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Following Bush’s Lead, The Yes Men Make Empty Promises to New Orleans

In Children and Youth, Culture jamming, Culture of Corruption, Economic Justice, Election 2006, Election 2008, Environment, Housing, International politics, International Public Health, International Trade, Labor, Laws & Regulation, Media Criticism, Misc., Netroots, Race, The War On Drugs, US Politics on August 28, 2006 at 8:32 pm

From Talking Points Muckraker:

A team of political hoaxers fooled New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and a thousand construction-industry members today.

Posing as fictitious senior HUD official Rene Oswin, Andy Bichlbaum — a member of the Group the Yes Men — promised big (and unlikely) changes in New Orleans to a privately-organized conference in Kenner, Louisiana. Among his expansive promises, according to CNN:

– Energy giants Exxon and Shell would spend $8.6 billion “to finance wetlands rebuilding from $60 billion in profits this year.”

– Wal-Mart would withdraw its stores from poor neighborhoods and “help nurture local businesses to replace them.”

– the federal government would spend $180 million to fund “at least one well-equipped public health clinic for every housing development.”

– the feds would reverse plans to replace public schools with private and charter schools, and instead create a national tax base to supplement local taxes.

If you haven’t seen it, their movie is well worth watching.

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  1. Here’s another article on this event:
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0829-03.htm

    HUD tried to turn it around on the Yes Men by saying:
    “Since the statement was a fraud, perpetuated on people who are in need at a time when they are having a hard time with emotions about Katrina,” Loiry said, “I think this is cruel and disgusting.”

    From the Yes Men:

    Bichlbaum’s partner, Mike Bonanno — who posed as his press secretary, “Larry,” in front of the Laffite public housing facility here Monday — said they were outraged that HUD was shuttering public housing units at the very time so many residents are homeless.

    “It’s so absurd, you can’t even fathom it unless you’ve been down here,” Bonanno said. “They have locked people out of their houses. That’s the reason people are saying the government is doing ethnic cleansing.”

    I say:
    Keep up the good work Yesmen

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