Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apparently Paul Ryan Wants To Show Willard He Knows How To Play Etch-A-Sketch Too. Ayn WHO?

Saturday morning Ryan delivered the weekly GOP radio Address, further cementing in Americans' minds that voting for Romney and for any Republican running for Congress (or anything else for that matter) means voting for the end of Medicare and Social Security and for the dark Ayn Rand dystopian agenda that informs Ryan's crabbed political mindset. Or, as Paul Krugman put it so eloquently yesterday, reading Ayn Rand led Paul Ryan "to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world."

This blog-- and Blue America-- have been trying to call people's attention that Paul Ryan-- as well as dozens of other Republicans with severely stunted intellectual development-- have been hung up on Ayn Rand's cheap, tawdry vision of American economic politics. It must be starting to sink in because Ryan is furiously back-pedalling on his devotion to his mentor.

Despite a clear and very incriminating trail on YouTube and Facebook, Ryan is completely changing his story-- or trying to-- on Rand. Now he says he rejects her philosophy... quite the departure. So why was he forcing anyone who wanted to work for him to read her idiotic adolescent book, Atlas Shrugged? What happened to "The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand?" And what about giving out the books of this woman (who he now dismisses as an "atheist," which he's always been aware she proudly was) as presents on the anniversary of Jesus' birthday? Cruel irony, no?

You would never know it from watching the DCCC, but the only way to really stop Paul Ryan is to replace him with Rob Zerban, the progressive Democrat running for the southeast Wisconsin congressional district Ryan holds, a swing district that goes back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. Obama won it in 2008 and Zerban can win it in November-- if Ryan's pal Steve Israel stops starving the Zerban campaign of cash. Blue America has a billboard up now and we'd like to do more... a lot more. You can help us with that if you'd like to-- here. One thing I can guarantee you, though... waiting for the DCCC to act means another term of Paul Ryan spewing his anti-family poisons in Congress and on TV. Meanwhile, Rob is just plowing ahead and not sitting around waiting for Steve Israel to get some vision. Here's something Rob sent out to his supporters yesterday:
Paul Ryan has found some flip flops to wear this spring.

Paul Ryan has said Ayn Rand is the reason he got into politics. As Rachel Maddow points out, Ryan has gone so far as to say that he makes all his interns and staff read her books.

Most people don't know who Ayn Rand is. Briefly, Rand became notorious for attacking people of faith as "sheep" as saying religion should be abolished. The author was famous for saying the only true belief system was selfishness.

When Paul Ryan came out with his budget, which rewards the rich and punishes poor and middle class families, Ryan used the Catholic faith to justify his plan. He received criticism from Catholics, including the Conference of Bishops and Georgetown University. Many Catholics are unhappy with Ryan using their faith to justify an attack on the poor.

The disconnect between Ryan's policies and Ryan's statements is clear. Ryan talks the talk of faith, he talks about caring for the people, but he lives the politics of selfishness as described by Ayn Rand. His statements, and his actions, simply don't add up.

Goal Thermometer This is not a battle about religion. I think people's beliefs are their own. What is troubling is a track record of dishonesty.

I am telling the people of Wisconsin and America what my values are and what I stand for. It would be nice to see some honesty from Paul Ryan for a change.

We will continue to hold Paul Ryan accountable and build a winning campaign.

I hope someone at the DCCC reads that... and gets a clue. But I doubt anyone who can help change the corrupt culture over there-- and who wants to change the corrupt culture over there-- will. You can contribute directly to Rob Zerban by clicking the thermometer-- or here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ryan's randy role in the GOP do-nothing conspiracy

