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Jim Hightower says the Republicans are teaching Americans who’s really behind the recession:

America owes a debt of gratitude to such insightful Republican governors as Walker of Wisconsin, Kasich of Ohio, Snyder of Michigan, and Christie of New Jersey.

Were it not for them, many Americans – myself included – would still be thinking that today’s state budget messes are mainly the product of a national economic crash caused by the reckless greed of Wall Street banksters and rich speculators, as well as the abject failure by political leaders to tax their super-wealthy campaign contributors in order to meet the growing needs in education and other essentials. Luckily, the GOP guvs have set the record straight by explaining that the budget woes are the fault of teachers who have health coverage and firefighters who get pensions.

AND unemployed workers who won’t “get off their backsides”–as Missouri’s own state senator Jim Lembke puts it. He and three other Republican senators have been filibustering to prevent the state senate from accepting federal unemployment funds for workers. The four of them are preventing the state from extending the funds to 99 weeks for people who’ve been out of work more than 79 weeks. Missouri is the only state that has still not accepted those federal funds. At the bottom of the heap again.  

Lembke tries to divide and conquer workers by saying that unemployment checks for such workers represent a burden on the jobless person’s neighbor, who might also be struggling. To which, I’d like to observe: First, our nation was born out of the notion that we’re all in this together; if we’re going to get out of this recession, we’ve got to help each other. And second, consider that there are six workers for every available job, that corporate profits hit an all time high last year, and that corporations are using the recession to get more productivity out of workers rather than rehire the ones they let go. If we’re all in this together, then corporations like Bank of America and General Electric, which paid no income taxes last year, should be in it with us. If everybody was pulling together and playing his part, we wouldn’t be in this mess. So Jim Lembke’s ideas are lame. Don’t let the Republicans kid you about who’s at fault. The money men are bagging the proceeds from what working families produce and jumping in their getaway Lamborghinis.

An editorial in the Tuesday Post-Dispatch took Lembke and his partners in crime to task:

After being sworn in in January, it didn’t take long for state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, to embrace the trappings of office that come with being a Missouri state senator. In February, Mr. Nieves turned to the social media site Twitter to tell his followers that he and Sen. Jim Lembke, R-South County,  were “enjoying cigars and port in my office.”


To hear Mr. Lembke, you would think that unemployed Missourians were just sitting around smoking cigars and drinking wine.

“People need to get off their backsides and get a job,” Mr. Lembke said about the unemployed.

Let’s explain it one more time: Rejecting federal money doesn’t mean it doesn’t get spent. It just gets spent elsewhere. Money spent on unemployment benefits is one of the best economic stimulus projects that exists. If there’s one thing economists agree on, it’s that when the unemployed get money, they spend it.

Most of it, we would surmise, goes to food to feed their families.

Even Lembke’s own party members couldn’t help but notice the hypocrisy:

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Barney Fisher, R-Nevada, said that while he understands the dissident senators’ points, he also understands the needs of those who are out of work.

“Political, philosophical standpoints make great discussions, but they don’t put food on the table,” he said.

He noted that the state accepts millions in federal dollars for education, health care, highways and other projects, but senators aren’t suggesting those funds be returned.

“I would admire them if they had the courage of their convictions and filed bills to send back every federal dollar, but to just do this is inappropriate,” Fisher said.

Sue Schoemehl, a Democratic representative from South County in St. Louis, just announced her intention to challenge Lembke for his senate seat, and she used that cigar image:

Jim Lembke and his big fat cigar have stood in the way of our school children receiving money for better education. He has worked to gut the recently passed Proposition B which prevents cruelty to animals by unscrupulous dog-breeders, and he worked to strip deserving workers of a fair wage through the repeal of the minimum wage increase. He is lost in a cloud of smoke rings and following a disastrously narrow agenda.

No doubt she’ll also make use of his declaration about lazy workers getting off their backsides. She’s got a year and a half to drill those images into the brains of voters in the first senatorial district the image of Lembe’s cigars and the sound of him saying that the unemployed won’t “get off their backsides.” Make him pay for his arrogant condescension, Ms. Schoemehl.

photo courtesy of FiredUp!