Before We Fight the Power, First Let's Take on the Anti-Government Idiots

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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I have a column in the paper this week about the Trinity River levees, and I had a please-respect-my-lawn thing here yesterday about plastic bottles and White Rock Creek. Even I didn't get the connection between the two before the comments started rolling in from the idiot, free-market, libertarian, government-hating, shit-for-brains cadre.

You know what? Those of us who still have at least a low trainable IQ and some rudimentary grasp on our sanity are going to have to stand up to these people at some point. It's not just that they are going to wreck the nation. They're going to wreck the world.

One comment on yesterday's blog item sums up the view. I think the commenter was talking about my suggestion that plastic water bottles be outlawed:

"Criminals are criminals because they break laws. Why do you think passing a new law will suddenly cause criminals to obey it, when they haven't obeyed all the other laws already passed?"
What?

What does that even mean? Now we can't even have laws? Laws are bad? What's good?

The-Predator-State-1020937.jpg
Or you could always get the audiobook
All of this crap is an expression of the bizarre "free market" philosophy that has been fobbed off on the masses in recent years by deep-pocketed robber barons like the Koch brothers so they can control the markets themselves.

Believe me, I don't rely on my own knowledge or opinion in these areas. A number of really good smart books have been published in the last two years detailing the successful campaign by the super-rich to subvert our republic through lobbying, advertising and political funding. My favorites are The Predator State by James K. Galbraith and Winner-Take-All Politics by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.

In his book Galbraith has a discussion of the dismal failure of government and/or "markets" to protect the city of New Orleans or the nation from the tragic and incredibly expensive devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Not that you'll do it, but if you were to look at the comments on my column yesterday, you would see some very informative ones from a group called Levees.org, laying out the history of deception and obfuscation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its efforts to deflect blame for the failure of Corps of Engineers flood works in New Orleans in 2005. (Just by the way, it's been a week now, and the Corps of Engineers is sill unable to answer my questions about their responsibility for our own flood works in Dallas.)

What Galbraith says in Predator State is that this is what you get. This is what you get when you extinguish the authority and the accountability of government in the planning and the regulating of the public interest.

The mantra of the shit-for-brains crew is some sort of inchoate vaguely sketched faith in "markets" and personal character. Who can be against markets? Who can be against character? But they never say how it works as a means of governing the world.

If you want to see how it works, look at Katrina. Galbraith would tell you, if you need to know this, that it does not work. At all. It's disaster piled on top of disaster.

All you have is panic, abdication, devastation, the Corps of Engineers hiring law firms and flaks to work 24/7 helping them think up excuses, the president telling some vapid flake named "Brownie" that "You're doing a heck of a job," people dying right and left and property ruined, while all of the rich "job creators" hide out in Palm Springs until the media flare dies.

The answer to this scene from hell is government -- good government. The rule of law. Social sanity. Civic responsibility. Generosity, not greed. Regulation. Responsibility, not cheesy abdication.

Galbraith makes a point that has been hovering in my mind, too, these last many months. The flail here, the goad, the challenge that makes a mockery of this free-market bullshit is the planet itself, the environment. We either straighten ourselves out, remember how to govern ourselves, plan for ourselves, regulate ourselves, or everybody dies.

What better incentive could we have than that for defending ourselves against these "free-market" doo-doo heads? You tell me.

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105 comments
Jess_Allen009
Jess_Allen009

Foolish. Yeah, let's only talk about the subversion of the tea party and liberty movement and talk about it like and act as if that IS the tea party. No, that's the corrupt subversion of it by the system. If you love reading, why  don't you read one of Ron Paul's great books.

Steveteltx
Steveteltx

And wewonder how we got where we are? The miracle is that we have made it this far.How much further can we go...I just don't know...I just don't know.

 

When Ilisten to my friends on the religious right side of the fence, they tell me thereason we are in this mess is that we are approaching the end times.

 

To behonest, it almost seems as if this explanation is offered as a moral andspiritual "get out of jail free card". As if to say...it doesn'treally matter...the Lord is coming etc...etc...etc...see the Book ofRevelations for this particular scenario.

