This is it. This is absolutely the most fucked up thing ever done by this president, in a long list of fucked up things. Josh Marshall:
On the Al Franken show this afternoon I mentioned this article from today's Salt Lake Tribune which tells the story of about a thousand firefighters from around the country who volunteered to serve in the Katrina devastation areas. But when they arrived in Atlanta to be shipped out to various disaster zones in the region, they found out that they were going to be used as FEMA community relations specialists. And they were to spend a day in Atltanta getting training on community relations, sexual harassment awareness, et al. This of course while life and death situations were still the order of the day along a whole stretch of the Gulf Coast.
It's an article you've really got a to read to appreciate the full measure of folly and surreality.
But the graf at the end of the piece really puts everything in perspective, and gives some sense what the Bush administration really has in mind when it talks about a crisis. The paper reports that one team finally was sent to the region ...As specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.
And I'm not even talking about the "community specialists" nonsense, which is fucked up enough. It's this shit:
Bush's use of firefighters as human props doesn't win the "most fucked up" prize because it was the most costly for the nation -- the Iraq War wins hands down. It doesn't win because it caused the most deaths, or damaged the reputation of the U.S. the most, or harmed national security by outing undercover CIA agents. In the greater scheme of things, this may seem as small fry compared to the long stream of serious failures in this White House.
It's the most fucked up because it is easily the most crassly political act ever taken by this administration. Bush is so thoroughly a PR vessel that he can't even tour a disaster zone without his human backdrop. He's been a PR marionette for so long -- clear brush for the cameras! -- that he's become thoroughly incapable of keeping it real. God forbid he try to connect with people, get a better understanding of their efforts to cope with real disaster. That's not worth his time. Nope, it's got to be turned into a frickin' Bush campaign commercial. Everything is political. Everything.
It suddenly puts those Coast Guard helicopters in that photo op in clearer perspective, doesn't it? With the assembled military and Coast Guard personnel standing at attention in the background.
This is a clear signal of the depravity of this administration, were everything is political and nothing can be real. Nothing can be done simply because it's the right thing to do, or it's the best thing for America. There is a "real" America, and then there's Rove's America, where firemen serve the Republican Party and their leader, not people in distress. The Republican banner flies over the Stars and Stripes.
There is no excuse for this. None. And yeah, the corporate media has expressed the outrage we all feel, but they better not let this one pass.