Would You Like a Side of Humiliation with That?

Do you suppose the Wicked Witch was green because she envied Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s heartlessness? I mean, she was from Kansas.

Since his election, Brownback has doggedly followed the True Conservative Playbook, not allowing his state’s resulting fiscal crisis to deter him from his ideological certitude. He’s cut taxes for the rich and services for everyone else; he’s signed increasingly draconian anti-abortion bills and bills eliminating even modest restrictions on gun ownership; and he’s been especially enthusiastic about shaming and punishing the people his policies have hurt the most: the poor.

Brownback has steadfastly refused to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government would have paid for that expansion, but evidently just denying poor folks access to health insurance wasn’t mean-spirited enough for Brownback and Kansas lawmakers.

As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank recently wrote

Last week, the Kansas legislature passed House Bill 2258, punishing the poor by limiting their cash withdrawals of welfare benefits to $25 per day and forbidding them to use their benefits “in any retail liquor store, casino, gaming establishment, jewelry store, tattoo parlor, massage parlor, body piercing parlor, spa, nail salon, lingerie shop, tobacco paraphernalia store, vapor cigarette store, psychic or fortune telling business, bail bond company, video arcade, movie theater, swimming pool, cruise ship, theme park, dog or horse racing facility, pari-mutuel facility, or sexually oriented business . . . or in any business or retail establishment where minors under age 18 are not permitted.”

Because, you know, freedom.

Of course, poor people in Kansas can still use their benefits to buy guns and ammunition…And really, aren’t you tired of running into all those welfare moms on cruise ships?

Jon Stewart summed it up best in a biting Daily Show opening bit (I will SO miss him!)

Remind me–where in that bible they keep thumping does Jesus tell “good Christians” like Brownback to “shame and demean the poor, for they are wretched in the sight of God”??


  1. Another prime example of how authoritarian ideologues are using religion to carry out their mission. Moslems, Christians and all the rest are used the same way by these opportunistic politicians (a prime characteristic of the denizens of the legislative process). It will be interesting to see what happens as the “nones” (called the “unaffiliated”) continue to increase, and see who these leaches grab onto next as their base declines in number. I suspect that, for religious people, the baby will be thrown out with the bath water, because the public is characteristically lacking in their ability to discriminate or analyze issues.

  2. From Bernie Sanders Web Site –
    1. Not only did media giant Time Warner pay nothing in federal income taxes last year, it received a rebate of $26 million from the IRS even though it made $4.3 billion in U.S. profits.

    2. CBS made $1.8 billion in U.S. profits last year, but instead of paying federal income taxes it received a rebate from the IRS of $235 million.
    3. Xerox made $629 million in U.S. profits in 2014, but received a tax rebate of $16 million from the IRS.

    4. Prudential Financial made $3.5 billion in U.S. profits last year, but instead of paying federal income taxes, it received a tax rebate of $106 million from the IRS.

    5. The toy maker Mattel made $268 million in profits last year, but received a tax rebate of $46 million from the IRS.

    6. Priceline.com not only paid nothing in federal income taxes last year, it received a tax rebate of $9 million, even though it made $73 million in profits last year

    7. Pacific Gas and Electric not only paid nothing in federal income taxes last year, it received a tax rebate of $84 million from the IRS even though it made $1.8 billion last year.

    8. Wireless technology maker Qualcomm made $3.2 billion in U.S. profits last year, but instead of paying federal income taxes, it received a refund from the I.R.S. of $98 million.

    9. General Electric made over $5.8 billion in profits in the U.S. last year, but paid just 0.9 percent of that amount — less than one percent — in federal income taxes.

    10. Jetblue Airways made $615 million in U.S. profits last year, but paid just 0.4 percent of that amount — less than half of one percent — in federal income taxes.
    Something is wrong I paid more in Federal Income Taxes last year than Time Warner.

  3. A government free of religion was the vision of our founders and global experience has since reinforced their wisdom. No matter one’s Faith, it has no place in government.

    People who believe that their God requires recruiting activities from them of course see government and law as ideal marketing channels and feel entitled by their righteousness to usurp our founders dreams.