 

Of course,this attitude is critical to the status quo power structure and those incontrol...real control...as in the golden rule type of control...the othergolden rule...the one that says..."he who has the gold rules"...notthe do unto others as you would have them do unto you...more along the lines ofdo unto them...before they undo you…another version of MAD (Mutually AssuredDestruction)…for those who have been around long enough to remember thislynchpin of global stability.

 

Here's thescary part. Is there a moment where the "silent majority" begins torealize what is truly happening and stands up with shouts of à la the 1976 filmNetwork..."I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore".

 

In a way, Isuspect that what we are seeing is a message of what the rest of theworld...those we normally refer to as "the have nots". It’s ..hasbeen telling us for years. I remember a quote from somewhere...something aboutit's harder to get a man with a full belly to go kamikaze than it is one whohasn't eaten in a week...it's also much harder to clean up the mess.

 

A friend ofmine suggest that we should drop goats, not bombs...right...try suggesting thatat the next board meeting of the people making the bombs...thebombers...etc....etc...etc.

 

Try tellingthem that you want to invalidate about 90% of their investment in the existinginfrastructure of conflict and competition.

 

Try tellingthem that you want to make tractors instead of tanks and that...oh...by theway...we want to give the tractors away for a couple of generations.

 

Try tellingthem that filling the pool is going to cost a few extra bucks this summer sothat we can irrigate some crops someplace.

 

Try tellingthem that you want to buy some mosquito netting…or medicine to save a bunch ofkids in some place called Darfur…or food in the Horn of Africa where 2 millionchildren face starvation.

 

Are youcrazy…haven’t you figured out yet that the most efficient method of populationcontrol is poverty, disease and starvation?

 

Have youlost your mind? You want me to give up what to save who?

 

Right…thatwill get you elected…for sure…just keep your mouth shut and take the money.

 

Fat chanceof that happening...the odds...as they say...are slim to none...and slim justleft town as an retired Banker...CEO...Congressman...Lobbyist...MortgageBroker...Senator...with a golden parachute or retirement plan built on thesweat and tears of the poor fools....that would be you and me...who weresatisfied with the crumbs they allowed us to pick up as they fell from thetable.

 

These crumbswere all tied up in a pretty package called "the American Dream".

 

Well, whoout there hasn't had a dream that when you woke up, you couldn't remember it?No matter how hard you tried...it was a great dream...but it just keeps fadingaway.

 

That'sprobably what we are leaving for our children...grandchildren and greatgrandchildren...perhaps ad infinitum. The bad news is that not too far fromnow...it turns into a nightmare.

 

Another old saying comes to mind…”

“Where you stand…depends on where you are sitting”…

Odds are, if you have a seat at the table and are beingserved filet mignon on Monday, pheasant under glass on Tuesday and Peking Duckon Wednesday…odds are you think things are just fine…than you very much.

If however, you’ve never seen a table…much less “the table”or had a seat at it…a little change sounds like a great idea. If you arewalking a 100 yards to haul water out of a well in a bucket attached to arope…odds are…change…just about any kind…would be an improvement. If thebucket, the rope and the well are on your Christmas wish list…then you willtake any degree of change that is offered…even the kind which you know youcan’t survive…after all…you know that things can’t be any worse than what theyare.

The bottom line…in rough numbers…7 billion humans nowinhabit this planet. The majority of them, over 50% have more in common, from astandard of living perspective, with a man alive when Christ walked the earththan they do with you and I.  And make nomistake…the question of what will be done about the disparity between the“haves” and the “have nots” is one that will affect our lives…it…or should Isay they… cannot be ignored

 

Sbro712
Sbro712

Jim Schutze = The new Richie Whitt of the Observer?

Catbird
Catbird

Jim: Just curious, all these crazy right wing liberterians who hate government that you write about above, are they the ones that Mao put up against the wall during the "Great Chaos" period of the "Cultural Revolution"?

I hear there were about 70 million in China in 1966...wonder how many there are in the US in 2011?

