Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—Upending “Deep State”

For anyone who does not understand the concept of “deep state” and what it means, you need look no further than what is happening with hurricanes Harvey and now Irma. “Deep State” is the term that is at the center of Trump’s administration—orchestrated by Steve Banning. Don’t be fooled by Bannon’s so-called leaving the Trump administration as chief strategist. Banning is still running the government and calling the shots. Trump still had no idea what is going on and Steve is still operating in a “kitchen cabinet” capacity telling Trump what to do to carry out the most radical agenda this country has ever seen. The “deep state” is just one of those radical ideas.

“Deep state” or better put “removing all vestiges of “deep state” from every “down-line” layer of government is the goal of conservative Republicans. Deep state is the term used to describe how to get the federal government out of our lives at every level—as in “we don’t need no stinkin federal government—just leave my Medicare and Social Security alone.” The idea of “deep state” is the total removal of all vestiges of federal oversight, federal regulation, or federal control from everything from education to environmental issues. Deep state folks want the state and local governments to be in complete control of everything except the military. You need look no further than Trump’s own proposed budget to fully understand “deep state.” Trump’s budget cut everything including Meals on Wheels, School Lunch Programs, Legal Aid and Community Services Programs, Public Broadcasting and a host of other federal programs that now reach the local level. His budget also drastically increased military spending. This is “deep state” thinking—cut all funding for programs that affect American lives—except for national security and military spending. Enter Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

This morning Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, appeared on the Weather Channel and said this: “The American people can rest assured that the federal government will respond to their needs.” He said this after explaining how the federal government was lifting a host of regulations to make it easier for people to evacuate Florida as hurricane Irma approaches, including lifting regulations to allow for getting prescriptions filled, getting gas to empty gas stations and a host of other regulations. Price is a “deep state” no federal government involvement thinker. All of this comes as the federal government has had to come to terms with the role of FEMA in helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. What few people are discussing is that Trump’s budget cut $650 million from the FEMA budget. Now Trump is grabbing air time so he can be seen to say what he is doing to get disaster relief to victims of Harvey and soon to be victims of Irma—with two more hurricanes approaching—Jose and Katia.

So what do these hurricanes mean for all the big talk about “deep state” and getting the “guv-ment” out of our lives? Is this what the purveyors of “deep state” thinking, namely Steve Banning want? Do they really want a “new America” in which states and local governments are free from any reliance on the federal government for anything? If you read Barry Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative,” he explains in full details what conservatives want—they do not want the federal government involved with anything except military spending. Goldwater was an ultra conservative senator from Arizona. They do not want the federal government getting involved with addressing a wide swatch of social problems involving racial discrimination or air pollution. In fact, Goldwater fought vehemently against the Civil Rights Acts. He was against the federal government being involved with school desegregation. There are still Goldwater type folks still around, namely Ted Cruz, who voted against helping victims of Hurricane Sandy that devastated New Jersey. Cruz said that the bill had too many non flood related add-ons, but the truth is that he is a “deep state” thinker who believes in a very limited role for the federal government. So what do these recent hurricanes say about “deep state” thinking? What if there was no FEMA? What if every state and local jurisdiction was left on their own resources to rebuild after major natural disasters? But this is precisely what Trump, Steve Bannon and the conservative wing of the Republican Party advocate. They could care less that right now 650,000 people are evacuating in advance of Hurricane Irma—except to get on television and “speak with forked tongue.” The truth is that they do not want federal government involvement–let the millions of Americans literally sink or swim on their own. In their minds, unless there is a need for military action, then all other unmet needs caused by natural disasters is none of the federal government’s business. What these people fail to understand is that there are millions of people in America whose lives are one day short of a hurricane-type disaster just living from day to day. There are millions of Americans who are living “hurricane impact” lives everyday just trying to survive as the richest one percent gather until themselves all the wealth. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes s are truly devastating, but maybe there is a teachable moment somewhere amid all the destruction to cause “deep state” thinkers to reconsider the role of the federal government as essential for the proper functions of a civil society. Maybe the recent hurricanes are just the beginning of many other natural disasters to come to bring “deep state” thinkers to their senses. Instead of sending 5 million meals to Houston what if the federal response had been: “Well, we will only send 5 million guns or 5 million troops—now chew on that?”

Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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