Maiello: Human Rights and the Stock Market
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Paul Ryan took to the podium at CPAC on Thursday and did not disappoint those of us waiting to pick at the lies this duly elected government official must tell in order to remind us all that our government --the very same government he volunteered to be a part of; the very same government that pays him a handsome salary and will give him lifelong perks--has been infiltrated so thoroughly by the socialists (that's us) huge chunks of it must be eradicated and the spoils turned over immediately to the only saviors who have our best interests at heart--the privateers. (Why does Paul Ryan lie? Because he's Paul Ryan and that's what Paul Ryan does and does and does.)
Here's a portion of what he said:
"The way I see it, let the other side be the party of personalities. We’ll be the party of ideas. And I’m optimistic about our chances—because the Left? The Left isn’t just out of ideas. It’s out of touch. Take Obamacare. We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. [We do?] And the Left thinks this is a good thing. [They do?] They say, “Hey, this is a new freedom—the freedom not to work.” [Who says that? Lemme at em!] But I don’t think the problem is too many people are working—I think the problem is not enough people can find work. [ Now you're talking] And if people leave the workforce, our economy will shrink—there will be less opportunity, not more. [Yeah, that's what we've been saying ever since you guys came up with that crazy outsourcing idea] So the Left is making a big mistake here. [They are?] What they’re offering people is a full stomach—and an empty soul. [Okay, now--what?] The American people want more than that."
So then he went on to explain that remark about the full stomach and the empty soul:
"This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my friend Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But 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."
Now, I know I'm not the only one to sit up and take notice over that one. It's been all over the place. But the emphasis from most corners has been on Paul Ryan's misuse of an anecdote that was lifted initially by Eloise Anderson, Scott Walker's appointee to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, who skewed the story to serve her own purposes after apparently finding something somewhat similar in Laura Schroff's book, An Invisible Thread.
I don't care where it came from. I don't care that Paul Ryan was careless about the source. What grinds me most about this are these words out of Paul Ryan's mouth:
She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But 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 a representative of our government shaming poor people. This is a man of privilege--a man who never hesitates to vote against safety-net programs designed to pull underprivileged people up and out and on their own; a man who, through his own "Ryan Budget", offered up huge cuts to the safety nets in order to give more to the rich and to the military--shaming poor parents by telling them their own children don't want a free lunch.
He told a crowd--and the rest of us by extension via TV cameras--that poor kids are ashamed of their parents, that poor parents who accept government aid ought to be ashamed, and that we on the left are guilty of encouraging that kind of behavior:
"That’s what the Left just doesn’t understand. We don’t want people to leave the workforce; we want them to share their skills and talents with the rest of us. And people don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity—of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity."
This is what Paul Ryan does, and why he is so dangerous. A quick reading of that quote above has everybody nodding their heads. Skills! Talents! Dignity! Self-determination! Equal opportunity!
But what he's really doing is equating essential programs like welfare and SNAP to "a life of comfort". He's suggesting poor people are poor because they like it that way. A "life of dignity" means getting out from under the government wing and going it alone. "Self-determination" means you brought this on yourself.
The "Brown bag" story means stop using your kids as pawns in order to get people to feel sorry for you and give you stuff.
And, oh, by the way, get a job. (But good luck with that, since the dreaded Obamacare just killed that avenue for you, too. The theory goes that employers hate the idea of Obamacare so much they're cutting their workforce in order to show how much they hate it. The insurance companies thank them very much.)
This is Paul Ryan. He is wildly successful. We pay him, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to his other income sources. We will give him health and retirement benefits for the rest of his life--not that he needs us to pay for them. We've given him the power, as a representative of the people, to use this public platform and he uses it to screw the least of us.
If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's this: Live with it.
I don't usually agree with Anne Applebaum, a hawkish, right-wing foreign policy thinker, but she brings up an interesting point about the London Stock Exchange listing of Rosneft, back in 2006. The LSE offered legitimacy to a company built by Putin's expropriation of Yukos, a company run by a Russian oligarch who probably wasn't quite the white hat he's been made out to be since running afoul of Russia's elected strong man. [Read more]
The single most important thing Barack Obama needs to do about Ukraine is not to panic. The single most important thing anyone else in the United States can do about Ukraine is not to panic Barack Obama. Developments in the Crimea are extremely dangerous, and that's exactly why everybody needs to calm down.
I have no idea whether or not Obama is handling this situation well or badly. Neither does anybody else who's not party to what he's telling other international leaders on private lines. How Obama is handling things is about what he's saying to people like Angela Merkel and about how those people responding. I don't think there will be any way to measure his success or failure for a while.
I am cleaning out my workspace, in preparation for messing up a new one and I came across a pamphlet I have been carrying around ever since it was given to my by Robert Lenzner, then national editor of Forbes in 2000. It is called Life Without Treasury Securities and was written by Albert M. Wojnilower an economist and then advisor to Monitor Clipper Partners, a private equity firm and Craig Drill Capital, a long-lived hedge fund.
"In the year 2013, according to the new Federal budget, the U.S. Government will have retired the public debt." [Read more]
Speaking as an American, which is something I often do, let me just say that I am outraged by the complete lack of American military intervention in Ukraine right now. America and the Obama Administration are once again refusing to show true leadership.
