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Political Opportunism And Sandy

October 30, 2012 by  

Political Opportunism And Sandy
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate makes a statement about Hurricane Sandy.

As Hurricane Sandy threatened much of the United States’ Eastern seaboard, political pundits took the opportunity to shout back and forth about which Presidential candidate would cut the most funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Huffington Post dug up a Mitt Romney quote from during the Republican primary. The candidate was discussing the possibility of doing away with FEMA and making emergency management the responsibility of the States.

“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 the opposite question, what should we keep?” Romney said of the agency.

Headlines from various other news organizations ran with the theme touting things like Salon’s “Mitt’s Frankenstorm economics.” That article claimed that Romney has a vision of an America where free enterprise takes advantage of people in helpless situations as a result of privatization.

Conservative publication Breitbart swung back at the Barack Obama apologist media by pointing out that the President’s proposal for the upcoming budget sequester also calls for cuts to FEMA.

The source reports:

Obama’s proposed cuts to FEMA include the following (emphasis added):

  • Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program – $8 million
  • State and Local Emergency Programs (non-defense) – $183 million
  • State and Local Emergency Programs (defense) – $5 million
  • United States Fire Administration and Training – $4 million
  • Salaries and Expenses (non-defense) – $75 million
  • Salaries and Expenses (defense) – $7 million
  • Disaster Relief – $580 million
  • Emergency Food and Shelter – $10 million
  • Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program – $3 million
  • National Pre-disaster Mitigation Fund – $3 million

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Kinetic1

    You know full well that there is a HUGE difference between cuts due to the sequester (which the President hopes to avoid) and the sorts of cuts Governor Romney has suggested in the past. In fact, in 2011 the GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting FEMA’s budget by $87 million. In 2012 they proposed an additional $182 million in cuts.

    You and Brietbart can swing as hard and long as you want, the truth will still be there.

    • Deerinwater

      So where is the Tea Party rugged individualist today? You are on your own! Chis Christie is on his mayor of Atlantic City this morning for not getting his people out like he commanded while praising the Obama administration for it’s support. ~ Things are a mess this morning!

      There will be many attempts to make political hay in the coming days. ~ and a lot of unsung hero’s efforts will go unknown.

      • Ms. M

        Things are always a mess in the aftermath of a hurricane. Been there – done that (several times). Texas cleaned itself up after IKE! The mindset that FEMA (read: the government) must come in and put everything back as it was is a self-defeating process. After Ike blew through Houston, people – even the elder retirees – were out in their yards picking up all the debris and piling it curbside to be hauled away later. Others were helping their neighbors cut fallen trees and pull them off houses, cars and out of the streets. Literally within hours! If people sit idly by, waiting for FEMA to bail them out (like they did in New Orleans) they are going to be sorely disappointed with the resulting red tape process! Yes, apply to FEMA for financial aid, but be patient while utilities are restored, stores are re-stocked, debris is hauled away and life gets back to normal (our neighborhood had no power for almost 5 weeks – in the heat of summer – and down here, we only have two seasons: Christmas and summer!). Take the initiative to start cleaning up yourselves – particularly as the water recedes and you can pull off the wet/damp wall covering (wood, sheet rock, etc.); use a good fungicide on the framing and any salvageable paneling and let everything dry out thoroughly before effecting repairs – insulation and wall covering materials WILL MOLD and become a SERIOUS HEALTH HAZZARD. And keep this in mind: Oprah did a post Katrina show (6-12 months later) condemning the Bush administration for not having “cleaned up the debris” in New Orleans. I very much like Oprah, but I was terribly disappointed in that show because she left out the crucial element in that “clean-up” effort: you are dealing with the clean-up of PRIVATE PROPERTY, and municipal, state and federal governments do not have the right to access private property. They can only clean up the public areas. So please, I urge everyone to get out there and start the recovery process themselves. Give your neighbor a hand – it may be a good way to become better acquainted with the people around you. Good luck and God bless you all.

    • Robert Smith

      One thing we will definitely NOT here from the right is, “Good job Browny.”


      • Vicki

        And a well known liberal maintains the image by throwing down the race card.

      • Robert Smith

        Not a “race card.” Simply a fact.


