountants are naughty in the Naughties. Priests have been buggering boys, sometimes in their parent's homes. And to 'top' that, Bishops and Cardinals have been covering it up and quieting it down, by shifting these predators to different parishes again and again. They use their parishioners' donations to settle the lawsuits for millions and millions of dollars... I think Jesus would clearly not approve were he striding in front of the Vatican.

The moral of the story: be careful what you wish for, and now that it is the Naughties be careful and beware.

Once again, now more than ever, this decade is the Naughties.

Credit for the Naughties meme goes to the folks behind this site http://www.guruadrian.com/

Here Come 'The Naughties'

NEW YORK -- What comes after Y2K?

If we avoid the Big Meltdown, and the fin de millennium turns out to be less than apocalyptic, one of the first tasks we'll face will be to name the decade after the 90s.

Just doing the math won't help. Tags for the zero-laden next decade floated in popular magazines in recent weeks have included such ungainly -- or outright depressing -- monikers as the Zeroes, the Singles, the 2000s, the Double-Os, the Oh-Ohs, the Y2Ks, and the Millies.

Futurist Faith Popcorn is billing the next cultural growth-spurt as the "EVEolennium," an era of marketing influenced by the growing economic clout of women that will launch the "e-lennium."

If none of those names ring your chimes, you're not alone.

A cheeky Silicon Alley-based arts collective called Foomedia has come along with a grassroots campaign to encourage the widespread adoption of its own idea as the buzz phrase of the decade.

In the past few days, posters and stickers have appeared on walls and in phone booths all over downtown Manhattan. "The coming decade has a name," they declare. "Naught = 0. Naughty = Fun."

Goodbye, '90s. Hello, "Naughties."

Over the weekend, Foomedia launched the online arm of its campaign to spread the Naughties meme. Visitors to Project Naughtie headquarters at Naughties.com are invited to register as "naughtie boys and girls," and to download posters and stickers emblazoned with the grinning face of the campaign's mysterious figurehead: a toothy, cowlicked, not altogether innocent-looking boy named "Guru Adrian."

Guru Adrian is the jaunty "non-prophet" alter ego of the mastermind behind Project Naughtie, artist David Wales.

"Who wants to live through 'the Zeroes?'" asks Wales. The catchier moniker came to him in a moment of inspiration on the subway, he says. He remembers giggling out loud.

"That's how I know it's a good name -- everyone I've told it to has laughed."

The Project Naughtie team hopes that, by christening the decade with a name that suggests creative subversion, they'll help jumpstart the next millennium with 10 years of irreverent innovation.

Predicting trends is more than just a hobby for Wales, whose day job is keeping an eye on the Zeitgeist for Toyota. The car manufacturer employs the Australian-born artist as a "cultural forecaster." Recent research included clocking the contents of messenger bags, backpacks, and purses of New Yorkers attempting to lug their increasingly mobile offices around on straps across their shoulders.

"When people ask me what people are going to be wearing in five years," says Wales, "I tell them, 'Computers.'"

To launch the Naughties campaign, Wales hooked up with Matt Frost and Geoff Seelinger, whose two-person startup, Foomedia, has done print advertising and Web design for scrappy online destinations aimed at teens such as Planet Kiki and a do-it-yourself DJ site called the Dollhouse. Seelinger says he likes the Naughties tag because "it implies innocence and mischief. It's about extending boundaries in a playful way."

Frost sees an inherent optimism in the sharing of ideas and resources on the Web that encouraged the team's ambition to coin a catchphrase for the next decade. The team has no commercial interest in the Naughties tag -- they just want to see their snappy, upbeat name catch on.

The campaign is being run out of the Foomedia studio, which is located on the site of a former brothel on Third Avenue. More Web projects and a Naughties dance track for MTV are in the works, and Frost and Seelinger plan to use movie projectors rescued from a local dumpster to screen Naughties graphics on the huge wall outside their studio. A pair of trendy gift shops called Alphabets have volunteered their windows in January in service of the cause, and a window-dresser at upmarket Bergdorf-Goodman is considering highlighting a Naughties exhibit early next year.

