Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Draft Ryan Now launches

Here we go. Hotline reports:
[A group of monied types is launching DraftRyanNow.com, an online petition -- and, they hope, national movement -- to coax House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., into the contest.


The group is headed by Denison Smith, a northern Virginia-based communications investor, and Charles Kozak, a Nevada lawyer and GOP political activist who briefly sought his state's GOP Senate nomination last year before throwing his support to Sharron Angle. The group, which includes members from the early-voting states of Iowa and Florida, and has "top-flight" online communications skills to get the movement launched, Smith told National Journal.

They like Herman Cain, too, and think Cain and Ryan could be a great ticket.

Really.

Zerban building a race against Ryan

Roll Call reports:

Rob Zerban thinks he can knock off a Wisconsin giant next fall.

And Democrats on Capitol Hill agree that this 42-year-old businessman, a former Republican with limited experience in county politics, could be their best shot at defeating House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) in more than a decade.
The only one unconvinced, it seems is Ryan:

[Zerban] recalled that he bumped into Ryan on a flight to Washington, D.C., in early May.

“I said, ‘I think I’m going to be your opponent in this next cycle.’ He said, ‘I look forward to running against you, if you make it through your primary,’” Zerban said, laughing. “I said, ‘You know, Paul, I don’t think I’m going to have a primary.’”
Wishful thinking?

Read it here.

Courage Evaluation Finds Ryan Lacking

Let's limit the appellation "courageous" to the deserving.

Medicare wrecker Paul Ryan needs a different label.

Self-absorbed comes to mind, despite those who worship him.

Paul is Not one of the Apostles

I wrote recently of the USCCB and Archbishop Listecki standing up for the rights of workers in Wisconsin. While many people(including myself) have had criticisms of the Catholic Church(and rightly so), they are at it again and must be(again) commended this time!

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops raising serious concerns about how the Paul Ryan budget would affect the poor and more vulnerable members of society.

Ryan has proven that any criticism of him results in immediate \"hissy fits\" and will not be allowed! Catholic Bishops being no exception to this rule, Ryan went on the attack. Congressman Ryan( R- Wall St.) fired off a letter to Archbishop Timothy DolanPaul Ryan, being the \"golden boy\" of republican politics, does not talk to minions so he went over the Bishop's heads to their boss.

Similiar to the way the \"tea party\" has completely misconstrued the Constitution, , paul ryan ( (R-Koch Brothers), has completely misconstrued Catholic Doctrine. Ryan tried to quote Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus, as well as other documents in the church’s social Magisterium, in order to argue that his budget’s treatment of programs for poor and working families conforms with Catholic social teaching.

Archbishop Dolan replied: yea not so much!
“A singularly significant part of our duty as pastors is to insist that the cries of the poor are heard, and that the much needed reform leading to financial discipline that is recognized by all never adds further burdens on those who are poor and most vulnerable, nor distracts us from our country’s historic consideration of the needs of the world’s most suffering people. The late Blessed Pope John Paul II was clear about this when he said: ‘When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the defenseless and the poor have a claim to special consideration.’ (Centesimus Annus, 10, citing Rerum Novarum, 37). In any transition that seeks to bring new proposals to current problems in order to build a better future, care must be taken that those currently in need not be left to suffer. I appreciate your assurance that your budget would be attentive to such considerations and would protect those at risk in the processes and programs of such a transition. While appreciating these assurances, our duty as pastors will motivate our close attention to the manner in which they become a reality.“
H/T Amy Sullivan

So now the two good friends, paul and Scott, have both upset the Catholic church. The difference is that, while Scott Walker ignored the church's request, Ryan decided to fight it and lied to Archbishop Dolan when confronted.

Cross Posted at Blogging Blue

Monday, May 30, 2011

Unlike William Edward Hickman, Paul Ryan Isn't Exactly A Serial Killer



Hopefully you've already seen the videos of Paul Ryan talking about how dystopian novelist Ayn Rand's profoundly anti-Christian ideas are what inspired him to leave his career as a marketing shill and enter politics. Ryan admits he "requests" that anyone who works for him read Rand's sick and perverted novels. But what Ryan has never publicly discussed is the inspirational relationship between serial murderer William Edward Hickman and Ayn Rand's work. Rand describes her hero in terms that any sociopath might admire-- and makes it very clear how someone like Paul Ryan could come up with a budget-- what he calls his "cause"-- that would destroy the lives of so many millions of working families.
"Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"

In Rand's make believe world Hickman is Republican Party icon Howard Roark. In real life politics, he is Clarence Thomas, Alan Greenspan, Rush Limbaugh and... unbeknownst to naive, dangerous pundits, Paul Ryan.
[L]et's meet William Hickman, the "genuinely beautiful soul" and inspiration to Ayn Rand. What you will read below-- the real story, details included, of what made Hickman a "superman" in Ayn Rand's eyes-- is extremely gory and upsetting, even if you're well acquainted with true crime stories-- so prepare yourself. But it's necessary to read this to understand Rand, and to repeat this over and over until all of America understands what made her tick, because Rand's influence over the very people leading the fight to kill social programs, and her ideological influence on so many powerful bankers, regulators and businessmen who brought the financial markets crashing down, means her ideas are affecting all of our lives in the worst way imaginable.

Rand fell for William Edward Hickman in the late 1920s, as the shocking story of Hickman's crime started to grip the nation. He was the OJ Simpson of his day; his crime, trial and case were nonstop headline grabbers for months.

