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Thumbing Their Nose at God

September 1, 2011
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Did you know that over a thousand homes in North Carolina were destroyed by Irene?

The far right has begun to make it a habit of thumbing their nose at God.

“…A Democratic leadership aide said today that it is “highly unlikely” Congress will reach an agreement on supplemental appropriations for the agency in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, the “natural place for additional disaster relief funding.”

Instead the aide said that any disaster relief funding will likely be attached to the stop-gap funding bill that must pass through Congress by the end of September, when current government funding runs. Unless, that is, by some miracle both Houses of Congress pass all of their appropriations bills—a legislative long shot.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said earlier this week that any additional disaster funding would have to be offset by spending cuts — a position that could be a tough sell for Congressional Democrats.

“Are House Republicans willing to shut down the federal government in order to satisfy their demands for offsets on disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Irene?” asked the aide, who did not want to be identified….”

Sure, we hear about the damage to the Washington Monument, but is anyone discussing the fate of Prattsville, NY?   Why do casinos in some areas get power but businesses right down the street get nothing?

“…Cuomo summed up the damage the state took with a litany of figures: “Over 600 homes destroyed, six towns inundated, 150 major highways have been damaged, 22 state bridges closed. In the area of agriculture, over $45 million in damage, 140,000 acres and still climbing.” Obama’s disaster declaration ensures that counties will get federal aid to pay for rebuilding, but Republicans led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have threatened to withhold disaster relief funds by insisting it be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. As press secretary Jay Carney aptly put it, “I wish that commitment to looking for offsets had been held by the House majority leader and others, say, during the previous administration when they ran up unprecedented bills and never paid for them,” he said, referring to the massive deficit the Bush administration incurred over eight years….”

If you were to rely on FOX, there are no real problems extending from Hurricane Irene.  We’re looking at one of the worst natural disasters in this nation’s history, but no one seems to even give a rip about the victims.  The region is facing historic flooding, but evidently the destruction of one small town after another is not all that important in the grand scheme of things.  You are seeing very little about the Hurricane, now that it is over, no matter how bad the damage is.

Why?

“…Which makes it even more galling when someone tells me they were “disappointed” by the storm.Listen, I understand the sentiment. When it snows, and weather forecasters put on their favorite bow tie to giddily let us know about the 10 inches of snow we should be expecting, it can be a bit of a letdown when barely an inch ends of coating our driveway.

But the major difference is that extra nine inches of snow we “missed” wouldn’t have necessarily led to more property damage or the loss of life.

With Hurricane Irene, it’s as if some people are upset that the storm’s winds didn’t blow down MORE homes, that its rainfall didn’t flood MORE businesses, that Irene didn’t leave MORE property damage and carnage in her wake.

Tell that to the folks in northern New Jersey, where waters have reached a 100-year high and most towns have yet to see any real relief from flooding. Or to the residents of Vermont, where 13 towns have been cut off without running water or power since Sunday. What about the 50 or so homes in the Delaware beach town of Lewes that were damaged, and in some cases destroyed, by a tornado?…”

Washington is bickering.  The GOP is looking like a ship of fools.  Eric Cantor has seriously damaged his reputation.  Ron Paul looks like a fool.  Michele Bachmann is an abject flake. Nikki Haley has suggested people might not want to depend on any help after being savaged by Irene.  Cantor comes out looking even worse because he opposed the same sort of thing a few years ago.  If nothing else, this proves, from 2004 until 2011, the Right has become far more extreme.  They aren’t even blocking relief, but Cantor has, once again, through his libertarian leaning arrogance, put the GOP in a bad light.  Chris Christie is furious, and he should be.

“…A] bemused Democratic source notes that in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have “fully offset” the cost of that supplemental with “a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding” elsewhere. Funding for defense, homeland security, and veterans was exempted from the proposed cuts. But the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), would do precisely what Republican leadership is proposing to do now. [...] The 2004 emergency supplemental was proposed after five hurricanes hit the United States, including Tropical Storm Gaston, which did damage to Cantor’s home district of Richmond. But Irene and this summer’s east-coast earthquake also hit Virginia, meaning that provincial interests aren’t necessarily what changed Cantor’s tune….”