The Project Naughtie team is decidedly psyched about the future. Jaded New York-style irony and cynicism are "so 20th century," Wales quips.

Seelinger, who studied post-Structuralism in college, adds that "perhaps we needed a critique of everything at the end of the century. But it's time to move on. It's time to make good with what we know."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Interesting Article About Sibling Violence - Enzo's ADDNotations

For some reason this article about sibling violence among children struck me as powerful, but it neglects what could be a common cause for this problem: under-diagnosed and under-treated ADD in families.

The article points out two juxtapostions. There is the sometimes serious violence contrasted with bittersweet bonds of love and family (despite the abuse) mentioned at the end of the article. [What was not mentioned was how the abusive sibling might be suffering, too, from a brain disorder combined with at least one neglectful or distant parent (who might also be suffering from a brain disorder). Also, it is interesting that the most abusive sibling in this story died so early (mid thirties) from heart disease, often a stress related illness that might have been exacerbated by mental disorders, and certainly by his serious drug and alcohol addictions.] Children are powerless in general, and especially against their parents, and if one sibling is not receiving the proper medical treatment for bipolar disorder or severe ADD then that sick child might sometimes strike where he can, I suppose: his younger brother. This abuse spreads sometimes lasting trauma and psychological damage from the sick child to the (possibly formerly-well) other child.

This article gives short shrift to mental disabilties, since, I recall that such disorders affect somewhere between 10-50% of the population during our lifetimes. This means that nearly every family might have someone with a brain or mood disorder, and there is a high genetic correlation among mental disabilities. According to the National Association for the Mentally Ill or NAMI: "The most serious and disabling conditions affect five to ten million adults (2.6 – 5.4%) and three to five million children ages five to seventeen (5 – 9%) in the United States. ... The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports. Early identification and treatment is of vital importance. By getting people the treatment they need early, recovery is accelerated and the brain is protected from further harm related to the course of illness." My reading of this article is that between 10-20% of children are suffering from serious sibling abuse, so indeed sibling abuse is not just coming from 'seriously disabled' youth like psychotic schizoprhenics, but from under-diagnosed children with ADD, which I don't think NAMI defines as 'serious or disabling.'

One of the child psychologists in this article, Dr. Caffaro, attributes this violence problem partially to boys' testosterone and over-impulsiveness, but he mainly blames the parents. Since the article states that sibling violence most often occurs between ages 6-12, I don't think that testosterone is indicated, since if boys had testosterone at those ages, then 10-20% of them would be shaving early and pumping iron. There is another difference beween pre-pubescent boys and girls, and that is the prevalence of a more aggressive form of ADD among boys compared to girls. As for the old saw of blaming the distant father and the incompetant/overwrought mother, there is some truth there, but I'd really rather that that be addressed within the context of children and parents getting their brains treated with proper nutrition, excercize, medication, and therapy. Since ADD is genetically correlated, very likely the father could be emotionally detached/irrespsonsible/workaholic and/or the mother could be scattered and less able to cope, so the parents need care, too! Caffaro's description of the parents indicates Adult ADD to me. Proper ADD treatment, not its neglect, would lead to less alcohol and drug addiction, since there is a high correlation between self-medication/addiction and untreated ADD.

The other juxtaposition in the article contrasted society's indifference and often parental indifference to widespread abuse of children and their suffering. The article points out that if anyone else were to treat children, or anyone for that matter, the way some siblings treat each other, then that would be grounds for legal or administrative intervention, as well as possibly criminal, family, or civil court involvement.

It is like Alice Miller's "Drama of the Gifted Child" pointing out how adults neglect children emotionally and abuse them through such neglect. Don't let the mistranslated title fool you: This book is not about gifted children, but the genius of all children to adapt to terrible situations fostered by the adult world's abuse of its power. Miller was wrestling with how a civilized and educated people as the Germans could perpetrate genocides in the 1930s and 1940s. She theorized that she was part of a nation of children who were mass-abused, yet they grew up in 'good' middle-class homes to become abusers themselves of their own children, and of their countrymen (Jews, Gypsies/Romanis, the mentally ill, disabled, Communists, Trade Unionists, Catholics, Gays, and others whose power was taken away) and citizens of neighboring countries that they invaded through bureaucracy, fiat, and militarism.

