Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ryan Mischaracterizes Auto Loans, Doesn't consider State Loss of Auto Manufacturing Important.

Like the title says, Rep. Paul Ryan made one hell of a miscalculation about Wisconsin’s hard hit auto plant closings. He also couldn't resist backhanding and abandoning the working class families that relied on those jobs. 

Sorry Paul, we still want to bring those jobs back, in a big way.
Charlie Rose asked Ryan about the auto bailout, which has particular resonance in Michigan. "Should that be an issue? And should the voters look at [critics] of the bailout and say, 'We had an economic bailout of the auto companies and look what happened? Profits are up and they're both doing well'?" Rose asked.

"Well, if you give any company tens of billions of dollars and wipe their debt off the books, I would expect them to do well," Ryan said.
The government never “gave” the auto industry money, but it did LOAN them some, which they paid back. Ryan supported those “bailouts,” although it sure doesn’t sound like cares much about it now.

Ryan also doesn’t have time to talk up GM and Chrysler’s new found success, and encourage them to return to Janesville and Kenosha, where workers there would welcome a chance at manufacturing cars again:
"I think it's a big issue in Michigan; I'm not sure that it's a big issue in the rest of the country. In my hometown of Jamesville and Kenosha that I represent, we lost our auto plants. So where we come from in auto country, we don't see them as great success stories because we had plant shutdowns irrespective of those bailouts."
And Paul Ryan is the guy we want out there promoting Wisconsin’s hard working middle class? It looks like Ryan has moved on from creating those kind of jobs.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Song: Paul Ryan's Lies

For your enjoyment, the song Paul Ryan's Lies, discovered by the folks at Sly in the Morning. Originally just an audio track with no artist credit, the video here is something I basically threw together, with a bunch of Ryan pictures, so I could post it.

Absolutely no production value whatsoever. I just liked the song.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Krugman to Ryan on moochers: It takes one to know one

Republican talk radio's Charlie "Fireworks" Sykes is promoting a blurb from Paul Ryan on his new book:
Charlie Sykes’ A Nation of Moochers provides a much-needed wakeup call for a nation approaching two perilous tipping points: a moral one and a fiscal one. With our country facing unprecedented challenges and stark political choices, principled leaders will benefit from Sykes’ clear vision, keen insight and intellect. If we’re serious about getting our nation back on track, then we would be wise to follow the lessons laid out in A Nation of Moochers.” -- Congressman Paul Ryan.
Mentioning Paul Ryan and moochers in the same breath brought this to mind, from economist Paul Krugman:
 Rick Santorum declares that President Barack Obama is getting America hooked on “the narcotic of dependency.” Romney warns that government programs “foster passivity and sloth.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, requires that staff members read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” in which heroic capitalists struggle against the “moochers” trying to steal their totally deserved wealth, a struggle the heroes win by withdrawing their productive effort and giving interminable speeches. (Ha!)
Many readers of The Times were, therefore, surprised to learn, from an excellent article published earlier this month, that the regions of America most hooked on Santorum’s narcotic -- the regions in which government programs account for the largest share of personal income -- are precisely the regions electing those severe conservatives. Wasn’t Red America supposed to be the land of traditional values, where people don’t eat Thai food and don’t rely on handouts?
Krugman's column: Moochers against welfare.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ryan votes to allow oil drilling in Great Lakes

Paul Ryan voted last week against banning drilling in the Great Lakes, as part of a House-passed energy bill. Rob Zerban, his Democratic opponent, has some thoughts about Ryan's sellout of his home state, which borders two of the lakes in question:

 The House defeated, 176-241, a bid by Democrats to bar energy drilling within five miles of the Florida Everglades or the Great Lakes. The Wisconsin delegation split along party lines, with Republicans all voting against the ban. Roll call.

No wonder oil and gas interests have given Ryan nearly $250,000 in campaign money since he's been in Congress.

The GOP majority, and Ryan, also voted to build the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and start oil-shale extraction on federal land in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

Fortunately, there is still a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democratic president in the White House.

Paul Ryan Steps In It On Meet The Press

Yesterday, the NBC corporate message machine presented one of their top-paid corporate shills, Rep. Paul Ryan, on one of their top Sunday shows, Meet the Press which was last useful and relevant several decades ago, to pound home their carefully crafted, thoroughly misleading message pushing-- what else?-- Austerity. Ryan was waving the specter of Greece in front of the viewers, some of whom don't have the good sense to ignore him as a propaganda agent for the one percent and an admitted follower of the childish nonsense of Greed and Selfishness guru Ayn Rand.

