Monthly Archives: August 2012

Lying Is Paul Ryan’s Calling…His Only Calling

 

 Maddow Blog:

Paul Ryan stands on a foundation of lies
By Steve Benen

At a basic level, what bothers me about politicians who lie, especially at a national level, is that the deceptions are insulting. A candidate who knows the truth, but makes a deliberate decision to deceive, is working from the assumption that Americans are suckers.

And last night, Paul Ryan made painfully clear that he thinks we’re all profound idiots who’ll believe an endless string of lies, so long as they’re packaged well and presented with conviction. Jonathan Cohn suggested last night’s address may have been the “most dishonest convention speech” ever delivered, and I can’t think of a close second.
It was a truly breathtaking display of brazen dishonesty. Paul Ryan looked America in the eye and without a hint a shame, lied to our face.

Ryan lied about President Obama’s auto-industry rescue, blaming the administration for a plant closing orchestrated by President Bush. Ryan lied about Medicare, falsely accusing Obama of undermining the system. Ryan lied about the debt downgrade, falsely blaming the president for a downgrade caused by Ryan and congressional Republicans.

From The New Republic:

The Most Dishonest Convention Speech … Ever?
Jonathan Cohn

You’re going to read and hear a lot about Paul Ryan’s speech on Wednesday night. And I imagine most of it will be about how Ryan’s speech played—with the party loyalists in Tampa, with the television viewers across the country, and eventually with the swing voters who will decide the election.

I’d like to talk, instead, about what Ryan actually said—not because I find Ryan’s ideas objectionable, although I do, but because I thought he was so brazenly willing to twist the truth.

At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It’s one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It’s something else entirely to hear them in prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee is accepting his party’s nomination and speaking to the entire country.

Here are the five statements that deserve serious scrutiny:

1) About the GM plant in Janesville.

Ryan’s home district includes a shuttered General Motors plant. Here’s what happened, according to Ryan:

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

It’s true: The plant shut down. But it shut down in 2008—before Obama became president.

By the way, nobody questions that, if not for the Obama Administration’s decision to rescue Chrysler and GM, the domestic auto industry would have crumbled. Credible estimates suggested that the rescue saved more than a million jobs. Unemployment in Michigan and Ohio, the two states with the most auto jobs, have declined precipitously.

2) About Medicare.

Ryan attacked Obama for “raiding” Medicare. Again, Ryan has no standing whatsoever to make this attack, because his own budget called for taking the same amount of money from Medicare. Twice. The only difference is that Ryan’s budget used those savings to finance Ryan’s priorities, which include a massive tax cut that benefits the wealthy disproportionately.

It’s true that Romney has pledged to put that money back into Medicare and Ryan now says he would do the same. But the claim is totally implausible given Romney’s promise to cap non-defense spending at 16 percent of gross domestic product.

By the way, Obamacare’s cut to Medicare was a reduction in what the plan pays hospitals and insurance companies. And the hospitals said they could live with those cuts, because Obamacare was simultaneously giving more people health insurance, alleviating the financial burden of charity care.

What Obamacare did not do is take away benefits. On the contrary, it added benefits, by offering free preventative care and new prescription drug coverage. By repealing Obamacare, Romney and Ryan would take away those benefits—and, by the way, add to Medicare’s financial troubles because the program would be back to paying hospitals and insurers the higher rates.

3) About the credit rating downgrade.

Ryan blamed the downgrading of American debt on Obama. But it was the possibility that America would default on its debts that led to the downgrade. And why did that possibility exist? Because Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling, playing chicken not just with the nations’ credit rating but the whole economy, unless Obama would cave into their budget demands.

4) About the deficit.

Ryan said “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him” and proclaimed “We need to stop spending money we don’t have.” In fact, this decade’s big deficits are primarily a product of Bush-era tax cuts and wars. (See graph.) And you know who voted for them? Paul Ryan.

5) About protecting the weak.

Here’s Ryan on the obligations to help those who can’t help themselves:

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves. … We can make the safety net safe again.

The rhetoric is stirring—and positively galling. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62 percent of the cuts in Ryan budget would come from programs that serve low-income people. And that’s assuming he keeps the Obamacare Medicare cuts. If he’s serious about putting that money back into Medicare, the cuts to these programs would have to be even bigger.