Whitman1
Whitman1

They are just puppets of the superwealthy and too stupid to realize it. The superwealthy want no government because that would allow them to act with impunity in their constant search for money; in other words, a return to feudalism. The redneck, white trash crowd (and these are states of mind, not indications of economic status) blindly follow along, like the serfs brown nosing the princes. Nothing has really changed over the last thousand years, has it?

JT
JT

I guess I don't see where a market must be a utility owned or regulated by the gov't.  As far as I can tell, it is only in a market to address the public's general level of comfort or concerns over a free market's ability to self organize, self police or self regulate, e.g. the FDA, SEC or the EPA.  Take Jim's recent rants on coke bottles in the national parks.  Jim is not comfortable with allowing people to excercise some goddam sense and not litter or pollute. Essentially, he trusts no one to be responsible and thus wants an outright ban on plastic bottles.

More to my point, given that the 'regulation' of plastic bottles would have affected the cola companies business and profitablity, is it really any wonder that they got involved to block this 'ban'?  The more we regulate, the more we encourage these people's participation exactly where we don't want it because they have more at stake financially than Jim Schutze does as an individual.  Of course, the organic result is that people like Jim try to create a special interest by gathering support in unity against a corporation, and these things seldom work because no individual has that much to gain from it other than distant, though important, positve externalities like saving the environment.  It's a heartbreaking lesson, but we really can't have it both ways.  We can't heavily regulate the marketplace and simultaneously legistlate away the corruption that the regulation encourages. 

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

Let's temporarily relax our standards for awhile. Mr. Schutze had a bit of a scatalogical moment with his vocabulary, but I'm sure he will be back to himself before he writes again. We all let the inner dog bark at times.

scottindallas
scottindallas

The Mississippi River is an interstate navigable river, I doubt mayor has much say over it.  Can the mayor levy a tax for ship traffic, to support flood control and levees?  I doubt it, but the USG can.

Fuck Jim Schutze
Fuck Jim Schutze

Scumbag leftwingers love to use the power of the state to impose their dogmas.

Fuck them in general and fuck Jim Schutze in particular.

James Miller
James Miller

Jim is absolutely losing it.  The next thing he'll attack is cars because some people drag race them on public streets and cause accidents.  The drugs he did in the 60s are catching up with him now.  Sad times.

Observist
Observist

Oh.  That changes everything.

Sybil
Sybil

Jim, you crotchety old bastard, I love you so much.

PLFarmer
PLFarmer

Sorry to be redundentPretend this is part of Acts, or part of 300 million persons in my pants.Paul Gilding said it very well.“Our system of economic growth, of ineffective democracy, of overloading planetearth — our system — is eating itself alive. Occupy Wall Street is like the kidin the fairy story saying what everyone knows but is afraid to say: the emperorhas no clothes. The system is broken. Think about the promise of global marketcapitalism. If we let the system work, if we let the rich get richer, if we letcorporations focus on profit, if we let pollution go unpriced and unchecked,then we will all be better off. It may not be equally distributed, but the poorwill get less poor, those who work hard will get jobs, those who study hardwill get better jobs and we’ll have enough wealth to fix the environment. “What we now have — most extremely in the U.S. but pretty much everywhere — isthe mother of all broken promises,” Gilding adds. “Yes, the rich are gettingricher and the corporations are making profits — with their executives richlyrewarded. But, meanwhile, the people are getting worse off — drowning inhousing debt and/or tuition debt — many who worked hard are unemployed; manywho studied hard are unable to get good work; the environment is getting moreand more damaged; and people are realizing their kids will be even worse offthan they are. This particular round of protests may build or may not, but whatwill not go away is the broad coalition of those to whom the system lied andwho have now woken up. It’s not just the environmentalists, or the poor, or theunemployed. It’s most people, including the highly educated middle class, whoare feeling the results of a system that saw all the growth of the last threedecades go to the top 1 percent.”

MaryK
MaryK

Were the levees blown in 2005? Many ear-witnesses said so.  Were they ever blown before? In 1927, during Betsy, they were blown on purpose and everybody knew it. The question was officially raised but never answered in 1969 after Camille.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

To marry the plastic bottle issue to the free market issue, how about a bottle deposit?

