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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Not My America

NBC's Brian Williams reports:
An interesting dynamic is taking shape in this city, not altogether positive: after days of rampant lawlessness (making for what I think most would agree was an impossible job for the New Orleans Police Department during those first few crucial days of rising water, pitch-black nights and looting of stores) the city has now reached a near-saturation level of military and law enforcement. In the areas we visited, the red berets of the 82nd Airborne are visible on just about every block. National Guard soldiers are ubiquitous. At one fire scene, I counted law enforcement personnel (who I presume were on hand to guarantee the safety of the firefighters) from four separate jurisdictions, as far away as Connecticut and Illinois. And tempers are getting hot. While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won't be any pictures of this particular group of Guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.
And from Operation Flashlight (Operation who? "On August 30, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the southern shores of the United States. Our goal is to shed light on what is happening in the South, and help people connect directly with those most in need."):
We got in. We’re getting on a military convoy now. Heading into the City with the Governor and 82nd Airborne. Parish, just outside of New Orleans. At the National Guard checkpoint, they are under orders to turn away all media. All of the reporters are turning they’re TV trucks around. Things are so bad, Bush is now censoring all reporting from NOLA. The First Amendment sank with the city.
People, regardless of what you see on your TV, this is happening.

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