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09/04/2005 Archived Entry: "Potemkin levee repair staged for George W. Bush?"

WAS A "POTEMKIN VILLAGE" * LEVEE REPAIR staged for the benefit of GWB and the media? Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu says yes. And worse:

I understand that the U.S. Forest Service had water-tanker aircraft available to help douse the fires raging on our riverfront, but FEMA has yet to accept the aid. When Amtrak offered trains to evacuate significant numbers of victims -- far more efficiently than buses -- FEMA again dragged its feet. Offers of medicine, communications equipment and other desperately needed items continue to flow in, only to be ignored by the agency.

But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old -- deserve far better from their national government.

It's a fact that FEMA told first-responders not to respond, claiming all rescue had to be coordinated by the feds. ("Yes Virginia. Government IS all about control," said Alton Speers as he posted that FEMA news release to TCF.)

But while food, water, and common sense have been excruciatingly slow to arrive, high-tech crowd-control weaponry is on its way in. These "laser beam" sound devices do have the ability to broadcast helpful messages -- but are also for "area denial." That is, broadcasting sounds so painfully that people must flee.

And the mayor of Slidell, Louisiana, had some extremely pungent words about FEMA's variety of "help." (MP3 file) I wish this guy were on our side. We need his spirit.

In the meantime, even the most mainstream of mainstream media can't cover up for Bushevik incompetence this time.

It's obvious that government at every level failed in its promise to protect everybody -- beginning with the city's failure to bus the poor out of the city before the storm and continuing with the five-day-late, unhelpful, and heavy-handed "help" of FEMA. It's too bad that, instead of sensible, nationwide mistrust of politicians, bureaucrats and their false promises, we're likely to get a couple of years of recriminations, accompanied by "improved" government, renewed promises, and hundreds of billions more in useless spending.

Who said it? "The one thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history." And the meme that "government is good and necessary" is even more firmly entrenched than memes about motherhood and apple pie. This lesson, the one we most vitally need, we never grasp.

(Several of the links used above were originally posted to The Claire Files Forums by Alton Speers, Kirsten, and Roy Tellason. Thank you, guys. I thought all this info deserved wider exposure. Thank you to Mystery Woman for additional info.)


* It's possible that the original Potemkin never actually built any of the phony villages he supposedly constructed to impress Catherine the Great. If some government agency did perform "Potemkin levee repair" (NOTE: at least one TCFer has questioned that -- and in hindsight he appears to be correct) to fool and impress a president (the same president who proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq from an aircraft carrier -- with the San Diego skyline visible behind him) then that makes the U.S. government even more corrupt than that of czarist Russia. Was it a Potemkin levee repair? I don't know. Other information is surfacing about other forms of Bush photo ops. Sure staged photo ops are SOP for politicians now. But IF true these photo ops are cynically playing with people's lives.

Posted by Claire @ 01:30 PM CST

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