Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Romney Now Politicizing Hurricane Disaster

In a very timely editorial, the New York Times has slammed Romney for his stance on eliminating FEMA:
Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.

“Absolutely,” he said. “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.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt. 

Of course, Republicans are accusing the NYT of being taking advantage of the disaster to criticize Romney. But the election is less than a week away-- what time would be better?  And so much for Mitt Romney's promise not to campaign while American lives are still at risk-- he's now holding campaign events wrapped in “storm relief”.

Even worse, the Romney campaign is actually impeding hurricane relief efforts. ABC reported yesterday that the Romney campaign was pitching in and gathering supplies to donate for hurricane relief, which is exactly the opposite of what the Red Cross wants people to do. From the Red Cross web site:
 Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel. 

Breaking yet again his promise not to politicize disasters, Romney seems to be calling only GOP governors (not Democratic governors) to offer his world-renowned expertise in hurricane management (he has none).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

No-Fly Twist

The 34-year-old Mississippi native Wade Hicks got stranded in Hawaii this week after being told he was on the FBI's no-fly list during a layover for a military flight from the U.S. to Japan.

From California, he hitched a ride on a military flight (common for military dependents). But during his layover at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent told him he was on the no-fly list and wouldn't be allowed on a plane.  "I said, `How am I supposed to get off this island and go see my wife or go home?' And her explanation was: `I don't know,'" Hicks said.

The episode left Hicks scrambling to figure out how he'd get out of Hawaii without being able to fly. Then he was abruptly removed from the list on Thursday with no explanation.  It also raised questions beyond how he landed on the list: How could someone on a list intelligence officials use to inform counterterrorism investigations successfully fly standby on an Air Force flight?  Read more details here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Gitmo Conviction Thrown Out

A U.S. appeals court has quashed the conviction of Osama Bin Laden's former driver, who had been jailed in Guantanamo Bay for giving material support to terrorism.

Like most of the eight years of the Bush administration, Salim Hamdan's conviction was a farce.  Hamdan admitted working for Bin Laden  in Afghanistan from 1997 to 2001 for $200 a month as his driver-- but said he worked for wages, not to wage war.  The appeals court rejected the government's charge that he had conspired to carry out the 9/11 attacks, ruling that Hamdan's actions did not constitute war crimes.

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