In a stunning display of brutality that shocked even fellow Republican state legislators, a Gang of Four renegade Republican senators in Missouri's state house used a parliamentary procedure to block their states' jobless from receiving $105 million worth of unemployment benefits starting as early as Sunday.
The four, led by known evangelical supremacist Jim Lembke of Missouri's1st District, filibustered what should have been a mere procedural vote to continue participation in a federal program to extend unemployment benefits for those who still can't find jobs after they've exhausted 79 weeks of benefits authorized by previous federal laws.
Republicans Brian Nieves, Will Kraus and Rob Schaaf joined Lembke's anti-worker coup.
Proving over and over again that Republicans are nothing more than vicious thugs vying for the favor of their plutocrat overlords, Lembke and his gang stunned even their GOP cohort with a depth of depravity the others had not countenanced. With their action, Missouri would become the first state to actually quit participating in a federal program that offered extended unemployment benefits. State unemployment benefits normally run out after 26 weeks, but since the Bush-era mortgage meltdown and the mass job-offshoring spree, the federal government has enacted a series of benefit extensions for states hit by high unemployment.
Republicans control both chambers of Missouri's state government, but even the Republican-led state legislature had approved the benefit extension bill by a 123-14 margin. Republican state senate leaders had reportedly favored the bill, and Democratic Governor Jay Nixon had anticipated signing the law assuring continued benefits for tens of thousands of Missouri's unemployed.
But avowed evangelical extremist Lembke, who matriculated at the right-wing Covenant Theological Seminary and was a business manager and board member of the Providence Christian Academy, wielded his sword of self-righteous vengeance, and struck at the most vulnerable members of his state's community. Because of Lembke and his minions' vicious cruelty, tens of thousands barely hanging on by the fragile thread of their weekly unemployment checks will be plunged into destitution. Homes, hearths and shelter will be lost. Children will cry themselves to sleep in hunger and misery. More than one will no doubt succumb to despair and hopelessness.
Lembke would no doubt tell his starving multitudes to pray. Unfortunately, Lembke himself appears incapable of feeding those multitudes with a few fish and a couple of loaves. More to the point, Lembke appears completely disinterested in doing so, which is a principal difference between Christ and the smug Republican poseurs who repeatedly claim His mantle.
Lembke's narcissistic posturing disgusted fellow Republicans not noted for showing empathy to ordinary Americans. Representative Barney Fisher called Lembke's grandstanding "inappropriate," and said that philosophical standpoints might be "interesting," they "didn't put food on the table."
Lembke's infamy outstriped the America-hating antics of Republican politicos in Michigan, who merely cut future benefits from 26 to 20 weeks beginning next year. Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his GOP cabal slipped that little ditty into a bill that accepted the same extension of current federal unemployment benefits that Missouri has now disdained. Lembke and his gang proved they were the most barbaric of the ax-wielding Gothic proselytizers by sacrificed tens of thousands of Americans' well being in their lust for national headlines and TV exposure.
While Republicans universally hate all living things and Americans in particular, Lembke's shameless toadying to corporate overlords who relish reducing their unemployment insurance premiums reveals a black abyss of pure evil and hatred rarely parallelled in recorded history. No smug protestation that a budget strapped by Republican tax giveaways to the rich forced the abuse of their people could mask the depravity Lembke displayed in brutalizing people whose welfare he was supposedly elected to champion.
Republican pols continually snivel about the well-being of the "American people," but to Republicans, there are only a handful of such people: the multi-billionaire Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch (an Australian), Donald Trump, and a few Texas oil moguls. It is apparent that no other Americans exist to them. When Republican pols crow about "securing the future for our children," they literally mean their own offspring, who will enjoy extravagant trust-fund reigns thanks to their progenitors' perfidy.
While the world condemns Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy for killing his own people, Lembke and his co-conspirators would likewise plunge his own people into hunger, despair and homelessness, and force anguished Missouri parents to watch their babies condemned to the life-long misery of mind- and body-stilting childhood deprivation.