Meningitis, Mortgages, Hurricane Sandy, and Romney

November 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Climate change, Fairness, Global warming, Presidential election | Leave a comment
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Hurricane Sandy: Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood of Loisaida, moments before the Con Edison power substation on 14th Street and Avenue C blew up.  30 October 2012.  Photographed by David Shankbone.

Hurricane Sandy: Flooded Avenue C at East 6th Street in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood of Loisaida, moments before the Con Edison power substation on 14th Street and Avenue C blew up. 30 October 2012. Photographed by David Shankbone.

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A valuable analysis by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post points out that Willard Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are opposed to Federal disaster relief by FEMA, and to regulation and to inspections by the Federal government.  They want to transfer these functions to the states, or – whenever possible – to the private sector.

I urge you to read Eugene Robinson’s article.  It makes many important points that I will not repeat here.  I will only add a few comments.

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Patient with menigitiis and menigism (neck stiffness), original caption: Patient violently ill with acute epidemic meningitis. Markedly stuporous and delirious; head retracted and very stiff, 1913, Source: Sophian, Abraham: Epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis (1913), St. Louis, C.V Mosby (Scan from archive.org). Author L.A. Marty, M.D, Kansas City.

Patient with menigitiis and menigism (neck stiffness), original caption: Patient violently ill with acute epidemic meningitis. Markedly stuporous and delirious; head retracted and very stiff, 1913, Source: Sophian, Abraham: Epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis (1913), St. Louis, C.V Mosby (Scan from archive.org).
Author L.A. Marty, M.D, Kansas City.

Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman with meningococcal disease, June 2004, Source: http://www.babycharlotte.co.nz/photos6-12mths.html, Author: Pam Cleverley, Perry Bisman, http://babycharlotte.co.nz

Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman with meningococcal disease, June 2004, Source: http://www.babycharlotte.co.nz/photos6-12mths.html, Author: Pam Cleverley, Perry Bisman, http://babycharlotte.co.nz

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The meningitis outbreak spans more than once state.  The same is true of most problems with contaminated foods, contaminated drugs, outbreaks of disease, natural disasters, oil spills, abuses by banks or other financial companies, etc.

The individual states do not have the funds or the expertise or the scope to collate the data to discover that there is a new problem, to figure out its nature and source, and to fight the problem.  If they tried to do those things, having fifty times as many agencies trying to do what the Federal agencies now do would represent a tremedous duplication of effort – a huge waste of funds.  Even with that, the states would fall short of what FEMA, the CDC, the FDA and the Department of Agriculture can presently do.  At present, the state agencies complement what the Federal agencies do, and they benefit from the information provided to them by the Federal agencies.  As for the costs, we all benefit from the economies of scale provided by the Federal agencies.

If a problem is caused by a farm in Texas or a company in Massachussetts, other states have no authority to force the responsible party to do anything quick and dramatic.  Only the Federal government has the Constitutional authority to due that, via the ‘commerce clause’.

As for the private sector, almost every recent man-made disaster – meningitis, contaminated food, oil spills, the financial meltdown caused by the granting and selling of risky mortgages – shows that industries cannot monitor themselves.  The conflict of interest is too strong.

Willard Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would destroy most of the protections we now have, because they just do not understand, and they do not want to understand.  Would you really want to lose FEMA, or the CDC?

Hurricane Sandy: The FDR Drive flooded next to the East Village neighborhoon in Manhattan.  30 October 2012.  Photographer: David Shankbone.

Hurricane Sandy: The FDR Drive flooded next to the East Village neighborhood in Manhattan. 30 October 2012. Photographer: David Shankbone.

Half million dollar house in Salinas, California under foreclosure. 2008-02-13, photographed by Brendel at en.wikipedia.org .

Half million dollar house in Salinas, California under foreclosure. 2008-02-13, photographed by Brendel at en.wikipedia.org .

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