You don't want to pay it? Then don't drink something that comes out of a disposable bottle or can, or even better, return your cans/bottles for a full REFUND. The people who pollute pay the tax, and in states where it is enacted you see little bottle/can trash, because even the ones that are discarded irresponsibly are collected by the homeless, turning them in for MONEY. And at 5 cents or 10 cents per container, who's to say they haven't earned it by keeping our public areas and dumps a little cleaner. Dirty gross hard work should have some benefit, yes?

RTGolden
RTGolden

A little comment here from a 'shit-for-brains'.  I have, up until now, enjoyed reading your posts.  I have disagreed with you the majority of the time, and have, grudgingly admitted when your writing offered no vulnerabilities for me to attack.  I have always addressed you with respect when writing my differences of opinion.

I felt my comments yesterday, (you could go back and read them, but I doubt you will) presented one logical argument that would have to be addressed before implementing an outright ban on plastic bottles in National Parks.  Yet, because I'm not a far-left liberal, willing to sacrifice every value, moral, liberty, and freedom I hold dear at the altar of State worship, I am branded a shit-for-brains.

How do you justify your own views?  You write constantly about the inability of government to accomplish anything good and decent, yet you wail and moan that government must step in and solve everyone's problems (and that you and your liberal fellow travellers shouldn't have to pay for those solutions).

You sir, are a talented writer, and obviously more learned and experienced than I am.  However, there is nothing more I can learn from you, as it appears your bitterness, inflexibility of mind, and blackness of spirit tells me you lack the one thing I hold most high in mankind, Respect for Others.

Brian
Brian

Jim.  I think you've lost it.  Worst blog post ever.  Stop name calling.  I will never read the Observer again.  Waste of my time if this is the level of discourse I can expect. 

Pulled all my advertising a month ago.

Mike
Mike

Predator State is a misleading title. Professor Galbraith's complaint is not against the State ripping it's claws across the throats of evildoers. He just wants the clawing to be done against his enemies. Neither he or his father really understand competition or like it. Their use of planning is really a mechanism for the government to stifle or redirect competition. Yes we need to plan levees. We do not need to protect industries that let their wage scales make them uncompetitive in a global market.

The message of the 20th century was that totalitarian regimes where government directed results caused immense damage in Russia, China, Japan, and Germany. Yes, a hands off approach in comparison is messy at times, but those problems pale compared to the destruction when government goes too far. If we err, it safer to err towards less government, not more..

Brian
Brian

I don't get it. How are markets to blame for New Orleans?

The levees were built buy the government to protect houses either built by the government or financed with government loans and insured by the government. Katrina and New Orleans is the poster child of everything that can go bad when markets are excluded from decisions. No company in their right mind would build a city below sea level in hurricane zone. In fact the original construction was done at direct order of the King of France.

Levees.org
Levees.org

Jim wasn't referring to the evacuation.  Jim was referring to the failure of the levee system designed and built by the corps. Had the levees held, no one would be talking about the mayor.

Observist
Observist

Good point, but I would modify it to say that regulations exist not to control greed, but limit the harm done to others by greed.

People jaywalk to save themselves time, at the cost of potentially wasting the time of all the people in cars and buses who have to wait for the jaywalker to cross, or wait for the paramedics to attempt to keep him alive after he was hit by a car.  Rampant jaywalking could bring city streets to a halt, hurting overall economic efficiency.  Of course, not all cities have jaywalking regulations and of those, very few enforce them rigorously.  Most regulations are intended to protect the common interest.  That doesn't mean a cop who gives you a ticket for jaywalking on a obviously empty street isn't a total dick.  Bad enforcement isn't the same as bad regulation.

Levees.org
Levees.org

Levees.org here, and great column.  The only thing we can add is that the day Katrina arrived, very expensive PR firms were filling Corps 'talking heads' with spin and sending them out to the major media whose journalists quickly repeated the 'stories' with little fact-checking in the days and months after Katrina.   