On of Ryan's primary claims is that the payroll tax reduction for ordinary working families doesn't do any good. He and his ilk-- i.e., the Republican Party and their plutocratic financiers-- would much prefer more massive tax breaks for the already woefully undertaxed multimillionaires. The pompous little ignoramus, propped up by the entire right-wing think tank industry whined that he doesn't "think this works to grow our economy” and compared the payroll tax cut to “sugar-high economics.” He may be Budget Chairman-- a decision made by John Boehner-- but that doesn't mean he knows squat about budgets. As Nobel economist Paul Krugman explained, Ryan is nothing but a tawdry flimflam man who "don't know much about economics. Professionals at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that extending the payroll tax cut is more cost effective to promote economic growth and employment than the tax breaks for millionaires that Ryan and his zombie colleagues continue to insist on.

In January 2010, the CBO wrote that reducing payroll taxes for firms was among the policies “that would have the largest effect on output and employment per dollar on budgetary cost in 2010 and 2011. By contrast, policies that would temporarily increase the after-tax income of people with relatively high income, such as an across-the-board reduction in income taxes […] would have a smaller effects because such tax cuts would probably not affect the recipients’ spending significantly.”

And last November they tried reminding Ryan and his single-minded cronies that they weren't kidding. “Policies that would have the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost in 2012 and 2013 are ones that would reduce the marginal cost to businesses of adding employees or that would be targeted toward people who would be most likely to spend the additional income. Such policies include reducing employers’ payroll taxes (especially if limited to firms that increase their payroll), increasing aid to the unemployed, and providing additional refundable tax credits in 2012 for lower- and middle-income households.” That's what Ryan's been calling “sugar-high economics" for the sake of his benefactors from GE-TV.

DWT readers probably know by now that we're pitching in, in the nationwide effort to replace Paul Ryan with Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban, someone whose vision for America is as diametrically opposed to Ryan's dark, dystopian views as possible. I spoke with him right after GE inflicted Ryan on us. He had a lot to say:
Paul Ryan's performance on Meet the Press today underscores how desperate Republicans are to shift the conversation away from the recovering economy. Instead of talking about proactive steps and investments we can make to accelerate growth, Ryan wants to implement an austerity plan that would be detrimental to our society and our economy.

Ryan's argument is that the President's budget is not serious enough. He prefers his own paln. Ryan is continuing to advocate for the radical ideas he first wrote in the "Path to Prosperity" 2011 House GOP Budget. He insists we need huge cuts to the social safety net, including making Medicaid a block grant program and phasing out Medicare. This approach will reverse our current trajectory of recovery.

His attack on the President's budget is a mischaracterization of what the President is proposing. President Obama has proposed a budget that makes hard choices, and hard cuts, and reduces the debt responsibly. I believe, as our President does, that we must end the tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans, like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, to pay a lower tax rate than everyone else. I also support using the funds we are saving from our drawing down of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to reduce our deficit and continue to grow our economy. This is a much more realistic plan for our economic future as opposed to just cutting programs for students, seniors, and the middle class.

Not only was Paul Ryan wrong today about the economy, he was wrong on women's rights. Ryan's attempt to divide Americans by attacking affordable contraception to women is not going to work.

Denying contraception, by funding or by provision, is not a "religious freedom" issue. No one is denying a religious person's right to believe anything they want. What is wrong is when someone uses the government to force their morality upon others. That is what is happenging. Paul Ryan's attempt to defund and regulate women's personal choices is a great example of how far-right Republicans are alienating women.

Paul Ryan has once again shown how rigidly ideological his approach is to our nation's problems. This will contiunue to make him a darling to conservatives like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, but he will continue to lose the support of the American people.