Take a look at Drudge for Wednesday evening.  Was there a major disaster in this country?

Drudge Report - 9PM, Wed, Aug 31, 2011

Then look at a shot in time from Memeorandum.

Memeorandum

Why isn’t Brooklyn getting assistance but the rest of NYC is?

There is a very real problem with using someone like Ayn Rand, who hated Christ, as the figurehead for a national movement.  Something nasty has happened to this country these past year or so.  With the rise to prominence of the libertarian provoked tea parties, it is as though basic human decency has been ignored.  I take that back, it began with the anti-immigration bigots who rose to power while GWB was trying to do humane immigration reform.

In Wednesday’s WSJ’s Political Diary there is a comment about Michele Bachmann.

“…”Just when her campaign badly needed some class, [Michele Bachmann] reached into the mud and found another group to demonize besides homosexuals: illegal immigrants. She announced recently that she would become the first GOP presidential candidate to make opposition to illegal immigration a signature issue, no doubt in a bid to shore up her flagging poll numbers against Rick Perry.

“But this will put her in bed with groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies and Numbers USA who are the political godfathers of the modern anti-immigrant movement. Inspired by a radical Malthusianism, they tout an ultra restrictionist agenda — advocating in CIS’s case a moratorium on all immigration, skilled and unskilled. They are part of a network of organizations founded by John Tanton, a Michigan-based ophthalmologist, who warmly applauded China’s one-child policy and sterilization of Third World women, all of which fundamentally conflicts with Bachmann’s Christian, pro-life beliefs.

“They have peddled myths about unauthorized workers that have stymied rational immigration reform” — columnist Shikha Dalmia writing at reason.com on Aug. 30….”

The GOP is being made to look like a bunch of jerks.

Thanks to Rand, it is the vogue not to want to help those in need.  They should be able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps.  If they cannot, then they are doomed to be those little ants the John Galts of the world stomp on, while they sip luscious wine.  People who are on unemployment are leeches.  The minimum wage is not as bad as it sounds.  There is basically something wrong with people who aren’t making a fortune.  They do not deserve assistance.  They do not deserve help, nor kindness.  The problems they are facing are due to their own short-fallings, right?

Don Surber wrote:

“…“Would love to see Bachman try to live on $290.00 per week (which she wants to make even lower). BTW unemployment is $300 per week. Why would anyone look for a job..(gas money, clothes, auto, child care, etc.) Lets get real about taxes…we cannot operate without revenue and as has been proven, trickle down does not work. Let’s just make it fair and equitable and close the loopholes.”

Actually, minimum wage is not all that bad. With state and federal aid, a $7.25 an hour worker gets $14 an hour in pay and benefits from taxpayers and her employer.

Florida raised its minimum wage to $7.31 an hour on June 1, 2011. That would make 40 hours of work worth $292.40 a week. Bachmann’s net pay would be $275.88 after the 5.65% FICA tax. Next year, FICA is supposed to bounce back up to 7.65%, but we shall see. Florida has no state income tax and her income would be too low to pay federal income taxes to cut into that.

But wait, there is more. Food stamps would increase her monthly income by $133 — making her take home pay (based on 4.33 paydays per month — or 13 every 3 months) $306.57.

Her EITC — Earned Income Tax Credit — would be approximately $2,600 a year — or $50 a week, bringing her up to $356.57.

Low-income people in her state are eligible for assistance on the heating or air conditioning bills. This ranges from a minimum of $150 a year to $300. Round that off to $156 a year and she gets another $3 a week. Every little bit helps. Her take-home pay is now $359.57 a week or nearly $9 an hour tax-free. She also would be eligible for federal rent subsidies, which would stretch her wages even further.

Add in the $10,000 a year Medicaid benefit and she is hauling in $14 an hour, or about double what her apparent pay is. Don’t knock Medicaid. It is first dollar coverage, unlimited with no deductions….”

The Politico/Arena

There is this battle against flood insurance.