Hickman, who was only 19 when he was arrested for murder, was the son of a paranoid-schizophrenic mother and grandmother. His schoolmates said that as a kid Hickman liked to strangle cats and snap the necks of chickens for fun -- most of the kids thought he was a budding manic, though the adults gave him good marks for behavior, a typical sign of sociopathic cunning. He enrolled in college but quickly dropped out, and turned to violent crime largely driven by the thrill and arrogance typical of sociopaths: in a brief and wild crime spree that grew increasingly violent, Hickman knocked over dozens of gas stations and drug stores across the Midwest and west to California. Along the way it's believed he strangled a girl in Milwaukee and killed his crime partner's grandfather in Pasadena, tossing his body over a bridge after taking his money. Hickman's partner later told police that Hickman told him how much he'd like to kill and dismember a victim someday-- and that day did come for Hickman.

One afternoon, Hickman drove up to Mount Vernon Junior High school in Los Angeles, telling administrators he'd come to pick up "the Parker girl"-- her father, Perry Parker, was a prominent banker. Hickman didn't know the girl's first name, so when he was asked which of the two Parker twins, he answered, "the younger daughter." Then he corrected himself: "The smaller one."

No one suspected his motives. The school administrator fetched young Marion, and brought her out to Hickman. Marion obediently followed Hickman to his car as she was told, where he promptly kidnapped her. He wrote a ransom note to Marion's father, demanding $1,500 for her return, promising the girl would be left unharmed. Marion was terrified into passivity-- she even waited in the car for Hickman when he went to mail his letter to her father. Hickman's extreme narcissism comes through in his ransom letters, as he refers to himself as a "master mind [sic]" and "not a common crook." Hickman signed his letters "The Fox" because he admired his own cunning: "Fox is my name, very sly you know." And then he threatened: "Get this straight. Your daughter's life hangs by a thread."

Hickman and the girl's father exchanged letters over the next few days as they arranged the terms of the ransom, while Marion obediently followed her captor's demands. She never tried to escape the hotel where he kept her; Hickman even took her to a movie, and she never screamed for help. She remained quiet and still as told when Hickman tied her to the chair-- he didn't even bother gagging her because there was no need to, right up to the gruesome end.

Hickman's last ransom note to Marion's father is where this story reaches its disturbing end. Hickman fills the letter with hurt anger over her father's suggestion that Hickman might deceive him, and "ask you for your $1500 for a lifeless mass of flesh I am base and low but won't stoop to that depth." What Hickman didn't say was that as he wrote the letter, Marion had already been chopped up into several lifeless masses of flesh. Why taunt the father? Why feign outrage? This sort of bizarre taunting was all part of the serial killer's thrill, maximizing his sadistic pleasure. But this was nothing compared to the thrill Hickman got from murdering the helpless 12-year-old Marion Parker. Here is an old newspaper description of the murder, taken from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 27, 1927:

"It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me," he continued, "and I just couldn't help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marion. Then before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly. I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead. Well, after she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out."

Another newspaper account explained what Hickman did next:

Then he took a pocket knife and cut a hole in her throat. Then he cut off each arm to the elbow. Then he cut her legs off at the knees. He put the limbs in a cabinet. He cut up the body in his room at the Bellevue Arms Apartments. Then he removed the clothing and cut the body through at the waist. He put it on a shelf in the dressing room. He placed a towel in the body to drain the blood. He wrapped up the exposed ends of the arms and waist with paper. He combed back her hair, powdered her face and then with a needle fixed her eyelids. He did this because he realized that he would lose the reward if he did not have the body to produce to her father.

Hickman packed her body, limbs and entrails into a car, and drove to the drop-off point to pick up his ransom; along his way he tossed out wrapped-up limbs and innards scattering them around Los Angeles. When he arrived at the meeting point, Hickman pulled Miriam's [sic] head and torso out of a suitcase and propped her up, her torso wrapped tightly, to look like she was alive-- he sewed wires into her eyelids to keep them open, so that she'd appear to be awake and alive. When Miriam's father arrived, Hickman pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him, showed Miriam's head with the eyes sewn open (it would have been hard to see for certain that she was dead), and then took the ransom money and sped away. As he sped away, he threw Miriam's head and torso out of the car, and that's when the father ran up and saw his daughter-- and screamed.

This is the "amazing picture" Ayn Rand -- guru to the Republican/Tea Party right-wing-- admired when she wrote in her notebook that Hickman represented "the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should."

That's a classic definition of a sociopath-- even beyond no empathy... no people even exist for you. That's describes Ayn Rand and it describes the political agenda of Paul Ryan and the Republican Party. Yes-- they are that dangerous. As Mark Ames wrote in the Alternet post I've been quoting, "Too many critics of Ayn Rand-- until recently I was one of them-- would rather dismiss her books and ideas as laughable, childish, and hackneyed. But she can't be dismissed because Rand is the name that keeps bubbling up from the Tea Party crowd and the elite conservative circuit in Washington as the Big Inspiration. The only way to protect ourselves from this thinking is the way you protect yourself from serial killers: smoke the Rand followers out, make them answer for following the crazed ideology of a serial-killer-groupie, and run them the hell out of town and out of our hemisphere.

If you'd like to help Rob Zerban do just that in Janesville, Kenosha, Racine and throughout southeast Wisconsin, you can do it here. It matters, even if you can just contribute $5 or $10.

Ryan, Tea Party, demand “leaders” end Medicare as we know it!

Leaders don’t follow. They don’t listen to “popular” opinion, consider descent, see the many protesters or need to “follow” the will of the people. Leaders know what is good for the people, what is right, and aren't swayed by an out of touch "entitled" public.

That’s the Paul Ryan message. 

Ryan’s been very clear that he must lead the public away from what we know as self preservation, that instinctive but self-destructive human trait:


Leaders don’t have to listen. We’ve seen the Republican legislature and Scott Walker lead despite the massive protests to save collective bargaining from the budget ax. They are leading us from the error of our ways.

