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"The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring."
December 31, 2011 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies: Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception.

Continued from the article:

"Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil.

[...]

The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views."
posted by troll (340 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
Except for the part about the coming race war.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:53 PM on December 31, 2011 [33 favorites]


Ron paul is not a progressive, and he's not liberal.
1. “Order was only restored in LA when it came time for the blacks to collect their welfare checks. The ‘poor’ lined up at the Post Office to get their handouts (since there were no deliveries) — and then complained about slow service.” -Report on LA riots, June 1992

2. “I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.)” -Direct mail ad promoting Paul’s newsletters, written from Paul’s perspective, 1993

3. “It is human nature that like attracts likes. But whites are not allowed to express this same human impulse. Except in a de facto sense, there can be no white schools, white clubs, or white neighborhoods. The political system demands white integration, while allowing black segregation.” -‘The Disappearing White Majority,’ January 1993

4. “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any wonder the AIDS epidemic started after they ‘came out of the closet,’ and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy?” -June 1990

5. “Whether [the 1993 World Trade Center bombing] was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.” -‘The New York Bombing,’ April 1993

6. “An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example).” ‘Blast ‘Em’, October 1992

7. “The opposition will do its best to provoke some precipitous action on on our part to discredit us and our cause. Follow the orders of Captain Parker at Lexington: Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” -Militia’s 10-point advice to other militias, January 1995.

8. “When the New Money is imposed, every American family must have a Survival Kit of highly liquid, small-denomination silver and gold coins for hand-to-hand use. The Ron Paul Survival Kit — now an industry standard — comes in an official World War II US Army ammo holder.” -Ad for ‘The Original Famous Ron Paul Survival Kit,’ undated

9. “[Martin Luther King, Jr.], the FBI files reveal, was not only a world-class adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys…And we are supposed to honor this ‘Christian minister’ and lying socialist satyr with a holiday that puts him on par with George Washington?” -December 1990

10. “It turns out that the brilliant [Bobby Fischer], who has all the makings of an American hero, is very politically incorrect on Jewish questions, for which he will never be forgiven, even though he is a Jew. Thus we are not supposed to herald him as the world’s greatest chess player.” -November 1992.
posted by empath at 5:55 PM on December 31, 2011 [159 favorites]


Barack Obama is pretty bad on advancing the National Security State. Does that make me want to vote for Ron Paul? No, I dislike even more of his policies, at a deeper level.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:56 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


And involving sexual harassment:

Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity. Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable.

See, its the harassed person's fault, and they should not have rights to sue.

More Ronisms:

The concept of equal pay for equal work is not only an impossible task, it can only be accomplished with the total rejection of the idea of the voluntary contract. By what right does the government assume power to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to?
posted by Ironmouth at 5:56 PM on December 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either party advocating crucial views on vital issues that need to be heard, and so his candidacy generates important benefits.

Also, he does precisely the opposite. The fact that the only candidate endorsing those issues is a grade-a loon hurts those issues, it doesn't help them.
posted by empath at 5:57 PM on December 31, 2011 [32 favorites]


I think the "Ron Paul is Jesus" people and the "Ralph Nader is Jesus" people should get together and go do something important together. Something that keeps them from reappearing every three and a half years to tell the rest of us how Wrong™ we are. I'm a hard lefty, and I'd love it if Paul were a tenth as progressive as the hype suggests. But at his core he despises women's rights and is apparently a serious racist and homophobe. So, what parts of that are better than the Democratic establishment? He wants to simplify the tax code? Yay! Our tax forms will be a one-pager while all the harlots getting abortions are in jail and the AIDS-having minorities are getting shipped back to wherever they came from! No fucking thanks.
posted by littlerobothead at 5:58 PM on December 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


I don't think he's claiming Paul is liberal/progressive. Just that he's more consistent in individual liberty and restraining government than many Democratic politicians.

This does not contradict empath's implication that he should not be President.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:58 PM on December 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


This was a perfect time to not RTFA and prove its point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:04 PM on December 31, 2011 [42 favorites]


I think there are plenty of liberals who have been quite loud in complaining that Mr. Obama didn't deliver on a number of issues where the left assumed he would reverse policies either instituted or vastly expanded by the prior administration. Glenn Greenwald is a great, but by no means the only, example. Would that any conservative to the right of David Frumm have been as openly critical of Mr. Bush. None of that has anything to do with Ron Paul, who is definitively unfit to lead, regardless of his perceived truth-telling on selected issues.
posted by newdaddy at 6:06 PM on December 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


Except for the part about the coming race war.

When the Bush administration used fear to manipulate people, at least that made sense within the Republican worldview. It's pretty sad to see Democrats doing this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:08 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


This was a perfect time to not RTFA and prove its point.

Glenn Greenwald posts yet another hysterically overwrought op-ed about how much Obama sucks, news at 11. I thought single link op-ed's were a no-no, anyway.

Might as well just have posted "Hey let's fight about politics, guys"
posted by empath at 6:09 PM on December 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Consistent? That counts for anything, when he's consistently advocating "liberty" for straight white males and the police state for everyone else?

Plenty of people who aren't well-funded candidates for President of the United States are advocating all these things that Ron Paul is being lauded for without being sexist and racist and homophobic. Why aren't they being praised the way Paul is?
posted by zomg at 6:09 PM on December 31, 2011 [17 favorites]


You know, it's interesting how, so frequently, institutions set up to do one thing end up doing exactly the opposite.

Even if you think Paul is a terrible racist, you could do more for black people in this country by electing him than you could by voting for the existing black President.

Why? Because Paul wants to end the War on Drugs, the only candidate that does. And no matter how noxious you may find his views, there is nothing on this earth you could do that would help minorities more than ending that travesty.


People get really uncomfortable with this, unable to separate opinion and policy. If you vote for the white, possibly racist guy, you're voting to help minorities. If you vote for the black man, you're helping to keep them in chains.
posted by Malor at 6:11 PM on December 31, 2011 [59 favorites]


How so furiousxgeorge? Whether you say he's racist and a homophobe, but it's ok since he helps us see Obama clearly, or you say he's racist and a homophobe so he's unelectable—aren't those the same positions? In both cases, he's still a wingnut. Besides, I'm not all that certain that the article points out any particular flaw within the democratic party; it's in the best interest of any incumbent to try to minimize his exposure to negative criticism and get re-elected. What am I missing?
Except for the part about the coming race war.
Blazecock Pileon, it's fear-mongering for the Democrats to say this? Paul says this himself. We're going to play "Bush = Obama" now? Really? That's ping-pong at best and disingenuous at worst.
posted by littlerobothead at 6:13 PM on December 31, 2011


The linked blog post is by Glenn Greenwald, whose position on Obama has long been known. If, at any point, he addresses the central thesis of Paul's philosophy--that it all stems from Paul's opposition to federal power, and more specifically, his belief that that power should devolve to the states, which would be free to be as repressive as they wanted to be, absent things like making war on foreign powers (AFAIK).

But maybe that's one of those things that doesn't particularly concern Glenn and that he's so insistent that we shouldn't dismiss Paul on account of; maybe he doesn't plan on traveling to, say, Alabama, anymore than he plans on having to have an abortion someday.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:13 PM on December 31, 2011 [20 favorites]


What furiousxgeorge said. empath's immediate reaction is perfectly predicted by Greenwald, who is once again simply pointing out that progressive voters must routinely ignore issue after issue on which Obama's position is diametrically opposed to the progressive position as it's been defined for the last decade at least:

As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues...


empath, the piece is far from hysterical, and certainly not overwrought. The next section where Greenwald lists the absurdly secretive and militaristic Obama positions is carefully documented. You may not like his conclusion, but that Obama has embraced policies that progressives until recently decried as abhorrent is beyond debate.
posted by mediareport at 6:14 PM on December 31, 2011 [27 favorites]


So, Greenwald is so kneejerk opposed to Barack Obama that he's seriously pushing Ron Paul as a progressive candidate now?
posted by kafziel at 6:15 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Greenwald has a point, yeah, but in practical terms, its not a particularly relevant one this election cycle. There is no "true liberal/progressive" (Greenwald's definition) alternative to the sitting president, and Ron Paul, while less evil on a few important points, is neither a serious contender nor, for most people, an acceptable alternative on a whole slew of other, also importan issues (minority rights, foreign policy, intelligent financial reform as opposed to simple ill-informed vandalism, etc.).

Still, I hope this gets fed to the Internet again in 2016, the point at which Dems will actually have a chance to fight for a solidly liberal presidential candidate, whoever wins this round.

Why aren't they being praised the way Paul is?

Because they're more frightening - not being racist lunatics, they might actually have a shot at eventual nomination and election. Greenwald actually mentions Johnson in the posted article, although he doesn't appear to think all that hard why Gary Johnson was, quote, "rendered a non-person" almost immediately while Paul is facing considerably less resistance (which in Paul's case is more from Republican mandarins sure he'll lose them the election than from a cross-spectrum terror of a viable, sane progressive candidate).
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:16 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was a perfect time to not RTFA and prove its point.
posted by furiousxgeorge


Absolutely worth repeating.

The point isn't really that Ron Paul is somehow awesome; the point is that hardly anyone is holding Obama's feet to the fire on shit that should actually matter to Obama's supporters.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:17 PM on December 31, 2011 [34 favorites]


Why? Because Paul wants to end the War on Drugs, the only candidate that does. And no matter how noxious you may find his views, there is nothing on this earth you could do that would help minorities more than ending that travesty

This statement bears closer inspection. Black people were still being incarcerated well in disproportion to white prisoners, before the drug war took off in the 1980s, almost at identical ratios (cite). Ending the drug war might do something to reduce the racial disparity, but to the extent that Paul wants to bring the country back to social policies of the early 1900s, it might not be the fix you imagine it to be.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:18 PM on December 31, 2011 [20 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald posts yet another hysterically overwrought op-ed about how much Obama sucks, news at 11. I thought single link op-ed's were a no-no, anyway.

Might as well just have posted "Hey let's fight about politics, guys"


Since you won't actually go read the article, here: The message of the post is that people should abandon partisanship and look honestly at candidates and what they bring to the table, the good and the bad. It was expressly an argument against simple mudslinging and says the "lesser of two evils" point of view so popular here can be perfectly valid as long as you are honest about what the evils are and what you are balancing them against.

Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.

He explicitly said the article would be misinterpreted as an endorsement, and of course is quickly proven correct.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:18 PM on December 31, 2011 [23 favorites]


So, Greenwald is so kneejerk opposed to Barack Obama that he's seriously pushing Ron Paul as a progressive candidate now?

*facepalm*

I hope to God you are being sarcastic. Because if not, you've proved him prophetic.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:18 PM on December 31, 2011 [19 favorites]


It's cognitive dissonance, scaryblackdeath. They want to believe that Obama is the right guy, because he's on the right team. But the man is a fucking disaster, far worse than George Bush, because he can lie straight to your face and most liberals will take him at his word.

He's every bit as nasty as Bush, maybe worse, but because he's got the cheerful face with the broad smile and the good vocabulary, liberals buy his swill. Over and over and over. And they actually think he's better than his predecessor.

They like the guy, darn it, so it doesn't matter what he actually does, as long as he says great stuff.
posted by Malor at 6:20 PM on December 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


Well, I see kafziel has joined the "didn't RTFA" crowd.

So, to repeat what's so freaking obvious it shouldn't need repeating (and yet, somehow, it does), I'll just quote scaryblackdeath, who also had to repeat what shouldn't need repeating:

"The point isn't really that Ron Paul is somehow awesome; the point is that hardly anyone is holding Obama's feet to the fire on shit that should actually matter to Obama's supporters."

The only change I'd make to sbd's comment is that I'd change "The point isn't really that Ron Paul is somehow awesome ..." to: "The point isn't AT ALL that Ron Paul is somehow awesome."
posted by ronofthedead at 6:20 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why? Because Paul wants to end the War on Drugs, the only candidate that does. And no matter how noxious you may find his views, there is nothing on this earth you could do that would help minorities the poor more than ending that travesty.
posted by docgonzo at 6:21 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon, it's fear-mongering for the Democrats to say this?

The race war was in 2008, and the racists lost, barely. To scare people into thinking that Ron Paul could presumably win a general election on the basis of Obama being black sort of ignores the last few decades of American history. So, yes, it is fear-mongering for the Democrat engine to make race an issue. Any racist asshole would vote for whatever non-black wingnut the Republicans put on a stage, regardless.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:22 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


He explicitly said the article would be misinterpreted as an endorsement, and of course is quickly proven correct.

Yeah, turns out it's easy to do that when you put that language in front of an endorsement.
posted by kafziel at 6:22 PM on December 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ron Paul is a really interesting... He comes off as a folksy, pragmatic common-sense sort of grandfatherly dude, but he's a chameleon and sociopath like the rest of them.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:22 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Btw, the Matt Stoller piece Greenwald links, Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals, is worth reading as well. The part about lib Dem hero Alan Grayson working with Paul in the House on war and Federal Reserve issues is interesting.

The point isn't really that Ron Paul is somehow awesome; the point is that hardly anyone is holding Obama's feet to the fire on shit that should actually matter to Obama's supporters.

Exactly. That so many folks refuse to address that point, instead jumping to "How dare he endorse Ron Paul??!!", is so, so telling. Aargh. I'm going to go ride the ferris wheel downtown. What a weird time to post this article.
posted by mediareport at 6:23 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, turns out it's easy to do that when you put that language in front of an endorsement.
posted by kafziel


Do you not get that this isn't really about Ron Paul? Greenwald's no less aware than anyone else that Paul doesn't have a hope in hell of winning the nomination. He doesn't even need to point out Paul's shortcomings. That isn't the point.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:25 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I understand that this article's purpose is not an endorsement etc. etc. but I don't really understand what the purpose actually is. Given this information, what action can I take? It reads like concern trolling to me because I'm pretty well aware that humans are imperfect and flawed and rarely, if ever, live up to the potential we imagine for them.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:27 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: This was a perfect time to not RTFA and prove its point
Yeah, no kidding. I read this earlier today (it was linked from some other article I'd read that was linked from a MeFi thread I think) and the fact that empath's hysterics were the second comment pretty much proved Greenwald's point. The point being that, in lieu of admitting that Obama's stances on the issues cited is fucking abominable, or at least being honest about the "Obama is complete shit on toast on most issues, but he's better than Ron Paul on these other issues" compromise of liberals and progressives... we'll instead be treated to a list of all the ways Paul is a nightmare, as a way of scaring progressives into voting for Obama again- and not allowing anyone to point out that Obama's stances are piss-poor in many ways. There's an old saying in Texas: fool me once, shame... shame on you. Fool me twice... can't get fooled again!

I regularly chided a nutty friend on Facebook when he'd post some Ron Paul youtube video, echoing the same "Uh, but he's a Randian racist nutjob" dismissal, similar to empath. Except...I'm really, really tired of Obama being more Bush than Bush. If a Chicago-based black Harvard grad can't be sensible and honest enough to embrace liberty, freedom, and progressive stances- the douchebag in chief is opposed to gay marriage for chrissakes- then I'm done with the Democratic party. And Greenwald's point about the footballism of "I support Candidate X" and the true political correctness of excoriating anyone who even thinks to suggest Paul might be right on any issues... done with that too.

I'm tired of the Democrats being too scared to say "The drug war is a fucking failure" and "Tearing up liberty from a misplaced fear of terrorism is unconstitutional". And since I honestly am coming to believe, after that article, that the ways in which I think Ron Paul is nuts are likely to be defanged in Congress- while the ways in which he is a firebrand might be worth it just to jumpstart our national conversation from the violent lockstep agreement the two parties are in- if by some wackiness Ron Paul was the Republican nominee, I'd almost certainly vote for him over Obama.

Because as batshit as he is, and as racist as he is, and as much as he disagrees apparently with the fundamental tenets of government and shared public infrastructure... I'd vote for Ron Paul over Obama just for those other issues alone. Age, cynicism, and despair have left me something of a single issue voter, at least so far as that issue is "Ways in which America is pissing away liberties that should be the holiest of holies to all of us".


My father, who is friends with George McGovern (for all the good it did him, he was McGovern's NH campaign manager- so I was raised pretty damned Democratic) sent me a copy of his new book "What it means to be a Democrat" for Christmas. I honestly don't even see a point in reading it; Obama has shown that 'Democrat' means nothing anymore. He destroyed my hope. Now I'll settle for a personal realpolitik and just getting a President who derides the whole misbegotten "War on ______" mentality that has hijacked this country.
posted by hincandenza at 6:27 PM on December 31, 2011 [30 favorites]


They like the guy, darn it, so it doesn't matter what he actually does, as long as he says great stuff.

Yup. Kinda like the last asshole that got elected President and how his supporters felt about him. But that's not fair for me to point out, because then I'm basically saying that Bush was somehow as good as Obama, which clearly means I'm a neocon, right?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:29 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have seen this unfolding over the last few days among the Obama "left." The "but he's racist" meme is really being put out there aggressively and is gaining a lot of traction.

Maybe he is- maybe he isn't. Barack Obama drops bombs on innocent people of color in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He murders them every day, on purpose, as a matter of policy. It's not a fluke or accident or continuing Bush policies- it is who he is and what he believes in.

If Ron Paul actually is a racist, of course that's appalling. But the "The other guy's a racist- the end" way of winning an argument is dishonest, reprehensible and needs to stop. People are being murdered. The Bill of Rights is being raped. Obama is doing these things on purpose, because he wants to. We need to be able to have a rational conversation about that.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:29 PM on December 31, 2011 [23 favorites]


So.. the point of this is that Ron Paul says some things which go against things which Obama has done which are bad, and therefore Ron Paul is good?

He's hardly good. And while it's worthwhile to have attention drawn to Obama's failings (which are many) in promoting a quality progressive platform while in office, the horror that would be a Ron Paul presidency are legion.

For example: A country without any oversight into food, drug, water, air, or any other quality you can imagine. He believe that the free market can solve these problems in a good old libertarian mindset. But you know what? By the time the market has seen the pollution and has reacted, there is no water or air or food left to eat.

His desire to abolish any and all regulation over business and its ability to corrupt and use up and pollute our vital resources such as water or air or anything else... on that alone I stand against Ron Paul. I applaud many of his other stances, but if you can't breathe the air without damaging yourself and have nothing to drink other than what WaterCo has to sell you, then what kind of life is there worth living on a day-to-day basis, anyway?

Ron Paul 2012 -- so you never know just how much lead is in the paint on your child's toys.
posted by hippybear at 6:30 PM on December 31, 2011 [37 favorites]


He's hardly good. And while it's worthwhile to have attention drawn to Obama's failings (which are many) in promoting a quality progressive platform while in office, the horror that would be a Ron Paul presidency are legion.