    There are two words they live by. Entitlement and exclusive.

    They see America to be like their churches and country clubs. Entitled and exclusive.

    Why? Because their true god is not the one they praise, but things. The one who leaves the most stuff behind wins. Wins what? I don’t know. Eternal life? What would that be worth without stuff? Things are the standard by which they claim their entitlement and sort those allowed in from those who must re!main out.

    Of course this does not apply to all Christians. Just the ones in the news.

    God save us from His children.

  4. I do believe there is the intent to squeeze and squeeze until the masses are forced to rise up and then the 101st Airborne population control can step in! That is the only solution possible to them. Them?


  5. If we consider other animal species and, I suppose, even some plant species, it is apparent that those who are less equipped to survive environmental challenges naturally follow those better equipped. Who is better equipped depends on the challenge. If it is predation physical strength might dominate. If it is hunting and gathering success it might be those with superior senses or knowledge specific to obtaining food energy. This natural instinct is the basis for society no matter what species. We gather together and follow what works best towards species survival.

    Our species is under such survival stress at the moment and it’s from a new threat for which instinct has no experience from which to draw insight. We’re trying to figure out who to follow; who has the most of whatever might be required for our survival.

    From what quarter are we being threatened? Us. Too many of us some living too high on the hog compared to the available resources.

    From whence cometh our strength?

    Some might choose to follow military instincts. Repel or conquer and kill those who aren’t us but who we compete with for the resources that are now too scarce.

    Others might choose to follow collaborative instincts. As we are the cause of the stress we can choose other behaviors that will ameliorate the problems.

    Of course avalanche theory applies here. Stress will cause action and one set of actions will at some point gather enough momentum to define what we all will be dragged into.

    If we choose the collaborative path we will need to follow those most capable of crafting and implementing joint cooperative solutions.

    If we choose military solutions we will follow those best equipped for that approach.

    The collective will debate and choose and a long time after that, reality will tell the survivors how well our choice did.

    If we choose a collaborative approach we will have to minimally adapt civilization (it still may require massive change due to our self created new climate but it will be the minimum given our other alternatives).

    If we choose military the winners will undoubtedly have to rebuild all civilization.

    This brings us to the 2016 election.

  6. Funny coincidence. After writing what’s above fate offered me this video of, believe it or not, Ayn Rand on Johnny Carson (WTF???).


    Masterfully done propaganda on her part. She starts with universally agreeable statements about ration being man’s highest raison d’être. Bravo. As the audience is thoughtfully chewing on that bait after a short ride they find themselves inexorably drawn to the boat laissez faire capitalism. What’s the connection? Ayn Rand’s fishing skills no more no less. No wonder feeble minds worship her.

  7. And where do Brownback and the other corporatists come down on corporate welfare such as farm subsidies, sports funding, tax abatements and corporate subsidies?

    Let a nobody cash a welfare check, and the Republicans flip out. Let Irsay walk off with 75% of gross revenues for events at a stadium he put up nothing to build, and the Republicans (and Bart Peterson Democrats) call it “civic pride” and corporate infrastructure.

  8. Jon Stewart made the point that while Kansas is humiliating the poor with their new round of restrictions on how welfare money can be spent; they – like a lot of other states- continue to receive the federal largess at the rate of $1.29 for every $1.00 they contribute in federal taxes. And yet it has never occurred to any of the Kansas legislators to reject these welfare payments. This is what so infuriating to me about these neo-cons. There is an apparent majority of gullible or equally mean-spirited voters in Kansas who perpetuate this.

  9. And now we are blessed with a governor who actively participates in promoting legislation aimed at REDUCING construction workers pay. His convoluted rationalizations asserts that this will take less out of Hoosier pockets. What about how much less it would take if the who GOP lawmakers took a hike?

    This exposes just how much of a clue this disconnected hick really has to the reality of running a state. Much less a nation. Yet, what has he ever run? Born to an entitled family, he was born of third base and thinks he hit a triple. But Tip O’Neill had lots more going for him than the silver flip over.

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