Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2005 16:17:40 -0700
Subject: # The Potemkin Photo Op
The Potemkin Photo Op Saturday, September 03 2005 @ 09:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time Contributed by: Stranger
Initally spotted at Bartcop.com
I was tuning in and out of Bush's massive photo op on the Gulf Coast yesterday, and everything at the time seemed just a little too pat for me.
From the 'briefing' that went on in a hangar full of helicopters to his walking down a street in Biloxi and having three regular citizens walk up to him for comforting to the last press availiability of the day when he announced that the Convention Center was secure and the levees were being repaired, it was clear that the game plan from the White House was for Bush to go to the region, look decisive, comfort a few citizens, and announce at the end of the day that all was well.
It was a full-on effort to change the subject of discussion from the utter failure of the Bush administration to handle the crisis with even a hint of competency, and in true Bush fashion, he wrapped it up at 5:00 PM and announced that he was 'Flyin' out of (t)here.'
But from beginning to end, the entire exercise was a series of lies - a Potemkin photo op designed to fool those Americans who were not bothering to look closely at what was going on.
Let's look at key aspects of Bush's trip that were covered by television.
There were a lot of questions asked yesterday morning about the phony briefing that Bush got in that hangar, featuring a backdrop of Coast Guard helicopters.
People were wondering why those choppers were not out picking up flood victims or delivering supplies.
The reason why is simple - Bush had the majority of helcopter traffic stopped while Marine One was in the Gulf Coast region. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported this Via AmericaBlog
Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush's visit to New Orleans, officials said.
The provisions, secured by U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, and state Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, baked in the afternoon sun as Bush surveyed damage across southeast Louisiana five days after Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, said Melancon's chief of staff, Casey O'Shea.
"We had arrangements to airlift food by helicopter to these folks, and now the food is sitting in trucks because they won't let helicopters fly," O'Shea said Friday afternoon.
The food was expected to be in the hands of storm survivors after the president left the devastated region Friday night, he said.
This leaves me wondering how many people died while Bush was playing Decisive Leader.
*The First 'Comforting Session':*
Then it was off to Biloxi, MS to survey the damage.
As Bush, Haley Barbour and others walked down a street,
2 women appeared seemingly out of nowhere for Bush to 'comfort' them.
But it turns out that the two women didn't even/ live/ in Biloxi, and had just come down for the day to try to 'salvage' clothes from the area for one of the women's son (were they looters?).
But they were apparently reasonably telegenic and happened to be in the area, so they were recruited to represent an area where they didn't even live.
A number of threads at Democratic Underground http://tinyurl.com/cp9eu
discuss the weirdness of these women showing up in a disaster area.
And a trandcript of the conversation between Bush and the women reads like a bad comedy skit:
Bush to women:
"There's a Salvation Army center that I want to, that I'll tell you where it is, and they'll get you some help. I'm sorry.... They'll help you.....
"I came here looking for clothes..."
Bush: "They'll get you some clothes, at the Salvation Army center..."
Woman 1: "We don't have anything..."
Bush: "I understand.... Do you know where the center is, that I'm talking to you about?"
Guy with shades: "There's no center there, sir, it's a truck."
Bush: "There's trucks?"
Guy: "There's a school, a school about two miles away....."
Bush: "But isn't there a Salvation center down there?"
Guy: "No that's wiped out...."
Bush: "A temporary center? "
Guy: "No sir they've got a truck there, for food."
Bush: "That's what I'm saying, for food and water."
Bush turns to the sister who's been saying how she needs clothes.
Bush to sister: "You need food and water."
*The 'Recovery Efforts':*
Wherever Bush went yesterday, it seemed as though people were already hard at work rebuilding the affected areas.
Unfortunately for Bush, there were a few foreign journalists at his photo ops, and they pulled back the curtain on what we saw on TV to reveal that the 'work' was staged for the media.
Here's a translation from the German news show web site http://tinyurl.com/caz2g
Christine Adelhardt live from Biloxi:
"Two minutes ago the President drove by with his convoy.
What happened here in Biloxi during the day is really unbelievable. All of a sudden the rescue troops finally showed up, the clean-up vehicles; we didn't see those over the last days here. In an area where it really isn't urgent, there is nobody around, all the remaining people went to the city center.
The President is traveling with a press convoy, so they get wonderful pictures saying the president was here and the help will follow. The amount of this catastrophe shocked me, but the amount of set-up that happened here today is at least equally shocking for me.
And there's more, this time on the 'recovery efforts' in New Orleans, from War And Piece http://www.warandpiece.com/blogdirs/002485.html
There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.
ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event.
Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.
The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.
*Levee Repairs in New Orleans:*
As Bush flew around the skies above New Orleans, CNN began showing footage of a bulldozer and dump trucks working on the 17th Street levee, which was the maqin source of the flood waters in New Orleans.
When Bush got ready to leave, he crowed that 'progress is flowing.'
But according to Sen. Mary Landrieu, the crew that was working so hard yesterday left and apparently never came back:
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.
*Control of the Convention Center:*
Bush made a big deal of telling the nation
that the icon for unrest and chaos in New Orleans this week - the New Orleans Convention Center - was secured by the time of his statement yesterday.
I'm pleased to report, thanks to the good work of the adjutant general from Louisiana and the troops that have been called in that the convention center is secure.
But as was pointed out this morning, a report by CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr directly contradicted Bush's statement
CNN's Barbara Starr reports that there is "no indication" the convention center in New Orleans is secure.
She reports there is still much unrest.
And the now-famous Fox News video
of Geraldo Rivera inside the Convention Center showed how Bush's idea of 'securing' the center was/ locking the people in/.
All of this information has turned up in one spot or another on the web since yesterday, but I wanted to put it all together in one spot for a reason.
Bit by bit, parts of Bush's trip were shown to be less truthful than we deserved.
But when you look at the entire trip - and all of the deceit that went into each part of it - it's an inescapable fact that from beginning to end the trip was a menu of lies and self-serving actions that didn't do the region any good.
In some instances, like the helicopter groundings halting rescue ops, the trip could conceivably actually/ killed more people/.
And that's the bottom line with this administration.
It always has been.
Bush, Rove, and the rest of them will go to any measures to get their version of the truth out and if a few of the little people happen to die in the process, it's no skin off their noses.
All of America should know what the true bottom line is.
*You are being lied to, and lives have been lost because of it.*