Again, this wasn't an endorsement of Paul. Paul's not gonna be President and everybody knows it, including Glen Greenwald and Ron Paul.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:32 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


The point being that, in lieu of admitting that Obama's stances on the issues cited is fucking abominable, or at least being honest about the "Obama is complete shit on toast on most issues, but he's better than Ron Paul on these other issues" compromise of liberals and progressives... we'll instead be treated to a list of all the ways Paul is a nightmare, as a way of scaring progressives into voting for Obama again- and not allowing anyone to point out that Obama's stances are piss-poor in many ways.

Is there a mechanism in place for Obama to be challenged from within the party on a primary basis in order to determine a different candidate to run for POTUS in his place?

Because unless there is, there's really not much to be done other than vote for who? Romney? Gingrich? Whoever else is offered up on the right?

Obama is going to be the candidate which opposes whatever the Republicans offer up. We have no way to challenge his leadership. It's a sad fact, and one which everyone needs to reconcile themselves with, unless they want to see Romney elected.
posted by hippybear at 6:34 PM on December 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't know. I remain in the camp that thinks with Obama we got pretty much exactly what he said we'd get during the campaign. I don't think he's horrible; I think he's a moderate and somewhat of a pragmatist. And it's tough to work with a hostile, psychopathic Congress. And he said he'd work with them. This is going about as well as I thought it would, but plenty of people apparently hoped otherwise. Clearly there are some huge negatives. Some of these were unexpected and are very disappointing. Feet to the fire? Sure. After the election.

I'm tired of the Democrats being too scared to say "The drug war is a fucking failure" and "Tearing up liberty from a misplaced fear of terrorism is unconstitutional".

Yeah, definitely. These are the big ones. But you know what? Ron Paul is not the answer. Not even close.
posted by zomg at 6:34 PM on December 31, 2011 [21 favorites]


So.. the point of this is that Ron Paul says some things which go against things which Obama has done which are bad, and therefore Ron Paul is good?

SIGH ...

NO. That is not the point. That is nothing at all like the point. That does not resemble the point in even the tiniest way.

Can anyone help me here? Why is this all so freaking impossible for some people to grasp? Is cognitive dissonance to blame?
posted by ronofthedead at 6:35 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Btw, the Matt Stoller piece Greenwald links, Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals, is worth reading as well. The part about lib Dem hero Alan Grayson working with Paul in the House on war and Federal Reserve issues is interesting.

And Barney Frank on drugs, and Kucinich on civil liberties, I guess we know which side they are on in the coming race war.

So.. the point of this is that Ron Paul says some things which go against things which Obama has done which are bad, and therefore Ron Paul is good?

Worse still is the embrace of George W. Bush’s with-us-or-against-us mentality as the prism through which all political discussions are filtered. It’s literally impossible to discuss any of the candidates’ positions without having the simple-minded — who see all political issues exclusively as a Manichean struggle between the Big Bad Democrats and Good Kind Republicans or vice-versa — misapprehend “I agree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I support Candidate X for President” or “I disagree with Candidate X’s position on Y” as “I oppose Candidate X for President.” Even worse are the lying partisan enforcers who, like the Inquisitor Generals searching for any inkling of heresy, purposely distort any discrete praise for the Enemy as a general endorsement.

NOT AN ENDORSEMENT ON RON PAUL:

His campaign has done a good job in their advertising lately.

This ad on foreign policy is well done, could see something like this coming out of the left during the Bush years, compares US actions with an invasion of Texas.

This ad discusses how he helped a family for free when he was practicing medicine.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the man is a fucking disaster, far worse than George Bush, because he can lie straight to your face and most liberals will take him at his word.

Nope. There are plenty of things worse than being a hypocrite or a liar.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is why Ron Paul can critique the Federal Reserve and American empire, and why liberals have essentially no answer to his ideas, arguing instead over Paul having character defects. Ron Paul’s stance should be seen as a challenge to better create a coherent structural critique of the American political order. It’s quite obvious that there isn’t one coming from the left, otherwise the figure challenging the war on drugs and American empire wouldn’t be in the Republican primary as the libertarian candidate.

I desperately await the Democratic candidate that moves towards a saner domestic policy and a foreign policy that doesn't solely consist of threats of war (would have gladly voted for Kucinich but apparently holding liberal values is an anathema in the Democratic party).

It's been over thirty years now. Maybe you should try to walk the walk.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 6:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


The part that seems to be escaping you is that "Here's a bunch of reasons why Ron Paul is so much better than Obama, I'm just sayin' you guys" is an endorsement regardless of Greenwald pretending it isn't.
posted by kafziel at 6:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [15 favorites]


Can anyone help me here? Why is this all so freaking impossible for some people to grasp? Is cognitive dissonance to blame?

I hear you. I think Greenwald could have written pretty much the same article without mentioning Ron Paul at all and it would have been a lot better, and this thread might not have gone off on this derail. But Paul is a lightning rod.
posted by zomg at 6:39 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I seriously doubt someone advocating 'sound money' (read: gold) and the damn FLAT TAX can be, in any sense, progressive. As well as his love of the Second Amendment.

If 'progressives' were actually interested in challenging the President, where's the primary challenger? Who is representing the Left?

Seriously, if there's another Republican presidency, I will seriously consider resigning my commission.

/also, if all you so-far-left liberals are SO DISGUSTED with the trampling of human rights going on under the Obama presidency, I can't WAIT for the FPPs during, say, the Romney one....
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:40 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a lot to be said against making the perfect the enemy of the good, but Democrats have instead seemed to develop a neurosis towards making the good the enemy of the "possible", and then hippie-punching anyone who argues in favor of the good

Essentially no one here is arguing in favor of Ron Paul 2012. But fuck you people who want to spend you time defending this country's slide into Obamaland, where anything approaching the bleeding heart liberalism of Richard Nixon can never again be spoken as a progressive goal
posted by crayz at 6:41 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


I agree he's not the answer, zomg- hell, I'd love to vote for a guy like Dennis Kucinich or Bernie Sanders- and I agree that Ron Paul won't be the nominee (although, stranger things have happened).

But since the Democratic party has been trying to be more Republican than Republicans for two decades now, and since they seem to always overdo the "But if we stand for anything we'll lose elections" milquetoast strategies... they offer me and other progressive voters nothing. Obama is, as I said, shit on toast. It doesn't make me stupid, or a conservative, to point this out. He's a fucking disaster, and the argument that the evil Republicans made him be that way are bullshit. Voting for Obama at this point is just enabling him, and the Democratic party.
posted by hincandenza at 6:41 PM on December 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also: God, I wish the Democrats were having a primary fight.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:41 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, kafziel, all the parts where he points out how Obama is much better than Ron Paul on a number of issues ... following your logic, he's apparently endorsing Obama AND Paul at the same time! Obama/Paul 2012 FTW!
posted by ronofthedead at 6:41 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those of us who are women, gay, disabled and/or non-white really don't give a fuck what Paul says, because he thinks we are less than people and not entitled to equal rights under the Constitution. No other opinion he holds really matters, next to our human rights.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:43 PM on December 31, 2011 [37 favorites]


The part that seems to be escaping you is that "Here's a bunch of reasons why Ron Paul is so much better than Obama, I'm just sayin' you guys"

Is it really so difficult for you to differentiate between "Ron Paul is so much better than Obama" and "On these issues Ron Paul is so much better than Obama"? Because it doesn't seem like a very subtle difference to me.
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on December 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


Those of us who are women, gay, disabled and/or non-white really don't give a fuck what Paul says, because he thinks we are less than people and not entitled to equal rights under the Constitution. No other opinion he holds really matters, next to our human rights.

Didja notice that Ron Paul (and Huntsman) both had the balls to say they were against torture?

'cause honestly, I do care about women, homosexuals, disabled people and non-whites, but I sure as shit care that we shouldn't be torturing people, too.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:46 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


If 'progressives' were actually interested in challenging the President, where's the primary challenger?

I'm sure by myself I could find 100 credible, intelligent citizens ready to primary Obama from the left by next month. Getting a soul to listen to them would be an entirely different matter, but that's sort of the point
posted by crayz at 6:46 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those of us who are human beings don't give a fuck what Obama says, because he thinks it's a great idea to drone kill thousands of innocent civilians.
posted by ronofthedead at 6:47 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


docgonzo: Yes, ending the War on Drugs would help the poor, but it would help minorities more than any other group, because they suffer extremely disproportionately from the actual policing. Whites use pot as much or more than blacks do, but I heard the other day on the radio that like 80% of all pot arrests are of blacks and Hispanics. (that's from memory, so take it as a vague approximation.... my memory is not very good anymore. Whatever the real number is, the sheer number of blacks and Hispanics caught by pot possession charges is ridiculous when you consider the relative population percentages. WAY more than whites, even though whites use pot more, both in absolute and in percentage terms.)

Our justice system is racist as fuck, just ridiculously so. It's not the War on Drugs, it's the War on Blacks.
posted by Malor at 6:47 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Those of us who are women, gay, disabled and/or non-white really don't give a fuck what Paul says, because he thinks we are less than people and not entitled to equal rights under the Constitution. No other opinion he holds really matters, next to our human rights.

So when Paul says the sky is blue and Obama says tangello ... you simply don't give a fuck? Thanks for your thoughts
posted by crayz at 6:47 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sure by myself I could find 100 credible, intelligent citizens ready to primary Obama from the left by next month.

Without a process or mechanism in place to actually primary against him within the party, you could dig up 100,000 such people and none of it would matter.
posted by hippybear at 6:49 PM on December 31, 2011


Kucinich on Paul SLYT
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:50 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those of us who are women, gay, disabled and/or non-white really don't give a fuck what Paul says, because he thinks we are less than people and not entitled to equal rights under the Constitution. No other opinion he holds really matters, next to our human rights.

A perfectly valid reason to support Obama, just at the same time not losing sight of the human rights abuses of things like the War on Drugs or our bombing campaigns overseas, or on positions where Obama agrees with Paul like that marriage is only supposed to be between men and women.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:50 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


The sad truth is that the next president of the United States is going to be a horrible human being of some stripe or another (as will the one after that, and the next...) and we only get to choose which kind of horrible person it will be.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:51 PM on December 31, 2011 [15 favorites]


Without a process or mechanism in place to actually primary against him within the party, you could dig up 100,000 such people and none of it would matter.

Which doesn't mean criticizing Obama's "unforced errors" in continuing and expanding our corrupt, imperial executive branch stamping its boot down on the world's neck is any less necessary
posted by crayz at 6:52 PM on December 31, 2011


I'm pretty clear on what the point isn't, but again, I'm not sure what it is.

Is his thesis that politicians lie, or that people tend to see what they want to see in others, or that we should just all take our ball and go home, or that he feels betrayed by a system that is too complex and too large to directly impact on an individual basis unless you're a billionaire, or is it that sometimes even people who hold positions we might personally find despicable can agree with us on particular issues?

All of these are defensible but have little to do with Obama or Paul directly and more to do with the corrupt state of the political process. They are systemic issues, not individual issues.

Politicians don't listen to their constituents because they don't really matter. Given sufficient money, and there is sufficient money, you can buy all of the votes you need, and once this sufficient money has changed hands, a new constituency is created that has nothing to do with the electorate. Wealthy kingmakers influence the process far more than individual voters and their concerns can. (I'm not going to go too far in-depth on how money corrupts politics, if you want more info on this, check out Lawrence Lessig, or, well, the history of any system from Rome to today.)

Until we fix this, I believe we are doomed to a repeated boom-bust cycle of falling in love with politicians based on their PR only to realize that they too were forced to sell their soul in order to get in office. I find it really difficult to believe that this is simply a matter of the personal morality and fortitude of the individual politicians.
posted by feloniousmonk at 6:55 PM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Which doesn't mean criticizing Obama's "unforced errors" in continuing and expanding our corrupt, imperial executive branch stamping its boot down on the world's neck is any less necessary

No, of course not. But using Ron Paul as some kind of example of how things should be done is really not the right way to criticize Obama's errors. Obama's problematic stances and policies can easily be answered and examined in plenty of ways which don't involve someone as steeped in Teh Craizy as Ron Paul.
posted by hippybear at 6:56 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would not trust Paul when he says the sky is blue. I would look for an information source who doesn't want to take away the civil rights of large numbers of Americans, imprison the disabled in their homes, and leave everything else up to "states rights" like the good old days.

I was a very reluctant supporter of President Obama in the last election, because I thought he was far too conservative. And I was right. And there are many many good liberals out there who we could be supporting and listening to, instead of a hateful troll of a man.

I'm a big fan of Progressives United. But heaven forbid we should listen to a liberal like Feingold. What does he know compared to Paul, really?
posted by hydropsyche at 6:59 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't think I've ever seen such little engagement with the actual article on a MetaFilter thread before.

Conclusion of the article:

It’s perfectly legitimate to criticize Paul harshly and point out the horrible aspects of his belief system and past actions. But that’s worthwhile only if it’s accompanied by a similarly candid assessment of all the candidates, including the sitting President.

If I point out that some candidate has a progressive policy stance with respect to issue X, I am not thereby pointing out that the candidate is progressive, on balance.

Similarly, pointing out that some candidate has an anti-progressive policy stance with respect to issue X, I am not thereby pointing out that the candidate is anti-progressive, on balance.

The whole point of the article is to be honest about evaluating candidates on an issue-by-issue basis. Make your decision based on how you weight the importance of the various issues and the stance taken by the various candidates. Try to be consistent about what you care about, rather than re-arranging what you say you care about ad hoc in order to come out supporting a foregone candidate (say, because the candidate has a D or an R by his or her name). This last point is what I take to be the reason for using Paul as the foil in the article.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:01 PM on December 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


... using Ron Paul as some kind of example of how things should be done ...

No one is doing this. No one. Not even a little bit. This is not a thing that anyone is doing. There is no person being discussed here or commenting here who has done this thing, or would ever do this thing.

This thing that you are saying is not a real thing. Will you please, please stop saying it like it is a real thing that has actually happened? Because it hasn't happened. At all.
posted by ronofthedead at 7:03 PM on December 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


Pres. Obama signs NDAA with Signing Statement via Thinkprogress
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:03 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


If refusing to acknowledge Paul's credibility means I shouldn't call myself progressive, I'll be happy to stop calling myself progressive until his retirement or death.

My neighbors would, if they could hold a secret ballot majority vote, make my apartment complex whites-only, and kick out black and latino families here.

Paul would repeal laws currently making this impossible, and after it occurred, celebrate it as an example of the system working.

I'll take 4 more years of the War On Drugs, and no signs reading "Colored Entrance", thanks.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:04 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would not trust Paul when he says the sky is blue.

I think there is a strong perception that Ron Paul is trustworthy on certain issues precisely because holding the position he does on them hurts him politically.

I don't think I've ever actually seen anyone try to analyze whether or not his views are honestly stated, though. It is possible, I think, that he's cynically chosen to court a small, underserved fanatical fringe constituency rather than compete with the other Republican big shots at the mainstream trough. I'd love to see someone make a determined effort to prove/disprove that hypothesis, but given the fact that Paul seems only capable of inspiring adoration or dismissal, that seems unlikely.

If refusing to acknowledge Paul's credibility means I shouldn't call myself progressive, I'll be happy to stop calling myself progressive until his retirement or death.

I've always felt that progressives are just liberals who're trying to avoid the cultural opprobrium into which the latter has sunk. It's a rebranding exercise, and not a very effective one.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:07 PM on December 31, 2011


How did he ever get considered for any position except that of pig manure shoveler?

(not piggist)
posted by BlueHorse at 7:09 PM on December 31, 2011


If refusing to acknowledge Paul's credibility means I shouldn't call myself progressive ...

Who asked or told you to do that? Where did you even get the idea that anyone said that the "credibility" of Ron Paul had any relevance whatsoever? What could you possibly have read here or in the original linked article that even begins to suggest that the idea of Ron Paul's "credibility" is somehow relevant to your personal political belief label? Or to any kind of political label at all?
posted by ronofthedead at 7:09 PM on December 31, 2011


so, ronofthedead when Greenwald praises political and intellectual consistency, it should not be construed that people should follow the example of the most famously consistent living American politician?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:11 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one is doing this. No one. Not even a little bit. This is not a thing that anyone is doing. There is no person being discussed here or commenting here who has done this thing, or would ever do this thing.

Um... Greenwald is doing this, pretty regularly throughout his article.
even though I don’t support him for President, Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either party advocating crucial views on vital issues that need to be heard, and so his candidacy generates important benefits.

Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial.
...

The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views.

...

Still, for better or worse, Paul — alone among the national figures in both parties — is able and willing to advocate views that Americans urgently need to hear. That he is doing so within the Republican Party makes it all the more significant.
Greenwald goes very far out of his way to say that he's not endorsing Paul as a candidate, but he spends a LOT of time talking about how specific instances of Paul's discourse about certain narrow policies are better than Obama's, complete with video exerpts. If that's not an example of holding up Paul as an example of how things should be done, then I'm completely misunderstanding the point of both this article and this thread.
posted by hippybear at 7:11 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because Paul wants to end the War on Drugs... at the federal level. His opposition to this (like his opposition to the federal death penalty) is about the reallocation of power to the state and local level, not about the abolition of that power as such.
posted by gerryblog at 7:14 PM on December 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


Wait, so Obama gleefully murders innocent Muslim babies all the time with drones as a cornerstone of his foreign policy strategy? That's fucked up. VOTE NOT OBAMA
posted by eddydamascene at 7:14 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


If that's not an example of holding up Paul as an example of how things should be done, then I'm completely misunderstanding the point of both this article and this thread.

You're completely misunderstanding the point of the article. I don't know what the point of this thread is supposed to be.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:14 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Washington Post's Fact Checker on Rep. Paul and earmarks
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:15 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


shit that should actually matter to Obama's supporters.

Obama campaigned on escalation in Afghanistan and getting out of Iraq. He's done both. What other foreign policy issues should matter to Obama's voters?
posted by empath at 7:17 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're completely misunderstanding the point of the article.

What, then, is the point of the article?
posted by hippybear at 7:17 PM on December 31, 2011


New Meme: Greenwald lost all credibility when he endorsed Ron Paul.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:18 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the piece at the center of the Balloon Juice piece Greenwald dismissively links to gets at the heart of how liberals and progressives should feel about Paul:
But (you might say) if the result is the same–if, whatever the twisted origins of his position, Ron Paul takes is on the side of the angels on certain narrowly framed issues–does it really matter how he gets there?

Short answer: yes. Slightly less short answer: hell yes. Longer answer: of course, because his opposition to (Federal) government overreach is inseparable from his opposition to Roe v. Wade and equal protection enforcement and environmental regulation and…well, every single goddamn thing that matters to liberals except the tiny set of narrow issues on which, in stopped-clock fashion, Paul has arrived at the right position through the wrong process.
posted by gerryblog at 7:19 PM on December 31, 2011 [28 favorites]


It's not the War on Drugs, it's the War on Blacks.

