Emergency, Emergency, Everybody To Get From Street!
Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman)
by Jim Grichar
who remembers those lines has to be nearly as old as I am (I’m 55).
Where did those lines come from? Well, I remembered them as a result
of all the government and media announcements related to the onslaught
of Hurricane Isabel.
were recited by Alan Arkin, in a thick Russian accent, playing the
role of a Soviet submarine officer sent ashore on a Maine island
to prevent the locals from panicking. The movie was the 1966 comedy,
Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming." Arkin’s
submarine accidentally got grounded on a shoal near the Maine island
as it popped up for a quick view of America. And until the tide
would come back in, the sub was stuck.
sub’s captain, played by Theodore Bikel, sent ashore some of his
men, two of whom could speak pigeon English. To prevent the locals
from "panicking," that is, calling the Pentagon, and thus
bringing in an air strike on his sub or having the U.S. Navy capture
it, the Soviet captain decided to run a propaganda job on the locals,
trying to convince them to stay indoors so they wouldn’t notice
the Russian sub. Hence the slogan "Emergency, Emergency, everybody
to get from street." If I remember correctly, the Russians
eventually cut the main phone line so that the locals couldn’t call
for help from the feds.
everything turned out okay, even though some of the locals portrayed
by such stalwart actors as Paul Ford (he was a local retired Army
colonel, trying to organize a militia to do battle with the invaders)
and Jonathan Winters (playing a gung ho deputy police chief) tried
to start World War III (we had to wait more than 30 years for Bush,
Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the neocons to do something as stupid
Reiner, playing a musical comedy writer who was ready to return
to the city with his family they had rented a beach house
for the summer was apparently one of the few sane people.
Realizing what happened, Reiner prevailed upon the local populace
to come to their senses, thus preventing a minor incident from escalating
into a war. Even romance melts the Russian-American cold war iceberg
in this hilarious movie, with a handsome Russian sailor being attracted
to a willowy sun-tanned blond who was spending the summer with Reiner’s
family (she might have been one of the children or the equivalent
of an au pair girl, only she was an American).
brings me to a point about federal involvement in emergencies. With
a few exceptions (like sending out the hurricane hunter aircraft
to track the storm’s characteristics and direction and providing
that information to the folks at the Weather Channel), the feds
generally make emergencies worse than they would have been had they
not gotten involved. Every time there is a potential disaster, the
feds appear to have a goal of making you feel like "The Russians
are coming." After all, who would have a need for the feds
if the Russians weren’t actually coming, that is, if you could plan
for and take care of yourself and your family when it came to most
said, this current storm has brought out a few added wrinkles. First
of all, given the predicted path of the storm, George Bush has shut
down all of the federal government in Washington, DC for today and
possibly tomorrow, too. What worried George and company was the
fact that DC would face 4050 mph winds. (Well, folks, if you
want to see bravery, check out the Weather Channel meteorologists
who are out there in the hurricane’s path giving updated reports
on the storm.) When you supposedly need the feds the most to "protect
you" from the trials and tribulations of life in 21st
century America, they close up shop and head for cover themselves.
It should make the public wonder what they are paying all those
that, the feds will presumably assemble and deploy resources to
help out those hurt by the hurricane. But think about what they
will be doing. They will dictate who gets what disaster relief resources
including cash payments, which are generally (but not always)
doled out on a means-tested basis. They will shovel money out to
the affected states to help fund disaster relief and recovery efforts.
And they will eventually fund the reconstruction of public buildings
and so-called public infrastructure the real pork in disaster
relief. (See James Bovard's Feeling
Your Pain for an accurate critique of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency’s disaster relief spending.)
would it cost you and your family to make your home disaster-resistant?
Depending upon your location, you might be able to "self-insure"
against the effects of weather and other natural disasters
possibly even some man-made disasters for the equivalent
of $100150 per month. But you won’t hear any of the feds ever
suggesting that they get out of the disaster business, cut your
taxes by an equivalent amount, and leave it to you and the private
sector to prepare for and handle your own disaster relief efforts.
For that amount of money, I suspect most Americans could protect
their homes and families better than all the federal disaster programs
that now drain billions per year, a large part of which goes for
pork barrel projects.
like I said, the feds can only con the public into believing in
the legitimacy of the Leviathan State and thereby continue
to allow themselves to be mulcted into paying confiscatory taxes
by constantly telling us that "The Russians are coming."
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail], formerly an economist with the federal government,
writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
teaches economics part-time at a community college and provides
economic consulting services to the private sector.
© 2003 LewRockwell.com