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Ron Paul Spam
November 5, 2007 2:16 PM   Subscribe

When Ron Paul email spam started hitting inboxes in late October, UAB Computer Forensics Directory Gary Warner published findings on the spam's textual patterns and the illicit botnet used to spread it -- findings which were picked up by media outlets and tech websites like Salon, Ars Technica, and Wired Magazine's "Threat Level" blog, the latter in a set of followup posts by writer Sarah Stirland: 1, 2, 3.

The Ron Paul fan response was swift and decisive: clearly the botnet was the work of anti-Ron Paul hackers trying to discredit his campaign, and Rudy Giuliani had paid Stirland (and not UAB Computer Forensics) to do a smear piece -- as claimed by a YouTube video pointing to posts on RudyGiulianiForum.com. Thus proving, once again, that the Ron Paul campaign's greatest liability is not so much his far-right conspiracy-driven antifederal libertarianism, but rather the spittle-flecked anger of his own noisiest supporters.

Beets are great! Ron Paul!
posted by brownpau (306 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
fat beets, yo
posted by 29 at 2:18 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


ron paul is a man amongst men.
posted by Stynxno at 2:22 PM on November 5, 2007


Yeah wake up sh33ple
posted by dmd at 2:23 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


I feel dirty... dirty like I just encountered an Amway salesman.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 2:24 PM on November 5, 2007


lol pagerank trolling. well played.
posted by chlorus at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2007


It's to the point where I'm looking forward to the election simply because it will make [unnamed social news aggregation website] tolerable again.

Never before have so few been so fscking annoying.
posted by Skorgu at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


So I'm confused; do we have good evidence on the actual source of the Ron Paul spam?
posted by Nelson at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2007


No, but it's pretty sure it wasn't the official campaign.
posted by brownpau at 2:27 PM on November 5, 2007


At least one person on reddit mentioned actually getting a phone call telling him to google Ron Paul just before a rash of stories about how awesome Ron Paul is doing because he's being googled so often. I wonder how much of this sort of thing is going on.
posted by InnocentBystander at 2:29 PM on November 5, 2007


I'm not a fan of Ron Paul, but this is absolutely astounding. $2.6 million raised online since midnight this morning. I wouldn't want the guy to be president or anything, but I can't help being glad he's in there, shaking things up.
posted by EarBucket at 2:30 PM on November 5, 2007


Argh. This, I should say.
posted by EarBucket at 2:30 PM on November 5, 2007


oh, and also

EMAIL HEADERS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN
posted by chlorus at 2:31 PM on November 5, 2007


What part of libertarianism is "far right"? I didn't think it fit so neatly onto a one-dimensional graph.
posted by knave at 2:33 PM on November 5, 2007


Received: by 10.142.255.5 with SMTP id c5cs319wfi;
Mon, 29 Oct 2007 11:50:03 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.100.201.16 with SMTP id y16mr1607860anf.1193683802858;
Mon, 29 Oct 2007 11:50:02 -0700 (PDT)
Return-Path:
Received: from 91.66.161.152 ([91.66.161.152])
by mx.google.com with ESMTP id 5si31217nzk.2007.10.29.11.49.59;
Mon, 29 Oct 2007 11:50:02 -0700 (PDT)
Received-SPF: neutral (google.com: 91.66.161.152 is neither permitted nor denied by domain of chun@fujitsu.com) client-ip=91.66.161.152;
Authentication-Results: mx.google.com; spf=neutral (google.com: 91.66.161.152 is neither permitted nor denied by domain of chun@fujitsu.com) smtp.mail=chun@fujitsu.com
Received: from [91.66.161.152] by ns2.fujitsu.com; Mon, 29 Oct 2007 18:49:59 +0000
Message-ID: <0>
From: "free koichi"
To:
Subject: Ron Paul Eliminates The IRS! BVhhqfH
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2007 17:02:36 +0000
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
format=flowed;
charset="iso-8859-1";
reply-type=original
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.3790.2663
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.3790.2757

posted by brownpau at 2:34 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are hand-written signs for Ron Paul all over my neighborhood- WHO IS RON PAUL, Google Ron Paul.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:35 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also -- were the framers of the Constitution far right? Were they anti-federal?
posted by knave at 2:35 PM on November 5, 2007


What part of libertarianism is "far right"?

The part that wants to privatize, uh, everything?

I keed, I keed ...
posted by joe lisboa at 2:36 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know who else was called "Doctor Paul?"
posted by brownpau at 2:37 PM on November 5, 2007


Also -- were the framers of the Constitution far right? Were they anti-federal?

There was a broad range of values and outlooks of the framers of the constitution, which is why it took so long. One of the silliest things people think is that they all agreed with each other, etc.

Some were federalists, and some were not.
posted by delmoi at 2:38 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


“WHO IS RON PAUL”

He’s that big tall blond transsexual black guy, right?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:38 PM on November 5, 2007 [9 favorites]


+ 392,000,000 diggs!
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


So I'm confused; do we have good evidence that beets are great?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


The sad thing about the whole Ron Paul situation is that, nutty as he is, he's better than just about everyone else running.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:43 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't be quick to dismiss all the support you see online as spam. As EarBucket and TPS point out, there are plenty of examples of the humanness of his supporters. He will raise over $3 million today, breaking Kerry's internet single-day fundraising record.

Also, Brownpau can vouch for my non-botness. :)
posted by knave at 2:43 PM on November 5, 2007


Your Wired link is wrong.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2007


What part of libertarianism is "far right"? I didn't think it fit so neatly onto a one-dimensional graph.
Oh, it is a one-dimensional graph, but it's just a circle. Immediately next to the far-right libertarians are the anarchists, who are far-left. Very confusing.

Anarcho-syndicalists are from another dimension, however.
posted by Llama-Lime at 2:48 PM on November 5, 2007


God Ron Paul, save me from your followers.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:49 PM on November 5, 2007


I'm so happy that Ron Paul is running. He's going to create a Nader effect (or is that a Ross Perot effect?) on the right, and split their base.

At this point, whether he wins or loses the nomination, the damage has been done. If he wins, the old guard will stay away from the polls. If he loses (far more likely), then the Paulites will stay away from the polls.

Either way it's a win for the Dems.

Election 2008 is all but over.

Best part of this whole thing... I'm Canadian. Sweet, sweet, schadenfreude.
posted by C.Batt at 2:53 PM on November 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


He’s that big tall blond transsexual black guy, right?

Work It Girl! You Better Work!
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2007


Well, this Anarcho-syndicalist is only vaguely from another dimension, and I still think any Ron Paul supporter is right up there with conspiracy theorists, UFO-watchers, ghost-hunters, and the Faraday-cage hat wearing crew. Hell, even the Loose Change guys are easier to deal with than the damn Libertarians in jackboots. No, seriously, I saw a Ron Paul meet-up where half the organizers were wearing jackboots. I mean, I know they're fashionable and everything, but come on now, at least get proper pontoon pants if you are going to do that.
posted by daq at 2:58 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Y’know, it’d be great to see one of those vast-world girdling conspiracies come to fruition down to the most minute levels as predicted. It’d be almost gratifying to be a peon slave to the (whatever) if only to know that someone somewhere has their shit that together.

Not to say vastly powerful, rich groups aren’t plugging away at their thing, but mostly it winds up all being a clusterfuck (to misquote Bucky Fuller).
I’d feel like Elwood P. Dowd -
Paul: “They’ve taken over the federal reserve, UN troops are poised on the borders of the U.S. to take over with black helicopters to put into internment camps everyone who can’t be mind controlled and they’ve banned Christianity!”
Smed: “Wow, the Jews did all that in one afternoon? Those Zionists certainly are whirlwinds, aren’t they?”
Paul: “Good heavens, man, Haven’t you any righteous indignation?”
Smed: “Oh, Dr. Paul, I... y’know years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say: ‘In this world, Smedley, you must be...’ She always called me Smedley, ‘In this world Smedley, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me.”
posted by Smedleyman at 2:58 PM on November 5, 2007 [6 favorites]


Weird fact about the candidate: he spent a couple years of his childhood living and traveling with some circus performer relatives, apprenticing in a few different bits of the life but particularly acrobatics and clowning. Though they were only distant cousins, those folks were some of the closest family he ever had.

That's right, you heard it here first: Ron Paul, stilts-kin.
posted by cortex at 2:59 PM on November 5, 2007 [24 favorites]


I Googled Ron Paul and all I got was a website about fish sticks.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:00 PM on November 5, 2007


Election 2008 is all but over.

I want some of what you're smoking.
posted by shmegegge at 3:06 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


All I know is that this Ron Paul guy can hang a sheet from an interstate overpass like nobody's business.
posted by The Straightener at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


...and right about now Lyndon LaRouche is slapping his forehead and saying, "So THAT'S how you use this internet thing..."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:09 PM on November 5, 2007


I didn't like Ron Paul in Vice City, but he was pretty cool in San Andreas-- the mission where you pick up Ron Paul and Maccer in the desert is really funny.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2007


Heh, I just have images of Ron Paul getting the nomination against Hillary and then...
The Republicans get to hammer the Democrats about the war.

At this point I'm nearly a single issue voter: end the war - in all its forms - and use the money to put the USA back together again. And if I get the opportunity I'll vote for Obama. Twice. But would someone please tell me why a Republican has made it onto my list of candidates to consider? Shouldn't the Democrats have a lock on this? Not only through campaign posturing, but through concrete action in the House and Senate?
posted by Richard Daly at 3:14 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Obama hasn't said he'll end anything.
posted by knave at 3:16 PM on November 5, 2007


There are Ron Paul garage-sale style boxes and signs scattered all over my neighborhood and city. For a fake libertarian the man generates a lot of enthusiasm.
posted by aerotive at 3:17 PM on November 5, 2007


He seems to have become the candidate-of-choice for the 9/11 Truth crowd.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:21 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


For the love of God, it's not even January yet.
posted by psmealey at 3:28 PM on November 5, 2007


While Ron Paul's ideas may not be mentioned in future campaigns, there is one part of the campaign that will live on.

The fundraising. Seriously, the people doing the fundraising will either get high paying jobs to do this for other underdog candidates, or they will end up getting nailed for breaking campaign finance laws. Or both.
posted by RobbieFal at 3:35 PM on November 5, 2007


So the suicidegirls post compares Castro to Hitler and there, my friends, they lost me.
posted by imperium at 3:38 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Richard Daly: "At this point I'm nearly a single issue voter: end the war - in all its forms - and use the money to put the USA back together again. And if I get the opportunity I'll vote for Obama."

It'll probably cost more to end the war than to continue it. Of course, withdrawing troops would be cheap, but that's not the same thing, unfortunately.

And I'll probably be voting for Obama, myself.
posted by koeselitz at 3:42 PM on November 5, 2007


The fact that Ron Paul has the endorsement of both Stormfront and the John Birch Society tells me everything I need to know.
posted by streetdreams at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2007 [7 favorites]


And if I catch the asshole who has been spaming my campus with Ron Paul stickers and fliers he can expect my altruistic foot up his collectivism hating ass.
posted by wfrgms at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


For the love of God, it's not even January yet.

Well it would be odd to wait till January to start campaigning, what with the Iowa caucus on Jan 3rd.
posted by knave at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


He seems to have become the candidate-of-choice for the 9/11 Truth crowd.

Which is totally weird, because the nice Mormon family with five kids that lives down the street from me have a Ron Paul sign in their yard.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:48 PM on November 5, 2007


C.Batt : Best part of this whole thing... I'm Canadian.

I bet that's the first time that's ever been said.

I keed, I keed...
posted by quin at 3:49 PM on November 5, 2007


I'm so happy that Ron Paul is running. He's going to create a Nader effect (or is that a Ross Perot effect?) on the right, and split their base.

Um … no.

For that to happen, Paul would have to run as a third-party candidate, and I doubt that'll happen. If and when he loses the primary, he'll endorse somebody else. Some of his supporters will go home and forget to vote, but most of them will probably pick the next-least-repugnant candidate.

Whether the next-least-repugnant candidate for most Ron Paul supporters happens to be a Democrat or Republican is the real question, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:55 PM on November 5, 2007


if Ron Paul is such a great candidate, why should we need to Google him, and why does he think we couldn't Google him without being urged to do so at every freeway overpass?

Fuck you, Ron Paul.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:57 PM on November 5, 2007


he spent a couple years of his childhood living and traveling with some circus performer relatives

Ron's uncle Grady
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:58 PM on November 5, 2007


I'm so happy that Ron Paul is running. He's going to create a Nader effect (or is that a Ross Perot effect?) on the right, and split their base.

It's more of a Howard Dean effect, where the Internet makes it look like he has all sorts of momentum that really isn't there. It's hard to say how much it hurts them since the really fervent Ron Paul supporters were just going to vote for Zombie Ayn Rand anyway.
posted by Gary at 4:06 PM on November 5, 2007


pfft. we blorted ron paul back in 2001.
posted by quonsar at 4:25 PM on November 5, 2007


Best part of this whole thing... I'm Canadian.

Every single riding in your province went blue last time. (I wouldn't rule out oxygen deprivation to the brain.)
posted by oaf at 4:30 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


quin, I laughed. Good one.

Gary,

that's a great point. Though I still think he's far more divisive than Howard Dean. At least Dean was, and is, an actual Democrat (chairman of the democratic convention, for crying out loud). Ron Paul is a crypto-libertarian masquerading as a Republican for cheap political cred.

I guess saying that he'll "fracture" the party, as I did, is probably the wrong thing. It's not like he's pulling support from the existing party supporters. He's pulling in all of the anti-establishment (, and Zombie Ayn Rand) loons. Also, he's flat out said that he won't endorse anyone who doesn't share the same views; not that his super independent "freedom compound" dwelling supporters would let him tell them who to vote for, or anything (you know, principals and all that).

He is, however, introducing a huge amount of idealogical confusion (lots of noise) into the mix which is going to seriously cramp the Republican neocon ability to snow the masses. The party is going to be in serious disarray for the '08 presidential campaign.
posted by C.Batt at 4:49 PM on November 5, 2007


Oaf, what's your point?

Our conservatives make your liberals look like Fascists.
posted by C.Batt at 4:51 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well I agree that the Rs are going to be in disarray, but I think that has a lot to do with the selection they have. Not saying they are going to lose, but they will have a very hard time convincing their base to vote for any of the top few candidates who might go through. the Neo-con/Fundy vote is going to be split and partial absent.
posted by edgeways at 5:05 PM on November 5, 2007


crypto-libertarian

For a crypto-libertarian, he's not being very crypto.
posted by Falconetti at 5:18 PM on November 5, 2007


streetdreams: The fact that the John Birch society is more pacifist and more anti-torture than the leading Democrats should tell you all you need to know.

Sad, isn't it?

The one thing I hope Democrats will learn from Paul's money bomb is that principled stands against the war, against torture, and for the transparency of government can reap big rewards.

Until they wake up and realize that, I'm going to happily support the crazy. I'll put up with some unhinged positions in exchange for ending the criminal foreign wars and the rotten, corrupt war on drugs. I'll endure blather about the gold standard for someone who will rescue the Constitution from the shredder and can restore the nation's reputation abroad.
posted by pandaharma at 5:21 PM on November 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


Richard Daly writes "At this point I'm nearly a single issue voter: end the war - in all its forms - and use the money to put the USA back together again."

What money?
posted by krinklyfig at 5:27 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


And 11 years is a lot of masquerading for some "cheap political cred"....
posted by shownomercy at 5:33 PM on November 5, 2007


RON PAUL
NO FLUORIDE
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:42 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oaf, I've been regretting that last comment since I posted it. In my haste I assumed you were American. By your profile, I'm guessing that you're Canadian. Oops....
posted by C.Batt at 5:48 PM on November 5, 2007


What part of libertarianism is "far right"?

The extreme private-property, tax-dodging masses, but in the specific case of Ron Paul, the white supremacism.
posted by DU at 5:51 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ron Paul as President, with Democrats holding the House and Senate, probably wouldn't be a disaster.

It certainly wouldn't be nearly the disaster of the last x years, thatsferdamnsure.

Best thing about RP is that he'd very likely claw back all the excess Presidential powers that have been slipped into your system these past four years especially, and the past thirty-odd years generally.

Meanwhile the H&S would prevent him from doing anything too destructive to the rest of the nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:55 PM on November 5, 2007


For anyone who's actually considering supporting this racist lunatic, you might check out A Ron Paul Information Index and notice that he's, well, batshit crazy and has even less of a handle on economics than most Libertarian idiots.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:56 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


in the specific case of Ron Paul, the white supremacism.

specifically, what has ron paul said that would lead you to believe that he is a white supremicist?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:56 PM on November 5, 2007


Meanwhile the H&S would prevent him from doing anything too destructive to the rest of the nation.

What the hell is wrong with you people that makes you think that that's an argument that comes out in your favour?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:57 PM on November 5, 2007


specifically, what has ron paul said that would lead you to believe that he is a white supremicist?

First hit on Google for "Ron Paul racism"
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:58 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty writes "What the hell is wrong with you people that makes you think that that's an argument that comes out in your favour?"

What's your obsession with Ron Paul anyway?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:00 PM on November 5, 2007


First hit on Google for "Ron Paul racism"

"I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

oh, geez - that's just stupid

ok, he sure sounds like one to me
posted by pyramid termite at 6:04 PM on November 5, 2007


What's your obsession with Ron Paul anyway?

He's a caricature of an asshole right-winger who's a Libertarian only when it doesn't interfere with being a Christian Conservative (and vice-versa), and it makes me goddamn sick to see normally rational people go "Oh, he's against the war? HE IS THE CANDIDATE FOR ME, SIR!" A government with Ron Paul at the head would be a disaster, and he and his need to be discredited and exposed at every turn.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:06 PM on November 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


BTW, Paul has repudiated those statements and said that a staffer wrote them and was erroneous in attributing them. I can find no other example of his supposed racism. You'd think it would be all over the place.

