Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and Mitt's pledge to slash FEMA

Sunday night, with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on us in Washington, DC, I received several calls from friends and love ones checking in on me. One by one, I reassured them of my welfare and explained we were in an eerie calm before the storm.

I took stock of the bare essentials: batteries, candles, water, food etc. And knowing the drill, I hunkered down prepared to bear the brunt force of Sandy's punch.

Sandy arrived as advertised: heavy rain, severe wind, trees falling, streets flooding and power lines swinging like a giant jump rope. I was fortunate not to lose power hence, I could follow news updates on-line.

Compared to Philly, New Jersey and NYC we were fortunate -- we escaped the brunt of the storm.

Yes, the wrath of Sandy blew through the East Coast oblivious that we were in election week countdown. Mother nature forced both President Obama and Mitt Romney to cancel or suspend campaign events. Obama had to preside over FEMA activities and Romney, with time on his hands, had to explain his FEMA positions: first he would slash FEMA and later how he would not slash FEMA -- typical Romnesia speak.

In his words -- as reported by the NY Times --during a primary debate:

Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.
“Absolutely,” he said. “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.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.  source

Did I hear that right? Romney, the candidate that tailors his positions for the audience he is in front of, wants to privatize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allowing a for profit company to be in charge of USA's disaster relief -- a la Haliburton.

One reader's comments exactly expressed my sentiments:

Yes -- and yes again, but why are all those "average Americans" cheering for him and them?! How hard is it to understand, at least for these concrete examples, the dangers of the Republican plans and priorities? And we have not even gotten to climate change!

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