Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gun Industry Promote Guns as Gifts For Kids

Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:40PM GMT

US war machinery killing children

The US firearms industry has invested millions of dollars into a campaign to get American children interested in guns and shooting.

An article published on Sunday in New York Times announced the industry’s strategies to promote a next generation of gun users. These strategies included backing youth groups with firearms, ammunition and money; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a video game that promotes target-shooting and advertises brand-name weapons.

The industry’s 2012 report, which was based on an extensive social research, also focused on children aged eight to 17 and suggested that “peer ambassadors” should help introduce cautious youths to guns slowly, by the means of paintball, archery or other activities that are less frightening.

"The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms," said the report. MORE HERE:
More Small Town Gun Violence.

How many more of our children must die by guns before we say ENOUGH? thinkingblue

Monday, January 28, 2013

Saving Lives - Owning A Gun, A Right Or A Privilege?

Japan Is Enlightened, Why Isn't The USA?
Why can't the GUN enthusiasts who belong to the NRA (and the politicians who support them) realize that treating the ownership of firearms as a right has dire consequences? The people in the right-wing will argue with anyone until they are BLUE IN THE FACE that Healthcare is not a right... But when it comes to weapons they cry out IT’S OUR RIGHT TO OWN A GUN! Convoluted? Everything about this type of mindset is BIZARRE and puzzling to anyone with common sense. When not even the mass killing of 20 kindergarteners can soften such an obstinate, unyielding and OUT OF WHACK vision of reality, WHAT IN THE WORLD CAN? thinkingblue


Gunfire rings through the hills at a shooting range at the foot of Mount Fuji. There are few other places in Japan where you'll hear it.

In this country, guns are few and far between. And so is gun violence. Guns were used in only seven murders in Japan — a nation of about 130 million — in all of 2011, the most recent year for official statistics. According to police, more people — nine — were murdered with scissors.

Though its gun ownership rates are tiny compared to the United States, Japan has more than 120,000 registered gun owners and more than 400,000 registered firearms. So why is there so little gun violence?

"We have a very different way of looking at guns in Japan than people in the United States," said Tsutomu Uchida, who runs the Kanagawa Ohi Shooting Range, an Olympic-style training center for rifle enthusiasts. "In the U.S., people believe they have A RIGHT TO OWN A GUN. In Japan, we don't have that right. So our point of departure is completely different."

Treating gun ownership as a privilege and not a right leads to some important policy differences.

First, anyone who wants to get a gun must demonstrate a valid reason why they should be allowed to do so. Under longstanding Japanese policy, there is no good reason why any civilian should have a handgun, so — aside from a few dozen accomplished competitive shooters — they are completely banned.

Virtually all handgun-related crime is attributable to gangsters, who obtain them on the black market. But such crime is extremely rare and when it does occur, police crack down hard on whatever gang is involved, so even gangsters see it as a last-ditch option.

Rifle ownership is allowed for the general public, but tightly controlled.
thinkingblue PS: Posting this on dailykos brought out an interesting response to another viewpoint on gun ownership:

"I was raised in a Democratic voting household, my dad was a member of the IBEW and we would be considered lifelong Democrats. My family and the millions of families like us make up a significant portion of the Democratic Party. Who are we?"
My response to this posting: USA gun ownership is a right, BUT...
It’s time to take a good hard look at this “right” and not just accept it as a 2nd amendment legality that is presumed, carved in stone and unchangeable because although I can agree that owning a gun may be a right but the owning of semi-automatics with clips holding 10 to 100 bullets should not be or should never be construed as a right. Nothing should (especially in the realm of danger) be evaluated in Black and White perspectives; we human beings (and nature itself) are too complicated for that. The problem is, how can legislators spell it out to those who own (or wish to own) arsenals of weapons, that owning or buying artillery should have limitations, in spite of how they interpret the US constitution? It should be common sense; if we won’t allow other countries to arm themselves to the teeth with nuclear bombs (remember the Bush/Cheney administration was able to convince the majority of our lawmakers to send our youth to war over a presumed idea that Iraq had “Weapons of Mass Destruction” therefore posed a threat to the world.)

