Monday, March 31, 2014

Correcting Lyin' Paul Ryan...again.

The only good that came out of Paul Ryan's run for vice president is that we now know he's a lying phony. Is that just liberal name calling? Not if it's the truth.

Ryan's opponent Democratic candidate Rob Zerban would wise to incorporate a few of the important reality base points below about Ryan's mischaracterization of poverty and Medicaid. From Bill Moyers:
Ryan: “It’s time for an adult conversation,” he told The Washington Post: The problem is that a prerequisite for any adult conversation is telling the truth and it is there the congressman falls monumentally short.

In addition to Rep. Ryan’s recent, racially-coded comments about “our inner cities” where “generations of men [are] not even thinking about working,” his rhetoric around policy should raise red flags for anyone — including the media — assessing his credibility.
Here are the facts that simply scream common sense:
report from Emily Oshima Lee, policy analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, examines the hatchet job Rep. Ryan did on Medicaid ... The Washington Post generously described as a “critique.” Indeed, Ryan’s report ... misrepresenting and cherry-picking data — is a dangerous disservice ... assessing antipoverty programs.

Lee notes that Ryan misuses research to imply that Medicaid coverage leads to poorer health. “The privately insured comparison is patently unfair because these people tend to be higher income and that comes with a whole host of health privileges.” She notes that Medicaid enrollees tend to struggle a lot more with chronic conditions and illnesses than other populations writes Lee, in my opinion admirably resisting the temptation to add, “duh.”

Ryan also argues that Medicaid coverage has little positive effect on enrollees’ health. But as Lee points out, Ryan conveniently overlooks studies showing lower mortality rates; reduced low-weight births and infant and child mortality; and lower mortality for HIV-positive patients. “…such as increased use of preventive care and greater financial security.”

Despite Ryan’s shabby work when it comes to antipoverty policy, the media repeatedly seems willing to overlook it. That’s another strike against the prospects of a truly adult conversation about poverty — in addition to honesty, it requires accountability.

Rep. Ryan also plays on fears of low-income people abusing the welfare system when he asserts that Medicaid coverage improperly increases enrollees’ use of health care services, including preventive care and emergency department services ... by comparing Medicaid enrollees to uninsured people ... “Presenting data that Medicaid enrollees use more health services than the uninsured affirms that insurance coverage allows people who need care to seek it out,” writes Lee, “and that being uninsured is a major barrier to receiving important medical care.”

Further, one of the two studies Ryan references explicitly states that “neither theory nor existing evidence provides a definitive answer to… whether we should expect increases or decreases in emergency-department use when Medicaid expands.”

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Paul Ryan has always focused on Poverty? Media Keeps Myth Alive.

Let me get this right; solving the problem of poverty, along with long term unemployment, has been on Rep. Paul Ryan’s radar for a long time? It’s almost as if the press, in this case AP, is oblivious to his actual plan to get rid of these nagging problems and safety net programs. They also know of his ideological hero, Ayn Rand I hope.

Republicans like Ryan simply want to cut the poor and unemployed loose, having them disappear into society, knowing that there aren't enough newspapers to report all the devastating stories from disenfranchised Americans.

The case of the long term unemployed provided the first test for Republicans last December. They now know the unemployed, who continue to lose benefits month after month, are no longer part of the media focus. The GOP has "disappeared them"…problem solved.

But it’s even worse when an outlet like AP makes it seem like Ryan's “signature issue…(that) dates back to his time…working for former vice-presidential nominee Jack Kemp” has anything to do with really helping them make a living wage or expand the jobs market. His be proud don’t eat strategy is somehow a plan?
AP: Rep. Paul Ryan is making poverty a signature issue … The Wisconsin congressman had hoped his work on poverty could be a positive: His interest in the issue dates back to his time as a speechwriter working for former vice-presidential nominee Jack Kemp. He has spent much of his time since returning to Congress focused on the issue, touring poor precincts, giving speeches and producing a detailed, 205-page report on poverty, while indicating that he may introduce legislation to deal with the issue.
Ryan hopes the poor will disappear under the flood of cheerful stories about the bullish investor market and rosy corporate profits reports.

The media has already started writing stories about how the long term unemployed are probably here to stay, so we should get used to that simple fact of life.

Ryan’s comment below cements the idea that “government” and “the people” are two separate entities, and that we can’t rely on our elected lawmakers to solve the problem:
"This enforces the idea that this is government's responsibility, and you don't need to do anything about it. That's not true."
I thought that was the reason we had government, or am I missing something?

