Natural Disasters

The Disaster Of Puerto Rico, 4,645 Dead, More Than September 11: A Violation Of Human Rights Perpetrated By The Trump Administration

The tragic disaster of Puerto Rico, whose population are US Citizens, is a massive violation of human rights perpetrated by the Trump Administration.

The total of 4.645 dead, not the 64 first stated, is an unbelievable loss of life, nearly two and a half times the loss of life in Hurricane Katrina (1833), and one and a half times the losses of September 11 (2996).

And yet, nothing is said or no apologies offered, or mistakes acknowledged, by Donald Trump or any of his underlings in the cabinet, and also in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has the primary responsibility in natural disasters.

There is no conscience, no sorrow, no regrets, as Trump and his advisers are openly racist against Puerto Ricans.

If this loss of life had occurred in Texas or Florida, we would have heard mass denunciation of the lack of response, but the Republican Party in Congress has nothing to say about this great tragedy.

And with the hurricane season upon us, and reconstruction of facilities not accomplished in Puerto Rico, there is great fear of the final decimation of the island, which deserves equal treatment and consideration as much as any state and any other group of people.

If the government cannot guarantee the safety and security of its own population, then the government has failed the ultimate test—protection of national security of all of its citizens.

On this ground alone, Donald Trump and his ilk should be forced out of office, and indicted, convicted, and imprisoned for basic violation of human rights!

Diplomatic Relations With Unfriendly Governments: Soviet Union, People’s Republic Of China, Vietnam, Cuba, And Now Issue Of Iran

When it comes to the issue of foreign policy and international relations, the controversy over whether the United States should have diplomatic relations and embassies in nations that are our rivals, our opponents, is a constant debating point.

Clearly, when the United States is at war with a foreign government, diplomatic relations cease.

Also, if a foreign government chooses to break off diplomatic relations on its own, then clearly there will be no diplomatic relations.

But other than these situations, the idea that, somehow, refusing to deal with an unfriendly government is beneficial does not ring true!

There are always good reasons to have a diplomatic channel, a way to relate to and deal with a hostile foreign government, if for no other reason, to allow discussion of contentious issues that may arise, including hostages, military and naval challenges, and providing for humanitarian interventions when there are natural disasters.

After all, even if governments do not get along, the people of the United States need not see other nations’ people as enemies!

And failure to recognize changes of government never works in our behalf, as witness our long diplomatic isolation of the Soviet Union from 1917-1933; of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1979 (although Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 and started trade, cultural and tourism contacts); of Vietnam (from 1975 when the Vietnam War finally ended until 1995); and now of Cuba from 1961 to this month.

It turns out the diplomatic isolation of Cuba lasted 54 years, way beyond the 16 years of the Soviet Union; the 30 years of China; and the 20 years of Vietnam.

Nothing was accomplished by the diplomatic isolation of Cuba, and while the government of that nation is a dictatorship, as with Russia, China, and Vietnam, we cannot decide that a dictatorship, as reprehensible as it is, can be, somehow, made to change by ignoring them and refusing to deal with them.

If we were to use that as a guide, that a nation was run as a dictatorship and therefore we would not deal with that nation, then we would have to suspend diplomatic relations with most of the world’s 193 nations.

But we have dealt with brutal dictatorships regularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as Eastern Europe.

We could wish the world was like us; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; and Western European nations; Japan; and selected nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, but we must deal with the world as it is, not the way we wish it was!

So, the issue of Iran, a hostile nation engaged in trouble making in the Middle East; calling for the extermination of Israel; calling the United States “the devil”; and gaining nuclear energy information rapidly, cannot be ignored.

It is better to deal with Iran, as much as they are willing, as the people of the nation are clearly not in support of their theocratic Islamic regime, and we are not going to gain by a war with Iran, a large nation with large population, which, if we went to war, the effect would be to unite the nation in nationalistic fervor to defend the homeland.

The answer is, if possible, not only to get the nuclear deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry to be ratified, but also to attempt to ameliorate the danger and threat of Iran through further diplomatic engagement!

The True Heroes Of Natural And Man Made Disasters: Teachers, Nurses, Paramedics, Police Officers, Firefighters!

Again, with the Oklahoma and Boston Marathon tragedies, as so many others, it is PUBLIC servants–teachers, nurses, paramedics, police officers, firefighters–who are the true heroes, doing beyond the call of duty to rescue and save lives!