From Politicususa:

The 5 Biggest Lies in Paul Ryan’s RNC Acceptance Speech

By: Jason Easley

Paul Ryan took the stage in Tampa and peppered his speech with lies, falsehoods distortions and exaggerations. There were many to choose from, but here are the five biggest lies.

1). Ryan accuses Obama of closing down the GM plant.

What Ryan Said, “A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”

The Truth: The GM plant closure was announced in June of 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

2). Ryan Claims Taxpayers Got Nothing Out of the Stimulus.

What Ryan Said, ” What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted. Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.”

The Truth: The stimulus added 3.3 million jobs, cut unemployment by 1.8%, and grew GDP by 4.1%. Nothing is what the country got when Ryan and his fellow Republican obstructed the American Jobs Act.

3). Ryan Accused Obama of Putting the Federal Government in Charge of Healthcare.

What Ryan Said, “Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care. Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.”

The Truth: What would a Republican gathering be without a hat tip to the ugly step child of death panels? Obamacare doesn’t federalize healthcare. In fact, it does the opposite.

As FactCheck.org pointed out, “The health care law does set new minimum benefits packages, but that’s more a matter of coming between patients and their insurance companies, rather than patients and their doctors…he health care law doesn’t come close to establishing a government-run system like those of Britain or Canada. While Medicaid will be expanded to more people, most Americans will continue to get their insurance through a private carrier. To the dismay of many liberals, a proposal to include a government-run “public option” to private health insurance was dropped during the legislative process.”

From The Daily Beast:

Michael Tomasky on Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech and His Web of Lies

Paul Ryan pushed American politics into new territory with his convention speech, effectively daring Democrats and the media to call him out on his string of blatant falsehoods.

It just boggles the mind to imagine how Paul Ryan can stand up there and lash Barack Obama for abandoning Bowles-Simpson when he did exactly that himself. Or for taking $716 billion out of Medicare that Ryan’s own budget also removes from Medicare. Or try to blame him for the closing of a GM plant that actually closed while George W. Bush was president. Those three lies are just the beginning of a cavalcade that followed. I can’t in clear conscience call such a speech “good” or “effective.” But I will acknowledge that Ryan can spin the goods like nobody’s business, and that his presence on the stage Wednesday night and on the ticket going forward does put new pressure on the Democrats, because Republicans have never really fought on quite this terrain in quite this way.

For many decades, the parties basically sort of ceded certain matters to each other. Democrats argued with Republicans about defense spending, for example; but with a few exceptions they rarely tried to say that they were the people you should really trust on defense. They knew they’d lose that argument, and they changed the subject. Republicans did the same on many social issues, or the idea of compassion. They knew they couldn’t compete. Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich changed this a little. They went around saying that their plans for poor people were superior. No one really bought it, but it did become a standard GOP talking point. Ryan is Kemp on steroids. (It was no accident that he invoked Kemp tonight). No Republican has ever tried to take it to Democrats on the issues they’ve owned for, in the case of Medicare, nearly 50 years.

Analysis of the fact that Ryan can lie the way he does requires the skills of a psychologist. All I can say is that we’re in new territory—a Republican trying to own a Democratic issue, and doing so on the basis of a couple of lies so blatant that he’s practically saying to the Democrats and the media: “Fuck you, come and get me. You can’t touch me.”

Ryan is glib and smooth and has a certain charm. He delivers one-liners very well. He really knows how to package, and where to go and where not to go. He talked a lot about spending, but he didn’t talk much about taxes, because he knows that he can’t really defend his position on taxes, which is slash them for the rich, so don’t even open that door. Open only the doors that lead to free shots at Obama. Many of those too are lies. He’s done far more to add to the debt than Obama has—voting for Bush’s tax cuts and wars and Medicare expansion as a congressman. This is true. But he can make it sound as if no sane person could possibly believe it.

Bottom line…Paul Ryan is a big liar…no a tremendous…no a 'pants-on-fire liar.  Yep he is.  The Struggle Continues…RLHSR.

An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America by MinistryOfTruth

I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn't call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn't call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.

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     You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don't know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.

