But for all Ryan’s rhetoric on poverty, he’s also the author of a series of budgets that would absolutely wreck programs for the American poor, inflicting massive human suffering on the nation’s most vulnerable residents. It’s never been exactly clear how Ryan would resolve this tension, but his appearance on Face the Nation suggests he’s going to try to make his poverty programs work with his budgets’ which is to say he’s going to argue that taking trillions away from the poor is somehow actually good for them.
It doesn’t help that the first policy statement he makes is an out-and-out lie:
After a 50-year war on poverty and trillions of dollars spent, we still have the same poverty rates.
This sentence suggests that either Paul Ryan has absolutely no clue how poverty rates work, or he does know and is actively deceiving viewers. First of all, the specific claim in question isn’t even technically accurate. The poverty rate was 19 percent in 1964, when the War on Poverty was announced. In 2013, it was 14.5 percent. We do not have the same poverty rates we did then. Ryan is just wrong.
But even that dramatically understates the progress that has been made. The official poverty rate is a travesty of a statistic, and using it at all in this context is irresponsible. It’s literally based on food prices in 1955. But more relevantly for these purposes, it excludes the very anti-poverty programs Ryan is talking about. It excludes in-kind transfers like Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers, as well as tax-based programs like the EITC. Blasting those programs because they don’t show up in the poverty rate is like arguing that Netflix shows have zero viewers by pointing to cable ratings.
The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman suggests one useful way to measure the two parties’ relationships to urban America: Look at the amount of land mass each represents in the House. He crunched the numbers, based on census data.
The result is startling: Republicans represent 57 percent of House seats, but those cover 85.7 percent of land mass. Democrats represent 43 percent of House seats, but those cover 14.2 percent of land mass:
“Republican members of the House are the most disconnected from urban America — they represent disproportionately rural and suburban districts,” Wasserman tells me. “No party has ever held that great a percentage of land mass.”
Could the main obstacle to Hillary Clinton testifying about Benghazi be Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chair of the special House committee set up to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans?
Clinton and Gowdy have been in a tug-of-war for the past few weeks. At the end of March—following the news that Clinton, the leading Democratic 2016 candidate, had used a private email account when she was secretary of state and that her emails about Benghazi and all other official matters were not originally kept by the State Department—Gowdy asked Clinton to come before the committee for a private interview to discuss the emails she had exchanged concerning Benghazi and Libya. After such a session, Gowdy noted, the panel would schedule a time for her to testify publicly about the event itself.
ALEC’s so-called ‘right to work’ legislation lowers wages, which comes as no surprise since it’s pushed by corporate, out-of-state interests, such as the Koch brothers.
Several Missouri legislators who advocate for so-called ‘right to work’ legislation have acknowledged that the bills will lower wages. In no particular order, they are:
21 States Will Take Away Your Driver’s License if You Can’t Pay Your College Loans, but Activists Are Fighting Back
Thanks to the work of local organizers pressuring lawmakers, Montana residents will no longer have their drivers licenses suspended if they fall behind on their student loan payments. This April, a Montana law that allowed the state to revoke licenses for that infraction was scrapped. However, in at least 21 states, similar laws remain on the books.
The criminalization of low-income Americans’ everyday life has experienced a fair amount of coverage lately in the wake of the Department of Justice’s report on Ferguson. That report detailed how steep fees and fines for nonviolent offenses inevitably strapped residents of Ferguson with ridiculous debts. Those debts are then criminalized in a process the report called “illegal and harmful.” If poor people fall behind on their payments, they could even face jail time. Although student debt is not generally interpreted in quite the same way, portions of it have certainly been criminalized. Perhaps nothing showcases this fact more than states’ ability to suspend people’s licenses if they default on their loans. Nearly 30% of US workers now need a license in order to perform their jobs, which means that defaulting on a student loan could effectively mean losing a job.
More: Je Suis Pamela Geller?
The self-styled ‘anti-jihadist’ Web warrior who organized Sunday’s Draw Muhammad event is an embarrassment. But that doesn’t diminish her right to free speech.
Since Pamela Geller likes to fashion herself a heroine of the Jewish people, let me use a Yiddish word to describe her: shanda.
Shanda means “shame,” and it’s usually used to describe a person or behavior that shames or embarrasses the Jewish community. It is hard to think of an American Jewish public figure of more ill repute than Geller, the self-styled “anti-jihadist” web warrior who hosted the Draw Muhammad event that came under attack Sunday in Garland, Texas.
