Thursday, April 02, 2015

No Pretense of Compassion

Remember the “compassionate conservatives?” Former President George W. Bush would get that earnest, constipated look on his face as he described himself as one. Early in his administration, he used compassionate conservatism as a basis for his faith based initiative program, which was just a way of shoveling tax dollars at right wing Christian groups. Once Bush got his war, we stopped hearing so much about compassion. He did have boundless compassion for the plight of the wealthy, giving them huge tax cuts while putting the cost of his wars on a credit card, and sending off the children of the far less wealthy to fight and die in the war he was so desperate to start.

The compassionate conservative label was a layer of sugar coating intended to distract us from the fact that what these conservatives were espousing was the same old mean-spirited conservative policies they’d always been in favor of.

Then along came the Tea Party, and sugar coating just washed away. There was no pretense of compassion any longer. That lack of pretense has grown louder and nastier over the years.

There was no pretense of compassion in Indiana, when Governor Pence signed the bill legitimizing discrimination by the religious right. There’s no better way for the religious to show their faith than by refusing to serve gays and lesbians. They tell us that if we don’t allow them to discriminate in the name of their religion that we are discriminating against them!  Of course the same section of their Bible that they point to in order to justify their bigotry also calls for stoning adulterers to death, a practice they don’t seem to have the necessary fortitude to engage in.

A reminder: In 2012, the NH legislature attempted to pass a similar bill. Eighty-five legislators voted for it. Thirty-one of them still serve in the legislature, including Conway’s own Frank McCarthy.

There was no pretense of compassion in the legislature this week while the House was in session, passing their bungled budget. Speaker Jasper and former Speaker (and leader of the rump caucus) O’Brien somehow kissed and made up and worked together to pass this thing. Representatives Neal Kurk and Dan McGuire cackled with glee over the many opportunities they took to gut programs for the most vulnerable among us.

Greg Moore of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch funded special interest group, appears to have had a great deal of influence over the budget, despite the fact that none of us voted for him. Moore was brought in to serve as O’Brien’s policy director in 2011, and then became O’Brien’s chief of staff. Moore wasn’t too principled to refuse a taxpayer-funded paycheck. (The guys who hate gummint never are.) At the end of the O’Brien reign, Moore moved on to AFP, where he has served his new masters (the Kochs) well by putting out political ads last year that were outright lies about the Affordable Care Act. He’s a paid shill who is given a disproportionate level of influence over our legislature and given a disproportionate share of attention by the incurious GOP sycophants who make up the mainstream NH media.

New Futures, a group that works to educate and advocate the reducing of drug addiction in NH staged a “die in” in front of the State House on the day the budget was voted on. Some 300 people lay on the ground, representing the 300 people who died of heroin overdoses in the last year. Some of the participants were family members. Greg Moore was overheard mocking them from inside the State House. Later in the day, a reporter from WMUR tweeted out a statement made by Governor Hassan on the budget. Moore’s tweeted response was “You want fries with that?” Because what is more fun than mocking the plight of those less fortunate! Please ask your elected Republicans why this Koch tool has such sway over House Republicans.

That the GOP has whined for years about the raiding of dedicated funds didn’t stop them from emptying the state’s rainy day fund – a move that would lower NH’s bond rating. Please ask your elected Republicans why they would sanction such an action, knowing how it will impact the future of our state. They claim that hacking apart the governor’s budget was necessary, that we must live within our means. These “means” are an artificial construct. NH is the 7th wealthiest state in the nation. There are plenty of “means” at our disposal, but we refuse to use them. We refuse to raise sufficient revenues to fund our state at a responsible level, so every two years a new budget kicks the can down the road for the next legislature to have to deal with.

The hope now is that the Senate will have a more compassionate take on the budget. Anyone who equates the GOP majority in the NH Senate with compassion hasn’t paid any attention to the legislation they’ve been passing this year. One bill was a direct attack on people receiving benefits via EBT cards. The bill’s sponsor, Jeanne Forrester admitted that the bill’s provisions were impossible to enforce, but it needed to be passed anyway. What could be more important than demonizing the poor? It’s certainly cheaper than bucking up and doing something about the infrastructure. It’s the kind of legislation that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the GOP, something that she can point to with pride when it’s time to pass the hat for campaign contributions.

Today’s GOP no longer requires the veneer of faux compassion. Today’s GOP would mock Jesus for not getting a co-pay from the lepers.


nelle said...

If the final bill contains all these cuts, I'm hoping the governor tosses it right back in their laps.


"NH is the 7th wealthiest state in the nation. There are plenty of “means” at our disposal, but we refuse to use them."