Now, I know you profess to love our country and the founding fathers (unless you are reminded that they believed in the separation of church and state), but I need to remind you that America is NOT what Fox News says it is. America is a melting pot, it always has been. We are a multi-cultural amalgamation of all kinds of people, and yet you still demonize everyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual christian male or his submissive and obedient wife.

You hate liberals, moderates, hell, anyone who disagrees with Conservative dogma as espoused by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You hate em.

Well, here are the facts, Jack. If you hate the Government then you are unqualified to manage it. If you hate gay people more than you love America than you should take your own advice and get the hell out. There are several countries that are openly hostile to gay people, but they are full of brown people and you don't like them much either from what I understand. It looks like you are screwed, but that's not what I am here to tell you.

Now that you have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at President Obama and it still hasn't worked you are panicking. Obama's approval ratings are still near 50% despite your best efforts to undermine the economy and America's recovery at every step you can. You tried to hold the American economy hostage to force America into default on its' debts, debts that YOU rang up under Bush, so you could blame it on Obama and it failed. You've used the filibuster more than any other Congress ever, going so far as to vote against providing health care access to 9/11 first responders. You remember 9/11, don't you, it's that thing you used to lie us into a war in Iraq, and then when Obama killed Bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq you told people that he hates America and wants the troops to fail. You monsters. You hate Obama with a passion, despite the fact that he is a tax cutting, deficit reducing war President who undermines civil rights and delivers corporate friendly watered down reforms that benefit special interests just like a Republican. You call him a Kenyan. You call him a socialist. You dance with your hatred singing it proudly in the rain like it was a 1950's musical.

Frankly, you disgust me. Your hatred nauseates me. Your bigotry offends me. Your racism revolts me.

Dear haters, I am openly questioning your patriotism.

I think you hate gays, Obama, black people, poor people, all of us, women, atheists and agnostics, Latinos, Muslims, Liberals, all of us, I think you hate every one who isn't exactly like you, and I think you hate us more than you love your country.

I think you hate gay soldiers more than you want America to win its wars.

I don't even think you want America to win wars, you just want America to have wars, never ending wars and the war profiteering it generates. You love that kind of spending, you love spending on faith based initiatives and abstinence based sex education (George Carlin would have loved that one), you love spending on subsidies for profitable oil corporations, you spend like drunken sailors when you are in the White House, but if it is a Democrat then suddenly you cheer when America doesn't get the Olympics because it might make the black President look bad. But oooh you love your country, you say, and you want it back. Well listen here skippy, it isn't your country, you don't own it, it is our country, and America is NOT the religiously extremist Foxbots who hate science, elitist professors and having a vibrant and meaningful sex life with someone we love if Rick Santorum doesn't approve of it. Rick Santorum isn't running for America's fucking high school dance chaperone, he should probably just shut the hell up about sex, but he can't because he has nothing else to run on.

Republicans can NOT win on the issues. They've got NOTHING. All they have is a divide and conquer class war that pits ignorant racist and bigoted people against the rest of us in a meaningless battle of wedge issues and the already proven to fail George W. Bush agenda again of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, privatization and war profiteering and nothing else, so all they can do is blame black people, gays the government, anybody and everyone else for their own failings. The party of personal responsibility, my ass.

But they love multi-national corporations, just ask a gay hating and racist religious extremist if they think Corporations are people and they will gladly agree, but if you ask them if gay people are people they aren't so sure.

Dear haters, you are the cruel, heartless misinformed assholes who would sell America out to Haliburton in a heartbeat, you would rather pay ZERO taxes than you would see a newly born baby get access to quality health care, you cheer when we discuss denying health care to young people with preventable diseases, and you boo when we discuss the First Ladies plan to cut back on childhood obesity. You are a cross to carry and a flag to wrap yourself in away from being the people who Sinclair Lewis warned us about, but I guarantee that if Fox News told you to dress that way you would, because you are the same blind, ignorant and closed minded dunces who drove this country into a civil war years ago because you are bound to the notion that some men are more equal than others. In short, the reason I proudly wear my union army hat is because of seditious sell outs like you who constantly fuck over working class Americans so a foreign entrepreneur like Rupert Murdoch can get a bigger tax break. If corporations are people, they are neither American patriots nor capable of love. Just like you.