This is the rhetoric we’re hearing now, since Ryan has been hitting the concept hard in the media, the same media that hasn’t noticed. Most startling is how Ryan and the radical tea party movement have similar agendas now, one where leaders hold authority over the bumbling publics need for the overly generous Medicare program. 

A balanced budget is so much more important than the human carnage resulting from dismantling our entitlement programs. Ryan and the tea party are tough risk takers who lead:


Jamie Radtke, a Virginia tea-party candidate for the U.S. Senate wrote, “Take the tough and, yes, politically risky stand to put our economy back on track. We finally have conservatives in Congress who have the guts to lead … and Republicans need to embrace them. No more politics. Will you join me in full support of Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity Plan?"

The Pied Piper was a great leader too, and you might remember how that ended.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pawlenty sips the Ryan Kool Aid

Tim Pawlenty had avoided saying he'd support Paul Ryan's budget plan, also known as the Road to Ruin.

But then he told Christiane Amanpour on <a href="http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/05/tim-pawlenty-says-he-would-back-paul-ryans-medicare-plan.html">ABC's This Week </a> that while he will unveil his own budget plan during his presidential campaign:

“But if the only choice is we're doing nothing, like President Obama is doing and Paul Ryan's plan, I'd sign it.”
That is not the choice, of course. Obama and the Democrats will not propose doing nothing. Pawlenty is not the president, and not likely to be. Democrats will most likely continue to control the Senate, and won't be passing the Ryan budget anyway. So what he offered is meaningless.

But Pawlenty, trying to avoid endorsing the Ryan plan without alienating the right-wing Republicans who support it, and who threatened to tar and feather Newt Gingrich when he opposed it, has taken his first sip from the Ryan cup. Others will urge him to drink up.

Ezra Kein Breaks Down Paul Ryan's Gobbledygook. Ryan's Flim Flam revealed without all the numbers and demagoguery.

WashingtonPost: Let me begin by saying that though I’m eager to do an interview where we can really engage with one another’s arguments, I appreciate Paul Ryan response to my questions and hope we can continue the dialogue. In this post, I’m going to focus on his two most important arguments: 

”Our premium-support plan is modeled after the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program,” Ryan writes, “in which providers compete against each other for seniors’ business.” 

Let’s start with the costs. Since 2006 — the first year of the benefit — Medicare Part D’s average premium has risen by 57 percent (pdf). Between 2010 and 2011, premiums rose by 10 percent.  But it’s a lot faster than inflation, which is what Ryan needs for his plan to work. As the actuaries write, “The reduced estimates reflect a higher market penetration of generic drugs and a decline in the number of new drug products that are expected to reach the market during this period.” Another reason that the program’s costs came in lower than expected is that fewer people signed up. 

But the bigger issue is that Ryan’s plan is capped while Medicare Part D isn’t. In Part D, the federal government pays, on average, 74 percent of program’s costs. And that support grows alongside the program’s costs. Ryan’s plan covers about a third of beneficiary costs, and that support grows at the rate of inflation — much more slowly than the rest of the program, or than Medicare Part D.

Which brings us to the rest of the world. I asked Ryan how he could say that government control never works in health care when Germany, the Netherlands, France and other countries pay so much less, and get as much or more, than we do. Ryan’s reply:

"Canada’s health-care system consumed 40 percent of provincial budgets in 2010. The French health-care system has run deficits since 1989 and is currently facing a $15 billion shortfall. The British health-care system is cutting millions of scheduled operations because the government simply cannot afford to pay for them."

This is basically a dodge. First, he changed the countries: He moved to Canada and the United Kingdom rather than the examples I mentioned. Ryan’s wrong to draw an equivalence between our costs and theirs. In 2008, Canada spent about $4,000 per person, per year, on health care. The United Kingdom spent a bit more than $3,000. We spent about $7,400 … suggesting that we’re all facing the same sort of pressure is flatly wrong. When attacking the systems in other countries, he cherrypicks numbers to demonstrate they want to save money in the health-care systems but ignores the numbers showing that they spend half as much as we do. The result is that he gives people the wrong impression of both Medicare Part D and health systems across the world.

And saying this is all about “who should make the decision” is too simple by half, or perhaps by three-fourths. Under Ryan’s plan, the relevant decisions are made by whether you have the money to pay for what you need, whether your insurance provider says “yes” or “no,” and whether Congress decides to increase or decrease the size of the subsidies.

As he says elsewhere in his response, his plan is all about making Medicare less generous, about finishing off the open-ended, fee-for-service model he believes is driving costs. The reality is that if Ryan’s plan held growth to the same rate as Medicare Part D, it would implode, while if it closed 50 percent of the gap between our system and the Canadian system, it’d be a wild, unmitigated, unbelievable success. 

But that just underscores how important it is for us to be realistic about what we can do, clear-eyed about what has and hasn’t worked elsewhere, and open to ideas that don’t fit with our philosophical preferences. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is Everyone Having A Great Memorial Day Weekend?

oh, you need to click the image for the full impact

I guarantee you, Paul Ryan and the fascist Big Business cabal he fronts are not taking any time off from their cause-- enslaving the rest of us. If you have any spare change, please think about helping Rob Zerban's campaign to unseat Ryan in southeast Wisconsin.

Ryan's Budget Criticism Real, not Demagogued.

Rep. Paul Ryan's over use of the word Demagogue finally gets called out for what it is, a lie.

Michael Smerconish reveals that Ryan's definition of Demagogue is incorrect, and Ezra Klein reveals Ryan is wrong about describing his plan as a premium support program, instead of as a voucher. 