Ryan Helps the Poor Myth Builds: The AP article ended on this bizarre defensive note about our misunderstood Paul Ryan and his plans to cut the safety nets:
Mary Berry, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who served as the chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 to 2004 (said), "Democrats will jump all over them in the messaging game, no matter what they say, and they won't be given the benefit of the doubt — that's politics."
But there are no doubts, except for those created by the media.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ryan fumbles, lies at Town Hall in response to question about recent attempt at Race Baiting.

How many more town halls will result in the following kind of confrontation between Paul Ryan and his fed up constituents about his recent attempt at race baiting? I've edited together 3 segments: Joy Reid's coverage on MSNBC, Luke Russert's more complete segment, and a clip where one constituent told Ryan he liked ObamaCare. Ryan then tried to sell him on taxpayer subsidies to insurers by paying for the sick, and leaving the profits to the insurers (transcript at bottom). 

Think Progress pretty much sums it up:
Black Constituent Confronts Paul Ryan Over ‘Inner City’ Remarks: RACINE: If you could pinpoint the moment when Paul Ryan lost control of his message on Wednesday, it was when he began explaining to an African American constituent why his recent comments about lazy “inner city” men actually had nothing to do with race.

“You said what you meant,” Alfonso Gardner, a 61-year-old African American man from Racine, told Ryan at a town hall meeting. “[Inner city is] a code word for black.”

Ryan remained defiant though. “There is nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all,” he said. He admonished Gardner for drawing a connection between his “inner city” remarks and race. “I think when we throw these charges around, it should be based on something.”

ThinkProgress spoke with Gardner after the town hall to get his reaction. He said Ryan’s trying to have it both ways, saying different things to different people. “He’s out here shucking and jiving,” Gardner said. “He’s been in Congress eight terms and just now talking about poverty?”

Gardner isn’t the only constituent taking offense. ThinkProgress interviewed a number of Racine residents this week about Ryan’s statement. They were not amused with their congressman’s words.
In the video, Ryan told Gardner to read the next paragraph, which suggested some clarification. But PolitiFact offered up the entire transcript, in context, and nothing Ryan said changed his race baiting comments. Here's what Ryan said after his remarks:
Ryan: And produce. To just be -- I mean, achievement and accomplishment are so self-rewarding, it’s earned success, and that’s how people flourish when they feel the pride of succeeding and achieving a goal and they teach and pass those lessons on to their kids or to the kids they’re mentoring. And that is really what helps revitalize society and helps human flourishing, it helps people reach their potential. That’s the American idea. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote beautifully about this. We’re losing it in so many areas and we’ve got to get it back and each and every one of us has a role to play in that. (There’s a little banter between Bennett and Ryan.)

Ryan: What I find is the status quo is, right now, a poverty management system -- in many ways, to the benefit of the managers. And so when you question the status quo of the government’s poverty -- this war on poverty -- you get all the criticisms from the adherents of the status quo who just don’t want to see anything change. We’ve got to have the courage to face that down, just like we did in welfare reform in the late 1990s. And if we succeed, we can help resuscitate this culture and get people back to work and get people back to meeting their potential and so many things can get fixed and healed in our communities and in our economy, as well.
Here's the transcript of the somewhat muddy audio of the satisfied ObamaCare constituent, and Ryan's taxpayer bailout to insurers, otherwise known as "risk pools:"
MARTINCIC: What Obama did was get this law passed. Whether it’s good, bad, or not, it got passed. It’s actually helping some people grow, helped this other guy [with] medication. The Republicans….By myself…I could actually…get some kind of subsidy, which would help me…

RYAN: With the ACA, one thing I want to say is we didn’t have 51 votes to repeal it altogether 51 times. I think that’s sort of like this urban legend that we said, ‘let’s repeal it.’ It’s like we did a repeal vote on the whole law. There are many pieces of this law that we’ve gone after—several of them that were made into law, so please know—I think even Democrats would acknowledge that there are a lot of problems with this law. And so we passed a lot of things changing this law—several of which were made into law—but I really do believe there’s a better way to do it than with this health care law.My argument is that I think there are better ways at dealing with these extremely important and legitimate problems, like people with preexisting conditions—this is why I’m a big fan of risk pools. We had the [??] system in Wisconsin—it worked well, and then it had the federal government attached to it, so it was even more affordable for people with preexisting conditions. That was one of our proposals. So I do think that there are better ways of fixing this problem—affordable coverage for everybody, including people with preexisting conditions that’s a lot better than [this law]. It’s going to hurt our hospitals, it’s going to hurt Medicare, it’s going to make people buy things they don’t want to buy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Paul Ryan, From Smartest To Meanest Guy In The Room

Paul Ryan has decided to run over poor school children, unemployed workers and other low-income Americans on a path to the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and national media are getting in some heavy licks.