When it comes to stoppering the metapohorical bath tub so Republicans can more easily use it to drown government and, more importantly, their Democratic rivals, Paul Ryan is a member of the original, inner cabal. The Janesville patrician was among key GOP insiders who in 2008 agreed to a secret plan to thwart the newly elected Barack Obama at every opportunity. Ryan, it is now more than ever documented, is a key figure in the right-wing circle of GOP conspirators (not at all a too strong a word) who are quite willing to risk the fundamental economic security of the United States of America for personal gain. The Guardian's Ewen MackAskill leads us to the evidence, from a new book by Robert Draper entitled "Do Not Ask What Good We Do":
Attending the dinner were House members Eric Cantor, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra, Dan Lungren, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Pete Sessions. From the Senate were Tom Coburn, Bob Corker, Jim DeMint, John Ensign and Jon Kyl. Others present were former House Speaker and future – and failed – presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and the Republican strategist Frank Luntz, who organised the dinner and sent out the invitations. The dinner table was set in a square at Luntz's request so everyone could see one another and talk freely. The session lasted four hours and by the end the sombre mood had lifted: they had conceived a plan. They would take back the House in November 2010, which they did, and use it as a spear to mortally wound Obama in 2011 and take back the Senate and White House in 2012, Draper writes. "If you act like you're the minority, you're going to stay in the minority," said Keven McCarthy, quoted by Draper. "We've gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign."
Scariest of all? Ryan and company are true believers in their own belief system. Sure, Ryan is quite able to pivot on a moment's notice and disown Ayn Rand after years of serving as an acolyte. He understands the politics have shifted. But the GOP wreck-it-to-save-it cabal is so righteous that they granted author Draper extensive background access into the workings of Congress, in a seeming effort to document their own greatness when their plan succeeds. There's a word for this: Megalomania. And if you would like to continue being ruled by overlords certain of their own grandeur and omnipotence, Ryan's your man.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ryan breaks off love affair with Ayn Rand, at least publicly

The couple in happier times

Paul Ryan not only claims his love affair with Ayn Rand is over. He claims he never had one.

"I reject her philosophy," he says, and National Review Online  laps it up, saying Ryan's love for Rand is "an urban legend."

But Think Progress does a little research and finds:

The New Republic wrote: “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”
Ryan also noted in a 2003 interview with the Weekly Standard, “I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.”
 Think Progress has more.

The Ryan Exit

Today Blue America's first Rob Zerban vs Paul Ryan billboard goes up. Sunday night I met John Nichols at an event for The Nation and when I told him where we put it, he lit up like a Christmas tree. I-94 is the most heavily trafficked highway in WI-1. Anyone from Kenosha and Racine heading for Milwaukee or the airport-- or out west towards Janesville-- will see the giant board. And for next to no extra money, we were about to get the board at the Ryan Road exit. It costs about $5,000 a month to keep it up-- so we can use some help... and this is the only Blue America page which has no limits to the amount of contributions.

We were inspired, at least in part, by the remote, out of the way DCCC generic billboard that didn't even bother to mention Rob's name-- and at a time in the cycle where almost the only thing, other than contributions and organization, that matters for challengers is name recognition. But for us, like for people all over America, we take getting rid of Paul Ryan very seriously. And we want to reach out and touch. Of course, the plutocrats and oligarchs have a different idea about what to do with Ryan. We see him as the Mr. Destructo of a civil society; they see him as their opportunity for the 1% to cement their dominance over this country once and for all.
In recent years, "rising star" has become a common descriptive phrase in reports that mention Rep. Paul Ryan.

That, political experts say, would largely explain why the Janesville Republican, who chairs the budget committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, has had such striking success in attracting campaign contributions.

Goal Thermometer Another factor could be a groundswell of support for his controversial budget blueprint that proposes significant changes to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and the tax code to address the nation's fiscal crisis.

Ryan's star is bright both inside and outside the Badger State and his appeal is reflected in the campaign finance numbers he has amassed. After collecting $732,218 from January through March, Ryan now has more than $5 million to spend on his re-election campaign in the fall. A Center for Responsive Politics analysis shows 57 percent of the contributions of $200 or more Ryan has collected since January 2011 have come from outside the state.

Ryan received $98,250 from political action committees in the first quarter and $695,300 from PACs so far this election cycle.

The size of Ryan's campaign bank account is formidable given his Democratic challenger, Kenosha County Supervisor Robert Zerban, had just $428,000 to spend at the start of April... He now has more available cash than any of the GOP House leaders, including Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

Among Ryan's top 20 contributors this cycle are the forces of Greed and Avarice that depend on him and others like him to allow them to pillage and plunder the nation: Northwestern Mutual, United Bank Suisse, PricewaterhouseCoopers, UnitedHealth Group, Abbott Laboratories, AT&T Inc, Goldman Sachs, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Credit Union National Assn, Cigna... And when you factor in "contributions" (the polite way Washington politicians refer to bribes) to his Leadership PAC, we find all kinds of financial predators who have also been financing Romney's onslaught against democracy: Elliott Management (far right financier Paul Singer), Citadel Investment Group (Chicago financial predator Kenneth Griffin), Madison Dearborn Partners (John Canning's private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts), New Vernon Capital, Charles Schwab, Accenture, AQR Capital Management, Blackstone Group (Pete Peterson)...

