Hurricane Irene Shows Criminality of Obama Gutting Government
August 31, 2011 • 9:22AM

Severe flooding is underway in an extensive area of the Northeast. So far this week, over 20 rivers and streams have set new all-time records for volume of run-off. Thousands of water rescue operations are being carried out by local firemen, police, and other first-responder teams, whose ranks have been drastically reduced over the past three years under the Obama Administration, and crony Republican budget axemen, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

To save lives and rescue the nation, throw Obama overboard, and make way for real rebuilding.

The extreme flooding results from the heavy rains dumped by Hurricane Irene, coming down on ground already sodden from huge August precipitation. Watersheds are overflowing and rampaging across the states of Delaware, through eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, eastern New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The criminality of allowing local government staff and functions to be cut in the prospect of such extreme weather, is illustrated by the town of Paterson, N.J., on the Passaic River, whose high waters rose to crest today, in the range of 14 ft, which is 7 ft above flood level. Large parts of Paterson, and other towns along the course of the river, were under water.

As of mid-day yesterday, Paterson Fire Chief Mike Pastorino said that 600 emergency boat evacuations had been conducted in his town, and 1,700 of this type — urban search and rescue — across the state. Pastorino called the whole situation "the worst" he has ever seen. The mayor of Paterson was scrambling today, to open four or five schools as emergency shelters for the displaced.

But in Paterson, now under siege, 30 EMTs (emergency medical technicians) have been fired under Obama and Christie's budget-cutting policies! This is the pattern all across New Jersey, where now the remaining police, firefighters, and EMTs are struggling valiantly to cope.

* Passaic laid off 17 firefighters earlier this year.

* Camden fired 67 out of 240 firefighters in January.

* Jersey City lost over 100 firefighters, due to non-replaced retirements, in 2010; and lost another 8 this year.

* Bloomfield lost 12 firefighters to budget cuts this year.

* East Orange laid off 22 firefighters this year.

* West Orange laid of 16 earlier this year.

* Atlantic City laid off 30 firefighters last year, and lost 23 more to unreplaced retirements.

* Newark has lost 125 firefighters since December, 2009, although 70 positions were reinstated under a FEMA grant, with no assurance of continuation.

Government staff and resources are short all across the Mid-Atlantic and New England, now undergoing great danger and destruction. Very hard-hit regions include the Poconos in eastern Pennsylvania, the Catskills and up the Hudson Valley in New York, all of Vermont, Connecticut, and large parts of Massachusetts. As of this morning, in upstate New York, at least 191 emergency flood rescues were done, according to the state Homeland Security and Emergency Services Division, who said, "This is massive." Water is still rising.

Most all the New Jersey rivers are cresting today. The Rockaway River has eroded away a whole stretch of lane on four-lane Highway 287. In Rahway, 50 people were rescued by firefighters in boats. The Toms River has left people marooned at many points. The Delaware River has caused huge damage. Dams and other structures are failing.

Farther north and west, the river cresting in other states may not occur for a couple more days. Everywhere, firemen, police, emergency workers, the national Guard, and others are working heroically, under severe constraints of manpower and resources.