GOP Budget Cuts Target Tsunami Warning Center

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A killer tsunami has devastated Japan and is now threatening Hawaii and the Pacific Coast of the US. But just last month, Republicans voted to gut funding for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center—a cut that would cripple the National Weather Service’s ability to issue warnings about such disasters. 

In February, the union representing the National Weather Service warned that the Republican cuts could place the residents of Hawaii in mortal danger. “People could die… It could be serious,” Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, told Hawaii’s Star Advertiser. The House budget includes a 28 percent cut to the National Weather Service that would result in staffing cutbacks to Hawaii’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which monitors potential tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. 

The Obama administration is threatening to veto the cut, and Congressional Democrats have called the reduction a “reckless” means of forwarding a political agenda. “Those who claim that global warming is a myth find the hard data produced by such monitoring inconvenient,” Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told the Star Advertiser. The cutback to the tsunami warning center also recalls Gov. Bobby Jindal’s mockery of federal money for volcano monitoring back in 2009—just months before a volcano eruption in Iceland wreaked havoc on Europe. 

Similarly, Japan’s tsunami may serve as a wake-up call to Congress’ budget-slashing legislators. As the National Weather Service’s union president Dan Sobien warned last month: “In the next hurricane, flood, tornado or wildfire, lives will be lost and people will ask what went wrong. Congress’ cuts and the devastation to the well-being of our nation’s citizens are dangerously wrong.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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