My guess is that Ryan loves seeing what he has so articulately engineered into mainstream print. These stories and columns will be trumpeted as badges of honor by righty talk shows and serve Ryan tactically because they help him separate from the crowded right-wing fringe.

You've got Walker and Cruz and Jindal and Palin and Trump and Huckabee and John Bolton and Rand Paul all trying to out-Right-flank each other for attention and Fox 'News' channel cred.

And be first among equals winning the Koch brothers/Sheldon Adelson/NRA lotteries, though few people wouldn't want judgements like these on their permanent records:

*  The LA Times says Ryan's recent broadside at the poor was a personal, political calculation:

Rep. Paul Ryan calls for cuts in anti-poverty programs
Welfare, child care, college grants are all under the House Republican's budget ax in a lengthy critique that returns Ryan to the national stage in advance of a possible 2016 presidential run.
Followed by:
*  A St. Patrick's weekend op-ed:
Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia
*  Also a take down by Nobel-prize winner and columnist Paul Krugman:
That Old-Time Whistle
*  This being Krugman's earlier slam:
The poverty hammock fallacy of Paul Ryan and GOP
Cross-posted at The Political Environment.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ryan's Lessons from a "Tree Stand," or, Will the Media Please Stop Defending Paul Ryan!!!

What is wrong with the media? This dance around Paul Ryan’s recent “inarticulate” commentary is even more pathetic than ever. The media is now making excuses for Ryan.

PolitiFact even decided to offer up a larger part of Ryan’s Bill Bennett interview, so we could put Paul’s comments in “context.” What a joke…big difference?

Simple Truths…missing in action:

#1. Ryan’s False Premise A: Ryan’s culture of work statement isn't a brilliant observation, who would disagree with it…only “the left” I guess. PolitiFact would rate that as “Pants on fire.”

#2. Ryan’s False Premise B: Lefties love the “status quo/no changes,” therefore oppose Ryan’s ideas. Like cutting people off (“courage to face that down”) the safety net programs, unless they did what they were told with new and stricter back to work laws. A desperate slave labor force? You’ll also notice Ryan hedges his bets with “if we succeed.” He wants to use the entire U.S. population for his experiment. See for yourself below:
And so when you question the status quo of the government’s poverty -- this war on poverty -- you get all the criticisms from the adherents of the status quo who just don’t want to see anything change. We’ve got to have the courage to face that down, just like we did in welfare reform in the late 1990s. And if we succeed, we can help resuscitate this culture and get people back to work and get people back to meeting their potential…”
#3. Ryan ignores the economic bloodletting known as the Great Recession. That one moment in history destroyed jobs at big box retailers and neighborhood small businesses. Remember when Best Buy had to compete with Circuit City and CompUSA, two stores that employed millions nationwide. They’re gone now. My own business died instantly when car dealerships were wiped out en masse.
Ryan and his accomplices like Gov. Scott Walker can’t seem to fix the problems with tax cuts to big business and deregulation. Corporate promises of job creation, a bust.

#4. One-note Ryan’s Remedy? Deregulate, open up our parks for big energy, tax cuts for business, create a desperate workforce by cutting the safety nets and a demoralize Americans enough so they gravitate to more conservative policies and big talking “leaders.”

I thought this ridiculous example of Ryan’s rugged individualism and leadership said it all in a "nutshell:"
Bennett:  What’s the roadmap, as someone might say?

Ryan: In a nutshell, work works. It’s all about getting people to work ... Mentors and my mom. My dad’s friends, his buddies taught me how to hunt and taught me a lot of things, and my mom. And so --

Bennett: Hunting is not working, is it?

Ryan: Well, no, but you can learn -- by the way, you can teach your kids character in the woods. A lot of good life lessons are learned in a tree stand, Bill.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's More Than Inarticulation. And It Repeats Itself.

Caught trashing and stereotyping the central city poor,  Ryan says he was inarticulate.

Why do wealthy Republican politicians attack the poor and then blame and feign verbal clumsiness?

Ryan Race Baiting comment wilts his new image as concerned poverty fighter.

So "inner city" poverty was really all about the culture of rural joblessness?
Just to be clear, this is what Paul Ryan said the other day:
On Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Wednesday, (Ryan hinted) that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
Today? (He's) saying the remarks had "nothing to do" with race. Ryan suddenly switches the subject to rural poverty, which wasn't mentioned in the audio clip:
“This isn't a race based comment it’s a breakdown of families, it’s rural poverty in rural areas, and talking about where poverty exists.
Yea, that's the ticket. Here's the audio with no mention of "rural poverty." When someone is "driving to the sports arena downtown"...oops:


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ryan will teach inner city men the culture of work, you know, like we see in white neighborhoods.

