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Sep. 5th, 2005

Very good round-up here of the nature of Bush’s photo-op visit to the south last Friday.

* All the time “Marine One” was in the region, all helicopter flights were halted, so that food due to be distributed that day wasn’t. It was expected to be delivered after the president left on Friday night. People will have died during this hiatus.

* Reporters in different areas were startled to see a convoy of rescue troops turn up just before the president (sometimes in areas where all the people had fled), look busy in the background, then leave as soon as he did. This does not count as rescue work

* The intensive work to rebuild the breached levée into New Orleans stopped after the president left the region, and, according to a Senator who overflew it the next day, only one machine remained: an unmanned crane. This does not count as rescue work. [This work did start up again later. See? Fair and balanced...]

* Bush announced that “the convention centre is secure”. This didn’t mean that anyone’s situation was improving—it merely signalled that everyone had been locked inside. What he meant was “now we’re safe from them”. This doesn’t count as doing a damn thing.

President Bush meets poor black people he hasn't sentenced to death

Real help has now started to arrive, but it’s worth remembering that this extraordinary decision to waste crucial resources on making the president look presidential was taken after a week of mounting criticism that the government was failing to do anything. These are the cursory actions of people who think they’ve got the whole spin-&-TV-vs-reality thing sewn up, infantile cynics who’ve never had to confront circumstances adverse enough to be properly cynical about. Time and again this odious fleck of shit and his administration gargoyles have managed to bamboozle a significant portion of the American population with blatant illusioneering, and it’s touch and go as to whether they pull it off again now. For every person writing or reading a blog or a news source that reports things like this, there’s (at least) a thousand who don’t, many of them inveterate mouthbreathers with the vote.

The man filmed standing amid the wreckage of his Biloxi home on Friday epitomised this problem: “The President came down here,” he said, damp-eyed, full of wonder. “He saw what it’s like. To see his face... I saw the compassion in his eyes... I know help’s coming now.” It resembled nothing so much as a 19th-century Russian peasant pledging his faith in the Tsar. Is it that more Americans want or expect their president to embody sheer wonderfulness than other countries’ populations do theirs? As a Brit, I truly don’t understand it. I can’t imagine ever being reduced to that weak-kneed state by Tony Blair: “He came here... and I saw the look in his eyes... *sniff*... now I know he’s going to give me the choice of thirty hospitals to have my gallstones out in.”


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2005 11:52 am (UTC)
It gets worse & worse & worse & worse. I can barely believe how much worse it's getting.

*pukes ring*
Sep. 5th, 2005 12:52 pm (UTC)
I saw the same Biloxi interview and had much the same reaction. In the UK it'd be: "The PM turned up last night. He tried to kiss a few babies, so we stamped him to death and left his body bobbing over there, with the others."

What this throws into sharp relief for me is that so many Americans are so poorly educated that they just can't think that way. Cynicism is a luxury commodity. It's not that there's anything inherently lacking in poor Americans. It comes down to the quality of data they're allowed access to. I don't think it is easy to grasp until you spend a longish while in the US and have unbroken access to their television and other news media, which feed the population an undiluted and neverending diet of saccharine pap. Sure, you have 250 channels to choose from. But they're all providing news coverage that's the intellectual equivalent of Krispy Kreme. If that is all that has ever been available to you, you bet you're going to have a simple view of the world. God help them.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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