Natural and unnatural disasters

Australia

Australia (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

What is an unnatural disaster? It is a natural disaster made much worse by the actions or lack thereof of conservatives in government.

Case in point, the fires near Sydney, Australia, in New South Wales state. It is spring Down Under during a prolonged drought and not yet the summer and fall high season for wildfires. The thinking person’s response would be to increase fire preparedness. Is that what the conservative government of NSW did? No, they cut the fire prevention budget for no good reason. The Great Recession in Australia is over, defeated several years ago by the traditional Keynesian remedy of adequate stimulus by the national government. Something that hasn’t happened here because the GOP are punishing us for electing Barack Obama in 2008 and re-electing him in 2012.

Another case in point, the destruction of New Orleans in 2005 by Katrina. We are now 8 years after that event and New Orleans still has not recovered. George W. Bush knew that the levees needed to be strengthened and he did nothing for 4.5 years, spending money on dredging a seldom used canal rather than budgeting for levee maintenance in New Orleans. Conservatives tend to be penny-wise and pound-foolish when it comes to government spending for the common good. Today, they decry the national debt when they should be stimulating the economy to increase economic activity and increase tax receipts. But that would redound to President Obama’s credit and they cannot abide that.

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No news is no news

Flooded I-10/I-610 interchange and surrounding...

Flooded I-10/I-610 interchange and surrounding area of northwest New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever noticed how little information there is in the “news?” Traditional news on TV and other media is spectacle and entertainment, designed not to inform, but to garner ratings and advertising dollars. Car chases are a big deal in cities, but who really cares to watch the police do their job apprehending a solitary driver?

When Katrina happened, we were in Northern California on vacation. The networks focused on interviewing individuals trapped in New Orleans to show the human side of the tragedy, but a task that required no real effort on their part. I turned to PBS for information and in one thirty minute segment, I was informed about what was really happening in New Orleans. The networks could inform the public if they chose, but the owners of the media and the 1% mostly don’t want an informed electorate. It’s easier to get what they want if the rest of us don’t know what is happening. So to them, no news is truly good news.

My advice to the GOP

 

English: A view of the “Wigwam”, t...

English: A view of the “Wigwam”, the wooden structure in Chicago, Illinois, where the convention was held in 1860 which nominated Abraham Lincoln for president of the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

GOP, you have strayed too far to the right, both politically and on the map of the US. You must return to the center politically and to your roots in the center of the country. Lincoln was nominated in 1860 in the Wigwam convention hall in Chicago. The structure no longer exists, but the site along the Chicago River is still there. I could see it from my office window along Wacker Drive during my first full-time job. The GOP will never be a successful, national party again at the presidential level until you retreat from your extreme, right-wing positions.

Before the advent of mass air travel, many political conventions were sited in Chicago because of its convenient location. If you meet there in 2016 and beyond, you will be safe from hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake and fire. Chicago has not had a major fire since the Chicago Fire in 1871. Mother Nature has been sending you messages which the climate deniers among your sponsors prefer to ignore. Bush’s second term was destroyed by his response to Katrina. McCain’s convention was delayed by Gustav. Romney’s convention was delayed by Isaac and campaign stalled by Sandy. Return to your roots, GOP, where you will be safer and more competitive with American voters.