Can't Ryan get his own plan right, or is he in fact, demagoguing us?


Why you can't afford Paul Ryan's Medicare plan

Let me make this simple for you: the Ryan plan will leave you paying for at least half of your health care costs – via insurance or out-of-pocket – in your golden years, when your income is lowest and your health care costs are highest. If you don’t have an extra $182,000 to throw at these new costs that will be factoring in over the course of the average retirement span, then you are going to be in deep kimchi.
Jim Rosenberg has more.

Who had worst week in Washington? Paul Ryan

Chris Cizzilla in the Washington Post:

Democratic strategists can barely contain their glee that Republicans have handed them such a golden goose of a political issue barely six months after the GOP retook control of the House.

Paul Ryan, for ensuring that you will be a Democratic whipping boy all the way until Nov. 6, 2012 — 527 days, if you’re counting — you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Republicans Disabled By Ryan's Taint

Voters in a New York Congressional district safe for Republicans reject a GOP candidate endorsing Paul Ryan's plan to turn Medicare over to profit-driven private insurers, and national media pile on.

Voters are fed up with Republican overreach, which should make the GOP even more nervous in Wisconsin, where Ryan's pal Scott Walker and some of his legislative lieutenants are on the path to recall.

And nationally, where extremists like Palin, Bachmann and the increasingly-reactionary Pawlenty evince that arrogant Ryanesque disconnect.

It wasn't widely publicized, but a Republican state legislator in Alabama, citing his party's overreaching, switched sides and is now a Democrat.

I like the trend. Thank you, Paul Ryan.

Do You Think Professor Krugman Would Give Paul Ryan An F?


Paul Krugman hasn't been a fan of Paul Ryan's breezy pseudo-intellectual laziness for just about a full year now. Last August he warned Beltway insiders that the Wall Street Frankenstein creature from Wisconsin was nothing but a flimflam man and his much-heralded "courageousness" was, in reality, merely "the audacity of dopes." Thursday, in light of Ryan telling reporters he doesn't care if he loses his own House seat next year, Krugman poked through the Republican wreckage in western New York state and found what happens when someone who doesn't know much about economics tries to put one over on the public. He found why Ryan is "upset" and "bitter" and added "sore loser" to the growing lexicon that describes the Republican Budget Chair, reminding us that Hochul's campaign had "focused squarely on Mr. Ryan’s plan to dismantle Medicare and replace it with a voucher system." Ryan blamed his stunning loss on "Democrats’ willingness to 'shamelessly distort and demagogue the issue, trying to scare seniors to win an election,' and he predicted that by November of next year 'the American people are going to know they’ve been lied to'.”
You can understand Mr. Ryan’s bitterness. He has, after all, experienced quite a comedown over the course of the past seven weeks. Until his Medicare plan was rolled out in early April he had spent months bathing in warm approbation from many pundits, who had decided to anoint him as an icon of fiscal responsibility. And the plan itself received rapturous praise in the first couple of days after its release.

Then people who actually know how to read a budget proposal started looking at the plan. And that’s when everything started to fall apart.

Mr. Ryan may claim-- and he may even believe-- that he’s facing a backlash because his opponents are lying about his proposals. But the reality is that the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans, not because the plan’s critics are lying about it, but because they’re describing it accurately.

Take, for example, the statement that the Ryan plan would end Medicare as we know it. This may have Republicans screaming “Mediscare!” but it’s the absolute truth: The plan would replace our current system, in which the government pays major health costs, with a voucher system, in which seniors would, in effect, be handed a coupon and told to go find private coverage.

The new program might still be called Medicare-- hey, we could replace government coverage of major expenses with an allowance of two free aspirins a day, and still call it “Medicare”-- but it wouldn’t be the same program. And if the cost estimates of the Congressional Budget Office are at all right, the inadequate size of the vouchers-- which by 2030 would cover only about a third of seniors’ health costs-- would leave many if not most older Americans unable to afford essential care.

If anyone is lying here, it’s Mr. Ryan himself, who has claimed that his plan would give seniors the same kind of coverage that members of Congress receive-- an assertion that is completely false.

And, by the way, the claim that the plan would keep Medicare as we know it intact for Americans currently 55 or older is highly dubious. True, that’s what the plan promises, but if you think about the political dynamics that would emerge once Americans born a year or two too late realize how much better a deal slightly older Americans are getting, you realize that this is a promise unlikely to be fulfilled.

Still, are Democrats doing a bad thing by telling the truth about the Ryan plan? “If you demagogue entitlement reform,” says Mr. Ryan, “you’re hastening a debt crisis; you’re bringing about Medicare’s collapse.” Maybe he should have a word with his colleagues who greeted the modest, realistic cost control efforts in the Affordable Care Act with cries of “death panels.”

Anyway, the underlying premise behind statements like that is the assumption that the Ryan plan represents a serious effort to come to grip with America’s long-run fiscal problems. But what became clear soon after that plan was unveiled was that it was no such thing. In fact, it wasn’t really a deficit-reduction plan. Once you remove the absurd assumptions-- discretionary spending, including defense, falling to Calvin Coolidge levels, and huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, with no loss in revenue?-- it’s highly questionable whether it would reduce the deficit at all.

What the Ryan plan is, instead, is an attempt to snooker Americans into accepting a standard right-wing wish list under the guise of deficit reduction. And Americans, it seems, have seen through the deception.

So what happens now? The fight will shift from Medicare to Medicaid-- a program that has become an essential lifeline for many Americans, especially children, but which in the Ryan plan is slated for a 44 percent cut in federal aid over the next decade. At this point, however, I’m optimistic that this initiative will also run aground on popular disapproval.

