In case you missed
Celebrity claims antigay funeral protest part of
On the Aug. 30 broadcast of his national radio
show, elite media celebrity Sean Hannity falsely blamed “the
anti-war left” for a Fred Phelps protest at the funeral of
a fallen soldier.
Fred Phelps has made a life’s work of protesting
the funerals of gay Americans—like murdered student Matthew
Shepard—and the funerals of their supporters, such as the
late Sen. Paul Wellstone. More recently, he has begun demonstrating
outside the funerals of U.S. troops killed during the federal government’s
occupation of Iraq, celebrating their deaths as punishment for some
Americans’ acceptance of gay people.
After Phelps and supporters demonstrated outside
the Aug. 28 funeral of Sgt. Jeremy Doyle of Indianapolis, Hannity
said, “I guess this is just another example of how the antiwar
left supports our brave troops.”
Hannity also claimed that the peace group Code
Pink protested against U.S. troops at a veterans’ hospital.
Code Pink members were actually protesting the federal government’s
lack of funding for injured soldiers.
FEMA directs hurricane
donations to Pat Robertson
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s
website lists organizations to which Americans may donate in order
to help the hundreds of thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Third on the list is a group called “Operation Blessing,”
which is owned by televangelist Pat Robertson.
“How in the heck did that happen?”
asked Richard Walden, president of the disaster-relief group Operation
USA, which has conducted disaster relief for 25 years but was omitted
from FEMA’s list. “That gives Pat Robertson millions
of extra dollars.”
Robertson, who gained headlines last week for
calling for the assassination of Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez,
has called for hurricanes to strike the Gulf Coast as punishment
for Disney World’s reaching out to gay Americans as customers.
In the past, the televangelist has used his television
program to call for donations to his front group for airlifting
refugees from Rwanda. But a later investigation by the Virginia
Pilot newspaper showed the planes were not transporting refugees,
but diamond-mining equipment for a Robertson-owned business venture.
He was also sued by black employees for allegedly making them enter
his company’s offices by a back door and eat in a segregated
Only two secular groups were allowed on FEMA’s
list, and one of them, the American Red Cross, was blocked from
entering New Orleans. FEMA also blocked trucks carrying food and
water, teams of firemen from Maryland and Texas and boat owners
volunteering to rescue victims.
“Pat Robertson’s Katrina Cash,” The Nation, Sept.
Refugees evicted for football fans
Hundreds of refugees from Hurricane Katrina were
evicted from Tallahassee hotels to accommodate fans coming to town
for the Miami-Florida State game Monday night, the St. Petersburg
Times reported Sept. 1.
Many refugees continued to take shelter in the
New Orleans Superdome, but the evacuation of that center was interrupted
when evacuators pulled out 700 “well-dressed” guests
who had been staying at the Hyatt Hotel—much to the amazement
of those who had been crammed in the Superdome for a week.
In related news, George Bush made a speech Sept. 2—shortly
after the devastation—joking that Republican senator Trent
Lott “lost his entire house,” and promising that the
home would be rebuilt. No other homeowners in New Orleans were mentioned.
Lott—whose senatorial income alone is $136,000 per year—also
owns a home in Jackson, Miss., and has a taxpayer-funded residence
in Washington, D.C.
“Lawmakers Lose Homes,” New York
Times, Sept. 2, 2005.
“Superdome Evacuations Temporarily Halted,” Associated
Press, Sept. 4, 2005.
“FSU-Miami game to force storm victims out of Tallahassee
hotels,” Sept. 1, 2005.
Police in suburban New Orleans block evacuees
Police agencies in New Orleans’ southern
suburbs were so fearful of the crowds trying to leave the city that
they sealed a crucial bridge over the Mississippi and turned back
hundreds of desperate evacuees, two paramedics who were in the crowd
The paramedics and two other witnesses said officers
shot guns over the heads of a march of 200 refugees pleading to
be let through in the days after the hurricane. New Orleans police
had told the crowds to escape across the bridge, but suburban police
angrily ordered them away and confiscated their food and water,
the four witnesses said.
“It’s unbelievable what the police
officers did; they just left us,” said Harold Veasey, a 66-year-old
New Orleans resident who spent two horrific days at the convention
In related news, a Pentagon official questioned
“why [reporters] had so much sympathy for the victims,”
instead of the government, CNN News reported. Also, the upper-class
magazine American Spectator blamed the disaster on New Orleans’
“dangerous culture,” “politically correct dysfunction”
and “barbaric gangster rap culture” and claimed that
city police are largely made up of “criminals.”
“Police in Suburbs Blocked Evacuees,
Witnesses Report,” New York Times, Sept. 10, 2005.
“Masques of Death,” The American Spectator, Sept. 2,
Pro-Bush rally to be kept
Organizers of the Pentagon’s pro-administration
march last Sunday took extraordinary measures to control participation
in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with
police and the event closed to anyone who did not register.
“The march route will be lined with four-foot-high
snow fencing to keep it closed and ‘sterile,’”
said deputy assistant secretary of defense, Allison Barber.
“The U.S. Park Police will have its entire
Washington force on duty to protect the expected 3,000 registered
participants, prepared to arrest anyone who joins without credentials,”
said park police chief Dwight E. Pettiford.
The event, officially called the America Supports
You Freedom Walk, was billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001
terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the
military, topped off with a concert by singer Clint Black, known
for his pro-war anthems.
Some radio and television stations were co-sponsoring
the event, even though media was not allowed to walk along the march
Bush supporters welcomed the event as a way to
counter the antiwar movement and show support for federal government
troops in Iraq, although the event took place on Sept. 11, and the
Sept. 11 attacks were not related to the invasion of Iraq.
“Tight Constraints on Pentagon’s
Freedom Walk,” Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2005.
“War on terror” costs American lives,
The federal government’s “war on
terror” is killing tens of thousands of Americans at home
as well as abroad, by taking money away from health care and basic
human services, an expert said on Thursday.
Erica Frank of the Department of Family and Preventive
Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta said
she has calculated the cost, in terms of lives, of the Bush administration’s
“The most recent effects of these diversions
of funding have been seen in the unfolding tragedy of Hurricane
Katrina in New Orleans and the surrounding area,” Frank wrote
in a commentary published in the British Medical Journal.
On Sept. 11, 2001, 3,400 people died because
of the Al Qaeda hijackings, but 5,200 other Americans died that
same day—and every day, on the average, before and since—from
common diseases, Frank said.
“U.S. war on terror costs more lives
than it saves,” Reuters, Sept. 9, 2005.
War took money for hurricane aid
As Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New
Orleans last week, much of the money and personnel that could have
helped refugees were instead being used for the federal government’s
occupation of Iraq, Editor and Publisher reported Aug. 30.
In the late 1990s, Congress authorized the building
of levees and pumping stations in Louisiana to alleviate possible
flooding. But many projects had not been completed by 2003, when
the government’s invasion of Iraq, in combination with the
administration’s massive tax cuts, eliminated most of the
funding. In addition, many National Guard units that would ordinarily
help rescue flood victims have been sent to occupy Iraq.
Experts attribute the size of the disaster to
global warming caused by human pollution. Scientists have predicted
for almost 20 years that the climate change caused by pollution
would increase the number and size of hurricanes and other natural
disasters; for example, Kerry Emanuel’s 1987 paper “Anthropogenic
Effects on Tropical Cyclone Activity.”
“Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to
Happen? ‘Times-Picayune’ Had Repeatedly Raised Federal
Spending Issues,” Editor and Publisher, Aug. 30, 2005.
“Brace for more Katrinas, say experts,” Agence France-Presse,
August 30, 2005.