Black voters are generally much less likely to support drug legalization than white voters.
posted by empath at 7:21 PM on December 31, 2011


I'll take 4 more years of the War On Drugs, and no signs reading "Colored Entrance", thanks.

this is funny, but not in a good way. thanks to the War on Drugs, there *is* a sign reading "Colored Entrance"! it's posted over the doors to the prison.

also, it really really sucks when people post without reading the article.
posted by facetious at 7:21 PM on December 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


God I would love for Obama to have to run against Ron Paul. It would be beautiful to see a republican drag him to the left on foreign policy and civil liberties.
posted by mullingitover at 7:22 PM on December 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


God I would love for Obama to have to run against Ron Paul. It would be beautiful to see a republican drag him to the left on foreign policy and civil liberties.

If anything he'd probably move to the right. Ron Paul is just about the only candidate that could get a significant number of diehard Obama haters to vote Democratic.
posted by gerryblog at 7:24 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


hippybear,

As I read it, the whole point of the article is to be honest about evaluating candidates on an issue-by-issue basis. Make your decision based on how you weight the importance of the various issues and the stance taken by the various candidates before looking at what party each candidate comes from. Try to be consistent about what you care about, rather than re-arranging what you say you care about ad hoc in order to come out supporting a foregone candidate (say, because the candidate has a D or an R by his or her name). This last point is what I take to be the reason for using Paul as the foil in the article.

I don't think any of this is inconsistent with thinking Paul would be a disaster.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:25 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


adding to what Jonathan Livengood has posted, for me the point of the article is:

"It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else. An honest line of reasoning in this regard would go as follows:

Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court."
posted by facetious at 7:27 PM on December 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


So his point is that we should be better at picking candidates to support? Great. This is a textbook example of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I find Greenwald incredibly frustrating because of things like this and I am inclined to believe that the real point is that Salon is nearly bankrupt and can really use the kind of page views that being the "noted liberal commentator" who says pro-Ron Paul things can generate.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:28 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreed, how someone arrives at their beliefs is as important as the beliefs themselves. We need someone who wants to end the war on drugs on a federal level because it is the right thing to do, not someone who wants to end it simply because they believe the federal government should be gutted and all power handed back to the states, who in turn would be free to enact whatever draconian laws they want.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:30 PM on December 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


Make your decision based on how you weight the importance of the various issues and the stance taken by the various candidates before looking at what party each candidate comes from.

I did. My #1 issue--which I think probably generally goes unstated when I have political conversations with people, because why the fuck should I have to say this-- my #1 issue is that the candidate has a kind of a basic grip on reality, and you know, isn't racist and homophobic.

Once they've established their sanity and basic human decency, I might consider their platform.
posted by empath at 7:30 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ad hominem: it's the process, not the product.

I concur.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:32 PM on December 31, 2011


Ad hominem: it's the process, not the product.

Here's another example of Ron Paul having the right position for the wrong reasons: He's against the fence on the Mexican Border -- but only because he thinks the fence is being build to keep Americans from escaping to Mexico after the New World Order turns the US into a police state after the money supply collapses.
posted by empath at 7:34 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


As I read it, the whole point of the article is to be honest about evaluating candidates on an issue-by-issue basis. Make your decision based on how you weight the importance of the various issues and the stance taken by the various candidates before looking at what party each candidate comes from. Try to be consistent about what you care about, rather than re-arranging what you say you care about ad hoc in order to come out supporting a foregone candidate (say, because the candidate has a D or an R by his or her name). This last point is what I take to be the reason for using Paul as the foil in the article.

Sure thing. I agree with you about the importance about evaluating candidates based on what they say and represent rather than the party they are a member of.

But there's a lot more to hate about Ron Paul than there is to like about him, no matter how reasonable he may be about a narrow slice of positions within his entire spectrum.

And, as I've said twice already in this thread... unless there's a mechanism in place within the election process to challenge Obama from within his party and run for POTUS in his stead, all this is moot, because it will guaranteed be Obama vs. whomever the Republicans put forward vs. any third party candidates.

Without that mechanism in place, all Greenwald is doing with this article is pointing out that Ron Paul is better than Obama on the issues which lie within this slice of spectrum || and while he mentions that he's not endorsing him as a candidate... unless he then goes on to say specifically why Paul is WORSE than Obama on these other topics, he's basically making an argument to support Paul over Obama in any future presidential race.

I know that's not being stated explicitly, and that Greenwald even tries to defuse exactly that assumption, but what is the point of this, really? To say that Obama has been shite in a lot of ways which those who elected him weren't expecting? That there's someone else running for president who isn't shite about those issues? What picture are the dots connected by the lines supposed to draw, exactly?

I'm very unhappy with Obama, in a great number of ways. But do I want to see Paul, or Romney, or Gingrich elected instead of him? Not really. There have been a few Republicans who have attempted to be candidates that I thought might actually be worth voting for if for no other reason than 1) they're not Obama, and 2) they're not reprehensible. But they've all been driven out or ignored so much they might as well not be running.

Given the likely choices for the 2012 POTUS election, I'll pick Obama. Not because I support his policies and choices entirely, but because I believe I would un-support the policies and choices of his opponents even more.
posted by hippybear at 7:35 PM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


All I know about this upcoming election is that I have to try to keep the wrong lizard from getting in.
posted by delfin at 7:36 PM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


YOU PEOPLE ARE MISSING THE POINT, THE POINT IS A DIFFERENT POINT.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


Greenwald is trolling so hard here. There is no fucking way he would vote for Paul considering his stance on Gay marriage and abortion and other socially conservative issues that jibe very hard and conforming with the craziest of the GOTP Prez Candidates.

I will say this: I will always respect him for standing up to Bachmann at the last debate over the disgusting cheap bullshit fucking disgusting Iran war talk.

But in 2008 I had to rethink my perception of Ron Paul after his insane indoctrinated blinkered, brainwashed zealot of a son "Rand" (guffaw...) hit the scene sounding like a wet dream of what Ron Paul sees as the ideal of the nation, and I was like ewwww....

So yeah, Paul is compelling but be President?? NO FUCKING WAY.


Yeah, Greenwald's selling fucking page clicks here. What utter bullshit. I know he wants to challenge the left and progressives, but this is just too over the top, jumped the shark to be believable.
posted by Skygazer at 7:39 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Recent Ron Paul votes via Project Vote Smart:
-He voted against the Gitmo transfer plan, in effect voting to keep Gitmo Open
-He voted repeatedly against environmental regulations and in fact supported legislation to gut the EPA's power over clean air and water regulations.
-He voted to defund planned parent hood.
-He voted against hate crimes legislation.
-He voted against equal pay
-He voted against reauthirization of the Voting Rights Act
-He voted against the changes to make it easier to organize unions. He also voted to reduce the power of the NLRB.

Anti-voting rights, anti-labor, anti-choice, anti-environment. Under Paul you can buy illegal drugs when you are old; but won't be able to afford the legal ones you need when you grow old. If you get pregnant after you get raped you have to raise that baby with no help from the state, or just abandon it after it is born to an orphanage I guess. From his newsletters I guess he's ok with the police torturing and murdering kids so long as they look like criminals.
posted by humanfont at 7:40 PM on December 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


he thinks the fence is being build to keep Americans from escaping to Mexico after the New World Order turns the US into a police state after the money supply collapses.

Sounds almost too crazy even for Ron Paul but it is true.

I think the turmoil he is talking about would be what happens after he shutters the federal government.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:41 PM on December 31, 2011


I have an idea! Let's all pretend that Greenwald is saying Ron Paul should be the President!!

Oh, wait ... you all are already doing that.

Carry on, then.
posted by ronofthedead at 7:42 PM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan: Ron Paul For The GOP Nomination
posted by homunculus at 7:42 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear the process you refer to is the primary process. The current Democratic primary challengers are a performance artist, Operation Rescue founder, and a Florida independent.

/yes, I used an Oxford comma, wanna fight about it?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:43 PM on December 31, 2011


Greenwald is trolling so hard here. There is no fucking way he would vote for Paul

has *anyone* in this thread actually read the article?
posted by facetious at 7:44 PM on December 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


the process you refer to is the primary process

From the link you provided, one candidate has qualified for the primary ballot in 3 states, another has qualified for the primary ballot in another state (not one of the same states as the first), and the last has qualified for the ballot in two states, both of them overlapping with states the first two are qualified for.

Do you really think that candidates qualified in 4 states total are actually contenders to unseat the current POTUS of the party in question? Because, as far as my math goes, no matter if they win 100% of the electoral votes in every state they are running in, they won't win.

The incumbent system is only part of the evils of our election system, but in this case, it's serving to lock-in voters who no longer truly support the seated leader running for reelection into a devil's choice.

Gods, I'd love to see truly sweeping election reform. Every candidate must primary, incumbent or not. Public funding and public funding only for elections. Election seasons of no longer than 180 days, preferably 90 days. Complete banning of all political advertising not paid for by the candidates out of public funding.

Get corporate and 1% money out of politics, stop the eternal election cycle, and make everyone defend their seat even within their own party. THAT is the way you have representatives which reflect the will of the people.
posted by hippybear at 7:52 PM on December 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Go further, hippybear: rewrite the Constitution to eliminate the inevitable systematic tendency towards a two-party system and replace it with with a multi-party parliament.
posted by gerryblog at 7:54 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Facetious: has *anyone* in this thread actually read the article?

It's New Years Eve Goddammit, who has time to read any FUCKING ARTICLES!!!


Happy New yEAR!! Mwah~!!
posted by Skygazer at 7:56 PM on December 31, 2011


Because Paul wants to end the War on Drugs... at the federal level. His opposition to this (like his opposition to the federal death penalty) is about the reallocation of power to the state and local level, not about the abolition of that power as such.

Paul opposes prohibition as a concept and has said as much. He has introduced bills to end federal drug laws. It isn't his place to write laws for the states, and trust me you want it this way unless you want to see the federal government decide to repeal the laws California has set on medical pot instead of just enforcing the federal laws. If he were a state legislator, he would want to repeal state prohibition too as he does not feel it is good policy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:56 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


has *anyone* in this thread actually read the article?

I read it. Briefly:

Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial.

The issues where Ron Paul's policy views match my own are MUCH less important to me than the apparent audience for this article. Most of Greenwald's generalizations don't apply to me, to the extent that, were I forced to, I'd happily vote for a mainstream Republican over Paul.

Excuse me while I go hug Henry Kissinger.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:56 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, for the hundredth time, we have all read the article. I read it earlier today, and reread it when it was linked here. My point was simply that I have no interest in what Paul has to say on any issue because he has zero respect for my civil rights or the Constitution of the United States.

Other people have made the point that although Paul may appear to agree with liberals, his ass backwards reasoning for holding those views makes that pretty meaningless, for example "States rights" means he wouldn't end the drug war, just let the states make it even more racist than it already is and without any federal oversight.

And then a lot of other people yelled about how we needed to read the article.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:56 PM on December 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


I get it. Greenwald is not endorsing Paul but I disagree with Greenwald's premise:

the anger [Paul] inspires comes not from his positions, but from the tensions that modern American liberals bear within their own worldview

It is simply not true Paul holds liberal ideas but we step all over ourselves to hate on them because they come from Paul. I am shooting them down because his liberal ideas are simply the end result of his core belief, that government is evil.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:58 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Paul opposes prohibition as a concept and has said as much. He has introduced bills to end federal drug laws. It isn't his place to write laws for the states, and trust me you want it this way unless you want to see the federal government decide to repeal the laws California has set on medical pot instead of just enforcing the federal laws. If he were a state legislator, he would want to repeal state prohibition too as he does not feel it is good policy.

I am wondering where this talking point that says otherwise comes from though, seems just an urban legend liberals are telling themselves so they don't have to admit Paul is right on a major issue for the right reasons.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:58 PM on December 31, 2011


But there's a lot more to hate about Ron Paul than there is to like about him, no matter how reasonable he may be about a narrow slice of positions within his entire spectrum.

Agreed. So ... maybe Greenwald's target is not people like you and empath but people who back in 2004 and 2008 were saying that the most important thing was ending wars abroad, ending indefinite detention and suspension of habeus, shoring up civil liberties undermined by the Patriot Act, and so on.

One thing I think Greenwald is pointing at is the tendency to say, "I only really care about X," for one election, where "my side's" candidate has a view I like about X and then saying, "I only really care about Y," for the next election, where "my side's" candidate has a view I like about Y but not a view I like about X.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:58 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


gerryblog: I'd support that, actually. But first steps first. Once we have election reform in place, we might actually have people in positions in government which would allow such a reform to take place. As it is, power will seek to preserve itself. I think I'm dreaming big just to hope for election reform, let alone truly proportional representation in Congress.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on December 31, 2011


Ron Paul would bring up the right topics in the general election debates. That's all that matters. Obama's going to win either way, but it'd be nice to change the discourse. Liberals are flocking to Ron Paul in the Republican Primaries because it's a way to have our cake and eat it too. It's a good way to hold Obama's feet to the fire in the areas where he's failing today.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:00 PM on December 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


/also, if all you so-far-left liberals are SO DISGUSTED with the trampling of human rights going on under the Obama presidency, I can't WAIT for the FPPs during, say, the Romney one....

Don't you see that they're bad either way? Do you seriously not realize that people can absolutely not want their government to be out there doing out-and-out evil things? No matter what party banner they're done under?
posted by Trochanter at 8:02 PM on December 31, 2011


/also, if all you so-far-left liberals are SO DISGUSTED with the trampling of human rights going on under the Obama presidency, I can't WAIT for the FPPs during, say, the Romney one....

They will still be there, it's just that the rest of you will join back in like you used to.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, it's because he almost always talks about the war on drugs in terms of returning control to the states. Even when he's asked about the war on drugs in general, he adds the word "federal" to his answer. Even if you're right that he genuinely opposes prohibition as a concept, he's intentionally very vague about it, and in any event the important thing to him is about returning the question to the states.
posted by gerryblog at 8:05 PM on December 31, 2011


Trochanter, whose presidency do you think ( assuming no shift in Congress) will result in more or fewer 'out-and-out evil things'?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:06 PM on December 31, 2011


As I read it, the whole point of the article is to be honest about evaluating candidates on an issue-by-issue basis. Make your decision based on how you weight the importance of the various issues and the stance taken by the various candidates before looking at what party each candidate comes from.

First, this is mostly a straw man. Does Greenwald really think that he is the only honest person on the left, or that other pundits only judge candidates by their party? If he wants to attack Obama, the entire Ron Paul issue is irrelevant, and so are these attempts at telepathy.

Second, issue-by-issue evaluations aren't that helpful when we don't have issue-by-issue elections. In any one election we can only vote for one candidate, as a package. Voting for that person doesn't mean endorsing every position they take; all it means is preferring that package to the alternatives.

It's bad for the country that the Republican Party has gone crazy. It makes the package decision very easy: any of the Republican pack, including Paul, would be an absolute disaster who would deepen our economic crisis and tear apart the social safety net. But it's also bad for the Democratic Party, because parties need reasonable opposition. It's not healthy that there's no rational opponent to the right and little effective pressure from the left.

What's the plan, anyway? Get people so mad at Obama that they don't vote for him, so we get one of the Republican crazies instead? In 2000 that move gave us eight years of George Bush; it hasn't become smarter since.

I really want us to get out of Afghanistan. If there was a national vote on whether we should stop that war, I'd be voting with Greenwald. But the actual vote we're going to get is between an Obama who is seeking a face-saving way out, and a Republican who wants to start a war with Iran. (Unless it's Paul, in which case it's a choice between economic doldrums and a depression.)

Focusing anger on Obama is a way of avoiding the real issue: some of these progressive options, sadly, don't have majority support. If Obama magically disappeared, do all of Greenwald's dreams come true? No, because Obama is not the thing blocking them.
posted by zompist at 8:07 PM on December 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


See here at length. He's very clear that the issue is federalism, not legalization per se.
posted by gerryblog at 8:08 PM on December 31, 2011


What's the plan, anyway? Get people so mad at Obama that they don't vote for him, so we get one of the Republican crazies instead?

Based on Mitch McConnell's statements a few years ago... that's exactly it.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge, it's because he almost always talks about the war on drugs in terms of returning control to the states. Even when he's asked about the war on drugs in general, he adds the word "federal" to his answer. Even if you're right that he genuinely opposes prohibition as a concept, he's intentionally very vague about it, and in any event the important thing to him is about returning the question to the states.

He talks in terms of the federal laws because he is a federal legislator. He does not believe he has the power to write laws for the states. You may notice that your state can currently write their own alcohol laws too! Mine has a monopoly on liquor sales! I support my state's right to decide that even though I vote to privatize when I can.

However, he is not remotely vague about the fact that laws against drug use simply don't work:

No, because I think it’s much worse because kids today have an easier time finding marijuana than they can alcohol. And how many cases of drug addiction were prevented by the laws? Do the laws really do it? Would putting you in prison for about 5 years, do you think that would have helped you? Would that have cured you? No, this is a medical problem, it’s not a legal problem. You shouldn’t be a criminal because you have a problem with drugs. So I just don’t think putting you in prison would have been helpful at all.

Similarly, President Obama opposes gay marriage but wants to return the power to decide to the states instead of forcing every state to comply with his opinion that gays should not be allowed marry.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:12 PM on December 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gary Johnson asks Iowa supporters to back Ron Paul
posted by homunculus at 8:17 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: Similarly, President Obama opposes gay marriage but wants to return the power to decide to the states instead of forcing every state to comply with his opinion that gays should not be allowed marry.

But dude. Buddy. C'mon...DADT is done. DONE. D-O-N-E.


Shhh...be cool yo, Obama's on our side, he just needs to deal with an insane RIght wing slowly demolishing itself into irrelevbant smithereens, just be cool and wait for the magic to happen.
posted by Skygazer at 8:17 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alright, so I admittedly have little knowledge of Ron Paul's views outside of his stance on foreign policy, welfare, and auditing the fed. So this post finally got me to type "Ron Paul" into the Googles to see what else he stands for, today, not 20 years ago. Once I found his official website, the first issue I clicked on was abortion, and this is what I found. For a moment I thought I'd landed on Mike Huckabee's website. So, there goes any chance of me voting for this guy.
posted by Oh OK HA HA at 8:21 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ron Paul is the sponsor of the "We the People Act", whose sole purpose is to ensure that states can violate the Constitution with no oversight. He sponsors this bill whilst claiming to love the Constitution.

And he's supposed to somehow be different than every other hypocrite running for office?
posted by ubernostrum at 8:23 PM on December 31, 2011


Again, I don't want to vote for Ron Paul, but I'd consider a protest vote against Obama, even though the message is not going to be received by the Democratic party were they to lose the White House in 2012. I can't help that- thanks to how our political system works, I have one bit of bandwidth to use in sending a message as a voter.