    • Mike in MI

      Yup, kinetic,
      You’re going to learn the truth. This storm has heavily affected more than 20% of our population. We’ll see degree of the economic fallout. I think the storm could easily drive the economy into depression, depending on the kind and amount of businesses, transport and infrastructure losses effected.
      Replacement will be the trip wire for the economic booby trap. Little or no money saved by individuals after four years of Obama. Old rickety vehicles with high gas and
      oil costs (including winter heating oil) (there are -were?- seven or eight refineries in areas storm ravaged) to meet transport needs. Crude oil prices controlled by outside entities who want to hurt us. Little or no money being lent by bank and finance officers. How will risk assessment work? Traditional north eastern assessing guidelines may be worthless.
      Food(?), clothing(?), shelter and housing repair(?), winter right around the corner(?),
      bankrupt cities, counties and states(?)…who took our money out of our hands and gave it to the banks, unions, mosque builders on foreign land, shovel unready jobs, defunct green energy industries, sent GM to China???? Expanded the wars (and American body counts) we’re now fighting? Need I go on?

      You won’t recognize it for the truth it will be when you see it – but see it you will…and participate.

    • Rudy

      Kinect1: You need to know that a cut is a cut is a cut, whether it is direct cut of by diminution, or sequestrian. The end result is that money is taken away, and in the case of Obama and his minions, only God knows right now how it will be spent! Maybe for more exorbitant vacations for Michelle?! Whatever, you can be sure that the money “saved” will certainly be spent! Somewhere illogical!

  • Sun Rising

    High estimates have the damage from hurricane Sandy reaching a billion or so.

    This is a bad storm.

    However, to keep perspective clear in our minds.

    The National Debt is currently $16.198 trillion.

    Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, the federal workforce entered thousands of federal buildings throughout the country to set at millions of desks to push paper around and look important for ONLY 19 days.

    During these 19 federal work days they purposely- to their personal benefit – racked up $134 billion in new national debts. That comes out to $7 billion every federal workday.

    This storm gave them license to take two days off with pay thus far. (Monday and Tuesday) With an average compensation package of $126,400 annually, these two free days will costs the taxpayers a little over a billon dollars each day!

    So as bad as Sandy will be to the coastal communities in the south and to the northeast, the federal workers have litterally tripled the economic pain by getting two days off with pay with no expectations of having to make up those hours like the private sector will have to do. The private sector who pays those federal workers salaries.

    Moreover, every day the federal workforce reports to their recreational office complexes and do what they have conned us into thinking is “work”, they have done and will do 7 times the economic damage than Huricane Sandy will by the time the last rain drop falls and the last gust of wind blows.

    The federal workforce has only $235 billion left in available debt left from over $2 trillion congress gave them a little short of two years ago! At the rate these depraved people are going, we will run out of debt by December 17th! Then the enablers, the lame duck congress lead by republican John Boehner and a republican house of representatives, with give them another trillion dollar shot by increasing the debt limit.

    Wake up and keep your eye in the debt!

    Libya has been a distraction, and now Huricane Sandy will be a distraction covering up obama’s failures with Libya, and the federal governments failure with our economic future!

    Though we need to keep our hearts and prayers focused on those harmed by hurricane Sandy, we need to keep our minds focused on the depraved DC federal culture and their insatiable greed to take more of our Nation’s future for their personal gain.

    What DC is doing is generational theft, and it needs to stop!

    • eddie47d

      Sun Rising is typical of those who see these weather disasters and try to write them off as non-existent Out of sight and out of mind! Everything is someone elses problem and to hell with the consequences of rebuilding. Ask the tornado victims in Alabama and throughout the South and tell yourself they aren’t Americans who deserve help after terrible losses. Private Insurance Companies can’t cover everything and never have been able to.Why do you think their rates continually go up. As the population grows there are going to be many more casualties,property damage and much higher expenses. That is also a reality that can’t be hidden under the rug. This is far bigger than being neighborly and taking a meal over to someone who lost their home.

      • Sun Rising

        Eddy, the US Government is not funding the responce to disasters either! Our great grandchildren will be forced to. The fact is, the federal government is so broke, it has to borrow tonnes of cash to “pay” for the disaster relief?

        Does that really make sense?

      • Robert Smith

        “Does that really make sense?”

        What doesn’t make sense is to allow building in places that are known to flood.


    • deerinwater

      Yea ! who needs government?

    • chfarms

      That was well said, Sun Rising. As a former DC federal employee, I totally agree with you and your scenario about the wasteful policies of the government. The agenda is that everyone will one day “work” in public federal jobs and be totally committed to the government for their subsistence. The private sector won’t exist anymore, and we will all be cookie-cutters of each other.

  • Cessna

    Just look at the individual, Hands down, Romney is the more compassionate.
    Look at his record of service and giving!
    Then look at Obama and Hillarys responds to the father of the navy seal, that says it all!
    They claim they are compassionate, but use the poor as pawns in the game of politics!