“...In the wake of Irene’s devastating floods, Neil Cavuto’s Your World brought on Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) Monday (8/29/11) for a friendly discussion about ending the national flood insurance program. What it really boiled down to, is “American” Miller questioning why people not in flood zones (like Michigan) should pay for flood insurance in places that are…”

Durn these libertarian leaning folks make the GOP look bad.

“…Milbank warns that Republicans‘ proposed budget cuts will harm the future effectiveness of NOAA and FEMA: “But under the House Republicans’ plan to freeze discretionary spending at 2008 levels over a decade, FEMA cuts are inevitable.” Milbank also cites a report from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, saying the Republican’s proposed cuts would amount “to a 31 percent cut in real per capita spending on discretionary functions such as FEMA.”

“Tea Party members who denounce big government seem to have an abstract notion that government spending means welfare programs and bloated bureaucracies. Almost certainly they aren’t thinking about hurricane tracking and pre-positioning of FEMA supplies. But if they succeed in paring the government, some of these Tea Party folks (particularly those on the coasts or on the tornado alley’s) may be surprised to discover that they have turned a Hurricane Irene government back into a Katrina government,” Milbank wrote.

Matt Mayer is a Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, who specializes in national security issues and formerly worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where FEMA is housed. In an interview with The Christian Post, he said that the issue with FEMA is not how much money it receives in the federal budget, but how the money is being spent…The reality is, we’ve got to get FEMA out of the business of routine disasters that it’s been involved in over the last 20 years, and if we do that, FEMA will have plenty of funds and resources to deal with catastrophic events like hurricanes and major earthquakes,” Mayer said.

State and local governments are capable of dealing with minor disasters, according to Mayer, but FEMA has an important role to play when disasters are so catastrophic that they overwhelm the resources of state and local governments.

“The true intent of FEMA was to be a catastrophic agency,” Mayer said, “whether it’s Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, the Northridge earthquake in California, or 9/11, that’s what FEMA should be getting involved with. That’s where you need that federal role, because, it’s so big it really does overwhelm state and local governments.”

There are very few disasters that meet this requirement, though, according to Mayer. Instead, he said, states use FEMA money as a way to shift the cost of minor disasters to the federal government or the other states…”

Good, extreme right, Reagan hating conservatives like Mayer, don’t seem to comprehend that states cannot cope with major disasters.

Riverdaughter

There is some dreary reality here.  The GOP in the House voted for additional FEMA funding, but the Dems in the Senate have not.

WTimes

As an aside, why is the SBA not facing a shortfall in funding?

This is not near the disaster that Katrina was, but what has happened to the American spirit of giving?  Few companies have stepped up to donate the way Lowe’s has.  Bank of America is donating a quarter of that amount to the Red Cross.  So is Reynolds American.

I hate to be a party-pooper, but the latest study on major corporations using loopholes to avoid paying any federal taxes is deplorable.  It needs to be stopped.  That is where we need tax reform, even though Grover Norquist may call it a tax hike.

“…We researched the 100 U.S. corporations that shelled out the most last year in CEO compensation. At 25 of these corporate giants, we found, the bill for chief executive compensation actually ran higher than the company’s entire federal corporate income tax bill.

Corporate outlays for CEO compensation — despite the lingering Great Recession — are rising. Employment levels have barely rebounded from their recessionary lows. Top executive pay levels, by contrast, have rebounded nearly all the way back from their pre-recession levels.

This contrast shows up starkly in the 2010 ratio between average worker and average CEO compensation. In 2009, we calculate, major corporate CEOs took home 263 times the pay of America’s average workers. Last year, this gap leaped to 325-to-1.

Among the nation’s top firms, the S&P 500, CEO pay last year averaged $10,762,304, up 27.8 percent over 2009. Average worker pay in 2010? That finished up at $33,121, up just 3.3 percent over the year before.

What are America’s CEOs doing to deserve their latest bountiful rewards? We have no evidence that CEOs are fashioning, with their executive leadership, more effective and efficient enterprises. On the other hand, ample evidence suggests that CEOs and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people. This disinvestment also undermines the infrastructure and services that small and large businesses also depend upon.