That said: something else to consider when considering issue-by-issue candidates, and weighing what matters most, is the likelihood of the candidate as President affecting the change described.

I voted for Obama largely on the basis of ending the war(s) and the civil rights violations of the Bush era re: spying on citizens and torture of terrorism suspects, because a President can pretty much unilaterally pull out troops- as Commander-in-Chief- and issue clear Executive Orders preventing torture and civil rights abuses/spying on citizens, and following that up by ensuring the AG and the Executive Branch as a whole investigates and prosecutes violations. While I support universal health care, I didn't vote for Obama on health care- his alleged centerpiece- because that's really something Congress can do more than a president.


So: if Ron Paul got into the White House, he could if desired legally end the War on Drugs by issuing two actions:
  1. A blanket pardon, a la Jimmy Carter and the draft dodgers back in 1977, for all non-violent drug offenses, and
  2. issuing an Executive Order and/or appointing an AG whose action was to essentially "stand down" the DEA, or re-focus it purely on violent drug dealers/gangs, in particular its effect on border states
A sufficiently committed President could do these things to effectively end the War on Drugs about 15 minutes after taking the oath of office. It would be entirely legal and fully within the powers of the Presidency. Congress might then choose to issue articles of impeachment (on somewhat shaky grounds, although selectively not enforcing the laws regarding drugs is at least more pertinent an impeachment cause than say a BBW BJ), but Congress can do that if they don't like the President's tie. Plus, said pardon would be irrevocable even in the case of an impeachment, so all drug offenders languishing in prisons would be freed regardless.

What a Ron Paul or other Randroid president who I'd hypothetically voted for because he was opposed to the War on Drugs could not do is to re-segregate the country, or end Social Security, or prevent abortions from being funded or operated on. A sufficiently committed President could cajole, sway, badger, and threaten Congresspersons from his or her party to do these things... but likely with no more- and probably far less- success as Obama had getting universal single-payer health care instituted in the United States.
posted by hincandenza at 8:27 PM on December 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform

That is utterly false and slightly incoherent.

[obama] He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack.

The notion that Obama is deliberately slaughtering muslim children and civilians is as absurd as suggesting he is a secret one.

has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists.

Perhaps if Ron Paul would vote to fund the new federal agency Obama setup to protect consumers and regulate the financial industry, we might get somewhere.

He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

More nonsense. Netenyahu hates Obama. He's pissed that we havnt attacked Iran yet.

In summary Greenwald has lost his fucking mind.
posted by humanfont at 8:28 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am not posting in a Ron Paul thread on new years eve
posted by Sailormom at 8:30 PM on December 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


While there is no physical law preventing Paul from doing those things, I suspect the best you're going to get is a blanket pardon for all non-violent drug offenses committed by white heterosexual men who could afford an equity stake on someone's giant floating concrete island pipe dream.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:32 PM on December 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kid Charlemagne: While there is no physical law preventing Paul from doing those things, I suspect the best you're going to get is a blanket pardon for all non-violent drug offenses committed by white heterosexual men who could afford an equity stake on someone's giant floating concrete island pipe dream
But even that would be a win, Kid Charlemagne; unless you're talking only of a "Marc Rich" style pardon- and why would he do that, those people aren't even in jail for drug offenses- then if he actually did pardon tens of thousands of white people explicitly by race for their drug offenses, the political pressure would shift for him to issue a similar pardon for other black and hispanic drug offenders. I'm fairly certain once a pardon is issued, even the President can't "undo" that (I'm assuming, although I suppose that's never been tested).

Sailormom: I am not posting in a Ron Paul thread on new years eve
Ha ha, jokes on... oh wait, you were probably being funny.
posted by hincandenza at 8:43 PM on December 31, 2011


How about this? Paul/Kucinich in 2012, Paul pardons drug offenders, gets impeached, Kucinich takes over for the rest of the term. I could live with that! :)
posted by hincandenza at 8:44 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ah, Glenn Greenwald, so careful, so logical compared to the "simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers" who just won't listen to his clear-thinking. Why, look at this dialectic headlock he's got liberal defenders of Obama in!

As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested.


Haha, Obama supporters! You can't both dismiss Ron Paul for his terrible views, and accept Obama in spite of his! The logic is inescapable! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against Glenn Greenwald when death is on the line!"

There is no other possibility. If you reject Paul for any subset of his views/actions you don't like, you must also reject Obama for any subset of his views/actions you don't like, or expose yourself as a hypocrite. QED!

Unless -- this is could be some head crazy talk, I know, but stay with me here for just a minute -- letting P and O being the sets of policy positions that Paul and Obama hold, and letting Ye, Yg, and Yn being the sets of policy positions one might find evil, good, and neutral respectively, there could exist some arrangement where |O ∩ (Yg ∪ Yn)| + |P ∩ Ye| > |P ∩ (Yg ∪ Yn)| + |O ∩ Ye|.

Still... Greenwald was (again) so careful and logical about paving his case there that I don't know if I'm ready to go out on a limb by assert that the plus/dealbreaker equation might legitimately come out different for some people.

posted by weston at 8:50 PM on December 31, 2011 [15 favorites]


Those who disagree with Obama's views on foriegn policy but are not able to sign on with someone like Paul because of his other policies and racist past should consider Stewart Alexander who is running for the Socialist Party. He probably fits you better.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:51 PM on December 31, 2011


Oh, yeah, and I know that no matter how many times I say this, some people just won't believe me, but my above comment is not an endorsement of any candidate, and anybody who implies otherwise is a total chucklehead.
posted by weston at 8:54 PM on December 31, 2011


"weston endorses Gingrich for President 2012"

You read it here, folks. Just look at his comment above!
posted by hippybear at 8:58 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shut up, you know it was a Jimmy McMillan endorsement. The fact that you said it wasn't an endorsement proves it was an endorsement.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:58 PM on December 31, 2011


I recall seeing the same discussions here four years ago, with in essence the same arguments and justifications.

The difference being now Obama is less of an unknown quantity, and especially the signing of the NDAA now cements his presidency.

And the portrayal here of what a Paul presidency would mean bears a striking resemblance (both in tenor and outrageousness) to the right's portrayal of Obama. And much like the claims of never being able to buy guns again or supporting civil rights, none of these things have come to pass.

And the point made in the article (although seemingly poorly as so many have seemed to miss it), is that there is a fuckton of hypocrisy with the left concerning Obama, and it's a sad day when a fringe element from the fucking GOP is showing you up for it.

There, I said it.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 9:04 PM on December 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


But even that would be a win, Kid Charlemagne;...the political pressure would shift for him to issue a similar pardon for other black and hispanic drug offenders.

Have you looked at sentencing statistics lately? A lot of words come to mind, but victorious isn't one of them.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:28 PM on December 31, 2011


Just out of curiosity, in your opinion, what aspects of a Paul presidency are we predicting that are more off base than the "race war" and a "federal homosexual coverup on AIDS" and electronic and chemical alarms in our money to allow the government to track us?

That's what Paul himself is bringing to the table.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:38 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


gerryblog: "Go further, hippybear: rewrite the Constitution to eliminate the inevitable systematic tendency towards a two-party system and replace it with with a multi-party parliament."

I'm sure our entrenched two-party system will get right on that.
posted by mullingitover at 11:34 PM on December 31, 2011


LOLDECADENTLATEIMPERIALPOLITICS
posted by twirlip at 1:46 AM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Partisan politics aside, anyone who makes the claim that Obama is the same as or worse than Bush is either being willfully dishonest, wasn't really paying any attention during the years 2000-2008, or is flat out stupid.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:53 AM on January 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


What is interesting about Paul is how on some issues he exposes a nearly perfect consensus between the two parties that doesn't correspond to any consensus amongst either party's constituency. Many Republicans, Democrats, and Independents complain about the erosion of civil liberties, foreign adventurism, bank bailouts, the drug war, and so forth, but somehow this is not reflected in the voting records of their representatives. What is reflected is the will of their true constituencies- the corporations and interest groups that finance their campaigns.
posted by Tashtego at 2:06 AM on January 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


RON PAUL 2012!
posted by nrobertson at 2:13 AM on January 1, 2012


Grenwald might have a skerrick of a point, but the whole article is premised on a lie, namely; that no one on the left is criticising Obama. I dunno WTF planet he's living on but I'm seeing buckets of Left criticism of Obama all the way from Australia, so yeah. Given there's a plethora of people on the left - and even in the Democrats themselves! - criticising specific policies and platforms of the Obama govt, the any-port-in-a-storm approach of using Paul as a rhetorical dvice is redundant, disingenuous, and arrogant.

Grenwald would indeed be courageous etc, if it was a dragon. But it's just a windmill.
posted by smoke at 2:21 AM on January 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


He doesn't say there is no criticism from the left, to do that he would have to deny the existence of his own columns.

Meanwhile, the actually consequential acts of the U.S. Government and the permanent power factions that control it — covert endless wars, consolidation of unchecked power, the rapid growth of the Surveillance State and the secrecy regime, massive inequalities in the legal system, continuous transfers of wealth from the disappearing middle class to large corporate conglomerates — drone on with even less attention paid than usual.

He complains that the criticism does not get as much attention as more trivial matters during election season, which seems pretty factual to me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:37 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't particularly like Obama. Yes, he helped end DATA and now discrimination against gay people in the military is optional instead of mandatory. He didn't do a lot of stuff I hoped he'd do, mostly because he doesn't want to. But I had a choice in '08 between McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden. I'm pretty sure I picked the lesser of two evils, and damn sure I picked the less batshit insane ticket. Top three polling in Iowa seem to be Romney, Paul, and Santorum. Greenwald is right, Paul is the only one of those who actually has issues I vaguely agree with in a kind of twisted way, issues he would kind of be better than Obama on. But any way the primary shakes out, the better ticket will be Obama. Ultimately, that is my only choice, and it's a pretty easy one, he's the guy who doesn't want to see all my favorite SCotUS decisions of the last 60 years overturned.
posted by Garm at 4:48 AM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


My favorite part about people debating a Ron Paul presidency is the immediate logic train of:

Advocate States Rights -> Definite elimination of basic civil rights

As though we would magically be transported back into 1963 Alabama and Governor Wallace would be reinstated to re-segregate everything. Also no one can move to another state - oh and also everyone got flashy thineged from M.I.B. and have no record of before/after civil liberties.

I always find that one amusing. I guess the thought is that everything that is federally mandated must be positive on aggregate - I'm sure we can all agree on that right?
posted by AndrewKemendo at 4:54 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Carl Rove loves Glenn Greenwald.
posted by tommyD at 5:05 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


...hyper-promiscuous sodomy.

Either I'm still drunk, or we have our first new band name of 2012.

(Maybe both?)
posted by rokusan at 6:04 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Carl Rove loves Glenn Greenwald.

The strength of your argument is somewhat undercut by the fact that you are not informed enough to spell Karl Rove's name correctly.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:19 AM on January 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


My favorite part of people debating a Ron Paul presidency is when they pretend that "states rights" has not always been code for "violating human rights".
posted by hydropsyche at 6:22 AM on January 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


I always find that one amusing. I guess the thought is that everything that is federally mandated must be positive on aggregate

Not everything that is federally mandated is positive in the aggregate, therefore nothing that is federally mandated is positive in the aggregate.

In your and Ron Paul's ideal American society, Ron Paul wouldn't be running for President of the United States of America, because he's from the Confederacy.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:44 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It makes me sad that you guys elected George Bush for a third term, just because he pretended to be a democrat.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:15 AM on January 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


anyone who makes the claim that Obama is the same as or worse than Bush is either being willfully dishonest, wasn't really paying any attention during the years 2000-2008, or is flat out stupid.

Well, thanks. But back in the real world, there is a huge number of horrible Bush-era security and foreign policy decisions Obama has chosen to continue, strengthen and expand. Greenwald lists many of them, with supporting evidence, in the column under discussion. Someone's not been paying attention, for sure.
posted by mediareport at 7:35 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I fucking hate Ron Paul hippie "liberals". Ron Paul isn't even a fucking Libertarian, he's an Isolationist States-Rights advocate, nothing more nothing less. He doesn't give 2 shits about "liberty" only "liberty" for the states, not individuals. If the states want to deny you rights, then all is well in Ron Paul land. Just as long as that evil tyrannical Federal Government can't tell those states what to do.
posted by symbioid at 7:40 AM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


For example: Honest to fucking god, a few weeks ago I saw someone on facebook use the term "progressive" when talking about Ron Paul.

Just because you're anti-foreign-intervention does not make you "progressive" (there were both pro-war and anti-war progressives during the heyday of the progressive era, see: Dewey vs LaFollette).
posted by symbioid at 7:46 AM on January 1, 2012


That first comment from empath is a cheap smear. Notice that every one of those quotations (from a newsletter, that maybe he wrote himself, maybe not) is from 20 years ago or more. What's he saying lately?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:26 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald loves dogs.
posted by homunculus at 9:02 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


That first comment from empath is a cheap smear. Notice that every one of those quotations (from a newsletter, that maybe he wrote himself, maybe not) is from 20 years ago or more.

Yeah, when he was at the tender age of 54. Maybe he's matured in his viewpoints since then. Senior citizens are well known for the adaptability of their political opinions.
posted by empath at 9:08 AM on January 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


When one of the major points being promoted about a candidate is that "he's consistent in his views", then bringing up things in a newsletter he published 20 years ago shouldn't be a problem, should it?
posted by hippybear at 9:13 AM on January 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Btw, the Matt Stoller piece Greenwald links, Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals, is worth reading as well. The part about lib Dem hero Alan Grayson working with Paul in the House on war and Federal Reserve issues is interesting.

I highly recommend reading the Stoller piece on Ron Paul as well. In fact, I find it much better than the Greenwald piece, and it deals with issues that Greenwald doesn't even cover. One thing that rise of Ron Paul indicates is that progressives need to engage more with monetary and banking policy issues. With no coherent left program on monetary and banking policy issues, all you have is inflation hawks, bond vigilantes, and banksters dominating economic policy in both parties. Stoller also links to how monetary and banking policy play a role in financing wars, something Ron Paul talks about, but really hasn't been addressed much by the Left.
posted by jonp72 at 9:42 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Except for the part about the coming race war.

When the Bush administration used fear to manipulate people, at least that made sense within the Republican worldview. It's pretty sad to see Democrats doing this.


Fear? I'm not afraid of Ron Paul winning the Presidency.

But when I'm told that Ron Paul is more progressive than the Democrats? I'm going to point this out.

Let's be clear. I'm 43 years old. Some of us remember Ron Paul before he suddenly took on his fake stand on pot and his fake stand on gay marriage. Some of us remember when he introduced a bill to reverse Lawrence v. Texas. Some of us remember the stands he's been taking his whole life.

Legal pot ain't worth this.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:48 AM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


One thing that rise of Ron Paul indicates is that progressives need to engage more with monetary and banking policy issues. With no coherent left program on monetary and banking policy issues, all you have is inflation hawks, bond vigilantes, and banksters dominating economic policy in both parties.

Ron Paul wants to get rid of fractional reserve banking

Only if you want to have to put down 75% on homes and buy all cars outright.

Glass-Stegall needs to come back. Abolish the Fed? Hilariously stupid. Don't listen to an obstetrician on finance. The dude is a gold-bugger. Loves his gold, thinks it has some sort of value that is real. Its still fiat-valued in one sense or another.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:53 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


When one of the major points being promoted about a candidate is that "he's consistent in his views", then bringing up things in a newsletter he published 20 years ago shouldn't be a problem, should it?

Nope, but considering he has completely disavowed both the content and writing, maybe it's time to start considering the totality of the evidence against him.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 9:56 AM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are we sure Greenwald wrote this and not someone at HB Gary on the National Chamber of Commerce's dime?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:04 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


empath, all the snark aside, is that really what makes him bad now, in 2012? I see that other people have brought up issues around his voting record and things he has actually done as a politician.

Similarly we could paint Obama as a liberal idealist based on his Chicago community work, but that wouldn't really make sense would it?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:19 AM on January 1, 2012


Oh, come now. That disavowal is what he's doing THIS time around. Back in 1996, he was confronted by the Dallas Morning News about his 1992 racist statements, and he defended the content of the newsletter by citing statistics generated by think tanks and even invoking Jesse Jackson to defend them.

That he's saying NOW that he wasn't aware of the content for a decade after it was published under his name... It's pretty much a non-starter that he's lying about it all. He got so fed up with one reporter's questions that he stomped out of the interview in a fit of pique while on camera. He obviously doesn't have a leg to stand on, and he doesn't know how to deal with his own past.

Here's a round-up of Paul's shifting stances on the content of the newsletters published in his name from the Christian Science Monitor. And here's Rachel Maddow summing it all up for you in video form.
posted by hippybear at 10:24 AM on January 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


People like to say that Ron Paul can only do the things they like and that everything else is impossible due to the constraints of the presidency, but, out of all of his stances, the only thing he could accomplish is gutting most business regulations, because 90% of congress would fall over themselves to vote that shit onto his desk.
posted by stavrogin at 10:24 AM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


People like to say that Ron Paul can only do the things they like and that everything else is impossible due to the constraints of the presidency, but, out of all of his stances, the only thing he could accomplish is gutting most business regulations, because 90% of congress would fall over themselves to vote that shit onto his desk.

Any Republican will go there, if you are stuck with a Republican you might as well go with the one who doesn't want to invade other countries along with it.

Same thing kind of goes for the racism stuff, I doubt there are too many 80 year old Republicans who haven't expressed those kind of views in the past and they are practically all anti-gay now. Even the Democrats can't bring themselves to admit gay people should have equal rights to get married.

That isn't to say you should vote for him in the general, but he is definitely the best of the worse out of the Republican field.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:36 AM on January 1, 2012


he is definitely the best of the worse out of the Republican field

Yeah, it's a shame that candidates like Huntsman and Johnson were basically ignored, because they actually seem to be sensible in ways the front-running pack isn't.
posted by hippybear at 10:40 AM on January 1, 2012


Huntsman is just as insane as the rest of them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:42 AM on January 1, 2012


Yeah, it's a shame that candidates like Huntsman and Johnson were basically ignored, because they actually seem to be sensible in ways the front-running pack isn't.

That sentence would actually probably be more accurate without the second comma
posted by crayz at 10:43 AM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: "But when I'm told that Ron Paul is more progressive than the Democrats? I'm going to point this out."

Let's be clear: What if you've been told n+1 times that this particular reading of TFA is incorrect, and was clearly identified in the article to preclude this specific derail?
posted by sneebler at 10:48 AM on January 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


A couple days ago I mentioned that a Paul-Obama election would force Obama to finally take seriously the large number of people who want to vote for him but don't like his civil-liberties record.

empath immediately shot back with: Hah, no it wouldn't. Obama would probably win all 50 states and he'd barely have to try.