Incidentally, if you lurk around the Stormfront boards for a while, you won't find anyone there claiming he supports their cause. In fact they explicitly state the opposite.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:08 PM on November 5, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "He's a caricature of an asshole right-winger who's a Libertarian only when it doesn't interfere with being a Christian Conservative (and vice-versa), and it makes me goddamn sick to see normally rational people go 'Oh, he's against the war? HE IS THE CANDIDATE FOR ME, SIR!'"

You assume you know their hearts?

Come on.

Maybe, just maybe, someone else has a political position that's grounded but happens to disagree with yours.

Pope Guilty writes "A government with Ron Paul at the head would be a disaster, and he and his need to be discredited and exposed at every turn."

I got news for you. He's not going to win.

And how's it working out the way we're doing it now?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:09 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


BTW, Paul has repudiated those statements and said that a staffer wrote them and was erroneous in attributing them.

Which means that, if he's not a racist, he's such an incompetent moron that he can't even keep the publication that bears his name (and which was renamed from the "Ron Paul Political Report" to the "Ron Paul Survival Report" to appeal to the racist, right-wing militia crowd in the 90's) from publishing racist trash. Furthermore, when the issue came up when he was running for the House in '94 as part of the realignment, he failed to recall this phantom ghostwriter; this spectral employee only came into being with Ron Paul's recent surge of popularity.

Incidentally, if you lurk around the Stormfront boards for a while, you won't find anyone there claiming he supports their cause. In fact they explicitly state the opposite.

First Google result for "site:stormfront.org ron paul"

Maybe, just maybe, someone else has a political position that's grounded but happens to disagree with yours.

Oh, many people do. Paulsies are not part of that group.

And how's it working out the way we're doing it now?

Substantially better than it would be if the FDA were abolished, all illegal immigrants were expelled, and the country was put back on the gold standard. That the current system has problems it not an argument in favor of batshit insanity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 PM on November 5, 2007 [6 favorites]


BTW, Paul has repudiated those statements and said that a staffer wrote them and was erroneous in attributing them.

Please name the staffer. I see Ron Paul supporters constantly referring to "the staffer" who ghost wrote those racist statements for him and was subsequently fired but I've never seen his name, or indeed any indication that he is a real person.
posted by brownpau at 6:29 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm too afraid that 90% of the current presidential candidates (Ron Paul included) are nothing more than larval Smilers
posted by Sam.Burdick at 6:31 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


brownpau writes "Please name the staffer."

Do your own research.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:34 PM on November 5, 2007


For whatever it's worth, I'm not voting for Ron Paul, though I'm glad he's running. I happen to agree with some of what he says. I'm not going to get cornered into defending the guy. I'm just wondering, Pope, why it matters so much to you. Obviously, he's not gonna get there. It's like some right winger making it his mission to stamp out the Kucinich campaign - doesn't that sound a bit silly. Why bother?

Also, I'm a bit surprised at the hostility. If Ron Paul supporters are nuts, his detractors are even moreso.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:39 PM on November 5, 2007


I can find no other example of his supposed racism.

You mean other than the support of libertarianism, which seeks to kill off any program that supports the poor, women or minorities, vastly strengthening the already very powerful hold white men have on the country? Sure, some libertarians don't have those views with that end, but that doesn't make the end any less real.
posted by DU at 6:47 PM on November 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Do your own research.

So you don't know, either!

I'm just wondering, Pope, why it matters so much to you.

Did I not already explain this, or are you the sort of arguer who insists on pretending that his/her questions hasn't been answered?

Also, I'm a bit surprised at the hostility. If Ron Paul supporters are nuts, his detractors are even moreso.

Normally, I'd feel bad about invoking Godwin, but it's so easy!
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:51 PM on November 5, 2007


...libertarianism, which seeks to kill off any program that supports the poor, women or minorities....

My apologies to libertarians among us--I didn't mean to imply that this was the sole platform of the party. They also want to evenhandedly oppress *everyone* under the bootheel of regulation-free corporatism.
posted by DU at 6:52 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Our conservatives make your liberals look like Fascists.

Your Progressive Conservatives, maybe. The current (non-Progressive) Conservatives are definitely to the left even of Hillary.
posted by oaf at 6:56 PM on November 5, 2007


I wouldn't vote for him, but I donated some money. We need at least one honest to god anti-war voice in this campaign.
posted by empath at 6:59 PM on November 5, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "Did I not already explain this, or are you the sort of arguer who insists on pretending that his/her questions hasn't been answered? "

I guess I just don't understand how Paul equates some sort of serious threat. Anyway, no offense meant, seriously.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:59 PM on November 5, 2007


DU writes "You mean other than the support of libertarianism, which seeks to kill off any program that supports the poor, women or minorities, vastly strengthening the already very powerful hold white men have on the country? Sure, some libertarians don't have those views with that end, but that doesn't make the end any less real."

Oh, or do you mean the support of liberalism, which seeks to drain the resources of productive people and siphon them off to those who sit on their asses and pump out children? Or how about conservatism, which seeks to turn back the clock 200 years and enslave women and minorities?

Or are you talking about real political views and not some cartoon version of them?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:04 PM on November 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't vote for him, but I donated some money. We need at least one honest to god anti-war voice in this campaign.

Not to mention a voice in favour of the Gold Standard and the abolition of the public schools!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:06 PM on November 5, 2007


Not to mention a voice in favour of the Gold Standard and the abolition of the public schools!

Aside from his latent homoerotic attraction to Ron Paul, I definitely agree with what Pope Guilty is saying here.
posted by chlorus at 7:18 PM on November 5, 2007


Aside from his latent homoerotic attraction to Ron Paul, I definitely agree with what Pope Guilty is saying here.

He's so dreamy!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:19 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


We need someone in this campaign who would restore the Constitution (including the separation of powers and the Bill of Rights) to its full force and effect. That trumps everything else, in my view.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:33 PM on November 5, 2007


We need someone in this campaign who would restore the Constitution (including the separation of powers and the Bill of Rights) to its full force and effect. That trumps everything else, in my view.

Are you going to tell us that it's Ron Paul? 'Cause you're blueballing me here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:38 PM on November 5, 2007


Also, Ron Paul's tv advert is one of the saddest things I've ever seen.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:44 PM on November 5, 2007


I believe that he would try, which is more than I believe about any of the other candidates. Who, if anyone do you believe would do it?

Actually, I don't think he will be allowed to do it, or to come anywhere near being in a position to do it. But I do believe his candidacy will have a positive effect.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:47 PM on November 5, 2007


Apparently, Ron Paul has raised 3.5 million dollars today. Probably with spammers.
posted by chlorus at 7:53 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


The day isn't over yet. You can check the current state here.

Oh, and Pope, please don't blame me for anything having to do with the state of your balls.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:58 PM on November 5, 2007


Not to mention a voice in favour of the Gold Standard and the abolition of the public schools!

The thing is, the mainstream candidates are voices in favor of the war (tip: none of them are going to end it), the loss of civil rights, corporate whoring, etc.

It sucks both ways.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:08 PM on November 5, 2007


Obama is not pro war. He is for a measured and phased retreat, afaict. He's never been pro war. He's also mainstream.

Furthermore, not one single candidate, not even Dr. Paul could end this war immediately, not without terrible consequences for both Iraq and the USA. It will require a phased approach in order to avoid complete and total chaos (as opposed to almost complete and total chaos).

Besides... "you broke it, you bought it" and personal (national, in this case) responsibility... aren't those, like, cornerstones of the libertarian mindset?

I'm just asking... I'm no libertarian but from what I've been reading ia big part of it is all about standing up for oneself and taking responsibility for oneself (amongst other things, of course).

Well, what happens when you let your government do, in your good name, the acts that tarnish your good name? Do you get say "I didn't authorize that!", wash yours hands of it, and walk away?
posted by C.Batt at 8:27 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


if you lurk around the Stormfront boards for a while

No thank you. I like my internets to judge people not by the color of their skin, but of their batshitinsanity.
posted by dw at 8:33 PM on November 5, 2007


And my one big reason for being totally against Ron Paul?

There's no way you could convert from fiat currency to any form of metal standard -- gold, bimetal, or otherwise -- without triggering a crippling round of deflation. There's just not enough precious metal in this country to underwrite the money supply.

And yet, it's the endless going on about the gold standard. William Jennings Bryan must be spinning in his grave.
posted by dw at 8:38 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Every time I hear about Ron Paul, I think of Ron Popeil. Now, there's a guy who should campaign. Not necessarily win... just campaign.

Ron Popeil 2008 - Set It And Forget It.
posted by katillathehun at 9:13 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Major political movements described with one word each...

Liberals == hippies
Conservatives == scrooges
Neo-Cons == zealots
Secularists == godless
Socialists == The Borg (ok, make that two)
Libertarians == confused

and now that I have finished making broad sweeping generalizations.

anyone care for pie?
posted by Sam.Burdick at 9:19 PM on November 5, 2007


Residual Force to Remain: Under the Obama plan, American troops may remain in Iraq or the region. These American troops will protect American diplomatic and military personnel in Iraq, and continue striking at al Qaeda in Iraq. If Iraq makes political progress and their security forces are not sectarian, we would also continue training othe Iraqi Security Forces. In the event of an outbreak of genocide, we would reserve the right to intervene, with the international community, if that intervention was needed to provide civilians with a safehaven.

I'm cynical enough to read that as: "Hey, we'll only be killing half as many Iraqis as we are now, won't that be great?" I especially like the part about the American troops in Iraq remaining in Iraq in order to protect the American troops in Iraq.

My opinion I've stated multiple times on "we broke it, we bought it": the best we can do is to stop breaking it worse.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:23 PM on November 5, 2007


From the graph I linked above, it looks like they hit $4M for the day. I didn't know spambots had so much money.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:47 PM on November 5, 2007


Uh, pardon my east coast chauvinism. I guess there's still a couple of hours to go.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:49 PM on November 5, 2007


Give me a fucking break. Some jackass racist starts a newsletter about Ron Paul, and that's his fault how? I know who the Ron Paul demographic is, because I grew up with them. You know who my district voted for in 1996? Alan Keyes. Racists are "supporting" Ron Paul because he is for states rights and is against federal gun control, because surprise, they are right wing movements.

I don't doubt there are racists pumping for Ron Paul. In fact I know there are. I was at the Iowa Republican Straw Poll, and in the Ron Paul tent I saw an old dude inconspicuously sitting with a laptop that had Stormfront in a browser window displayed. I came by in another five minutes and it wasn't there. There are places you can see "recruiters" if you know what you are looking for. But most people there are not racists, at least not in a white supremacist group or whatever.

This spam is a dirty trick, its the same shit the RNC was doing in the last two elections to the democrats, and before when they tried to cut Perot out of the debates and likely were behind the "CIA spy" debacle with his daughters wedding. Paul isn't going to win, but the Republicans need him to shut the fuck up because everywhere they go he shows up and says the shit they don't want to talk about.
posted by erikharmon at 9:58 PM on November 5, 2007


Some jackass racist starts a newsletter about Ron Paul, and that's his fault how?

The Ron Paul Political Survival Report was published by Ron Paul. Read, then post.

Racists are "supporting" Ron Paul because he is for states rights

As are the Christocrats; the whole point of the We The People Act is that the Constitution only applies to the fedgov. (Not that I believe that the Constitution only applies to the fedgov, and if you do, you're wrong, stupid, and an asshole. No, seriously, asshole.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:11 PM on November 5, 2007


give me a fucking break. Some jackass racist starts a newsletter about Ron Paul, and that's his fault how?

Because "the jackass racist" is Ron Paul, if I'm reading the links correctly. He never denied that he was associated with it.
posted by dismas at 10:12 PM on November 5, 2007


erikharmon writes "Paul isn't going to win, but the Republicans need him to shut the fuck up because everywhere they go he shows up and says the shit they don't want to talk about."

Bingo. And that's why he needs to stay in this race.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:21 PM on November 5, 2007


krinklyfig, Exactly!

He needs to keep the Republicans fighting amongst themselves so that a Democrat can win! God bless Ron Paul.
posted by C.Batt at 10:26 PM on November 5, 2007


The Right loathe Paul, and the left ignore him, or don't understand his rise. Let's think about why this is.

We are in the worst economic crisis of most people's lifetimes. We are in the worst political and constitutional crisis of most people's lifetimes. We are in the worst environmental crisis in history. Our government and mass media openly lies to us all the time, openly commits mass murder against foreigners for no obvious reason, supporting torture and depriving citizens of their rights. Politicians of both parties support these atrocious things.

The dollar is collapsing. Enormous corporations plunder the world with disregard for working people in all countries, including our own. The rise of private equity and hedge funds has turned honest banking and prudent business into a massive con-game played for short-term profit that's collapsing before our eyes, destroying vital services and leaving ordinary people homeless, unemployed, bankrupt. Internet service, the creation of American genius, is now 100 times faster and cheaper in Japan than it is in its birthplace.

Mass immigration puts downward pressure on unskilled working class people without even any discussion. At the same time, infrastructure, education, healthcare, public services, the essential duties of government, are terribly neglected. The United States has the worst social mobility, the worst prison conditions, the worst healthcare in the developed world.

We are told that we live in a democracy, a government of the people, and that our country is good. Yet both parties support all of this state of affairs, and the policies that led to them. There is not one iota of difference between the substance of any of the remotely likely candidates for president. None of them will say the simple truth: we are ruled by plutocrats, murderers and criminals, and our institutions have failed to bring these people to account, which is intolerable.

Fundamentally, we have a collapse in the trust of the institutions that make up a society - businesses, the state, the media, the church, the courts, banks, hospitals, the schools, the universities. All of them have been corrupted. (The only institution that Americans largely trust is the military, and although we won't discuss this here, this is a further worrying development)

In such an environment, it is natural that the instinct of any sane human being is frustration, rage, to seek fundamental change.

This brings us to Ron Paul. Paul is an outsider candidate who says many of the right things. He correctly identifies the fundamental immorality of the war of aggression against Iraq. No Democrat has done this! It has taken a Republican to say the simple words. He speaks against the current economic system, which is popular, although he endorses a reversion to the 18th century, which will not work -- that hardly matters. What is significant is that he is against the state.

Why Paul and not Kucinich? Kucinich has failed to brand himself. He endorsed the war criminal and war supporter John Kerry. There is also the fact that socialism is taboo in America. Paul represents a legitimate channel of political rage, although likely remedies for America's problems are very far from what Paul is offering.

Washington should feel very threatened by Paul's popularity. He has been winning straw polls in very many states. This isn't about the failed philosophy of freeloading called libertarianism. This is about a fundamental breakdown of the legitimacy of the American state in the eyes of the people. Voting for Paul is voting for the destruction of the present order. Hence, November 5. They mean it.
posted by Bletch at 10:29 PM on November 5, 2007 [22 favorites]


I read about it a year ago, he did address it, and according to him he never said it, it was a staffer. Maybe that makes his organization incompetent, or maybe it's analogous to Edwards firing those staffers for calling people right wing shills and "godbags," I dunno. No skin off my back, I am not a Ron Paul supporter or even a Republican, though I am registered as one so I can vote in the primaries. As for the rest, I'm a little confused, how did you get from what I said to me being an asshole because I allegedly don't understand the constitution?
posted by erikharmon at 10:39 PM on November 5, 2007


krinklyfig, in a manner of speaking I am actually a Ron Paul supporter, despite what I said. I support him getting in there and messing up their shit. Gold standard, no way in hell. Pointing out that the war was wrong and is a disaster, yes please. In that sense right now I feel being a registered Republican is more useful than being a Democrat or independent.
posted by erikharmon at 10:43 PM on November 5, 2007


Kucinich has been putting forward motions for impeachment, hasn't he? He's at least walking the walk

I used to wonder why there was all this silly damn excitement about who was going to be President, when there were more important issues like party fundamentals, local representative's party affiliations, etceteras. I mean, hell, there are five hundred odd members in the House and Senate but they don't get one-hundredth the hype.

It has been rather shocking to learn that the entire nation can be held hostage by a single man.

If Ron Paul were to state outright that he would claw back Presidential powers and sign a constitutional amendment that restores the balance of power, he'd be a shoo-in.

The USA desperately needs a no-confidence capability.

That, and a proper publically-owned/controlled Elections Office like that in Australia: in the business of developing open, secure, trust-worthy voting systems and the profressional management of elections both public and private.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 PM on November 5, 2007


Also, what Bletch at 10:29 PM on November 5 said, x 10.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:57 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


(The only institution that Americans largely trust is the military, and although we won't discuss this here, this is a further worrying development)

That is why the US Army will be replaced by Blackwater. The dictatorship will not require the services of the public's army.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:59 PM on November 5, 2007


As are the Christocrats; the whole point of the We The People Act is that the Constitution only applies to the fedgov. (Not that I believe that the Constitution only applies to the fedgov, and if you do, you're wrong, stupid, and an asshole. No, seriously, asshole.)

Uh, are you fucking high? Because I know high when I see it, and that shit you're slinging is weak.
posted by chlorus at 10:59 PM on November 5, 2007


I wouldn't vote for him, but I donated some money. We need at least one honest to god anti-war voice in this campaign.

This is by far the primary driving force behind the amount of interest that Paul has received. He is the only presidential candidate who has loudly decried American military adventurism, and it is this, not his views on immigration, race issues, the gold standard, etc., that gives him the current shine that he has for many.

Of course, it's all moot. A Democrat is going to win in 2008 and the military adventurism will continue. The members of the political class want their empire, and it will take more than an eccentric outsider to change this dynamic.
posted by moonbiter at 11:05 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bletch, I've been wracking my brain to come up with something that adds to this thread by building on what you wrote. I simply cannot. (Heck, I deabted about posting this pithy comment as that's that the "favorite" feature is for.)

Stunningly good post.
posted by C.Batt at 11:17 PM on November 5, 2007


Well, yah. It's basically going to require you dummies to change the way you do things. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be.

Citizens in other nations have often fought and died even in this young, new century to have the opportunity to vote. It's obviously of great, life-sacrificing value to some people.

Voter turnout in Canada and the USA, however, doesn't show much respect for our vote's value. The USA is particularly dismal, though there is hope the new voting generation is going to be leagues more active than their recent predecessors.