In case my link to the article doesn't work, here it is for posterity's sake and for the sake of discussion. All the bolded text is my own emphasis and the square brackets are mine, too:

February 28, 2006

Beyond Rivalry, a Hidden World of Sibling Violence

From infancy until he reached the threshold of manhood, the beatings Daniel W. Smith received at his older brother's hands were qualitatively different from routine sibling rivalry. Rarely did he and his brother just shove each other in the back of the family car over who was crowding whom, or wrestle over a toy firetruck.
Instead, Mr. Smith said in an interview, his brother, Sean, would grip him in a headlock or stranglehold and punch him repeatedly.

"Fighting back just made it worse, so I'd just take it and wait for it to be over," said Mr. Smith, who was 18 months younger than his brother. "What was I going to do? Where was I going to go? I was 10 years old."
To speak only of helplessness and intimidation, however, is to oversimplify a complex bond. "We played kickball with neighborhood kids, and we'd go off exploring in the woods together as if he were any other friend," said Mr. Smith, who is now 34 and a writing instructor at San Francisco State University. (Sean died of a heart attack three years ago.)

"But there was always tension," he said, "because at any moment things could go sour."

Siblings have been trading blows since God first played favorites with Cain and Abel. Nearly murderous sibling fights — over possessions, privacy, pecking orders and parental love — are woven through biblical stories, folktales, fiction and family legends.

In Genesis, Joseph's jealous older brothers strip him of his coat of many colors and throw him into a pit in the wilderness. Brutal brother-on-brother violence dominates an opening section of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden," and in Annie Proulx's short story "Brokeback Mountain," the cowboy Ennis del Mar describes an older brother who "slugged me silly ever' day."

This casual, intimate violence can be as mild as a shoving match and as savage as an attack with a baseball bat. It is so common that it is almost invisible. Parents often ignore it as long as nobody gets killed; researchers rarely study it; and many psychotherapists consider its softer forms a normal part of growing up.

But there is growing evidence that in a minority of cases, sibling warfare becomes a form of repeated, inescapable and emotionally damaging abuse, as was the case for Mr. Smith.

In a study published last year in the journal Child Maltreatment, a group of sociologists found that 35 percent of children had been "hit or attacked" by a sibling in the previous year. The study was based on phone interviews with a representative national sample of 2,030 children or those who take care of them.
Although some of the attacks may have been fleeting and harmless, more than a third were troubling on their face. [10% of the sample - Enzo]

According to a preliminary analysis of unpublished data from the study, 14 percent of the children were repeatedly attacked by a sibling; 4.55 percent were hit hard enough to sustain injuries like bruises, cuts, chipped teeth and an occasional broken bone; and 2 percent were hit by brothers or sisters wielding rocks, toys, broom handles, shovels and even knives. [now 20% of the sample - Enzo. So, 5-10 million children are suffering from untreated serious sibling abuse.]

Children ages 2 to 9 who were repeatedly attacked were twice as likely as others their age to show severe symptoms of trauma, anxiety and depression, like sleeplessness, crying spells, thoughts of suicide and fears of the dark, further unpublished data from the same study suggest.

"There are very serious forms of, and reactions to, sibling victimization," said David Finkelhor, a sociologist at the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, the study's lead author, who suggests it is often minimized.

"If I were to hit my wife, no one would have trouble seeing that as an assault or a criminal act," Dr. Finkelhor said. "When a child does the same thing to a sibling, the exact same act will be construed as a squabble, a fight or an altercation."

The sibling attacks in Dr. Finkelhor's study were equally frequent among children of all races and socioeconomic groups; they were most frequent on children 6 to 12, slightly more frequent on boys than on girls, and tapered off gradually as children entered adolescence.

As violent as sibling conflicts are among humans, they are seldom fatal, as they can be among birds and a smattering of other animals.

Siblicide is common among birds of prey, including tawny eagles, brown pelicans and kittiwakes. A Pacific Ocean seabird known as the blue-footed booby pecks at its siblings and pushes them out of the nest to die of starvation while the parents stand idly by. A baby black-crowned night heron in Minnesota was twice observed swallowing the entire head of a younger nestmate until it went limp and looked close to death. Embryonic sand tiger sharks eat one another while they're still in the womb.