Why should it be so difficult to convince the NRA and its members who cry out IT’S OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to own whatever weapons that are available for sale WITHOUT modification or restrictions. I don’t know about anyone else, but this confuses the hell out of me. I guess possessing too much common sense can be a curse in a culture where foolishness seems to rule. thinkingblue

Made In China Label - There's More Than Meets The Eye

Monday, January 21, 2013

Flashback - Inauguration Day January 20, 2009

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
What I would like to know is, why this wasn't considered TREASON?
[tree-zuh?n] noun
1. the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
2. a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
3. the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.
Certainly sounds like some sort of treason was going on to me and by a Fifth Column to boot.
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group, such as a nation, from within. A fifth column can be a group of secret sympathizers of an enemy that are involved in sabotage within military defense lines, or a country's borders. A key tactic of the fifth column is the secret introduction of supporters into the whole fabric of the entity under attack.[2] This clandestine infiltration is especially effective with positions concerning national policy and defense. From influential positions like these, fifth column tactics can be effectively utilized, from stoking fears through misinformation campaigns, to traditional techniques like espionage.
I wonder if a secret meeting will take place this Inauguration Evening January 21, 2013. If it does will the Teapublicans get away with it AGAIN? thinkingblue
As President Barack Obama was celebrating his inauguration at various balls, top Republican lawmakers and strategists were conjuring up ways to submarine his presidency at a private dinner in Washington.

The event -- which provides a telling revelation for how quickly the post-election climate soured -- serves as the prologue of Robert Draper's much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives."

According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The non-lawmakers present included Newt Gingrich, several years removed from his presidential campaign, and Frank Luntz, the long-time Republican wordsmith. Notably absent were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who, Draper writes, had an acrimonious relationship with Luntz.

For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama's legislative platform.

"If you act like you're the minority, you're going to stay in the minority," Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. "We've gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."
Robert Draper's much-discussed and heavily-reported new book, "Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives."
Democrats have rounded on revelations about a private dinner of House Republicans on inauguration day in 2009 in which they plotted a campaign of obstruction against newly installed president Barack Obama.

During a lengthy discussion, the senior GOP members worked out a plan to repeatedly block Obama over the coming four years to try to ensure he would not be re-elected.

The disclosures – described as "appalling and sad" by Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod – undermine Republican claims that the president alone is to blame for the partisan deadlock in Washington.

A detailed account of who was present at the dinner on that January 20 night and the plan they worked out to bring down Obama is provided by Robert Draper in 'Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives', published this week.

In his book, Draper opens with the heady atmosphere in Washington on the days running up to the inauguration and the day itself, which attracted 1.8 million to the mall to witness Obama being sworn in as America's first black president.

Those numbers contributed to a growing sense of unease among Republicans as much the defeat in the White House race the previous November. The 15 Republicans were in a sombre mood as they gathered at the Caucus Room in Washington, an upscale restaurant where a New York strip steak costs $51.

Attending the dinner were House members Eric Cantor, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra, Dan Lungren, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Pete Sessions. From the Senate were Tom Coburn, Bob Corker, Jim DeMint, John Ensign and Jon Kyl. Others present were former House Speaker and future – and failed – presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and the Republican strategist Frank Luntz, who organised the dinner and sent out the invitations.

The dinner table was set in a square at Luntz's request so everyone could see one another and talk freely. The session lasted four hours and by the end the sombre mood had lifted: they had conceived a plan. They would take back the House in November 2010, which they did, and use it as a spear to mortally wound Obama in 2011 and take back the Senate and White House in 2012, Draper writes.

"If you act like you're the minority, you're going to stay in the minority," said Keven McCarthy, quoted by Draper. "We've gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."

