March 3, 2006
When the Levee Breaks

I now know what the levees felt, because I have had it up to here, to say the least. I certainly feel like I have been breached, and not a little violated. In the wake of the release of the video showing Bush being briefed on the impending Katrina disaster, hearing the Republican nonsense that Bush was only warned that the levees would be overtopped, not breached, is beyond the pale.

It is safe to say that the breach of the New Orleans levees was the single most anticipated disaster of the past hundred years. Louisianans, in discussions with the Federal government and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, spoke of it for many years before it occurred -- there were government studies on how to prevent it, Congressional orders -- discussions, meetings, articles, forums, simulations-- for at least five or ten years before Katrina. It was, in and outside of the disaster planning community, a constant refrain. To paraphrase Robert Klein, remote tribes of aborigines could have told you about it.

To hear the Republicans talk about it, it was as if, last August, pigs had fallen from the skies until an American city was destroyed by raining swine.

Click "Below the Fold" to read more.

Next thing you know they'll be telling us that hurricanes weren't known to blow air.

But we all know that the breaching of the levees was an eventuality that our Federal government had to be prepared for. There's no need to say it, except to counter the Republican psy-war that is working to brainwash the nation into again believing the impossible. And why shouldn't the Republicans try it? It's always worked before.

The Republicans and Bush have fallen into what some in the psychology business call reality testing. Modern communications technology permits the spreading of a lie so quickly and so completely that it becomes almost impossible to pick facts from the tide of untruth that is flooding the country -- and drowning it.

It is fair to say that there has never before been an administration so committed to producing hot air, so organized just to say stuff to the American people, so committed to the principle of selling rather than doing. It is government by hypnotism.

And in the video of the briefing, you can see the principle at work: the President listened to dire warnings -- "this is the big one," Brownie told him -- and what did Bush do? The man reacted with a platitude, a homily, an empty promise -- as he always does, as he has learned to do, and as he always will. He robotically responded and continued on with his homily-spouting, empty-promising program, flying off to the West coast to smile and dispense nonsense and lies and feel-good pablum, shake hands and pretend to play the guitar. In this infamous photograph, he is not even doing a good job of pretending to be interested in learning to play the guitar -- he is just posing. This is what he does. He poses. He never accomplishes. He poses. And in doing so, he destroys. His inaction is destructive.

So keep your head above the water, America. Refuse to be inundated. See it for it what it is, was, and has been. Not what they say it is. Because only seeing is believing.

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:15 AM in Commentary