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environment | katrina aftermath

Bush Intends to Blame Environmentalists for New Orleans Fiasco

Apparently, the Bush administration has finally initiated a plan to deal with the havoc of Katrina: When all else fails, blame the environmentalists. And so, after coming under attack from the entire nation due to their ineptitude, obvious racism, and inexcusably slow response to the hurricane disaster, the administration has responded by digging through their pockets to see if there is any conceivable way that they can blame environmentalists for the flooding of New Orleans.
The Clarion-Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper, reported on Saturday that they are in possession of an internal email, sent by the US "Justice" Department to various US attorney's offices around the nation. Asked the leaked email, "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps' work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

While writer Jerry Mitchell of the Clarion-Ledger asserts that the emailed message clearly indicates an intention on the part of government officials to blame environmentalists, if possible, for the flooding in New Orleans, justice department officials are not talking. Spokespeople for the justice dept have declined to comment, and other federal officials will only say that the message is the result of a congressional inquiry.

Here in Cascadia, we've had our share of the US government's anti-environmentalist epiphanies as well. One only has to think back as far as the last forest fire (or the one before that, or the one before that) to remember that the Bush administration has continued to insist that the devastation wrought to communities by any available disaster must, somehow, be the fault of those damn tree huggers. Bush wastes no time after each conflagration before flying into rural Oregon, while smoke still fills the air, to assert that forest activists are to blame for forest fires, and he will save us all from "them." Nevermind that it has been the sharp saws of the timber industry and not the flames that have desecrated the last of our forests. Nevermind that the forest fires generally occur in areas that have been logged and "thinned," nevermind that the few remaining stands of huge, old growth trees, saved through the blood and sweat of forest activists, tend to be the areas least effected by the flames and most able to quickly recover. The facts don't matter, only the story. And so he covers up for the excesses of the timber industry by blaming the very people who work to save the forests for the rest of us. Now, he's trying to do the same thing in New Orleans.

The administration would like nothing better than to deflect criticism from themselves for the awful fiasco we all saw from our living rooms. Poor, mostly black people were left stranded and ignored in cholera-infested waters for day after day after day, while Bush picked country guitar with drinking buddies and pretended nothing was wrong. While corporate journalists have been forbidden from broadcasting images of the devastation that the US government has brought to Iraq and Afghanistan, there was apparently no order (yet) given forbidding the journalists from showing the devastation in the hurricane zone. And so now, the spin doctors are to look for a scapegoat. But it's more than that. It would be a great coup if they could somehow lasso all the angry, emotional energy reeling through the nation in the wake of this disaster, and channel it toward the nemesis of the consumer lifestyle: environmentalists.

This time, though, it ain't gonna happen. We all saw what happened in New Orleans, and it wasn't the fault of environmentalists. It wasn't even the storm's fault. It was the fault of federal officials who discounted the emergency, who ignored the warning signs, and who fiddled for five days while Rome burned. It was the fault of political appointees who were neither prepared nor inclined to do the job that needed to be done in a timely manner. And it was the fault of the current administration for cutting funding for the levees of New Orleans, even as planners urged attention to the possibility of an inundation like this one in that city years before this disaster.

So let the justice department hunt around for witches to burn. There's no amount of spin that will take away the voices of stranded survivors who know what really happened in New Orleans.

See the Clarion-Ledger for the complete memo and further details:  link to www.clarionledger.com

and see also the Sierra Club's response to the administration's shady attempt to accuse that organization for the catastrophe:  http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/releases/pr2005-09-16.asp
Bush Resigns 19.Sep.2005 15:55

Alternate Universe

If only... then we could fight the dems!

true, they are 19.Sep.2005 18:47

memyselfandI

As easy as It was too predict you can know see The spin machine Pionting blame, Carl Rove and Rush Limbauhg have been Talking this weekend along with Bush I am certain , they decieded to release as Much connection to this as they could By pionting the Finger at the Eco protectors, Its really no big deal If you learn how to spot Propaganda befroe it starts, Friday, May 27, 2005
Propaganda Machine tools: Testimonials

The use of testimonials is probably one the most observable and therefore one of the easiest propaganda tools to identify. The use of a testimonial is a way a propagandist builds credibility for his message. A testimonial tries to attach the emotional ingredient of a trusted life figure to build creditability and acceptance for the non-logical, non-intuitive messages of propaganda. Trusted life figures are religious leaders, entertainment celebrities, sports stars and high profile social or political leaders. A trusted life figure has a high degree of emotionally based credibility that adds a powerful ingredient to the propagandist's message. The GOP and current administration's propaganda machine use testimonials on both the national and local level with calculated precision. They are particularly effective in their use of fundamentalist religious leaders in combination with single-issue, fear orientated propaganda messages. The use of testimonials was instrumental in the vast mobilization of the Christian Right in the last election. Many a devout Christian was told by their pastors or their church elders that a vote for the Democrats was a vote for gay marriage or abortion. The Karl Rove propaganda machine had to only produce the tailored messages of deception, which were then repeated hundreds of times in churches across American.

"This is the classic misuse of the Testimonial Device that comes to the minds of most of us when we hear the term. We recall it indulgently and tell ourselves how much more sophisticated we are than our grandparents or even our parents. With our next breath, we begin a sentence, 'The Times said,' 'John L. Lewis said...,' 'Herbert Hoover said...', 'The President said...', 'My doctor said...,' 'Our minister said...' Some of these Testimonials may merely give greater emphasis to a legitimate and accurate idea, a fair use of the device; others, however, may represent the sugar-coating of a distortion, a falsehood, a misunderstood notion, an anti-social suggestion..." (Institute for Propaganda Analysis, 1938)