What of Mr. Ryan’s hope that voters will realize that they’ve been lied to? Well, as I see it, that’s already happening. And it’s bad news for the G.O.P.

I wonder if anyone thinks it's just a coincidence that young Ryan has taken more money from Wall Street and Big Insurance interests than any other politician in the history of Wisconsin. Wall Street selected him long ago as someone to back and push all the way up the ladder. The audacity of dopes is exactly what they were looking for and, so far, the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sector has showered Ryan's political career with legalist bribes to the tune of $2,349,822, the kind of money usually reserved for senators. Insurance companies chipped in $713,003 and the Medical Industrial Complex put forward another $1,063,242. Big Business is financing Ryan's career because he will always pick their interests over the interests of his constituents who he doesn't care about one whit. When he says he doesn't care if he loses his seat or not, he means it. He's convinced his friends in the plutocracy will take good care of him. Hopefully, we'll see if that's true or not.

Please consider helping Rob Zerban get his message out to southeast Wisconsin voters this cycle so they can do the country a favor and defeat Ryan not just in NY-26 but in WI-1, where it will count the most. (Although, I have to admit, I love to see other progressive candidates around the country campaign on an anti-Ryan platform.)

This week Washington Post editorial writer Dana Milbank jumped into the fray as well with Paul Ryan gets a taste of his own shameless demagoguery, an opinion few Inside the Beltway were willing to consider when the full court press of the corporate propaganda machine was churning out hourly praise for Ryan's brilliance and courageousness last month. The conservative voters in the suburbs and small towns between Buffalo and Rochester defeated that meme. But what Milbank focuses on is that though a petulant Paul Ryan is bitterly complaining that Democrats are being mean to him, it was Ryan himself who was one of the GOP kings of "shameless demagoguery and scare tactics" for the last two years.
Speaking on the House floor in 2009, he said the Democrats’ health-care legislation would “take coverage away from seniors,” “raise premiums for families” and “cost us nearly 5.5 million jobs.” Later, he said the health plan would bring about government “rationing” of health care.

He also labeled the plan “a government takeover of our healthcare system,” claimed America was at a “tipping point” toward a “European social welfare state,” and gave a wink to the “death panel” allegations. His suggestion that the legislation would result in the IRS getting “16,000 agents” to police the health-care law was knocked down as “wildly inaccurate” by Factcheck.org.

...Ryan might be worthy of more sympathy if he hadn’t been one of the people clubbing Democrats with slogans about trampled liberty as they labored to explain exchanges and cost curves. Now Ryan is the one trying to define the narrow difference between “premium support” and “vouchers” while Democrats accuse him of forcing seniors into destitution.

As Central Florida Democratic congressional candidate Nick Ruiz asked yesterday, "Why is America being forced to play Ryan Roulette? Where each vote for such a misguided plan as Paul Ryan’s (WI-1), that can only be seen as the Republicans’ siren song-- the medieval Path to ‘Austerity’-- is like a blow to the head of America."

The Ryan Disconnect; Life vs Are we worth saving?

This great short CBS News interview, oddly casual, gets to the heart of Paul Ryan disconnects with his constituents. As soon as the topic gets close to the actual consequences of his "Path to Corporate Prosperity," Ryan automatically veers off into policy jargon. It's either cruelly intentional, or frighteningly sociopathic. For example:

Question: "Don't you think the issue no one wants to touch though, is how expensive end of life care has been, and whether you call it rationing or something else, at some point you really need to get serious and looking...does a 100 year old need dialysis...these kind of questions?"

Instead of trying to save a human life, without the concern for how much it costs, or the painful choice of self rationing, Ryan obtusely argues who should ration. Another words, the 100 year old is beyond the age of saving:    

Ryan: "The question then is; should this be something the government decides, or should that be something...I think that is something the family should decide."

No, what we're talking about is not having to worry about having to decide at all, or what it will cost. But Ryan doesn't pick up on that all important humanity factor.

Ryan then continues to push the lie that an unelected government panel will make that decision for us. That panel of "unelected bureaucrats, created in the Patient Affordable Care Act," has not been given that power, and he knows that. It's the old and discredited "death panel" argument.


Darth Vader (Dick Cheney) “I worship the ground the Paul Ryan walks on,” he said referring to the Republican congressman from Wisconsin. “I hope he doesn’t run for president because that would ruin a good man who has a lot of work to do.”

Rep. Paul Ryan is a "sore loser" says NYT's Paul Krugman
"Mr. Ryan may claim — and he may even believe — that he’s facing a backlash because his opponents are lying about his proposals. But the reality is that the Ryan plan is turning into a political disaster for Republicans, not because the plan’s critics are lying about it, but because they’re describing it accurately ... If anyone is lying here, it’s Mr. Ryan himself, who has claimed that his plan would give seniors the same kind of coverage that members of Congress receive — an assertion that is completely false ... 'If you demagogue entitlement reform,' says Mr. Ryan, 'you’re hastening a debt crisis; you’re bringing about Medicare’s collapse.' Maybe he should have a word with his colleagues who greeted the modest, realistic cost control efforts in the Affordable Care Act with cries of 'death panels.'"

