Peregrine flight

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wake o' the flood

Let's establish something right off the bat. A simple maxim, then we can proceed. Politicians are lying cheating dogs, all of them, from whatever party or hole they happened to skulk out of. Nothing earth shattering there, let's face it, the majority of them are lawyers. And the public is downright stupid and can be counted on to have the wool pulled over their eyes by these carnival hucksters approximately 98.4% of the time.

Even having said this, the hypocrisy and finger pointing regarding the Sandy aid bill has to be the most grievous any of us have seen in well, weeks at least. Of course it took a large scale insurrection to get the house majority to even vote on the thing.

Republicans were screaming and all atwitter about the "pork laden" bill and ended up granting a mere $9.7 billion dollars of the original $60 billion dollar request.  Forbes has an interesting article out titled Pork Holding Up Senate Sandy Relief Bill Funneled Into The Troughs Of GOP Deficit Hawks? You Betcha.

It is quite interesting how much of the pork in the bill was actually headed for red states that had themselves been victims of their own disasters in the recent past. Here is a copy of the marked up draft that shows some of the pork sweeteners:
sandy bill

"Why, you might ask, would the Senate be packing billions of taxpayer dollars for these areas of the country that are nowhere near the devastation brought about by superstorm Sandy into a bill designed to bring relief to those suffering from the storm that ripped the northeastern part of the nation?The answer can be found in a quick review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence—states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. What, you may ask, do these states far from New York and New Jersey have in common? Each is not only a red state, but each of these states are represented by two Republican senators—with the exception of Louisiana with its one GOP senator."
Funny, the Weekly Standard shows the very same marked up bill in an article titled Senate Dems Caught Expanding 'Sandy Bill' to Provide Kickbacks to Republican Senators. "It's obviously the democrats fault, they tempted us."

I think that this was a way for an increasingly southern Republican populace to launch a first salvo in a regional war against what is perceived as a liberal northeast. And a pretty despicable act, considering that nobody played any games with the Katrina money, the rednecks asked and they received, $60 billion smackers. exactly ten days after the request was made. That's what we do in America, people are in trouble, we help them.

Without any talk of carve outs, give backs, off sets or commensurate cuts to social security or entitlement programs. We help people in trouble, especially our own, it's the way we operate. Republicans are sore because they fell victim to the temptations that the bill presented them and the fact that so many colleagues were picked off by the bill.  Upset that the bill restores riparian areas like Cape Canaveral, fixes the roof at the Smithsonian and restores Amtrak service. All necessary goals. But when a certain party controls the pursestrings they get real shitty all of a sudden.

Many of the conservatives criticisms turn out to be completely unfounded, of course. See Media Matters Fox News' Bogus Hunt For Pork In Sandy Bill Continues. They are not trying to fight climate change, or horrible, save Alaskan Fisheries. The latter was stripped from the bill, the former actually a clean and waste water program.

Congressman Steven Palazzo
Hypocrite of the year is easy and it's only January. Biloxi, Mississippi's own Congressman Steven Palazzo. Palazzo voted against Sandy relief. If his name sounds familiar, this is the guy who was begging for federal money after Hurricane Katrina.
“We will rebuild and we’ll provide homes for those displaced; but we cannot do that until it is funded,” Palazzo said in a pamphlet published by the Biloxi Housing Authority and still available online. “We’re ready to do the work- but we simply do not have the financial resources on our own to handle a catastrophe like Katrina.”
“Tell our national leaders- don’t send more inspectors- we know what’s damaged and how to fix it,” Palazzo continued. “Send us money so we can put families back together and do our part to rebuild our community.”
The handout includes a breakdown of the “Total Funds Needed Right Away,” ultimately requesting more than $38.5 million in federal largess. 
Didn't sound too thrifty back then, did he? Can't blame all of this on poor Steve. After all, he is one of 67 members of the house to vote nay on the bill, most surprisingly, all Repubs. But I don't think that Katrina it the last natural disaster that will ever hit the south and I hope that people have a long memory next time the delta is underwater or god decides to wreak his vengeance on some poor trailer park.

Congressman Mo Brooks from Alabama offered this excuse for his no vote on Sandy relief:

"People have to protect themselves from the risks of weather, particularly if they live in an area that is periodically hit by substantial storms," said Brooks, who secured federal aid when his district that was hit by tornadoes in 2011. "They should not expect American taxpayers to subsidize a vacation home on the beach."

 U.S. Representative Randy Weber - District 14, is a newly elected tea partier who voted against the bill. Comes from an area that was devastated by Hurricane Ike, and took a full helping of the government teat.

Many of these very same people also voted against funding the national flood insurance program, a program that was charted to run out of money this morning. The government has to fund the program because private insurance will not.

The poor people in Staten Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut deserve better.

© Joel Cairo - New York Daily News


Sanoguy said...

Outstanding expose'. I hope that it goes viral!!!

Anonymous said...

I think some politicians might be suffering from Soviet Withdrawal Syndrome (SWS). There is nothing like the alien "other" to get the plebes jumping up and down. The Middle East worked for awhile but them damn arabs just won't dance in the streets when liberated like there supposed to. It is plain unsatisfying the way them people don't get how they got to love us. The next best thing until a new "Great Satan" turns up is them damn Yankees. Make 'em suffer until they all turn into good Southern Baptists and learn to handle rattlesnakes in the church aisles like the rest of the Satan fearing faithful. Back in the day Members of the House would draw guns on each other in the chamber and by gum it is about time we draw on them damn Yankees again!