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  Warning: The following is a paraphrase of standard conservative talking points applied to the recent natural disasters in the south. If this strikes you as brutal and offensive, it should if you're a decent human being. This is a compare and contrast exercise to examine whether the 'logic' that follows is really any different from the arguments being made about why we should slash social spending. I'm revising and republishing this because of comments and a couple of recent developments to be found in the updates at the end of this diary.

 Yeah you heard me.

     It's time you gave up your addiction to Big Government coming in to help you pick up the pieces of your life. You're just making things harder for yourselves, and America can no longer afford to keep bailing you out. Taxes are too high already; if we can't afford to have decent public schools anymore, medicare for the sick or social security for the old, why do you think you deserve special treatment just because an 'act of God' singled you out?  (more)

    Look, nobody made you live in an area where tornados can strike. Why should the rest of us be made to pay for your bad personal decisions? There are private contractors who'd have loved to build you a storm cellar, but no - you couldn't be bothered. Now you want some kind of government hand-out so you can keep living high on the hog?

       Sure, bleeding heart liberals are always quick to rush in and spend other people's money, but that's not what made America great. It was individuals taking responsibility for their own lives, living by strong moral values and trusting in the Lord - not some Washington bureaucrats. (Hey - you think maybe God is trying to get your attention?) If you people had just planned ahead, practiced a little discipline, this would have been no big deal.

  Look. It's simple. The government can't just keep spending and spending. We have to start making sacrifices now, if we're ever to get America's economy going again.

    Here, have some tax cuts. They make everything better.

     Funny how obscene all of the above sounds, when the bodies are still being uncovered and the devastation staggers the mind. It's heartless, sick, twisted... and not really all that different from the arguments being offered by 'serious' people earnestly telling us why we should cheer while we and our children are slowly being screwed.

     The difference between the tornados of April, 2011 and the plans of people like Paul Ryan or Scott Walker is this: the death and destruction tornados cause is immediate and highly visible; the death and destruction that will result from conservatives without conscience will be far greater and last much longer in ways we can't even begin to fully realize yet. But they can get away with it because it'll be invisible - the grieving families and destruction will be spread around, without the heartbreaking photo-ops of mass destruction happening all at once in a defined location. Just a vast general increase in misery....

      It doesn't have to be this way. We can still come together as a country when a natural disaster strikes - but the political disaster we're inflicting on ourselves somehow seems to fall under different rules. Why is it a horror when weather leaves thousands homeless, but just the market at work when financial follies do the same while a handful make huge profits on mass misery?

     While conservatives love to natter on about values and principles, the true essence of their philosophy is this: rationalized selfishness. Conservatives have no concept of community. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, unthinking worship of individualism ignores a basic truth: we can't always save ourselves; sometimes we have to take turns saving each other.

  My sympathies and heartfelt wishes to all of those trying to pull their lives together. As always, there are plenty of places to send money to help. I'll leave listing them to others. Please feel free to do so in comments. (Here's a diary from today with some links.) I will suggest if you can donate blood, that's always useful and never more than now. For those looking for some long term hope, there's a community that was almost totally wiped out by a tornado in 2007. They've refused to give up and are working hard to build a better future. You can find out about it here - not the worst model to be looking at for recovery. If you happen to be near Greensburg, Kansas this weekend, here's a pdf file of the anniversary events they're having. They've come a long way in 4 years. Maybe it's a road we should be looking at.

  Of course, the Greensburg model depends on community and dedicated government driven by purpose to make life better, things conservatives would have us believe are illusions or folly. They've driven the country onto the rocks and are trying to throw us overboard while they take to the lifeboats, to sail away leaving the wreck behind them. Here's a melancholy tune, with a reminder that we don't have a choice about saving each other - "There are no fucking lifeboats."

UPDATE: As expected, any attempt to suggest maybe this record outbreak of tornadoes might repeat might have some connection with climate change is already drawing a conservative knee-jerk response denouncing it for politicizing a tragedy. Lather, rinse, repeat.

UPDATE TWO:  I've gotten more than one comment from people calling this all about hate. I'm just trying to get people to wonder why no one seems to have a problem with a massive Federal response to a disaster in which hundreds have died and thousands have been injured and had their lives ruined - but so many are upset now because of the idea of Federal money being spent to provide millions of children with an education, keep people from dying from lack of health care,  and giving the elderly a better choice than working until they die or living in poverty.

We're talking about a self-inflicted unnatural disaster that will affect millions of Americans - if without videos of wreckage, bodies being recovered, and grieving family members. The mental disconnect is staggering when you think about - which is apparently too hard for some people.

And then you get raving hypocrites like Rick Perry complaining that Texas is getting upstaged by Alabama. Give me a freakin' break, okay? Nothing I've put here even begins to match the offensive ideas coming from Republicans every day. (As per Randian here.)

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Anything you can give to help the victims of this awful April will be greatly appreciated. Please post links below if you know of any.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 05:40:38 PM PDT

  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eataTREE

    they won't mind big guvmit now will they?