The Republicans have done that, bringing Washington to a near standstill several times during Obama's first term over debt and other issues.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Debauchery Of The Noxious NRA, Loathsome Limbaugh, and The Grisly GOP

Just when we all thought the NRA could not get any battier, they come out with an absurd, over-the-top ad condemning President Obama's children for having armed guard protection.
(What in the world are they trying to say, President Obama and his family need protection more than any other President due to the advent of the prejudiced Tea Party that has more Bigots than Carter Has Liver Pills --You would have had to be brought up in the 50's to know that phrase)
Also, we now have a new group rising out of the Toxin and stirring up The Human Rotten called the Sandy Hook Truther movement It doesn't get any worse than this folks.
What is wrong with the American people anyway? It's perplexing that so many of our citizens do not want to see, think or hear candor, preferring Lies, Distortions and Conspiracy Theories instead of the NAKED TRUTH. I wish with all my heart that the massacre of 20 beautiful children at Sandy Hook did not occur but it did, just ask all those bereaved who lost their babies, I know they must wake up each morning and scream out "WHY?”… I wish there was a plausible explanation for such insanity but calling this heartsick tragedy a hoax is beyond anything a normal thinking human being could possibly endure. FAU professor James Tracy needs to step down as an educator, he has no business teaching when his perception of reality is so pathetically warped. And as for the Sandy Hook Truthers, How In The World Do You Live With Yourselves? thinkingblue

Please read the article below.

Why Sandy Hook Massacre Spawned Conspiracy Theories
By Benjamin Radford
One month after the Sandy Hook school shootings, the list of victims continues to grow. One man, Gene Rosen — who found six children and a bus driver in his driveway, brought them into his home, fed them and called parents to assure them that their children were safe — has been harassed by telephone, email and online by those who think he is lying about his actions, and is part of a conspiracy.

Rosen is not the first hero to be assaulted and insulted by conspiracy theorists with doubts. In 2002, when conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel confronted astronaut Buzz Aldrin and called him a "coward and a liar" for faking the moon landings, the 72-year-old promptly punched Sibrel in the face.

A group called the Sandy Hook Truther movement has emerged from the dust and chaos over the past weeks to claim that the school shooting was all a staged event. Though many Americans are outraged and incredulous that anyone could doubt that the tragedy even happened, the Sandy Hook school shootings follow classic conspiracy thinking. Here are a few reasons why.


Monday, January 14, 2013

In The Wake Of Newtown, Fear Mongering Is At An All Time High!

In The Wake Of Newtown, Fear Mongering Is At An All Time High!

The mentally challenged weapon enthusiasts, among us, are ablaze with paranoia pertaining to delusions that their guns will be taken away. Of course IT'S NOT TRUE, yet they are all over the media threatening that if the only tool that makes them feel important and all powerful (their weaponry) is taken from their pathetic, cold hands; they will start to SHOOT PEOPLE. These Fear Monger types are like a cancer upon society and they wish to spread their malignancy far and wide across this country of ours. They HATE (or they pretend to hate) and they have something to sell that will make them in their misconceptions, either famous or rich or both (unfortunately, it sometimes works, as in the case of Alex Jones). Their hope is to get others to HATE because it can blind the weak-minded enough to buy their nonsense and join them in kind of a, blaze of glory, fallacy.This video shows four examples of some of the worst of the worst whose desire is to have their egos massaged and they accomplish this, by using FEAR! thinkingblue thinkingblue

Down the Rabbit Hole With Fox News’ Latest Obama Gun Conspiracy By: Sarah Jones
Wondering why you can’t go anywhere without bumping into a ranting, screaming crazy person nattering on about Obama taking their freedom away? It’s Fox acid.
Come down the rabbit hole with a recent Fox News article titled, “UN gun control treaty will reveal gun laws Obama really supports” to break down the anatomy of the Fox News Obama’s coming for our guns lie. Turns out, the very narrow ledge of “reality” they preach over is buttressed on nada but “feelings” that lead to vague conspiracy theories.
John Lott starts off badly with these faulty assertions:
    "The Obama administration is undoubtedly the most hostile administration to gun ownership in US history, with Obama having personally supported bans of handguns and semi-automatic weapons before becoming president. And remember the recent scandal where the Obama administration was caught allowing guns go to Mexican drug gangs, hoping it would help push for gun control laws."
Okay, so wow. If you believed all of that, you’d be paranoid too.
Trouble is, this is a lie upon a lie upon a lie. The first link “proving” Obama is the most hostile administration on gun ownership goes to a John Lott blog post titled, “President Obama’s Anti-Gun Agenda Shows No Sign of Stopping.” Only Lott shows no signs of Obama’s actual policy-based anti-gun agenda. He can’t show policy because it’s not true.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Teapublican Planet

I swear the more I hear from the teapublicans the more I believe they should have their own planet or at least their own country. These people would make life unbearable for the rest of us if they could.
Another movie that caught my attention was one made in 1996 based on a 1953 play by Arthur Miller called 'The Crucible'
The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. Was initially called "The Chronicles of Sarah Good". It is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists.