You’ve seen the pictures coming from Ukraine. It’s a mess. Total chaos. This is why the time to act is now. And act with confidence and focus. [Read more]
I have to admit that this sentiment has been on the tip of my tongue for a long while. Brett Easton Ellis just comes out and says to Vice that:
"You have to understand that I’m coming to these things as a member of the most pessimistic and ironic generation that has ever roamed the earth. When I hear Millennials getting hurt by "cyber bullying," or it being a gateway to suicide, it’s difficult for me to process. A little less so for my boyfriend, who happens to be a millennial of that age, but even he somewhat agrees with the sensitivity of Generation Wuss." [Read more]
The New York Federal Reserve Bank believes that David M. Cotes, the gazillionaire Chairman and CEO of Honeywell Inc. is best qualified to "to represent the public 'with due but not exclusive consideration to the interests of agriculture, commerce, industry, services, labor and consumers.'" These directors are chosen and elected by the commercial bank members of the regional Federal Reserve. They do not make policy but the advice they give influences decisions at the regional Fed level and, ultimately, at the level of the United States Federal Reserve System. [Read more]
Gun-rights advocates love to quote Robert Heinlein's line that "An armed society is a polite society." Heinlein argued that in a culture where many are packing lethal weapons, people are more careful with their manners because they're afraid of being killed over a minor lapse of etiquette. Heinlein is wrong on his facts; history makes it very clear that real armed societies don't work that way. But what's really ghastly is that Heinlein and his fans imagine his fantasy as a good thing. The belief that "an armed society is a polite society" depends on a conviction that murder is better than bad manners.
Michael Sam's brave decision to come out as gay before the NFL draft has been exactly the story that the NFL desperately needs.
The notion that work is dignity sure seems convenient for those whose fortunes depend on other people's willing labor. Or, hey, I don't want to make my own sandwich, so grab yourself some dignity and a block of swiss, my friend.
The issue has been raised regarding Obamacare which, functioning as promised, has decoupled some people from the work force as they are now able to get health insurance through the government exchange rather than through their employers. We won't know for some time if people are leaing to pursue their own business ideas or if they are leaving to follow their bliss.  [Read more]
At a Town Hall meeting held last week in Oklahoma, an audience member raised her hand and said to Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from the First District, “Obama is not president as far as I’m concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant.”
Read that again: "Obama is not president as far as I'm concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant." (Video here.)
Nick Kristof is, by his own admission, friends with Mia and Ronan Farrow, two people who have been pursuing their vendetta against Woody Allen for years. If you follow any of the coverage at all, that much is clear. Mia and Ronan hate Woody Allen and say so in public, at every opportunity. For his part, Allen says nothing about them. Now, Kristof sees fit to publish Dylan Farrow's allegations of childhood sexual abuse by the filmmaker. Laughably, Kristof covers himself by saying that Allen refused to give him an on the record interview. He then references Allen's previous denials but weakens them by claiming that when the issues were raised back in 1992 that the prosecutor claimed to have enough evidence to bring charges but didn't in orde [Read more]
Flying during the winter months has become an increasingly dicey proposition in 21st-century America. I make a handful of work-related plane trips a year, but the ones I do make tend to be for things that can't be rescheduled easily and often can't be rescheduled at all. I'm sure this is true for travelers in other kinds of business, but it's certainly true for academics: if you don't get there on the right day, the thing you were traveling to do may simply never happen. And American airlines can't quite promise to get you where you need to go any more, for reasons that have both to do with changing weather patterns and with a set of catastrophically-shortsighted business strategies that have become accepted as normal.
He was 94 years old, so we should be grateful that we had him with us for so long. He was a man whose presence was timeless and inspiring, and the truth is, we needed him. We need him still.
It would be lovely to never worry about money and to work only for the love of it rather than the need to care for ourselves and others that drives most of us out of our warm houses and apartments on frigid days where, all things being equal, we would just rather not. I imagine that if more of us had real choices about how to spend our days that it would be tougher to find somebody to pay to make you a sandwich but that we'd all be happier for it.
Judging by the behavior of the upper, upper crust, though, I might be wrong. Extreme wealth, it seems, also involves the paranoiac fear that it can all be taken away. [Read more]
Over at The New York Times Ross Douthat wants to argue that Republicans can fight poverty by fighting single parenthood, which means promoting marriage on the argument that two parent families are more economically and socially successful. Matt Yglesias at Slate wants to know how small-government Douthat is going to accomplish using the government, of all things, to get people to marry and stay marry. Douthat's plan involves: [Read more]
Yesterday New Jersey governor Chris Christie took 108 minutes out of his busy schedule to do something so unprecedented there wasn't a pundit anywhere in the country who wasn't on top of it, who didn't have an opinion about it, and who, almost to a person, saw it as the beginning of the end of that lovable bully. No White House for you, big guy!
in It’s Time to Deal in...rmrd0000
in Real careFlavius
in Hey, Prez (you worthless...A Guy Called LULU
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...NCD
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...jollyroger
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...Ramona
in Hospital Chain Said to...Ramona
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...rmrd0000
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...NCD
in Is There a Doctor in the...Peter Schwartz
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...Ramona
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...Ramona
in Hey, Prez (you worthless...jollyroger
in Paul Ryan to Poor Parents...MrSmith1
in Hospital Chain Said to...Peter Schwartz