What Frank Rich warned about in New York this week in terms of billionaires trying to buy the White House for Romney... well, many of the same shady criminal sociopaths are trying to set up Paul Ryan for that glory as well.
If you want to appreciate what Barack Obama is up against in 2012, forget about the front man who is his nominal opponent and look instead at the Republican billionaires buying the ammunition for the battles ahead. A representative example is Harold Simmons, an 80-year-old Texan who dumped some $15 million into the campaign before primary season had ended. Reminiscing about 2008, when he bankrolled an ad blitz to tar the Democrats with the former radical Bill Ayers, Simmons told the Wall Street Journal, “If we had run more ads, we could have killed Obama.” It is not a mistake he intends to make a second time. The $15 million Simmons had spent by late February dwarfs the $2.8 million he allotted to the Ayers takedown and the $3 million he contributed to the Swift Boat Veterans demolition of John Kerry four years before that. Imagine the cash that will flow now that the GOP sideshows are over and the president is firmly in Simmons’s crosshairs.

...Sugar daddies-- whom I’ll define here as private donors or their privately held companies writing checks totaling $1 million or more (sometimes much more) in this election cycle-- are largely a Republican phenomenon, most of them one degree of separation from Karl Rove and his unofficial partners in erecting a moneyed shadow GOP, David and Charles Koch. At last look, there were 25 known sugar daddies on the right (or more, if you want to count separately the spouses and children who pitch in). You’ve likely heard of Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas tycoon who is Benjamin Netanyahu’s unofficial ambassador to the GOP. But you may be less familiar with Irving Moskowitz, the bingo entrepreneur who funnels his profits into East Jerusalem settlements. Or Robert Mercer, the hedge-fund master of “flash trading” who poured a clandestine $1 million into ads attacking the “ground-zero mosque” and nearly another $3 million into a scale-model railroad in his Long Island mansion. Or Steven Lund, the co-founder of Nu Skin, which became “direct selling” sponsor of the Romney-run 2002 Winter Olympics after having spent much of the nineties settling complaints over false advertising and other unscrupulous practices with the Federal Trade Commission and six different states’ attorneys general.

The list of 25 does not include donors whose names we may never know: those who are legally allowed to remain anonymous when giving to patently political “social welfare” nonprofits like Rove’s Crossroads GPS. That particular Rove money drop reported to the IRS last week that nearly 90 percent of its first $76.8 million haul (from June 2010 through December 2011) had come from two dozen donors giving $1 million or more, including two contributions of $10 million each. While Obama has his own super-PAC–“social welfare” nonprofit combo, the proceeds totaled only a pathetic $6.7 million last year. A paltry $100,000 contribution is all it takes for a Democratic donor to get priority access to the White House, according to the New York Times. George Soros is on the sidelines, and Obama so far has claimed only two sugar daddies of his own: Bill Maher and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. ...[J]ust 10 percent of Romney’s donors for 2012 have been from among the hoi polloi (those contributing $200 or less)-- compared with 52 percent for Santorum, 48 percent for Gingrich, and 45 percent for Obama. The only Americans fired up and ready to go for Mitt are those who can and will give to the max, all keenly mindful of the dividends certain to accrue to them in a Romney administration.

...Mitt’s own coterie of Wall Street vulture capitalists is second to none in rapaciousness—starting with the hedge-fund gambler John Paulson, who collaborated with Goldman Sachs on his megabet against the entire American housing industry before the crash. Another Romney hedge-fund patron, Paul Singer, is notorious for slick trafficking in Third World debt, with results that leave the destitute masses of countries like the Congo in a far sadder state than the hapless Goldman clients (those “muppets” we’ve been hearing about) on the losing end of Paulson’s big score. Romney also has an affinity for fellow Mormons who’ve made sugar-daddy fortunes by peddling dubious “health products” sold by “multilevel marketing” schemes (a.k.a. pyramid selling) in which retail sales are secondary to the commissions tied to roping more suckers into the sales force. In addition to Lund of Nu Skin, there’s Frank VanderSloot, the Professor Marvel behind Melaleuca, an Idaho-based company that promises to help “moms be moms” and “earn a corporate income from home,” even if they don’t have the financial cushion of, say, Ann Romney. Though a promotional video on its website features women who claim to have earned as much as $500,000 selling goods like dietary supplements (which purport to remedy clogged arteries and arthritis), the average Melaleuca peddler makes just $87 per year. An industry critic, Robert L. FitzPatrick, elucidated for Mother Jones how companies like Melaleuca and Nu Skin are perfect examples of the vulture-capitalist business model: They set “the average person upon his neighbor to get at his assets, savings, and investments.” Romney, meanwhile, has applauded VanderSloot for having “vision and sense of social responsibility” that are “second to none.”