Piglets are born with a special set of temporary "needle teeth" to attack their littermates in the struggle for the mother's prodigal frontal teats; the runts kicked back to the hind teat sometimes starve on its thin milk.
On the Serengeti Plain of Tanzania, spotted hyena pups, who are usually born in pairs, bite and shake each other almost from the moment they leave the womb. When the mother's milk is thin, the struggles often end with the death of one pup from wounds or malnutrition — especially, curiously enough, if the pups are the same sex.

Baby animals, researchers theorize, fight mainly to establish dominance and to compete for scarce food. Human children, on the other hand, fight not only over who got the bigger bowl of ice cream but also over who decides what game to play, who controls the remote, who is supposed to do the dishes, who started it and who is loved most.

Few experts agree on how extensive sibling abuse is, or where sibling conflict ends and abuse begins. It is rarely studied: only two major national studies, a handful of academic papers and a few specialized books have looked at it in the last quarter-century. And it is as easy to over-dramatize as it is to underestimate.

In 1980, when the sociologist Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire published "Behind Closed Doors," a groundbreaking national study of family violence, he concluded that the sibling relationship was the most violent of human bonds. Judged strictly by counting blows, he was right: Dr. Straus and his colleagues found that 74 percent of a representative sample of children had pushed or shoved a sibling within the year and 42 percent had kicked, bitten or punched a brother or sister. (Only 3 percent of parents had attacked a child that violently, and only 3 percent of husbands had physically attacked their wives.)

John V. Caffaro, a clinical psychologist and family therapist in private practice in the San Diego suburb Del Mar, defines sibling abuse as a pattern of repeated violence and intimidation.

In an interview, Dr. Caffaro, a co-author of "Sibling Abuse Trauma," said abuse was most often determined by a combination of disengaged upbringing by parents, testosterone and family demographics. It occurs most often in large families composed entirely of closely spaced boys, and least frequently among pairs of sisters, he said.

"A kid can hit a sibling once and it can look pretty bad, but that's not what we consider abuse," he said. "We're looking for a repeated pattern and when that happens, somebody — a parent — has got to be out to lunch."
Abuse occurs most frequently, he said, when a parent is emotionally absent as a result of divorce, long working hours, extensive business travel, alcoholism, preoccupation with his or her own problems or other factors. "One or both parents aren't really around much to do their jobs. It's almost a given," Dr. Caffaro said, adding that "peripheral" fathers are particularly problematic.

"Things are chaotic, boundaries are blurred, and supervision is minimal," he said, noting that those families do not always look chaotic from the outside.

"Sometimes the father is just basically extensively out of town for business and Mom is not a good limit-setter," he said.

In other cases, he added, parents escalate conflicts by playing favorites, ignoring obvious victimization, intervening only to shut the kids up or blaming older children without understanding how younger children helped provoke them.

Dr. Caffaro said that in his experience sibling violence could rarely be attributed simply to an extraordinarily aggressive or psychotic child.

In nearly 15 years of working with more than a hundred families and adult survivors of sibling abuse, he said he could remember only a handful of such cases, one involving a girl repeatedly beaten up by a brother with schizophrenia. Although some children have poor impulse control, he said, violence only becomes repeated abuse when parents fail to nip it in the bud.

Several adults, contacted through a classified advertisement posted online on Craigslist and through a Web site for survivors of sibling abuse, said that their parents had ignored their siblings' intimidation.

"My parents tended to lessen the significance of the abuse, telling me that my brother loved me, really, and that he really was a nice person," wrote Kasun J., 21, an Australian university student, in a posting on the Web site he started under the pen name Mandragora.

Kasun J., who did not want to be further identified for fear of family repercussions, said in an interview that he still kept his distance from an older brother who once threw a clock and a set of nail clippers at his head.
Daniel Smith said that his parents rarely intervened when he and his brother fought, figuring that "boys will be boys."