Anyhoo, point is that a couple things need to change. One of the more imporant ones is that everyone needs to get serious about promoting voting. There needs to be more participation if there's to be any change.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:18 PM on November 5, 2007


RON PAUL
I THINK WE CAN SAFELY ASSUME THAT 95 PERCENT OF THE BLACK MALES IN THAT CITY ARE SEMI-CRIMINAL OR ENTIRELY CRIMINAL
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:19 PM on November 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


D-oh! Should have previewed, the thread got active! That was in response to it will take more than an eccentric outsider to change this dynamic.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:20 PM on November 5, 2007


Uh, are you fucking high? Because I know high when I see it, and that shit you're slinging is weak.

Go read the damn thing. It's quite literally the same states rights garbage that anyone who pays attention knows to expect from right-wing pieces of shit.

I read about it a year ago, he did address it, and according to him he never said it, it was a staffer.

Here's my explanation of why that is not in any sense a good answer, copied and pasted from earlier in the thread. I do this not because I want to, but because apparently you can't be bothered to read the damned thread:
if he's not a racist, he's such an incompetent moron that he can't even keep the publication that bears his name (and which was renamed from the "Ron Paul Political Report" to the "Ron Paul Survival Report" to appeal to the racist, right-wing militia crowd in the 90's) from publishing racist trash. Furthermore, when the issue came up when he was running for the House in '94 as part of the realignment, he failed to recall this phantom ghostwriter; this spectral employee only came into being with Ron Paul's recent surge of popularity.
This brings us to Ron Paul. Paul is an outsider candidate who says many of the right things. He correctly identifies the fundamental immorality of the war of aggression against Iraq. No Democrat has done this! It has taken a Republican to say the simple words. He speaks against the current economic system, which is popular, although he endorses a reversion to the 18th century, which will not work -- that hardly matters. What is significant is that he is against the state.

None of is which is relevant when you actually pay attention to his positions and realise that he's against the state for batshit insane reasons and that his opposition to the current economic system is solely because it doesn't fit his batshit insane ideas. We're not talking about someone who has some slightly unorthodox views but is still grounded in reality- we're talking about someone who hates the current situation because he wants to replace it with a world built on ideas and ideologies that are utterly disconnected from reality. And then there's his reading of the Constitution, which like all "literalists" acknowledges the entire original text except for the necessary and proper clause and acknowledges only those Amendments which don't interfere with his right-wing agenda.

He's not a savior and he's not a messiah and he's not even vaguely connected to anything resembling consensus reality. He's a whackjob, plain and simple, and not even one with the compassion or heart of Joshua Norton.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:31 PM on November 5, 2007 [8 favorites]


This from the guy who wants to order everyone's lives with enlightened state directives so long as he's the one making the decisions. Pope Guilty (moar liek Pope Stalin amirite?) has said in the past that he thinks personhood does not begin at birth, but that abortion should be an option at least up to a year after birth.

Hey, let's make a deal- I'll stop telling the truth about your messiah-candidate if you'll stop lying about me.

Wait, there's no way I'd stop telling the truth about Ron Paul, so how about you just stop lying about me, hmm?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:46 PM on November 5, 2007


We are in the worst economic crisis of most people's lifetimes.

Having lived through the Oil Bust, I can tell you that at this point, we're not even close yet to the worst of my lifetime.

Our government and mass media openly lies to us all the time, openly commits mass murder against foreigners for no obvious reason, supporting torture and depriving citizens of their rights.

Oh! That explains why Brian Williams opened the nightly news tonight wielding a bloody machete!

The rise of private equity and hedge funds has turned honest banking and prudent business into a massive con-game played for short-term profit that's collapsing before our eyes, destroying vital services and leaving ordinary people homeless, unemployed, bankrupt.

I hate to tell you this, but the "con-game" you speak of? Been around for years. Look back at the banking crises of the 1980s, for example. Or how Wall Street of the 1900s was nothing but pump-and-dump, eventually leading to the Panic of 1907.

Internet service, the creation of American genius, is now 100 times faster and cheaper in Japan than it is in its birthplace.

So, if I moved to Tokyo, I could get a 1.5Gbit connection for just 5 yen a month? That's incredible! They really have it great over there, despite their 20 years of sluggish economic growth.

Mass immigration puts downward pressure on unskilled working class people without even any discussion.

You're kidding, right? The last thirty years of border crossings, El Norte, Reagan's amnesty, fences, Minutemen, state bans on employing illegals, and you say there's hardly been any debate about the economic impact of illegals? Wow.

Fundamentally, we have a collapse in the trust of the institutions that make up a society - businesses, the state, the media, the church, the courts, banks, hospitals, the schools, the universities. All of them have been corrupted.

In such an environment, it is natural that the instinct of any sane human being is frustration, rage, to seek fundamental change.


Or, you know, they look for someone to blame -- or a leader to help them blame someone. Hmm. I wonder who is charismatic enough to lead us there.

This brings us to Ron Paul.

Our hero enters! He takes the podium here in Nuremberg!

Paul is an outsider candidate who says many of the right things.

Yes, because that's what we've been missing -- someone who can say many of the right things.

He correctly identifies the fundamental immorality of the war of aggression against Iraq.

That we never should have gone in, that we should have concentrated our efforts in Afghanistan on stabilizing that government and smoking out Al-Queda?

Oh, wait. He thinks we never should have gone to Afghanistan. Tower 7! Tower 7!

No Democrat has done this!

Please see Kucinich, D.

He speaks against the current economic system, which is popular, although he endorses a reversion to the 18th century, which will not work -- that hardly matters. What is significant is that he is against the state.

I know someone who speaks against the current economic system, although he endorses a reversion to 8th century values. But that hardly matters, right? I mean, he is against the state. Also, didn't do 9/11! Tower 7! So he must be a good choice to lead us, right?

Why Paul and not Kucinich? Kucinich has failed to brand himself.

OF COURSE! THERE'S THE PROBLEM! QUICK MRS. KUCINICH, GET SAATCHI + SAATCHI ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW!!! WE NEED SOME STARS AND SWOOSHES PASTED ON YOUR HUSBAND ASAP!!

He endorsed the war criminal and war supporter John Kerry.

So? Do you want some sort of purity test here? After all, we know that Ron Paul at least tacitly approved of racist things being put in his newsletter. But that can be explained away, of course. He is Our Hero.

There is also the fact that socialism is taboo in America.

And yet, we have Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, federal funding of public schools, the NIH....

Maybe the truth is that Kucinich is just as crazy as Paul. But wait! Paul is Our Hero! He cannot be Crazy!

Paul represents a legitimate channel of political rage, although likely remedies for America's problems are very far from what Paul is offering.

See? It's a protest vote, people. It's all about TELLING WASHINGTON TO GO SUCK IT. Just like Perot was.

Of course, the difference is that Perot may have been crazy, but he had some good remedies for our problems. And thus, pulling over 15% of the popular vote in consecutive elections.

Washington should feel very threatened by Paul's popularity.

I don't think anyone really feels threatened. He's not a viable candidate, he espouses ideas that would make what Bush is doing to the economy look benign, and honestly, the worst damage he could do is pull enough delegates to force a second ballot in Minneapolis. And in the end, if he did trade his delegates to another GOP candidate, that would be seen as the biggest sellout in political history by his followers.

He's really just gum in the works for the GOP, and that's about it. Eventually, the gum will be worked out. Even with all his money, he's still tracking behind the vastly underfunded but plucky Mike Huckabee.

And see, here's the thing: Romney and others have been attacking Huckabee in the last week. When was the last time you heard any of the candidates attack Paul?

Voting for Paul is voting for the destruction of the present order.

Voting for Paul is about the romantic idea that we are all still gentlemen-farmers newly freed from the taxation of England and left with our plots and our slaves to live some ideal of Cincinnatus and the agrarian life.

And that makes it funny to me, you see, since most of Paul's supporters have never even gardened, much less farmed.

Do I think we're in an economic bind as a nation? You bet.
Do I think the solution is the gold standard? Hell no.

Do I think health care in this country is screwed up by greed and corruption? You bet.
Do I think the solution is to dismantle the entire social safety net and letting the "free market" attempt to care for the poor? Hell no.

Do I think Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time? You bet.
Do I think the solution is to pull out of the world, leave the UN and kick them out of NYC, and effectively ban any immigration into this country, legal or otherwise? Hell no.

Maybe what Paul represents -- the true protest vote against political stagnation and hegemony -- is noble. His politics and ideas, though, are not.

Hence, November 5. They mean it.

Yeah, funny story about Guy Fawkes. He was a Catholic. By blowing up Parliament, he was hoping to smash the Protestant leadership and return England to Mother Rome.

So, yeah, he might have been all about "the destruction of the present order," but he had another order, one that five fresh fish and other hate on in the religion threads, in mind to replace them, one that was even less "of the people" at the time than England's Protestant government.

Honestly, I'm not sure that's the image I would want to convey. It hints that Paul may represent some more sinister force trying to seize power.

Also, Fawkes failed and was hung. Again, not exactly the branding I want to associate Our Hero with.

(I have no idea who I'm going to vote for. Really. Except that I've already discarded Paul, Giuliani, Hunter, Tancredo, Biden, and Edwards. But honestly, I wish this election would happen already.)
posted by dw at 12:31 AM on November 6, 2007 [21 favorites]


and sign a constitutional amendment that restores the balance of power,

No.

This gives a sliver of credibility to the view that these jackal-breathed motherfuckers have somehow found a two hundred and something year-old loophole in our founding document no one had spotted before.

They didn't look for loopholes in the Constitution - they wiped their distended red hairy baboon assholes with it. We don't need an amendment reiterating what the law is. We need to prosecute everyone who's disregarded it, from the top on down. No exceptions, no excuses.
posted by trondant at 12:46 AM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Paultard haters et al. I was trying to think of something pithy and appropriate to say but honestly troll and dipshit are the only things that come to mind. Arrogance and ignorance are hardly charming traits.

Seriously, if you want to attack the man then go after his congressional record. Attack the many on record speeches he has made, going back to the death of Mao in 1976. Or his statements on Middle Eastern, foreign and domestic policy going back to before 1979, or economic policy all of which you can find on the congressional record. Oh, you haven’t read any of that? Bone up Jr., then bring your sorry ass back here and let’s have a discussion about what the man said and did on the record. M’kay.

Have you par chance read the Constitution? It would be that silly little document that everyone who joins the military swears to uphold, protect and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. Oh, and the politicians do as well, except for the most part I think they just pinky swear, pull up their pants to cover their freshly branded asses and head off the nearest public restroom to practice their secret handshakes and try to hook up.

Dr. Paul is a Taft Republican (a rare but I can assure you true breed), he follows the founders’ admonitions, he has 10 terms of the most consistent voting record in congress to stand on and he can put together more than a noun, a verb and 9/11. Why Google him? Because there is substance to what he has to say and you can’t buzzword or discount it off hand. You don't have to like him, personally I could give a shit what you think, but you should at least respect a worthy adversary.

I realize that your gene pool is probably a tad shallow and you still have scratches on your knees from climbing the fence and you struggle with the embarrassing smell of your own feted fecal intellect but if you want to sit at the big people table, please do try and bring something to the argument.

Let me guess, this is the part where you reach back in your diaper and grab for a handful of your back up.

You stick out like truth cancer. It is just too easy to spot. Your pseudo intellectual jihad is lost and you are a bolo at this station.
Are you tracking? Bravo Four out. OSOK
posted by MapGuy at 1:32 AM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


But really, MapGuy, don't beat around the bush: how do you really feel about Paultard (your word, not mine) haters?

You don't have to like him, personally I could give a shit what you think, but you should at least respect a worthy adversary.

I like some of what Paul has to say; besides Kucinich he's the only candidate that speaks at least frankly about the war. But he does this because he's (to steal from Pope Guilty) batshitinsane. It's kind of a moot point to talk about what he would do if he got into office because he ain't gonna get into office. It's just very simply not going to happen. So you Paulites, listen up: take all your well intentioned energy and find a different candidate (or run yourself) to support come next November, because a vote for Ron Paul will be a vote wasted.

Then again...a vote for Ron Paul will probably be a vote not going to Guliani, therefore deflating the Republican side and helping the Democrats. Nevermind, Paulites, vote for Ron Paul! Twice! Do a write-in if necessary! And you'll absolutely ensure a Democrat victory. Whether you like that or not...who cares? Right, MapGuy?

You stick out like truth cancer. It is just too easy to spot. Your pseudo intellectual jihad is lost and you are a bolo at this station.
Are you tracking? Bravo Four out. OSOK


OK....
posted by zardoz at 2:57 AM on November 6, 2007


Seriously, if you want to attack the man then go after his congressional record.

In that spirit: Ron Paul on the issues.
posted by moonbiter at 3:04 AM on November 6, 2007


Heh, I studiously avoided using the word "Paultard" all through my post, and was quite pleased that Metafilter didn't mention it either. Then who comes and trots it out? A Ron Paul fan.
posted by brownpau at 4:09 AM on November 6, 2007


The messianic view that Paul's supporters hold of him, frankly, scares the shit out of me.
posted by psmealey at 4:14 AM on November 6, 2007


Sorry: many supporters, not all.
posted by psmealey at 4:42 AM on November 6, 2007


by left I mean right
posted by oaf at 4:47 AM on November 6, 2007


If we put Ron Paul on a conveyor belt, could he take off from the Internet?
posted by ijoshua at 5:19 AM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why Ron Paul is being seen as a racist. He said that the Israeli lobby is bad (Israel is a country - the race is Jewish) and he said that 90-95% of teenage black males in DC were at least semi-criminal. The Wire shows this to be at least somewhat accurate in Baltimore. Perhaps he was suggesting that "the system" has consistently failed inner city black youth - to the degree that 90-95% of them choose to engage in criminal behavior rather than finish school, etc. Perhaps he was using hyperbole to advance his point. Perhaps he's a great crusader for the rights of minorities. Ok, so the fleet of foot thing is pretty bad. Reminds me of the "black people have more muscles in their legs = can jump higher" rumor from 20 years ago. Anyway, he may have views on race that show him to be slightly out of touch and not up to the levels of sensitivity demanded by the tenured faculty of America's august institutions of learning and indoctrination, but from those few statements, he sounds far less racist than many, many Republican candidates (remember George Allen's noose?).
posted by billysumday at 5:21 AM on November 6, 2007


The Wire shows this to be at least somewhat accurate in Baltimore.

And 24 shows that torture is effective.
posted by dmd at 5:30 AM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


The Wire shows this to be at least somewhat accurate in Baltimore.

And 24 shows that torture is effective.


Your point is that it's a television show? Fair enough. The point still stands, though. I've heard it from social worker friends, city school teachers - in fact, I'm not sure there are many people who would claim that pockets of some big cities are much different from The Wire. I was just using it as an example because many peope have seen it.
posted by billysumday at 5:35 AM on November 6, 2007


Bletch's comment fucking sucked, for all the reasons dw said, and it makes me sad that it got so many favorites.

p.s. Way to bring the jerkass, Cartography Male!

"I was trying to think of something pithy and appropriate to say but honestly troll and dipshit are the only things that come to mind"

Yes! Troll and dipshit! You go, Male!
posted by Kwine at 5:52 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


sheer insanity
posted by MapGuy at 1:32 AM on November 6


Uh you think that two cell phones can boil an egg, presumably because you're a mental defective; you wouldn't last three months in a libertarian America because you'd spend all your money on colloidal silver supplements and handguns
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:06 AM on November 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


billysunday, here's my advice: if you find yourself as Ron Paul's PR Director and you have need to defend Paul from accusations of racism--don't ever, ever use any of the sentences you used in your "defense" of him you just posted. Just don't.
posted by zardoz at 6:10 AM on November 6, 2007


billysunday, here's my advice: if you find yourself as Ron Paul's PR Director and you have need to defend Paul from accusations of racism--don't ever, ever use any of the sentences you used in your "defense" of him you just posted. Just don't.
posted by zardoz at 6:10 AM


I'll keep that mind. In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes out for any evidence that Ron Paul is even marginally racist.
posted by billysumday at 6:19 AM on November 6, 2007


psmealey writes "The messianic view that Paul's supporters hold of him, frankly, scares the shit out of me."

Who would that be? I don't see any more devotion to him than any other candidate.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:28 AM on November 6, 2007


Your pseudo intellectual jihad is lost and you are a bolo at this station. Are you tracking? Bravo Four out. OSOK

I should drop these phrases into my conversations more often.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:29 AM on November 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'll keep that mind. In the meantime, I'll keep my eyes out for any evidence that Ron Paul is even marginally racist.

So it's your assertion that Ron Paul is mind-bendingly incompetent rather than racist? Because there's really no other options here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:35 AM on November 6, 2007


Who would that be? I don't see any more devotion to him than any other candidate.

This is for kidding, right?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:35 AM on November 6, 2007


So it's your assertion that Ron Paul is mind-bendingly incompetent rather than racist? Because there's really no other options here.

My assertion is that the statement, "By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government" is not racist, but political. Further, the comment "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," could be construed as being racist - it could also be construed as being critical of the criminal justice system instead of critical of a race of people. The comment "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be," shows that Paul has been robbed by a black teen-aged male who was also very fast. This really is a relatively racist (certainly prejudicial) statement, though more along the benign paternalistic kind of racism rather than the malicious sort. Again, my point is simply that Ron Paul is less of a racist than many other Republicans and if these are the only statements/actions one can point to as proof that he is a racist, I think it's pretty weak.
posted by billysumday at 6:58 AM on November 6, 2007


You have a lot in common with the Neo-Conservatives at the New York Sun, Pope Trotsky.

Oh, and apparently Ron Paul raised 4.3 million dollars cash yesterday. And worked in Congress for 10 terms. Definitely incompetent. Definitely.

"Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals. Racists believe that all individual who share superficial physical characteristics are alike; as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups." - Ron Paul
posted by chlorus at 7:00 AM on November 6, 2007


And worked in Congress for 10 terms. Definitely incompetent. Definitely.