Investigative journalists and tax research organizations have been documenting how U.S.-based global companies are aggressively shearing — and even totally eliminating — their federal income tax obligations. This past March, for instance, The New York Times traced the steps General Electric has taken to avoid U.S. corporate taxes for the last five years. Citizens for Tax Justice, as part of a forthcoming study on tax avoidance among the Fortune 500, has identified 12 corporations that have paid an effective rate of negative 1.5 percent on $171 billion in profits….”

If this is what it now means to be a “conservative” Tea Party “patriot”, leave me out of the club.  I don’t want to know the secret handshake, nor pay dues.  I don’t want to know the password of any organization that waxes poetic about our founding, pretends that we were founded as a “God-fearing Nation”, but don’t understand Christian compassion?

We’ve never turned our back on the people of this nation, not those in need.  This is something rather new. Sure, there were the good old days when people depended upon themselves.  It was the era of a 20% infant mortality due to unpasteurized milk and food spoilage.  Life expectancy has risen dramatically, which is one of the very real problems with social security.

EH.net

During the decade between 1900 – 1910:

Lone Star College

One of the great ironies of the first decade of the 1800s is the religious awakening.

“...Late in the eighteenth century and early in the nineteeth century, the Second Great Awakening began. The first great awakening consisted of religious revivals that had occured during colonial settlements. Similar camp meetings helped promote the Second Great Awakening. The first of these camp meetings took place in July, 1800 at Gasper River Church in Southwestern Kentucky.  More than 10,000 people gathered at the Cane Ridge Camp meeting in Kentucky, 1801, making it the largest and one of the most remarkable of these meetings. These meetings of the second revival movement helped spread the idea of personal salvation.   From saving oneself, it was only a short step to the belief that one could and must save one’s neighbors.

Religious freedom helped create denominations other than the well-established Presbytarian Church.   Congregationalist and Presbytarian churches, which were very strong in New England, met competition from Lutherans, Methodists, Methodist Episcopalians and Baptists. In 1801, Presbytarians and Congregationalists planned to jointly minister as a strategy for evangelizing the West, under a “Plan of Union.”

Nathaniel Taylor and Lyman Beecher, two evangelical Calvinists, believed in a Christian’s free will to choose salvation.  Beecher organized revivals with other Protestant leaders, and together they helped organize voluntary associations to promote Christian behavior. In 1798 and 1799, Connecticut and Massachusetts began missionary societies devoted to sending orthodox pastors to frontier areas.  Beecher and other leaders soon found that many of his recruits were women and teachers.  This interesting development allowed wives and daughters to take leadership roles previously denied them.  This began a shift in gender relations.  “Women’s participation in the ‘benevolent empire’ suggested that the legacy of the Revolution applied to them, too” (see the Encyclopedia of American Social History REF HN57.E58)….”

This is where America’s real foundation as a “Christian” nation began.  It is quite obvious, thanks to Rand and the liberals, we’ve lost who and what we are.

Our ancestors would be ashamed of us.  How long will we be able to claim the moral high ground as a nation and a party, when the GOP, the party of Reagan, has thumbed its nose at God, and Judeo-Christian values?

When we turn our back on those who are less fortunate, considering them beneath contempt, we are no better than some third world despotic monstrosity.   I don’t know about you, but it isn’t the liberals or Barack Obama who embarrass me as an America, but creatures like Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Lou Dobbs, John Tanton, Michele Malkin, and the spineless Republicans in the House and Senate who are terrified of them.

 

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  • jose maria

    As a veteran of many storms and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast for over 50 years, I think I can say with certainty that when people are clinging to the rooftops of their houses after a storm surge or if everything they own has been swept out to sea, or they are without electricity or communication, food and water, they don’t want to hear the following bull $$$$ …..You can’t get any help until budget cuts are made….the government shouldn’t be in the business of bailing out people whose property is damaged…..Spending on so many disasters has already used up the money….If the government can’t help its own people during natural disasters, then what is it good for? This is past being immoral. This is obscene. Unless the spineless Republicans in the House and Senate start taking a stand against the far right, the light is going to go out on our generation.

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com SJ Reidhead

    I can’t get over what they are doing. Absolutely tone deaf.

    SJR


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