Which seems to me to remarkably miss the entire point of my statement, Glennwald's statement and the claims by furiousxgeorge, Malor and others in here.

The thing that bothers me is that when the immediate reaction is to jump to Obama's defense, it almost seems like you're more interested in volunteering for his re-election campaign than trying to get a candidate elected who more closely advocates and pushes for our shared community values.

And you're never going to do that if your immediate reaction when a candidate with some of those values jumps in is to trash them.

Do any of you really think we want a Paul presidency? God no. He's a tool. But he's a tool who can be used to push Obama to adapt more sane values on civil-liberties. And Paul WOULD push the follies of the drug war and other insane policies out to the fore-front in the debates, since he knows that's a major under-represented constituency (see Reddit et al). That would change the conversation, much like the Occupy movement actually brought the income inequality message to the rest of the country and has re-framed our national conversation. And the way to get him to move Obama to the left on those issues is to make Paul appear to be an electable candidate based on those issues.

We simply want more progressive civil-liberties policies. And at one time ideas like ending the drug war, getting out of our countless overseas wars, ending the PATRIOT Act and the like were considered progressive.
posted by formless at 11:41 AM on January 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


it's frustrating to continue to read comments from folks who have not read the article.

the author spends a whole page discussing why it would be wrong to take his article as an endorsement of [candidate redacted]. please stop thinking that this discussion is about endorsing [candidate].

let's abstract the article from actual candidates.

the article is about how the United States' two-party system and endless campaign season generates a media environment which is toxic to discussing actual policies, because of the "footballism" that confuses policies with candidates / parties.

if you want to discuss football, the Saints are leading at halftime.

Drew Brees is an excellent QB, despite the awful rate of turnovers early in the season. You would be a fool to not fully support his aerial bombardment strategy, despite the high rate of civilian casualties. Carolina sucks, and Cam Newton is probably racist! Saints going to the superbowl 2012!
posted by eustatic at 11:46 AM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


But he's a tool who can be used to push Obama to adapt more sane values on civil-liberties.

No, he wouldn't be. If he was the nominee, Obama would move to the right on foreign policy. Ron Paul's foreign policy positions are not popular

They aren't popular in the GOP and they aren't popular in the democratic party.
posted by empath at 11:55 AM on January 1, 2012


it almost seems like you're more interested in volunteering for his re-election campaign than trying to get a candidate elected who more closely advocates and pushes for our shared community values.

How could this be done under our current election system? I don't see how it's possible. Does Obama have a primary challenger on the ballot in all 50 states, one which aligns with the qualities you name? No, he doesn't. Therefore he's the candidate which will run against the Republicans in this upcoming election.
posted by hippybear at 11:59 AM on January 1, 2012


Obama would move to the right on foreign policy. Ron Paul's foreign policy positions are not popular...they aren't popular in the democratic party.

Why would Obama have to move right? His foreign policy is already stark in contrast with Paul and he would have no need to change it. That is kind of one of the points here. The only way we will have any debate outside of the current areas of general bipartisan agreement is with someone like Paul or Johnson or Stewart Alexander who are willing to take more diverse positions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:15 PM on January 1, 2012


it almost seems like you're more interested in volunteering for his re-election campaign than trying to get a candidate elected who more closely advocates and pushes for our shared community values.

Yeah, I'm trying to get Obama elected because I'm not a racist, homophobic conspiracy-theorizing gold bug. Those are my values. Not being a crazy old coot.
posted by empath at 12:17 PM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


The only way we will have any debate outside of the current areas of general bipartisan agreement is with someone like Paul or Johnson or Stewart Alexander who are willing to take more diverse positions.

I agree, the only way that the debate is going to focus on unpopular positions is if the parties nominate unpopular candidates.
posted by empath at 12:20 PM on January 1, 2012


How could this be done under our current election system? I don't see how it's possible

That's what this entire conversation is about. It's not really RON PAUL 2012, it's using Paul to change the Democratic candidates positions. And you do that by getting them to make campaign promises, and then you hold them to it.

Does Obama have a primary challenger on the ballot in all 50 states, one which aligns with the qualities you name? No, he doesn't. Therefore he's the candidate which will run against the Republicans in this upcoming election.

And if he's running against Romney, the issues are the economy or his "anti-business" policies. If he's running against Gingrich the issues are conservative values. If he's running against Paul, the issues are civil liberties and the over-extension of our military.

Yeah, I'm trying to get Obama elected because I'm not a racist, homophobic conspiracy-theorizing gold bug. Those are my values. Not being a crazy old coot.

Sigh. This whole thread reminds me of the Kids in the Hall Child Molester's Jam skit.
posted by formless at 12:23 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


And some folks have values that include not wanting to bomb people in other countries and spend ridiculous amounts of money on the military. Some folks have values like not wanting to vote for bigots on gay marriage like Obama and instead support someone like Stewart Alexander who thinks it should be legal. People have to pick what values matter most and it isn't the same for all of us, there are many valid points of view.

I agree, the only way that the debate is going to focus on unpopular positions is if the parties nominate unpopular candidates.

That's fine, part of Greenwald's point is that the left only pretended they cared about this stuff during the Bush years.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:23 PM on January 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Some people on 'the left' carry about it. Some people on 'the left' care about other things more. Like, being able to work without being felt up by your boss.

And just as many people under the Ron Paul tent are only pretending to care about 'personal liberty' in as much as it allows them to discriminate against people and not pay taxes.
posted by empath at 12:31 PM on January 1, 2012


Foreign policy to the left of Obama is not popular with the Democratic party, you said it yourself.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:36 PM on January 1, 2012


(And your Ron Paul attacks work even less than your initial threadshits did when Ron Paul isn't even who I referenced)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:42 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know what you think running 'to the left' of Obama means. There's nothing particularly 'liberal' or 'progressive' about being anti-war in all cases. The left in the US (and elsewhere) has never really been pacifist. Generally, the leftist position on war is for peacekeeping missions within the context of international organizations like the UN, or in the case of Libya, the Arab League and the African Union. The Libyan intervention and the Serbian interventions are both leftist wars, in that sense.

The only thing that might be considered a right-wing war in the Obama administration is the continuing action in Afghanistan and the drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan. Both of which I'm opposed to, but they aren't #1 issues for me as much as "Not going to war with Iran" which is a very real possibility if a Republican wins the White House.

If you're opposed to Obama's foreign policy, by all means, be opposed to it, but it's not a 'leftist' position, to do so, I don't think.
posted by empath at 12:42 PM on January 1, 2012


Greenwald illuminates a great weakness in the Democratic Party and one that Progressives should really consider and not defensively knee-jerk it away. We have been marginalized by our President and our party and that needs to change before I can seriously support either.

I think Obama has decided the path to re-election lies in out hawking the hawks and I don't have much faith that he will suddenly change course if he wins. He has chosen the Clinton metric of trying to take away his opponents issues (one example is the huge cuts in Social Security and Medicare he proposed during the debt ceiling fiasco).

As a result, we have an administration that doesn't push back against the right-wing principles that entitlements are bad, that the economy will be fixed by cutting spending and the War on Terror gives the President unlimited authority. Instead, it embraces them.

I don't see a viable 3rd party candidate or Ron Paul pushing the President to change course and there are plenty of Dems who will support Obama no matter what. I suppose I will vote for him but it's a pretty anemic level of support that I can give at this point.

What can we do to regain a foothold in a Party that seems more interested in garnering the undecided independent vote rather than adopting a serious Progressive agenda?
posted by jabo at 12:45 PM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know what you think running 'to the left' of Obama means.

Then why are you bind posting that Obama will be pulled to the right when you didn't even read the article to find out what policies we are talking about?

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed “a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:48 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's so much hyperbole in there that it's almost laughable.
posted by empath at 12:51 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


What can we do to regain a foothold in a Party that seems more interested in garnering the undecided independent vote rather than adopting a serious Progressive agenda?

If the Democrat engine does not want our votes, maybe we should take them elsewhere, instead of giving away our voice for nothing, and getting nothing in return.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:56 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists.

Matt Taibbi: Obama and Geithner: Government, Enron-Style
posted by homunculus at 12:56 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's so much hyperbole in there that it's almost laughable.

Is it a claim that liberals should be anti-war in all cases like you just ignorantly assumed? No. It is a list of issues, do you want to add anything substantive about the actual content of the link, for the first time in this thread?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:59 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Arguing with people who haven't read the link is like arguing with a kitchen table. Don't bother.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


How about if you take out all the inflammatory rhetoric and actually post what you think Obama did that wasn't left wing.

As far as I can tell, it's most a case of him enforcing laws on the books (prosecuting the drug war and whistle blowers), saving the economy by bailing out the banks (most of which was done during the bush adminstration), killing terrorists and removing a dictator from power while preventing a massacre, and under international auspices.

There's nothing particularly left or right wing about government secrecy. All politicians have done it, from both sides of the aisle, since WWII.
posted by empath at 1:05 PM on January 1, 2012


Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before.

Speaking of surveillance: Court revives NSA dragnet surveillance case
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on January 1, 2012


How about if you take out all the inflammatory rhetoric and actually post what you think Obama did that wasn't left wing.

Empath, it's not my responsibility to read the article for you. If it's seriously too inflammatory for you to be able to parse it you probably just need to let it go.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:12 PM on January 1, 2012


If the Democrat engine does not want our votes, maybe we should take them elsewhere, instead of giving away our voice for nothing, and getting nothing in return.

I still think that the path toward realizing Progressive policies in my lifetime lies with the Democratic Party. Maybe that's because I've voted Dem since Jimmy Carter. However; I used to be vehemently opposed to your point… now I (and I think many other Progressives) seriously consider it.
posted by jabo at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2012


The linked article is a jumble of incoherent nonsense, fringe political shibboleths and fantasy.

[Obama] He has slaughtered civilians

There is a great difference between civilians casualties and deliberate slaughter.

He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs

Note how he focuses on a single minor issue here while ignoring Obamas efforts on reducing nuclear arsenals of the US and Soviet union, backing off on missile defense and seeking to avoid war with Iran.

He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout

Greenwald just ignores financial reform legislation. He also ignores a number of prosecutions and investigations which are ongoing.

building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

This is up is down left is right nonsense. Obama fought for extension of unemoebt benefits, which Mr Paul opposed. He sought to raise taxes in millionaires. He managed to nationalize student loans in his first term and has announced a new policy which is going to cap those loans to a percentage of income. He just pushed for a massive jobs bill. To agree with Mr Greenwald you must ignore reality.
posted by humanfont at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


the article is about how the United States' two-party system and endless campaign season generates a media environment which is toxic to discussing actual policies, because of the "footballism" that confuses policies with candidates / parties.

I think the problem you're describing is generally better described as "tribalism"... the "footballism" term would seem to me to more accurately describe the narratives and theater surrounding the contest itself, which is also an issue. Both are real problems.

But I don't buy that's what this article is about. Tribalism is apparently Greenwald's working explanation for why Paul isn't taken seriously as a candidate, particularly by Democrats and maybe even actual lefties, but this doesn't seem to be because Greenwald has a case that it's a better explanation than several others mentioned in this thread. I don't think I'd be going out on a limb given his history to suspect he's picking it instead because it best serves the other points he hopes to make with his piece.
posted by weston at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2012


I especially love how he uses the fact that Obama hasn't signed the clusterbomb treaty against him when Ron Paul would withdraw from ALL international treaties, including the Geneva convention and the UN.
posted by empath at 1:31 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Happy New Year: You Can Now Be Detained Indefinitely.
posted by ericb at 1:33 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama wrote. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My administration will interpret section 1021 [of the bill] in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."
posted by empath at 1:35 PM on January 1, 2012



He complains that the criticism does not get as much attention as more trivial matters during election season
.

Well heavens to Betsy, stop the presses immediately! Political campaigns often focus on a lot of bullshit, you say (he says)?! No way!

Surely, even you can see there are a lot of other, less incendiary ways to make such a trite, redundant, point? Also, I'm not really sure how that's "the left's" fault, Obama's fault etc. As I say, Greenwald is using the red flag of Paul and an all-too-typical bespoke definition of the "left" that conveniently excludes the literal thousands-if-not-millions of people that prove his point to be wrong.
posted by smoke at 1:45 PM on January 1, 2012


"While this law technically allows me to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial, I promise my administration won't abuse it! Scout's honor! Also, it doesn't expire when I leave office."
posted by indubitable at 1:46 PM on January 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


The really strange thing, to me, to me, is that there are still people assuming that my (and others) dismissal of the article is kneejerk, because I haven't read it. Am I among the apparent handful of people in the thread who voted for Obama without expecting Dennis Kucinich, and was satisfied with that choice? I saw most of the compromises coming in advance, and never really felt any sense of betrayal. By Greenwald's standards, I may not even be a liberal. Looks like I might have to change lunch tables.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 1:46 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the Democrat engine does not want our votes, maybe we should take them elsewhere, instead of giving away our voice for nothing, and getting nothing in return.

I had noted elsewhere that it must be a huge black-eye to the Democratic Party when the foremost advocates for gay rights recently are Theodore Olsen (you know, the guy too extreme to be confirmed to succeed Alberto Gonzales) and the Log Cabin Republicans who forced the issue on DADT.

And when Rand Paul of all people is appropriating his best Jimmy Stewart impression against the PATRIOT Act, you have to question where the Democratic leadership has been for the past 20 years.

And in so many other instances, it is becoming increasing apparent that the Democrats are not the heirs of the world-wide protests against the Iraq War, nor really have anything to offer beyond a veneer of concern.

And for better or worse, the TEA Party has made inroads at changing the structure of the Republican party, when the GOP had ignored their concerns for far too long (and is a large part of why we are even discussing Ron Paul's ideas now).

And the Democratic party will continue to stumble along, a mere shell of their previous glory, as more and more folks wise up to the fact that maybe they aren't the party that they claim to be.
posted by quintessencesluglord at 1:55 PM on January 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


First, the president has only so much power. Essentially he has the bully pulpit and the veto pen. Executive order abilities (as suggested above) are grossly overrated and highly unsettled, legally.

Second, the only real way to get a progressive government is to elect progressive legislators. They make the laws and can be powerful enough to overrule a recalcitrant executive.

Third, Ron Paul is not a wingnut because he's crazy - he's a wingnut because he's a true Libertarian. All kinds of bad things flow from that, by definition.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I especially love how he uses the fact that Obama hasn't signed the clusterbomb treaty against him when Ron Paul would withdraw from ALL international treaties, including the Geneva convention and the UN.

That would be a huge problem for someone that was endorsing Paul.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The really strange thing, to me, to me, is that there are still people assuming that my (and others) dismissal of the article is kneejerk

I'm suggesting this empath has not read the article because he thought it was an argument for pacifism and still thinks it was a Paul endorsement.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:26 PM on January 1, 2012


Well heavens to Betsy, stop the presses immediately! Political campaigns often focus on a lot of bullshit, you say (he says)?! No way!

Surely, even you can see there are a lot of other, less incendiary ways to make such a trite, redundant, point? Also, I'm not really sure how that's "the left's" fault, Obama's fault etc. As I say, Greenwald is using the red flag of Paul and an all-too-typical bespoke definition of the "left" that conveniently excludes the literal thousands-if-not-millions of people that prove his point to be wrong.


Your entire point is invalid because it is premised on the lie that Greenwald said something he didn't.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:28 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, it doesn't expire when I leave office

An instance of action can be overcome. If you vomit in the lap of the PM of Japan, you can send a gift basket the next week. Shit happens: you fix it and move on.

But as a general principle, bad laws and bad jurists that presidents sign and install are almost always damn near forever (or at least two or three generations, which is forever enough to do long-term damage). That's why Obama's apologetics on NDAA are worse than his promise not to abuse power while he's in office.

Greenwald is factually correct that Obama has been horrible for civil liberties — in that regard, possibly worse than Bush in many important respects. However, I don't think that Paul's greater presence in the media would necessarily translate over to more scrutiny about Obama's poor record on civil liberties. I think the media knows Paul looks weak to bread-and-butter conservatives on foreign policy, and he is weak to anyone else with the slightest concern about his openly "secret" hatred of blacks, gays, immigrants and other minority groups.

And while the country does need to have a dialog about civil liberties and the impact of laws that Obama has signed and voted on, like the NDAA and telecom immunity, Ron Paul is quite possibly the worst person in the world to trigger that very important discussion.

The media and the Democratic machine will latch on to his racism and make that the issue, and the public will acquiesce, as it so often does.

This thread was a good demonstration of the kind of manipulation at work: Someone who points out Paul's views on civil liberties are worth consideration in the context of what the sitting president has been doing the last three years gets called out for being a Paulist, despite putting opposition in big, clear, bold letters. Nearly everyone in this thread who espoused this view about Greenwald never bothered to read what he wrote in the first place, in point of fact.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:37 PM on January 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


it is becoming increasing apparent that the Democrats are not the heirs of the world-wide protests against the Iraq War

Unless you consider that fact that Obama, you know, ended the Iraq War.
posted by msalt at 3:22 PM on January 1, 2012


Further, Greenwald said that precisely this would happen., that discussion about him and what he's saying would take exactly the form it took on Metafilter. Witness the cheering for teams and calling the opposition candidate a Bad Person, saying "But the other guys would be even worse!" .... anything to avoid examining the fact that Obama has been an absolute disaster in nearly every area that liberals and civil libertarians care about. People point to the (minor) improvements and crow about them, while glossing over the wars, and the horrific terror attacks and abuses of civil liberties, the fiscal abuse, the outright fraud on Wall Street, and the ongoing revolving door between the public and private sectors.

When are people finally going to figure out that Obama is a big, fat liar? That he talks to liberals in code words, but he's not liberal at all? That he talks about preserving civil liberties while, in the exact same speech, proposing destroying them utterly?

Two-faced doesn't begin to cover it. If his mouth is open, he's probably lying, but he's just doing it better than Bush did it. Many of Bush and Cheney's lies were transparent, obvious, and stupid.... but Obama is telling the exact same untruths, and liberals will swallow them whole if they come from a professorial man who speaks the right code words.

I'm every bit as disgusted with the supposedly intelligent liberal community as I ever have been with the right wing. Values? Who the fuck cares about values, as long as Obama wins the next election?
posted by Malor at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Obama signed a massive defense bill that contained a provision that is likely unconstitutional. He has said he will not enforce it. Bush showed that a president who believes this kind of nonsense is constitutional, also doesn't think he needs statuary authority from congress.