  •  I live in . . . (12+ / 0-)

    Alabama, and endured yesterday's storms with no damage on my property. A lot of Southerners are likely to take offense at your post, but I think it is right on target--even though it comes at a difficult time.

    I hope the points you make open some eyes in the Deep South and help folks realize that they probably aren't as "conservative" as they think they are. They are only conservative as long as it's convenient.

  •  This is a well-intentioned Diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rjnerd, jan4insight, Bluefin, rockhound

    But you have to account for the casual viewer who will find your title seemingly grossly insensitive and will not read the rest.  Or worse, the Republican trolls who will mischaracterize the title to portray the site (and its members) as insensitive to the scope of this tragedy.

    That's why you ought to change your title.

    •  Well, respectfully... (7+ / 0-)

      ...I don't think it really matters what they read in the headline or in the article itself.  They're going to spin it as they want anyway.

      Exhibit A:  Obama's birth certificate.

      "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

      by IndieGuy on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:10:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two points (8+ / 0-)

      A) I refuse to self censor for the sake of people who might be offended because they can't be bothered to understand what's going on around them every day. Sometimes you have to throw a stink bomb to wake people up.

      B) Republican trolls will mischaracterize anything they feel like, regardless. It's how they roll.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:11:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dunno. (5+ / 0-)

        Lots of dead or real sad people right now because of this.

        I wouldn't fuck with that, but your decision.

        •  True enough (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dartagnan, Karl Rover

          I admit to some reservations about this - but I'd like to think the point I'm trying to make here is important.

          The whole point of disaster capitalism is to make a profit off death and misery, by leveraging the shock and chaos to shove things in a particular direction.

          But who says it has to be a direction that serves the oligarchs running this country into the ground? Disaster can be an opportunity to learn and do better if we seize it. That's one big reason why I put the links to the story of Greensburg, Kansas in there.

          Think what a difference that would make in the months and years ahead if Greensburg became a model for this country.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:29:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  To be fair, if this had happened in, say CA (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IndieGuy, Karl Rover, Bluefin

          The GOP trolls you're worried about offending would be probably cheering and saying it's "God's Wrath" for all the homos and commies.

          I'm not saying the victims deserve it, just trying to point out how sick and twisted certain groups of people can be if it's not happening to them and theirs.

    •  Republicans would rec this (0+ / 0-)

      for the title. Reading the actual diary would be a disappointment though.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Sat Apr 30, 2011 at 09:38:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They sure would (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happy camper

        Though you'd think one or two of them might get a clue where it's coming from, if they remember who was last talking about public teats.  And the rest of the commentary in italics is nothing more than a straight paraphrase of what can be heard every day on talk radio, from the tea party, or the Paul Ryan crowd.

        I've gotten more than one comment from people calling this all about hate. I'm just trying to get people to wonder why no one seems to have a problem with a massive Federal response to a disaster in which hundreds have died and thousands have been injured and had their lives ruined - but so many are upset now because of the idea of Federal money being spent to provide millions of children with an education, keep people from dying from lack of health care,  and giving the elderly a better choice than working until they die or living in poverty.

        We're talking about a self-inflicted unnatural disaster that will affect millions of Americans - if without videos of wreckage, bodies being recovered, and grieving family members. The mental disconnect is staggering when you think about - which is apparently too hard for some people.

        And then you get raving hypocrites like Rick Perry complaining that Texas is getting upstaged by Alabama.  

        I get called a hater for trying to talk about this stuff? I'd say give me a break, except that's something that's gone out of fashion in our current political environment.  So be it.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Sat Apr 30, 2011 at 11:04:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  sad that I am seeing so (6+ / 0-)

    many comments and diaries that are politicizing the horrors that our happening to our neighbors in the south.

    “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”-Freya Stark

    by in2mixin on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:03:14 PM PDT

    •  Really? (6+ / 0-)

      We SHOULD be politicizing the hell out of this tragedy - if we don't want more like it. Unfortunately, the kind of response the government is making to help these people is going to be less and less possible if the tide currently running in our political discourse isn't turned.

      What's happening with Medicare and Social Security is a much bigger tragedy in the making - but because it's happening in slow motion without an obvious death toll yet, it's not getting the outrage it should.

      Put it another way - if Federal disaster relief can't be used to make a case for the value of a functional government, it's already game over for this country.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:19:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I completely agree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, IndieGuy, mayim

        during some bad floods a few years ago that hit farm states, I remember the Limbaugh types chiming in that, see there, neighbors helping neighbors and no looting like in New Orleans.  There is very much a "we are deserving and you are lazy scum" mantra on the right. I have no qualms about pointing out the double standard.

      •  just my opinion (3+ / 0-)

        but over 200 of our fellow citizens died in these storms. Now is not the time to be self righteous and say "hey you can get federal help if you admit you're wrong". Just not the person I want to be.

        “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”-Freya Stark

        by in2mixin on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:02:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not saying that... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IndieGuy, Curt Matlock

          ...though when we have a country where people hold up signs saying "Keep Government from taking over Medicare", that kind of enlightenment might be too much to hope for.