By what standards Susan The Bruce, yours?

New Hampshire isn't the seventh wealthiest state in the nation.

It's interesting that you rail and whine about budget cuts but yet your a supporter of the NH Council of Churches, the very lobbying effort that defeated the expanded casino gaming legislation. Legislation that would have led New Hampshire into the future.

It's also apparent the you don't understand either the state budget or the capital budget process because if you did there wouldn't be such a graphic display of ignorance and feminism in motion.

susanthe said...

Too bad research isn't one of your RESOURCES, Sparky. You would have discovered that NH, is, indeed the seventh wealthiest state:

Alan Jones said...

NH is the "7th wealthiest stare in the nation" according to 24/7 Wall Street?

24/7 Wall Street is a joke. According to Forbes and other reputable business sites, NH isn't even in the top ten.

So, what's correct - your data or my data?

Sure, you can slice-and-dice the data to get the result you want, but NH is an economic backwater compared to most other northeastern states other than Maine and all of the west coast states.

susanthe said...

Oh, well. If you say 24/7 Wall St. is a joke, it must be so! Your credibility as a first time commenter here is unimpeachable. There are other sources, but I'm not feeling kindly about doing your research for you, given your unpleasant attitude.

There are over 33,000 millionaires living in NH - in tax free splendor. That we have no taxes is why so many retire here - to protect their assets. The wealth in NH is held by people, many of whom contribute little to the economy. This isn't about NH being an economic powerhouse. It's about NH the tax shelter for the rich - and the lapdogs in our legislature who refuse to tax them.

Alan Jones said...

"Doing my research"? You never did any of your own research. You found the first link that agreed with your warped version of the world and took it as gospel.

I'll bet the majority of those "millionaires" are retirees with a 401(k) and other savings accounts. You want to tax all those senior citizens who worked a lifetime to earn that money and moved to live in a tax-free state? They already contributed - they shouldn't have to again because a small minority of progressive know-nothings like yourself think that they should because they have too much money.

Maybe you should move to MA or NY, where they tax the bejesus out of folks and yet still run deficit budgets. You would fit in just fine with that crowd.

susanthe said...

Oh, Alan. You're a psychic!! You "know" that I did no research? I didn't see you hiding near my desk - you must be a very small man.

In fact, you proved how small you are when you let fly with the favored bleat of the libertea wingnut: MOVE TO MASSACHUSETTS!

Not exactly original, Sparky.

Alan Jones said...

Answer the question: Are you in favor of taxing senior citizens who are retired and living off their retirement accounts? Many of them are technically millionaires and in your world, should be taxed heavily because they have too much money.

Thank goodness the majority of people and legislators in NH are not in your camp with the rest of the closet socialists.

I'm completely serious, btw: what you want you can find in MA or NY: high taxes, strong gun control, and an unsustainable patchwork of welfare benefits and other entitlements. That trifecta of governmental ineptitude should generate an irresistible pull for someone like yourself.

Are you going to continue using pejoratives in an attempt to belittle my opinions? That seems to be the go-to move for you; it's also the desperate move of someone who has lost the argument so badly yet continues to lash out in the hope of scoring some cheap debating points.

Your turn to respond with juvenile taunts.

susanthe said...

Oh, Alan has the sadz. He tells me I haven't done research, calls me a "progressive know nothing," and tells me to move - then has the audacity to accuse me of using pejoratives and cheap debating points.

Trying to weasel guns into this discussion is a diversion, which is really what you're all about. Name calling, finger pointing, and diversion.
I am sadly disappointed that you haven't used the term "statist" yet. You do get a bonus point for calling me a socialist, but it's subtracted from your total because you failed to use communist as well.

You can up your score however, with a well placed "feminazi." Pick up the pace, Alan!

Alan Jones said...

Answer the question: Are you in favor of taxing NH senior citizens who are retired and living off their retirement accounts? Yes or no?

susanthe said...

It's really adorable that you come in here to my blog, insult me repeatedly, and then make demands, Alan.

I believe in a graduated income tax. Do I think Granny, living off Social Security should have to pay the same taxes as Judd Gregg? Nope. I believe that taxes are the dues we pay for living in a fairly civilized society. Roads, bridges, public parks, libraries, schools - all of those things that guys like you don't believe in.

You believe that taxes ARE TAKEN AT GUNPOINT, and all that sort of baloney. I urge you to consider to moving to a country where there are no taxes, or investments in the public good. In fact, guys like you don't believe there is such a thing as the public good. It's every man for himself, in your world, all of you rugged individuals pulling yourselves up by your bootstraps, with absolutely no help from anyone.