As I watched the plot unfold I couldn't help but think... This is how life would be today in America if the Tea Party got its way. Please watch the trailer below and judge for yourself.

Besides movies, to stimulate THINKING, I get a lot of motivation from facebook. First someone or group will post a picture and if it somehow disagrees with how the Tea Party members view reality, they post the most ridiculous verbiage for all to see and learn how foolish and mechanical they appear to those of us who have more than just a couple of brain cells. Mostly the rhetoric they use has been spoken over and over again, sounding to those who lived through the 50’s and 60’s, like a broken record. I have included some of the print-screens I've taken of the more nonsensical comments. Like I said, these Tea Party types really should have their own planet or country because they sure don't belong here amongst the ones who can row with both oars in the water, who also, rather ponder before they spout. thinkingblue

Thinkingblue comment:
Oh, the poor brainwashed republicans (Hey GOP you did a real number on your followers) can’t see a comparison if it were to go up to them and smack them right across the checks. Well maybe I can take a stab at it and spread some enlightenment on the subject. I’ll paraphrase the above jargon using a popular saying: Did you ever hear the expression “THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER”? It translates this way; By throwing the baby out with the bath water, you get rid of the good parts as well as the bad parts of something when you are trying to improve it… “I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bath water. There are some good features of the present system that I think we should retain.”
DOES THAT FLOAT YOUR BOAT? No? Well how about this: "Throwing the baby out with the bath water" is an expression that implies that an entire idea, concept, practice or project doesn't need to be rejected or discontinued if part of it is good. The baby, in this sense, represents the good part that can be preserved. The bath water, on the other hand, usually is dirty after the baby is washed and needs to be discarded, just like the parts of the concept that are bad or useless.
In other words welfare is mostly good because LITTLE BABIES (you know those things that come from the fetuses you worship until they are born) WON’T STARVE TO DEATH due to the safety net called Welfare. Don’t do away with it because a teeny tiny bit of humanity may take advantage of it.
The same goes for the 2nd Amendment, we (those of us in power) should not strike it down or make it illegal to own a hunting weapon just because there will always be some NUT who will use that hunting weapon to do harm to another human being.
DID IT SINK IN YET? Oh F*ck it, I GIVE UP! Trying to interpret reality to someone who can’t see the forest for the trees is like herding cats or nailing jello to a tree, It just ain't a gonna happen.
Was that enough catch-phrases for you…? How about a few more… “I'd love to get into a battle of wits with you, but I'd never go against someone unarmed.”  OR "Don't get lost in thought; you'll be a total stranger there."  OR "Put a condom on ur head because if ur ganna act like a dick u might as well dress like one!"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

GOP Congressman, Horse's Petute, Says it's ABOUT TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO SHUT DOWN.

Listen to Ezra Klein (a Sane Person) tell Horse's Petute that this is NOT A GOOD IDEA. In fact it is a SCARY IDEA...