Obama is better on civil liberties than Bush. Obama's justice department has fought the Arizona laws which allow police to arrest anyone the suspect of being in the country illegally. He's fought against the voter id laws which attempt to disenfranchise the poor. Dont ask don't tell was repealed. He has recently made US Foreign aid linked to respect human rights for GLBT individuals. You may not like some of the things he has done but to suggest that he is worse than Bush is not supported by the facts.
posted by humanfont at 3:30 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree with most of Blazecock's points, having read the article and understood it fully, but specifically chose, very simply, to highlight this:

And while the country does need to have a dialog about civil liberties and the impact of laws that Obama has signed and voted on, like the NDAA and telecom immunity, Ron Paul is quite possibly the worst person in the world to trigger that very important discussion.

Which was essentially my point, and the point of several others in the thread. His "baggage" is so far beyond the pale that I'm willing to compromise on all of the things Greenwald assumes I shouldn't compromise on, simply to deprive him and his followers of political oxygen.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:39 PM on January 1, 2012


Greenwald said that precisely this would happen., that discussion about him and what he's saying would take exactly the form it took on Metafilter.

That's because he introduced a flawed argument that he knew was flawed, and accurately predicted people would point out the flaw.

He's like one of the guys who says "Look I'm not a racist -- I know you're going to accuse me of being racist -- but Blacks just aren't good at blah blah blah, cause in the jungle you don't need that skill." That guy gets no points for predicting he will be criticized for racism.
posted by msalt at 3:47 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am getting awfully tired of ex-Obama supporters lashing out like 2-year-olds because he disappointed their outsize candy-colored unicorn hopes. I'm going to assume that most of them are too old for unironic hero-worship, and the tantrums are just distasteful.

Sure, Obama's a disappointment. But the wheels have come off the truck, folks: it's not like any of the other 'choices' would have or could be better. 'Hope', it seems, has been corrupted and compromised along with everything else.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:49 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or, shorter: Obama was never a hero that could save the day; there are no political heroes out there. Stop looking for 'leaders' to fix the system from inside, and organize.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:51 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two-faced doesn't begin to cover it. If his mouth is open, he's probably lying, but he's just doing it better than Bush did it. Many of Bush and Cheney's lies were transparent, obvious, and stupid....

Bush and Cheney's lies took advantage of the greatest tragedy to befall this country since WW2 in order to start a completely unjustified war, who's only seeming benefit was transfer of wealth into the pockets of a select few. They used the full apparatus of the federal government to bully and intimidate anyone who attempted to counter those lies in a substantive fashion. They used the manufactured fear of terrorist attack as a pr tool with the terror alert system, that always seemed to go up when there was a bad news cycle. There is a still a large section of the American public that believes that the war in Iraq had something to do with 9/11. A transparent, obvious lie, that started this whole mess that Obama if failing to clean up properly.

Do I agree with the Obama administration in these areas that you bring up? Not at all. But it will always be a red flag to me when criticism of him relies solely on the idea that he's some sort of shadowy "secret" sinister person. Doesn't matter if it's "secret muslim terrorist" or "secret Bush clone", it all stinks. Especially when placed in stark comparison the the abject lunacy that posits itself as his opposition.

He may be making a mess of the crime scene we tasked him to clean up, but to somehow say that's worse than actual murder is ridiculous.
posted by billyfleetwood at 4:01 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am getting awfully tired of ex-Obama supporters lashing out like 2-year-olds because he disappointed their outsize candy-colored unicorn hopes.

Bingo!

Where do I collect my prize in Obama Detractor Putdown Bingo, btw?
posted by indubitable at 4:15 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


And while the country does need to have a dialog about civil liberties and the impact of laws that Obama has signed and voted on, like the NDAA and telecom immunity, Ron Paul is quite possibly the worst person in the world to trigger that very important discussion.

Which was essentially my point, and the point of several others in the thread. His "baggage" is so far beyond the pale that I'm willing to compromise on all of the things Greenwald assumes I shouldn't compromise on, simply to deprive him and his followers of political oxygen.


Which is why you are supporting Stewart Alexander instead?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2012


He may be making a mess of the crime scene we tasked him to clean up, but to somehow say that's worse than actual murder is ridiculous.

Doesn't help that his Secretary of State voted in favor of the murder.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:53 PM on January 1, 2012


But it will always be a red flag to me when criticism of him relies solely on the idea that he's some sort of shadowy "secret" sinister person.

This is a fact-based argument. Look at what he does, as opposed to what he says. Liar doesn't begin to cover it. There's nothing secret about it! He says one thing, and turns around and does the exact opposite, sometimes in the next breath.

Actions matter, not words. And Obama's actions are every bit as bad or worse than Bush's, only with a nice kindly face on them.
posted by Malor at 5:20 PM on January 1, 2012


"When the Bush administration used fear to manipulate people, at least that made sense within the Republican worldview. It's pretty sad to see Democrats doing this."

So, when a Republican talks about an oncoming "race war", and Democrats call them on their ugliness, the Republicans respond with claims of fear mongering...

Wow. It really is like the Bush administration all over again!
posted by markkraft at 5:22 PM on January 1, 2012


"Obama's actions are every bit as bad or worse than Bush's, only with a nice kindly face on them."

Because he's started so many unnecessary ground wars, responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians... and has supported social policies that would deny medical coverage to millions of sick Americans.
posted by markkraft at 5:42 PM on January 1, 2012


This is a fact-based argument. Look at what he does, as opposed to what he says. Liar doesn't begin to cover it. There's nothing secret about it! He says one thing, and turns around and does the exact opposite, sometimes in the next breath.

ok, give me the facts. a link to a promise, and a link to where it was "broken."

I ask because I've seen some crazy things asserted here--that he promised single payer, that he promised to withdraw from Afghanistan, etc.

Where are the "promises" and where is the "breaking"
posted by Ironmouth at 5:42 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Funny I can't find anyone in this thread saying he promised single payer or Afghanistan withdraw but who cares we don't need facts when we have an agenda to push.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-broken/?page=1
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:48 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Funny I can't find anyone in this thread saying he promised single payer or Afghanistan withdraw but who cares we don't need facts when we have an agenda to push.


Didn't say this thread, nice try. Also, none of those things were passed by congress, therefore he can't sign them. Politifact is a joke. They literally think the Ryan Plan won't end medicare as we know it. They were widely razzed for it, but keep on trying hard to act like gutting the entire program isn't ending it as we know it because the name "medicare" would still be attached to it.

Let's see your choices, where Obama "promised" he would do X and X was put on his desk and he did not do it.

Go get 'em tiger!
posted by Ironmouth at 6:02 PM on January 1, 2012


You should probably go converse in whatever thread you are talking about I don't understand why you brought it to this one.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:06 PM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


If actions are what matter. Bush got us into Iraq. Obama got us out. Bush refused to ban torture, Obama issued an executive order against it. Bush worked to keep Gitmo open, Obama tried to close it. You have no case that Obama is worse than Bush. You don't even have a case that he's the same. What you have are a handful if things which any sane leader would have done, such as killing Awlaki.
posted by humanfont at 6:11 PM on January 1, 2012


As for PF it seems like most fact checking sources agree it was a lie so you will just eliminate any source on that basis, even the Washington Post, so there isn't really much anyone can do to give you evidence that will be acceptable in the Metafilter Superior Court of Ironmouth.

Obama got us out.

Well, he failed in the negotiations to keep us in, it was nice that his negotiating paid off for once.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:16 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's see your choices, where Obama "promised" he would do X and X was put on his desk and he did not do it.

Fair enough. Obama said he would veto NDAA as written, at least according to the Statement of Administration Policy his office issued in November 2011. After it passed Congress, he then turned around and signed it with minimal changes, then stating he will use signing statements to create special exceptions for its enforcement, breaking his promise in 2008 not to abuse executive fiat in the same way that Bush had during his tenure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:23 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's see your choices, where Obama "promised" he would do X and X was put on his desk and he did not do it.

It seems like you have added a big qualifier on your challenge. Should Obama be commended because he signs bills he says he will sign? Does it count when he threatens to veto a bill and doesn't?

If Bush asserted that he had the authority to assassinate American citizens he deemed to be terrorists, that he did not have to legally justify secret drone attacks in countries we were not at war with because to do so would compromise national security or that he couldn't prosecute Wall Street fraud because it was all legal… you wouldn't have been up in arms?

These are Obama's policies and not Bush's; but because they never reached Obama's desk for signing, you don't consider them generally as a broken promise?
posted by jabo at 6:40 PM on January 1, 2012


Not to make you all feel as old as I feel right now, but...

"20 years ago" sounds like a long time, but... that was (gulp) 1992.
posted by rokusan at 6:40 PM on January 1, 2012


Which is why you are supporting Stewart Alexander instead?

I fail to see how anyone's problems with Paul, or Greenwald, for that matter, necessitate them supporting someone who could barely be elected a small town mayor. Maybe I haven't been clear enough.

Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican who has been dead for over 40 years, was more progressive (and humane) during his time as President than Paul has ever shown himself to be. Eisenhower was committed to preserving Social Security, willing (albeit grudgingly) to enforce court-ordered desegregation, and expanded and maintained public works and infrastructure.

Ron Paul would work to destroy these things. He fails the Eisenhower Test.

In terms of foreign policy, he pursued a course meant to preserve American national interests at the time, avoiding forceful escalation relative to the hawks to his right, and attempting to limit tensions by achieving "detente" with America's declared enemies.

Obama is doing these things, which are things I voted him in to do. He passes the Eisenhower Test.

If the central premise is "having Paul in the race is good because it sends people a message about civil liberties that they need to hear" which is what I suppose the point was, according to people who tell me I keep missing it, that's perfectly fine, but I didn't think Greenwald sincerely meant that, just as I'm not sure that it is the primary reason Paul has gained the traction he has.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:52 PM on January 1, 2012


I fail to see how anyone's problems with Paul, or Greenwald, for that matter, necessitate them supporting someone who could barely be elected a small town mayor. Maybe I haven't been clear enough.

This is what was said:

And while the country does need to have a dialog about civil liberties and the impact of laws that Obama has signed and voted on, like the NDAA and telecom immunity, Ron Paul is quite possibly the worst person in the world to trigger that very important discussion.

Which was essentially my point, and the point of several others in the thread. His "baggage" is so far beyond the pale that I'm willing to compromise on all of the things Greenwald assumes I shouldn't compromise on, simply to deprive him and his followers of political oxygen.


So I was simply pointing out that there is someone without Paul or Obama's baggage that could trigger the discussion for us. However, since you have clarified that your issue is with electability and lesser of two evilism and not baggage we are both understanding each other I believe.

Basically, Paul is a convenient person to have around because he lets people excuse supporting foreign policy they would otherwise oppose because Paul is a bad man in other ways. Without the baggage, folks might have to admit their party actually doesn't support those good policies. Some people in this thread have admitted the Democrats don't care about these foreign policy concerns and that is quite commendable.

So, when people complain that Paul is a terrible man to be a spokesperson for these issues I can't help but agree, but he will remain the only spokesperson as long as everybody keeps refusing to support the better spokespeople.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:11 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Basically, Paul is a convenient person to have around because he lets people excuse supporting foreign policy they would otherwise oppose because Paul is a bad man in other ways. Without the baggage, folks might have to admit their party actually doesn't support those good policies.

I agree! But I took the article to mean exactly the opposite, namely that it's great Paul's around, and the more attention Paul gets, the better off "we" (ProgressiLiberals?) are, regardless of whether someone supports Paul or not. Since we both disagree with with this conclusion, and Blazecock highlighted it upthread, it appears we're all on the same page, although we differ on policy specifics. Group hug!
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:47 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree! But I took the article to mean exactly the opposite, namely that it's great Paul's around, and the more attention Paul gets, the better off "we" (ProgressiLiberals?) are, regardless of whether someone supports Paul or not. Since we both disagree with with this conclusion, and Blazecock highlighted it upthread, it appears we're all on the same page, although we differ on policy specifics. Group hug!

It is great that someone is doing it, when the other option is nobody doing it. You go to war with the army you have.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:52 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, he failed in the negotiations to keep us in

He said we were leaving and we left. A few trainers and some special forces guys isn't really the same thing as 180,000 soldiers engaged in daily firefights. Anyway I thought we were talking about where we are, not where we might have been.

So, when people complain that Paul is a terrible man to be a spokesperson for these issues I can't help but agree, but he will remain the only spokesperson as long as everybody keeps refusing to support the better spokespeople.

Spokesperson for what policy exactly? Absolute American Isolationism, a return to the gold standard and abandoning the notion of an independent central bank? Completely disregarding environmental concerns, nuclear proliferation, human rights and labor issues outside of the United States? Pulling out of the United Nations? In Ron Paul's newsletter it is ok to shoot a suspected criminal with an unregistered firearm and then flee the scene, but not ok for the military to attack a self confessed terrorist and Al Qaeda leader while he rides in an armed convoy.
posted by humanfont at 7:57 PM on January 1, 2012


Basically, Paul is a convenient person to have around because he lets people excuse supporting foreign policy they would otherwise oppose because Paul is a bad man in other ways.

How exactly does this work and what do these people using Paul as an excuse get out of supporting policies they oppose?

And are you putting this forward as a widely applicable explanation for continued support of recent policy and opposition to Paul, or are you saying this is maybe something some people do?

Without the baggage, folks might have to admit their party actually doesn't support those good policies.

And what of the multitudes who do in fact complain about the reality of what candidates and parties they support do once they hold office? Or those who even *genuinely support* the policies adopted?
posted by weston at 7:59 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Spokesperson for what policy exactly?

A policy of reading the article — or even the FPP text — before commenting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:02 PM on January 1, 2012


Well, he failed in the negotiations to keep us in

He said we were leaving and we left.


He said we were closing Guantanamo and we didn't. Fair enough.

As for what policies we are talking about I would urge you to consult TFA.

How exactly does this work and what do these people using Paul as an excuse get out of supporting policies they oppose?

Well, they will say things such as, "I can't support Paul even though I agree with some of his foreign policy because of his racist past and anti-gay views."

Next, you will suggest a candidate without those negative attributes and they will still not support that candidate for other reasons. That is the essential point here, the list of evil stuff Paul does is irrelevant. Folks had a chance to vote Kucinich, they don't want those policies or value other policy points or electability more.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:04 PM on January 1, 2012


He said we were closing Guantanamo and we didn't. Fair enough.

Is it that simple?

Well, they will say things such as, "I can't support Paul even though I agree with some of his foreign policy because of his racist past and anti-gay views." Next, you will suggest a candidate without those negative attributes and they will still not support that candidate for other reasons. That is the essential point here, the list of evil stuff Paul does is irrelevant. Folks had a chance to vote Kucinich, they don't want those policies or value other policy points or electability more.

So instead of saying that Ron Paul causes people to support policies they'd otherwise oppose -- which is how what you wrote above reads -- you're instead more or less saying that those who don't support Paul really aren't avoiding him because of his downsides, but because they don't really believe in what they claim to agree on him with, and I'd guess that what you suppose they get out of it is ostensible support for something everybody would naturally agree is good. Right?

they don't want those policies or value other policy points or electability more.

This is the only part of what you've said that genuinely makes any sense to me, and I don't think you're giving it what it's due. People's process of weighing positions in aggregate and distilling them down to a vote can be as simple as a few key issues, or it can be a pretty complex calculation. And electability is a pretty practical consideration. If it's not important to you, that's your privilege, but if someone else weights it equally with or even heavier than some other policy they claim to support, that doesn't give you any legitimate basis on which to claim they're being disingenuous about their positions.
posted by weston at 8:51 PM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is accusing someone of not reading the article the new hippypunching? I don't think liberals agree with Ron Paul's view of isolationism, a withdrawal from the UN and and end to foreign aid. I don't see how a liberal would agree that global warming doesn't exist and if it does there is nothing we can do about it. Nor do I think most liberals would suggest we shouldn't advocate for human rights and labor standards. Ron Paul doesn't even think we should fund the World Heath Organization to deal with epidemics like TB, AIDS or Flu. About the only thing he was for in foreign policy was to vote in favor of the AMUF against those responsible for 9-11. This resolution allowed the President unrestricted power to define who was responsible for 9-11 and who helped them. It also granted the President authority to attack those people.

It isn't that I ignore the supposed failings of Obama, and discount Pauls strengths. I challenge Greenwald's narrative. Paul's goals are antithetical to progressive views in almost every way. Obama has moved us towards a better world. Greenwald's argument is unsupportable. The truth is Greenwald has spent his legal career defending self confessed racists and terrorists. The very people who seek to destroy civilization. As a columnist he seems focused on attacking actual progressives who gave help to build it up. He claims it is out of a higher moral duty to protect the rights of all. Yet when it really seems to count in defending our rights he is nowhere. Thus I conclude he is either irrationally self destructive, a troll looking for attention or simply a closet bigot.
posted by humanfont at 9:30 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


He said we were closing Guantanamo and we didn't. Fair enough.

Is it that simple?


Of course not, and neither was the Iraq withdraw as simple as "Obama got us out" when he had been negotiating to keep potentially tens of thousands of troops there. We can either look at results or look at process and we will find success and failure. What we aren't going to do is pick and choose depending on how good or bad it makes Obama look.

This is the only part of what you've said that genuinely makes any sense to me, and I don't think you're giving it what it's due. People's process of weighing positions in aggregate and distilling them down to a vote can be as simple as a few key issues, or it can be a pretty complex calculation. And electability is a pretty practical consideration. If it's not important to you, that's your privilege, but if someone else weights it equally with or even heavier than some other policy they claim to support, that doesn't give you any legitimate basis on which to claim they're being disingenuous about their positions.

I agree entirely, which is why I don't blame folks who support people like Paul because their value system ranks the war issues higher.

Is accusing someone of not reading the article the new hippypunching?

You asked what issues we are talking about, I don't know why you expect us to retype the article for you again.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:45 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Kucinich

Kucinich is an ass. He was pimping Qadaffi and Bashar Assad under the table, with Qadaffi's funding, until he got caught.
posted by msalt at 9:55 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


neither was the Iraq withdraw as simple as "Obama got us out" when he had been negotiating to keep potentially tens of thousands of troops there.

No evidence will ever be good enough for you. But here in consensus reality, Obama campaigned on ending the Iraq War and did it. John McCain campaigned saying that we needed more troops in Iraq. Mitt Romney has said the same thing, and attacked Obama for ending the war.

The last Republican president your strategy got elected appointed Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court. Obama appointed Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. These are not "the same or worse" policies.
posted by msalt at 10:02 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, they will say things such as, "I can't support Paul even though I agree with some of his foreign policy because of his racist past and anti-gay views." Next, you will suggest a candidate without those negative attributes and they will still not support that candidate for other reasons. That is the essential point here, the list of evil stuff Paul does is irrelevant. Folks had a chance to vote Kucinich, they don't want those policies or value other policy points or electability more.

Yes, because:

A) Foreign policy isn't the only issue in politics
B) People support candidates which actually have a chance of getting elected, and getting something done.