Being a Congressman means you're competent? Really? Isn't incompetence what's wrong with Congress?

I mean, we elected Dubya to eight years of office, and I don't see anyone lining up to laud him for his competence.
posted by dw at 7:16 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, getting re-elected 10 times over a span of 20 some odd years is not an indication of competence of any kind, you're right.
posted by chlorus at 7:23 AM on November 6, 2007


More from Stirland. Guess what; the "Giuliani forum" where someone tried to clumsily smear her is hosted on a shared server with a bunch of other "decoy forums" for other candidates -- along with what would appear to be a non-decoy Ron Paul forum.
posted by brownpau at 7:24 AM on November 6, 2007


Dr. Paul is a Taft Republican (a rare but I can assure you true breed)

The fat guy who created the nasty rift in the GOP that led to six years of Wilson and two years of Mrs. Wilson?

Or the fat guy's great-grandson, the corrupt former governor of Ohio?
posted by dw at 7:31 AM on November 6, 2007


My assertion is that the statement, "By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government" is not racist, but political.

I'm not fan of Israel, but taken in the context of his ties to the radical right it's hard to argue that this isn't anti-Semitic.

Further, the comment "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," could be construed as being racist - it could also be construed as being critical of the criminal justice system instead of critical of a race of people. The comment "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be," shows that Paul has been robbed by a black teen-aged male who was also very fast.

No, they really can't. The context of these quotes is a racist screed about how the Rodney King riots are the latest battle in the black war on white people. The article is available online because a white supremacist posted it to Usenet back in 1993; a copy can be read here.

You have a lot in common with the Neo-Conservatives at the New York Sun, Pope Trotsky.

This kind of confirms my suspicion that you're not really reading the thread. Why? Because your big reveal, your gotcha moment, is a link I posted upthread. That's some impressive work, there.

Oh, and apparently Ron Paul raised 4.3 million dollars cash yesterday.

His fundraising is irrelevant; internet lolbertarians throwing money at candidates is nothing new, though the messianic fervor that you guys seem to have is like Nader in 2000 only he's being supported by people with money.

And worked in Congress for 10 terms. Definitely incompetent. Definitely.

He's never once been the origin of a successful bill, which doesn't speak well to his two decades suckling at the public teat in Congress. There's also his remarks on the Darfur divestment bill, which indicate that he hasn't actually read the bill in question. Look at him, vehemently lambasting the bill... for doing something that it doesn't actually do!

And as to that Ron Paul quote, well, it's funny that he's suddenly against racism now that he's trying to appeal to a national audience. Back in '94, when he was trying to appeal to a rural Texan constituency, he wasn't so fiery. There's also the fact that while he now comes out against racism, it is not because racism is wrong or because it is damaging to human beings- it's because racism is the hated collectivism, that eternal foe of the Libertarian. Toss in the bog-standard right-wing fuckhead whining about how people who give a shit about racism are the real racists, and it becomes ever more clear what a skidmark Ron Paul is in the underpants of American politics.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:33 AM on November 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


The attacks on Ron Paul in this thread are for the most part, shallow and passionate. His political views are a departure from the main stream but it is a bit peculiar that so much emotion would be roused by a candidate who wants: to end the Iraq war, diminish if not end the drug war, reduce the power of the executive branch, restore habeas corpus and limit the Patriot Act. These aren't political views that would raise the ire of most liberals to the degree that Ron Paul does here.

Obviously that's a partial list of his politics and it's the ones I haven't named that send them up in a tizzy, like: massive reduction of taxation, shrinking the federal government, increasing private property rights, refusing to restrict gun ownership on a federal level, not endorsing abortion on the federal level, not endorsing gay marriage on the federal level, and taking a strong stand on illegal immigration. I don't find these policies objectionable but many clearly do. These policies are partially motivated by two concerns that their opponents do not share, giving citizens the power to make choices and have access to tools, and respect for what the Constitution actually says.

The Constitution says nothing about the federal government having the right to determine what the definition of marriage is, or the status of abortion. These are matters for the state legislature. Granted, there are numerous areas where the federal government has encroached beyond its given authority but let's keep it to two for the sake of discussion. It's been an unfortunate trend for many years that change at the state level is not good enough for a policy's advocates, they want it at the federal level and for it to be the law of the land. Whether it is the business of the federal government to make the law on this issue is far too rarely addressed and Ron Paul continues to point this out. Naturally this frustrates those advocates who feel their issue to be of such import that it should include everyone in the U.S. And this dovetails with the second concern, respect for choice.

Capitalism works because it is decentralized. It allows owners, who typically have the most knowledge, and who have the most to gain by appropriate stewardship, to make decisions. It is the recognition that decisions are best made at the lowest level possible, where the degree of local knowledge is highest, that promotes shrinking the federal government and lowering federal taxes. For instance, the federal government does not need to be involved in managing education. Nor do they need to determine what substances can be controlled in a given state. We can let communities set their own standards even when they choose policies we would disagree with. It seems that much of liberals advocacy of tolerance is for the tolerance of individual choice, property excepted. That's fine as far as it goes and I agree with it, and it doesn't go far enough. There is also the tolerance of communities with standards different from our own. I don't see much of that kind of tolerance among liberals and I suspect that's why they have such massive objections to reducing the federal government. As if the government subsidized safety net in Arizona can't differ substantially from the one in Massachusetts. Or as if the residents of one state can not make their own decisions on education. And this is also different from tolerating any and all standards. We can demand that all citizens of the nation have civil rights while still allowing communities to have considerable latitude in determining their own affairs.

Giving people freedom of choice means giving people the right to live in ways we find disagreeable and that fuels a lot of opposition. Ron Paul gets his share of criticism from the Right as well. More and more Americans look to big federal government as a given and the only question remaining is between a 'conservative' intrusive government with an interventionist foreign policy and a 'liberal' intrusive government with an interventionist foreign policy. Democrats recent failure to stand up at the FISA's passage (the 'Protect America Act'), with control of Congress, is of note here.

The attacks on Ron Paul regarding the newsletter are ridiculous. He has, of course, apologized. If that's the biggest skeleton in his closet then it's far better than most. Liberal critics that refuse to let this issue go show their refusal to engage with any of the fundamental issues. I will also point out that while I disagree with the notion that America is a racist nation that oppresses its minority ethnic populations, it is clear to me that blacks and hispanics have suffered disproportionately as a result of the Drug War and various federal welfare programs. I know the bit about federal welfare will be contentious so I'll reference Thomas Sowell who has done some work in this area, particularly as concerns black academic achievement.
posted by BigSky at 7:35 AM on November 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


Yeah, getting re-elected 10 times over a span of 20 some odd years is not an indication of competence of any kind, you're right.

Jim Bunning.
posted by dw at 7:39 AM on November 6, 2007


You have a lot more in common with neo-conservatives than any other ideology, as you share the same implicit Trotskyist assumptions about how the world and government ought to work, and many of Ron Paul's policy positions attack that implicit assumption. Though you are opposed perhaps to the Iraq war, you disagree with RP's opposition to the same war because it also entails opposition to the foundation of your ideology, so you react with hatred and ad hominem. The only difference between you and neo-conservatives is that you would use slightly different means to accomplish the same ends.

I can understand that as a collectivist who supports government enforcement of collectivism, you have some irrational, physio-psychological responses to libertarian ideology. It must really infuriate you to know that Ron Paul raised 4.3 million dollars in one day. Every time Ron Paul gets money, a little Pope Guilty angel gets his wings.
posted by chlorus at 7:40 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The attacks on Ron Paul in this thread are for the most part, shallow and passionate.

And the encomiums have been passionate, yet shallow.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2007


I'd also like to say that I don't appreciate being called an infanticidal, pot-smoking Stalinist, "a whackjob, a nut, and a loon," and that I've been confining my name-calling to Ron Paul. (I am, in fact, liking "what a skidmark Ron Paul is in the underpants of American politics" better and better the more I look at it, but hey, I'm juvenile sometimes.)

I will definitely note that this is pretty much what I've seen in every online discussion of Ron Paul- once the Paulsies have their arguments debunked and discredited, out comes the namecalling.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Pope Guilty writes "This is for kidding, right?"

Are you seriously trying to convince people of your position? Because all I see from you is a bunch of hysterics. I haven't learned anything about Ron Paul, but I've learned a lot about you.

I don't think your method of ad hominem attacks and poisoning the well is working. Something is wrong with our political conversations when we start out by saying, "You're an idiot, your beliefs are batshitinsane, and here's why you should change your opinion..."
posted by krinklyfig at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "I will definitely note that this is pretty much what I've seen in every online discussion of Ron Paul- once the Paulsies have their arguments debunked and discredited, out comes the namecalling."

You started out by saying, "For anyone who's actually considering supporting this racist lunatic, you might check out A Ron Paul Information Index and notice that he's, well, batshit crazy and has even less of a handle on economics than most Libertarian idiots." I guess you didn't have to wait for anyone else to start, right?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:44 AM on November 6, 2007


There is also the fact that socialism is taboo in America.

Er, you mean *talking* about socialism is taboo in America. Socialism itself is alive and well in all kinds of programs. We're just not allowed to call it socialism.
posted by mediareport at 7:47 AM on November 6, 2007


You know, I think it's funny, if you start talking about social welfare programs around conservatives, sometimes something clicks in their brains and they just lose it. They become completely irrational and start lashing out. The same thing happens when you talk about libertarian ideology around some liberals. They just can't comprehend why anyone would believe it, so they become irrational and attack anyone who is supporting such a position. Once this happens, the conversation can't really progress any further. The person completely shuts down communication and goes into polemics mode. I really should give up when I encounter this, but I have my own blind spots, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:54 AM on November 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Who would that be? I don't see any more devotion to him than any other candidate.

You're right to call me out on that without the proper cites, krinklyfig. Mostly, I was referring to MapGuy's ridiculous (but funny on the margins) ad hom attack and Bletch's hyperbolic pronouncements above, and another MeFite's exhaustive clarifications, apologia and defenses of Paul's positions on a recent GOP debate thread, which I was not able to find. Even the glory days of Howard Dean's campaign for years ago, I don't recall anything close to this.

Paul himself may indeed be a good catalyst for a lot of issues that sorely needed to be injected into this national conversation, but reports of his casual racism and the thinly veiled conspiracy saws in official platform ("transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites") are more than a little troubling.
posted by psmealey at 7:55 AM on November 6, 2007


There's also the fact that while he now comes out against racism, it is not because racism is wrong or because it is damaging to human beings- it's because racism is the hated collectivism, that eternal foe of the Libertarian.

The thing I find funny is that the Soviet propaganda machine used to continually go on about how racism was due to capitalism.

We're not X, for you see, X only happens when you believe in what Y believes. And as you all know, Y is the HATED ENEMY OF ALL THAT IS GOOD.

Paul was around folks in the 70s, 80s, and 90s that were white supremacists. Some folks were in militias, some of which were less about "defending their guns from UN helicopters" and more about plotting an armed uprising. These are the sorts of groups that read The Turner Diaries and The Ron Paul Survival Report.

Thing is, not every militia member was a racist, not every militia member was a McVeigh or Nichols. But some were. And if Paul wants to actually make an impact, he has to get beyond that. Until then, he'll be struggling to slip past Huckabee, who is now starting to cross into double digits.
posted by dw at 8:01 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The attacks on Ron Paul regarding the newsletter are ridiculous. He has, of course, apologized. If that's the biggest skeleton in his closet then it's far better than most.

Everybody read this again.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 8:04 AM on November 6, 2007


not endorsing abortion on the federal level

Woah, there. He doesn't want to "not endorse" it, he wants to ban it outright, as indicated by the bill he introduced that would have defined life as starting at conception.

Obviously that's a partial list of his politics and it's the ones I haven't named that send them up in a tizzy, like: massive reduction of taxation, shrinking the federal government, increasing private property rights, refusing to restrict gun ownership on a federal level, not endorsing abortion on the federal level, not endorsing gay marriage on the federal level, and taking a strong stand on illegal immigration.

This is a wonderfully inane parody of a right-winger's idea of liberal positions, but it worries me that you may actually be serious.

I will also point out that while I disagree with the notion that America is a racist nation that oppresses its minority ethnic populations

I'm not sure why I'm supposed to take you even vaguely seriously.

You have a lot more in common with neo-conservatives than any other ideology, as you share the same implicit Trotskyist assumptions about how the world and government ought to work, and many of Ron Paul's policy positions attack that implicit assumption.

chlorus, buddy, I'm an anarchist, a libertarian socialist. Your constant accusations that I'm either a Stalinist or a Trotskyite are patently absurd and are really offensive

Though you are opposed perhaps to the Iraq war, you disagree with RP's opposition to the same war because it also entails opposition to the foundation of your ideology, so you react with hatred and ad hominem.

I have spent this thread repeatedly pointing out why I think Ron Paul's a lunatic, and it has everything to do with his past actions and his positions.

The only difference between you and neo-conservatives is that you would use slightly different means to accomplish the same ends.

Would you mind citing an example of a neo-con who wants to persuade the populace of the world to give up capitalism and hierarchy? 'Cause I don't know of any.

I can understand that as a collectivist who supports government enforcement of collectivism, you have some irrational, physio-psychological responses to libertarian ideology.

What on earth are you even talking about?

It must really infuriate you to know that Ron Paul raised 4.3 million dollars in one day.

It makes me sad to see so much money thrown away on the lost cause's lost cause, but at least it gets money out of the hands of Libertarians.

I don't think your method of ad hominem attacks and poisoning the well is working.

Hi! If you'll notice, I've repeatedly posted on Ron Paul's views, pointing out how ridiculous and destructive those views are. I've also pointed out that these views cause him to be classified as a looney. Your insistence that one only point out his views and not, say, analyse or judge them, is going to be ignored, as it deserves to be.

ou started out by saying, "For anyone who's actually considering supporting this racist lunatic, you might check out A Ron Paul Information Index and notice that he's, well, batshit crazy and has even less of a handle on economics than most Libertarian idiots." I guess you didn't have to wait for anyone else to start, right?

Are you really trying to pretend that I wasn't linking to a website that tracks Ron Paul's stated positions?

Er, you mean *talking* about socialism is taboo in America. Socialism itself is alive and well in all kinds of programs. We're just not allowed to call it socialism.

Liberal capitalism =/= socialism, but that's a lost linguistic cause these days.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:12 AM on November 6, 2007


psmealey writes "You're right to call me out on that without the proper cites, krinklyfig. Mostly, I was referring to MapGuy's ridiculous (but funny on the margins) ad hom attack and Bletch's hyperbolic pronouncements above, and another MeFite's exhaustive clarifications, apologia and defenses of Paul's positions on a recent GOP debate thread, which I was not able to find. Even the glory days of Howard Dean's campaign for years ago, I don't recall anything close to this."

Well, for whatever it's worth, I do think there might be something to it, now that I think about it. Paul is a populist candidate, and like all populists, he plays to the disaffected voter. There is a lot of frustration among those people, and, despite what some may think, that large group encompasses a diverse lot of smaller groups. But I have seen similar defensiveness come out in many political forums. The GOP's courting of the conservative Christian vote has them in a bind with their own group of disaffected voters. Many of them feel as if Bush betrayed them. Check out FreeRepublic a while for many examples. Also check out similar forums on the other side and discussions of Nader or Kucinich.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:15 AM on November 6, 2007


I'd also like to say that I don't appreciate being called an infanticidal, pot-smoking Stalinist, "a whackjob, a nut, and a loon," and that I've been confining my name-calling to Ron Paul.

Yep, your name-calling is better and more justified than my name calling? Is that what it is even? I'm merely delineating your political positions. You're the one that said personhood doesn't begin until sometime after a year of childbirth, and while you said the legal protection should be at the time of birth, the practically reality of your bizarre view of human development would be infanticide. Cheers mate.
posted by chlorus at 8:17 AM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "Hi! If you'll notice, I've repeatedly posted on Ron Paul's views, pointing out how ridiculous and destructive those views are. I've also pointed out that these views cause him to be classified as a looney. Your insistence that one only point out his views and not, say, analyse or judge them, is going to be ignored, as it deserves to be."

It's hard for me to pick out the salient points among the invective.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2007


reports of his casual racism and the thinly veiled conspiracy saws in official platform ("transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites") are more than a little troubling.

What makes them 'troubling' is the way you frame them. When you say 'casual racism' it is presupposed that he is racist. The modifier 'casual', if anything, stigmatizes him even more, making this alleged racism appear deeply ingrained. Well, no, that isn't just taken to be the case.

The same goes for the supposed "thinly veiled conspiracy saws". What he is making reference to here, are proposals that intrude upon our national sovereignty. One example, would be U.S. troops being tried by some U.N. body when they are accused of war crimes when they are acting as U.N. peace keepers. You may feel differently on this issue but to call it a 'conspiracy saw' is simply a slur.
posted by BigSky at 8:24 AM on November 6, 2007


I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone.- Pope Guilty nee Lenin

This can only be accomplished through violence. Just like any utopian ideologue, your project can only be accomplished through coerced upheaval of the social order. You therefore must create a mechanism to effect this change. In your case, it would at minimum be the elimination of private property. Even if it was not tyrannical to begin with, this mechanism would inevitably be hijacked by a tyrant. People don't give up their property willingly unless they see some commensurate gain in some other way.

You are about as much of an anarchist as Marx, Pope Guilty, which means that the practical outcome of your philosophy is Josef Stalin, because in your heart you are willing to use violence to achieve social utopia.
posted by chlorus at 8:28 AM on November 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yep, your name-calling is better and more justified than my name calling?

It is. I'm labeling Ron Paul as a loon based upon his words and his actions. You are calling me names for daring to point out the lunacy. I am not an infanticidal, pot-smoking, Stalinist. Ron Paul is a believer in the Gold Standard, for the abolition of the FDA, for removing the ability of the Supreme Court to hear establishment cases, and holds other positions that can charitably be described as insane.

I'm merely delineating your political positions.