But yet, these public servants are constantly pilloried and condemned, if they demand a living wage and decent benefits, as appreciation for their services, while people in the world of business make outrageous salaries and perks on Wall Street, and think that they deserve what they get, despite having messed up the economy, causing the Great Recession of 2008, as they have in every recession since the Great Depression!

We are told to worship Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, and other bank CEO’s who, by all justification, should be in prison for their actions!

We allow the Koch Brothers and the Walmart heirs to run rampant without any consideration of how they exploit their work force, and these are just examples, not the only ones.

We have Apple and Walmart and Target and numerous other companies which exploit foreign workers, and do not give a damn about safety or a decent living wage for these poor women and men who died in the disaster recently in Bangladesh!

It is time to hold these corporate leaders and companies accountable, and stop complaining about public servants who deserve respect and dignity and better pay for their sacrifices and dedication to the people they serve!

Joplin, Missouri; SuperStorm Sandy; Moore, Oklahoma: Reason To Pay More Taxes To Help Our Fellow Citizens!

America has gone through one natural disaster after another, more so in recent years, at greater cost of life and property.

The climate change deniers say it is par for the course, that nothing unusual is occurring, and that global warming is not the issue.

But even worse is that the same people in government who deny any concept of climate change and the need to react to it, also are the same people who, when a natural disaster occurs, fight against federal disaster aid, as in SuperStorm Sandy.

And if they, grudgingly, give up and say that disaster aid should be offered, they want the least aid possible, and only if there are budget cuts elsewhere to cover for the disaster aid.

So we have the two Oklahoma Senators–two of the absolute worst members of the US Senate at any time in our history—who represent one of the poorest states, but also a state of the oil industry, who take a hard hearted view on disaster aid, and budget cuts to compensate for such disaster aid!

James Inhofe and Tom Coburn have no problem in being “skin flints” on disaster aid, but if such is to be given, then hurt the poor, the sick, the unemployed, rather than make corporations pay fair taxes, make the wealthy pay more taxes, make all of us understand that when natural disaster hits, it is not just the people in the area of the disaster who suffer, but instead we all suffer!

It is the responsibility of all of us to help our fellow citizens, with the corporations and the wealthy being expected to pay more, but all of us need to pay more, and understand the Christian view that we are all our “brother’s keeper”!

What has happened to common decency, common dignity, and common humanity?

What has so sickened the body politic that all that matters is selfishness, greed, and lack of concern for our fellow citizens?

Is this the America that we want to live in? Is this the America that our Founding Fathers believed in when they created the Constitution? Is this the America that people have fought and died for in our wars? Is this the America we want to bequeath to our children and our children’s children?

This is a time to think about values and what really matters, rather than just money and things and possessions, and not caring about people we do not know!

It is a time to come together and strike back at these vicious right wing, narrow minded people who only care about themselves, and no one else!

Interesting Comparison: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, And Bad Weather Patterns For Years

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, America witnessed horrific weather, particularly drought, but also extremely hot and cold weather and natural disasters such as tornadoes and floods, in a way not witnessed as commonly earlier in time in American history.

And now, while in the midst of the Great Recession and its aftermath, we have witnessed new evidence of drought, records set for hot weather, plus tornadoes, floods, fires, and other natural disasters.

It makes one wonder why the connection between difficult economic times has been magnified by bad weather, but the author has no answer to this, just pointing it out!

FEMA And Natural Disaster Funding: Political “Football” For The Republicans?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency faces a daunting task dealing with all of the natural disasters that have hit America in 2011!

Hurricane Irene was the TENTH natural disaster of this year costing at least $1 billion, and there are four months to go!

The total natural disaster cost is reaching into the 40s and 50s in billions, with Irene estimated to be one of top ten all time natural disasters!

And this is on top of the tornadoes, floods, droughts, wildfires that have plagued us this year, and not including the Atlantic Earthquake or the new menace of Tropical Storm Lee menacing Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida!

The hurricane season is in full swing, and it looks as if there will be more tropical storms or hurricanes named than any year since 2005!

In the midst of this series of natural disasters, we are seeing Congressional Republicans playing politics with human suffering, protesting that FEMA is reaching its budget limit, and there is debate about whether they will gain additional needed funds to match the problems at hand.

Congressman Ron Paul has said FEMA is not necessary at all, and others are acting as if it is another financial boondoggle, when it is performing far better under Barack Obama than it did under George W. Bush.

Will there have to be a battle between President Obama and John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Tea Party Republicans over such a basic need as government coming to the aid of victims of nature?