But we don't have to be in an election battle with Paul Ryan to know his phony medicine show is toxic for America. Norman Solomon comes from a district that doesn't spawn Republicans that anyone takes seriously. So the business power structure up in northern California tries holding onto power by pushing conservative Democrats who would be Republicans if they lived in other parts of the country. If Norman wins the primary, he'll, in effect, be the next congressman from Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino. And he's as aware as Rob Zerban of the dangers inherent in Paul Ryan's approach. Yesterday after he watched Ryan on Meet the Press he shook his head sadly that there are still people being hoodwinked by this prepackaged crap:
As a high-ranking cleric for the political faith of austerity, Ryan used his appearance on Meet the Press to sprinkle some holy water and whine about the supposed failure of federal stimulus efforts. In fact, tax-cutting dogmas-- combined with huge military spending, loopholes for the wealthy and Wall Street impunity-- have thrown the U.S. economy into a very deep ditch. We know that the Republican leadership is hellbent on deepening that ditch for most people while large corporations reap massive gains from enormous human pain. What remains to be seen-- and, more to the point, determined by our actions-- is how effectively we can fight for a present-day Green New Deal, providing sufficient public investment to overcome the vast obstacles to social equity and economic fairness. As an independent progressive Democrat, I'm running for Congress to occupy a seat for the 99 percent. It's not enough to pooh-pooh the likes of Paul Ryan. We need to create viable, long-term alternatives for the future.

Norman Solomon and Rob Zerban are on the same page-- a page I hope you'll visit right now and contribute what you can. Today's my birthday and I've been getting a slew of beautiful e-cards and well-wishes on Facebook. Thank you, everyone. Thank you, thank you. And if you'd like to make me smile on my birthday, give what you can to the Blue America candidates-- even if it's just a dollar. Grassroots campaigns aren't funded by $5,000 checks; they're funded by small contributions from people who believe in the future of the country. Again, here's the place: Blue America.

Ryan: Why are we wasting time talking about gay marriage?

Paul Ryan's mind is made up: Marriage should only between a man and a woman.  So why, he wondered on Meet the Press, are we wasting so much time talking about marriage equality.  Ryan wanted to talk about the budget.

Unfortunately, his Dem counterpart of the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen of Massachusetts, also complained he was there to talk about the budget, but he did at least support the gay marriage law passed by Maryland's legislature but vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.

More, and video, at Raw Story.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ryan's false arguments on payroll tax break exposed

Paul Ryan spoke out against and voted against extending the payroll tax cuts -- a position on which his House Republican colleagues finally faced reality and folded. Ryan says the long impasse over the issue caused the GOP some political damage, but he doesn't take any responsibility for that, of course.

Ryan says the problem is that the debate muddied the differences between the parties, but the real damage is from people seeing the real differences between them, and understanding which party -- the Democratic Psrty -- is willing to fight for the middle class and low-income families.
Think Progress says:
Last year, when Democrats and Republicans were negotiating a short-term extension of the payroll tax holiday, multiple Republicans pushed the false idea that extending the payroll tax cut would undermine Social Security by robbing its trust fund of vital revenue. Those claims were repeatedly debunked by media outlets, members of Congress, and even the Social Security Trust Fund’s chief actuary...
And while Ryan now claims to have “a problem” with diverting funds out of the Social Security Trust Fund and worries about “what happens” if such a plan is followed, he didn’t have the same concerns last year, when he proposed a privatization plan that would divert $1.2 trillion — a whopping 1,200 times the size of the payroll tax cut extension — out of the Social Security Trust Fund, and would only restore that money over the next quarter of a century through deep benefit cuts.
The Maddow Blog chimes in:
Ryan is somehow concerned about the integrity of Social Security. Remember Ryan's "Roadmap" budget plan? It had quite a few interesting ideas related to Social Security.
The Ryan plan proposes large cuts in Social Security benefits -- roughly 16 percent for the average new retiree in 2050 and 28 percent in 2080 from price indexing alone -- and initially diverts most of these savings to help fund private accounts rather than to restore Social Security solvency.
{T]hose who oppose Social Security shouldn't pretend to be its champions. If Paul Ryan opposes the middle-class tax cut, he should say so, and not behind a transparent fig leaf.
How Wisconsin members voted: Democrats — Baldwin, Y; Kind, N; Moore, Y. Republicans — Duffy, Y; Petri, N; Ribble, Y; Ryan, N; Sensenbrenner, N. In the Senate, Herb Kohl voted yes and Ron Johnson no.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

There's Exactly One Way To Protect America From Paul Ryan's Extremism-- Replace Him With Rob Zerban