When he was in sixth grade, he said, a school counselor, concerned about a violent short story he had written, asked him about possible abuse at home, and he felt relieved and hopeful. But as soon as he told her that it was his brother, not his parents, who was hitting him, the counselor dropped the subject.

"I remember thinking that she was sort of a fraud," Mr. Smith said.

Other people interviewed said they were still haunted by memories of older brothers — and an occasional sister — who dumped them out of bassinets, hit them with mop handles, sat on their chests until they feared suffocation, punched them in the mouth or stabbed them in the hands with a nutpick or compass point.
Several said they were second-born children, and they theorized that their abusive siblings had resented being displaced. None wanted to be further identified out of concerns about family privacy.

Many people said the effects of the early abuse had lingered into adulthood. Mr. Smith, for instance, said that he still fights a tendency to avoid confrontations, especially with aggressive people who remind him of his brother. Another man, an academic in his 50's who did not want to be further identified out of privacy concerns, ascribed what he called his "constant wariness" to his physical intimidation in childhood by an older sister.

"I have a high need for solitude when I work," said the professor, who added that the unwelcome shoving and wrestling started when he was a toddler and was one of the defining influences of his early emotional life.

"I'm attentive to noise," he said. "If somebody's around, a lot of my brain immediately turns to: Who is it? What's up? Are they going to bother me or sabotage me in some way?"

Several people said that the abuse continued until they reached early adolescence and became strong enough to defend themselves. In Mr. Smith's family, however, the fights became even more violent when he reached his late teens, because he took up tae kwon do, began lifting weights and eventually struck back.

One afternoon in the family kitchen when he was 19, in the course of a routine argument, his brother half-heartedly slapped him. This time, for the first time, it was Daniel who got his brother in a crushing headlock, and Daniel who pressed a forearm against his brother's nose until it bled.

Knowing he could hold the position forever, Mr. Smith let his brother up. When Sean tried to restart the fighting, Mr. Smith, much to his surprise, burst into long, jagged sobs.

"I remember feeling like I should have been triumphant and I did feel some of that, but I also felt scared and confused," he said. "It was a rite of passage for me. I'd accomplished something and become my own person."
The brothers never fought again, never spoke about the violence and were not close for most of their lives. Sean Smith went on to a difficult adult life, and had only recently freed himself from addiction to alcohol and methamphetamines when he died three years ago, Daniel Smith said.

Only then, he said, did he realize the unspoken depth and complexity of their connection. When asked whether he had forgiven his brother, Mr. Smith hesitated.

"Once he died, I realized that we had a pretty strong bond that I didn't understand or even knew existed," he said. "I can tell you I outcried everybody else at the funeral."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

United Arab Emirates' takeover of NYC Port is the next Katrina and 9/11/01 disaster in the making

In my world view, I don't put it beyond the Bush Administration to actively work to allow New York City to be completely destroyed. They allowed New Orleans to sink. Such situations work out quite well for them. What do they need with Democratic-leaning NYC with its dissent, welfare-state, publishing, media, immigrants, and minorities?

It seems that NYC's only saving grace in the eyes of the Bush regime is Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank's world gold holdings. But Wall Street's wealth is paper, and that data is backed up elsewhere, so the trading will be back within a few days after a nuclear catastrophe. The Federal Reserve's gold is deep underground behind and under concrete, stone, and probably lead. The gold will be dug up as the dead are cleared away.

The port of NYC only checks about 5% of cargo shipping containers as it is, and that is after the containers get here. Now putting a company owned by a terrorist-infiltrated nation in charge of our ports provides the compartmentalization needed for plausible deniability when New York City is obliterated by a shipped and detonated nuclear weapon.

When or if Congress is able to conduct oversight and investiagation after the coming catastrophe of how NYC was nuked, the trail will go cold in Dubai, just as investigations with our 'allies' in U.A.E., Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have consistently gone cold before. This has been going on for ten years.

The article linked above and here
and the US Coast Guard's investigative report to the President's committee both strongly suggests that the United Arab Emirates is not safe to outsource our ports' operations to. As Buzzflash joked a few days ago, why not outsource the Secret Service's Presidential and Vice Presidential protection to the UAE (and let's see how safe they feel)?!