What these sugar daddies specifically want from Mitt and his party, besides the usual conservative bullet points (codified in Paul Ryan’s tax-cutting, government-shredding budget), is clear enough: the widest possible regulation-free berth for any vulture businesses they have a hand in, from nuclear waste to “health” nostrums, from new houses to financial products created from those homes’ subprime mortgages. A particularly large wish list is likely to emanate from the Koch brothers, whose privately held business interests are many. Such has been their zeal to protect their gas and oil holdings that they shoveled nearly $25 million into organizations fueling climate-change denial from 2005 to 2008-- nearly three times what Exxon Mobil spent on such spin during that period, in Greenpeace’s accounting. To preserve another profit center, a Koch subsidiary has also backed the recently disbanded Formaldehyde Council, which argued that formaldehyde is “a natural part of our world” rather than “a complete carcinogen,” which is how it is classified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA, of course, is exactly the kind of federal agency that would lose funding and gain Koch apparatchiks as staff members in a Romney administration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ryan's budget is 'albatross' for GOP candidates, pollster says

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman (pictured) predicts that Paul Ryan's budget will be "an albatross around the necks of Republicans across the country."

"In almost every poll we do, in almost every state, in almost every congressional district where we poll, people's support for the Ryan plan is one of the most compelling reasons to vote against them," Mellman said.

Mellman added that the proposed changes to Medicare would be the most problematic for Republicans.

Mellman, a prominent national pollster, spoke at a luncheon in Madison.

Read more here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ryan even thinks the Catholic Bishops are trying to Divide the country over their criticism of his plan

This is a great collection of Paul Ryan clips, where he "disagrees" with the bishops, because after all, the bishops are trying create a chasm in the Catholic community and divide Americans.

This guy is one of the most uncompromising authoritarian Representatives I've ever seen, and no, I haven't forgotten Tom Delay. Ed Schultz gets it all right, and Prof. Michael Eric Dyson perfectly states the case against Ryan. What I like most about the video is how dramatically it exposes Ryan's ego.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ryan Shrugs Off Bishops Consensus, Questions Their Authority

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a series of letters they sent to Congressional committees outlining their opposition to the House GOP budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan.

When Rep. Ryan got his own chance to respond to the USCCB position, he tried to downplay the severity of the critique, dismissing the letters as not representing the consensus position of U.S. bishops. “These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we respectfully disagree,” Ryan said.

The bishops fired back.

Faith In Public Life Excerpt:
The authors of the letters, Bishops Blaire and Pates, weren’t speaking as individuals. They wrote in their official capacity as chairmen of the USCCB’s Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace, respectively. Their views are rooted in a long history of Catholic social teaching on these issues and do represent the official position of the Church.

One Catholic bishop who was speaking for himself, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, of an archdiocese in Illinois went completely off the rails during a sermon this past weekend in his criticism of President Obama on birth control coverage, but nevertheless held "Catholics” like devout Randers Paul Ryan and John Boehner in even greater contempt for actions that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

"May God have mercy especially on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil. -- Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of the Catholic diocese of Peoria, Illinois 4/14/12

In this latest confrontation with the Catholic clergy, Ryan continues to show his inability to take constructive criticism or get along with others. You'll recall, he pulled the same stunt with military generals when he suggested they were not being completely honest with their advice about his budget plans for the Pentagon.

TPM Excerpt:
“We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” he said. “We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.”