I vote for the person who can accomplish more of what I want him to do while doing less of what I don't want him to do. Voting for the guy who can't win over the guy you prefer that can win might make you feel better, but at the end of the day, you've made a tactically stupid vote.
posted by empath at 10:27 PM on January 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel like saying this strongly and letting people explain if I'm at all mistaken.

Libertarianism is confusing because a subset of the policies derived from it are not hopelessly, repugnantly immoral despite being derived from a profoundly different place than the liberal ethos of concern for others.
posted by spbmp at 10:32 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't have much to say about Paul that hasn't already been said here, but may I just take a moment to express a sincere "wtf" to the people repeatedly posting about Obama intentionally and gladly dropping cluster bombs on "brown people" civilians as a cornerstone of policy.

War necessarily involves civilian casualties, even the high-tech spec-ops drone campaigns we're seeing under Obama's watch (as opposed to Bush's trillion dollar invasion/occupation package deals that ended hundreds of thousands of lives). Criticize our presence in Afghanistan if you want, but don't twist the situation into some bizarre fantasy where the president is gleefully slaughtering innocents just because he's just that evil. I wouldn't even characterize Nixon that way, and he was pretty damn messed up when it came to Vietnam.

You're coming off as disingenuous cranks, and not doing much to impress people who don't have a completely unhinged view of the war (or any war).
posted by Rhaomi at 10:34 PM on January 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


The negotiations were to keep several thousand trainers not tens of thousands of troops in Iraq. You should really get your facts straight and stop lobbing accusations. Looking either at the outcome or the process in both cases they are on Obama's side. I pointed out up thread most of Greenwald's attacks on Obama are overstated. Claiming Obama slaughtered Muslim children is a bit of a leap. I find no evidence of cannibalism in the Obama administration. Nor has anyone shown evidence of deliberate murder. On the other hand Rob Paul wrote a newsletter wherin he suggests that should you murder a kid be sure to dispose of the weapon and make sure it can't be traced. I suppose you'll just accuse me of missing the point. Then you'll say we need is a multiparty system where the political fringe such as dr Paul can have a larger influence on national policy. I disagree.
posted by humanfont at 10:37 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


neither was the Iraq withdraw as simple as "Obama got us out" when he had been negotiating to keep potentially tens of thousands of troops there.

No evidence will ever be good enough for you.


Do you have evidence do dispute the widely reported claims I linked? I was pointing out that you can't pick and choose when you only look at results and when you only look at the complexities of the process based on which makes your candidate look good.

Are we results only? Okay, take your medicine on Guantanamo. Are we process only? Okay, well you can excuse Guantanamo but not Iraq. The man isn't perfect, there is no shame in looking at his record honestly.

I vote for the person who can accomplish more of what I want him to do while doing less of what I don't want him to do. Voting for the guy who can't win over the guy you prefer that can win might make you feel better, but at the end of the day, you've made a tactically stupid vote.

That's a perfectly valid point of view, you should look into this thing called TFA that explained it is fine to do that, just don't make excuses for what you decided to sacrifice. When a Republican does it you have to realize they will be justifying it based on your candidate's actions and that is going to cause a problem for some of us. We will welcome you back into the fold, but the eyes will be rolling.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:37 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The negotiations were to keep several thousand trainers not tens of thousands of troops in Iraq. You should really get your facts straight and stop lobbing accusations.

From the article I linked, here on National Metafilter "I WILL NEVER CLICK ON LINKS" Day.

As recently as August, Maliki's office was discussing allowing 8,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops to remain until next year, Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaida'ie said in an interview with The Cable. He told us that there was widespread support in Iraq for such an extension, but the Obama administration was demanding that immunity for U.S. troops be endorsed by the Iraqi Council of Representatives, which was never really possible.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:45 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Guardian: Iraq rejects US request to maintain bases after troop withdrawal. Obama announces the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq but fails to persuade Nouri al-Maliki to allow US to keep bases there

The Pentagon had wanted the bases to help counter growing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Just a few years ago, the US had plans for leaving behind four large bases but, in the face of Iraqi resistance, this plan had to be scaled down this year to a force of 10,000. But even this proved too much for the Iraqis.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:03 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a columnist he seems focused on attacking actual progressives who gave help to build it up. He claims it is out of a higher moral duty to protect the rights of all. Yet when it really seems to count in defending our rights he is nowhere. Thus I conclude he is either irrationally self destructive, a troll looking for attention or simply a closet bigot.

The only cranks in this thread are people like you, people who did not bother to read the article before going on your boring, strident and too-entirely-predictable anti-Greenwald rant. I don't agree with the premise of his essay, but at least I bothered to read the fucking thing and try to educate myself before opening my mouth. Jesus Christ.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:38 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


boring, strident and too-entirely-predictable is how i'd describe every single column that Greenwald has ever written.
posted by empath at 12:53 AM on January 2, 2012


He had a pretty good article on Jim Webb back in the day, it lionized him for valuing the courage of your convictions over political pragmatism.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:27 AM on January 2, 2012


This thread is depressing as shit.
posted by zardoz at 4:54 AM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The truth is Greenwald has spent his legal career defending self confessed racists and terrorists. The very people who seek to destroy civilization. As a columnist he seems focused on attacking actual progressives who gave help to build it up. He claims it is out of a higher moral duty to protect the rights of all. Yet when it really seems to count in defending our rights he is nowhere. Thus I conclude he is either irrationally self destructive, a troll looking for attention or simply a closet bigot.

Or maybe you just plain don't like gay people, humanfont: either conclusion is equally valid, which is to say, not at all.
posted by mek at 5:20 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greenwald actually called the people who sued his client -- the mass-murdering neo-Nazi Matt Hale -- for civil rights violations 'odious and repugnant."

"All they can say Matt Hale did is express the view that Jews and blacks are inferior," he said. "There's just no question that expressing those views is a core First Amendment activity." Further, Greenwald said, "I find that the people behind these lawsuits are truly so odious and repugnant, that creates its own motivation for me."

Plus he works for the Cato Institute. His rants are so unhinged and scattershot, that I really have to worry about what his motivation is. Maybe he's willing to throw blacks under the bus to support Ron Paul (who openly opposes the Civil Rights act and considers discrimination a 'private matter') because he thinks blacks are inferior.
posted by empath at 5:43 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


And as far as i can tell, the guy he called odious and repugnant did nothing but stand in his driveway while his client's followers shot him 3 times.
posted by empath at 5:44 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I didn't know that bad people weren't entitled to defense lawyers, thanks for letting us in on that one, empath. I'll be sure to notify everyone I know in the criminal defense business.
posted by mek at 5:49 AM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


He didn't have to go out of his way to call the people his client targeted with murder "odious and repugnant".
posted by empath at 5:51 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure, but alleging he's racist on that basis alone is way over the line. For a white supremacist, he sure spends a lot of time worrying about the civil rights of Muslim terrorists, don't you think? And yet again, he clearly isn't supporting Ron Paul's candidacy.
posted by mek at 6:05 AM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


For a white supremacist, he sure spends a lot of time worrying about the civil rights of Muslim terrorists, don't you think?

Well, worrying about the civil rights of terrorists has been an ongoing theme for him. Maybe he likes terrorists more than he hates brown people, I don't know. If you think I'm being unfair to him, btw, you should go back and read what he wrote about Obama and see if he extended him the same benefit of the doubt that you're extending Greenwald.
posted by empath at 6:08 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greenwald today: End of the pro-democracy pretense: Fears of Arab democracy are finally ending the charade that the U.S. supports it
posted by homunculus at 10:35 AM on January 2, 2012


(My joke was that empath linked that Webb article in an FPP, for some reason Greenwald wasn't a racist/anti-semite/terrorist lover until after early 2009.)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:13 PM on January 2, 2012


Greenwald today: End of the pro-democracy pretense: Fears of Arab democracy are finally ending the charade that the U.S. supports it

Meanwhile in the real world the Obama Administration pressured Egypt's generals to speed up the transition to civilian rule, and stop crackdowns on human rights activists. Jon Alterman whom Greenwald uses as voice of administration policy is in fact a former Bush administration and Iraq Study Group member. He is not a member of the Obama Administration. Greenwald confirms that this is clearly Obama's intention by citing Noam Chomsky another person without any connection to the Obama administration.

My joke was that empath linked that Webb article in an FPP, for some reason Greenwald wasn't a racist/anti-semite/terrorist lover until after early 2009

Jim Webb is an example of a human being who looked really hard at the real world and when his ideology was out of sync with his experience he changed his views. We could all learn a lot from Senator Webb.
posted by humanfont at 12:41 PM on January 2, 2012


I have only read through the first few comments, and I normally don't do this, but OH MY GOD I wish people would RTFA first.
posted by mikeweeney at 12:56 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Reader might have a divergent reaction and understanding of the article than your own. Rather than accusing them of failing to read or understand the article perhaps you might engage in meaningful conversation. You might attempt to have a dialogue that fosters mutual understanding, or debate various points raised.
posted by humanfont at 2:02 PM on January 2, 2012


Maybe, but if reader doesn't know what issues article is talking about maybe can't discuss article with reader.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:15 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think a commenter that comments within 5 minutes of the post going live could have done more than barely scanned the article. I usually ignore them, but the first few comments here are exactly the kind of knee-jerk responses that the article discusses. How can you have meaningful conversation with a person about an article when their only knowledge of it is a headline and short quote?
posted by mikeweeney at 2:36 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


exactly the kind of knee-jerk responses that the article discusses.

And invites -- possibly even cultivates.
posted by weston at 2:51 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked this thread! It was fun! I learned I should probably pick another name for my belief system when I talk to the people with views like Greenwald and furiousxgeorge, and maybe you should too, so that people won't make strange assumptions about whether or not you've read articles.

What do you think? Should I call myself:

"Scoop Jackson Social Democrat"?

"Like Barry Goldwater, but the one towards the end of his life"?

"A Friend of Richard Lugar"?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 2:53 PM on January 2, 2012


I think you are not in danger of being confused with me unless you describe yourself as social libertarian/economic liberal and independent voter.

It's really amusing watching the RTFA backlash though, folks like Ironmouth and Empath are both intelligent people perfectly capable of reacting to the actual argument Greenwald presented. Instead they skipped the article and walked right into the teeth of Greenwald's point.

Others have been told to RTFA because they straight up said they don't know what issues we are discussing, not sure what else can be done with that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on January 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your suggestion that the article had a point is proof that you have not read it closely.
posted by humanfont at 4:27 PM on January 2, 2012


Hi again humanfont have you clicked over to read the list of issues we are talking about yet and do you have the links I asked for regarding your accusation I was wrong about our negotiations to keep troops in Iraq?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:37 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


He extended him the same benefit of the doubt that you're extending Greenwald.

I'm not extending him any the benefit of any doubt, I'm letting his words speak for themselves. A defense attorney was a dick once, wow, shocking. You're the one with a crypto-racist conspiracy theory alleging Greenwald has an evil plan to destroy America from his all-powerful position at Salon Blogs. It's not even remotely sane, and yet you desperately cling to it.
posted by mek at 4:48 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


You suggested tens of thousands troops would remain in a continuation of the previous mission. These points are contradicted by your own articles. Perhaps you should read them. Perhaps your simple minded attacks are driven by some tribal loyalty to libertarianism. This seems to prevent you from evaluating candidates and issues according to their real policies and observable results.
posted by humanfont at 5:01 PM on January 2, 2012


No, I said "he had been negotiating to keep potentially tens of thousands of troops there."

I would link you to my comment, but it seems like a waste of effort to expect you to click on it, eh?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:05 PM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama explicitly wanted tens of thousands of troops to remain in Iraq, but the Iraqi parliament denied his request for legal immunity for American military forces, based partially on a Wikileaks leak. Simple story, very hard to comprehend, I see.
posted by mek at 5:11 PM on January 2, 2012


Since homunculus might be busy: Re-Thinking The Paul Endorsement.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:29 PM on January 2, 2012


Your Manichean worldview seems to preclude an understanding that the final text of the proposed agreement would have enabled only up to ten thousand, not tens of thousands as claimed to be based in Iraq. You also ignore the entirely different character of their mission from the previous occupying force. I assume this is because of your partisan loyalty and opposition that lacks intellectual rigor and political independence. If only you would abandon your simple minded hypocrisy we could work together to solve America's problems. Oh great now I'm Greenwaldng, yuck.....
posted by humanfont at 6:41 PM on January 2, 2012


Your Manichean worldview seems to preclude an understanding that the final text of the proposed agreement would have enabled only up to ten thousand

Umm, no I understood that fine and posted for you. "in the face of Iraqi resistance, this plan had to be scaled down this year to a force of 10,000."

As you skipped over my previous comment, allow me to repeat what I said again, "he had been negotiating to keep potentially tens of thousands of troops there."

Obviously, he failed in his negotiations in the face of Iraqi pressure and the numbers kept going down.

You also ignore the entirely different character of their mission from the previous occupying force.

Let me be clear, I don't care if the entire mission of the tens of thousands of troops Obama wanted to keep in Iraq was to hand out candy bars and ice cream, I still would want them out. However, since you have again not read my comments I will point out I did in fact address why they would remain in my previous comments. "The Pentagon had wanted the bases to help counter growing Iranian influence in the Middle East."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:54 PM on January 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


This seems to prevent you from evaluating candidates and issues according to their real policies and observable results.

The irony of this statement is jaw-dropping.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:59 PM on January 2, 2012


Now it's no candy or ice cream for you Iraqi. Certainly not from the hand of the American dogs eh? Or is it fuck it let's leave the Iraqis to their historic Persian adversaries, who also happen to hold big state sponsored rallies calling for our death each national holiday. I'm sure they arn't serious about that. I mean it isn't like our forefathers did some horrific unforgivable thing for which some of their leaders carry a generations long grudge. At least we didn't hand out candy and ice cream. I'm glad you and Greenwald were able to clear it all up.
posted by humanfont at 8:33 PM on January 2, 2012


Unfortunately, the candy situation is out of my (or Glenn's) control. I can provide an excellent recipe, however the reason the US was unable to use their tens of thousands of troops to spearhead the distribution process was, as you may have heard, that the candy distribution negotiations were derailed by demands that the U.S. candy would be immune from Iraqi food safety regulations.

NPR: The issue of immunity for U.S. Candy Distributors appears to have been the key factor in the Obama administration's decision to withdraw virtually all American Candy Distributors from Iraq at the end of this year.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:55 PM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean it isn't like our forefathers did some horrific unforgivable thing for which some of their leaders carry a generations long grudge.

America certainly did that to Iran, yes; and now it's done the same to Iraq, who will also undoubtedly hold a generations-long grudge. Enjoy.
posted by mek at 10:17 PM on January 2, 2012


furiousxgeorge, you are fixating on small detail after small detail and missing the big picture. Big picture; calling Obama's policies as bad or worse than Bush or Romney is absurd.

eg Alito and John Roberts vs. Sotomayor and Kagan. Didn't notice you addressing that one.

Iraq? Mitt Romney wants to send more troops in. John McCain wanted to reverse the withdrawal of troops and ramp up the troop level. They are the alternative to Obama. That unknown socialist you keep touting can't do anything to reduce foreign troops. All he can do is help Republicans get elected and start a war in Iran.
posted by msalt at 12:36 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


He said we were closing Guantanamo and we didn't.

This is your example of Obama not living up to his word?!? He ordered Guantanamo shut down on his THIRD DAY IN OFFICE. A court put a hold on it, and Congress voted by a veto-proof majority to stop him. 90-6 in the Senate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp

What would Kucinich or Ron Paul or Stewart Alexander have done better, exactly, after they were (not even remotely) elected?
posted by msalt at 12:48 AM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Folks, now is the time in the evening where we have to step in and say stop calling each other names, trolls and otherwise, and start having a discussion about the topic of the thread instead. Up to you. MetaTalk is another perfectly viable option if you have specific complains about specific people. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:24 PM on January 3, 2012


msalt, I feel you have misinterpreted my comments in that I have made no comments on the superiority/inferiority of Obama's policies in comparison to his potential Republican opponents in this thread. In addition, my comments regarding Guantanamo were pointing out specifically that the situation was more complex than the actions of the President in isolation, like I was arguing was also the case in regards to Iraq.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:53 PM on January 3, 2012


furiousxgeorge, you have been arguing that Obama should be criticized in comparison to some vague ideal. Yet whenever the thing you are attempting to compare him with is challenged, you run away from it, saying "No, not that thing." Like the FPP article, you try to say "Look, I'm not advocating Ron Paul, so it's not fair to criticize Ron Paul, but Ron Paul shows what Obama should be like. Hey! No fair criticizing Ron Paul." It is a stance which appears disingenuous to say the least.

When that position proved untenable, you started advocating socialist Stewart Alexander, but quickly ran away from defending him as well. So you are criticizing Obama for being inferior to a chimera even you won't defend, some theoretical super-politician who can take a hard-left stand that fewer than 5% of Americans would support, and somehow manage to get elected and magically implement all of his policies.

Here in the real world, you don't get to choose between all process and all results. You have to strike a tough and unsatisfying balance between the two while playing 3-dimensional chess against a well-funded, well-organized conservative machine with the Supreme Court and the biggest news organization on earth firmly on their side. I'd love to see someone accomplish more than Obama, and I imagine he would, too.

In the meantime, to quote the Beatles, "you say you've got a real solution, well, you know, we'd all love to see the plan."
posted by msalt at 10:00 PM on January 3, 2012


Actually no I have not said the things you have falsely attributed to me. If you would like to discuss this further please contact me via MeMail with applicable quotes instead of ones you just made up.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:23 PM on January 3, 2012


Your invitation is very enticing -- "You're a liar! Stop talking! Email me to talk more about me! -- but I'm going to keep focusing on the original article (which I read!) and the idea that Ron Paul somehow shows Obama up.

What's interesting about the Iowa results is that Ron Paul did attract new, younger and independent voters to the Republican primary -- and got 20% advocating extreme isolationism and legal heroin -- but overall Republican turnout was not up. That tells me that the rightward drift and ideological purity of the Fox-led Republicans is shrinking their base even in conservative Iowa.

It reminds me a bit of the dying days of Yugoslavia, where Milosevic was able to maintain power only by attacking (and losing ground to) and rallying against various enemies. Perhaps Greenwald's article makes sense if you search and replace "the Republican Party" for "Obama."
posted by msalt at 8:32 AM on January 4, 2012


Bush-era whistleblower faced even more intense harassment under Obama
posted by homunculus at 10:35 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are two benefits I can see to a Ron Paul presidency (which ain't gonna happen, but still...):
  1. It's unlikely that it'd last 8 years. Whoever ran against him in 2016 would probably win.
  2. The political narrative would shift pretty drastically, leaving room for an actual progressive candidate to run.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:08 AM on January 4, 2012


I would love to see a bigger voice for small-L libertarian ideas in U.S. politics. Ron Paul just doesn't seem like a very good vehicle for it. What about Gary Johnson, who is actually running as a Libertarian? I never see anything about him.
posted by msalt at 12:24 PM on January 4, 2012


homunculus: you should add warning: Cory Doctorow to that link. Who edited this sentence?
Jesselyn Radack is a former US government lawyer, blew the whistle on the US Justice Department when her advice that John Walker Lindh request to have access to a lawyer during questioning should be allowed was sealed, and then Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that Lindh had not requested a lawyer.
posted by msalt at 12:29 PM on January 4, 2012


Also, that headline appears to be flat-out wrong. The Bush-era whistleblower (Jesselyn Radack) gives a 10 minute speech in the link, which says that the Obama Administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined (can that be right?), but she says nothing about being harassed herself. She is speaking in her role as advocate for the Government Accountability Project.