One PR company hired by the Corps for $4.7 million was caught bragging that it 'cultivated relationships' with major media and reduced negative stories after Katrina as a result.  See the CBS National News story here.   

http://levees.org/2/wp-content... 

Catbird
Catbird

Not much of what you say makes any sense but I can tell you for a fact that my version of the American Dream doesn't have anything to do with getting a government check or being envious of what someone else has.

My dream is being free to follow my own star and enjoy success or failure, and the benefits of my own labor, under the providence of Almighty God.

Freedom just doesn't seem to be enough for people these days...but it will be soon, if the big government lefties have their way.

God save America.

RTGolden
RTGolden

How dare you! Richie is a nitwit sports writer with a wavering grasp on reality and limited understanding of the sports he covers.  He is whiny, insignificant, and his loss was greatly rejoiced.Jim.... doesn't even have a limited understanding of sports.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Hmmmm, lets see if we could flip the script and still make it work.

They are just puppets of elite leftists and too stupid to realize it.  The elite leftists want absolute government because that would allow them to act with impunity in their constant search for control; in other words, a return to aristocracy.  The hand out, gimme more crowd (which, incidentally, includes many who call themselves 'conservative') blindly follow along, like serfs, brown-nosing the princes.  Nothing has really changed over the last thousand years, has it?

The left and the right seem to pull in the same direction, the only difference between them is the lies they tell to soothe the masses.

Catbird
Catbird

I believe I saw Schutze actually chasing cars along Riverfront, between the bail bond shack and the Red Colmans...arf!

Levees.org
Levees.org

Ear witnesses heard an explosion on the morning of August 29, 2005 at about the same time that 30-foot monoliths of steel sheet pilings capped with concrete tore away from the earthen levees and waters from the large navigation canal poured into the historic neighborhood.  Quickly about 33 more monoliths fell and the breach widened to about 1000 feet. Here is a photo: http://bit.ly/u872eg

Mike
Mike

Free marketers do not have a problem with bottle deposits. In Michigan I used them all the time. I pay extra and then I get it back.

We do have a problem with government telling me I have to pay extra to support some civil service run clean up campaign, staffed with lots of managers and few workers, reports after reports on our progress in achieving government goals, and numerous studies on why beverage A (an evil beverage) deserves a higher fee than beverage B (a nice beverage). Then another government program to help transition the workers in Beverage A because its cost are above customer value.

MaryK
MaryK

People pick up aluminum cans along the highways because they represent money.  In states where there is a bottle deposit, those get picked up, too.  This is an example of self-employment going where the jobs are. If the people who pay the bottle deposits don't care enough to return them to get their nickel back, there's always someone else who will do it for them.  I personally think people should get something for picking up ALL the trash, and not just the probationers who are forced.  Of course, community service, even when unpaid, is a reward of a different sort...

Lisa Dawn
Lisa Dawn

What I got from the article was holding the government accountable...not bigger government, but a government that is stays within the law and ethical boundaries. So far what  we have all over the world is contrived chaos and war which makes money. The media continues to brainwash citizens so that the government can continue their crimes against citizens. Sad to see adoolescent mentality so prevalent in people with influential positions. The true reason the world is in such poor condition morally and financially is because the citizens let it happen. Politicians know that most citizens will never have a clue as to the truth of what they are doing..it might be good for us to keep our heads out of the sand and face some very painful facts that normal people would find sickening to say the least.

The only solution is for us to stop being delusional as to what our politicians are doing, demand accountability as to where our tax money is going, then SPEAK UP!!

We then might just be surprised at the positive result.

My advice to you is keep reading Mr. Schutze articles...his words will help keep you out of a delusional world.

scottindallas
scottindallas

most fact and specific free post of the whole thread. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

"We do not need to protect industries that let their wage scales make them uncompetitive in a global market."

Like what?  In 2008 a survey of domestic auto plants found that the top 10 most efficient factories were all Big 3 plants (number 10 was a Toyota/GM joint venture)

Levees.org
Levees.org

New Orleans, a deep water port, was established in 1718 about 50 miles up the main stem of the Mississippi River.  Until the 20th century, the urban portion of New Orleans was largely confined to the areas along the Mississippi River, where a natural levee provided the city with the highest (approx ten feet) elevations above sea level.