          Besides, if you're talking body counts and political mileage, I think I have a long way to go to match the way the 911 victims were tossed around every time some conservative bozo needed a talking point.

          Speculation: how long do you think it will take before someone attacks Obama for trying to politicize the disaster....

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:21:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  conservative (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            in2mixin

            What do you want, to have each victim sign a statement that they are not a conservative before they receive help?  Or how about a declaration that they will vote democratic in every election hereafter?  Your response reeks of hate-something not needed in the wake of any tragedy, be it 9/11 or tornados.

            •  Sorry you feel that way, but (0+ / 0-)

              It's funny just how much your question sounds like the kind of thing conservatives would demand before they'd lift a finger if the tables were turned - or have you forgotten New Orleans and Katrina?

              What I want is for people to see where the hate is actually coming from... and if you think the act of calling it out reeks of hate, tough. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

              All that's necessary for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing and remain silent - especially these days when evil has a full time 24/7 media machine ready to attack anyone who challenges their agenda or calls them out on the facts.

              "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

              by xaxnar on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 03:04:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  response (0+ / 0-)

                Yes, hating people is a difficult, full time job and I am sure you are an expert at it.  You should be quite proud.  I at least have the compassion to wish that it never falls on you or your loved ones.  Oh, by the way, have you ever considered how your humane views will be received by the 24 hour media machine which you so obviously hate.  It might be simpler to ask: What don't you hate?
                   

                •  There you go again (0+ / 0-)

                  Thank you for providing a classic example of the conservative troll's pavlovian response to anything that upsets their world view and challenges their beliefs.

                  If I were the expert at hating you claim I am, I'd hope to be pulling down at least as much money as Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage. Sadly, that does not seem to be the case.

                  And don't assume I have no acquaintance with tragedy.

                  "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

                  by xaxnar on Sat Apr 30, 2011 at 12:04:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Personally, I'm not (11+ / 0-)

    ready for this diary.  I understand it -- but I'm not ready.  Hundreds of families are mourning losses and thousands are devastated.

    Don't mean to be a jerk, but that's just how I feel.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:22:50 PM PDT

    •  Again, true enough and I understand (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilK, Gemina13, Karl Rover, Bluefin

      This is a pretty rough message I've put up here and I can understand that it's going to be uncomfortable or even painful for people. I'm sorry for that - but I'm too aware of the greater disasters shaping up to stay silent when words now may make a difference later.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:37:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Norman Goldman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar

    Was on fire today on this very subject.

    Were it not for the whole lynch-mob birther craze - which curiously resonates more publicly south of the M-D Line, I might join the 'wait awhile befoe posting this' crowd. Furthermore, there are a LOT of nonbirthers down there that may or may not have time to appreciate the fact that the barbs aren't aimed their way.

    Troubling. That's what the grownups in the room have to deal with.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time." ~ Harry Truman

    by ozsea1 on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 06:43:45 PM PDT

  •  Who the hell needs FEMA anyway? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Karl Rover

    Let's make the GOP members of Congress who voted for Ryan's Bill -- with its cuts to FEMA and other agencies -- regret their vote.

    Contact all GOP House members and Senators -- that's you Paul Ryan and your corporate funded friends.  Make some calls tomorrow and raise hell about the GOP's callous plan to cut federal assistance, esp. in light of the horrific tornadoes and floods across a wide area of the USA.

    Thanks.

  •  Interesting coda to this diary: (4+ / 0-)
    NRC chief questions blackout plans for US plants
    The nation's top nuclear regulator cast doubt Thursday on whether reactors in the U.S. are prepared for the type of days-long power outage that struck a nuclear power plant in Japan.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has only required plants in this country to cope without power for four to eight hours. After that time, it assumes some electrical power will be restored.

    NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko on Thursday questioned whether four to eight hours is enough time, even though it's unlikely a nuclear power plant would lose power from both the grid and emergency diesel generators as the Japan plant did.

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

    by IndieGuy on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:46:19 PM PDT

  •  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our esteemed (0+ / 0-)

     Governor Rick Perry (TX-burning) is being the perfect WATB (WHINY ASS TITTY BABY-had to do it longform, it just fits) going around the state crying, whining crying about how Obama's evile federal government is not providing any federal assistance quick enough even, also.
    To help fight the brushfires that have been raging for months due to the drought (2400 square miles so far). It could be that SkyDog is sending him a message too (hmmm, CC/GW?).
    Gov. Blowdry (TX-Secessionist) says that he and the appropriate authorities have sent all the necessary paperwork in weeks ago to get attached to the federal teat. And why are Alabama and other states already getting taken care of? Waaaaa.waaa

    I don't know, I'm not inclined to believe his coifftyness Ricky, and I can't believe that Pres. Obama would pull a BushRove and play games with serious matters like this, but who knows?

    "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

    by Bluefin on Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 10:46:45 AM PDT

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