No, you're calling me a Stalinist and accusing me of being in favor of forcible government collectivisation, which I do not and never have endorsed. I am assessing Ron Paul based on his actions and words. You are throwing out spittle-flecked invectives and hoping that calling me names will serve as a defence of Ron Paul. It does not.

You're the one that said personhood doesn't begin until sometime after a year of childbirth, and while you said the legal protection should be at the time of birth, the practically reality of your bizarre view of human development would be infanticide.

So your point is that, while I say I'm against infanticide, I'm really pro-infanticide? Are you serious?

It's hard for me to pick out the salient points among the invective.

Ad hominem attacks take the form of "You're an X so therefore you are wrong." My arguments are taking the form of "Ron Paul believes x, y, and z, therefore he's a loon."
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:29 AM on November 6, 2007


Your shrill, hysterical hyper responsiveness will get you everywhere.
posted by chlorus at 8:36 AM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "Ad hominem attacks take the form of 'You're an X so therefore you are wrong.' My arguments are taking the form of 'Ron Paul believes x, y, and z, therefore he's a loon.'"

OK, I give up. Your points are brilliantly elucidated.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:38 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your shrill, hysterical hyper responsiveness will get you everywhere.

I don't even know who that's supposed to be aimed at. I'm not sure it matters. I wish I hadn't commented in this thread, mostly.
posted by cortex at 8:44 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


No, you're calling me a Stalinist and accusing me of being in favor of forcible government collectivisation

The violence of your rhetoric tells me all I need to know about you.
posted by chlorus at 8:49 AM on November 6, 2007


I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone.- Pope Guilty nee Lenin

See, now, this is what I'm talking about. You're not defending Ron Paul. You can't. You've switched over to full-on ad hominem attack mode, attempting to discredit me as some kind of Stalinist/Trotskyist/Leninist (what's next, comparing me to Molotov? Pol Pot, maybe?) instead of attacking my arguments.

This can only be accomplished through violence. Just like any utopian ideologue, your project can only be accomplished through coerced upheaval of the social order. You therefore must create a mechanism to effect this change.

My mechanism is the persuasion of human beings to reject capitalism and hierarchy. If a revolution occurs (and I don't share Marx's inane historical determinism), is there going to be force required? Probably. I don't anticipate that the rich will give up their wealth and power voluntarily. But all such shifts involve violence- the property you so jealously protect as a capitalist was itself obtained through theft and murder.

You are about as much of an anarchist as Marx, Pope Guilty, which means that the practical outcome of your philosophy is Josef Stalin, because in your heart you are willing to use violence to achieve social utopia.

You know, I've avoided calling you names, but frankly, you're an idiot with a grasp of politics and economics that is so shallow as to not even count as a wading pool.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:51 AM on November 6, 2007


Your shrill, hysterical hyper responsiveness will get you everywhere.

You're right! When you accuse me of being a pot-smoking, infanticidal Stalinist, I should just stop responding!

The violence of your rhetoric tells me all I need to know about you.

The property that you prize is the result of murder and theft and can only be defended with force. All political positions advocate for violence in one form or another.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:55 AM on November 6, 2007


Whatever else you might say about mapguy's post, it's higly entertaining. Some of those insults are A-grade stuff. I would favourite it if I weren't afraid people might think I supported the points enumerated.
posted by Catfry at 8:55 AM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Goddammit, that was a long way up in the thread. I meant this post.
posted by Catfry at 8:57 AM on November 6, 2007


If we're sharing inane Pope Guilty quotes on politics and economics, check out this beaut.
posted by BigSky at 9:14 AM on November 6, 2007


And suddenly it's all about me and not about Ron Paul. Nice work, Paulsies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:27 AM on November 6, 2007


I wish I hadn't commented in this thread, mostly.

Oh, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I'd like to bottle up the crazy in this thread and sell it as a 'nutritional supplement.'
posted by octobersurprise at 9:32 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I'd like to bottle up the crazy in this thread and sell it as a 'nutritional supplement.'

...and in Paultopia, nobody will stop you or burden you with tests to ensure that it's nontoxic!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:34 AM on November 6, 2007


For posterity.
posted by cortex at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2007


Is ron paul the next larouche?
posted by Stynxno at 10:23 AM on November 6, 2007


The same goes for the supposed "thinly veiled conspiracy saws".

Wait, you can get conspiracy saws thinly veiled now? I've been looking for one. Get yours at Home Depot or Lowe's?
posted by dw at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2007


“Dr. Paul is a Taft Republican”

He’s really going to have to bulk up. Right now he’s pretty much just a Rutherford B. Hayes or at best a Garfield.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:42 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Its threads like this that make me despair for representative democracy. With cognitive dissonance like this, who needs an educated electorate?
posted by Skorgu at 10:55 AM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty: Heh, I don't know politics? Your snark and lack of political understanding won't save you. Apparently you haven't read your Weber.

I have already explained your politics to you, and you have already confirmed my statements and demonstrated the dangerous violence inherent in your thought process.
posted by chlorus at 10:57 AM on November 6, 2007


The fact the True Believers are dumping on Pope Guilty doesn't detract from the fact that other people in this thread have leveled their criticisms at Paul, too, and most of those criticisms have either been ignored or waved away.

Oh, wait. That sounds like clorus paging through my 1000+ comments. Enjoy painting me as the lassiez-faire capitalist, center-left internationalist that I am.
posted by dw at 11:00 AM on November 6, 2007


Its threads like this that make me despair for representative democracy. With cognitive dissonance like this, who needs an educated electorate?

The essence of politics is compromise. Or at least preventing people who violently disagree from murdering each other. So... on some level you can argue that what we have is working.
posted by psmealey at 11:05 AM on November 6, 2007


chlorus: I have already explained your politics to you, and you have already confirmed my statements and demonstrated the dangerous violence inherent in your thought process."

Ooo, me next, can you explain my politics to me?
posted by octothorpe at 11:09 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Plenty of other people have responded to the criticisms of Ron Paul, I just think that Pope Guilty's screeds seethe with so much hate that they need to be dealt with in a different manner.

octhorpe: sure. Do you liek mudkips?
posted by chlorus at 11:12 AM on November 6, 2007


The fact the True Believers are dumping on Pope Guilty doesn't detract from the fact that other people in this thread have leveled their criticisms at Paul, too, and most of those criticisms have either been ignored or waved away.

Yes, dw, your comment "Wait, you can get conspiracy saws thinly veiled now? I've been looking for one. Get yours at Home Depot or Lowe's?" was quite the penetrating critique. You've given us all something to think about there. If only you could have managed to actually be funny as well. Please point us to these serious unanswered criticisms that lie upthread. I'm interested.

And people are dumping on Pope Guilty because he expresses political opinions that a few of us find difficult to take seriously and he thinks that he has Ron Paul's number. It is to laugh but what one would expect from someone who dismisses the right to private property (one of the foundations of western civilization, in case that even needs saying), giving his 'appraisal' of a Constitutionalist Republican.
posted by BigSky at 11:22 AM on November 6, 2007


Plenty of other people have responded to the criticisms of Ron Paul, I just think that Pope Guilty's screeds seethe with so much hate that they need to be dealt with in a different manner.

I think the thread was worth it, at least for this cognitive dissonance.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:33 AM on November 6, 2007


I think the thread was worth it, at least for this cognitive dissonance.

Sometimes I am a mirror.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:51 AM on November 6, 2007


Plenty of other people have responded to the criticisms of Ron Paul, I just think that Pope Guilty's screeds seethe with so much hate that they need to be dealt with in a different manner.

Ad hominem attack and a total failure to defend Ron Paul, apparently. It does bear noting that I've done more in this thread to link to evidence of Paul's total insuitability for the office of President than anyone else- that I've earned the ire of (and a constant stream of insults and abuse from) the Paulsies is pretty typical for Paulsie-Nonpaulsie intercourse when the conversation goes in ways that Paulsies don't like.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:57 AM on November 6, 2007


Now why am I not surprised that a post favorable to Ron Paul was deleted from Metafilter's front page. I guess we should be happy that we're allowed to eat cake continue discussing him under the rubric of "Ron Paul Spam".
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:00 PM on November 6, 2007


It's part of my evil scheme to subvert his otherwise juggernaut candidacy, yes.
posted by cortex at 12:05 PM on November 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


where is my "favoriting from the recent activity page" feature? I'm tired of clicking extra times to favorite cortex.
posted by shmegegge at 12:12 PM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "t does bear noting that I've done more in this thread to link to evidence of Paul's total insuitability for the office of President than anyone else- that I've earned the ire of (and a constant stream of insults and abuse from) the Paulsies is pretty typical for Paulsie-Nonpaulsie intercourse when the conversation goes in ways that Paulsies don't like."

You started out aggressively and personally attacking Ron Paul and libertarians in general. Why are you surprised at the reaction?

To give you an example, what if someone said, about Kucinich (or Clinton, or Dodd, or it doesn't matter), for instance, "For anyone who's actually considering supporting this communist lunatic, you might check out Kucinich's Skeleton Closet and notice that he's, well, batshit crazy and has even less of a handle on economics than most Democrat idiots."

What do you think would come of such an introduction? A good conversation, perhaps? Or do you think it would invite the ire of the candidate's supporters? And what conclusion would you draw from that?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:20 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now why am I not surprised that a post favorable to Ron Paul was deleted from Metafilter's front page. I guess we should be happy that we're allowed to eat cake continue discussing him under the rubric of "Ron Paul Spam".

Libertarians, of all people, should understand that the owner of a private website is free to delete or not delete whatever he pleases from that website (and to delegate that authority to his minions moderators).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:22 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please point us to these serious unanswered criticisms that lie upthread.

Fine. Let's start with the gold standard and work from there. There's no way you could switch from fiat to gold without triggering a cycle of deflation. And deflation cycles usually are followed by either extreme recessions or depressions.

Defend your boy.
posted by dw at 12:23 PM on November 6, 2007


Don't take credit where it's not due, cortex. The mainstream media had this down pat long before you came along. I'm sure they appreciate your toeing the party line, though.

On preview: DevilsAdvocate, what makes you think I'm a libertarian? Not that I disagree with your point. cortex has the authority to do what he did. I chose to express my disagreement.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:32 PM on November 6, 2007


DevilsAdvocate, what makes you think I'm a libertarian?

In my experience, vocal supporters of Ron Paul are, or at least claim to be, libertarians. My apologies if you are not.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:41 PM on November 6, 2007


It was an awful post, CA, a day after a post about the same guy, with a self-link to boot. If you're going to disagree with the decision, disagree with it on the merits and maybe lay off being the nth person to misdiagnose my politics out of spite.
posted by cortex at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2007


dw writes "Defend your boy."

I'm not necessarily a supporter of the gold standard. I'm not sure that fiat currency is the best answer, however, but I won't hang my hat on the gold standard. And, again, I'm not voting for Paul (I'm not registered with any party, anyway), but I'm glad he's running.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:50 PM on November 6, 2007


Take it to MeTa you two. Serious talk is going on here!
posted by Catfry at 12:52 PM on November 6, 2007


WHY DON'T YOU KEEP YOUR ANTI-SPITE POLITICS OUT OF IT, CORTEX.
posted by Kwine at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2007


Ah the politics of derision.
posted by psmealey at 12:54 PM on November 6, 2007


Now why am I not surprised that a post favorable to Ron Paul was deleted from Metafilter's front page. I guess we should be happy that we're allowed to eat cake continue discussing him under the rubric of "Ron Paul Spam".

Yes, Metafilter is in the habit of having multiple threads about the same subject on the front page and deletions like this aren't routine. It was deleted specifically to keep good news about Ron Paul from spreading.

To give you an example, what if someone said, about Kucinich (or Clinton, or Dodd, or it doesn't matter), for instance, "For anyone who's actually considering supporting this communist lunatic, you might check out Kucinich's Skeleton Closet and notice that he's, well, batshit crazy and has even less of a handle on economics than most Democrat idiots."

I decline to pretend that your candidate isn't a far-right lunatic simply because you're so committed to him that your response to criticism-and to pointing out the lunacy- is to go on the offensive and to, as I've mentioned, call me a pot-smoking, infanticidal Stalinist. Little insults dropped in here and there are fine- it's part of MeFi, really. But when you're responding to argumentation with "FUCK YOU, COMMIE!", you're pretty much demonstrating the impossibility of defending the man.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:55 PM on November 6, 2007


Sometimes I am a mirror in my sleep!
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2007


Sometimes I am a mirror in my sleep!

A literal mirror, of course, and damned be to any who say otherwise!
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "I decline to pretend that your candidate isn't a far-right lunatic simply because you're so committed to him"

Here's where the disconnect lies. I'm not committed to him - how many times do I have to say it? - but I'm not inclined to discuss political topics seriously with someone who won't take me seriously, and makes such an announcement right off the bat. There has to be a modicum of mutual respect for us to get anywhere. You started out in attack mode. That's not going to work.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:06 PM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "But when you're responding to argumentation with 'FUCK YOU, COMMIE!', you're pretty much demonstrating the impossibility of defending the man."

Point out once when I used any personal attacks anywhere in this thread, to a candidate or someone on this board. I did give a couple of hypothetical examples, such as the one you quoted, but those do not reflect my opinions. I'm wondering if you react so badly to it, how do you expect others will react when you say the same things? That was my point in putting forth that example.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:08 PM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "to go on the offensive and to, as I've mentioned, call me a pot-smoking, infanticidal Stalinist."

That wasn't me, Pope.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2007


Then why do you think it is you he is talking to?
posted by Catfry at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2007


Oops, my bad. I see that he actually quoted you, sorry.
posted by Catfry at 1:19 PM on November 6, 2007


Here's where the disconnect lies. I'm not committed to him - how many times do I have to say it? - but I'm not inclined to discuss political topics seriously with someone who won't take me seriously, and makes such an announcement right off the bat.

Look, if you were telling me that there's a magical fairyland behind your house, filled with unicorns and leprechauns, and I'd been to your house several times and not seen anything of the sort, I'd call you crazy. I am well-acquainted with Ron Paul's positions and actions, and there is no reason to treat him with any more respect or seriousness than any other crazy individual. Treating him as a reasonable, respectable individual would be dishonest.

There has to be a modicum of mutual respect for us to get anywhere.

I respect you sufficiently to not talk to you like a child and sugarcoat reality. Ron Paul is a nutbar. That is not an attack. That is a considered assessment of his views and actions.

Point out once when I used any personal attacks anywhere in this thread

My apologies, I had confused you with chlorus. Your comments haven't been much better, though.

I'm wondering if you react so badly to it, how do you expect others will react when you say the same things?

As I have repeatedly pointed out, I'm making arguments and slipping in insults to Paul. I'm not just flaming the man, as you have consistently tried to claim when you're not busy spreading disinformation to protect his reputation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:22 PM on November 6, 2007


dw,

I'm not sure that a change from a fiat based currency to a commodity based one would trigger a depression, or if so why. To start with, Ron Paul has said that any change over to commodity based currency would be gradual. But the more important issue is that even if it did cause deflation the more relevant concern is whether the belt tightening now would spare us a more prolonged and painful depression later. Given your position you probably do not agree with the business cycle model proposed by the Austrian school, so I'm skeptical we'll come to an agreement on which policy is more successful at avoiding extreme depressions. But I don't see how we can expect a capitalist system to be self regulating when the interest rates do not match up with the price of a loan when calculated with a fixed commodity matching the currency. For what it's worth, putting the blame on the Federal Reserve's dictates on the monetary supply for the depression of the 30s and the inflation of the 70s is hardly a crank theory. The gold standard removes those possibilities.
posted by BigSky at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2007


BigSky, does it bother you that the US doesn't own enough gold to "back" the amount of money we have now? What do you suppose will be the outcome of buying up enough gold to back that money, both in the ruinous tax rates necessary to buy that much gold and in the sudden surge in gold prices once the fedgov introduces a massive demand?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "I respect you sufficiently to not talk to you like a child and sugarcoat reality. Ron Paul is a nutbar. That is not an attack. That is a considered assessment of his views and actions."

OK, well, honestly I should have known that trying to discuss this with you wouldn't be very productive. It just gets my hackles up when someone is so dismissive of a political view that they find distasteful. I do think that many of the problems were facing right now have to do with the serious divide between parties and views. People no longer attempt to come together to work towards a shared goal. Now many people want political purity (and the Libertarians are just as guilty of this), or they flat-out refuse, even if it means they give up accomplishing something if compromises are made by working together. And, no, I'm not talking about the Bush-style BS "compromise" that essentially means he gets his way, or no way. But that goes both ways ...

It should be noted that the anti-war movement can't make it on the fringes of the Democratic Party alone. Ron Paul-style libertarians are probably the strongest group aside from the left's anti-war groups.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:45 PM on November 6, 2007


It just gets my hackles up when someone is so dismissive of a political view that they find distasteful.

I am not dismissive of him because I find him distasteful. I am dismissive of him because he is fundamentally disconnected from reality.

That he's a racist piece of shit and a Libertard are really just icing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:46 PM on November 6, 2007


Backlash Comparison: Who's Nuttier, Apple Fanatics or Ron Paul Enthusiasts?
posted by brownpau at 1:52 PM on November 6, 2007


I like the comments on that Wired peice. Nothing quite says "We're not angry nutjobs!" like frothing at the mouth at a lightweight comedy peice.
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on November 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty,

It doesn't exactly keep me up at night canning vegetables and hand loading ammunition, but yeah, it bothers me. I don't know what the best route is. No one is thinking this is doable over night. One proposed solution is revaluation of the dollar to the total amount of held gold. If we did decide to buy enough of a commodity to back the currency in full, an assortment of mixed metals is one way to slow a run on the price of gold and silver and ...

But I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that some of the funding for purchasing the commodity(ies) in question can come from cuts in the federal government. We can use the money that would have been allocated for the DEA, ATF, IRS, Department of Education, part of the budget for the administration of federal prisons, etc. And still, it will take a while.
posted by BigSky at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2007


Amen, Artw. Wow. Wowie wow wow.

*hugs Metafilter so tight*
posted by cortex at 2:40 PM on November 6, 2007


Like all the angry tearing up of subscriptions. That's the market speaking right there!

