Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Things Go Better With Janitor in a Drum 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot K.Z.: just in time for the Republican convention comes a fresh installment in the instructive tale of how the Bush administration, in order to "allay national security concerns and to reopen Wall Street," pressured the EPA to lie about the quality of the air in NYC post-9/11. Never content with its good works, the administration followed that action, which recklessly endangered the health of who knows how many Manhattanites, by mercilessly fucking over the hundreds of "first responders" who have since suffered the consequences of their heroism at Ground Zero -- asthma, chronic lung infections, a plethora of other respiratory ailments -- without health insurance, without workers' comp, and worst of all, without government aid. From Reuters:
The Bush administration was guilty of reckless disregard by failing to inform New Yorkers of health risks from toxic air after the collapse of the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a leading environmental group said Wednesday.

In a Sierra Club report titled, "Air Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero: How the Bush Administration's Reckless Disregard of 9/11 Toxic Hazards Poses Long-Term Threats for New York City and the Nation," the influential group said the Bush administration's mistakes are now in danger of becoming policy for handling future disasters.

"The Bush administration has learned nothing from the illnesses and hardships suffered by the Ground Zero community. Rather, it plans to perpetuate them in any future national disaster anywhere else in the United States," the report's author Suzanne Mattei said.

The destruction of the twin towers shot pulverized asbestos, lead, concrete, glass and other debris into the air throughout lower Manhattan.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed the report as "scare tactics" and said it was committed to protecting the health of New Yorkers and improving its emergency procedures . . . .

Last year the EPA, in an internal report by its Inspector General Nikki Tinsley, said the White House pressured the agency to make premature statements that the air was safe to breathe.

The EPA issued an air quality statement on Sept. 18, 2001, even though it "did not have sufficient data and analyzes to make the statement," the EPA report said, adding that the White House "convinced the EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones." Among the information withheld was the potential health hazards of breathing asbestos, lead, concrete and pulverized glass.

The Sierra Club report said hundreds of people were seriously ill as a result of breathing contaminated air after the buildings fell. It said much of the dust was as caustic as ammonia and had an effect akin to drinking drain cleaner.
UPDATE (via Zemblan patriots K.Z., J.M. & J.D.): Ted Rall has some gentle words of warning for our Republican betters who plan to visit the big city over Labor Day:
[D]elegates to this month's Republican National Convention shouldn't expect to be treated to our standard out-of-towner treatment. The Republican delegates here to coronate George W. Bush are unwelcome members of a hostile invading army. Like the hapless saps whose blood they sent to be spilled into Middle Eastern sands, they will be given intentionally incorrect directions to nonexistent places. Objects will be thrown in their direction. Children will call them obscene names. They will not be greeted as liberators . . . .

[S]ome groups are encouraging liberal-minded New Yorkers to volunteer for the city's squad of official greeters. Creatively altered maps of streets and subways will be handed out to button-clad stupid white men. Other saboteurs wearing fake RNC T-shirts will direct them to parts of town where Bush's policies have hit hardest. Rumor has it that prostitutes suffering from sexually transmitted diseases will discourage the use of condoms with Republican customers.

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