Are You Tired Of Calling The Wacko Teapublicans Wacko?
SO AM I, because we need to do so much more than to call them names, it's getting too scary! For over four years, perhaps a lot longer because they went by a different name pre-Obama, these crazy people have filled our airwaves, if not our senses with their psychopathic messages. That’s right, I said PSYCHOPATHIC, a quick Google search gives rise to the Teapublican meaning of this word:  
Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been variously characterized by shallow emotions (including reduced fear, a lack of empathy, and stress tolerance), cold-heartedness, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity, criminality, antisocial behavior, a lack of remorse, and a parasitic (bloodsucking) lifestyle.
Look back on any video featuring Tea Party Pitchpersons and Talkingheads, floating around the Internet and it will bear witness to the above factual statement pertaining to those who identify with this so-called movement.
Let’s sum up some of the bills, laws and wacked theories the GOP Tea Party leaders have thrown around, (unfortunately with some success) like kids tossing not-so-hot baseball cards in some silly sidewalk game. (Note: this is but a small example of the horrendous laws these NUTS would force Sane Americans to live under)
Anti-Sharia Laws
According to Mother Jones , five states have banned “Sharia law” and another 11 are “working on it.” Aside from the fact that, for the non-crazy among us, there is no discrete legal code known as Sharia law, the other problems with these measures are the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Abortion Bills Conflicting with Roe
Less humorous are a spate of anti-abortion bills that fly in the face of the Supreme Court's longstanding view that the Constitution grants a “right to privacy” pertaining to such matters as abortion. These are not designed merely to pander to the base, but to restrict abortions to a degree that they become effectively impossible to obtain.
Nullification Laws
We've seen truthers, birthers, deathers and then there are the tenthers, who believe that states can simply opt-out of any federal law that isn't explicitly included in the Constitution. They've used it to pass – or propose – laws opting out of everything from hate crimes legislation to health-care reform. Yes, they're partying like it's 1861!
States Regulating Immigration
Again, the courts have long held, under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, that when a state law conflicts with a federal law, the former is, in the words of Justice John Paul Stevens writing for the majority in a 2008 case, “without effect.” The federal government has argued, and won, a whole slew of cases based on federal immigration laws trumping competing legislation passed by the states.
Don't Say This or That Laws
Guess what? Nowhere in the First Amendment does it say, you have the right to free speech, “except for those living in the deep South.”
Yet Florida's legislature has passed a law barring physicians from asking patients if there is a firearm present in their home. An earlier version of the bill, subtly called “Don't Ask,” would have made it a felony, but that was apparently too crazy even for Florida.
Not to be outdone, the Tennessee Senate passed a law this week that “would forbid public school teachers and students in grades kindergarten through eight from discussing the fact that some people are gay.” The “Don't Say 'Gay'” law prompted George Takei, of Star Trek fame, to offer his own name to be used as a proxy.
Financial 'Martial Law'
Also in the less funny category is Michigan governor Rick Snyder's “financial martial law” legislation, which allows him to appoint “emergency financial managers” authorized to take over local municipalities. It empowers them, among other things, to “reject, modify, or terminate one or more terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.” Typical war on unions stuff!
Let us not forget about the Treaty modeled after Americans with Disabilities Act that failed to pass because of Tea Party Legislators— who treat collaboration with other governments and the United Nations as a surrender of US sovereignty — so they killed it.
Oh yes The Conspiracy Theorists, who make up a good portion of the Tea Party, have concocted a vast number of conspiracies, here is a partial list:
The Tea Party has attracted many conspiracy theorists to its cause. Anyone who spends time on an active Tea Party forum will see a number of conspiracy-related threads pop up. More common conspiracies include:
The belief that Obama is deliberately trying to destroy America, or trying to create a socialist/communist totalitarian government.
The belief that Obama's presidency is part of a plot to institute the New World Order - often referring to George Soros or the UN.
And, of course, Birtherism
An eagle eyed viewer may also find:
9/11 truthers
Conspiracies about chemtrails
Abiotic oil
Tea Party movement and Teabaggers in general, ARE NOT A JOKE but I wish they were, they would be less dangerous as a JOKE! thinkingblue
"But they are nothing new, nothing new at all. They are mostly a bunch of cranky white men with money who are trying desperately to hang on to their privileges. Same as it ever was. They are what we have called "Republicans" for at least the last 30 years."
Jon Stewart once commented - in semi-praise of Ron Paul - that most were just "Moral Majority in three-corner hats."
The teabaggers claim to be the second American Revolution, and they have the flag to prove it!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Violence Against Women Act Expires, Thanks To The GOP!