Visit Democurmudgeon for previous Ryan posts.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wisconsin' Biggest Embarrassment Tries To Debate Ezra Klein-- But Not Ayn Rand

As Paul Krugman famously declared late last year "the Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future." Sincere and intrepid reporter that he is, Ezra Klein keeps giving him the benefit of the doubt and has kept up a running dialogue with Ryan for over a year. Possibly exasperated by Ryan's deceitful nature, today he recognized he's not going to ever get anywhere with Ryan's churlish, self-serving retorts.
This is basically a dodge. First, he changed the countries: He moved to Canada and the United Kingdom rather than the examples I mentioned. And Canada and the United Kingdom, though more successful than we are, are not particularly successful health-care systems. But even so, Ryan’s wrong to draw an equivalence between our costs and theirs. In 2008, Canada spent about $4,000 per person, per year, on health care. The United Kingdom spent a bit more than $3,000. We spent about $7,400. They want to get their health-care costs down and we want to get our health-care costs down, but suggesting that we’re all facing the same sort of pressure is flatly wrong. ...

nd saying this is all about “who should make the decision” is too simple by half, or perhaps by three-fourths. Under Ryan’s plan, the relevant decisions are made by whether you have the money to pay for what you need, whether your insurance provider says “yes” or “no,” and whether Congress decides to increase or decrease the size of the subsidies. As he says elsewhere in his response, his plan is all about making Medicare less generous, about finishing off the open-ended, fee-for-service model he believes is driving costs.

Similarly, there are a mix of people making decisions in, say, the French system. You can purchase whatever you want if you have the money. If you don’t, you’re somewhat at the mercy of private insurers because there’s a lot of supplementary private insurance. The government plays a big role financing basic care and bargaining down prices. And, as we’ve seen, the result is a system that the French people quite like, that holds costs down much better than ours does, and that gets similar or better outcomes.

In both of his major arguments, Ryan focuses on the wrong numbers. When defending Medicare Part D, he argues that it came in cheaper than expected, ignoring both the reasons behind that performance and the fact that growth in the program was nevertheless much faster than his plan could bear. When attacking the systems in other countries, he cherrypicks numbers to demonstrate they want to save money in the health-care systems but ignores the numbers showing that they spend half as much as we do. The result is that he gives people the wrong impression of both Medicare Part D and health systems across the world.

The reality is that if Ryan’s plan held growth to the same rate as Medicare Part D, it would implode, while if it closed 50 percent of the gap between our system and the Canadian system, it’d be a wild, unmitigated, unbelievable success. But unhelpfully for Ryan, that points to the fact that the approach he’s trying has never controlled costs as dramatically as he suggests, while the approach he’s eschewing has working in a dozen other countries. As he says in his introductory remarks, we both agree that controlling health-care costs is an urgent priority, that maintaining and improving quality a necessary task, and that none of this will be easy. But that just underscores how important it is for us to be realistic about what we can do, clear-eyed about what has and hasn’t worked elsewhere, and open to ideas that don’t fit with our philosophical preferences.

Ryan had a good couple of weeks when Wall Street and GOP p.r. were lionizing him as "courageous" and "brilliant." Now, only other Ayn Rand acolytes take him seriously-- and, of course, men who worship the ground he walks on. And as Eric Sapp pointed at at Huff Po this morning, the Republican Party is going to have to chose between two irreconcilable world views, Ayn Rand's and Jesus Christ's. They can't have it both ways. Ryan openly admits she was the inspiration for his interest in politics. Her adolescent novels are also the inspiration for his dystopian budget-- what he calls his "cause." Christian conservatives have started recognizing what that really means.
Chuck Colson is one of the lions of the Christian right and the head of Prison Fellowship, which, all politics aside, is the best thing coming from the Christian right and a powerful ministry to a segment of society even progressives often ignore. But Colson condemned the strong support of Rand in Republican and conservative circles and urged his followers not only to stay away from the new film of Rand's book Atlas Shrugged, but to "stay away from anyone who intends to watch the film." Colson goes on to say Rand and her followers were precisely the types of "cranks" and "crypto-cultists" that his friend Bill Buckley had fought to purge from conservative ranks. He says the "real problem with Rand is the world view her novels and other writings sought to inculcate in her readers... it's hard to imagine a world view more antithetical to Christianity."

So what is Colson talking about? A week before his statement, American Values Network released a damning memo with a large number of Rand quotes where she says she is out to destroy the Church and Judeo-Christian morality. She argued that people had to choose between following her teachings or those of Christianity and other religious traditions. Rand said religion was "evil," called the message of John 3:16 "monstrous," argued that the weak are beyond love and undeserving of it, that loving your neighbor was immoral and impossible and that she was out to undermine the idea that charity was a moral duty and virtue.

Ryan's gal:

Delusions of grandeur: Ryan sees himself as Winston Churchill

I'll have some of whatever he's having, if it makes you feel that good about yourself:

Paul Ryan, having a Dunkirk moment as Republicans begin to retreat on his Medicare scheme, tells the National Journal:
“This is a Churchillian-type of moment in history,” Ryan told National Journal. “The polls are predictable. They are regrettable. But this is a unique time in our history. We can’t go wobbly.”
Good grief! But it gets worse.

Winston Churchill carries a dual metaphorical meaning for conservatives. They invoke him as someone who was politically scorned and isolated for warning of a foreseeable but underappreciated danger--Adolf Hitler. They also see Churchill as indefatigable and heroic in summoning British grit, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of the Nazi blitz.

Many Americans revere Churchill for these same qualities, and the adoration is by no means uniquely Republican. But Republicans claim Churchill more frequently than Democrats. Ryan’s reference to “wobbly” is straight from the Iron Lady--former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher--who famously told President George H.W. Bush after the United Nations approved a resolution enforcing an embargo on Iraq that “this was no time to go wobbly … and we must not let the faint hearts grow in strength.”

Ryan, in essence, intends to be Churchill and Thatcher as the debate over Medicare's future intensifies. And Ryan thinks this is his moment.

“I was made and wired for this type of thing,” he said in an interview from his Capitol office late Thursday. “We are on the right side of history. We are ready. I talked to at least 100 Republican members in the last two days. They all told me, 'We gotta go, we’ve got to defend this.’ They are not queasy. They They are all saying, ‘Put me in coach.’ Our members are comfortable.”
How do you spell Ryan?