The best thing I can say about the W Adminstration is that they are pro-globalization and soft on the roots of terrorism and its related financing in the middle east and south asia. That is, they might just be laissez-faire capitalists and pro-corporation boondogglers and raiders. But, they are also consistent liars. The trail of destruction and devestation associated with this administration is enough to discern a pattern beyond incompetence and indifference. And they might actually be aiding or abetting destruction of population centers that resist the administration's plans for plunder and the possible martial takeover of the U.S.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Can we play the blame game NOW, please?

6 months after Bush claimed that 'no one could envision the levees breaching' we have video proof of him getting the warning from FEMA the day before the hurricane hit land, and then there was Bush telling the local state leaders that the Feds have everything under control -- perhaps lulling them into the same complacency that the President, Cheney, Rice, and Chertoff were experiencing at the end of their long breaks.

Never in U.S. history have we lost a major city. Even laissez-faire Italy has managed to keep Venice above water for a thousand years. Can this administration do anything right?

Not only is this administration abidingly and consistently incompetent, but so it is with lying. This is like the lie that Rice said about no one being able to predict that planes could target buildings, even though planes had been used as weapons on targets for sixty years.

Jimmy Carter was pilloried for some helicopters crashing in an Iranian desert sandstorm, trying to nobly and boldly rescue hostages. I don't understand how W gets away with blunder after incompetent boondoggling blunder. This guy is poison to our nation and to the world. Lord help us all!

Check this out:


Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina

Published: March 1, 2006
Filed at 7:14 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: ''We are fully prepared.''

The footage -- along with seven days of transcripts of briefings obtained by The Associated Press -- show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.

Linked by secure video, Bush expressed a confidence on Aug. 28 that starkly contrasted with the dire warnings his disaster chief and numerous federal, state and local officials provided during the four days before the storm.

A top hurricane expert voiced ''grave concerns'' about the levees and then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

''I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe,'' Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.

The White House and Homeland Security Department urged the public Wednesday not to read too much into the video footage.

''I hope people don't draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing,'' presidential spokesman Trent Duffy said, citing a variety of orders and disaster declarations Bush signed before the storm made landfall. ''He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times.''

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said his department would not release the full set of videotaped briefings, saying most transcripts from the sessions were provided to congressional investigators months ago.

''There's nothing new or insightful on these tapes,'' Knocke said. ''We actively participated in the lessons-learned review and we continue to participate in the Senate's review and are working with them on their recommendation.''

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, a critic of the administration's Katrina response, had a different take after watching the footage Wednesday afternoon from an AP reporter's camera.

''I have kind a sinking feeling in my gut right now,'' Nagin said. ''I was listening to what people were saying -- they didn't know, so therefore it was an issue of a learning curve. You know, from this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware.''

Some of the footage and transcripts from briefings Aug. 25-31 conflicts with the defenses that federal, state and local officials have made in trying to deflect blame and minimize the political fallout from the failed Katrina response:

-- Homeland Security officials have said the ''fog of war'' blinded them early on to the magnitude of the disaster. But the video and transcripts show federal and local officials discussed threats clearly, reviewed long-made plans and understood Katrina would wreak devastation of historic proportions. ''I'm sure it will be the top 10 or 15 when all is said and done,'' National Hurricane Center's Max Mayfield warned the day Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast.

''I don't buy the `fog of war' defense,'' Brown told the AP in an interview Wednesday. ''It was a fog of bureaucracy.''

-- Bush declared four days after the storm, ''I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees'' that gushed deadly flood waters into New Orleans. He later clarified, saying officials believed, wrongly, after the storm passed that the levees had survived. But the transcripts and video show there was plenty of talk about that possibility even before the storm -- and Bush was worried too.

White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Brown discussed fears of a levee breach the day the storm hit.

''I talked to the president twice today, once in Crawford and then again on Air Force One,'' Brown said. ''He's obviously watching the television a lot, and he had some questions about the Dome, he's asking questions about reports of breaches.''