I have been blogging since 2005, I believe it’s because I enjoy doing so. Maybe ‘enjoy’ isn’t the right word, it’s more like a relief-valve for me
(relief valve (noun) - a device that, when actuated by static pressure above a predetermined level, opens in proportion to the excess above this level and reduces the pressure to it. Compare safety valve)
because I really don’t have a voice (except for my one vote) to express outrage, when I feel some lawmakers are harming our America, our home.
I saw a movie the other night, Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012), a movie I recommend not because of its acting or even its artistry because as far as movies go, it wasn’t a masterpiece far from it, (Read a scathing review ) but simply because IT MAKES YOU THINK.
The scenes, borrowed from old, war documentary films, on the rise of fascism in the world and how cruel leaders had the capability to annihilate and destroy everything we consider normal and natural. (Abolish that which logical and intuitive human beings believe to be the meaning of life, PEACE to live out one’s life without fear.)  To see Hitler-like barbarous men rule with unthinkable bestiality and lockstep peons marching as if they were one organism (god forbid, if one should lose his stride) is a chilling and insane image to perceive (even if it is on celluloid).
Once again, I digress… the reason for today’s blog (or relief-valve) was a political cartoon I came across, posted on facebook by the group “Baby Boomers and Senior Citizens Against Republicans & The Tea Party” which questions the GOP War On Women, due to its allowance of the "Violence Against Women’s Act" to expire. On face-value it does appear that the GOP and its offshoot the Tea Party, really is a misogynist group at heart. But a thought or two deeper than face-value (along with a whole lotta common sense) will let the truth be known, it’s not that this far right-wing conservative group, hate women, it’s more like they...
money. thinkingblue
PS: My relief-valve comment on facebook:
I believe the GOP don't really HATE women, after all, they have grandmothers, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and some of them (although in the minority) are also women. Their apathy extends towards all, who may need government assistance whether it be, a woman, a man, a child or the elderly and the sick. Their bottom-line is MONEY, it's the almighty dollar that is their master and because of this 'supernatural' commodity that they worship, any empathy they may feel for those less fortunate or in need, is extinguished, allowing them to rationalize that the weak among us, brought it upon themselves, so they don't deserve a helping hand. It’s a hardness of mind parallel to cabals considered outside the law who also praise and respect material wealth and the power it brings, above all else. (What a way to go through existence, if they weren’t so harmful, I would feel pity for them instead of disdain.)

Trailer for Hemingway & Gellhorn

Let us not forget the other GOP/TEA-PARTY Big Nasty, against President Obama... (Below Picture)
Oh yes, besides loving money and power, THE GOP also HATES The President and is willing to harm America to bring him down.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Hypocrisy of the Republicans Rides Again

Callous Conservatives: Gulf State Republicans’ Sandy Shame
by John Avlon Jan 5, 2013 10:45 AM EST
The Republican congressmen who use New York as a campaign ATM, but turn a blind eye to suffering here must be held accountable, writes John Avlon.
Slap a scarlet “S” on these callous conservatives. Sixty-seven members of Congress–all Republicans—voted against even $9 billion of Hurricane Sandy relief yesterday.

Remember their names, and hold them accountable.
  • Justin Amash (R-MI)
  • Andy Barr (R-KY)
  • Dan Benishek (R-MI)
  • Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)
  • Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
  • Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)
  • Mo Brooks (R-AL)
  • Paul Broun (R-GA)
  • Steve Chabot (R-OH)
  • Doug Collins (R-GA)
  • Mike Conaway (R-TX)
  • Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  • Steve Daines (R-MT)
  • Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
  • Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
  • Sean Duffy (R-WI)
  • Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
  • Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)
  • Stephen Fincher (R-TN)
  • John Fleming (R-LA)
  • Bill Flores (R-TX)
  • Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  • Trent Franks (R-AZ)
  • Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
  • Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
  • Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
  • Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
  • Tom Graves (R-GA)
  • Sam Graves (R-MO)
  • Andrew Harris (R-MD)
  • George Holding (R-NC)
  • Richard Hudson (R-NC)
  • Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
  • Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
  • Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
  • Jim Jordan (R-OH)
  • Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
  • Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
  • Thomas Massie (R-KY)
  • Tom McClintock (R-CA)
  • Mark Meadows (R-NC)
  • Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
  • Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
  • Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
  • Steven Palazzo (R-MI)
  • Steve Pearce (R-NM)
  • Scott Perry (R-PA)
  • Tom Petri (R-WI)
  • Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
  • Tom Price (R-GA)
  • Phil Roe (R-TN)
  • Todd Rokita (R-IN)
  • Keith Rothfus (R-PA)
  • Ed Royce (R-CA)
  • Paul Ryan (R-WI)
  • Matt Salmon (R-AZ)
  • David Schweikert (R-AZ)
  • Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
  • Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)
  • Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
  • Randy Weber (R-TX)
  • Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
  • Roger Williams (R-TX)
  • Joe Wilson (R-SC)
  • Rob Woodall (R-GA)
  • Kevin Yoder (R-KS)
  • Ted Yoho (R-FL)