Also, Doctorow spells her name 2 different ways in a 2 paragraph SLYT blog post. He should email the mods to get that fixed for him.
posted by msalt at 12:42 PM on January 4, 2012


Your invitation is very enticing -- "You're a liar! Stop talking! Email me to talk more about me!

I'm happy to correct your false statements here but you may have noticed the mod that is not so happy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:02 PM on January 4, 2012


Also, that headline appears to be flat-out wrong. [...] which says that the Obama Administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined (can that be right?)

You know, as much fun as it is to read comment after comment of your explicitly uninformed speculation, the entire internet is at your disposal, offering you the opportunity to educate yourself further on subjects you know not of.
posted by mek at 6:04 PM on January 4, 2012


mek: way to pounce on someone for acknowledging the limits of what they know in a parenthetical aside to a tangent off the main topic. Wouldn't want someone to acknowledge their limits.

Having done research, I was right. That statement is highly doubtful. The most solid contention similar to it is the NYT's statement that the Obama administration "has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. " It's a big leap from "leak" to "whistleblower", doesn't say "all previous administrations combined" and refers to 5 prosecutions, most of which were started under the Bush administration.

Granted, the Drake prosecution (started under Bush) was stupid, but there is no way that only 4 people have ever been prosecuted for revealing secrets in all of history before Obama. Maybe it was under different statutes (eg Lewis Libby was convicted of perjury in the Plame case). Do you count court-martials, Nixon's enemies list, break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist, etc?

The only person I could find saying "all combined" is Mark Zaid, defense attorney for one of the accused, and he says it's just because technology makes prosecution easier, that Bush would have done far worse if he had the tools.
posted by msalt at 7:10 PM on January 4, 2012


Well here's that radical, left-wing mouthpiece TIME Magazine: If the Obama Administration were to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it would be the sixth time the Administration has pressed charges against defendants suspected of leaking classified information. The government has only ever filed similar charges three times over the last 40 years.

And I'll add that the "jump" between "leak" and "whistleblower" isn't exactly an objective one. I'm sure plenty of people still believe the Pentagon Papers were a "leak".
posted by mek at 9:57 PM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the Obama Administration were to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it would be the sixth time the Administration has pressed charges against defendants suspected of leaking classified information. The government has only ever filed similar charges three times over the last 40 years.

That is demonstrably false just a few:
Aldrich Ames
David Barnett
David Boone
Christopher Boyce
Richard Miller
Robert Hanson
Jonathan Pollard

Then there are cases where the subject was accused of mishandling classified information like Wen Ho Lee and Lawrence Franklin. Sandy Berger was investigated, but not charged iirc. These are just from a quick poke around. I'm sure there are many more.
posted by humanfont at 5:25 PM on January 5, 2012


The Obama administration has misguidedly used the Espionage Act in five such cases of news media disclosures; previously there were no more than four in all of White House history. That's the NYT decrying Obama on this very issue.

Obama's "war on whistleblowers" is pretty damn well-documented, I'm sorry it lacks truthiness for you. Polticial scientist Gabriel Schoenfeld: “Ironically, Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history — even more so than Nixon.” Here's a Washingtonian profile which describes it as "Obama's historic anti-leaks campaign."
posted by mek at 11:27 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


mek: Your axe-grinding is apparently by the way you wave off the distinction between whistle-blowing and leaks, and ignore humanfont's list.

If you want to say that the Obama administration has used the Espionage Act (one specific law) more for leaks to the press, that may be more solid (though the editorial you link does not offer any documentation, and the same paper's news article on the same subject didn't say that.)

Then again, you're left with the comment of the defense attorney for one of these cases, which I quoted and you ignored, that it's only because new technology makes prosecution possible, that Bush would have done far more. So what's your point?
posted by msalt at 11:14 AM on January 6, 2012


Turns out there were dozens of prosecutions under the Espionage Act during WWI, most for public speeches or articles in small newspapers and magazines such as The Jeffersonian, The Masses, and the Watchtower (of Jehovah's Witness fame.) Those prosecuted included celebrities such as e.e. cummings and Eugene Debs.

So the NYT statement is either completely false, or based on very fine parsing of words beyond even what we've discussed here.

Let's look at the 5 leak prosecutions you're decrying. The Drake case was idiotic, and a prosecution of Assange would be terrible. But in what way do you claim Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, Shamai Leibowitz, or Jeffrey Sterling were whistleblowers? What scandals were they revealing?
posted by msalt at 11:40 AM on January 6, 2012


Your axe-grinding is apparently by the way you wave off the distinction between whistle-blowing and leaks

The distinction is a political - not factual - one. I don't care to make it because I don't wield the political power necessary. (Q: What's the difference between Ellsberg and Manning? A: About 40 years.)

The power being discussed is a particular section of the Espionage Act which allows for the prosecution of leaks/whistleblowers for "mishandling national defense information", not the Act in general, which is very broad and covers many other crimes. And how the hell would I know what Sterling thought he was revealing? His own lawyer had to be given clearance to have that conversation with him! Anyway, Leibowitz clearly thought he was preventing an aggressive and illegitimate attack on Iran. (That piece, yet again, repeats the uncomfortable fact: "The Espionage Act has been used by the Justice Department in nearly all prosecutions of government employees for disclosing classified information to the news media, including the record-setting five such cases under President Obama.")
posted by mek at 2:30 PM on January 6, 2012


the distinction [between whistle-blowing and leaks] is a political - not factual - one

That's ridiculous. By your definition, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were whistle-blowers when they leaked information about Valerie Plame to punish her husband.

The whole point of whistle-blower protections is to carve out an exception to secrecy rules for people revealing malfeasance by their superiors. If there's no real distinction, you have to either eliminate all whistle-blower protections, or eliminate all penalties for revealing classified information.

You also ignore a key point from the Leibowitz article you cite. The behavior he revealed was not by his superiors, or even by the US. It was a potential Israeli strike he was trying to pre-empt. However, he worked for the US, translating wiretaps from the Israeli Embassy. He was a spy who revealed secret information that wasn't a surprise to anyone who follows politics (Israel might attack Iran? You're KIDDING!) -- but his revelation damaged the US by revealing our wiretaps.

What do you think the correct response from the Obama administration should have been? Muss his hair and say "Oh, you scamp!"?
posted by msalt at 5:01 PM on January 6, 2012


William Welch your alleged point man in the war on leaks is actually just a career civil servant whose claim to fame in Washington was blowing the Ted Stephen's case during his short time as a political appointee under Bush and then taking a big demotion to stay at the DOJ.

You seem to have a lot of people claiming a war on leaks but no actual evidence. Btw i beleive the same Time Magazine, New York Times and Washingtonian media you hold up also unanimously agreed that Saddam Hussien had WMD's. It must have been true everyone said so.
posted by humanfont at 5:13 PM on January 6, 2012


He was a spy who revealed secret information that wasn't a surprise to anyone who follows politics (Israel might attack Iran? You're KIDDING!) -- but his revelation damaged the US by revealing our wiretaps.

And the level of doublethink needed to go from this sentence to "charge this person with espionage" boggles the mind. But hey, this is the same administration that brought you the Manning trial, so unfortunately it's not surprising.
posted by mek at 7:11 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greenwald responds: Democratic Party priorities
posted by homunculus at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2012


The Venn of Ron Paul and Other Mysteries of Libertarianism Explained
posted by homunculus at 10:52 AM on January 7, 2012


I think it's an interesting rhetorical strategy to pre-emptively make all the obvious arguments against yourself and then say that because you said them first that they don't count.
posted by empath at 11:24 AM on January 7, 2012


Look, I know you're just going to say that the moon isn't actually made out of green cheese, but I think we should build a cheese mine on the moon.
posted by empath at 11:25 AM on January 7, 2012


I think it's an interesting rhetorical strategy to not read articles/pretend they say the opposite of what they actually do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2012


Greenwald responds: Democratic Party priorities

Wow. He's taken all the bad storytelling, strawmaning, and poor-faith attributions of the originally posted article and doubled down on them.
posted by weston at 1:38 PM on January 7, 2012


And the level of doublethink needed to go from this sentence to "charge this person with espionage" boggles the mind. But hey, this is the same administration that brought you the Manning trial, so unfortunately it's not surprising.

You started out demanding RESEARCH by any one who dares to question your favorite hyperbole. And after a lot of documentation, analysis and refutation is provided, all you can do is vaguely wave it away as "doublethink." Not very persuasive.

A government spy clandestinely passing on secrets from his work to promote his own personal agenda against that of his employer? Yeah, that's pretty close to espionage in my book. But the word "espionage" in the title of the act doesn't prevent it from covering other related crimes. He was sentenced to 20 months, not a huge sentence. Do you have a different law you'd prefer was used? Why is charging under this law so awful?
posted by msalt at 2:23 PM on January 7, 2012


In the same week that Obama pressed for significant defense cuts, and was attacked by the Republican chair of the House Armed Services Comittee who said:

This is a lead from behind strategy for a left-behind America. The President has packaged our retreat from the world in the guise of a new strategy to mask his divestment of our military and national defense.
posted by humanfont at 4:37 PM on January 7, 2012


And after a lot of documentation, analysis and refutation is provided, all you can do is vaguely wave it away as "doublethink."

I like how your argument went from "Obama can't possibly be cracking down on leaks to the extent these articles claim" to "You can't possibly not support Obama's completely justified actions as these articles describe." My only point was that Obama is leading an unprecedented attack on whistleblowers and leaks, I don't care to defend the justifications behind each and every claim. Presumably since there are suddenly a lot more of them, either 1) there are more leakers or 2) Obama is overzealous in his prosecution. You can go ahead and believe 1 if it helps you sleep at night.
posted by mek at 5:15 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mek, your claims of an unprecedented attack on leakers don't stand up to even the quickest of historical checks. Your evidence consists of a collection of quotes suggesting the same and a handful of prosecutions many of which began under the former administration, some of which appear to involve no actual whistleblowing.
When one considered the history of presidents attempting to close down leaks the high water mark is Nixon whose gang of plumbers went so far as to plan the assassination of Ellsberg. One must also look at Reagan issuing NSSD84 which attempted to subject large numbers of civil servants to censorship and government review of any publication or media contact. It also included regular polygraph tests to verify folks didn't talk to members of the media. Even looking to the last administration. The FBI was sent into a number of suspected leakers homes in the wake of the NSA wiretap revelation, based on little evidence. Journalists were threatened with prosecution if they didn't reveal sources. Look at the brazen retaliation against Joe Wilson for leaking the truth about Nigerian Yellowcake.
The only thing unprecedented is that rather than use extra-judicial threats, violence and intimidation we have a Justice Department willing to use the actual laws as written in open court when violations of those laws occurred. I happen to think the is preferable, to the old system of private unaccountable goon squads.
posted by humanfont at 7:05 AM on January 8, 2012


It is also worth noting that the Republicans delayed the appointment of Obamas nominee for the office of special council which enforces the Whistleblower Protection act until about 6 months ago. Since then Carolyn Lerner has been working to cleanup the work of her predecessors who gutted the department.
The pattern is really quite sad. We still have many of Bush's cronies in power because the republicans won't approve the new appointees. Thus housing reform is stalled because the man in charge of cleaning up Fannie and Freddie opposes the Presidents agenda. Office of Consumer Protection is unable to act because they had no director. There will be ongoing lawsuits over his recess appointment of the same.
posted by humanfont at 7:22 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing unprecedented is that rather than use extra-judicial threats, violence and intimidation we have a Justice Department willing to use the actual laws as written in open court when violations of those laws occurred. I happen to think the is preferable, to the old system of private unaccountable goon squads.

Well, we can certainly agree here: that which was illegal or extralegal is increasingly being legalized and institutionalized by Obama's administration. I agree that in some cases these legacies are due to ongoing Bush cronyism, but I don't think that means much in the Justice dept. And it means exactly nothing for "indefinite detention" and other such measures Obama has explicitly given his imprimatur.

Boumediene writing in the NYT: I’m told that my Supreme Court case is now read in law schools. Perhaps one day that will give me satisfaction, but so long as Guantánamo stays open and innocent men remain there, my thoughts will be with those left behind in that place of suffering and injustice.
posted by mek at 3:22 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the administration's treatment of Bradley Manning was atrocious, but I don't see how you don't prosecute what he did.
posted by empath at 4:33 PM on January 8, 2012


Mek: you got nothing. You're not even trying to defend your points. After stating that the only difference between leaking and whistleblowing is politics -- which means you think Karl Rove and Scooter Libby should be protected as whistleblowers for leaking Valerie Plame's identity -- and after the way humanfont just annihilated your position, I can understand why you would want to abandon it.

But you added this, which is simply not true:
your argument went from "Obama can't possibly be cracking down on leaks to the extent these articles claim" to "You can't possibly not support Obama's completely justified actions"

what I actually, parenthetically, said was:
that headline appears to be flat-out wrong. The Bush-era whistleblower (Jesselyn Radack)...says that the Obama Administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined (can that be right?)...

Not leaks, but whistleblowers. Not articles (plural) -- one internally contradictory YouTube speech. Plus the small matter that she wasn't right, as I documented, and you have no substantive response.
posted by msalt at 11:08 PM on January 8, 2012


Well, we can certainly agree here: that which was illegal or extralegal is increasingly being legalized and institutionalized by Obama's administration

I don't think we agree. The espionage act has been on the books for almost 100 years. We could try these folks under the law or follow the path of previous administrations and punish with impunity from the shadows.

You want the prosecutions to stop, work to get congress to change the laws.
posted by humanfont at 5:39 AM on January 9, 2012


Back to the original article, I've been researching Ron Paul for my political scandal website (self-link) and he has written a lot of right-wing anti-minority and conspiratorial stuff. It's milder than the worst newsletter quotes but indisputably his, and not completely dissimilar. Definitely not progressive in any way.

In 2007, Dr. Paul republished his 1987 book "Freedom Under Siege" which has a lot of choice passages, such as calling the AIDS sufferer "a victim of his own lifestyle [who] victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care"; saying sexual harassment victims bear some responsibility because they didn't quit their jobs; and complaining that whites would be called bigots if they formed a white caucus in Congress, but minority caucuses are OK.

The following quotes are mostly from his ongoing column called "Texas Straight Talk" (TST) (posted on his congressional website); most are from around 2005-6. For example:

" illegal immigrants enter the country for the express purpose of giving birth. But illegal immigrants also use emergency rooms, public roads, and public schools. In many cases they are able to obtain Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and even unemployment benefits. ... We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive." - TST, October 2, 2006

"The public school now is a propaganda machine. They start with our kids even in kindergarten... and they condition them to believe in so much that is totally un-American.” - Ron Paul, speech to Christian home-schoolers, March 2011

"The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway, but an integrated North American Union--complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union. Like the European Union, a North American Union would represent another step toward the abolition of national sovereignty altogether." - TST, October 30, 2006

"Critics of NAFTA and CAFTA warned at the time that the agreements were actually a move toward ... an eventual merging of North America into a border-free area. Proponents of these agreements dismissed this as preposterous and conspiratorial. Now we see that the criticisms appear to be justified." - TST, August 28, 2006

"This new [UN Peackeeping] commission will create the beginning of a global UN army. It will claim the right to intervene in any conflict anywhere on the globe, bringing the World Bank and the IMF formally into the picture as well. It is a complete new world order..." - TST, June 13, 2005
posted by msalt at 3:26 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the homework, msalt. It seemed like dredging up 20-30 year old stuff wasn't really fair to the guy, but it seems he really does have the consistency that we are missing so much in most politicians.

I'll say that I find most of his ideas about society pretty repulsive, but would still theoretically vote for him over Obama - the dismantling of the strong federal police state, ending the war on drugs, and in general a dose of "leave free citizens the fuck alone" libertarianism is something that is very much needed in the USA right now.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:49 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fair enough. The interesting exceptions would be abortion, which he seems dead set against, and immigration issues. I would need to see more about how he plans to enforce immigration laws or not; I've seen libertarians who argue that there should be no immigration limits, but he's clearly not one of them.

On the other hand, having researched a lot of politicians' scandals, he seems to be among the least money-grubbing (as opposed to, say, Santorum) and the most monogamous (as opposed to Clinton, Gingrich, etc.) Paul is tied with Obama for that honor, I'd say. Maybe because they both had money before getting to Congress (from doctoring and book writing, respectively.)
posted by msalt at 8:40 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Republican primary is coming up in Virginia and I can vote. Because the other candidates failed to qualify for the ballot, I'm left between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. So when given these choices for whom should I vote?
posted by humanfont at 7:33 PM on January 16, 2012


Can you write-in?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:38 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ron Paul thinks the Civil War was unnecessary

Ron Paul doesn't accept the theory of evolution
posted by msalt at 11:17 PM on January 16, 2012


Nope, no write-ins allowed in a Virginia primary. All (valid) votes cast for the Republican nomination will, by definition, go to either Romney or Paul.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:05 AM on January 17, 2012


More newsletters released.

More race war, conspiracy, end-of-the-world hysteria, homophobia, etc.
posted by empath at 8:51 AM on January 17, 2012


Ron Paul statistically tied with Obama, Leads with independents per CBS Poll.
posted by humanfont at 11:14 AM on January 17, 2012


ABC: If the campaign comes up short at the convention, Benton says the plan is to use all the delegates awarded to Paul as a bargaining chip to force the Republican Party to stick to its limited government platform.

Benton says this could include auditing the Federal Reserve and winding back several parts of the Patriot Act, including roving wire taps which he says were originally written with the intent of expiring.

“I think it would be wise for the Republican Party to allow them to sun set next time they come up for authorization,” said Benton, adding a good portion of the American people are with that.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:03 PM on January 17, 2012


Nope, no write-ins allowed in a Virginia primary. All (valid) votes cast for the Republican nomination will, by definition, go to either Romney or Paul.

Well, Paul is the better candidate, but if you can't vote for him just write-in Lizard People anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:14 PM on January 17, 2012


(and put vague markings and smudges next to each name on the ballot to keep the judges confused in case of recount)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:15 PM on January 17, 2012


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