When Weather Changes History in 21st Century America

Exclusive to STR

September 13, 2008

When weather changes world history, humans scramble like frightened ants. Consider the storm that sunk and scattered the Spanish Armada. Or the bitter cold and snowstorms that ravaged the ill-prepared German Army at Stalingrad. Or the series of powerful hurricanes that devastated the southeastern United States these last few years.

Ants scattered; ambitions destroyed. Extreme weather shatters the weak and wicked alike. Something karmic this way comes.

But powerful hurricanes only hurt or kill poor people, you say? Yes, poor people always bear the brunt of hurricanes. Poorly built houses destroyed, poorly maintained infrastructure wrecked. Worse still, the poor always bear the brunt of a far more devastating state policy, more devastating than any hurricane. A fellow by the name of Ike once said: 'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.'

Hurricanes devastate a region for a few days and then depart. Corrupt governments devastate far larger regions for years or decades, and the devastation remains visible for centuries. Poor people get poorer and more devastated by the state, families wrecked for generations. Hurricanes seldom have that lasting power.

As hurricane Ike gathered strength in the Gulf of Mexico (photo courtesy of NASA), I wondered if weather could, once again, change history. Change history for the better while making things worse momentarily.

As Ike smashed ashore and topped the seawalls, disrupting oil production, thus raising gasoline prices (Ike sparks gas panic) and sending FEMA clucking to Texas like frenzied chickens, Washington went into pontification mode, including the two mainstream candidates. Unlike the pontificators and political candidates, I wondered if a single silver lining ever appeared after a hurricane.

Suppose, just suppose, Ike caused such mayhem, that a planned attack on Iran was postponed, again. Suppose Ike, like Katrina and Wilma were sent by God, (as Sarah Palin would interpret them), sent to wreck and ravage huge segments of Red State America in order to keep the US from starting another preemptive war, possibly WW III ?

Recall that in 2005, first Katrina and then Rita crashed ashore. Wilma followed a few months later. FEMA and Blackwater rushed to the disaster scene in New Orleans. Bush praised Federal Emergency Management director Michael Brown for a job well done, drawing the ridicule and ire of most Americans. Electrical contractors from as far away as Ontario, Canada rushed into ill-prepared Florida. Gas prices rose. Possibly the planned attack on Iran that many feared and some predicted for 2005 (like myself) was postponed indefinitely.

Postponed until gas prices came down, which they never did.

Because if the Neocons had attacked Iran in 2005, during that trio of traumatic hurricanes, when weather truly changed history in America, most conservative Americans would have been forced, FINALLY, to open their eyes. Diehard conservative supporters of the regime would have rightly seen Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld as a trio of cynical and cold-blooded disasters worse than any Category Five hurricane. Instead, the levees broke, the TV cameras caught the devastation'all preventable, by the way--and nefarious Neocons were mostly revealed as a collection of cold-hearted incompetents.

Wilma wrecked south Florida two months later and revealed a prosperous Republican backwater smack in the middle of hurricane alley as woefully unprepared and politically mismanaged. I was there in south Florida and witnessed square mile after square mile of cityscape without power for weeks. Of course, the Bush brothers quickly imported help from as far away as Canada to get power poles replaced and transmission lines restrung.

After Katrina, Rita and Wilma devastated the Gulf states , gas prices remained high until late 2005. No possibility of a military strike against Iran , especially if such an attack caused gas prices to double or triple. Rattled White House advisors possibly urged caution. Because only a sharp spike in gas prices seemed to scare the Neocons and irritate the populace. Not the woeful war in Iraq . Not the overall criminal incompetence of the Bush-Cheney White House gang. Not the intentional destruction of the Bill of Rights. Only rising gas prices, oddly enough, appeared to anger the proles. Any attack on Iran by the US or Israel , pushing the price of gasoline sky high, would possibly push the American public over the edge.

Thus that damn trio of hurricanes had derailed the Iran attack in 2005. That and a sizeable hurricane in Iraq called the Civil War.

In 2006, the Neocons in the White House and Congress rightly feared the disgruntled American voter. The criminal and corrupt powerbrokers in DC feared a backlash at the polls. How to downgrade this righteous anger from a full blown hurricane to a mild tropical storm? Easy. Co-opt the corrupt Democrats, many of them already Neocons, and persuade them to betray the public and continue to rule as if nothing had happened. Once again, however, an attack on Iran was postponed.

Unfortunately, by 2007 the real estate bubble started to implode like WTC-7. Americans suddenly saw their equity crash and Lou Dobbs and a million bloggers began to stir the hornet's nest. Not a good time to attack Iran.

In 2008, due to the weakened US dollar and Wall Street speculation, gas prices rose rather than fell with the riotous rise of crude oil. The storm surge in commodity prices, especially platinum, gold and silver, followed by grain, must have cautioned the Neocons further. Any attack on Iran would have pushed food and fuel prices through the roof.

And so, with only a few months to go in the disastrous Bush-Cheney crime spree, we come to Hurricane Season, 2008.


Ironic name for a hurricane, huh? The same name as a long ago Republican president and former US General, Dwight D. Eisenhower, nicknamed Ike. He warned the nation of an impending storm greater than Category Five. Ike said: 'We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.'

A disastrous rise of military industrial power, like a powerful storm surge, overwhelmed the old seawall of the Bill of Rights. That Category Six storm we now called the American empire, threatens to destroy the entire nation, the entire world, gathering strength these past several years.

Ironically, Ike is back, and who better named than to kick the Neocons to the curb?

Ike said: 'This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.' Truly, the powerful state devastates us every day, erodes the very ground under our feet, and few see the overall destruction before they too are swept away.

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Douglas Herman's picture
Columns on STR: 149

Award winning artist, photographer and freelance journalist, Douglas Herman can be found wandering the back roads of America. Doug authored the political crime thriller, The Guns of Dallas  and wrote and directed the Independent feature film,Throwing Caution to the Windnaturally a "road movie," and credits STR for giving him the impetus to write well, both provocatively and entertainingly. A longtime gypsy, Doug completed a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of North America, by bicycle, at the age of 35, and still wanders between Bullhead City, Arizona and Kodiak, Alaska with forays frequently into the so-called civilized world of Greater LA. Write him at Roadmovie2 @ Gmail.com