If you are going to listen to Washington politicians at all, it is always best to listen to the party that is currently out of power. After each election, it is the job of the losers to try to attack the winners in any way they can. Often, they inadvertently advocate genuine principles of liberty in the process.
During the 8-year nightmare that was the Bush administration, it was the Democrats that stumbled upon these principles in their efforts to regain the throne. It was they who pointed out that the government should not be spying on its own citizens, that the president was assuming un-delegated powers through executive order, and that it was neither morally justified nor prudent to invade a third world nation that had committed no acts of aggression against the United States and lacked any reasonable means to do so. Their hysterical mouthpiece, Keith Olbermann, even went so far as to cite a long-forgotten document, the U.S. Constitution.
Of course, it is now abundantly clear that these arguments were made simply out of expediency. With the Democrats in power, it is now the Republicans’ turn to “fight City Hall,” and they have rolled out their usual rhetoric about small government, free markets, and traditional family values. Moreover, they, too, have rolled out the U.S. Constitution and waived it around in opposition to the Democrats’ plans to “spread the wealth around.”
Let’s take note that the Republicans are now correct in opposing the main tenets of the Democratic agenda, including expansion of government involvement in health care, “Cap and Trade,” and other wealth redistribution schemes. Amidst all of the usual noise coming from Washington and its media pundit class, it is only the Republicans that are making any sense at all.
There is a classic story about how no one had been able to capture a herd of wild hogs that was rooting up crops from numerous farms. It got so bad that rewards had been posted for anyone clever enough to corral the critters. But even this resulted in only limited success.
One day a stranger (who was a wily old trapper) came into town and–entering the general store–ordered a truckload of fence posts and fencing, along with some feed. When asked what he was going to use it for, he said, “I’m going to get those wild hogs y’all are having trouble with.” Of course, everyone in the store laughed at the overconfident stranger. A few weeks later, however, the stranger rode into town with the back of his truck tightly packed with the smelly swine.
When asked how he was able to accomplish what no one else had been able to do, the old trapper replied, “Simple. I started putting the feed out in a small clearing and the hogs began freely eating the feed. It didn’t take long and they were there every day. Then I put up the fence posts, but with no fencing. At first the hogs were a little skittish, but it wasn’t long and they ignored the posts. Then I began putting the fence up, but I left the gate off. Again, the hogs were skittish at first, but soon realized they could come and go freely, and before long, they were devouring the free food with a vengeance. Then, one day when the hogs were aggressively consuming the vittles, I slammed the gate closed.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that what the old trapper did to the wild hogs is exactly what our soon-to-be oppressors are doing to us! What is worse, most Americans seem about as oblivious to the whole thing as that bunch of pigs. For anyone who is paying attention, however, the signs of growing enslavement are everywhere.
Hurricane Katrina, Four Years Later: Monday, August 29, 2005 will never be forgotten by those who were [un]fortunate enough to live through it.
[from the editor] After reading what Palast reports, Michael Chertoff’s statements are quite unsettling. Looking back, again.
by Greg Palast
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There’s another floater. Four years on, there’s another victim face down in the waters of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Ivor van Heerden.
I don’t get to use the word “heroic” very often. Van Heerden is heroic. The Deputy Director of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center, it was van Heerden who told me, on camera, something so horrible, so frightening, that, if it weren’t for his international stature, it would have been hard to believe:
“By midnight on Monday the White House knew. Monday night I was at the state Emergency Operations Center and nobody was aware that the levees had breached. Nobody.”
On the night of August 29, 2005, van Heerden was shut in at the state emergency center in Baton Rouge, providing technical advice to the rescue effort. As Hurricane Katrina came ashore, van Heerden and the State Police there were high-fiving it: Katrina missed the city of New Orleans, turning east.
What they did not know was that the levees had cracked. For crucial hours, the White House knew, but withheld the information that the levees of New Orleans had broken and that the city was about to drown. Bush’s boys did not notify the State of the flood to come which would have allowed police to launch an emergency hunt for the thousands that remained stranded.
“Fifteen hundred people drowned. That’s the bottom line,” said van Heerden.
He shouldn’t have told me that. The professor was already in trouble for saying, publicly, that the levees around New Orleans were no good, too short, by 18″. They couldn’t stand up to a storm like Katrina. He said it months before Katrina hit – in a call to the White House, and later in the press.
So, even before Katrina, even before our interview, the professor was in hot water. Van Heerden was told by University officials that his complaints jeopardized funding from the Bush Administration. They tried to gag him. He didn’t care: he ripped off the gag and spoke out.
It didn’t matter to Bush, to the State, to the University, that van Heerden was right— devastatingly right. Exactly as van Heerden predicted, the levees could not stand up to the storm surge.