Just for the record, I don't believe government officials should be forming public policy around their religious faith and that any similarities would present themselves as mere coincidence. It was Rep. Paul Ryan however, who publicly insisted that the draconian cuts presented in his obviously Rand-based dystopian budget were a product of this Catholic faith.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

GOP call Ryan courageous, but his budget proposal is cowardly

Stan Collender, writing on his Capital Gains and Games blog: 
...Republicans talk about how "courageous" Ryan is for taking the lead on reducing the deficit while it stays as far away as possible from any discussion of the specifics spending reductions and tax cuts. 
The reality, however, is just the opposite: When it comes to the budget Ryan is far more of a coward than anything else. 
It wasn't at all courageous for Ryan to propose tax cuts and deep spending reductions that only House Republicans would approve. That's the federal budget equivalent of throwing raw meet to piranhas and then saying that you deserve credit for feeding them what they want to eat.
The courageous move would have been to propose a budget plan that challenged the GOP majority and attracted Democratic votes, that is, that was a compromise in the midst of hyper partisanship.
Read the rest "here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ryan's bromancing, bootlicking of Romney pays off


Joel McNally in The Capital Times:
It was inevitable that after Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan spent five days cozying up to Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, people would start talking. After all, that was far longer than anyone else ever could imagine hanging around with Mitt. 
Sure enough, by the time Romney won Wisconsin’s underwhelming Republican primary, The Washington Post was writing about the budding “bromance” between Romney, the likely Republican nominee of Silly Putty principles and beliefs, and Ryan, the rock solid hero of the tea party extremists. 
Five days of public bootlicking works wonders. 
Read more here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ryan wants to replace government safety nets with fund raising car washes and neighbor handouts. Feel good now?

I'll bet nothing warms the hearts of conservatives everywhere than to see a community pull together and hold a car wash to help pay for a child's cancer, or heart surgery. That's where true democracy belongs, at the local level, assisting those who need help, and keeping them out of the dependent clutches of big government.

As screwy as that sounds, we've been hearing that for years from our Republican Dickensian's. If they say it enough, maybe someone will believe every tea party and base conservative voter.

The video here show's Paul Ryan saying just that. Sen. Tom Coburn said as much to a woman with breast cancer at a town hall during the health care debate. Maybe they're onto something.

Ask your local pastors, see if they have the funds to take care of a lifetime of insulin, or months of chemotherapy, for one, two or ten residents in their community. Ask them also to help pay their mortgage, or buy food for their families when times get tough. That's what our local communities are all about aren't they?

The following high minded diatribe by Ryan is enough to make me sick. Get ready folks, for a world you've only read about in 19th century novels. Think freedom, think breaking the chains of big government dependence. That's Ryan's path.....

WP: “To me, the [Catholic] principle of subsidiarity, which is really federalism, meaning government closest to the people governs best, having a civil society of the principle of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community, that’s how we advance the common good.

“By not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities. Those principles are very very important, and the preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life. Help people get out of poverty out into a life of independence.”

Rep. Paul Ryan, in an interview with the CBN on how his Catholic beliefs influenced his budget plan.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ryan's Recycled "Tipping Point" Scare Tactic Divides Americans, Hides Hypocrisy.

Have you seen the Paul Ryan headline yet?
Ryan says U.S. at financial and cultural 'tipping point'
Hmm, that late breaking headline sounds really familiar. Oh my gosh, here’s that same story as summarized so perfectly by Dana Milbank way back on March20th: 
Ryan’s justification (for his plan) was straight out of Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor. There is, he told the audience  at the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.
Deja vu. That’s what Ryan said in the story I read today on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal. He's a demagogic genius and class warrior.

But are conservative voters just plain stupid? Think about it; with more people relying on unemployment, state Medicaid programs and food stamps, Paul Ryan has decided to attack the problem his party created, by going after these victims of Wall Street and corporate off shoring. Ryan, like most Republicans, is a freeloader with an easy answer. Cut, cut, cut:
Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget … and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain … Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers … Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.
Dana Milbank went on to explain:
After recalling his family’s immigration from Ireland generations ago, and his belief in the virtue of people who “pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” Ryan warned that a generous safety net “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”
Demeaning, like when Ryan pulled himself up by the bootstraps with the help of Social Security?
FiredogLake: Turns out, when Ryan was an able-bodied young lad, he used that hammock to pay for his college education.

