President Potemkin

The White House apparently set up a fake “food distribution point” for the President to stand in front of for the cameras, and then tore it down as soon as he left.

I’m with Kevin Drum: this is criminal.

Or it ought to be, anyway. Using resources that could have gone to real relief activity to make phony relief activity for the cameras means that people die who could have been saved.

Update A reader writes in to defend the dead from slander:

I agree entirely with the sentiment but the tag is unfair on the capable Prince Grigori Potemkin. The show tour of the conquered Ukraine he organised for his lover Catherine the Great included two brand new cities, Odessa and Sebastopol. The “villages” was a clever smear by his enemies at court back in St. Petersburg.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com