    • deerinwater

      So what are you? A bishop? A piece that cannot vary from it’s predetermined color regardless of the facts. At least a pawn has options and can block.

      • OneGuess

        You have made a number of questionable posts here. This is just more of the same. SO, a pawn can change from its predetermined color? What options does a pawn have?

      • Deerinwater

        questionable ? Great! You don’t approve of questions?

        I have a question, how does Willard plan to balance the budget, cut taxes , killing capital gains tax all together , increase military spending , and down sized government like FEMA?

        Big Bird hasn’t got that much money. ~ Is Willard to abolish home-owners tax credit as well?

        And Pawns are greatly underrated, each of which can occupy any space on the board by moving forward and oblique not to mention their numerical strength.

      • Obviouslysmarterthanmost

        “Willard” could pay for those things by stopping spending so much in the first place! People seem to think that what the governement spends is flipping necessary. Do you think $930,000 state dinners where every attendee costs over $4,000 is necessary? What about $10 million in vacations for Michelle Obama? How about them going on vacation as a family and taking 2 different planes just to arrive within hours of each other? It costs $59,000 JUST to fire up Air Force One! How about millions of dollars to test food for consumption on Mars? Should I go on? You cut the stupid fat and actually create a budget. You don’t have to tax or rob programs to cut spending. You are ridiculous! AND if you have no more knowledge than what I see here, maybe you should do us all a favor and not vote in the first place.

      • Deerinwater

        If you think bean counting will get us out of this problem ~ maybe you shouldn’t vote. That is one of the problems with these “alleged” conservatives , they are willing to swallow a camel but gag on a Nat.

      • deerinwater

        And you only think that you are obviously smarter then most. ~ What a dumb , self absorbed handle / If you believe that you are truly smarter then most, why are you even here ~ must less willing to claim it as a so? That in itself is rather stupid. Maybe you should get out more or quit flying around with turkeys.

    • Mike in MI

      Cessna -
      Obama, Biden, National Security Advisers, CIA, Top Rank Military officers, Hillary, Carney and all the rest in the Situation Room that day watched the carnage for seven hours like it was a TV thriller.
      A drone was in flight over the site while it was transpiring. It has been explained that a drone is so complex and they are in such demand that their deployment for a mission must be rearranged and preplanned for days in advance.
      Who KNEW this was going top happen BEFORE hand and prearranged for the drone to be over this terribly vulnerable compound in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11 at just the right time for the show to air??? I want to know who brought the popcorn!!!

  • Ginger

    Agree with Sun Rising!!!

  • Chester

    Cessna, might take a bit better look and see where Romney’s contributions have gone. With just a little digging, seems most of them have gone to either his church or his trust, and the trust isn’t handing out all that much to charities who actually need the help. Just because you turn money over to a tax exempt charitable trust doesn’t mean YOU are compassionate, just that you have very good tax lawyers watching out for you. Will grant Romney doesn’t use the poor as pawns, primarily because they seem to be beneath his interest. But, seems as if he is doing a good job of using you to beat his drum for him.

    • deerinwater

      EXTERNALISM Matthew 6:1-4
      “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do,
      you will have no rewards from our Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not
      announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be
      honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you
      give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that our
      giving may be in secret. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”

      It always amazes me how so many on the right ~ elect to ignore these teaching and openly brag of their giving. ~ Willing to proclaim the extent of their righteousness that none can compare.

      • http://yahoo Charles Arthur Williams

        Many also forget ” How you treat the least of these”.

      • deerinwater

        ” you treat me”

  • rendarsmith

    FEMA is nothing but a joke. When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the victims (who were warned ahead of time) came to Houston, there were reports all over the place of them using FEMA cards to buy Xbox’s and guns. Then when it was time to end the support (a year later) they kept begging for more and more time on the taxpayers’ expense. Can’t imagine why, when you’re making more money due to a disaster, you want the “hard times” to last as long as possible.

    • Kinetic1

      Yes, during those years FEMA was a joke. As with so many important federal programs, the Republican goal of privatization lead to purposeful dismantling and restructuring to insure that it would fail when needed. Here’s a little time line of how it all went:

      1993-2000: Under James Lee Witt, FEMA is transformed from a backwater of political patronage into a widely praised model of efficient and rapid emergency response.

      January 2001: George Bush appoints Joe Allbaugh as director of FEMA. Allbaugh, who ran Bush’s presidential campaign, has no previous experience in disaster management.

      May 2001: Allbaugh testifies that he believes federal involvement in disaster planning should be scaled back: “Expectations of when the Federal Government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level. We must restore the predominant role of State and local response to most disasters. Federal assistance needs to supplement, not supplant, State and local efforts.”