One day as a 16 year old, Ryan came upon the lifeless body of his father. Paul Ryan, Sr. had died of a heart attack at age 55, leaving the Janesville Craig High School 10th grader, his three older brothers and sisters and his mother alone. With his father’s passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college. College costs have skyrocketed since Ryan entered Miami University in 1988, yet Ryan wants to slash the very system that he benefited from because it produces “dependency.” Figures. This is a guy who requires his staffers to read Atlas Shrugged, and we now know that Ayn Rand was a big welfare queen herself.
There's no bigger hypocrite in congress right now, which is why he deserves the VP nomination. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ryan-To-Walker: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Paul Ryan finds his budget labeled "trash" in a Washington Post online column. And Walker thinks this will help him during the recall election:
...because, as you should recall, Ryan’s budget — which is now the House Republican budget — entirely wipes out the federal government in the longer run. By 2050, assuming that military spending holds at current levels (and Ryan and especially Mitt Romney are against any cuts), there won’t be any room remaining within Ryan’s budget for anything other than Social Security and health-care entitlements. Zero. No FBI, no FEMA, no spending on veterans … nothing. Which makes the whole idea of fighting over what would happen in the first 10 years just a sideshow.

Oh, Goody: Ryan Will Drag His Medicare-Slashing Persona Into Walker's Recall

Not sure if it's part of his Veepstakes preening, or if some consultant thinks that somewhere in Wisconsin's uncommitted 3% there are voters who might choose Walker because the country's #1 Medicare slasher recommends it, but I think the upside for Dems having Paul Ryan to kick around as a Walker surrogate for a few weeks is great news.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ryan's Big Government Vision; Dissent will not be tolerated.

Paul Ryan is dumbfounded: Calling into question leaders who do what must be done, even if the people don't like it?
Ryan: "I would say courage is on the ballot. What governor or state legislator is going to have the courage of addressing the structural problems of their state, if when they do that this is what happens to them. That is really profound."
Democracy to Paul Ryan is a "profound" repugnant idea.

Ryan is saying you should never question your "courageous leaders," the controlling authority, the ones who are doing things you don't want them to do. It doesn't even matter if half of the voting age public signed a petition to throw that leader out of office. That penalizes courage and authority. 

Such a shocking notion is unfortunately still under the media radar. This is not a minor comment by Ryan, but a point blank admission he has stated over and over, that we're on the path to an authoritarian Republican state. 

Maybe the word democracy sounds too much like the Democratic Party? 

Ryan treats dissenters like whiny children who don't want to take the bad tasting medicine. It's for our own good, don't cha know. 

As for the recall, it wasn't a reaction to anything Scott Walker did, was it? Can you say "autocrat?"

Calling Ryan out for boiler plate, mind numbing demagoguery.

Watch Rachel Maddow rip Ryan a new one for his bad introduction to Wisconsin primary winner Mitt Romney:

Is Paul Ryan Not Merely A Flimflam Man, But A Fraud As Well?

What the DCCC should have run

Over at DownWithTyranny we've been castigating the DCCC for campaigning against Paul Ryan everywhere in the country-- except WI-1, his own congressional district. Now, for the first time in a decade-- yes, first time in 5 congressional races (even though Obama won the district)-- they've finally put up on medium sized billboard (which doesn't mention Rob Zerban's name and isn't in a place that will be seen by anyone and, in fact, is smack in the middle of Democratic territory anyway). But at least they're not actively sabotaging Rob-- unless you count when DCCC Chair and "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel whispers to major donors not to contribute to his campaign. Anyway, besides the DCCC, DSCC and DNC all attacking Paul Ryan and his dystopic plans for America, half the Democratic candidates running for office are also attacking him. Sunday night, for example, we ran a great OpEd by Carol Shea-Porter, tying Ryan to her own opponent, teabag-idiot Frank Guinta.

I decided to ask some of the Blue America candidates if they'd consider contributing some of their own campaign funds to Rob Zerban. Alan Grayson, who has been raising money like mad for Democratic candidates all over the country, was very straightforward: "The most effective way to beat the Ryan Budget is to beat Paul Ryan in November." I don't want to spoil any surprises though.

The next guy I asked was Dr. Lee Rogers since we were on the phone discussing his call for a single-payer health care system to replace the flawed conservative individual mandate. He informed me that he had already sent Rob a pretty hefty contribution out of his personal funds a couple months ago and that he and Rob have been communicating directly!
Rob Zerban is fighting a difficult fight and truly it's a battle for all of us. I personally contributed to his campaign for that reason. Here I am, a Democratic candidate in California speaking about the Ryan/GOP budget every day to voters and the effect it will have for Americans on Medicare or even veterans. I felt obligated to help Rob in his battle against the author of the "Reverse-Robin Hood" budget. Because if Rob can beat Paul Ryan, I know it will have a national impact.

