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November 21, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

When did we become so divided?

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What a difference seven years make. It was a little over seven years ago that Hurricane Katrina hit landfall. The “Tea Party” was not around. Helping people regardless of the cost was the overriding sentiment.

Congress approved $60 billion for Katrina 10 days after the storm hit landfall. The bill passed the House 410-11 and the Senate 97-0.

Tuesday, 78 days after Sandy tore through the Northeast, the Sandy Relief Bill cleared the House by a vote of 241-180; 179 GOP House members voted “no” on the bill. Many said they voted no because the money should be offset by spending cuts. Was that a consideration when Katrina hit? I don’t think so. Helping the people of the region hit was the overriding concern. People came before political ideology.

What has happened to Congress? Why does doing the right thing take a distant second to bowing to the pressure of extreme members of Congress? Why does even the obvious right thing to do take a back seat to being concerned about re-election?

One of our greatest strengths, as a country, is that we always came together when we were faced with a crisis. Where has that attitude gone?

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  1. "When did we become so divided?"

    A better question is "Why did we become so divided". Does GOP stand for Greenbacks Over People?

  2. "Reid should not have PORKED THE BILL." @ Future

    I second the motion and the GOP agreed. That's what happened in a nutshell. It's a parliamentary procedure called "Filling the Tree." And Reid has used it over 70 times under his tutelage as Senate Leader since 2007. It's also called the tyranny of the majority, as in the Democrats in the Senate.

    It's one thing to assist those in need. Quite another to use the tragic event to help those who are not. Never the twain shall meet? Why? It costs taxpayers money. Money they can spend for better purposes.

    So, letter writer it took guts to vote against it. Why? Because those who did knew it would bring out the wrath and righteousness of the hypocrites.

    And as far as Gov Chris Christie is concerned, he may want to join the ranks of the Dems if he can't figure it out. Maybe that's a better fit for him. No pun intended.

    CarmineD

  3. Like others disposed to fudge the facts, Blanner omits the venom that was directed at George W. over Katrina. Here we are, months after Sandy and scores of those affected are still waiting for action to be taken and those, such as Blanner, are silent about FEMA and it's anemic response once again. Yeah, let's all have bigger government so it can fail do its job, ask for more money, grow bigger and get even more disfunctional. The pencil-pushing, unelected, unaccountable bureaucratic drones can keep their jobs and perks while those in need try to overcome the red tape, bureaucracy and indifference. And, just where is the guy with the Cheshire Cat grin in all of this? On vacation in Hawaii basking in the sun without a care in the world, apparently. You voted for the creep? I hope you get to enjoy the consequences, as well.

  4. Special interest and Big Money are the dividers of America.

    Ironically, the country is not far removed from the division of Slave states and the Free states as shown on the Civil War map of 1846.

    Politicians and long standing cultural behaviors, and regional acceptable practices, keep the ambers of division fueled and ready to flame. All, in order to protect an interest, an interest not in the interest, of what we imagine to be ordinary Americans.

  5. Mr.Blanner,very good question and letter.You ask,"Why did we become so divided"?Below is part of your letter.

    "Tuesday 78 days after Sandy tore through the northeast,the sandy relief bill cleared the house by a vote of 241-180,179 GOP house members voted "NO" on the bill".

    The answer to your questions are, since the Republicans lost the first presidential election to the Democrats electing Pres.Obama in 2008.They have since then say no to any bills that might give credit to Our newly re- elected Pres. Obama (2012).
    It does not matter what the problems facing the country are their first response (Republicans) is to say no to everything, that may help the country with a Democrat as Pres.

    The chief engineer of the GOP party of no, is none other than Sen.Minority leader Mitch McConnell Republican KY.The country gets no help from the party of no,it does not matter how severe the problems are facing the country, the answer is no.The midterm elections (2014) results will wake up the GOP,and perhaps bring back the party who once cared for all it's citizens. Rather than the current party of no.A big change is coming.

  6. Super Storm Sandy was not Katrina. Katrina devastated public works that are the federal government's responsibility--Corp of Engineers for the levees. Sandy took out a lot of private property and local infrastructure. Unfortunately, big government cannot make individuals whole and doesn't even try to--they can get up to $35,000 flood insurance. It is not necessarily PC for the feds (our tax money) to replace and renovate local government systems--subways, bridges and such. It's debatable whether or not federal funds should even contribute to local government systems.

