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Let’s face it; our government’s ability to respond effectively to a natural disaster is pretty close to zero. The reason I bring this up now is that Hurricane Gustav is now projected to enter the Gulf of Mexico in a few days as a category 3 storm. It could then build up over the warm waters of the Gulf to a cat 4 or even a cat 5. Right now, it’s projected path takes it pretty much straight towards New Orleans. Of course, that could change. Maybe it will turn and head towards Houston. Maybe it will go someplace else.

Here’s a little advice: if you are living in a coastal area and it looks like the storm is about to hit, get out. Don’t hunker down and await help from the federal government, because they are not coming. And if you are in New Orleans, don’t even think of holing up in the Superdome. Leave. Go to Houston. Texas will get a lot more help than your state if it is needed. If you are in Mississippi or Alabama: same advice. Go to Texas. They have lots of money, and you’ll probably get all sorts of assistance in Texas.

Here’s the thing I don’t understand: why don’t we have a federal disaster response agency? I don’t mean a bunch of useless, civil service administrators and paper pushers like FEMA; I mean a real agency with trained disaster response people and specialized disaster response equipment. Why don’t we have a national disaster response corps, like the Coast Guard or the Marine Corps that is always standing by, ready to respond to any kind of disaster? Why don’t we learn anything from disasters like Hurricane Katrina, or the south Asia tsunami, or all the earthquakes that happen in the world?

It wouldn’t be hard to create a disaster response corps. In fact the same industries that make our military equipment are well positioned to make disaster response equipment. I am sure we could find enough people to fill the ranks of such a corps. We could even pay for it by reducing our bloated military budget and have no net effect on our taxes. But we don’t. Our President prefers to fly over disaster areas and look down on them from the window of his Boeing 747. We let the various states deal with their own problems, as if each individual state was a foreign country or something, except Texas, of course.

It’s hurricane season again and once again our federal government is not prepared to respond. Other, unpredictable disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, meteor impacts, floods, volcanic eruptions, and more can happen at any time, but we remain unprepared. Protecting the American people on our own soil should be the first order of business for any President, but it isn’t. We have a federal government that happily spends trillions and trillions of dollars for military weapons and foreign military adventures, but barely lifts a finger to help the American people directly when they are in desperate and dire need at home.

Why?

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