Ten Years Later and the Truth of the Matter

One of the more unfortunate facts of journalism is that no one remembers the retractions, only the retracted errors. This has never been more apparent than in all the stories marking the tenth anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.
Press coverage of the tragedy was voluminous, the broadcast networks filled nearly entire days with reports, and it was riddled with well-remembered and still-believed balderdash. There were tales of mass rapes and other outrages inside the New Orleans Superdome, where federal officials had established a rescue center, and reports street gangs shooting at rescue helicopters and committing other atrocities on the crime-ridden streets, and even talk about survivors resorting to cannibalism after a few days of federal inaction. It was all eventually but inconspicuously corrected, yet the even bigger errors remain unacknowledged. The extraordinary number of people rescued by the heroic efforts of the National Guard and the Coast Guard and other military is still less known than than the providentially low number of people who perished in the historical storm, the undeniable failure of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was less publicized than the even the more inept response of the more responsible and Democrat-controlled state and local governments, and that the dire consequences of the storm falling upon a dysfunctional city of New Orleans that had long been dominated by liberal rule, are even after ten years still mostly unmentioned in all of those tenth anniversary stories.
Ten years ago the press and the broadcast networks were mostly concerned with undermining support for President George W. Bush, who had been the target of media wrath even before the Supreme Court decision that handed him the presidency despite the popular support for the favored Democratic nominee Al Gore, with the animus exponentially increased by his decision to invade and occupy, the momentarily unfortunate consequences of which were also an unavoidable topic of the time, and the temptation to pile on during a natural catastrophe was too much for most reporters to resist. Such was the temptation that even the most politically correct reporters were willing to embrace to the most vile stereotypes of black Americans as rapists and gangsters whenever the federal government failed to take the necessary steps. The outrageous claim that black people in New Orleans were resorting to cannibalism after just a couple of days of federal inaction was promulgated by the the impeccably liberal Huffington Post’s Randall Robinson, a black “intellectual” known for his for advocacy of “black reparations,” who meekly admitted a few days later that his hateful assumptions were nothing but bunk but still huffily insisted that the rest of his rants against the hated Bush were all justified.
The impression left by such irresponsible journalism is still strong enough that the current President of the United States can go to New Orleans and give a speech assuming that his audience will still believe all the old beliefs, and that the press and broadcasters will report accordingly, but there have been corrections that should set the public straight. Hurricane Katrina was a tragedy, more so in those parts of the storm’s affected area that were Democrat-controlled and thus dependent on a federal response, but its lessons for ten years later are not what the anniversary coverage would have you believe.

— Bud Norman

Compassion and Its Consequences

Compassion is an admirable quality, most of the time, but should always be administered with a commensurate amount of common sense and a careful calculation of the possible consequences. Otherwise, you wind up with something like the humanitarian crisis now unfolding on the southwest border of the United States.
A recent surge of illegal immigration in that region has left more than 47,000 unaccompanied children in federal custody since October, with another 60,000  expected to arrive within a year, and most are currently being held among thousands more adults of all sorts in overcrowded and under-supplied make-shift facilities in Texas and Arizona. The White House acknowledges this is a humanitarian crisis, calling for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take charge and asking Congress for $1.4 billion to pay for it, but insists that that it has nothing to do with the executive order issued in 2012 that allowed minor illegal aliens to delay deportation for two years. Two weeks ago the administration the rolled out guidelines allowing an extra two years, which was also explained in terms of compassion for those unfortunate children who happen to find themselves illegally in the United States of America.
That those unfortunate children who happened to find themselves illegally in the United States were there because their parents thought it would put them at the front of the line for citizenship after word got out about the executive order is not at all a compassionate theory, but it’s hard to think of a more plausible explanation. The administration is claiming the influx is due to the recent unrest in Central America, but the unrest there is not recent. American media are notoriously indifferent to Central America and might well have have ignored the social upheaval there until tens of thousands of refugee child wound up in over-crowded and under-supplied make-shift detention accounts in the southwestern United States, but even the administration’s State Department has failed to issue any alarmed statements about the developments there. Press accounts suggest that most of the recent arrivals have come from Guatemala and Honduras, and the only recent advisories to be found at the State Department’s web site warn that Honduras has had the world’s highest murder rate since 2010. Life is tough all over Latin America, and in rain-soaked and strife-torn Venezuela the celebrated compassion of the socialist government has even resulted in a shortage of drinking water, but it’s odd that those make-shift camps in the southwestern United States didn’t start filling up with children until after the executive orders had been made to give them at least four years in the government’s care.
Perhaps the recent influx is due to word getting out across Central America that the United States economy is chugging along so well that a record number of people have stopped looking for work, and the ambitious parents figured that their children could snatch up all the jobs that are being created, but not even the White House seems willing to venture this theory.
Even with the handy and ever-present excuse of Latin American political and economic dysfunction, the White House is likely to have yet another public relations problem with situation. The state of Arizona, which was blocked by the federal courts from enforcing the federal laws that White House had decided the federal government would not enforce, is complaining loudly about the “dumping” of thousands of illegals in their state and in conditions they cannot condone. The city of El Paso, Texas, will likely be none too pleased that thousands of other illegal immigrants are being released on the their own recognizance in that city. In Tennessee, the destination for at least one of the illegals being released in El Paso, according to an interview with the local newspaper, might also find fault in the administration policy. Republicans everywhere who have become convinced that no immigration reform should be negotiated with this president because he cannot be trusted to enforce any law passed will likely become more resolute in the conviction, more compassionate Republicans who bought into this nonsense, such as House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor will find themselves all the more vulnerable in their already-close primary races against more rock-ribbed challengers, and Democrats will have to explain what they’re going to do about tens of thousands illegal urchins without being so heartless as to send them back to their parents and home.
Yet another executive order has now been issued requiring that all of the children be appointed legal representation, which seems not only a compassionate but probably necessary thing to do, and when word gets out in Central America that the four free years in the United States come with a lawyer we’ll deal with the increased arrivals. It’s more work for those unemployed law school grads, and more government will be required, so at least for the Democrats there is some upside. Still, the White House has been sending out word that it will be willing to work with such compassionate Republicans as Cantor on some sort of compromise, which should be annoying to the likes of White House domestic policy director Cecilia Munoz, who was previously the the head of the Latino rights organization La Raza, which for the remaining majority of Americans who don’t habla Espanol translates as “The Race,” which basically sums up its racialist ideology. It is not clear what sort of compromise these two sides of the compassionate coin will arrive at, but we expect it will sound very compassionate.
The idea of telling desperate Central American families that they could give their children a shot at the American dream by dumping in the harsh deserts along the borders of Texas and Arizona sounded very compassionate, too, and has created a humanitarian crisis. There are still political pressures being exerted on an already sympathetic administration to end all deportations, with arguments even more compassionate about the poor souls merely seeking a better life in the land of opportunity, and when the word gets out and the make-shift camps proliferate even more compassionate remedies will be required. A better policy would be to tell those desperate Central American families that their children are best of at home, and they should force their own governments to address the socialistic causes of their poverty rather than exporting the human misery to a United States that is now reeling from its own socialistic policies and cannot competently manage the problems its indebted government faces, but that won’t sound very compassionate in the inevitable attack ads against any candidate who takes such a stand. The results that have followed those executive aren’t at all humane, as the administration is forced to acknowledge, yet to argue against these policies is thought heartless.

— Bud Norman