Anyone signed up to demand their $5 back yet?
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2007


Well, by his voting record he’s for marijuana legalization, pretty pro-gun, against the death penalty and favors alternative sentencing, so not all bad. His stance on the environment is wobbly and I can’t at all agree with his position on abortion tho - pretty much deal breakers.

(What’s the deal with all the labels? “libertards” etc. Seems like y’all just set up targets for yourselves.)
(Archie:I'm gonna go into town and get me a good Jew lawyer.
Mike Stivic:Do you always have to label people? Why can't you just get a lawyer. Why does it have to be a Jewish lawyer?
Archie:Because if I'm going to sue an "A-rab," I want a guy that's full o' hate!)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:05 PM on November 6, 2007


One proposed solution is revaluation of the dollar to the total amount of held gold...

Well, at the very least Gisele would like some sort of stability relative to the dollar!
Gisele Bundchen Doesn't Want to Be Paid in Dollars.

Supermodel Bundchen Joins Hedge Funds Dumping Dollars.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on November 6, 2007


*hugs Metafilter so tight*

There's nothing quite like other sites to remind one of how awesome MeFi is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:32 PM on November 6, 2007


I like the comments on that Wired peice. Nothing quite says "We're not angry nutjobs!" like frothing at the mouth at a lightweight comedy peice.

Obviously all of the commenters were actually Clinton/Giuliani supporters paid off by the mainstream media and international bankers to make Ron Paul supporters look like angry nutjobs.
posted by gyc at 4:05 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


RON PAUL
PROTECT AMERICA'S EGGS FROM CELL PHONES
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:08 PM on November 6, 2007


And seriously, he’s a libertarian? I really must have no clue what any of these terms mean anymore. I watched a bit of Glen Beck and Penn Gillette jerk each other off all over this philosophy. One of the points Gillette made was that a buddy of his in Vegas who was rich asked him who would help needy people if the government didn’t. And Gillette said “people like you.” Now I’m all for volunteering my time and effort and even my money, but I’m not going to buy into this idea that I have to bust my ass while someone else sits on a couch all day taking my money because they got a bum deal in life. Far as I know that’s the worst quality of liberalism - albeit a caricature of it - except it runs through the Fed’s hands first. I like some of the libertarian ideas much the way I like some liberal ideas, mostly the anti-authoritarian ones. But at some point we have to recognize that if we drop the idea that someone’s labor is worth 100,000 Xs someone else’s - and I’m talking just the CEO/working joe divide here, not investments or invention, etc, just pay - I think there’d be a lot less people looking for handouts. Maybe that’s a Marxist idea, I don’t know. But we should really stick to data and empirical observation with government programs - what works, what doesn’t, a bit of experimentation of course, but not enough to destabilize things that are proven (the conservative in me, some of Paul’s policies seem pretty radical.)
Of course, that’s in government.
This is just a community web log, so y’know. Less formal, more room for speculation since nothings actually going to executed as policy (except maybe for HB. 18567 The Smedleyman reformation act).
posted by Smedleyman at 4:11 PM on November 6, 2007


Smedleyman,

I'm not sure what makes you surprised that he's called a libertarian. Probably the position that is most opposed to the Libertarian party platform is his taking a hard line against illegal immigration. But there is not much divergence from typical libertarian politics. Abortion might be a point of contention as well. I see it is one with you. While Ron Paul personally opposes abortion, in terms of his government service, he is looking to have the law decided on the appropriate level instead of enacting a federal ban. Perhaps that doesn't matter to you but I think it's a significant difference. Few opponents of abortion would pass this decision on to the states instead of premptively deciding it for everyone themselves.

I also think some of his critics exaggerate the effect Ron Paul would have on government if he was elected. The office only allows one to do so much.
posted by BigSky at 4:51 PM on November 6, 2007


While Ron Paul personally opposes abortion, in terms of his government service, he is looking to have the law decided on the appropriate level instead of enacting a federal ban.

Wrong.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:13 PM on November 6, 2007


The whole anti-abortion thing seems a little contrary to the Libertarian ethic as well. Then again, it's not in his self interest to protect other peoples rights, so maybe it's bang on.
posted by Artw at 5:15 PM on November 6, 2007


I'm not sure that a change from a fiat based currency to a commodity based one would trigger a depression, or if so why.

As I've understood things, if the US owned all the gold in the world, we should still only have enough to back 1/3 of the total money supply. The options you'd have would be to either do a currency swap (pull the current dollar, replace it with the "Paul Dollar" backed with gold) at 3:1, or to just contract the money supply by 2/3rds.

In the former example, beyond the chaos you'd cause (not quite Y2K, but lots of banks having to switch you over and lines to get the new P$), you'd also have created an incredibly strong dollar overnight. Now, with countries with runaway inflation, this usually isn't a problem, since going from 10,000:1 to 100:1 is just an accounting trick. But you've just tripled the buying power of the world's leading currency. That's going to have nasty repercussions to trade.

In the latter, though, hoo boy -- you just took 2/3rds of the dollars available for currency off the table. And since you nuked the Fed, you have no system for bridging the financial gap caused by a sudden shortage of money. People start hoarding cash. The smart ones start hoarding gold -- would that even be allowed under the new gold standard? Pretty soon, there's no capital for banks to loan businesses. And the deflation starts in hard and fast. Layoffs. Wages fall. The bills are still due.

This is basically what happened in 1929-1930. The start of the Depression. It also happened in the late 19th century, to the point that the post-Civil War economy was barely creeping along. Thus, the Cross of Gold speech -- Bryan was calling for a silver standard, which would create inflation and allow farmers to pay off their debts with the devalued dollars. In essence, relief for the working class by increasing the money supply.

Now, Paul would have four years, eight at most, to transition the US off fiat. Keep in mind that it took us decades to get to this point, and it would take decades to do a conversion effectively if you didn't want to create a societal collapse.

And there's this other thing no one ever discusses -- even if we're bi-metal or tri-metal or quad-metal, those metals will still be traded in Europe and Asia. How does that affect the dollar? You've added a new way you can manipulate the American economy -- just threaten to dump your platinum supply on the open market.

But the more important issue is that even if it did cause deflation the more relevant concern is whether the belt tightening now would spare us a more prolonged and painful depression later.

Depressions ARE painful. In 1933, unemployment in this country was over 30%. Social disorder was the norm. The idea that going off fiat might save us later is like saying that it's better to shoot yourself in the head now lest you shoot yourself in the stomach in 10 years.

Given your position you probably do not agree with the business cycle model proposed by the Austrian school, so I'm skeptical we'll come to an agreement on which policy is more successful at avoiding extreme depressions.

The Austrian school rejects mathematics as a method of explaining economics. Now, math isn't perfect and the models they produce are always a little lacking, but to reject it outright as a method to explain something that is fundamentally based on numbers? That's like a biologist rejecting genetics.

But I don't see how we can expect a capitalist system to be self regulating when the interest rates do not match up with the price of a loan when calculated with a fixed commodity matching the currency.

Capitalist systems AREN'T self-regulating. A true free market would just eventually lead us down the road of distrust, and that would mean continuing boom-bust cycles like we saw in the early 1900s, epitomized by the Panic of 1907. The government has become more involved over time because of mistrust. The FDIC, for instance. If no one can trust that their banks will be on the up-and-up, people will elect to use the mattress for savings.

Or GAAP. The idea behind GAAP is that businesses should embrace accounting best practices so that they can be kept within a modicum of trust.

The problem with libertarian economics is that there's a fundamental assumption that in a truly open market everyone will be forced to play fair. The opposite is true. But if the average person doesn't think fair play is in order, they will trust themselves alone with their own money.

Capitalism relies not only on the free flow of goods, it also relies on the free flow of capital.

For what it's worth, putting the blame on the Federal Reserve's dictates on the monetary supply for the depression of the 30s and the inflation of the 70s is hardly a crank theory. The gold standard removes those possibilities.

The post-Civil War deflation happened under a gold standard. The Panics of 1893 and 1907 happened under a gold standard. But no one ever mentions those events in these speeches, do they?

Like I said before, the problem with Paul is that he wants to restore the agrarian democracy of Jefferson, even though most of us have never owned a farm, a slave, or a plantation. It's a Constitutional fundamentalism, where the Inerrant Word of the Founding Fathers must rule. And it's a fundamentalism, no doubt. Things change, though. We are a technological economy now. It may not be sustainable, but were the "old ways" sustainable?
posted by dw at 5:17 PM on November 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


The attacks on Ron Paul regarding the newsletter are ridiculous. He has, of course, apologized.

That's kind of the crux of the matter--he hasn't apologized, he blamed someone else for it. This strikes more than a few people as bullshit. People decry Hillary for being an opportunist, but when Ron Paul shows that kind of behavior, the Paulites don't seem to mind.
posted by zardoz at 5:23 PM on November 6, 2007


I'd quibble that no such thing as a free market exists, nor will it ever exist. Base your political philosophy around the idea that it can and you might as well be waiting for a perfect communist utopia where the aparatus of the state whithers up and flls away...
posted by Artw at 5:24 PM on November 6, 2007


it's a minor point, but the taft people have in mind when they're talking about a taft republican is robert a taft - he was known for his isolationist stance before the war and as an opponent of the new deal
posted by pyramid termite at 5:44 PM on November 6, 2007


dw, you do realize Paul as a President would be pretty much incapable of implementing his whackiest ideas, right? The current idiocy about impeachment wouldn't factor in: his ass would be grass.

If the country must have a Republican President, who would be better than Ron Paul? The mainstream candidates are undoubtedly as crooked and dangerous as Bush. As far as I can see, Ron Paul is the least dangerous President: the Senate and House wouldn't let him get away with an iota of power-grabbing bullshit.

Frankly, I see the Democrat Party much the same: electing Hilary is just electing the same shit in a a different bucket. As far as I can tell, the only non-corrupt members are outside the mainstream.

The USA's system needs to be flushed. It's time to bring the Constitution and structure up to new-millennia standards!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:49 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


“I'm not sure what makes you surprised that he's called a libertarian”

In essence the labels. F’rinstance, I’m a conservative. Of course that means one thing politically, one thing philosophically, and another thing socially or in the common use. I generally always point out what I mean by conservativism is my opposition to radical change and I cut folks a lot of slack for the most part when they bitch about how stupid “those conservatives” are. For the most part, it’s not about me.
Similarly, I see many liberals cast either in the perjorative or self-applied, that has little to do with self-determination or liberal philosophy (which I can deal with in moderation, just want to let the ideas set to see if they hold is all).
I mean if we just say “libertarian” - well, hell, Noam Chomsky is a friggin libertarian - he’s nowhere near Ron Paul.
But this “Who is Ron Paul?” thing - reminds me of the John Galt Ayn Rand thing (and indeed, it’s alliterative). So philosophically then he’s an objectivist libertarian? Well, Rand had some pretty scathing things to say about libertarianism. So, wtf?

You see, it’s the “libertarian...except for” stuff that gets me.
So ok, Bush is a conservative, except for the radical increase in government spending. Well, by those terms a Jew is a Christian, except for the belief that Christ is the Messiah.
Most people seem to use their labels as a dodge. Because it’s all insinuation. This “I’m on YOUR side” vibe, when indeed, that’s what’s killing discourse.
I won’t say Paul is running this game without a more in-depth examination, but on first blush it certainly seems his adherants are.
But even then - given the invalidity of my assessment - libertarianism is a pretty eclectic, diverse set of ideas politically - so really - it becomes all the more important to get down to brass tacks and identify the details rather than hurl these labels with their misidentified conceptual packages at each other.
The clash isn’t, I suspect, in practical circumstances. Far as I know most Americans (within some parameters) are in similar straits.

And indeed, anyone who leans toward minimalism in government I would think would want maximal diversity in independant candidates so that not much - that isn’t really important - gets done. Hell, give your legislators enough time on their hands they’ll pull that crap like they did with Schiavo while all kinds of actual practical things that need attention get bypassed just so they can continue to capture the ideological imagination of their electorate.
So this lockstep libertarianism (which, I agree with Rand) doesn’t play well with me. It might be a different song, but it’s the same dance.
Out here we’re looking at Green ward bosses - in Chicago. Iraq war vets Jason Wallace and Dave Kalbfleisch are running for some choice spots. That’s what’s going to make a difference. The diversity accepted within the system itself. And folks might bitch at each other all day and night, but when there’s a fire, all that goes out the door and they pull together.
(Wasn’t so long ago the private fire companies used to battle while the houses burned) The contrast between the real, the details of policy and execution, and this symbology and allegience is obvious.
How great someone is or might be or whatever doesn’t cut any ice with me. I don’t want to know about the grand plan, I just want to know the heat is going to be on, the water is going to be ok, my job is going to be there, the cops aren’t going to get away with beating me up or eavesdropping on my prvate life, this is just practical stuff. F’rinstance Roe v. Wade is fine by me. Been there long enough to be a solid tradition. I don’t mind depending on it as such. We’ve got plenty of time to experiment with our politics. The environment, some other things, not so much.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:52 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


But this “Who is Ron Paul?” thing - reminds me of the John Galt Ayn Rand thing (and indeed, it’s alliterative).

And intentional. Gives you an idea where some of Paul's supporters are coming from.

So philosophically then he’s an objectivist libertarian? Well, Rand had some pretty scathing things to say about libertarianism. So, wtf?


This was more of a control thing than a real philosophical difference. The modern Libertarian movement really started to take off around the same time as Objectivism, and Rand wanted to keep people in her camp exclusively. The Ayn Rand Cult has some interesting things about this. Caveat: the book is pretty flawed and is at heart a Libertarian hit piece on Rand, but it does cover some interesting history. You could also check out the much more entertaining It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand, though that goes farther afield than Objectivist vs. Libertarian purity battles.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:43 PM on November 6, 2007


Pope Guilty,

The purpose of that legislation is to directly remove abortion from the province of the federal government. You can read some of Ron Paul's comments on the subject here. And that is him speaking to conservative Christians. If you Google the relevant terms you will find a host of websites discussing that Ron Paul would like to end abortion but he would work to bring the decision to the individual states.

-----

dw,

In the latter, though, hoo boy -- you just took 2/3rds of the dollars available for currency off the table.


I don't know what plan Ron Paul has in mind but I think it's very unlikely that this would be an option. Milton Friedman identified the contraction of the monetary supply as a leading cause of the Great Depression and this has met with wide acceptance. I agree that this plan looks catastrophic but I can't seriously consider it a possibility. My opinion is that he wants to bring more attention to the subject and to find a safe way to maneuver back to a commodity backed currency. Being a strict constitutionalist, more than anything I suspect he wants to make it understood that monetary policy is to be regulated by Congress not an independent central bank. That's not the same as looking to commit suicide in order to correct the error.

Capitalist systems AREN'T self-regulating.

This is the center of our disagreement. When an economist explains why punishing 'price gougers' prevents prices from dropping as soon as they would otherwise or why subsidized housing keeps the rent high in the non-subsidized buildings the notion of the free market as self-regulating underlies it. I'm not an economist, however, I've seen this assertion made by a number of others and it makes sense. It does a good job of explaining the efficiency of capitalism. I could certainly be wrong here, but you will need a substantial argument to show me that that is the case.

I can't speak to the place of mathematics in economics. But given my assumption that the market is self-regulating it follows that the boom bust cycle is quite likely a consequence of misleading information from the banks on the interest rate.

The problem with libertarian economics is that there's a fundamental assumption that in a truly open market everyone will be forced to play fair. The opposite is true. But if the average person doesn't think fair play is in order, they will trust themselves alone with their own money.

Few libertarians, if any, think the market can survive 'in the wild' with no protection. One obvious required control is the protection of private property rights. Some regulation and governmental oversight is required, and banking will likely have more of it than any other industry no matter who is in charge. But this is getting away from a switch to a backed currency being a disaster.

It's a Constitutional fundamentalism, where the Inerrant Word of the Founding Fathers must rule. And it's a fundamentalism, no doubt. Things change, though. We are a technological economy now. It may not be sustainable, but were the "old ways" sustainable?

Perhaps you think that I want the Constitution 'as written' forever and ever. I don't. But I do think it is important to stick with the principles as written until change is overtly decided upon. If we find that there are principles which work better we can change to them but when it happens in a sort of slide (e.g. federal government passing laws on subjects reserved to the states) the words start to lose their meaning, and rhetorical bullshit comes to the front. I don't think there's any better way to describe the notion of Constitution as 'living document'. There is something wrong when the question changes from 'What does this mean?' to 'What can we get away with?'. Not going with the Constitution as written entails subverting its own method of adjustment. But now I'm getting pretty far afield myself.

-----

Smedleyman,

You didn't make clear where you feel Ron Paul diverges from the libertarians.

I despise Ayn Rand and Objectivism, but many Ron Paul supporters are fans. Are the bumper stickers, 'Who is Ron Paul?', from his campaign or were they done at some guy's house? I don't know, I haven't seen them. In any case it seems like your assigning them undue signifgance.

As far as your point on group identity, if there weren't 'except for' stipulations it would be a pretty boring world with all of us rigidly assigned to categories. If you think the actual person Ron Paul clashes terribly with the label I'd be curious to know why, but I'm inclined to disagree.

And I strongly disagree that we want maximum disagreement between candidates so that government does as little as possible. That sounds good if you say it fast enough but I don't think it holds up in a government with bloated bureaucracies, huge deficits and a couple of social issues requiring attention, namely the Drug War and illegal immigration. Some things need to get done.

The 'grand plan' as you put it, matters to me for the reasons I gave in my last paragraph addressed to dw. And if eavesdropping law enforcement qualifies as 'practical', I'd love to hear what you thought about FISA and how there can be any change without relying on some hi'falutin principles concerning civil liberties and the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution.
posted by BigSky at 7:47 PM on November 6, 2007


The purpose of that legislation is to directly remove abortion from the province of the federal government.

If human life and personhood starts at conception, abortion is murder. The states would not pass any laws regarding abortion, as abortions would be covered under premeditated murder.

