An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Paul Ryan asks for Obamacare funding.

(Updated below).

Take a look at Paul Ryan's letter requesting funds from the evil "socialist" program he would repeal the first chance he gets.

My favorite part comes from the Romney campaign's attempt to cry foul.

Brendan Buck, a spokesperson for the Mitt Romney campaign, responded to this story by claiming that this "grant program was created by President Bush, not Obamacare. This... type of misinformation is what you get from gotcha reporting on liberal blogs." Ryan's letter directly requests money from the HRSA-11-017 New Access Points program announced in August of 2010. This New Access Points grant program that Ryan requested money from is funded fully by the Affordable Care Act, a fact made clear on multiple government websites. The claim that Bush "created" this program is also unfounded. Federally-funded health centers were created through the Public Health Services Act, legislation signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1944.  New Access Point grants have existed well before the Bush administration came to office.
(From The Nation, Paul Ryan quietly requested Obamacare cash)

Something like this has never been easier to fact check.

New Access Points Program and its funding sources (one of the multiple government web sites)

Public Health Services Act of 1944 (from the National Library of Medicine):

But then the Romney campaign has famously declared “We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Yes, we can see that, thank you.

We have not just a Presidential campaign but also a constituency of millions running of the fumes of a delusional alternate reality.

On December 12, 2012, AR added:

Paul Ryan is proving how he is like Ayn Rand.  It was pointed out to Ms. Rand in an interview that she was collecting government benefits near the end of her life.  Her unprincipled, but pragmatic response was something along the lines of how she'd be a fool not to take what was being offered.  This is the same kind of pragmatism that I heard Republicans use to justify taking advantage of the so called "cash for clunkers" program that president Obama had passed.  They may have voted against him and find his policies to be creeping socialism, but they sure won't pass up a chance at some free government "hand outs".  So Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand and the Republicans who took from "cash for clunkers" show their true colors.  They are pragmatists, rather than being principled Libertarians.  I have no problem with pragmatism, as I am proud to consider myself one.  I also actually believe in social programs and am happy to pay taxes for those programs.  I get angry when those programs are incompetently administered, but I don't believe in doing away with them.  I just think that they should get fixed with competent policies and/or have competent new people run them.  

I get annoyed with supposedly principled people who act the way Ryan, Rand and "cash for clunkers" Republicans have.  It's the hypocrisy that drives me crazy.  There is, in the case of the first two, a kind of intellectual edifice that rationalizes the often cruel results of the policies that come out of their philosophy.  Yet, that edifice is put aside for government money. To put  it another way, when financial reality and opportunity encounter this philosophy it causes it to disappear just long enough for the check to clear. That is less a philosophy and more like a racket.  Its a racket that one sees in many organized religions, as well as in cult like philosophies like Libertarianism, as its currently being proselytized and practiced in the US.  So Ryan, Rand and my "cash for clunkers" Republicans are actually those who Mitt Romney has called takers.  They are part of that 47% that just take from the government.  The funny thing is that if their policies were actually put in place they wouldn't be able to take anymore.  Then what?  Ryan's constituents in Racine and Belle City wouldn't get preventative and comprehensive care.  Rand might have been unable feed herself or in some other way improve her life without the benefits.  My "cash for clunkers" Republicans would still be driving around with air polluting, foreign oil consuming, road safety jeopardizing clunkers. That's what.

On December 12, 2012 Steven adds: 

This showcases the fundamental dishonesty of the overwhelming majority of "Libertarians." (I say majority just in case someday, somewhere we might find a truly honest one). Nevermind what they say - look at what they do

Monday, September 03, 2012

The American Taliban

A fictionalized "re-telling" of factual news stories. Aaron Sorkin has created another fantasy alternate reality TV show in which a mainstream television news anchor grows a backbone. The Brothers Grimm could not write something more of a fairy tale. That said, if you have any memory of the last 12 years or so the speech Jeff Daniels delivers contains verifiably true facts. I have seen plenty of evidence to support his character describing himself as a Republican, and not just some fantasy Republican from Sorkin's imagination. I recall reading some of the most eloquent denunciations of Bush's wars, on countries as well as on civil rights, written by self-described Republicans, both news people in the editorial pages and ordinary citizens in the letters to the editor. Kind, sane and intelligent Republicans still exist - it's just that none of them joined "the Tea Party." Here's the clip from YouTube: 
The fantasy here is the character of Will McAvoy (and his spine). All the statements of fact in this clip are verifiably true.