H-u-b-r-i-s.

Read more here.

'If anyone is lying, it's Paul Ryan himself' -- Krugman in NY Times

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist and NY Times columnist, minces no words is dismantling Paul Ryan's claims that Democrats are lying about his Medicare plan, but voters will figure out the truth:

If anyone is lying here, it’s Mr. Ryan himself, who has claimed that his plan would give seniors the same kind of coverage that members of Congress receive — an assertion that is completely false...

What the Ryan plan is, instead, is an attempt to snooker Americans into accepting a standard right-wing wish list under the guise of deficit reduction. And Americans, it seems, have seen through the deception.

So what happens now? The fight will shift from Medicare to Medicaid — a program that has become an essential lifeline for many Americans, especially children, but which in the Ryan plan is slated for a 44 percent cut in federal aid over the next decade. At this point, however, I’m optimistic that this initiative will also run aground on popular disapproval.

What of Mr. Ryan’s hope that voters will realize that they’ve been lied to? Well, as I see it, that’s already happening. And it’s bad news for the G.O.P.
Read it here.

Neither Kathy Hochul Nor Jane Corwin Were All That Important Tuesday-- Paul Ryan And The Republican Agenda Were

Tuesday's election results in western New York were all about independent voters telling Republicans across the country to step on the brakes or suffer the consequences. Paul Krugman used the word "Buffalo" eight times in his Wednesday morning post-- and that was just in the headline!
The obvious point is that Republicans, having run in 2010 largely by scaring seniors with tales of death panels, are now horsed on their own pet aardvark, or something.

The difference is that whereas Democrats were not, in fact, trying to impose death panels, Republicans really do want to dismantle Medicare – and that’s the truth no matter how many times Very Serious People reach for their smelling salts when Democrats say that. And you would think that would make Medicare an even more potent weapon for the Dems than it was for the Rs (unless they go out of their way to ignore what the electorate is really concerned about.)

It’s now starting to look like a real possibility that we will have had three electoral waves in a row-- a Democratic sweep in 2006-2008, a Republican countersweep in 2010, and a countercountersweep in 2012 as voters realize that the GOP is the same as it always was, only more so.

Within hours of the disavowal of his vision for turning seniors' healthcare over to his financial backers at the predatory health insurance companies, Ryan was desperately trying to salvage what's left of his credibility-- with his own paralyzed caucus (remember Boehner and Cantor had tricked them all into backing Ryan's crazy plans). He was tweeting up a storm Wednesday morning with every kind of excuse for what a great big misunderstanding his plan to turn Medicare into an inadequate private voucher system has been. He tried ducking responsibility by blaming the Democrats... of course.


But even after Jane Corwin's approval numbers began tanking when she blundered into admitting that she would have voted for Ryan's budget, Ryan never showed up in Buffalo to defend her. The Republicans there and in DC were at least savvy enough to know that his presence in the district would have meant instant death for her campaign. Instead they invited Boehner and Cantor to defend her. That amounted to a slow drawn out death.

The slap in the face to Ryan didn't exactly go unnoticed back in Wisconsin. His opponent for reelection, Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban was out with a statement Tuesday night:
"Tonight it is clear that Representative Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare is the wrong choice for our families, and we will not stand for it. Voters in New York's 26th Congressional District rejected Paul Ryan’s backward vision of America that puts our seniors at risk. If New Yorkers don’t want Medicare replaced with a voucher plan, you can be sure that families here in Wisconsin's First District will have something to say in the next election. Wisconsinites put our trust in Paul Ryan only to be sold out to special interests.

"I’d like to congratulate New York’s new Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul for winning this strongly-held Republican district. We have our work cut out for us to put our nation back on track, but ordinary people have spoken up tonight to say, 'Hands off our Medicare, Paul Ryan'."

Mike Tate Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party backed up his messaging against right-wing over reach the next morning:
"In the face of overwhelming opposition, Republicans have been stymied in their attacks on our seniors.
 
"In the Legislature, Republicans furiously reversed their own plans to gut SeniorCare only after six GOP senators now face recalls this summer and thousands of Wisconsin citizens signed petitions to save the successful program that helps seniors pay for prescription drugs. They claim that they will, for the moment, spare the program.

"And as New York's Congressional election shows, Paul Ryan's attempt to end Medicare is being rejected even by Republican voters.

"Both Republican legislators and Paul Ryan promise that they will preserve SeniorCare and Medicare, but we know these promises are an absolute sham.
 
"It's time for Scott Walker and his rubber-stamping Republicans to stop playing politics with SeniorCare, for Paul Ryan to stop his plans to end Medicare and for all of them to stop paying for tax cuts for the rich and huge corporations on the backs of Wisconsin's seniors."

Norman Solomon, one of the Blue America candidates running on a Medicare-for-all platform in next year's congressional races, looked at the race in NY-26 and said it proves that "Democrats can win uphill battles by really putting up a fight instead of splitting the difference with the extremist Republican Party. The reality is that the GOP is committed to dismantling Medicare and a wide range of other humane government programs. We should not give an inch when the lives of children, the elderly and other vulnerable people are at stake."