This kind of thing is right up central Florida candidate Nick Ruiz's alley and he thinks about forging a strong progressive alliance inside and outside Congress all the time:
Liberal and progressive Democrats have a vital lesson to learn about getting things done. Up until now, we've practiced the unproductive rigamarole of "every man for himself." Hence we've appeared to the world like an unorganized morass of jellyfish washing up on the beach, stinging here and there, but accomplishing nothing of recent gravity and import.

This has to change. We have to school like dolphins. One for all and all for one. Each and every one us is important to this movement, and has something vital to contribute to it. But most importantly, we need the numbers. We have to reach a critical mass in the Congress.

Pass a Budget4All? Defend the social safety net? Create jobs? Raise wages and benefits? Tether Wall St. to Main St.? We need new political minds and we need the votes to make this happen. Minds to create legislation and votes to pass that legislation into law. We have little of this at the moment. You know why? Because too many of us refuse to help one another. Whether it's out of fear of retribution by the Democratic establishment, or personal vendettas, or straight-up selfishness. Who knows? In any case, forget about them. Liberal and progressive Democrats need only stick together, and we'll have the power and numbers to get things done, but only if we are willing to let go of the fear that keeps us complicit.

If we play the game by the political establishment's rules-- I guarantee you liberals and progressive Democrats will lose. You'll get the wrong people elected every time. We have to hold each other up. It is the only way we can win-- and if we do this, we will prevail.

Nick's leadership PAC has endorsed Zerban. Yesterday Steve Benen over at Rachel Maddow's blog gave Ryan a little schooling on what the word "misspoke" means-- and how a verbal slip is different from an attempt to deceive or slander.
On Thursday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted that he, not America's military leadership, should be trusted when it comes to Pentagon spending levels. Ryan went on to say that he believes Pentagon leaders may be deliberately misleading Congress about spending cuts that they've requested, but which Ryan does not want to make. A day later, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not at all pleased with the congressman's public comments.

Frightened of getting into a public spat with the Pentagon when his district-- Les Aspin's old district, mind you-- is already turning against him, he backed down and whined that, "like, dude, I totally misspoke, dude." Benen ran a video of Ryan again playing politics with national security and again calling the Pentagon budget "dishonest and dangerous."
Yesterday, Ryan used the identical language. How can someone claim he "totally misspoke" and then say the same thing again?

Ryan still thinks military leaders lied to Congress; he still thinks he knows better than the Pentagon what spending levels are necessary to keep America safe; and he still thinks Congress should give the Defense Department money the Pentagon doesn't want.

The only difference between Thursday and Sunday is that Ryan has stopped attacking U.S. military leaders and started attacking the president. But since it's the same attack, and this is a distinction without a difference, it's laughable for Ryan to say he "misspoke."

And misspeaking is about the only thing Paul Krugman has never accused Ryan of. Krugman may find Ryan a serious threat to America but he doesn't find him a serious intellect, just a lightweight shill for the Wall Street and Insurance Industry interests which have paid for his political career. Yesterday Krugman liked his vision to Pink Slime Economics, an apt analogy. He explains why the Ryan budget is "surely the most fraudulent budget in American history."
And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit-- but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.

And we’re talking about a lot of loophole-closing. As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out, to make his numbers work Mr. Ryan would, by 2022, have to close enough loopholes to yield an extra $700 billion in revenue every year. That’s a lot of money, even in an economy as big as ours. So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?

None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital. (That’s the loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay only 14 percent of his income in taxes, a lower tax rate than that faced by many middle-class families.)

So what are we to make of this proposal? Mr. Gleckman calls it a “mystery meat budget,” but he’s being unfair to mystery meat. The truth is that the filler modern food manufacturers add to their products may be disgusting-- think pink slime-- but it nonetheless has nutritional value. Mr. Ryan’s empty promises don’t. You should think of those promises, instead, as a kind of throwback to the 19th century, when unregulated corporations bulked out their bread with plaster of paris and flavored their beer with sulfuric acid.

Come to think of it, that’s precisely the policy era Mr. Ryan and his colleagues are trying to bring back.

