Most journalists make my teeth itch. They have a bias that is thicker than Mitt's hair gel. It isn't a left-right political thing, except for the Murdock hirelings. It is a bias toward laziness and equivalence.
The equivalence is just a presentation of effortless balance. If one candidate draws bold policy contrasts and the opponent lies like a Trump hairpiece, the false balance leads to a blanket condemnation. They are both just too negative. Every fault on one side demands the journalist find some fault on the other, so both can be reported jointly.
The laziness is infuriating. I suppose I tend to overreact to easy inaccuracies. I don't see ignorance as an excuse. It does not mitigate. It is not a cause. Ignorance makes the offense worse because it is a symptom of the laziness.
Last night I surfed by just long enough to hear a broadcast anchor talk about President John Adams' habit of swimming in the Potomac River in the nude. The anchor pronounced "Potomac" as a rhyme with "atomic." He swam in the P-atomic. How much effort would it have taken to read the script through with someone? Maybe rehearse it with his wife or girlfriend or boyfriend? A quick education is, I suppose, harder than just mindlessly spouting whatever copy is placed in front of you. Mispronounce what you will.
The lack of research is sometimes astonishing. Paul Ryan keeps reminding me of that.
The presumptive Republican nominee for Vice President is now being examined with some skepticism. Before he became a Serious Young Man, he was just one of a large gaggle of Republican Congressional representatives who reflexively voted against anything President Clinton wanted, then reflexively voted for anything President Bush wanted. Cultural issues were an exception. He was at war with gays and was on the Pat Buchanan side of civil rights issues, even more than was President Bush.
But, for the most part, he was for tax cuts for the wealthy. During lean years, he was for tax cuts for the wealthy because tax breaks for job creators would boost the economy and we could always make up deficits later. During surges in the economy, as when President Clinton produced a surplus, he was for a tax cut for the wealthy because the federal government shouldn't be taking in more than necessary. With Republicans in general, there was a pattern that began to be discernible, even to those of us who liked to bowl with friends instead of watching the news. Tax cuts were the cure for everything, even opposite things.
Paul Ryan was just one of many names in that following.
There eventually came a time for number crunching. Pundits liked tough choices. And it was undeniable that Medicare and Medicaid costs were soaring. Deficits were getting higher. The economy tanked in 2007.
So really successful pundits, the journalists that lesser journalists hoped to become, the pundits who made a lot of money, looked at the numbers and pronounced a time of tough choices. They instructed their followers that, even though some might object, unpopular things needed to be done. Especially to poor people, to sick people, to the elderly, and, finally, to the middle class. Restoring the tax cuts on the wealthy was off the table. The really successful pundits were not only personally well-to-do, they rubbed shoulders with wealthy people every day. They knew what real Americans, serious Americans, grown up, adult, mature Americans were thinking. After all, they talked with them every day where they hung out: in country clubs.
Tough choices had to be made. And that is when Paul Ryan became a really Serious Young Man, the original SYM. He turned out to be the toughest of the tough when it came to society's takers: Those struggling to get out of poverty, those living on pensions, those depending on Medicare or Medicaid, those who ride buses to work, or those who suddenly found themselves unemployed. When this SYM proposed a budget that would make Tough Choices, top pundits pronounced the discovery of a miracle. A SYM more SYM than any other SYM. He would lead the way to a city of Serious people. A SYM City. (See what I did there?)
This Serious Young Man was, in the end, betrayed by a conglomerate of those not so Serious about getting tough with those in need. Democrats conspired with a handful of Senate Republicans of lesser spine. Not many Republicans, but just enough. Something to do with a hostile reaction among the electorate.
But the miracle remained. Paul Ryan was the Serous Young Man, fighting against all odds for a rational approach. Social Security, and Medicare, and a host of other programs could not survive unless Tough Choices were made. And certainly the horrible and growing deficits had to be addressed.
Only recently has a new skepticism emerged. Journalists are examining the earlier record the man who would be Vice President, the record of voting for larger and larger Bush deficits. His Pre-Serious days.
I don't much care about his pre-pre days. Those days strike me as a sort of Mitt Romney in High School story. If he got religion later, that's okay by me. But let's make sure it's the right religion, and that it's for real.
The budget that made Paul Ryan a Serious Young Man is still regarded as a kind of tough elixir. Not exactly a miracle. Not anymore. But a sort of magic, anyway. It's just contradicted by his earlier, wilder days. Before he became Serious.
Journalists love a good story. They have a bias toward laziness and equivalency, but they do love a good story. And the grown up adult budget, the budget senior, successful, pundits tell them about, still carries enough magic to be told around newsroom campfires.
Just don't look at the numbers. Sure, seniors would suffer, at least soon-to-be seniors, those 55 and younger. Their Medicare would be replaced with a voucher system. Coupons in place of care. And Social Security would be privatized over time. Medicaid would be slashed. Breakfast programs for little kids would be eliminated, care for Veterans would be cut. All pretty serious stuff. Tough.
