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June 21, 2006

"Can't'cha' See We're Talkin' Stupidity Heah!!!?"

This story in the Guardian -- thanks, Brits, you definitely got your story straight -- from last week just kinda' sorta' popped up in a link in the course of catching up with my reading, and seemed to be a lot more to the point than many of its more partisan U.S. variations.

No matter who tells it, the story reports on a serious goatfuck, courtesy of FEMA, but I can't, in any conscience, let the blame end with that heavily beleaguered agency.

However, this was the situation, according to investigators, as regarded the real spending of yours and my taxes in the aftermath of "Katrina the Bitch":

About $1bn (£542m) in relief meant for victims of Hurricane Katrina was lost to fraud, with bogus claimants spending the money on Hawaiian holidays, football tickets, diamond jewellery and Girls Gone Wild porn videos, the US Congress was told yesterday. The fraud, exposed through an audit by the Government Accountability Office, found a staggering amount of abuse of the housing assistance and debit cards given out by the beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency as a way of granting relief to those who lost their homes to Katrina.

To put that in perspective, gubmint bureauracrats screwed the pooch and squandered our money on fraudulent claims. They gave a billion smackers of our money away to people who spent it on their own personal vices or vanities, or simply made a cottage industry of ripping off Uncle Sam's money. Uncle Sam's money is our money.

Just think, some of the taxes you paid on your hard earned money were invested in lap dances {for those who do not know what a lap dance is, it's when a guy pays an exotic dancer at a strip club to writhe around on his lap for awhile}, jewelry, "drugs-of-choice", all kinds of neat, fun things that had nothing to do with surviving the aftermath of a brutal hurricane, just with pissing away our money.

I don't usually talk about my own charitable contributions, in fact I don't write them off on my taxes. Doing so would mean taking money from other taxpayers, who are my partners in the ownership of America, who might not agree with the cause or issue I'm spending the money on. Liberals have little problem there, they believe in pouring our money into whatever they feel it should go to -- we're merely the unwashed citizen, they are the moral, all-knowing guardians of society, but I'm a believer in the running of our great country as it was meant to be run by our founding fathers.

I'm not rich, but I donated a combined 5 digit figure, in the wake of Katrina, to the Red Cross and to a number of church groups I had checked out first, who were providing basic necessities, medical attention and shelter to people and families whose lives and fortunes were turned upside down by the hurricane.

Ah, now we get to my point.

I know others who contributed considerably more than I was able to afford to the Katrina relief effort. The difference?

Our money went to private organizations that used our donations to provide goods and services that were survival specific. The government's {FEMA'S and our money went as cash to anyone who gave them a bullshit story}.

This is really off the wall.

There is nothing in any of our nation's founding documents that compels the government to spend our money on a catastrophe like Katrina, because it is a state issue. States are supposed to budget themselves for local disasters, not spend every dime they collect in local taxes as soon as, or before, they collect it. The entire reason we were divided into states was that these political subdivisions, according to our system of government, were to remain autonymous where internal situations are concerned.

What, for example, do you think Patrick Henry or Lyman Hall would say about this?

The audacity of the fraud exposed shocked the congressional committee yesterday. As much as 16% of the relief distributed by the agency was lost to fraud, the auditors said. They also said it was likely they were underestimating the scope of the fraud.

"We expected it, but we didn't expect it on this magnitude," Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the house homeland security investigations panel, told reporters. "It's an assault on the American taxpayer."
During the audit investigators filed their own bogus claims and used other undercover methods to discover that most of the improper payments occurred because Fema failed to verify the identity of those making claims, or to confirm their addresses.

In the largest instance of abuse by an individual, Fema made 26 payments to someone who submitted claims for damaged property at 13 different addresses in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, using 13 different social security numbers. Only one of the social security numbers was valid, and a search of property records revealed that the individual had never lived at any of the 13 addresses. In addition, only eight of the addresses actually existed.

Fema also paid rental assistance to people who were already enjoying luxurious hotel accommodation - footing an $8,000 hotel bill in Hawaii for someone who simultaneously received $2,358 in rental assistance.

This is a perfect example of the federal government being forced to assume responsibility for the failings of local government. Not their responsibility!

That entire brain-dead debit card fiasco was... was... WTF were they thinking!!!? I'm sure liberals loved the performance put on by our politicians, via FEMA, late last year -- there is no truer way to throw money at a problem than to... literally throw money at it. Our money.

This is what happens when you make the government responsible for issues that aren't their job.

You promote the growth of beauracracies, which are both milk and meat to Democrats. Hundreds of thousands or millions strong of folks who get paid the same no matter what or how much they contribute, know better than to rock any boats and are guaranteed a pension after they retire. The realities of other peoples' lives are alien to the sterile environs of these peoples' old plastic, cheap wood and corkboard offices.

My point being?

States have the National Guard. States have their own taxpayers. Presumably, states have people on the payroll whose job it is to troubleshoot -- oh, wait, what am I saying? We're talking about Nawlins, here, and Ray Noggin Nagin. Ooops!

It has been explained to me why it was in the Crescent City's best interests that Noggin Nagin be reelected as mayor, which he was, and after considering all the data and being as I am a conservative, and having lived for several years in Nawlins, I have, sorrowfully, to agree.

I won't get into the "why" of that, as un-Republican as it may sound, but we are dealing with The City That Care Forgot, and also one of my favorite U.S. municipalities.

I am saddened by the trend on Bourbon Street of Jazz, Dixieland and Blues entering extinction in the new age of frozen daiquiris and karaoke, but I've come to grudgingly understand that our young today are being weaned away from anything preceeding today's liberal message in their schools, in movies and on T.V., in media, books, "recommended" websites, etc.

But that's all neither here nor there. What is, is the fact that the Levee Board is not run by engineers, but by local businessmen as "rewards" for campaign contributions. How is it that Bush's refusal to sign on to the Kyoto BS was splattered across liberal news venues, accusing the President of creating the disaster via "global warming", but little was said about the Levee Board and its Boss Hogg membership?

We see here how public funded agencies handle tragedy -- they throw money at it and believe that their "expenditures" figures will carry the day.

Whoa, not so fast!

The "Fed Is Mom & Dad" plan {see "Liberals"} is neither a part of any U.S. founding document nor a productive approach to the blueprints laid by our founding fathers. By "blueprints", I mean those well laid plans that turned 13 colonies into the richest and most powerful country on earth.

What's happening is that our liberal fellow citizens are still trying to milk some political mileage out of Katrina, so they're still attempting to encourage racial hostility. They've managed, somehow, to rationalize the destruction delivered by the hurricane without exposing the fact of good ol' boy politics being the only consideration for membership on something as vital as the Levee Board, done their damndest to contain any news of local politicians' failures, etc, in order to focus perceptions of racism and all blame for the entire disaster on the Bush Administration. If racial hostility ceased to exist, so, probably, would today's Democratic party, so they propogate it whenever and wherever they can.

Summing Up: In a corrupt 3rd World state that embraces Napoleonic Law and has always viewed its U.S. statehood as a necessary inconvenience, why should we all have to contribute to relief efforts that amount to tossing away cash for vice and/ or vanity spending?

This is a typical case of the federal government trying and failing, as they always do, to do a job that isn't even their responsibility to begin with.

Hat Tip -- James Taranto.

Posted by Seth at June 21, 2006 02:09 AM