Is there any common decency left in the opposition party, or shall many unfortunate Americans become the victims of their narrow mindedness and pettiness?

We will see next week when Congress comes back from its month long vacation to deal with the many problems they just dropped, so as to go on vacation for a month, while many Americans could not afford a vacation!

Natural Disasters, Government, And Eric Cantor And His Tea Party Friends: The Battle For Fairness!

Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has declared that any disaster recovery relief funds for the earthquake this week in his state and the Northeast, and now the upcoming Hurricane Irene, will have to be funded by cuts in spending elsewhere!

Isn’t this pretty? The intervention of Nature, which has become so prevalent this calendar year, should lead to punishment of the less fortunate, who are more likely anyway to be victims of the natural disasters! So add insult to injury is the way Cantor sees it, and that deserves the outrage of the American people! How mean, nasty and hard hearted can a politician be? But realize Cantor represents the viewpoint of many conservative and Tea Party Republicans who care not a bit about human beings, unless they happen to be rich!

When one looks at the total cost of natural disasters this year, it is absolutely astounding, and will grow dramatically due to the recent earthquake and Hurricane Irene. Trying to imagine the total cost, in the midst of the Great Recession, is mind boggling!

These natural disasters include:

The Great Blizzard in the center and eastern part off the nation in late January and early February, cost about $2 billion

Five periods of massive tornado activity in the Midwest and Southeast,, four sets of dates in April and one in late May, with the first three costing $6 billion and 47 deaths total, and the last two costing $16 billion and the unbelievable total of 504 deaths, so a total of $22 billion and 551 deaths overall

The Southern Plains-Southwest Drought, heat waves, and wildfires, costing so far a total of $5 billion

Mississippi River and Upper Midwest flooding, costing a total of $6 billion

So the amount in total BEFORE the earthquake and the upcoming Hurricane Irene, and other likely landfall hurricanes later on this fall, is an unbelievable $35 billion!

With the fear that Hurricane Irene could cost as much as earlier devastating hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the likelihood of more earthquake activity or volcanic activity, as well as other hurricanes, one has to wonder how America will survive the onslaught of nature if we are being told there will be no raising of taxes to deal with what God has wrought!

This is an ultimate test of what government is all about, and whether we all have to be in this together, and to pay more taxes to promote economic recovery, not just the middle class, but also the wealthy! This will be a battle worth fighting when Congress comes back after Labor Day!

What The Virginia-Atlantic Coast Earthquake Reminds Us Of: Emergency Expenditures And Need For Infrastructure Investment, Meaning Higher Taxes!

We live in a time when many Americans like to dream that taxes will NEVER go up, and that somehow, we can live within the national budget, even though most Americans are finding if difficult to live within their own family budgets in the present economic crisis.

The Tea Party Movement has co-opted the Republican Party to such an extent that the campaign pitch for the GOP Presidential field and Congressional Republican leaders is that NEVER will they agree to ANY tax increases under any circumstances, a totally insane proposition!

But the events of yesterday, the Virginia-Atlantic Coast earthquake, 5.8 on the Richter scale, the greatest in about a century on the East Coast of the United States, demonstrated that such a proposition will have to be abandoned, whether one likes it or not!

The earthquake affected people from New England down to Atlanta and as far west as Chicago and as far North as Toronto, and it did noticeable damage to the National Cathedral, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC.

Obviously, money will have to be spent to fix these sites in the nation’s capital, and anywhere else where there was damage, at public expense!

But also, nuclear power plants along the Atlantic Coast are seen as in great danger, as they are outdated and need to be modernized. Also, the earthquake reminds us of the poor state of much of the entire nation’s infrastructure–harbors, canals, bridges, tunnels, highways, rail lines–much of it built long ago and in desperate need of major repairs, and often new building requirements to deal with natural disasters besides earthquakes, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, drought, volcanoes, rock slides, avalanches, and even tsunami threats!

This means we need to spend money on all kinds of public works projects, as we had done in the past, some of it with private investment included, but still with the absolute need for more public spending, which means more taxes, although it also allows for more employment, which could help to revive the American economy while dealing with real emergency situations!

Now the growing threat of Hurricane Irene, which is judged possibly to be the worst hurricane to hit the Northeast in many decades later this week, will add to the emergency spending crisis, and the need for infrastructure investment, but with the realization that MORE public spending will be unavoidable, no matter what the people of this country wish for!