-- Louisiana officials angrily blamed the federal government for not being prepared but the transcripts shows they were still praising FEMA as the storm roared toward the Gulf Coast and even two days afterward. ''I think a lot of the planning FEMA has done with us the past year has really paid off,'' Col. Jeff Smith, Louisiana's emergency preparedness deputy director, said during the Aug. 28 briefing.

It wasn't long before Smith and other state officials sounded overwhelmed.

''We appreciate everything that you all are doing for us, and all I would ask is that you realize that what's going on and the sense of urgency needs to be ratcheted up,'' Smith said Aug. 30.

Mississippi begged for more attention in that same briefing.

''We know that there are tens or hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana that need to be rescued, but we would just ask you, we desperately need to get our share of assets because we'll have people dying -- not because of water coming up, but because we can't get them medical treatment in our affected counties,'' said a Mississippi state official whose name was not mentioned on the tape.

Video footage of the Aug. 28 briefing, the final one before Katrina struck, showed an intense Brown voicing concerns from the government's disaster operation center and imploring colleagues to do whatever was necessary to help victims.

''We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event,'' Brown warned. He called the storm ''a bad one, a big one'' and implored federal agencies to cut through red tape to help people, bending rules if necessary.

''Go ahead and do it,'' Brown said. ''I'll figure out some way to justify it. ... Just let them yell at me.''

Bush appeared from a narrow, windowless room at his vacation ranch in Texas, with his elbows on a table. Hagin was sitting alongside him. Neither asked questions in the Aug. 28 briefing.

''I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm,'' the president said.

A relaxed Chertoff, sporting a polo shirt, weighed in from Washington at Homeland Security's operations center. He would later fly to Atlanta, outside of Katrina's reach, for a bird flu event.

One snippet captures a missed opportunity on Aug. 28 for the government to have dispatched active-duty military troops to the region to augment the National Guard.

Chertoff: ''Are there any DOD assets that might be available? Have we reached out to them?''

Brown: ''We have DOD assets over here at EOC (emergency operations center). They are fully engaged. And we are having those discussions with them now.''

Chertoff: ''Good job.''

In fact, active duty troops weren't dispatched until days after the storm. And many states' National Guards had yet to be deployed to the region despite offers of assistance, and it took days before the Pentagon deployed active-duty personnel to help overwhelmed Guardsmen.

The National Hurricane Center's Mayfield told the final briefing before Katrina struck that storm models predicted minimal flooding inside New Orleans during the hurricane but he expressed concerns that counterclockwise winds and storm surges afterward could cause the levees at Lake Pontchartrain to be overrun.

''I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not but that is obviously a very, very grave concern,'' Mayfield told the briefing.

Other officials expressed concerns about the large number of New Orleans residents who had not evacuated.

''They're not taking patients out of hospitals, taking prisoners out of prisons and they're leaving hotels open in downtown New Orleans. So I'm very concerned about that,'' Brown said.

Despite the concerns, it ultimately took days for search and rescue teams to reach some hospitals and nursing homes.

Brown also told colleagues one of his top concerns was whether evacuees who went to the New Orleans Superdome -- which became a symbol of the failed Katrina response -- would be safe and have adequate medical care.

''The Superdome is about 12 feet below sea level.... I don't know whether the roof is designed to stand, withstand a Category Five hurricane,'' he said.

Brown also wanted to know whether there were enough federal medical teams in place to treat evacuees and the dead in the Superdome.

''Not to be (missing) kind of gross here,'' Brown interjected, ''but I'm concerned'' about the medical and mortuary resources ''and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe.''


Associated Press writers Ron Fournier and Lara Jakes Jordan contributed to this report.

Word Play on the Aruban Police Chief

Am I twisted, or is it funny and somewhat appropos that the Aruban Police Chief in charge of the botched Natalee Halloway murder/missing person investigation is named "DOMPIG" ?

FAIR USE NOTICE:: This site contains images and excerpts the use of which have not been pre-authorized. This material is made available for the purpose of analysis and critique, as well as to advance the understanding of political, media and cultural issues. The 'fair use' of such material is provided for under U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Section 107, material on this site (along with credit links and attributions to original sources) is viewable for educational and intellectual purposes. If you are interested in using any copyrighted material from this site for any reason that goes beyond 'fair use,' you must first obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.