Tuesday Blue America will be officially endorsing Rob Zerban for Congress-- looks like I let the cat out of the bag-- and he'll be our special Valentine's Day live guest over at C&L (1pm, CST). When I spoke to him earlier today I reminded him that to the Netroots and to progressive activists outside of the district, Paul Ryan is known to be one of the most extreme and dangerous members of the conservative movement. This view is shared by many in Wisconsin, of course, including in the First Congressional District, but there is a still a great deal of work to be done convincing undecided and independents. I wanted to know what Rob is doing to make sure voters in Janesville, Kenosha, Racine, the southern Milwaukee 'burbs and even Waukesha get that. He says "there are 3 main factors why people are energized about this race and fed up with Ryan-- Ryan's ideas, his behavior, and the movement in Wisconsin. My campaign is focusing on harnessing these opportunities, drawing clear contrasts, and delivering that message to voters." When I asked for details, they came out like a gusher:
The privatization of Medicare and Social Security is an awful idea. Let’s start there. That is something the vast majority of people understand in this district, and across the nation. Supporters of Paul Ryan’s plans have admitted it does not save money. These proposals open these programs to huge risk and cuts, and are clearly just a ploy to take money away from seniors and put it into the hands of Wall Street and private health insurance companies. (Of course, these are the same special interests funding Ryan’s political career).

Paul Ryan’s agenda is not just cuts and privatization, but also wasteful spending on big tax cuts for the wealthy. Everyone is furious that Mitt Romney is paying only 13.9% on his millions while many in the middle class are paying tax rates in the 30%s. I point out to people that Paul Ryan makes this possible. He has pushed for every tax cut for millionaires and billionaires possible including the Bush tax cuts, capital gains, carried interest, and many other loopholes. Ryan wants to protect these loopholes for Mitt Romney instead of funding our students, seniors, and economic recovery efforts.

Paul Ryan likes to sell himself as a big thinker similar to the way Newt Gingrich has done. I realized early on that his grandiose and self-promoting plans, including the Path to Prosperity, are little more than the reheated and repackaged extremism of past eras.

The second problem many Wisconsinites have with Ryan is his behavior. He is cavorting with the ultra-wealthy at every opportunity and only occasionally returns to the district. His “listening sessions” with constituents compromise of him delivering a PowerPoint presentation on topics including why students don’t need Pell Grants and why seniors programs should be privatized. He routinely kicks out anyone who disagrees with him. He behaves like people’s boss- not their representative. In my opinion, he acts like someone who does not feel he owes his district or his constituents any consideration. He is a man with a philosophy and everyone else can take his way or the highway. This makes people mad!

The third and final factor I think is playing a big role in why people are so energized is the movement in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the epicenter of the movement by the middle class to stand up for themselves and for their futures. The Recall effort of the Governor is an inspiring grassroots effort to get rid of someone who has stepped far outside of the lines to attack the middle class. The crushing and coordinated political attack on working families that happened in Wisconsin was outrageous. The attack was orchestrated by outside money networks and secret coalitions, including the Koch Brothers and ALEC, which allowed for radical legislation to be quickly rammed through Wisconsin state government. It was clear to everyone that our legislators and Governor were acting as puppets for outside interests and had little understanding what they were doing.

This all-out assault on the middle class woke a lot of people up. We saw great things in Madison. The Recall has also spread to my district and had a great impact. Formerly Republican-leaning areas of the district, including Waukesha County, had record participation in the Recall.

In short, things have changed here in Wisconsin! People have woken up and blue collar retirees are remembering just how unacceptable the Republican agenda is. Seniors and students are realizing the deep cuts Ryan is ramming through will hurt them and will force many in the middle class to fall into poverty.

It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows! Paul Ryan has the wrong ideas for America and we just need to keep promoting the simple truth.

Good answer! Come meet Rob Tuesday, right at 1pm (CST)-- and help us kiss Paul Ryan good-bye. And if you'd like to help his campaign before then... be our guest, over at the Blue America ActBlue page.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Charles Pierce executes a perfect Ryan take-down

Charles Pierce, Esquire magazine columnist and general observer of all things horrific and decayed in America, takes but a few words to demolish Paul Ryan after the congresscritter's latest opus. The choice beginning:

Make no mistake. You can have your Bachmanns and your Cains. You can have your Coulters and your Malkins and - what the hell - your Breitbarts. You can certainly have your Marco Rubios, who gained 100 CPAC points for making the conference's first teleprompter joke, though there may be several more amongst the murmuring when Willard Romney takes the stage here this afternoon. You can even have your your Santorums and your Ron Pauls. But that zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan is the wonk every wingnut woman wants and every wingnut man wants to be. He thinks Serious Thoughts about The Big Issues Facing The Nation, and they truly dig him the most. If Ayn Rand, that randy old crackpot, were still alive, she'd whack him over the head, stuff him in a sack, and drag him off to her apartment, where they would make hot Objectivist monkey-love until the rafters knocked and the angels wept.