And for what it's worth, I second the matter of opinion as well: The Tea Party is the American Taliban.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Southern Question

When I was a teenager, growing up in New Jersey, I was surprised to learn in school one day that the town where I lived hosted the National Headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s - the height of the Klan's power and the high-water mark of its membership in all of U.S. history. Coming home from school that day, I mentioned my amazement at this to my family. My brother matter-of-factly told me that we lived next door to the building that was the National HQ. Sheet sheik central - right there.

Chuck Thompson recently wrote a book called Better Off Without ’Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession. Parts of that book he adapted for an article in Alternet.  My co-blogger AROY have frequently discussed this idea. Racism and idiocy happen on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. The U.S. has a dreadful and sordid history of racism that extends to all parts of the country at one time or another. We all have some toxic, venomous extremists among us, all over the U.S. But talking about the here and now, in 2012, we have to ask what is it about the majority of people in the South of the U.S. that leads them to vote their toxic, venomous extremists into public office?

Thompson attempts to explain this by way of Southern anger. I'm not sure I buy this.  Without a foundation of racism and/or belief in "the underserving other" no amount of anger can explain the support for the birther "movement" nor the belief that poor people remain so because they do not want jobs, or that women should not have the rights they have, much less acquire ones they should have had all along but still don't. Despite my disagreement on cause, the article (and maybe even the book) I find a worthwhile read. Thompson points out the disingenuousness (really outright dishonesty) of the southerners who attempt to distance themselves from the fanatics among them, and even work themselves up into a full-court press of martyrdom over anyone pointing out something such as "KKK-themed Redneck Shop" in their town.

In response to the martyrdom complex Thompson writes:

One wonders why this Southerner—and others who beat the same drum of outrage—are not instead asking, “Why is a KKK Grand Dragon able to operate a long-running business selling Klan robes, booklets outlining Klan rituals and related disease across from the courthouse in a town square in 2012?”
What prevents today's Southerners from asking this sort of question? (BTW, the old HQ in New Jersey served as a retirement home when we lived next door to it and you could not find any KKK themed anything sold anywhere).  

What makes me most interested in reading the book comes from this passage in which Thompson deconstructs the lame excuse of "Don’t Look at Me, I Didn’t do Nuthin’" 

[Emphasis mine]

However good and polite they may be, what the majority of Southerners are, and have always been, is willing to allow the most angry and “patriotic” firebrands among them to remain in control of their society’s most powerful and influential positions, be they in the realms of politics, business, education, religion or media. 
Just as it was angry Southern zealots who pushed the country into the Civil War, it was angry zealots who, while the rest of the South turned its back, were allowed to construct and maintain the legal foundations of Jim Crow; who were allowed to turn the Scopes Monkey Trial into a humiliating circus; who were allowed to circumvent Brown vs. Board of Education and school desegregation by calling out the National Guard and building segregation “academies”; who were allowed to resist Civil Rights with dogs and water cannons; who are still allowed to denounce science as a liberal conspiracy and proclaim without ridicule that a black president’s birth certificate is fake and throw secessionist balls and insist that slavery had nothing whatsoever to do with the Civil War, and swear that all of this was and is somehow being done in the name of a liberty to which they feel deprived due to their miserable lives of oppression and persecution beneath the stars and stripes. 
Embittered fanatics may represent a minority of Southerners. But they’re still an extremely powerful minority that the rest of the South enables—or succumbs to—or aligns with—or votes for—or prays alongside—or links arms in martyred brotherhood with—year after year, decade after decade, century after century.