So the Ryan budget is a fraud; Mr. Ryan talks loudly about the evils of debt and deficits, but his plan would actually make the deficit bigger even as it inflicted huge pain in the name of deficit reduction. But is his budget really the most fraudulent in American history? Yes, it is.

...What’s going on here? The answer, presumably, is that this is what happens when extremists gain complete control of a party’s discourse: all the rules get thrown out the window. Indeed, the hard right’s grip on the G.O.P. is now so strong that the party is sticking with Mr. Ryan even though it’s paying a significant political price for his assault on Medicare.

Now, the House Republican budget isn’t about to become law as long as President Obama is sitting in the White House. But it has been endorsed by Mr. Romney. And even if Mr. Obama is reelected, the fraudulence of this budget has important implications for future political negotiations.

Bear in mind that the Obama administration spent much of 2011 trying to negotiate a so-called Grand Bargain with Republicans, a bipartisan plan for deficit reduction over the long term. Those negotiations ended up breaking down, and a minor journalistic industry has emerged as reporters try to figure out how the breakdown occurred and who was responsible.

Goal Thermometer But what we learn from the latest Republican budget is that the whole pursuit of a Grand Bargain was a waste of time and political capital. For a lasting budget deal can only work if both parties can be counted on to be both responsible and honest-- and House Republicans have just demonstrated, as clearly as anyone could wish, that they are neither.

Last week Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) took to the floor of the House to blast Ryan and his Wall Street anti-family budget as flying in the face of centuries Judeo-Christian civilization-- which is exactly what Ryan's mentor, Ayn Rand, had in mind for her disciples. "Why does your budget resolution take away the Medicare guarantee?" and quoted Leviticus 19:32, "You shall give due honor and respect to the elderly." Going back to what Alan Grayson said earlier-- and what the DCCC doesn't seem to want to understand, if you're serious about getting rid of the Ryan budget, defeat Paul Ryan in November. And the way to do that is by electing Rob Zerban to represent Wisconsin's first congressional district. You can help accomplish that here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

UPDATED: He didn't 'misspeak'

Loose cannon Ryan apologizes for calling generals liars

This is the loose cannon they keep touting for vice-president?
AP reports:
Representative Paul Ryan said Sunday that he has apologized in a telephone call to the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman for accusing the military of not giving its “true advice’’ on President Obama’s budget plan. 
Military generals are required under oath to provide lawmakers their personal views on security matters, even if those views conflict with the White House.

In this case, General Martin Dempsey had testified that he thought Obama’s $614 billion plan for defense spending next year was adequate. Dempsey said he stood by his testimony, despite Ryan’s remarks. 
 At issue were comments Ryan made Thursday regarding the military budget.

 “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” he said at an event hosted by National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.”

 In response, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman  Dempsey said he stood by his testimony on the Pentagon’s spending request. “There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus. . . calling us, collectively, liars,” Dempsey told reporters Thursday night. “My response is: I stand by my testimony.”

On Sunday, Ryan said he was wrong for suggesting the generals were not on the up and up.

“I really misspoke,” Ryan said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Yeah, I totally misspoke,” he said later on ABC’s This Week.

UPDATE:  Maddow blog says he didn't "misspeak:"

...Ryan added that he perceives the Pentagon's budget as "a budget-driven strategy, not a strategy-driven budget.
Yesterday, Ryan used the identical language. How can someone claim he "totally misspoke" and then say the same thing again? 
Ryan still thinks military leaders lied to Congress; he still thinks he knows better than the Pentagon what spending levels are necessary to keep America safe; and he still thinks Congress should give the Defense Department money the Pentagon doesn't want. 
The only difference between Thursday and Sunday is that Ryan has stopped attacking U.S. military leaders and started attacking the president. But since it's the same attack, and this is a distinction without a difference, it's laughable for Ryan to say he "misspoke."

TV spot asks: 'Does Ryan think we were born yesterday?'

Americans United for Change and AFSCME are launching TV spots this week to attack four Midwestern Republican congressmen who voted for Ryan's budget, including Ryan himself. The ads will run against Ryan in the Milwaukee market, as well as targeting Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy in the Wausau market.

From the script: "Duffy just voted again to replace Medicare's guaranteed benefits with private vouchers that won't even cover the cost of care. Can you imagine! He voted to cut Medicare benefits to give millionaires and big oil companies another tax break!"