From her luxury apartment in Manhattan, Geller has been single-handedly waging a crusade against global Islamic fundamentalism, which, in her considered view, is Islam itself. Like extremists of all stripes—including Sunday’s featured speaker, populist Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has advocated banning the Quran—Geller lacks nuance, seeing the world in black and white. The “only moderate Muslim is a secular Muslim,” this reputed scholar of religion told The New York Times in 2009 after coming to prominence as a leader in the anti-Ground Zero mosque movement. When Muslims “pray five times a day…they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day,” she asserted.
If Geller embraced an element of camp, like that other right-wing female firebrand, Ann Coulter, she might be mildly amusing. Early in Geller’s Internet career, she produced an amateurish music video called “My Shariah,” with original lyrics refashioned to the tune of The Knack’s “My Sharona.” Now sadly erased from the web, it hinted at someone who at least had a sense of humor.
But Geller isn’t performance art. She’s deadly serious. The problem is that, contrary to her self-imaginings and those of her deluded followers, she isn’t a latter-day Golda Meir. She’s what you would get if Fran Drescher and the late ultranationalist anti-Arab rabbi-turned-political leader Meir Kahane reproduced.
For those of us who genuinely want to combat extremism and promote liberalism in the Muslim world, Geller is a uniquely toxic presence in the public discourse. She makes it easy for Islamist apologists to avoid debate, as they can always point to Geller and her outrageous behavior for ready examples of how pervasive “Islamophobia” has become in American society.
In the time it took us to research and write this article, a man named Freddie Gray went from living anonymously in Baltimore, to lying comatose with spinal cord injuries after a ride in the back of a police van, to having his funeral spark protests and civil unrest in his city. And by the time we publish this, the cycle may have started over again with someone else.
In the meantime, the biggest question we’re asking ourselves — besides “I wonder what some random jackass I went to high school with is saying about these issues on Facebook?” — is when will the freaking cops stop killing people? Not anytime soon, it looks like, because …
It’s mostly stuff regulars of lgf pages already know. But it’s nice to see it compiled. And by “nice” I mean “making me ashamed and afraid of living in the US of A.” Its not just any single thing causing this. This is a multifaceted problem that will require a multifaceted solution (some parts political, some parts cultural) that social conservatives will fight against tooth & nail.
Well it increasingly seems early reports were correct for once. One good cop with a gun stopped the attack in Garland. Some seemed quite uncomfortable with this unusual result. That was the right cop with a gun. His name is being held for his safety. It’s a heroic & highly skilled act, I say that should not be diminished by our dislike for abusive police officers of record, nor because he used a gun, at tool many are also quite uncomfortable around.
(CNN)It wasn’t a fair fight.
On one side, you had two men in body armor, toting assault rifles and showing every willingness to open fire now and count their victims later. On the other, you had a security officer — a traffic officer by day — with a pistol.
Authorities have not released the name of the overmatched Garland, Texas, police officer who stopped a pair of gunmen Sunday night outside that city’s Curtis Culwell Center, where people had gathered at an event featuring controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. But they have described what he did, actions that could be characterized as equal parts skillful, heroic and miraculous…
Instructor: ‘Very brave and quick thinking’
As much as fortune may have played a role, so did skill and steely nerves, Ryan points out. It’s one thing to aim at a cardboard target while training at a gun range; it’s quite another to shoot accurately when the targets are shooting back.
This is why training and attitude and planning matter. Good people with good skills with their equipment. Gun or not. Cop or not. If we can regret the awful shooting where all went so wrong and many got hurt like the NOHO bank robbery, or when a cop screws up with his gun, we should also be willing to fully acknowledge when things go well. And yes it’s going to wind up in the books on pistol tactics as per defensive shoots and police shootings.
I refuse to take DAESH connection to the Garland shooting seriously, as I refuse to take this despicable woman seriously. Ever. I actually flinch when I see this kind of thing any more prominent than page eight in the paper or scrolled way down on any website. Sometimes, well too often our collective media outrage feeds their illness.
Hey I think I will sponsor a cartoon contest. Right here. I’ll buy a two month subscription for the artist that makes the best cartoon that shows Pamela Gellers true nature by way of caricature.
Haroon Moghul is a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He is an author, essayist, and public speaker. Follow him on Twitter @hsmoghul. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN)It’s possible you’d never heard of Pamela Geller before Sunday night’s tragic attack in Garland, Texas. You might think she’s taking a brave stand for free speech, for American values, and that by supporting her, you’re supporting America.
I’m here to disabuse you of that notion. While Geller claims to stand for American values, much of what she does undermines our values.