In the 40 years between Hurricanes Betsy (1965) and Katrina the outlying deltaic wetlands south and east of the city of New Orleans had become noticeably reduced in size.  This was a significant factor in the devastation triggered by Katrina in that these wetlands once acted as a natural brake on hurricanes and their storm surges which might impact New Orleans.    

RTGolden
RTGolden

and yet no one holds responsible those who choose to live in an area stolen from the sea, knowing full well that the sea always gets what is hers.  I don't care how poor, destitute, sickly or stupid I am or may become, if I'm ever told that I have to live in a neighborhood that is below sea level, with only a wall of dirt and concrete between me and that sea, I'm going to punch the speaker in the face and double time myself away from there.

The Corps of Engineers told everyone, weeks in advance, that the levees wouldn't hold against a Cat V.  We can't expect the Government to provide us with a whiffle ball life, where nothing is ever our responsibility and no harm will come to us.

I would think a good environmentalist like Jim would be against levees altogether.  Let nature run its course.  I'm not even a rabid anti-human like Jim and I'm against using levees to allow people to live in areas that should not be habitable at all.  Moderate flood control along rivers, yes; levees to keep the sea out of its natural basin, emphatically no.

RTGolden
RTGolden

And, of course, those "ear-witnesses" were experts in the aural differences between an explosion and the sound of an immobile tower of steel and concrete giving way (which makes an audible 'booming' sound).

If the levees were blown, please present the proof of it.  As a child I heard what sounded like an explosion and woke to find an old tree in the yard broken and splintered.  Did the government 'blow' the tree?  No, it was a large immovable object suddenly giving way (The extreme cold temperature had caused sap to freeze and expand).

RTGolden
RTGolden

Much of that reduction in the natural wetlands of the Mississippi Delta was done at the hands of the government the article claims we need more of.

"Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results" -Einstein. 

Before we call for more and increasingly invasive government, can we agree to fix the government we have?  A smarter, faster government would be preferable to a larger, more cumbersome one I believe.  Not to mention, the smaller the government is, the easier it is to pinpoint the people responsible for government failures.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Katrina was a cat 3 when it made landfall and only a cat 1-2 when it hit NOLA

Montemalone
Montemalone

Pretty much every major and quite a few not-so-major cities in the US were built on water. Look at the flooding in the Dakotas, Missouri, and all up and down the Mississippi and all it's tributaries. New York, Boston, Baltimore, Charleston, New Orleans,etc all owe their existence to the sea.It is man's hubris to try to overtame the water that causes the problems. Changing the course or the Mississippi and channeling the flow into the gulf, rather than allowing nature to dump silt and create wetlands that are a natural defense against storm surges, means damage will occur.

JimS
JimS

RT, letting nature run its course would mean evacuating a huge amount of land in the cetrer of Dallas.http://nld.usace.army.mil/egis...We live in a  floodplain. We live in a place where nature does not want us to be. The Corps is gearing up to tell us the inevitable bad news: that we're going to have to give up on some of the developed portions of Dallas for that reason.http://www.dallasobserver.com/...This is why I say this challenge makes malicious fools of the government-haters. Flood control is a land use issue. Europeans resolve the problem with tough natonal land use policies enforced by government. Markets resolve nothing --t hey make things worse. Some idiot above said no capitalist would build houses in a floodplain. Where does he think Florida came from? That's exaclty what markets will do -- take the money and run. We need more government, tough government, good government, to enforce national land use policy. I hear the complaint above, however, that I spend all my time reporting on instances where government fails to do a good job. True enough, very troubling. But we get the government we deserve. In a democracy, it's all a big social I.Q. test. It should worry us that our I.Q. on this one is far beneath the Dutch. The French, for that matter.

