Friday, March 07, 2014

Paul Ryan’s ‘Brown Bag Lunch’ Story Was Stolen From A Homeless Child

Author: Shannon Argueta March 7, 2014

Paul Ryan’s “brown bag” story at the CPAC was stolen from a book. And now Ryan looks like and even bigger fool as information about the author is revealed.

On Thursday we brought you a story about Paul Ryan (R-Dufusville) telling a tall tale at the  Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The story was about a young boy from a very poor family who didn’t want free school lunch because it made him feel unloved. Paul Ryan’s “Brown Bag” story was supposed to demonstrate how out of touch Democrats are. Well, it turns out, Ryan’s story was actually not his own. Instead it was written by a woman who…wait for it….campaigns to end child hunger through free programs in schools. Seriously, we can’t make this stuff up.

Ryan’s “Brown Bag” story was quite a doozy.

Anyone listening to Paul Ryan’s story about the brown bag could immediately pick up that it was bull. He was merely trying to gain support for attacking the school lunch program from the uber conservative asshats at CPAC. He talked about a poor boy from a really poor family who told Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Director Eloise Anderson that he didn’t want free school lunch.

“He didn’t want a free lunch,” Paul Ryan insisted. “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 what the left does not understand.”

Because in the world of Paul Ryan, a small child would choose to starve if he didn’t get a brown bag lunch. Also, parents who do not provide their kids with brown bag lunches don’t really love them. We are neglectful, unloving jerks. That is quite a doozy.

Well, in typical Republican fashion, Ryan and his cronies stole someone else’s words and distorted them to fit his agenda.

Where did Paul Ryan’s brown bag story come from?

In 1986 author Laura Schroff met a young panhandler named Maurice. The two end up meeting every week for the next four years and she wrote a book about their relationship. In her book, An Invisible Thread, Laura recounts telling Maurice that she could either give him money for a week or buy him enough food to last that long. The following exchange bears a striking resemblance to the story supposedly told to Ryan.

“If you make me lunch,” he said, “will you put it in a brown paper bag?”

I didn’t really understand the question. “Do you want it in a brown paper bag?” I asked. “Or how would you prefer it?”

“Miss Laura,” he said, “I don’t want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag.”

“Okay, sure. But why do you want it in a bag?”

“Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?” [Source]

So Paul Ryan pulled a Rand Paul and plagiarized a story for his speech. This is especially ironic since Ryan said liberals are all out of ideas during his CPAC speech as well. I don’t see Democrats stealing their speech ideas from other people. Just another demonstration of how out of touch Ryan and the rest of the crazy Republicans at the CPAC are.

Paul Ryan Apologizes on Facebook.

Paul Ryan took to Facebook last night and apologized to his sheep for not verifying the original brown bag story. In other words, he realized that he was about to be called out and had to damage control really fast.

Today at CPAC, I shared a story I heard from Eloise Anderson, the secretary for children and families for the state of Wisconsin. She mentioned it in her testimony for a House Budget Committee hearing last year. I have just learned that Secretary Anderson misspoke, and that the story she told was improperly sourced. I regret failing to verify the original source of the story, but I appreciate her taking the time to share her insights.

Notice how he managed to apologize AND blame it all on someone else in the same post?

More Irony brought to us courtesy of the Tea Party.

Perhaps the funniest thing of all, Ryan and Anderson likely originally heard the story about Maurice and Laura Schroff on  Mike Huckabee’s show in 2013. Schroff and Maurice were guests on the show to promote the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry campaign. The campaign’s mission statement completely undercuts the reason Ryan used the story to begin with.

We’re ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals.

To sum it up: Paul Ryan and associates stole the brown bag story as a way to demonstrate how damaging the free lunch program is. But the story was taken from a woman whose mission is to end childhood hunger by implementing additional free food programs in schools. Omigosh it really doesn’t get any funnier than this. No wait….it does.

In March 2013, the campaign released a statement speaking out against Paul Ryan’s infamous budget. You know, the budget that would decimate the SNAP program.

A recently-released budget proposal in the House of Representatives – often referred to as the Ryan budget – would be devastating to SNAP. The proposal would lead to up to $125 billion in cuts to the program and would lead to millions of families and children losing access to the program entirely.

So here are some friendly words of advice for Republicans before they plagiarize: Research, research, research. Otherwise you look like more of a fool than you already are. Also, before you claim that Democrats are out of ideas, you may want to get some original ones of your own.

Creative Commins License

Thursday, March 06, 2014

American authoritarians loves them some Putin-style strong men

In a great piece over at The New Republic, Issac Chotiner surveys how American conservatives increasingly fail to disguise their lust for strong authority figures up to and past Vladimir Putin. Chotiner records how "1984" author George Orwell once noticed this effect way back in the post-WWII era, observing the behavior of James Burnham, a leading conservative voice and ostensible anti-communist who couldn't seem to stop gushing out loud over the power and strength of strongmen like, well, Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Orwell detected a strong flavor of authoritarianism and impatience in too many political philosophers like Burnham who sneered at the inherently "weak" democratic form of government, with all its tiresome checks and balances.

Read Chotiner's piece over here  to see how deftly he updates Orwell with regard to today's conservatives, more than a few of whom are all agog over Putin's "bold" action in the Ukraine (hmmm, now what other world leader of recent vintage did they regard as "bold"? I can think of one, a man whose initials are GWB).

Chotiner's piece reminded me of other evidence of this effect, which in turn reminded me of an old routine by the late George Carlin. Start with the funny: The comedian noticed how in American culture, ideas are often politically malleable. "Lenin had a beard!" Carlin proclaimed. "But Gabby Hayes had...whiskers!"

The top shark (or barracuda) jumper of the day in this regard is Sarah Palin, who in a diatribe against our supposedly failed, failed, incompetent, helpless president told Sean Hannity at Fox that Obama is to blame for Putin's action because:

.. especially under the commander-in-chief that we have today because Obama's -- the perception of him and his potency across the world is one of such weakness. And you know, look, people are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.
... said the would-be bloviator-in-chief herself. So there you have it in a nutshell.

Ronald Reagan wore cowboy jeans while riding on his ranch and blasting Grenadans without mercy!

George W. Bush wore wrangler jeans while clearing brush and leveling Baghdad!

But Barack Obama? Oooooh, he wears mom jeans! Presumably, he takes his daughters to soccer practice, too.

And that, Palin informs us, is precisely why US foreign policy is in the toilet. Says, at least, the woman whom if you believe her could see it all coming from her front porch in Alaska.

My only question here: Did Reagan wear "mom jeans" when he bailed out of Lebanon after more than 200 US Marines there were blown up in their barracks while asleep? And did Bush wear "mom jeans" when in 2008 he played tiddly winks while Russia ran military incursions into another of its former Baltic satrapies, Georgia? Inquiring denim lovers demand to know!

Originally posted to Ron Legro on Wed Mar 05, 2014