At least that's what was reported, and believed by journalists who found it easy to believe in, and report, pixie dust as if it was fact.
Medicare would be saved. Right? Well no. None of the savings would be put back into Medicare.
Social Security would be salvaged, right? Well, no. Not that either.
Not one penny of the savings would go back into those programs.
The other programs? Nope.
All of the savings would go to additional tax cuts for the extremely wealthy. The job creators. You know: the deserving.
But what about the deficit? The numbers did add up to a significant deficit reduction. There was still some magic in that.
Well. No. Not really.
There was a substantial deficit reduction. The reduction in the deficit was entirely due to savings generated by President Obama's taking military forces out of Iraq, and the reduction of forces he planned for Afghanistan. Republicans at the time were condemning the President for both moves. Soft on terrorism, they said. At least that what they said, up until most of al Qaeda was destroyed and bin Laden found a new home under the sea.
So the Ryan plan shifted the budget away from the poor, away from the middle class, and toward making the extremely wealthy more wealthy.
He claimed a deficit reduction that matched, dollar for dollar, President Obama's pulling troops out of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Ryan plan that made him a Serious Young man:
Take from the poor and middle class
Give every dime to the extremely wealthy
- Claim President Obama's deficit reduction as the Paul Ryan deficit reduction
You won't hear or read much about it from journalists. It offends their laziness bias. The magic of Paul Ryan turned out to be that of a stage magician. Not so much magic. More like sleight of hand.
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Mr. Romney was recently asked why he would not want to reduce the deficit right away. "The reason is taking a trillion dollars out of a $15 trillion economy would cause our economy to shrink." He added, that it "would put a lot of people out of work."
He was right. Both candidates say they want to reduce the deficit. Both say they want to get the economy moving first. One candidate has offered a detailed program to accomplish deficit reduction. That is President Obama.
Mitt Romney has offered to reduce the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans, essentially, to zero. He promises to make that up with whatever Congress can come up with. No other specifics other than an endorsement of the Ryan plan which does not affect deficits, except for claiming Obama military decisions as part of the Romney/Ryan plan.
As far as "unpatriotic", President Obama has not engaged in that sort of rhetoric. "should learn to be an American", "Kenyan anti-colonial worldview", "the welfare President", "Obama hates America" are words that come from leading Republican voices.
Next, I hate to be the one to rip those rose-colored glasses from in front of your eyes, but Obama is the king of “that sort of rhetoric”. See here for his “unpatriotic” comment about Bush when Obama was running for the presidency. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CMy2M32g4k The truly ironic thing is that this was one of the few times during an Obama speech where I actually agreed with every last word he said. Obviously, he never meant it since he is a far worse transgressor than Bush ever thought of being when it comes to spending. Further, while some of the title’s bestowed upon Obama by Republicans may not be very complimentary, such as the “welfare president”, the fact remains that under his stewardship welfare rolls have risen exponentially. But what do I know, I am just one of those bitter conservatives that cling to my Bible and guns. (I don’t recall who said that sort of rhetorical phrase. Do you know?)
Actually, if you expand your search beyond FoxNews and those Breitbart off-shoots you enjoy, you might discover that President Obama has sent a dozen detailed plans to Congress. In only one instance have Republicans allowed a vote. Democrats had already announced they would oppose that because it had been supplanted by later efforts.
Here is a link to the latest effort.
Here is a more complete account of that one instance than your sources have allowed you to see.
By the way, Republicans have not had the power to disallow votes on any of Obama's plans for the first two years he was in office, and only hold sway in the House in the second two years.
I pretty much stand on my response to your "incendiary rhetoric" remark. I don't know yet what you regard as unresponsive in my answer.
On to the deficit.
It is true that President Obama lost opportunities early on, on several fronts, in his many misguided attempts to obtain Republican cooperation.
Republicans, as we now know, had decided at a meeting the day after the inaugural to torpedo any potential accomplishments of the then new President.
When President Obama finally established the Simpson Bowles commission, Republicans, including Paul Ryan, vetoed every proposal to achieve a deficit reduction plan.
Still, the President has presented a dozen proposals to accomplish that. Republicans remain unwilling to participate in any meaningful discussions aimed at a resolution.
I appreciate your valiant attempts to show otherwise, T. Paine. But those darn facts keep holding you down.
You do a lot of research. You are quite diligent. That's a start.
Keep studying. Maybe pray for wisdom as well. Think about going to worship service this weekend.
In time, the truth shall set you free, and you may find the inner peace and self-knowledge that your spirit craves.
Best I can do to help your journey along.
That was very big of you, MR. Paine. You don't need to retract your comments elsewhere. Just stop making the claim.
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