Hurricane Hypocrites

Our Rulers are shocked, shocked that when they dangle free money in front of us, we rise to the bait.

They seem to think that despite their foisting handouts on anyone even marginally affected by Hurricane Katrina last fall, many folks should have demurred. And the remaining recipients should have been scrupulously honest, regardless of the Feds’ lack of accountability or even minimal oversight. Donna M. Dannels, an officer in FEMA’s army of bureaucrats, confessed earlier this month, “We did, in fact, put into place never-before-used and untested processes. Clearly, because they were untested, they were more subject to error and fraud.”

Actually, it had nothing to do with the "processes’" being "untested" and everything to do with the nature of the beast. When is Leviathan’s largess ever free of "error and fraud" and outright corruption?

Gregory Kutz of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) likewise blames FEMA’s procedures, not FEMA itself. “There are tools…to get disaster relief programs running quickly without seeing so much fraud and waste. But it wasn’t really something that FEMA put a high priority on. So it was easy to commit fraud without being detected.”

Details of how Katrina and Leviathan’s victims wasted our taxes have emerged over the last fortnight as yet another Congressional investigation muddles along. You’ll be pleased to learn that the Feds help themselves to your income so that your fellow citizens can attend football games, party at Hooters restaurants, quaff Dom Perignon champagne, watch such classic videos as Girls Gone Wild, and cavort on the endless beaches of Hawaii and the Caribbean.

The New York Times estimates that $2 billion of the $19 billion the Feds have so far lavished on the hurricane’s survivors have financed such palliatives. And $19 billion is only half of the mind-boggling sum Our Rulers are stealing from us under the pretext of this storm. As Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) intoned, "It is shocking and appalling" — though he was speaking of the vacations and the porn videos our money bought, not the fact that he and almost all his comrades approved legislation to loot us in the first place. (NB: the heroic Ron Paul cast one of the exceedingly few "no" votes.) McCaul had earlier blasted this as an "assault on the American taxpayer" and added, "Prosecutors from the federal level down should be looking at prosecuting these crimes and putting the criminals who committed them in jail for a long time.” The line forms here for volunteers to slap the cuffs on McCaul et al.

Susan Collins (R-ME) is one of the Senate’s biggest pickpockets when it comes to the hurricane hustle, voting for and co-sponsoring legislation to steal our money. That makes her pharisaical spluttering all the more offensive: “The blatant fraud, the audacity of the schemes, the scale of the waste — it is just breathtaking.” Again, we wonder: is she speaking of herself and her fellow Senators or Katrina’s survivors?

It is ironic that politicians who obsess over money — how best to coerce taxpayers into footing Leviathan’s exponentially exploding costs, how and from whom to beg campaign contributions, how to get more, more, MORE — disapprove of avarice in us. They expect us to distinguish between the portion of our neighbor’s money that they are allowing us to steal and the portion they are not. So fine a moral line is undoubtedly lost on a culture that routinely murders the not-yet-born and considers George Bush a hero.

Indeed, the funds Our Rulers allow us to filch are "entitlements" while those they don’t are "fraud." Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez took a break from endorsing torture last September to "outline" "ANTI-FRAUD PRIORITIES TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY" — Thieves with integrity! Does hypocrisy come any richer? — "OF RELIEF EFFORTS IN HURRICANE KATRINA-STRICKEN REGION," according to a Department Of Justice (DOJ) press release: "Recent history, including Hurricane Ivan and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has shown that some criminals seek to profit from disaster by means of fraud…" You will not find "Telling citizens they will be safe only if they cooperate with the u2018authorities’ and then sticking them in a stinking, fetid, dark and dangerous Superdome without food or water" among the types of fraud on which the DOJ frowns, astoundingly enough. No, Gonzalez and his henchmen reserve their ire for those who engage in "Government Benefit Fraud: Cases in which individuals file false applications seeking benefits to which they are not entitled."

The Feds actually pretend that "individuals" are "entitled" to other people’s money simply because they fall into a category, in this case "lived in the path of Hurricane Katrina, knew someone who lived in the path of Hurricane Katrina, used to live in the path of Hurricane Katrina, or has a relative named Katrina." The fact that every cent squandered was swiped from taxpayers escapes these imbeciles, so much so that they’re dismayed when the thieves they’ve created don’t content themselves with the amount to which they’re "entitled."

This is yet another sorry chapter in the story of Hurricane Katrina. But it speaks far more profoundly of the corrupting rulers than it does of the corrupted serfs.