Levees.org
Levees.org

Even the most insistent calls to residents to evacuate before Katrina did not ever say the levees would break and fail.  Max Mayfield warned of levee over topping, but not that the levees could break and fail.  The Corps of Engineers made no such warning either.  Had the levees not broken, there would have been some soggy carpets and lost shingles, and you and I would not be having this dialog.  In New Orleans, Katrina was a moderate storm.

Further one half of New Orleans is at or well above sea level.  New Orleans is one of about 30 major cities that lies on a floodplain.  New Orleans is a port city and needs to be where it is, not on top of a mountain.

RTGolden
RTGolden

spike lee is hardly an unbiased or authoritative source.

Nunya
Nunya

Live in a hole in the ground, in a swamp, below sealevel, in a place that gets hit by hurricanes every year...

And it's the Army Corps of Engineer's fault when your toilet fills up with water?

You are fucking delusional.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I couldn't agree more.  One has only to look at an annual ass-kicking nature hands to mankind every year in the L.A. area.  People build houses on dry, unstable slopes.  People fail to practice sound wildland management policies like clearing dead growth to remove fuel for wild fires, wild fires ensue.  Fires burn until the rains start.  No growth is left (it all burned up) so mudslides wash homes to the bottom of canyons.  People demand disaster relief from government, Rebuild homes on dry, unstable slopes.  There has to be a point where someone, somewhere says "STOP, the friggin nonsense"  Either practice intelligent land management, or build your homes someplace else.  But, no one ever does.

JT
JT

Neato?

Levees.org
Levees.org

The US District Court of Eastern Louisiana ruled in Jan 2008 that corps was guilty of “gross incompetence" in the design and construction of the levees/floodwalls in New Orleans.  But federal judge Stanwood Duval wrote he was powerless to rule favorably for the plaintiffs because the Flood Control Act of 1928 granted legal immunity to the government in the event of failure of flood control projects like levees.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02...

While New Orleans is often depicted by journalists as the “city in a bowl,” the bowl-like quality is actually a by-product of man-made intervention.   Structures including drainage canals, levee enhancements and levees along navigational canals built much later, transformed the original city built along the river to its present day configuration.

JT
JT

Finally, someone who understands what happened during Katrina.  As a former Louisiana resident, I can tell you that if you were standing in certain parts of New Orleans and pointed sideways, you were actually pointing at water with levels well above your head behind levees.  Anyone who paid attention while driving down I-10 could see this from the canals that it crosses.  Were the levees properly maintained?  Not really, but there was some serious potential energy behind them regardless. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

Jim, you're not making a good case here.  There is no privately offered flood insurance, it's all a fed program.  So, in this case, the govt has encouraged that risky development. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

All good and valid points, Jim.  I do understand the need for levees, flood control and the like.  I understand the significance of where New Orleans, and, as Montemalone points out, other large cities lie.  I'm trying to point out that it is the ever-increasing scope of government, to meet the ever-increasing demands of a 'gimme' nation, that got us to the point of sub-standard levees in the first place.Currently, for all our caterwauling about the 1% not paying enough taxes, there is roughly 40% of the population not paying any taxes at all.  Yet we all demand the government provide us with an increasingly cushy, responsibility free life.  How to pay for it?  Certainly, if we make the rich pay fair taxes (which we should be doing, I don't see how anyone of any intelligence could argue against that), then shouldn't we make everyone else pay fair taxes as well?  Is it just for middle class lefties to point out the rich while they take advantage of tax breaks for health care, mortgage interest and other deductions to reduce their own tax burden?  Is it fair for middle class conservatives to blast both the rich and the left for 'socialist' agendas while taking advantage of those same tax breaks? Is it fair for the poor (the one's riding the system, not the ones struggling with two or three jobs) to not pay any taxes and reap the bounty of the welfare system at a level that puts them squarely in a middle income range?Faced with constant demands for more services and less taxes (an obvious mathematical impossibility) what else can our government do?  If it cuts services, it gets crucified; if it increases taxes it gets crucified; we end up with a nation with stellar capabilities putting out mediocrity in every endeavor.  

"All government is a parliament of whores.  Trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us" -P. J. O'Rourke

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