So stop wearing your hate with pride. Stop celebrating your anti-science, anti-math ignorance. Stop using code words to mask your bigotry like "family values", especially when you hate my family and when you stand on the same stage as a guy who has had three marriages or if you share a seat in the Senate with a guy who cheated on his wife with hookers while wearing diapers. You should be ashamed. I know that you are just doing this to motivate your misinformed hate cult base because if they actually knew that your ideas will make them poorer than they are now, they would never vote for you. You are doing your best to impoverish your countrymen so rich people can get bigger tax breaks and you can keep on delivering corporate welfare to the special interests who have bribed you, and I am disgusted by the way you gleefully parade your hatred with aplomb. I don't think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn't exactly like you.

You should think about that, and maybe get some help.

And for the record, I do not hate you. I am embarrassed by you and nauseated by your cruel and thoughtless behavior and your all consuming greed, but I do not hate you. I forgive you and I hope you can change someday, but I don't hate you. You have enough hate in you for the rest of us as it is.

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And again…The Struggle Continues-RLHSR.

Bill Maher Says What the Media Won’t: Voter ID Laws Are Racist (Jason Beasley)

Bill Maher has the guts to say what the mainstream media won’t: Voter ID laws are nothing more than a racist attempt to suppress the votes of African-Americans.

Maher said,

Now, I know it doesn’t seem like showing picture ID should be such a big deal, but it turns out one in ten Americans who used to be able to vote could not this time under these new laws. See Republicans love America and cherish it’s ideals, so they asked themselves what is it we have that many Democratic leaning inner city voters don’t have? I know. We have photo ID. Our drivers’ licenses and many of them don’t because they’re too poor to own a car. It reminds of the drug war where conservatives said let’s find something minorities do a lot, like smoke weed, and make it illegal, and one of the punishments is you lose your vote…

Listen, America has had a lot of tricky racist laws. It’s part of the adventure of living here. That’s what makes it dangerous and fun, like everyone being armed. It’s like a theme park at Halloween. Hey, if you don’t want to be chased with a chainsaw, move to Canada.

But what makes the voter ID law special is that they propose to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. We have empirical data proving that essentially no is showing up at the polls and impersonating a legally registered voter. Runaway slave laws were racist and wrong, but at least occasionally there was a runaway slave. But in person voter fraud is a crime that doesn’t happen. Since 2000, there have been ten cases of it. Ten. Out of 146 million voters. More people go into the voting booth and get hit by lightning while being attacked by sharks than commit this crime.

Why?

Because people tend to commit crimes to do things they want to. We’re Americans, we don’t want to vote. That’s not how the criminal mind works…But don’t ever accuse a Republican of racism. They just happened to come up with a legal technicality that if applied nationally would mean one in four black people can’t vote. It’s like if you wanted to suppress the white vote so you made a law that you couldn’t vote unless you’ve seen every Tyler Perry movie.

So I say fair is fair. If Republicans can make it harder for minorities to vote with their tricky ID laws, then we get to make it harder for teabaggers to vote by bringing back the literacy test. You can ask me for a picture ID, and I’ll ask you to count to twenty without taking off your shoes.

Maher also listed his three literacy test questions for tea partiers.

Very little of the discussion about voter ID laws in the mainstream media actually focuses on who these laws are targeting. The media has helped push the Republican argument by assuming that these laws target all people equally, when they are designed to target minorities, poor people, and Democratic voters.

An interesting unintended consequence is the possibility that some rural while older Republicans will also get caught up in the net of voter suppression, but for the GOP the disenfranchisement of millions of Democratic voters is worth the cost of a few thousand Republicans who will be turned away on Election Day.

Maher was totally correct. Voter ID laws are a form of voter suppression that is directly targeted at minority voters. If there is no voter fraud, then why would Republicans pass laws that would disenfranchise 25% of African-American voters if applied nationally? It is not a coincidence that Republican controlled state governments pushed through voter ID laws after African American turnout surged in the 2008 election. The voter ID laws were designed to be the Republican firewall against an Obama victory.

What the Republican Party never counted on was having a nominee who is so unpopular that even the harshest voter suppression techniques might not be enough to get him elected.

Because the media has billions of dollars in campaign ad revenue at stake, they play dumb. They turn a blind eye towards the fact that voter ID laws are part of the Republicans 2012 strategy.