      December 2002: Allbaugh announces he is leaving FEMA. He is succeeded by his deputy and former college friend, Michael Brown, who also has no previous experience in disaster management.

      March 2003: FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is refocused on fighting acts of terrorism.

      2003: Under its new organization chart within DHS, FEMA’s preparation and planning functions are reassigned to a new Office of Preparedness and Response. FEMA will henceforth focus only on response and recovery.

      2003-2005: Disaster professionals among FEMA’s top staff are gradually replaced by political appointees with no relevant experience.

      Then Katrina hit and the new, streamlined FEMA failed to provide anything near the support needed. Busses sat idle waiting for official requests, trucks full of water bottles were held up because they didn’t have the right paperwork, “Hundreds of firefighters, who responded to a nationwide call for help in the disaster, were held by the federal agency in Atlanta for days of training on community relations and sexual harassment before being sent on to the devastated area.” (NYT) and the U.S.S. Bataan sat offshore with six operating rooms, beds for 600 patients and most of its 1,200 sailors idle while people on shore were left to die. “Heck of a job, Brownie!”

      Sounds a lot like Congress insisting that the Post office come up with 5.5 billion a year for 10 years to “pre-fund” its retirees’ health care benefits. Unheard of in the private sector, this move requires the USPS to provide funds now for workers who are yet to be born! The quasi-private organization declared a $1 billion profit in 2006, and now they’re struggling just to hang on. It’s a demand so fiscally demanding that it would kill off most private corporations, and it’s working just as the Republicans planed. Privatization is the key.

      • Robert Smith

        “1993-2000: Under James Lee Witt, FEMA is transformed from a backwater of political patronage into a widely praised model of efficient and rapid emergency response.”

        As a Ham I spent a lot of time working with them. It was a great organization then.


    • Isabella

      Where is JANET(?)NAPOLITANO????? No showing. Did she resign or was fired or ???

  • http://yahoo Charles Arthur Williams

    So Rendarsmith would you close FEMA ? What about those with true need ? Would you want them on your streets in Houston ? Where should people go when their told to leave, when all their family is in the area, and they can’t afford too pay transportation or housing for wherever they end up ? No one likes too pay for fraud and waste, but when you keep cutting staff for these programs, that is the results. Lets fix these programs rather than throw them away ! There are more people using these programs because of true need than fraud! FIX IT !

    • Jess

      The private sector will help everyone in need when the time comes. We don’t need a government. Everyone is honest and will do what is right when needed.

      • Daveh234

        Pretty good satire…LOL!

      • deerinwater

        yea, with a blanket ~ and dry cloths maybe. If survivors can get to the right place at the right time ~ maybe.

        Just because some of us does not approve if the current president or everything that government does not override the importance and functions of government.

        This demonizing of government became vogue only when the GOP loses a presidential election. ~ And Mr. Livingston refers to such people as mature grownups. Funny stuff.

        The truth is ~ it takes both ~ the private and public sector to address the needs of our citizens as some needs are not so common ~ and might require a helicopter or professional extraction team , things that are limited in the private sector.

        Where is the team spirit? Did a half black man tack it away for you?

      • deerinwater

        most of the letter have worn off my key board ~ SORRY FOR THE SPELLING ~ I keep thinking I will learn to type. ~

      • Robert Smith

        “Everyone is honest and will do what is right when needed.”

        Unless your name is “BP.”

        Those corporate “people” haven’t been particularly responsible.


    • Netterella

      Guess what Charles…FEMA isn’t right there trying to help those people get out. They come in after the fact and will help with what they want to help with. We had some horrible damage done in our town a couple of months ago from flood waters. FEMA would NOT help because there were less than 100 homes damaged. Don’t praise them too high before you know all the circumstances they cover and won’t cover.

      • deerinwater

        Hmm? where did the “private sector” go to aid you in your time of need?

      • Kinetic1

        If you will look at the time line I posted you’ll see that this became the new norm when FEMA was swallowed up by the Department of Homeland Security. We need to return to the FEMA established under Clinton.

    • Emoke Davis

      Yes close FEMA and take the jackboot of government off the private sector. We don’t need anyone stifling people who want to help by moving resources to the area (and possibly making a profit) by passing laws against profits. The truth is that with the capitalist market more resources rush to the scene of the problems. Charities need to not be discouraged by laws that stifle them. Roll back laws that let you give away only food and water prepared in “inspected” commercial kitchens. There are scores of laws passed that discourage personal charity and encourage lawyers to file suit. Big government is not better.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Shut down FEMA. For every real need, there will be created ten supposed “needs” to keep FEMA occupied and employed and expanding and more inefficient. Hire private companies to do the work.

