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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Issue of the Week: Paul Ryan's Immoral Budget

Plus Hero and Cause of the Week

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Perhaps no "rising star" has fallen so fast as Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who's attempting to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and low-income folks while creating a windfall for Wall Street and the for-profit insurance industry.

Ryan's taken hits from economists because his budget doesn't add up.

He's taken hits from seniors—and those about to become seniors—because he wants to privatize the popular Medicare program.

Now, the Janesville Republican is being called out by the faith community, which is questioning his priorities and his devotion to atheist novelist Ayn Rand.

Last week, a young Catholic questioned Ryan, a fellow Catholic, on his budget priorities. He told Ryan to study up on the "Gospel of Luke," which emphasizes Jesus' compassion for others. When the young man offered Ryan a Bible, the congressman scurried into his waiting SUV, saying that he already owned a number of bibles, and was driven away from the scene.

Ryan's budget is also being challenged in a new ad that's going viral on the Internet. Sponsored by the American Values Network, the ad criticizes Republicans' devotion to Ayn Rand, the atheist author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead who called religion a "psychological weakness" and claimed that she was creating a new morality based on the self-interest of the individual. Her writings have been used to justify free-market principles, small government and, at its heart, selfishness.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Oshkosh is also a major Rand fan.

So is Paul Ryan.

"Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism," Ryan says in the commercial. "And this to me is what matters the most."

The commercial's narrator then asks the viewer, "What matters most to you?"

We're going to guess that the "morality of capitalism" is not what matters to most Americans.

Heroes of the Week

Walkerville Residents

Our governor wants to be like his hero, Ronald Reagan, but he more closely resembles shamed president Herbert Hoover, who led this country into its worst economic depression. Thus, concerned residents have set up the Hooverville-esque "Walkerville" around the state Capitol, a grim reminder of Walker's (and Hoover's) disastrous economic policies, which cater to the rich and punish the rest of us. We salute these protesters—and those who engaged in peaceful civil disobedience during the budget debate—for being willing to walk the walk and put their ideals into practice. Residents of Walkerville: We wish you didn't have to set up camp in Madison, but we're glad that you did.


Cause of the Week

The Wisconsin AIDS Ride

As the Centers for Disease Control marks the 30th anniversary of the awareness of HIV/AIDS, you can make a difference by joining the Wisconsin AIDS Network's ACT Ride 9. The annual ride, scheduled for Aug. 4-7, has raised more than $2.2 million in eight years, $1.9 million of which has gone directly to AIDS Network. The organization provides comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and care services.

The ACT Ride is rigorous, but riders are well supported throughout the 300-mile journey. For more information about the ride, the training schedule, fund-raising and the AIDS Network's services, go to www.actride.org.

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