Texas burns, Perry cuts firefighters

This video from the USA is called Rick Perry Fire Department Cuts & Wildfires.

By Charles Abelard and Tom Carter in the USA:

Wildfires devastate Texas following historic drought

14 September 2011

Wildfires, historic in scope, are devastating rural and small-town households across the state of Texas.

Texas has languished for months with the lowest rainfall in all of its recorded history, as well as unprecedented high temperatures. Under these conditions, vast numbers of dangerous, independent wildfires have flared up that now threaten countless homes and workplaces (see “Historic heat wave and drought in southwestern US“).

As of September 5, Texas wildfires had burned a staggering 3,582,000 acres so far this year. With the profusion of fires by no means contained, this number is expected to increase substantially over the coming months.

As is always the case with such disasters, the burden of the Texas wildfires has fallen most heavily on rural and small-town working people, who continue to lose their homes, their crops, their pets, and in some cases, their lives. Bastrop resident Frank Davis, whose new home was destroyed in the fire, told MSNBC, “The fire was so hot, there are even panes of glass that melted.” Davis, a 47-year-old home remodeler, had recently moved to Bastrop from Austin, about 30 miles away. “It’s all gone,” he repeated sadly. It was Davis’s first home and he had no insurance.

A single fire in Bastrop, Texas, has claimed at least 1,554 homes so far. Countless photographs of devastated neighborhoods show piles of ash where houses once stood, while the corpses of livestock and pets that succumbed to the smoke litter the fields.

With support services slashed by the savage austerity measures that have already been enacted, there are reports of thousands of families sleeping in their cars in grocery store parking lots with no hope for aid or relief. Like Davis, many of the wildfire victims have no insurance and are hopelessly ruined. …

Earlier this year, in the face of the historic drought, the state government headed by governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry slashed funding for state firefighting and relief programs, doubtless exacerbating the ultimate scope of the devastation wrought by the ongoing fires.

In May, in the midst of the historic drought, the Texas state government cut the budget of the Texas Forest Service, which is responsible for combating wildfires, from $117.7 million to $83 million (see Texas plans drastic cuts to education, health care, and social services). The government directed further cuts to the state’s volunteer fire departments, on which the state’s millions of rural workers rely, reducing total grants from $30 million annually to $13.5 million.

State emergency services were hamstrung by the removal of their funding just as the fires began to break out. Many local administrations have already spent well over their budgets taking measures to combat the wildfires, and now will be forced to pay for those measures with cuts to other vital programs.

Wildfires are described endlessly in the media as constituting an “unexpected” natural disaster or an “act of God.” This is not true. First of all, much of the blame for the wildfires must be placed squarely on the Texas political establishment, which made a deliberate decision to cut funding for firefighting services in the midst of a drought. This is the equivalent of disbanding an army on the eve of an invasion. Second, more generally, scientific research has clearly linked human activity to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts that give rise to the proliferation of wildfires.

Perry Asks for Federal Funds to Fight Wildfires After Slashing State Fire Budget: here.

3 years after its inception, Texas’ wildfire protection plan is only half-funded: here.

Eyewitness to Texas Wildfires Watches Austerity Burn Rural Community. Dallas Darling, Truthout: “When I arrived in Bastrop, I encountered a second set of wildfires: angry, bitter citizens. At one meeting, residents – who had spent nearly a week wondering if their homes had been destroyed by the fire or remained standing – shouted questions at county officials…. Most Bastrop residents did not make the connection between Gov. Rick Perry’s deep budget cuts to local police and fire departments and the chaos they were facing, or criticize the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) stripping of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of funding and staff to address national disasters (nor did they mention the ongoing wars around the globe sucking money from domestic programs)”: here.

Poverty grows in Rick Perry‘s Texas: here.

Rick Perry hails from a state with a sizable Hispanic population, the nation’s second-largest. Unfortunately, his record on issues that concern the Latino community is very troubling. It makes me want to shout, “Not so fast, cowboy!” Here.

Rick Perry has 234 executions under his belt. Will he make it 235 tomorrow? Here.

Texas executes more people than any other American state – here’s an interactive guide to the 300+ inmates on death row: here.

Rick Perry Still Blocking Reporters on Twitter: here.

Will Perry’s Halting Debate Lead to a Faltering Campaign? Here.

Rick Perry, Pay-for-Play Jailer. William Fisher, Truthout: “Given what we know about Gov. Rick Perry’s keen predilection toward ‘crony capitalism,’ we should not be surprised to learn that he’s a big fan of private for-profit prisons. Lobbyists and executives from that industry have contributed generously to Perry’s re-election campaign, and he returned the favor by proposing policies that would benefit the prison industry”: here.

Cain Calls Rick Perry “Insensitive” for “N*ggerhead” Ranch Sign: here.

Liberal Guides to Rick Perry, Mitt Romney: here.

Michelle Bachmann: I’m Not Responsible For The Words Coming Out Of My Mouth: here.

The Pro-Hunger Lobby: GOP Frontrunners Fight Aid for Starving Americans. Maya Schenwar, Truthout: “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, is one of the most efficient, effective, penny-pinching programs in today’s government-scape. Food stamps have cushioned the recession’s blow for the 45 million Americans that depend on them for daily meals. And we’re not talking government-subsidized caviar: On average, food stamp recipients can expect an allotment of $30 per week. Plus, it’s a dream of a stimulus – every $5 in SNAP benefits generates nearly double that in economic activity. However, as the race to 2012 builds and the crazies get crazier, the top GOP presidential hopefuls have turned on this all-star program with a vengeance”: here.

39 thoughts on “Texas burns, Perry cuts firefighters


    The latest Republican plan to steal a presidential election may just work.

    In Pennsylvania, according to Mother Jones, a plan is brewing to allocate the state’s electoral votes by Congressional districts. Since Pennsylvania is gerrymandered to favor the election of Republican Congressional representatives, Obama could win the popular vote there, but lose the state in the Electoral College.

    Given that the Pennsylvania legislature and the governorship are all controlled by the GOP, this is a law that has good odds of being passed.

    With the precedent of Republican-controlled states using pretty much model templates of legislation to put barriers in the way of Democratic voting groups, it is extremely possible that the Pennsylvania electoral delegate plan will be proposed and enacted in other states where the GOP is in charge.

    The Democrats have little recourse. “Nor is there anything obviously illegal or unconstitutional about the GOP plan,” Mother Jones notes. “‘The Constitution is pretty silent on how the electors are chosen in each state,’ says Karl Manheim, a law professor at Loyola University in Los Angeles.”

    After the stolen election of 2000, which led to a lost decade of national decline for America, it is painful to think that a Democrat may win the popular vote but lose the presidency due to political chicanery with the electoral vote allocation.

    But this robbery of democracy might just very well occur in plain sight.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout


  2. Perry asked to consider reprieve

    UNITED STATES: Lawyers for death-row inmate Duane Buck, who was due to be executed in Texas today, have asked Governor Rick Perry to issue a 30-day reprieve to allow courts to consider the role the prisoner’s race may have played in the sentencing.

    Mr Buck was convicted of the 1995 killing his ex-girlfriend and another man.

    During his trial jurors heard testimony from psychologist Walter Quijano who told them that black criminals were more likely to pose a danger to the public if released.

    Mr Perry had not responded to the request when the Morning Star went to press.



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