The Daily Bork

September 05, 2005

Round the traps

Rather than go into the details of the Katrina debate, plenty of other posts are doing that, or doing detailed fiskings of the loonier debators I give here just a few comments on the weekend's reading of the usual traps.

In Sweden the pundits have been a bit annoyed that the offer of a water cleaner and the five man operation team were turned down. I suspect that it is more that there is no shortage of hardware an operators available in the US rather than snubbing international offers. But when the headlines are "Bush accused of racism" and "USA government on PR tour of the south" among others its not difficult to see what is going on. Most of these are written by one Britt Marie-Mattsson who is the US correspondent who seems to get most of her material from the NYT and is so desperately anti-Republican she'll run almost any line regardless of the idiocy. After the severe storms of last winter, where some areas were without power for going on two months(!) the more balanced sources seem to be playing a calmer line though. It appears that the more thoughtful realise that an evacuation of a Swedish city would be a complete and unmitigated disaster. Few seem to imagine that if it happened here that the perceived failures of the US federal government they are ranting about would not be failures here because that level simply does not exist. If the equivalent crisis were to occur here then we'd be looking at total disaster since there would be no federal government to pass the buck to or await funding and manpower from.

On the NZ front the usual suspects have been quiet until the overseas sites were in with their stories. The redoutable Brown has the favoured approach, start off in anguish at the failure of local, state and federal levels. Then conveniently switch to a blame Bush mode, while demonising Fox and Poweline giving free pass to a bimbo rap artist flinging accusations of racism everywhichway. It is a giveaway when a blog is accused of something but he can't actually be bothered giving a link to specific posts, in other words what he accuses of does not really exist as portrayed. Then there are links to NYT and Salon articles who seem to be arguing in a roundabout way for an interventionist federal government, funny but I think there was a civil war over that sort of thing. That red-herrings such as Iraq are played up is a dead giveaway, but it plays well to the crowd that reads this stuff. Just like the WaPo article cited by Brown, where it comes back to Sept 11 funding changes. See, another link to bad Bush policies. It's almost believable that W wanted this to happen.

Common in many thread is the confirmation of the underlying dogma that "America" is innately corrupt and this is some sort of natural outcome. For example NRT sees everything that is wrong in America because of the failure of systems to handle such a disaster. The implication seems to be that a caring society would have managed its greatest evacuation challenge in history without chaos and anarchy. This seems to be a remarkably long bow to draw and left unsaid is what would have happened in other places. I doubt very much that we'd see much better anywhere else in attempting such a thing.

Curiously at one political party blog, Frogblog, doesn't intend on commenting about the whole thing... except by running a lengthy reprint of a virulently deranged article that exemplifies everything mentioned above. Funny way of commenting without commenting if you ask me.

The whole evolving racism thing is rather curious, although par for the course in any discussion about "the South" I suppose. About the only reference I've seen to it elsewhere is here, where the writer wonders at the care taken to photograph mostly white looters.

But it seems that everyone begins seeing their own demons lurking in the shadows, as illustrated above. Some are just more obvious than others, such as inveterate whackjobs like Farrakhan, crazier evangelists and anti-gay loons seem to be having a field day seeing biblical wrath wrought on a corrupt city, not unlike Islamofascists who appear to be a bit upset the limelight has been stolen away. But it gives communist dictators the chance to parade doctors around generously gloating in their offers of help.
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