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      Monday
      Oct292012

      Storm Breaks the Silence on Global Warming

      Hurricane Sandy as seen from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-13 satellite on October 28.The crashing seas and winds are the ecological equivalents of the 2008 Wall Street shaking, shaking the foundations of US politics and the relative silence about climate change.

      The differences could not be starker. Mitt Romney and the Republicans are on record as wanting to cut off federal spending on disaster relief as “immoral” and outsource the programs to the states and the private sector. If increasing the national debt is “immoral,” how will disaster relief be paid for? According to the New York Times, Congressional Republicans have slashed FEMA grants for disaster preparedness 43 percent in the past two years. 

      President Obama has been scorned by the same Republicans for his oratorical promise to prevent the rise of the oceans. Who is mocking him now? Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is thanking Obama profusely for federal emergency assistance. Voters in storm-tossed regions of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio may reassess Romney with a more critical eye, as will many voters obsessed with defunding “big government.”

      Obama efforts to curb global warming have been blocked in Congress, but he has almost doubled fuel efficiency standards with regulations increased from 28.6 miles per gallon at the end of 2011 to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, and included $90 billion in green energy funding in his stimulus package, plus another $100 billion in matching funds. After the Katrina catastrophe and FEMA scandal in the Bush years, FEMA “was put back in working order under President Obama,” the Times notes. 

      New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken the first step in boldly blaming global warming and its deniers for the devastation. Others will follow. Will Karl Rove be able to prevent the Republican religious-right from declaring that God intended the storm as punishment for wicked liberalism?

      To increase the spiraling tension, the raging storm will have a negative impact on voter turnout among the poor and elderly, and might require a significant extension of polling hours to guarantee the access required by law.

      And once again, with Romney-Obama differences at one percent in state after state, vote manipulation by computers is an unchecked menace to the democratic process, “the electoral equivalent of a drone strike.” (Collier, Victoria. “How To Rig an Election,” Harpers. November 2012)

      The appearance of another stolen election combined with global warming denial and “disaster capitalism” as the emergency response if Romney wins will lead to the most profound breakdown in the legitimacy of governance in many years.

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