You can read some of Ron Paul's comments on the subject here. And that is him speaking to conservative Christians. If you Google the relevant terms you will find a host of websites discussing that Ron Paul would like to end abortion but he would work to bring the decision to the individual states.

Like I say, it's completely irrelevant- if that bill passes, abortion becomes premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty in pretty much every state that has capital punishment.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:00 PM on November 6, 2007


You didn't make clear where you feel Ron Paul diverges from the libertarians.

His anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion stances put him pretty squarely in the conservative camp.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:01 PM on November 6, 2007


dw, you do realize Paul as a President would be pretty much incapable of implementing his whackiest ideas, right?

Yes. And this might be worse than his ideas.

Remember '96 and the government shutdown? Gingrich and others went on about how the American people wouldn't even notice the difference if the government shut down.

Then the pensioners started calling about their Social Security checks. And the GOP was left to crawl back to the White House.

With Paul in office, that would probably be the first month. And then by month two or so, the folks in Congress would realize that in order to get the government running, they'd need to put their heads together and override the vetoes. The horse-trading would be nuts, but eventually things would reopen, thanks to heaping helpings of pork and some whack-a-loon ideas stapled onto spending bills. Paul would write "Hell No" across the bill, and Congress would override it the next day.

Two years later, another Congress. Same thing.

In a sense, we'd end up with a presidency with virtually no power. That might sound good, especially in the days when the Executive is pretty much leaving the other two branches with nothing but offices and rubber stamps. But there's a reason we separate powers here. If the Executive can't do its job, we're just as ill-served as when the Executive grabs too much power.

Honestly, the last thing you want in the White House is someone who will see it as his job to be an impediment to the process.

As far as I can see, Ron Paul is the least dangerous President: the Senate and House wouldn't let him get away with an iota of power-grabbing bullshit.

No, they'll just grab it for themselves.
posted by dw at 8:02 PM on November 6, 2007


I'm seeing where you're coming from. It could be dangerous.

It's going to be interesting to see what the USA does about its problem.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 PM on November 6, 2007


I see that you have ignored my offer to base your arguments or rather salacious attacks on the man’s recorded congressional record of words but continued instead to wail your pleas of insanity. So let’s have a look for fodder sake shall we;

Ron Paul on Big Government

Mr. Speaker, I once again find myself compelled to vote against the annual budget resolution for a very simple reason: it makes government bigger. 3/25/04

Under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority to hold states "accountable" for their education performance. In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats. 5/23/01

However, despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government’s interference in the housing market, the government’s policies of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing. 7/16/02

Failure of government programs prompts more determined efforts, while the loss of liberty is ignored or rationalized away. Whether it’s the war against poverty, drugs, terrorism, or the current Hitler of the day, an appeal to patriotism is used to convince the people that a little sacrifice of liberty, here and there, is a small price to pay. The results, though, are frightening and will soon become even more so. 12/9/03

Since it’s proven that centralized control over education and medicine has done nothing to improve them, and instead of reassessing these programs, more money is thrown into the same centralized planning, this is much closer to Emerson’s foolish consistency than defending liberty and private property in a consistent and forceful manner while strictly obeying the Constitution. 2/11/04

We need to understand that the more government spends, the more freedom is lost. Instead of simply debating spending levels, we ought to be debating whether the departments, agencies, and programs funded by the budget should exist at all. 3/25/04

One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens pay nearly half of everything they earn to government. 7/17/01

Instead of rationally explaining the proper role of government, politicians have attempted to play the role of friend, preacher, parent, social worker, et cetera-- in essence, whatever any organized special interest can demand. 8/13/07

We need not be ignorant to real threats to our safety, against which we must remain vigilant. We need only to banish to the ash heap of history the notion that we ought to be ruled by our fears and those who use them to enhance their own power. 7/30/07

The international elite, including many in the political and economic leadership of this country, believe our constitutional republic is antiquated and the loyalty Americans have for our form of government is like a superstition, needing to be done away with. 7/16/07


Ron Paul on Civil Liberties

No matter how well intentioned, an authoritarian government always abuses its powers. 1/31/00

The requirement that law enforcement officials obtain a warrant from a judge before searching private documents is one of the fundamental protections against abuse of the government's power to seize an individual's private documents. 3/15/01

However, monitoring the transactions of every American in order to catch those few who are involved in some sort of illegal activity turns one of the great bulwarks of our liberty, the presumption of innocence, on its head. The federal government has no right to treat all Americans as criminals by spying on their relationship with their doctors, employers, or bankers. In fact, criminal law enforcement is reserved to the state and local governments by the Constitution's Tenth Amendment. 5/22/01

Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy. A few have, and others will continue to do so, but too many—both in and out of government—close their eyes to the issue of personal liberty and ignore the fact that endless borrowing to finance endless demands cannot be sustained. True prosperity can only come from a healthy economy and sound money. That can only be achieved in a free society. 7/10/03

...it is with the complicity of Congress that we have become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrolled spying on the American people. 4/30/07

To calm fears, Americans accepted the patriot act and the doctrine of pre-emptive war. We tolerated new laws that allow the government to snoop on us, listen to our phone calls, track our financial dealings, make us strip down at airports and even limited the rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury. Like some dysfunctional episode of the twilight zone, we allowed the summit of our imagination to be linked up with the pit of our fears. 7/30/07

The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us-- we're supposed to be free. 2/05/07

Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. 4/23/07


Ron Paul on War

They refuse to admit that the condition of foreign occupation is the key ingredient that unleashed the civil war now raging in Iraq and serves as a recruitment device for Al Qaida. 6/04/07

No single individual should be entrusted with the awesome responsibility of deciding when to send our troops abroad, how to employ them once abroad, and when to bring them home. 12/18/06

If every American taxpayer had to submit an extra five or ten thousand dollars to the IRS this April to pay for the war, I’m quite certain it would end very quickly. The problem is that government finances war by borrowing and printing money, rather than presenting a bill directly in the form of higher taxes. 1/29/07

Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank have a cozy, unspoken arrangement that makes war easier to finance... The result of this arrangement is inflation. And inflation finances war. 1/29/07

If we can't or won't define the enemy, the cost to fight such a war will be endless. How many American troops are we prepared to lose? How much money are we prepared to spend? How many innocent civilians, in our nation and others, are we willing to see killed? How many American civilians will we jeopardize? How much of our civil liberties are we prepared to give up? 9/25/01

Absent Iraqi involvement in the attack on the United States, I can only wonder why so many in Congress seek to divert resources away from our efforts to bring those who did attack us to justice. 12/19/01

I rise to urge the Congress to think twice before thrusting this nation into a war without merit- one fraught with the danger of escalating into something no American will be pleased with. 9/4/02

There are even good political reasons for not initiating this conflict. War is not popular. It may seem popular in the short run, when there appears to be an immediate victory and everyone is gloating, but war is not popular. People get killed, and body bags end up coming back. War is very unpopular, and it is not the politically smart thing to do. 9/4/02

Finally, there is a compelling moral argument against war in Iraq. Military force is justified only in self-defense; naked aggression is the province of dictators and rogue states. This is the danger of a new "preemptive first strike" doctrine. 9/4/02

Racism

Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups.... The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims... Rather than looking to government to correct our sins, we should understand that racism will endure until we stop thinking in terms of groups and begin thinking in terms of individual liberty. (4/16/07)


I hope all Americans will take the time to commemorate Juneteenth. Friends of human liberty should celebrate the end of slavery in any country. The end of American slavery is particularly worthy of recognition since there are few more blatant violations of America’s founding principles, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, than slavery. (6/21/05)

The Economy

More inflation is, however, never the answer to inflation. 8/20/07

The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. 4/09/07

Unless and until we get the Federal Reserve out of the business of creating money at will and setting interest rates, we will remain vulnerable to market bubbles and painful corrections. 3/19/07

How can a policy of steadily debasing our currency be defended morally, knowing what harm it causes to those who still believe in saving money and assuming responsibility for themselves in their retirement years? 2/19/07

The mentality in Washington is simple: avoid hard choices at all costs; spend money at will; ignore deficits; inflate the money supply as needed; and trust that the whole mess somehow will be taken care of by unprecedented economic growth in the future. 2/12/07

Foreign Policy

The American concept of independent nationhood inscribed in our Declaration cannot be maintained if we are going to pursue a policy that undermines the independence of other nations. 7/02/07

It’s hypocritical and childish to dismiss certain founding principles simply because a convenient rationale is needed to justify interventionist policies today. 12/18/06

Non-interventionism is not isolationism. Nonintervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not mean that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations. 12/18/06

All Americans will benefit, both in terms of their safety and their pocketbooks, if we pursue a coherent, neutral foreign policy of non-interventionism, free trade, and self-determination in the Middle East. 2/26/07

Yep, sounds batshit insane to me too.
posted by MapGuy at 1:18 AM on November 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats. 5/23/01

One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens pay nearly half of everything they earn to government. 7/17/01

It does not mean that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations. 12/18/06


I don't politically trust anyone who argues "the founders thought this" and "the Founding Fathers wanted that" as if they were some unified monolith of political thought. The founders agreed on nothing except for the need for independence from Great Britain, and the need for political compromise, the willingness to set aside one's ideals in favor of an actual working government. To argue in that they were of one mind on anything else displays an astonishing ignorance of history.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:28 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats. 5/23/01

Yea, 'cause we don't want to have professionals educate our kids.
posted by octothorpe at 5:58 AM on November 7, 2007


What, MapGuy? No okey-dokey bravo 401k over and out? You're letting me down, man. Anyway, you, MapGuy, and you, BigSky, and all the rest of you crazy kids--I hope you do vote for Ron Paul. And I hope you have the biggest, happiest, most shit-eating smile ever on your face when you do!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't politically trust anyone who argues "the founders thought this" and "the Founding Fathers wanted that" as if they were some unified monolith of political thought. The founders agreed on nothing except for the need for independence from Great Britain, and the need for political compromise, the willingness to set aside one's ideals in favor of an actual working government. To argue in that they were of one mind on anything else displays an astonishing ignorance of history.

I notice that the people most concerned with sticking to the Founders' vision are generally the people with next to no idea what they were about.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:41 AM on November 7, 2007


Yep, sounds batshit insane to me too.

I hear you. You got to admit that all this fiscal responsibility and respect for the individual makes for some pretty fringe politics. Perhaps tipping over the edge into pure lunacy. I'm starting to think I'm the crazy one.

Perhaps we can keep spending more than we bring in. Perhaps an expansion of the state's involvement in health care is exactly what is need. Perhaps an interventionist foreign policy is in our best interests. Perhaps now is the best time to follow up on Hillary Clinton's suggestion for the government to set aside $5,000 for each child born in the U.S., at the moment of birth, for funding that child's education. Those voices telling me that it can't continue, is probably just a sign that I need to up the dosage and leave the political thinking to the clear headed.

Obviously, I'm the nut job. But that Constitution, those writers must have been off their rockers. I suppose it's for the best then that we've made a clean break with its principles.

---

For anyone still following this thread, Glenn Greenwald has an interesting piece on Ron Paul here.

I confess, it lacks the sneering contempt of the OP but perhaps a few may find it worthy of their time.

I'll include a quote that does a good job at summing up both this thread and Ron Paul's campaign:

"You appear to have consistent principled integrity. Americans don't usually go for that."
- Jon Stewart, from an interview on The Daily Show

---

To argue in that they were of one mind on anything else displays an astonishing ignorance of history.

Not just ignorance, eh, but an astonishing ignorance. Perhaps even, a level of ignorance rarely seen?

Now I will admit that I am no American history scholar, but I would like to see some evidence showing that there would have been disagreement with this,

"One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens pay nearly half of everything they earn to government."

- Ron Paul, 7/17/01

If I'm in the bottom percentile when it comes to knowing U.S. history, then help me out. I like learning new things.
posted by BigSky at 7:47 AM on November 7, 2007


While we're busy substituting actual discussion with drive-by copy-pasting, here's one for you all:

"Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
posted by brownpau at 8:37 AM on November 7, 2007


"All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.'
-Ben Franklin
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:40 AM on November 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


"The best defense is a good offense."
- Mel, the cook from Alice
posted by cortex at 8:47 AM on November 7, 2007


Federalist Papers #30-36, where Hamilton discusses the federal government's power of taxation. No, he doesn't explicitly advocate a 50% tax rate, but he does defend the idea of taxation at whatever rate Congress sees fit to impose. (And yes, I'm aware Hamilton wasn't speaking specifically of income tax at the time. His arguments still hold.)

Don't get me wrong--I'll be right beside you in trying to defeat political candidates who would impose a 50% tax rate. But I'd do it without an inaccurate and unpersuasive appeal to "what the founders wanted."

But that Constitution, those writers must have been off their rockers.

Well, the writers were at least cogent enough to recognize that they weren't perfect--that they may actually have been mistaken about some things!--and thus left us the possibility to amend the Constitution. "It's in the Constitution" is the start of a political debate, not the end of one.

You appear to have consistent principled integrity.

Euclidean geometry is consistent as well. That doesn't mean it accurately describes the universe, only that it doesn't contradict itself.

Perhaps we can keep spending more than we bring in.

I admit I haven't read every comment in this thread, but of those I have read, I have yet to see one opposed to fiscal responsibility. The fact that Paul has some good ideas does not magically make all of his ideas good.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:51 AM on November 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


(Sorry, the first paragraph of my comment immediately above was in response to BigSky's request for new things to learn.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:52 AM on November 7, 2007


BigSky, thanks for the link to the Glenn Greenwald article.

Regarding the idea of returning to the gold standard:

Paul Krugman explains in this 1999 Slate column why it's useful to have multiple currencies with floating exchange rates, rather than a single unified currency.
The classic argument in favor of separate national currencies, with fluctuating relative values, was made by none other than Milton Friedman. (One appealing aspect of this particular debate is that it cuts across the usual ideological lines. European socialists like unified currencies, so does the Cato Institute. American liberals like floating exchange rates, so do Thatcherites.) Friedman started from a more or less undeniable observation: Sometimes changing market conditions force broad changes in the ratios of national price levels. For example, right now the Irish economy is booming and the German economy's sputtering. Clearly, prices and wages in Ireland need to rise compared with those in Germany. Now, you could simply rely on supply and demand to do the job, producing inflation in Ireland and deflation in Germany. But even a free-marketeer such as Friedman realized that this is asking a lot of markets and that it would be much easier to keep German prices stable in German currency, Irish prices stable in Irish currency, and let the exchange rate between the two currencies do the adjusting.

Friedman offered a brilliant analogy. He likened exchange rate adjustment to the act of setting clocks forward in the spring. A truly devout free-market believer should--if he is consistent--decry this as unwarranted government interference. Why not leave people free to choose--to start the working day earlier if and only if they feel like it? But in reality there is a coordination problem. It is hard for any one business to shift its work schedule unless everyone else does the same. As a result, it turns out to be much easier to achieve the desired time shift by leaving the schedules unchanged but resetting the clocks. In the same way, Friedman argued, a country whose wages and prices are too high compared with those abroad will find it much easier to make the necessary adjustment via a change in the value of its currency than through thousands of changes in individual prices.

So there is a trade-off. You don't want too many currencies--you wouldn't want to have separate dollars for Brooklyn and Queens. But when two countries are subject to strong "asymmetric shocks"--which is econospeak for saying that if they shared a common currency one would sometimes be in a boom while the other was in a slump and vice versa--there is a good case for their having separate currencies whose relative values are allowed to fluctuate.
I saw this first-hand when I was in Britain in 1992. The pound was tied to the Deutschmark through the "crawling peg" of the ERM; because the German economy was booming, interest rates were high, and this led to unemployment rates over 10% in Britain. Britain was forced to break the peg in September 1992 (as a result of George Soros's speculative attack), after which the pound dropped, the economy recovered, and unemployment steadily dropped.

In this 1996 column Krugman discusses why economists don't think returning to the gold standard is a good idea:
While some modern nations have chosen, with reasonable justification, to renounce their monetary autonomy in favor of some external standard, the standard they choose these days is always the currency of another, presumably more responsible, nation. Argentina seeks salvation from the dollar; Italy from the deutsche mark. But the men and women who run the Fed, and even those who run the German Bundesbank, are mere mortals, who may yet succumb to the temptations of the printing press. Why not ensure monetary virtue by trusting not in the wisdom of men but in an objective standard? Why not emulate our great-grandfathers and tie our currencies to gold?

Very few economists think this would be a good idea. The argument against it is one of pragmatism, not principle. First, a gold standard would have all the disadvantages of any system of rigidly fixed exchange rates--and even economists who are enthusiastic about a common European currency generally think that fixing the European currency to the dollar or yen would be going too far. Second, and crucially, gold is not a stable standard when measured in terms of other goods and services. On the contrary, it is a commodity whose price is constantly buffeted by shifts in supply and demand that have nothing to do with the needs of the world economy--by changes, for example, in dentistry.

The United States abandoned its policy of stabilizing gold prices back in 1971. Since then the price of gold has increased roughly tenfold, while consumer prices have increased about 250 percent. If we had tried to keep the price of gold from rising, this would have required a massive decline in the prices of practically everything else--deflation on a scale not seen since the Depression.
posted by russilwvong at 10:29 AM on November 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Regarding Ron Paul's proposed foreign policy:
I believe our founding fathers had it right when they argued for peace and commerce between nations, and against entangling political and military alliances. In other words, noninterventionism.

Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Nonintervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not mean that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

Thomas Jefferson summed up the noninterventionist foreign policy position perfectly in his 1801 inaugural address: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations--entangling alliances with none." Washington similarly urged that we must, "Act for ourselves and not for others," by forming an "American character wholly free of foreign attachments."
However, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. pointed out, the Founders were aware that US security depended on the balance of power in Europe.
It cannot be to our interest," even the peace-loving and France-loving Jefferson wrote as Napoleon bestrode the Continent, "that all Europe should be reduced to a single monarchy." America would be forever endangered, Jefferson said, should "the whole force of Europe [be] wielded by a single hand."