  7. Give me a break! This country has always been divided. Remember the Civil War. When I grew up in the 50s and 60s we had riots from one end of the country to the next. I was walking around with a selective service card waiting to be drafted into a war that was unbelievably unpopular.

    Had the Russians and Americans decided to let each other have it during the Cuban missile crisis it would've resulted in millions of Americans being killed. Talk about an unpopular action.

    This country is probably more peaceful and less divided now than it's ever been in its entire history.

    What are the big issues today? Guns, abortion and the national debt. Wow! My parents grew up under Hitler at a time when countless millions were dying around the world. Anyone who thinks times are tough today is a pansy.

  8. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  9. Mr. Hageman I must agree with your statement about "tough times". My parents talked about rationing during the war. Many things that we take for granted were not available during that period. While living in Europe I spent a lot of free time researching what life was like for them during the war. It would make you hair stand on end!

    If you want an example of how well the federal government can take care of people just look to the American Indian. What a success story that is!

  10. In recent history there was McCarthyism, The John Birch Society, the embarrassing impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. Apparently those on the right have a hard time dealing with losing the White House or Congress. Fearmongering has always had a grip on those on the right causing some to be irrational who now sit in Congress.

    The election of President Obama has brought out the best and the worst of this great nation, and the use of fiscal resposibility is just another ploy and excuse to stall this administration from functioning. Which is exactly what they did with Clinton's administration shutting down the government, costing tax payers billions of dollars.

    Why should they collect a salary at all?

  11. Chuck333,

    "Would this be the same McConnell that along with VP Biden avoided the fiscal cliff".

    You guessed correctly that's him. After McConnell painted himself into a corner with no where to go he called VP Biden. Who bailed him out with half of what the American people should have recieved from the fiscal cliff fiasco.

  12. Sam:

    You're half right. Biden bailed the President and Reid out.

    We can argue who threw the mockey wrenches into the 2011 and 2012 Debt Ceiling/Budget negotiations. Some have written in popular books that it was actually Jack Lew who is now the President's nominee for Treasury Secretary. But no one can argue that it was Biden, McConnell, and Boehner that worked out both the 2011 and 2012 budget agreements, as lacking as they are. And they [Biden, McConnell, Boehner]likely will do the same for the triple witching: Debt ceiling increase, continuing CR, and spending sequester.

    CarmineD

  13. Reid's a has been that never was Sam. Notice who was running the Inauguration: Charles Schumer. He's the Reid wannebe. He wants Reid's job when Reid goes. And I can tell you, Schumer knows it will be soon.

    CarmineD

  14. Sam, were you aware of the pork that was mixed into "helping" Sandy victims? The Republicrats were being responsible with your money & mine by trying to stop the waste. Are you against responsible spending in Washington, DC or do you not care? I believe you did not give the opposition to the bill as much scrutiny as you should have and would have been appalled at the significant waste it entailed. As it is, because so many had knee-jerk reactions such as yours, the pork-laden bill was passed and we get the honor of footing the extra costs involved. Such a deal! Little wonder why we (the taxpayers of today & tomorrow) are being "gifted" with a $17 trillion debt to pay.

  15. Jerry fink,

    "Sam, were you aware of the pork that was mixed into "helping" Sandy victims"?

    Yes I was,and I don't agree with it either.I might ask you the same question were you aware of the pork that was mixed into "helping" the Katrina victims. Which happened during former Pres.G.W.Bush time in office.
    So what else is new in politics and with politicians?

  16. Chuck333,

    "A Sam: McConnell went to someone who could negioate unlike Reid was willing to do.End game,given the time frame,VP Biden and McConnell got it done".

    McConnelll can't work with anyone but VP Biden.He is one of the most disliked in the Senate,and has the lowest approval numbers also. A 37 percent approval rating, and 55 percent disapproval rating among voters in his state.He's goose is cooked in the midterm elections.

  17. Chuck333,

    These are not my numbers, they are what the voters in Ky.think about Sen.McConnell.Call it what you wish.
    37 percent approval rating,and 55 percent disapproval rating.

  18. We became divided when Obama took office and refused to be POTUS of all Americans..
    and the liberal pro Obama press knows this
    but protects him with poorly written blogs...
    and fake stories...
    Its time for those who Love Obama to realize what a divider and nasty man he is - someone who will steal money right out of every American's pay check and not care a hoot.