Paul Ryan is the biggest danger middle class families are facing to their children's future. Wall Street and Big Business will stop at nothing to get him and his toxic agenda into the White House. There is only one way to stop him-- and that's with direct action. And right now that direct action means electing Rob Zerban to the seat Ryan has been sitting in. It won't be easy, but it's not any less possible than the race in NY-26 was. In fact, President Obama won WI-01 in 2008, and the district is filled with fired up Democrats and newly awakened independents. Can you help Rob's campaign? Ryan's budget and his vision and his entire political career were inspired-- as he freely admits-- by deranged anti-Christian novelist Ayn Rand. Wall Street adores her too... and would love her simplistic and extremely dangerous ideas dominating our politics:



Replacing Paul Ryan with Rob Zerban will mean instead of harboring a Wall Street shill hell-bent on destroying the middle class for his corporate masters, WI-1 will have a congressman joining defenders of working families like the men and women in the video below. You can contribute to Rob's campaign at StopPaulRyan through Act Blue.



(Read the full post at Down With Tyranny)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poor Paul Ryan: What Goes Around Comes Around

We here in Wisconsin are enjoying seeing Ryan be brought back down to earth - - a phenomenon Scott Walker is discovering, too.

Ahh, Celebrity, Thy Name Is Paul.



The Horror. The Horror.

Just imagine 3000 mini-pompadours in ill-fitting suits criss-crossing each of our states, 42 per county just in Wisconsin, each one armed with AFP vetted charts, graphs and statistics standing on street corners offering to bloviate on the virtues of abandoning the poor and sick.

It's a regular Galtfest.

Grover Norquist is trying to train 150,000 activists to make the pitch for the plan. “The challenge will be to teach each of our activists to deliver the Ryan speech," he said.
Crossposted at THC

Ryan's numbers tank in Wisconsin

Public Policy Polling just concluded a statewide poll that shows President Barack Obama in good shape in Wisconsin. It also contained some bad news for Paul Ryan, although Ryan did better in a matchup against Obama than other Republicans:

Ryan's image in the state has gone in the wrong direction as his national profile has increased over the course of the last six months. When we polled on Ryan in December his favorability was a positive 38/30 spread. Now it's a negative 41/46 spread. That's a 13 point net shift in the wrong direction for him over the last five months. He's up up 10 points with Republicans from +55 (61/6) to +65 (77/12). But that's more than outweighed by his being down 34 points with Democrats from -35 (16/51) to -69 (10/79). And he's down 9 points with independents from +10 (39/29) to +1 (43/42). Ryan's prudent not to run for the state's open seat given his decline in popularity on the home front.
Ryan's "prudent" decision to stay out of the Senate race was explained by Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now in a Journal Sentinel op ed:

Ryan is not giving up his House seat because he would not win the Senate race. And Wisconsin Republicans from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and all parts in between are wiping the sweat from their collective brows.

Cheney Has A Man Crush On Our Boy Paul

Paul Ryan may worship Ayn Rand, but Dick Cheney confesses he "worships the ground Paul Ryan walks on."



Is today a good day to contribute to Ron Zerban's campaign to retire Ryan from politics altogether? Those $5 and $10 donations can add up to a new congressman for southeast Wisconsin, and a new zeitgeist in DC.

'Fine if I lose my House seat" Paul Ryan says -- and he might

[Paul Ryan]says he is determined to fight for his Medicare plan even if it ruins his political career. ‘I don't care about that,’ Ryan said in an interview on the Subway Series with ABC’s Jonathan Karl. ‘Now is not that time to be worried about political careers. Sincerely, I will be fine if I lose my house seat because you know what? I will know I did what I thought was right to save this country from fiscal ruin.’
Ryan said that in an interview on ABC's Subwat Series with Jonathan Karl, as reported by The Note.

A lot of people in Wisconsin and across the country would be happy to see him lose that seat. He hasn't really had a challenge for years, and has continued to amass campaign cash from the special interests. At the end of 2010 he had $3-million in the bank. But that doesn't mean he's unbeatable. Money doesn't always dominate. Ask Meg Whitman, who spent $160-million or more to lose the California governor's race to Jerry Brown, who was outspent 6 to 1.

And Ryan has a real, credible opponent, Rob Zerban, who got in the race early and is on the right message. It's still a longshot, but what happened in New York state Tuesday night could happen in the 1st District. Ryan's budget plan is political poison, and so far the GOP have not found the antidote.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Paul Ryan gets a taste of his own shameless demagoguery'

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post:

“The president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare,” [Paul Ryan said.]...

He’s right about that... And Ryan is well qualified to call out shameless demagoguery and scare tactics: Over the past two years, he has practiced both.

Speaking on the House floor in 2009, he said the Democrats’ health-care legislation would “take coverage away from seniors,” “raise premiums for families” and “cost us nearly 5.5 million jobs.” Later, he said the health plan would bring about government “rationing” of health care.

He also labeled the plan “a government takeover of our healthcare system,” claimed America was at a “tipping point” toward a “European social welfare state,” and gave a wink to the “death panel” allegations. His suggestion that the legislation would result in the IRS getting “16,000 agents” to police the health-care law was knocked down as “wildly inaccurate” by Factcheck.org.

Read it here.

Paul Ryan: 2012’s Goldwater?

David Frum on Frum Forum:

I used to worry that Sarah Palin would be the Barry Goldwater of 2012. My bad. Paul Ryan is the Barry Goldwater of 2012...

The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.

No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell that message to America’s working class.
Read it here.

In wake of upset, Dems look to unseat Ryan in 2012

The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of Tuesday night's upset victory in upstate New York's special election, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is expanding his horizons, pinpointing nearly 100 House seats that could present favorable match-ups for Democrats in 2012. He is also refocusing attention on unseating House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

"We have an excellent Democratic candidate named Rob Zerban who got into the race largely because he couldn't tolerate Paul Ryan's leadership on a plan to terminate Medicare, while funding tax cuts for big oil companies," DCCC Chair Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post in a late-night interview Tuesday. "So that's one district where the political landscape may change."
Read it here.