The mainstream press acts like the act of disenfranchising any voter is a debatable topic. Bill Maher is one of the few people in the media with a platform to come out and say these voter ID laws are designed to prevent African-Americans from voting. Even though the mainstream media is going to keep denying it, at least comedians like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart are speaking the truth on voter ID.

It is sad that this country has resorted to its most racist core.   The Struggle Continues…RLHSR.

Paul Ryan…Not For The People…For Himself! (Thanks to Steve Benen)

It’s time for Willard’s Lies of the week.

Once again, I will point out the site on the blog roll: Romney The Liar: because there are Liars, Damn Liars, and then there’s Mitt Romney.

Steve Benen, now at The Maddow Blog:. Here’s last week’s entry of Chronicling Mitt’s mendacity:

The opening:

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXIX
By Steve Benen –
Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:50 PM EDT.

Joe Klein reflected briefly on Mitt Romney this week, noting, “I can’t remember a candidate so brazenly allergic to facts. What a travesty.” Kevin Drum offered some related thoughts.

[I]t’s common to twist and distort and cherry pick. But Romney has flatly claimed that Obama said something that, in fact, a John McCain aide said. He’s snipped out sentences from an Obama speech and spliced the two halves back together so nobody can tell what he did. Then he did it again to another Obama speech. And he unequivocally said that Obama plans to drop work requirements for welfare even though he’s done nothing of the sort.

This really is a post-truth campaign. It’s different. It’s one thing to be nasty. All campaigns are nasty. It’s one thing to twist and distort and mock. Every campaign does that too…. But this is different. This is a presidential candidate just baldly making stuff up on the assumption that nobody will ever know.

The same afternoon, in an apparent attempt to push the 2012 campaign even deeper down the rabbit hole, a Romney spokesperson tweeted, “After months of distortions and lies, how can we trust anything the Obama campaign says?” She wasn’t kidding.

Of course, if months of distortions and lies causes irreparable harm to a presidential candidate, Romney might as well pack up and go to one of his mansions now. To consider this problem in more detail, consider the 29th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt’s mendacity.

1. In a radio interview yesterday, Romney said of the president, “His campaign and the people working with him have focused almost exclusively on personal attacks.”

That’s both ironic and untrue.

2. In an attack ad launched this week, Romney said Obama “quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.”

This is as obvious a lie as any presidential candidate has ever told.

3. In the same ad, Romney claims, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”

Even putting aside the racial subtext, the claim has no foundation in reality whatsoever.

4. In reference to voting rights in Ohio, Romney wrote on Facebook that Obama believes “it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges.”

This is ridiculously untrue. Obama wants servicemen and women to have extended early voting privileges, just like every other eligible voter in Ohio.

Too late for Romney to disown Ryan plan

Within a few hours of Mitt Romney introducing Paul Ryan as his running mate, campaign officials were letting reporters know that the presidential hopeful won't fully embrace the congressman's budget plan as his own. Last night on "60 Minutes," Romney was a little more explicit on this point.

Bob Schieffer: There's no question your campaign has been trying to make this election a referendum on Barack Obama. Now, some people are saying you are making it a referendum on Paul Ryan's budget plan.

Mitt Romney: Well, I have my budget plan as you know that I've put out. And that's the budget plan that we're going to run on.

It's worth noting that Romney claiming to have "put out" his own "budget plan" isn't quite right. We've seen a vague, right-wing blueprint with numbers that don't make any sense, but incomplete outlines do not a budget plan make.

But the larger point here is that we're way past the point at which Romney can credibly distance himself from Paul Ryan's radical congressional budget plan. The former governor has endorsed the Ryan agenda several times, and just yesterday, Ed Gillespie, a top Romney campaign advisor, told a national television audience, "[I]f the Ryan budget had come to his desk as a budget, [Romney] would have signed it, of course."

Of course.

Look, this is silly (and not just because presidents don't sign congressional budget plans). Romney endorsed the Ryan plan; he encouraged others to support the Ryan plan; and then he literally made Ryan his running mate. Romney now owns Ryan's Republican vision.

If he didn't want this albatross, he should have picked a better vice presidential nominee.


It is amazing how lying and hypocrisy is the order of the day…and it has been for a while for "Republicants".  The Struggle Continues-RLHSR.