Inner city men are about to meet the social engineering genius of Rep. Paul Ryan. That’s right, that wonkish numbers guy is really closet culture warrior, shaping economic policy around his Darwinian belief the social swill can be elimination…one way or another, with or without creating jobs.
Democratic Candidate Rob Zerban, running against Paul Ryan again, pointed me to this Think Progress story where Ryan admits he's a student of…
Charles Murray, a conservative social scientist who believes African-Americans are, as a population, less intelligent than whites due to genetic differences and that poverty remains a national problem because “a lot of poor people are born lazy.”
The ugly truth is out now about Ryan intentions and his disturbing plans for the poor:
On Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Wednesday, (Ryan hinted) that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”
Dealt with? Listen to this sociopath get tough on the victims of the 1 percenters:
"You just can't say, I'm paying my taxes, government is going to fix that. You need to get involved, you need to get involved yourself through a good mentor program or some religious charity, or whatever is to make a difference and that's how we resuscitate out culture." 
New Flash! Democrats, liberals, nonpartisan organizations, and churches are already doing just that. I guess Ryan wouldn't know about that though.

What Ryan is really saying is forget about those no-show "job creators," or your local freeloading Republican politician (not) working hard to solve America's problems, instead the government will save money while charities and churches magically do our work for us. That's been his message all along.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Paul Ryan's Cynicism

So here's how politics can work in America these days if you are willing to walk a particularly callous and cynical path:

Re-inflate for personal and political gain a failed 'smartest guy in the room' persona and attack, with even some false information, American citizens who do not have your wealth and tools of power - -  PAC's, ad budgets, staffs, lobbyists, PR people, 'think'-tanks, talk shows (see him on ABC's "This Week" Sunday show tomorrow), and Rovian organizations - - to fight back.

Let The Los Angeles Times explain it:
WASHINGTON — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), the former Republican vice presidential nominee, launched an attack Monday on the nation's poverty programs, provoking an election-year confrontation with the White House amid a growing focus on income inequality... 
The plan returns Ryan to the national stage, where he hopes to position himself as the party's big thinker in advance of a possible 2016 presidential run.
This is an old, soulless trick. Attacking the poor. It's so easy. 
Cross-posted at The Political Environment.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ryan thinks feeding school kids empties their soul, and other mindless cruelties.

Paul Ryan is running on empty "false premises." He's got nothing else, so instead of trying to defend his agenda, he created straw man targets to shoot at.

Ryan's sparsely attended CPAC speech had 3 false premises. Red meat to stir up the small crowd, who by the way didn't applaud or appear to believe him. Can we say it? Ryan is over the top.

False Premise #1: Freedom not to Work! Ryan is still using the already debunked "people don't have to work" lie. People might pursue their own business plans, work parttime or take care of their kids...but not working? Is Ryan clueless? Of course not. He's lying.

False Premise #2: The Left Offers a Full Stomach but an Empty Soul: We're talking about free hot lunch for kids at school, living at or under the poverty line. Two years ago, my elementary and middle school sons had empty souls. Funny thing, we didn't guilt trip them about lunch. We can thank Ryan for telling us about the kind of people that still work under Scott Walker. Just a ridiculous story when you think about it. It starts off with "Once..."
RYAN: The Left is making a big mistake here. What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul ... You know, this reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy Gov. Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn't want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch. One in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the Left does not understand.
Ryan might want to give the kids parents a hike in the minimum wage.

UPDATE: The story above is even another Ryan lie, as reported by Daily Kos:
It turns out, that touching story is actually from a book about a kid in New York City in the 1980s, and the lunches he was getting for free were not from the government, they were from an ad sales rep who befriended him ... the Miss Laura and now-adult Maurice of the story are advocates on child hunger, and let's just say they are not out campaigning against free school lunches. No, they're partnering with No Kid Hungry on a mission that includes "connect[ing] kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals."
Ryan posted a notice on Facebook saying, “I regret failing to verify the original source of the story.” But this comment nailed RyanSherry Edwardson“You feel that way yourself Ryan or you wouldn't have repeated it. Quit passing the buck!”

False Premise #3: People just want a life of Comfort: No one ever said that. Sadly, he sincerely believes this. He's obsessed with keeping the poor from hammocks and comfort.
National Review Online praised his argument with the headline, "Paul Ryan's Moving Story That Explains the Difference Between Hard Work and Dependency." On Fox's Happening Now, correspondent Carl Cameron characterized Ryan's speech as taking a "middle-of-the-road tone." Ryan's comments fit in well with conservative media's history of shaming the poor, and in particular, free school lunch programs for children of low-income families. In the past, Fox has even suggested children be forced to work for their meals.
Media Matters put this together, comparing Ryan to...Rush? Yes:

These Two Charts say Ryan is Wrong Again: