Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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We have contended for some time that the 21st century has become an age when George Orwell's worst nightmares of people being brain-washed on a daily basis by a totalitarian regime is realized. The mayor of New Orleans made the same diagnosis.
While the people who were devastated by Katrina were waiting for help and getting promises that it was on the way, they saw nothing happening. The mayor made a public statement that press conferences should be prohibited until the troops and the help arrive where people actually witness it. The Bush administration's biggest accomplishment is the deftness with which it has utilized the Newspeak tactics and manipulated the gullibility of the people. The administration has managed to quell those people who are skeptical and dubious about its propaganda and brain-washing tactics by labeling them unpatriotic and treasonous. We recall Tom Daschle's statements that he was saddened by the administration's heedless and needless rush into war on Iraq, and John Thune's response that Daschle was aiding and emboldening the enemy.
The global aftermath of Katrina is that the U.S. is viewed in the foreign press as a bumbling, third-world nation. All the principles put forth in our founding documents dealing with freedom, equality, and justice have been effectively denied. The Department of Homeland Security was contrived to better coordinate our resources in the case of disaster. It is an abject failure. FEMA, which we have known in the Dakotas during the blizzards of the late 1990s and the flooding of Grand Forks, has descended into a state of fecklessness. Those of us who have served in the military and have been called upon to offer assistance and work in national emergencies know from experience that the failures involved in the aftermath of Katrina are the result of political and philosophical atttitudes that create policies to keep power among a neo-fascist hierarchy. The people who have been hurt and killed in this disaster are considered negligible and expendable.
We have found that there are eleven sites in the U.S. where food, water, and medical supplies are stored for use in just such catastrophes as Katrina. As of Saturday night, they had not been touched. When the administrator in charge was asked why these resources were not utilized, he said that none of the governors in the states involved had asked for them.
At this time, the problem is to do as much as possible with as much speed as possible to bring relief to the people whose lives have been devastated by Katrina, the natural disaster, and the Bush administration, the political disaster. However, there is no way to avoid blalme-placing confrontations. To correct the horrifying mistakes made, we have to identify and analyze those mistakes. First we need to use that knowledge to rectify the situation as much as possible. Then we need to confront the causes. And the major cause is rooted in the election of 2000.
Political figures from the Dakotas and Minnesota had occasion to gather in Huron yesterday in conjunction with the State Fair. Like most honest citizens, they were concerned about what to do now and what faces us in the future. Now they are working to get money, personnel, and resources into the Gulf region to do good. But in the future, some very rough political waters are looming.
One congressman who has been on the intelligence committee for many years provided some insight into the failures, particularly of FEMA , in the Katrina aftermath. He noted that the agency was once devoted to dealing with domestic, natural disasters. Now it is largely concerned with terrorism. Just as George Bush was so determined to get us into a war on Iraq that he refused to listen to intelligence reports that did not support it, he is so determined to be the terrorist-fighting president that he and his administration have chosen to ignore the issues of domestic natural disasters. Eighteen months ago, federal and state agencies held an exercise to simulate a hurricane making a direct hit on New Orleans. The exercise revealed the extent of disaster that would occur. The administration and its political cronies chose to ignore that information.
America has sufferd one of the worst natural disasters in its history. It has also suffered one of the worst political disasters. It is time to stop the news conferences, the propaganda manufacturing, and even web blogs and take a look at what has happened to America. The reporters for the major news media have been doing it. The people need to do it.
What defines the two political parties is at issue. We have seen what has become of America. Bi-partisan smarm has killed people and dispossessed them. It won't rebuild the country. There is a bitter fight looming before us, unless we want to make nice, roll over, and be dispossessed or killed. What is an American dream for the privileged, greedy, and power-hungry is a ghoulish nightmare for others. There are peope with the good will and the competence to get the country back on track. The question is whether that is what the majority really wants.