  • Twelve of the scarlet 67 voted for Hurricane Katrina relief—which passed ten days after that devastating Gulf Coast storm—but against Hurricane Sandy relief 69 days after its landfall in the Northeast. Their names: Trent Franks (AZ), Ed Royce (CA), Sam Graves (MO), Steve Pearce (NM), Steve Chabot (OH), Jimmy Duncan (TN), Kenny Marchant (TX), Randy Neugebauer (TX), Mac Thornberry (TX), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Tom Petri (WI), and Paul Ryan (WI).

    These congressmen are content to use New York City and the tri-state area as an ATM when they are looking for campaign funds, yet they willfully turn a blind eye when hundreds of thousands of homes and small businesses are damaged or destroyed and more than 100 Americans are dead.

    Note the name of last year’s vice presidential nominee and potential 2016 presidential candidate Paul Ryan on this list. Donors would do well to ask him about this vote. The Texas delegation likewise asked for federal funds when hurricanes have devastated their state, yet are ignoring suffering in the Northeast. But then conservatives often become liberal when an issue affects them personally. Just two years ago, Missouri Congressman Sam Graves begged President Obama for an emergency declaration to deal with flooding in his district—now he is afflicted with convenient amnesia.

    The full list of the 67 “nos” is tilted toward the conservative Gulf Coast states and the congressmen—many elected after Katrina—whose constituents often feel the brunt of natural disasters.

    Congressman Paul Broun—who when Obama was elected in 2008 called the president-elect a “Marxist” and compared him to Hitler, who denounced evolution as a “lie from the pit of hell” despite serving on the Science Committee—had no trouble asking for FEMA funds when his district was flooded in 2009. And Alabama’s Mo Brooks was equally eager for federal funds when tornados devastated his district in 2011.

    The larger point, of course, is that massive disaster relief is a role for the federal government. There are times when we are 50 individual states and times when we need to unite and act as one country. Hurricane relief should be a no-brainer.

    But Club for Growth and other conservative activist groups decided to make Hurricane Sandy relief a litmus test for their annual scorecards, and conservative congressmen started running scared.

    The presence of pork in the original Senate Hurricane Sandy relief bill was a predictable disgrace. For example, in an essay on CNN, I called out the presence of pork like $150 million for Alaskan Fisheries and $41 million to military bases including Guantanamo Bay. But that pork was rightfully stripped from the ultimate Senate and House bill. Angry conservative activists never bothered to update their talking points and so they argued from ignorance.

    Moreover, the bill that Congress passed on Friday was just $9 billion of the total $60 billion Sandy relief bill (an amount far less than the Governors’ estimate of $80 billion in damage). We’ll have to wait until at least January 15th for a vote on the remaining $51 billion.

    Club for Growth and other conservative activist groups decided to make Hurricane Sandy relief a litmus test for their annual scorecards, and conservative congressmen started running scared.

    The 67 congressman who voted against relief would have almost certainly voted for it if the impact was felt in their district. But if those 67 were to visit Staten Island or the Jersey Shore or the Rockaways today and see the citizens and volunteers still struggling to dig their way out of the devastation, they might have a different opinion. These folks need relief. And the region needs to increase its resilience to avoid future costs.

    Hypocrisy is the unforgiveable sin in politics—and it abounds among ideologues in congress. But the absence of compassion matters as well. Because if the threat of professional partisan activist groups is enough to make you overlook the struggle and suffering of your fellow American citizens, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror and consider a field of work other than public service. More Here: