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Posts Tagged ‘FEMA’

THE FAULT LIES IN US

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Self-Help, Social commentary on September 25, 2015 at 12:01 am

During a GOP primary debate on June 13, 2011, CNN moderator John King noted that FEMA–the Federal Emergency Management Agency–was about to run out of money.

And so he asked Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

“There are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role.

“How do you deal with something like that?”

“Absolutely,” Romney replied. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction.

“And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

“Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut–we should ask ourselves the opposite question: What should we keep?

“We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do?

“And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in.”

FLIP!

Mitt Romney vs. FEMA

On October 30, 2012, one day after Hurricane Sandy lashed the densely-populated East Coast of the United States, reporters wanted to know if Romney still wanted to eliminate FEMA.

And, as he had on so many other issues, Mitt Romney once again refused to answer questions.

“Governor, are you going to eliminate FEMA?” a pool eporter shouted to Romney.

Hurricane Sandy

Romney refused to answer.

The reporter asked Romney at least five times: “If you’re elected President, would you eliminate FEMA?” and “What would you do with FEMA?”

No reply.

Another reporter asked: “Governor, are you going to see some storm damage?”

Again, no answer.

“Governor,. has Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?”

No answer.

“Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?”

Again, Romney refused to reply.

Finally, under mounting public pressure, he gave this reply:

FLOP!

Mitt Romney pro-FEMA

“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

“As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need.”

In a court of law, a defendant has the right to refuse to take the witness stand and answer questions.  And jurors are told by the judge they should not assume the defendant is guilty for doing so.

Courtrooms are often places for a game of let’s-pretend:

  • Let’s pretend that a man who’s accused of rape or murder is innocent–even if he refuses to answer legitimate questions; and
  • Let’s pretend that a truly innocent man wouldn’t want to clear himself from a totally false charge

But this is the real world.

And, in it, unlike a courtroom, experience teaches that:

  • People who are honest want to testify to that truth; and
  • People who refuse to answer legitimate questions usually do have something to hide.

Think of Richard Nixon refusing to answer questions about Watergate.

Think of Ronald Reagan refusing to take questions about Iran-Contra.

Think of George W. Bush refusing to take questions about why he ignored months of terrorism warnings before 9/11.

And think of Mitt Romney refusing to answer questions on any number of subjects.

So it’s natural to distrust those who refuse to give specific answers to specific questions–especially when those questions apply to matters that direclty affect people’s lives.

For millions of Americans who profess to be deeply religious, Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7-8 should have been instructive:

Ask, and it shall be given you.  Seek, and ye shall find.  Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh receiveth.  And he that seeketh findeth. And to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

In a democracy, those words are a call to citizen action:

Ask.

Seek.

Knock.

In the Soviet Union, the truth about the workings of government and the realities of everyday life was carefully guarded.

Only those who gained special access to the Kremlin’s hidden archives could learn at least some of that truth.

Everyone else had to settle for the official, self-serving, lie-filled pronouncements of the Soviet leadership.

But Americans have no such excuse.

They do have access to a wide range of news from differing sources–ranging from the far left to the far right.  At least 1,382 daily newspapers–both domestic and foreign– provide information on a wide range of national and international issues.

More than 20 nationwide broadcasting networks exist.  Among these: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, The CW.

Nevertheless, millions of Americans remain ignorant of the well-revealed truth about the issues that most affect their lives.

As a result, Cassius’ words to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar apply to them:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”

THE FAULT LIES IN US

In History, Politics, Social commentary on November 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm

FLIP!

During a GOP primary debate on June 13, 2011, CNN moderator John King noted that FEMA–the Federal Emergency Management Agency–was about to run out of money.

And he asked Presidential candidate Mitt Romney:

“There are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role.

“How do you deal with something like that?”

And Romney replied:

“Absolutely.  Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. 

“And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

“Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut–we should ask ourselves the opposite question: What should we keep?

“We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do?

“And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in.”

On October 30, one day after Hurricane Sandy lashed the densely-populated East Coast of the United States, reporters wanted to know if Romney still wanted to eliminate FEMA.

And, as he has on so many other issues, Mitt Romney once again repeatedly refused to answer questions.

This time, they centered on his promise to eliminate FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Hurricane Sandy

“Governor, are you going to eliminate FEMA?” a pool eporter shouted to Romney.

Romney refused to answer.

The reporter asked Romney at least five times: “If you’re elected President, would you eliminate FEMA?” and “What would you do with FEMA?”

No reply.

Another reporter asked: “Governor, are you going to see some storm damage?”

Again, no answer.

“Governor,. has Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?”

No answer.

“Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?”

Again, Romney refused to reply.

Finally, under mounting public pressure, he gave this reply:

FLOP!

“I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

“As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need.”

In a court of law, a defendant has the right to refuse to take the witness stand and answer questions.  And jurors are told by the judge they should not assume the defendant is guilty for doing so.

Courtrooms are often places for a game of let’s-pretend:

Let’s pretend that a man who’s accused of rape or murder is innocent–even if he refuses to answer legitimate questions.

Let’s pretend that a truly innocent man wouldn’t want to clear himself from a patently false charge

But this is the real world.

And, in it, unlike a courtroom, experience teaches that

  • people who are honest want to testify to that truth; and
  • people who refuse to answer legitimate questions usually do have something to hide.

Think of Richard Nixon refusing to answer questions about Watergate.

Think of Ronald Reagan refusing to take questions about Iran-Contra.

Think of George W. Bush refusing to take questions about why he ignored months of terrorism warnings before 9/11.

And think of Mitt Romney refusing to answer questions on any number of subjects.

So it’s natural to distrust those who refuse to give specific answers to specific questions–especially when those questions apply to matters that direclty affect people’s lives.

For Mitt Romney, who claims to be a deeply spiritual man, Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7-8 should be instructive:

Ask, and it shall be given you.

Seek, and ye shall find.

Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

For every one that asketh receiveth.

And he that seeketh findeth.

And to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

In a democracy, those words are a call to citizen action:

Ask.

Seek.

Knock.

In the Soviet Union, the truth about the workings of government and the realities of everyday life was carefully guarded.

Only those who gained special access to the Kremlin’s hidden archives could learn at least some of that truth.

Everyone else had to settle for the official, self-serving, lie-filled pronouncements of the Soviet leadership.

But Americans have no such excuse.

They do have access to a wide range of news from differing sources–ranging from the far left to the far right.  At least 1,456 daily newspapers in the U.S. sell 55 million copies a day.

More than 20 nationwide broadcasting networks exist.  Among these: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, The CW.

If millions of Americans remain ignorant of the well-revealed truth about Romney, then what Cassius says to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar applies to them:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”

PRIVATE PROFITS AND PUBLIC NEED

In History, Politics, Social commentary on October 30, 2012 at 12:24 am

At a GOP primary debate in June 2011, the subject of FEMA–the Federal Emergency Management Agency–came up.

Specifically, Mitt Romney was asked about FEMA’s budget woes–and how he would deal with them.

“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states,” said Romney, “that’s the right direction.  And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Mitt Romney

“Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?”

During that debate, the moderator, CNN’s John King, had gone on to ask if that included “disaster relief.” Romney suggested it did.

“We cannot–we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” Romney replied.

“It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

With Hurricane Sandy now wreacking havoc on the East Coast of the United States, it’s well to examine this “the private sector knows best” philosophy of government.

Hurricane Sandy, Ocean City, New Jersey

Let’s start with the first part of Romney’s argument: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction.”

Imagine dismantling FEMA–as Romney has proposed–and replacing it with 50 smaller versions–one for each state.

Some states–such as California and New York in their more prosperous pasts–would be able to erect sophisticated disaster relief agencies.

But poorer states–such as Arkansas and Mississippi–could not afford effective self-protection.  And such agencies as did exist would doubtless be so poor in resources they would be unable to redress widespread suffering.

Thus, such states would be forced to “borrow” resources from other states, or beg the Federal Government–which they despise when they’re not begging favors from it–to save their bacon.

As for the second part of Romney’s statement: “And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

The private sector is great at turning a profit–especially when there is high demand for scarce resources.  As will undoubtedly soon be the case for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

But high profits for entrepreneurs do not necessarily translate into affordable–and available–products or services for those most in need of them.

It’s well-known that whenever a major disaster strikes, there are always those who rush to take advantage of it–and its victims.  The price of such necessities as food and water goes as high as desperate residents are able to pay.

Or as high as outraged officials at the Federal Government will allow.

There are simply a great many things that people need–especially in times of disaster–that the private sector isn’t willing to provide.  At least, not at an affordable price.

Such as life-saving medications.

It’s the shame of the nation that the pharmaceutical industry is refusing to manufacture off-patent drugs sufficient to meet the needs of patients.

The reason?  Because they can make more money selling the more expensive drugs still under patent protection.

For example, the new breast cancer drug herceptin has a patent-protected sticker price of $55,000 per patient per year.  But an off-patent drug like doxorubicin may net only a few thousand dollars if made by a generic drug company.

So the drug companies figure:  Why bother?  If people die, so what?

And tens of thousands of Americans may die because of the pharmaceutical industry’s “profits-at-any-price” philosophy.

If this happens, the Federal Government–acting on Mitt Romney’s “hands-off business” strategy–will be largely responsible.

It’s understandable that profit-motivated businessmen want to fatten their pockets at all costs.  And it’s equally understandable that right-wing politicians like Mitt Romney should cater to them.

After all, wealthy businessmen eagerly stuff the pockets of such politicians with millions of dollars to gain public office.

But there’s no reason for ordinary Americans to buy into this “profits-at-any-price” philosophy.

And it’s during times of disaster–such as the one now breaking over the Eastern United States–that ordinary Americans are forced to learn that a strong and responsive Federal Government is necessary.

The November 6 election gives Americans a clear choice for their future.

They can choose a candidate who represents the richest 1%– and who has written off 47% of his fellow citizens as hopelessly  “irresponsible.”

Or they can choose a candidate who believes that government exists to serve the needs of those most in need.

In making that choice, Americans may be making the most fateful Presidential decision since 1864.  That was when their ancestors voted to return Abraham Lincoln to the White House to see through the Civil War.

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