      • deerinwater

        I was engaged in the cleanup of New Orleans after Katrina ~ Recovery and reclaim Marine Salvage, ~ The money is not there Nadzieja. ~ To raise one insured vessel required moving three uninsured vessels to get to it. ~ and business liability was very high. It was a field day for attorneys and insurance companies. We had vessel blown inland 17 miles, ~ and any damage you did to the ground or property to extract them had to be address. ~ This made these vessels worthless even if you could get them out without damaging them anymore then what damage they had already sustained.

        The wealthy man I was contracting for at the time, “an old pirate” that shall stay nameless ~ didn’t fair too well as far as venture capitalist interest might believe. ~ left to resort to just being an ole “pirate” to stay in black ink. RRRRrrrrrr, twas a blimey mess for sure mate.

  • OCalorie

    FEMA did nothing for our community when the fire came through and destroyed over a half million acres of forest and 400 structures in our community. People who were left homeless, retired, lost jobs because of companies were burnt down, were asked by FEMA that they needed 2 years tax returns to start the paperwork. When the home is burnt to the ground there is not a copy of returns to get them a copy. People were having heart attacks, miscarriages, and other health related problems from the smoke, ash, chemical smells from the fire, there was no help for them either. If we evacuated it took two weeks before we could come back into our homes and this is more added expense to the pocket book. The post office was not open to get mail, so bills were delayed or late. The list goes on and on of things that happen during a crisis.

    The Red Cross was a joke. They handed out bottles of water for a few days, but were gone not to be seen again. No housing for the people who lost everything. It was the Salvation Army who stuck around for several months feeding people 3 times a day. The electricity out, the refrigerators were not working, which spoiled the food in the refrigerators which left a rotten smell in the plastic that you can not get out. With no refrigerators working or the smell is awful and if you had to order one, it took about a month to get one in because of the back log or orders.

    A friend of mine who was contracted to bring in water after Katrina was told to pick water up in Virginia, then go to Kentucky, then to New York, then to Virginia again and that is where is sat, not going to New Orleans to help the people there. What a mess and money in someone’s pocket book.

    When it a situation of fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake you realize that the government was not there for you and the only thing you count on is yourself. DON’T COUNT ON THE GOVERNMENT TO HELP! They are too busy trying to get reelected.

    • deerinwater

      “DON’T COUNT ON THE GOVERNMENT TO HELP! They are too busy trying to get reelected.”

      ~ Give me a break ~ Any administration has little to win and everything to lose in their perceived efforts to address national disasters. There is no need of saying something so foolish just because you dislike a sitting president. ~

      There is government men and women on the government payroll right now , busting their ass, risking life and limb to save what can be saved and help where help is needed. ~ Many of them are in their 15th and 18th hour of nonstop work at this very moment ~ and you say such a thing. Shame on you.

  • http://Google SeenItAll

    Reality alert for those who have not been through and survived a major storm: The Federal government was of no real help to the PEOPLE who went through Hurricane Hugo. We had to cut our own way out of our driveways, remove trees from residential and public roads and provide for one another. The debris was so great it overwhelmed government’s ability to remove it from the streets, taking months to gather it all. I’m sure the government was shuffling some papers and doing other busy work, but the truth is, when something like this hits, the money and decisions where to spend it need to be local. Local governments and people within an emergency zone do not have the luxory of time to apply for federal aid when clean water needs to be restored, food is rotting in freezers and medical supplies are having to be delivered by volunteers on motorcycles who can pick their way through fallen trees and across back roads and even fields. The money required to respond to these disasters is not the federal government’s, it is ours, paid for with our taxes. Governors need the ability to disperse it to the municipalities and relief organizations immediately to bring relief in a timely manner. Further, the likelihood of fraud is diminshed when locals are processing dispersements and requests for assistance. FEMA is a waste of money and has a record of one failure after another, like the Keystone Cops running around, colliding into each other. Think of the money that could go to disaster victims if the salaries, job benefits and retirement pay of FEMA workers was set aside for relief.

  • JimH

    Are things better now than they were before FEMA was formed?
    It seems people got back on their feet quicker, before the big government enabler came in.

  • nickkin

    Hell…..there is nothing to fund…..we have to convince China to give us the funds from the kindness of their hearts and treasury!!

  • Isabella

    Where is J.NAPOLITANO??? What happened to her. No showing. She was fired? resign or ??????

  • Jess

    FEMA is a waste of my money. Let the private sector take it over. They are always better at providing services than over paid government workers.


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