Thursday, April 25, 2013

Popular Target

It was at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Eastern time, that Boston-based Charles Pierce posted an item criticizing the Boston Herald, considered a staunchly conservative newspaper, for attempting to tie "welfare" to the Boston bombings.    Reporter/blogger Chris Cassidy had written

Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned.

State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits. Russell Tsarnaev’s attorney has claimed Katherine — who had converted to Islam — was working up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tsarnaev stayed at home.

In addition, both of Tsarnaev’s parents received benefits, and accused brother bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were recipients through their parents when they were younger, according to the state.

Cassidy's objective in raising an issue apparently unrelated to the bombings becomes clear as the writes "The news raises questions over whether Tsarnaev financed his radicalization on taxpayer money."

There are few things which more closely bind the conservative community than the firmly held belief that public funds should go nowhere, except for corporations, ecclesiastical institutions, and the Pentagon.  Pierce notes "there was no reason for the Tsarnaevs not to receive benefits to which they were entitled. None. Once Tamerlan's family bumped into the income ceiling, they stopped receiving benefits. The only reason to write this story this way is so that some reading-challenged blowhard on the radio will read it and talk about how 'welfare' causes 'terrorism.'"

No idle prediction that, because within minutes of posting of the blog, Rush Limbaugh, who has retired the reading-challenged blowhard on the radio trophy, was heard to say 

Now we hear that the entire Tsarnaev family was on welfare.  How could he not be an Obama supporter?  Have you heard that?  The Boston Herald has managed to force out of the local authorities that the whole Tsarnaev family has been on welfare as recently as last year.  The parents, the brothers and sisters, the aunts and the uncles, probably.

Tamerlan and his bride and their three-year-old daughter all have been on welfare as recently as last year.  Isn't that wonderful?  I was wondering where they got the money to buy all this stuff.  The whole family's on welfare.  So we have another great example of your tax dollars at work. Your tax dollars helped to pay for the explosives, as well as Tamerlan's at least two trips back to Dagestan, his late-model Mercedes, his $900 shoes.

Got that?  The Tsarnaevs were on welfare as late as last year segued into "the whole family's on welfare." Well, no.  They are not on welfare.  "The Tsarnaevs," wrote Peters without even hearing Limbaugh,  "received benefits to which they were entirely entitled as citizens of the Commonwealth, and Tamerlan stopped receiving them when his family no longer qualified. Hurrah for how the system is supposed to work."

Charles Peters shouldn't be considered psychic, of course, because it doesn't take a seer to know that conservatives will blame virtually anything helpful to the middle class or lower class on "your tax dollars at work."  For another perspective (coincidentally using Limbaugh as an example) on the right-wing mind at work, check this out.

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