Hurricane Harvey is predicted to be the first major storm in a decade — and Trump just tweeted a useless promotional ad in preparation.
According to the White House, Trump was briefed on the hurricane preparation efforts earlier this month, but his campaign-style commercial — fitted with a dramatic soundtrack — failed to convey any of that information to worried residents in the storm’s path. His tweet did not include basic information, like who is in danger, how to be prepared or what the government is doing to prepare.
A month ago, Harvey wasn't even a dust storm over the Sahara, let alone a tropical storm in the Atlantic, let alone a hurricane poised to slam into Texas, so even Trump can be excused by all but the most deranged citizens for not issuing a warning.
Is there any particular value in providing "basic information" about preparing for potential damage, and evacuation plans, in a format limited to 140 characters, when the state and the federal government have suppled the same, but more detailed information via unlimited television and radio? And is their a Salon reader out there who subscribes to Trump's tweets anyway?
Oil refineries and terminals in Texas have been forced to shut operations ahead of landfall, sending gasoline stocks soaring for the first time in more than a year.
Shutting down refiners (and drilling rigs) is standard operating procedure for oil companies when severe storms threaten. "Sending gasoline stocks soaring for the first time in over a year"? Does the editorialist's use of the term "gasoline stocks" refer to gasoline supplies, or to oil companies' stock value? Either way, "more than a year" suggests that the same phenomenon occurred during the Obama administrations eight-year reign.
But even as several Gulf states braced for the first major hurricane to make landfall in more than a decade, Trump’s newly minted head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was busy pushing for decreases in federal disaster relief that would make local governments pay more when a hurricane hits.
This has been a critical issue for environmentalists (and limited government types) for decades: the government's floor insurance program has encouraged homeowners to build on flood plains and areas exposed to hurricane storms surges, all paid for by federal tax payers (that would be you and me). Multi-million-dollar homes in the Hamptons, Florida beach front developments, midwestern towns: all are subsidized by the rest of us. We pay to set them up, and the waters knock them down.
It is the peak of hurricane season, yet FEMA Director Brock Long is currently on a campaign to rewrite the federal flood insurance program that 5 million Americans rely on.“We’re particularly worried about the remainder of this hurricane season,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a press conference following a meeting with Brock earlier this week. Hurricane Harvey is projected to cause major devastation to the state that was rocked by Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago.
Good: it's about time you were worried. The latest floods in New Orleans revealed that, 12 years after Katrina, neither the city nor the state has done anything to address the inadequate, failed storm drain system. This might be a good time to do so. And who's been in charge of the federal government during the past twelve years? Not Trump. Where was this editorial in, say, 2010? Or 2016?
While FEMA has said it is sending thousands of meals, tarps and liters of water to Randolph Air Force Base ahead of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival, its director told Bloomberg News this week that one of his top priorities ahead of September is pushing for an overhaul of disaster relief.
So Director Long should be personally folding FEMA tarps into cardboard boxes for shipment to Texas, and doing nothing else? Does this mean we can dismantle FEMA, which is great idea, admittedly, and just appoint one guy to drop all of his other responsibilities and oversee a gang of minimum wage workers to assemble relief supplies? Works for me.
“I don’t think the taxpayer should reward risk going forward,” Long said in an interview in his office at FEMA’s headquarters in Washington. “We have to find ways to comprehensively become more resilient.”
Trump's wisdom in ignoring his critics and appealing to his base is demonstrated, once again, in this Salon piece. Everything is his fault, even before it happens: had the eclipse brought about the end of the world, as no doubt the majority of Salon readers expected and hoped for, the left's last despairing cry would have been, "we blame Trump — oh, and Bush!"