Paul Ryan is also a remarkably accomplished bullshit artist.

His speech on Thursday night was chock-full of the usual goodies: praise for the brave Republicans who voted for his "budget" last year, the one that would have eviscerated Medicare to the point where Newt Fking Gingrich called it "right-wing social engineering," and that was before Willard had driven Newt around the bend

More here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

GOP Sen. Tom Coburn says Paul Ryan's a liar on Medicare

Think Progress reports:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) inadvertently referred to prominent Republicans like Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, and Eric Cantor as liars during an interview with Oklahoma’s News on 6 Thusday night.
“Any politicians that stands up and says, ‘We’re not going to touch your Medicare’ is a liar,” Coburn said, apparently forgetting that the GOP has used the talking point as a center piece in their campaign to sell Medicare premium support to the public. Watch Coburn’s remarks:

More here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Groundhog Day in Congress: Dems again target GOP over Medicare

Greg Sargent in Plum Line blog on Washington Post:

Over the weekend, GOP Rep. Paul Ryan confirmed that the House Republican budget would again contain key elements of his plan to transform Medicare — even though some polls have shown the idea to be deeply unpopular and Dems have vowed to run on it in 2012.The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is set to go on the offensive on the issue in the increasingly close battle for the House — and it’s very possible the issue could have a real impact on the presidential race.

The DCCC went out Thursday, Groundhog Day,(that's a Green Bay groundhog pictured) with what it called  a “Groundhog Day Alert” in the districts of some 70 vulnerable House Republicans, reminding voters of their last vote on Medicare and warning of the next one to come. [That presumably included at least three Wisconsin districts now held by Reid Ribble, Sean Duffy, and Ryan.] Here’s what the alert in the district of Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan says:
“Michigan voters don’t need a groundhog to come out of the hole in order to tell them how this will end: Voters will reject Dan Benishek putting the ultra wealthy ahead of seniors once again. Even though voters already rejected House Republicans plan to end Medicare, this Groundhog Day Republicans like Benishek are resurrecting their plan to protect billionaires and Big Oil, while leaving seniors out in the cold. It’s the same thing again from Dan Benishek — double health care costs for Michigan seniors, more tax breaks for the ultra wealthy.”
DCCC chair Steve Israel has reportedly instructed House Dem candidates to be relentless in stressing the GOP position on Medicare, to make it a “defining issue in the 2012 elections.” A recent poll by the Dem firm Democracy Corps found that the Dem message — that House Republicans voted to “end Medicare as we know it” — tests well, with 77 percent in 60 House GOP districts saying it raises serious doubts about incumbents.

Read the rest here/

Ryan to Fed: Why are you trying to lower unemployment?

The "let them eat cake" congressman from southern Wisconsin is at it again.

At a House Budget Committee hearing yesterday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-You Kidding) chastised Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for simultaneously trying to lower inflation and stimulate job growth, even questioning whether it's the Fed's proper mission to worry about jobs (it is, actually).

Ryan's puerile stance boiled down to: Why is the Fed trying to stimulate job growth when inflation is up? Gee, congressman, why would anyone from your party want to focus on jobs?

The Associated Press summarized the meeting this way:
Ryan criticized the Fed's decision to establish an annual inflation target of 2 percent. He said Bernanke seemed willing to accept higher inflation in order to get lower unemployment.
Yup. The chair of the powerful House Budget Committee is far more worried about inflation than about helping tens of millions of Americans get back to work. Never mind that if you don't have a job, inflation is the least of your problems. Nothing times nothing is still nothing.

Throughout the hearing, Ryan and his fellow Republicans on the budget committee seemed to be channeling presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statement this week that he simply didn't care about the poorest Americans. Of course the underlying ideology remains: Fix the economy for rich folks and hep will trickle down.

The dripping faucet theory of the economy began under Reagan and we're still waiting for the drips to come through.

UPDATE: John Nichols of The Nation has more.  And the Capital Times editorializes on Paul Ryan's cruelest ploy.