But no such threat arose in the century after Waterloo, and two wide oceans offered protection from incursions on the Western Hemisphere, so through the nineteenth century isolationist habits and attitudes hardened.

Then came the First World War. Once again, as in the time of Napoleon, the prospect arose of a single hand wielding the force of Europe. Maintaining the balance of power in Europe would protect America, as it had long protected Great Britain. The United States entered the Great War in its own national interest.
The same can be said of the Second World War (although the US didn't enter the war directly until Pearl Harbor) and the Cold War.

George F. Kennan, writing in 1950, explains in more detail:
Today, standing at the end rather than the beginning of this half-century, some of us see certain fundamental elements on which we suspect that American security has rested. We can see that our security has been dependent throughout much of our history on the position of Britain; that Canada, in particular, has been a useful and indispensable hostage to good relations between our country and the British Empire; and that Britain's position, in turn, has depended on the maintenance of a balance of power on the European Continent. Thus it was essential to us, as it was to Britain, that no single Continental land power should come to dominate the entire Eurasian land mass. Our interest has lain rather in the maintenance of some sort of stable balance among the powers of the interior, in order that none of them should effect the subjugation of the others, conquer the seafaring fringes of the land mass, become a great sea power as well as land power, shatter the position of England, and enter--as in these circumstances it certainly would--on an overseas expansion hostile to ourselves and supported by the immense resources of the interior of Europe and Asia. Seeing these things, we can understand that we have had a stake in the prosperity and independence of the peripheral powers of Europe and Asia: those countries whose gazes were oriented outward, across the seas, rather than inward to the conquest of power on land.

Now we see these things, or think we see them. But they were scarcely yet visible to the Americans of 1898, for those Americans had forgotten a great deal that had been known to their forefathers of a hundred years before. They had become so accustomed to their security that they had forgotten that it had any foundations at all outside our continent. They mistook our sheltered position behind the British fleet and British Continental diplomacy for the results of superior American wisdom and virtue in refraining from interfering in the sordid differences of the Old World. And they were oblivious to the first portents of the changes that were destined to shatter that pattern of security in the course of the ensuing half-century.
Both the idea of returning to the gold standard and the idea of noninterventionism abroad seem overly simplistic to me. (Although noninterventionism would certainly be preferable to Bush's foreign policy.)
posted by russilwvong at 10:47 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you think we can get this one to 666 posts?
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on November 7, 2007


That'd be a pretty ron paul.

Long haul. I mean long haul.
posted by cortex at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2007


“This was more of a control thing than a real philosophical difference.”

Well, there you go then. To me it starts with the issue. To paraphrase Brecht - food first then overarching labels for a set of conceptual formulae to deal with dynamic situations.
I heard a physicist talking about Heisenberg and - I’ll stress - other things involving physical observation. One of the things he said that I found to be one of the few absolute truths was that you can’t a priori predict what will happen in every detail so you must constantly update your hypothesis with observation.
Same deal - I’m a conservative, but if it comes to either radical change in environmental policy (with all the chaos and unrest and damage that entails) or we die, pretty much I’m going to cut from the conceptual program there.
Sort of the same deal with Goldwater and the civil rights thing. I think he was right, philosophically, it should have been more gradual, we should have wrangled over it constitutionally, but given men were getting lynched for the color of their skin, over and over and over again, and all that injustice - and even putting that aside, there was the makings of a serious revolt going on - it was time either way not only to avoid massive civil unrest which would cause more damage, but to put an end to the injustice (or rather, to start to put an end, the actual process is still slow going).

But y’know, Rand said some great, interesting stuff. She’s dead. And she never lived in my house, so...
Same could be said about Socrates and pretty much everyone else. You have to take the dynamic first - deal with the reality and the detail, then wrangle over the big ideas (and their inevitable attendant labels).

“You didn't make clear where you feel Ron Paul diverges from the libertarians.”

Then you refuse to read at the meta level. I didn’t make that clear because, as I’ve stated, there’s a great deal of ambiguity in the label “libertarian.”
From what you’re saying, you accept him as such, I won’t contest it. My beef is with the slipperyness of terms and obfuscative elements inherent in labeling any set of concepts not directly married to action.
Informally - sure, ok, he’s a libertarian.

“As far as your point on group identity, if there weren't 'except for' stipulations it would be a pretty boring world with all of us rigidly assigned to categories”

There’d be less lying. But that’s not what I’m talking about. What you’re asserting would be impossible. It’d be great to not label folks - as I quoted - ‘Jew lawyer’ carries with it a whole set of preconceptions that may or may not be valid. In either case a different set that just ‘lawyer.’ And yet a different set when contrasted to ‘Arab.’
I think the world is more boring when you limit the variety of individual expression. Just because you’re a jew and a lawyer you’re going to hate and work harder to prosecute an arab?
That which you buy into, buys into you (to misquote Neitzsche) and can constrain future actions.
Look at the republicans. Never identified myself as one, so I dodged plunging into that abyss with the rest of them.

“And if eavesdropping law enforcement qualifies as 'practical', I'd love to hear what you thought about FISA and how there can be any change without relying on some hi'falutin principles concerning civil liberties and the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution.”

You’ve completely misread what I said. Furthermore, there is a direct positive connection between the principles behind civil liberties and practical results. Free speech, for example, has saved this country countless insurrections.
But I’ll entertain the notion that there can be a reversal in the FISA laws without reliance on the intent of the consitution. (Which indeed, is a false dichotomy from first principles since those in support have argued the need for speed, and given that FISA only demands oversight, not the holding up of the wiretap - that moots their point - and yours actually, since their push is based on political advantage. There’s no principle necessary to oppose what is an inherently criminal act or rather obviously intended to support criminal acts. Those are manifestly wrong based on simple fairness and justice.)

But, to take those out of the equation, I still have an argument -simply put - noise.
The flaw in any large scale intelligence gathering network is that it is limited not so much by it’s technology (although until recently that’s been one of the major shifts that’s led to changes, in that we can gather and sift through far more than we ever could) but by it’s analysis and direction of resources.

Analysis must be driven by investigation, not vice versa, no matter how powerful the technology to gather data is. If the machine picks up “bomb, president, allah”) and based on that we direct resources to investigate that, that system is far less efficient a use of time, energy and intelligence than targeting known opposition and following their lines of communication.
Essentially - hunting is better than fishing. No principle necessary, just the mechanics of an efficient intelligence organization.

Want to find out what your political opponents are up to without getting called before an oversight committee? Different story.
Circumventing FISA is a much better way to do that.
Simple as pie really.

But again, you’re arguing pro-Ron Paul. I’ve given two substantial reasons why I wouldn’t vote for him. In my weighing of the issues I consider most important, he fails. End of story. I don’t really care what he calls himself. (My point being about labels in general and those in this thread in particular harming more essential discourse. Acrimony doesn’t bother me. Fruitless wheel spinning through misunderstanding does. I’m happy to fight, hell, eager to, but I’m not going to step outside because someone thinks I said something I didn’t say or vice versa, even then, I could be wrong, and if I am, I’ll apologize. But if we have a serious beef, understand each other, and can’t come to terms, then yeah, happy to throw down. But it’s been my experiance that once people do get down to details, they do, for the most part, agree, and indeed, where they differ is typically on style or taste, which is irrelevant really. Because I’m not going to bust someone’s head over the fact that I like Led Zepplin and they don’t. Or (more to the point at hand) they like Ron Paul, and I don’t. To quote Jefferson, in matters of taste swim with the current, in matters of principle stand like a rock. For the most part everyone agrees with what are typically the most fundimental principles. From there, there is some variation depending on the distance between us demographically, but nothing that can be overcome, and further out we get some differences, and eventually major differences - these are typicaly ideological. Well, I’m not going to have my daughter forced to have some back alley abortion if she’s raped (I’ll likely be in jail for murdering the rapist, his family, his friends, his parent’s friends, people who owe them money, and salting the Earth behind me, etc.) and that I am willing to go to dukes over. Ergo - no vote for Paul from me.)

But hell, I’d vote for Obama (given some slight changes) and he’s a DEMOCRAT. I like a lot of what Obama’s done in my state. Labels - not so much. He could call himself a liberal or a neo-con if he wants, he’s done what he’s done, I like what he’s done, end of story.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:02 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know what plan Ron Paul has in mind but I think it's very unlikely that this would be an option. Milton Friedman identified the contraction of the monetary supply as a leading cause of the Great Depression and this has met with wide acceptance.

You're saying that it wasn't deflation? So what's the other theory? We didn't have enough gold?

I agree that this plan looks catastrophic but I can't seriously consider it a possibility. My opinion is that he wants to bring more attention to the subject and to find a safe way to maneuver back to a commodity backed currency.

The problem is, there really isn't a safe way to do this in the time Paul would have, not without sending out troops into South Africa and Canada and other places to seize mines. Economies are always running. Even when they're failing, they're still running. You can twiddle with the knobs, but you can't alter its fundamentals without a complete reboot.

It took us from 1913 to now to get to the Fed and fiat currency. Along the way we've had six wars and the Cold War, Bretton Woods I and II, the Great Depression, numerous recessions, two days in October when the stock market literally failed, tax increases, tax cuts, and interest rates moving all over the place. You can't put the worms back in that can in eight years, much less the four years of what might be Paul's only term.

Now, you could do this at the bottom of a depression, perhaps. But even then, that's assuming you've already had the severe deflation, and in all likelihood we're looking at long-term stagflation combined with a flight of capital into the euro and the yuan, which probably means we'll see little delfation, just a dollar in the dumpster.

Being a strict constitutionalist, more than anything I suspect he wants to make it understood that monetary policy is to be regulated by Congress not an independent central bank. That's not the same as looking to commit suicide in order to correct the error.

I understand the point, but why would Congress be any better than the mandarins of the dismal science sitting in their conference rooms? Having seen the sort of legislation that politicians turn out, I really doubt these guys would be better at regulating the economy than the Fed.

Maybe the Fed is just a corrupt institution that's beholden to investment bankers first and the American people only through Congress. But Congress is just as corrupt.

Consider this: Dr. Paul is an obstetrician, Ben Bernake an economist. I wouldn't want Bernake delivering my child, because that's not what he's trained to do. So why should I let Paul and the other 434 people in Congress who don't have macroeconomics training tell me how the economy should run?

This is the center of our disagreement. When an economist explains why punishing 'price gougers' prevents prices from dropping as soon as they would otherwise or why subsidized housing keeps the rent high in the non-subsidized buildings the notion of the free market as self-regulating underlies it. I'm not an economist, however, I've seen this assertion made by a number of others and it makes sense. It does a good job of explaining the efficiency of capitalism. I could certainly be wrong here, but you will need a substantial argument to show me that that is the case.

In this sense, the market is self-regulating. Speculative bubbles are another example -- they always pop. But the problem is that without ground rules, speculative bubbles will always rule, bad players will rule, and economic sheepishness rules.

The solution is some sort of confidence-based regulation. The SEC. The FDIC. Accounting rules like GAAP and GAAS. And confidence-based regulation extends into food (USDA) and medicine (FDA). The idea is that if people feel safe, that there's a general confidence in what's there, that it's certified by experts that these guys are following the rules laid out. Doesn't mean that Enron won't happen, you'll get a bad stomach bug from that taco, or the BP medicine won't rip up your liver, but there are at least enough rules there to provide a level of confidence.

But all of this? Regulation. In fact, the very sort of regulation that Paul wants to demolish.

I can't speak to the place of mathematics in economics. But given my assumption that the market is self-regulating it follows that the boom bust cycle is quite likely a consequence of misleading information from the banks on the interest rate.

Boom-bust cycles just are. They have a multitude of reasons. Panic of 1907, it was bad players on Wall Street. Great Depression, severe deflation combined with environmental disasters. The 1970s, leaving the gold standard and the OPEC crises. Maybe the problem nowadays is that M1 and interest rates don't reflect reality. At the same time, maybe the problem something else. Maybe it's the housing bubble and hedge funds relying on mortgage-based securities to do their speculative deals.

One obvious required control is the protection of private property rights.

We always talk about this, but libertarians never talk about what happens if someone else's private property rights interfere with mine. For instance, if my house is at the bottom of a hill and the property owner wants to log the top of the hill, can I stop him before he does that, or will I have to wait for the next hard rain to send a mudslide into my house before I can sue him?

There's all this about "making sure the government doesn't devalue your property," but what about others doing the same to me?

Some regulation and governmental oversight is required, and banking will likely have more of it than any other industry no matter who is in charge.

Yes, but isn't regulation evil? The organizations that set ground rules are the sorts that Paul has been targeting. Isn't the government supposed to be out of the business of economic regulation?

Perhaps you think that I want the Constitution 'as written' forever and ever. I don't. But I do think it is important to stick with the principles as written until change is overtly decided upon. If we find that there are principles which work better we can change to them but when it happens in a sort of slide (e.g. federal government passing laws on subjects reserved to the states) the words start to lose their meaning, and rhetorical bullshit comes to the front. I don't think there's any better way to describe the notion of Constitution as 'living document'. There is something wrong when the question changes from 'What does this mean?' to 'What can we get away with?'. Not going with the Constitution as written entails subverting its own method of adjustment. But now I'm getting pretty far afield myself.

You know, we basically agree on this. I think the problem is that strict constructionism leads us down a road where we're amending the Constitution because all sorts of transitive things needs to be adjusted to fit this tech society into an agrarian construct. And that's where the fundamentalism comes from -- an unwillingness to exegete the law to fit with a current situation. It's far easier to be a common law nation, one that uses current law that rest on the Constitution as its base with checks and balances to ensure that these laws do not violate that base.

Look at the Taft court's decision on wiretapping. They said that since the Founding Fathers couldn't have conceived of wiretapping, it must be legal. Civil libertarians would be in the street if that were the ruling from the Roberts court. But that's a constructionist decision there. I think we have to be willing to ask whether the Founding Fathers would consider a situation to fall within the construct they've laid out and not get all "letter of the law" about it. Because, again, we're not gentlemen-farmers anymore, blacks are not 3/5s the value of whites, and women can vote.

Two of those three things, of course, were fixed via constitutional amendments. The third lurks in the background, a ghost behind Paul's ideas, one that people I think are unwilling to reconcile.

I am all for a lassiez-faire economy. I am all for defending the Constitution and the liberties enshrined within it. But it's a piece of paper. I wish people would stop treating it like the Inerrant Word Of God.
posted by dw at 11:58 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Chicks dig the ron paul."
-Greg Maddux
posted by Kwine at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2007


russilwvong,

Thank you for those excerpts, both of those columns make points that demand a serious answer. I'll look into this further in the near future. That the commodity itself can shift in price does not seem like a particularly strong objection. But it is repeatedly brought up so I'm probably missing something. I question to what degree a nation's currency can be manipulated by the commodity market. Many top traders back in the 80s asserted that the markets at that time were too large for anyone, including countries, to manipulate at will. Now I understand that isn't the whole story as the Hunt brothers failure to corner the silver market in the 70s resulted in huge fluctuations in price. Still though, with a mixed bag of commodities, at that scale? But, I will look for more to read on the subject. The advantage of a floating currency exchange looks like a much stronger argument.

I'm not looking to argue with George Kennan. He clearly knew a thing or two about a thing or two. That said, I'm not sure how critical the realist school of foreign policy would be of Ron Paul. It is difficult to know what a nominalization like 'non-interventionist' means in practice. I am certainly in favor of abandoning such 'subtle' attempts to shape a country's development like Operation Ajax in Iran, and the relationship the U.S. has with Israel is, in my opinion, not worth its cost. There isn't a hard and fast line to be drawn, this is simply the end of the range that I prefer.

-----

DevilsAdvocate,

No one comes out and says they are opposed to fiscal responsibility. Most libertarians though, feel like many of the policies forwarded by the Democrats, and as of late, the Republicans, are far too free spending. That may be putting it lightly, ruinous might be a better term.

The debt concerns me. Malor has made a number of excellent posts on this subject in the last couple of years. This is a good place to start. As are these two threads.

Let's set our preference for what the state should and should not fund aside. When we are talking about $375,000 in debt per full time working American, it is irresponsible to even be talking about continuing social welfare programs. Even if Malor is exaggerating the severity of the consequences, these are very significant numbers. And I don't hear any of the other candidates having a plan that seems anywhere near appropriate, i.e. ending the war and not starting up a new, expensive social welfare program (that is, anything to do with helping to pay for health care).

I appreciate the reference to the Federalist but in my opinion the context makes this an inappropriate comparison. As you say, Hamilton is arguing for the federal government to have the power to draw revenue from taxation at whatever rate it needs. That's not the same thing as showing that any of the Founding Fathers would have nodded his head to a government that takes half of a man's income. Perhaps they could have imagined a situation of situation, but as a matter of course? I doubt it, not with the numerous quotations supporting private property and in some cases declaring that government is good only in its support of private property.

Pope Guilty's quote is more interesting and I don't really know what to make of it. It's a bit vague and I'm not clear on the intent in writing it. My first guess is that Franklin wants to claim that the government has full rights to take property for revenue to whatever degree is necessary while also supporting the idea of natural rights. It's a little bit of having his cake and eating it too. From what I remember of his Autobiography I have difficulty thinking he would approve a state with that level of taxation.

You may find an appeal to what the writers of the Constitution intended, to be unpersuasive. No doubt many do. But as I said previously to dw, and as Greenwald explains in his column, following the Constitution as written and as intended is the best practice. No one is clamoring for a Constitution without change, but rather that we go with what's written, observe the result and then decide if a change is appropriate. When we don't take the rules seriously (and I grant that occasionally leaders have to make exceptions in times of crisis) we fail at every tough decision and we always find a way to do what we want and subvert the principle (waterboard, eavesdrop, etc.).

-----

dw,

Congress should handle the monetary policy because that's the Constitution. If we want a central bank doing this job then we can make the appropriate amendment.

When I'm talking about the protection of private property rights in my first response to you it was an example of the ground rules that need to lie in place. It wasn't written in the context of protecting the value of my property from the government but the necessity of there being protection to begin with. And as for houses and mudslides, isn't this a matter of tort law? Why should libertarians have a specific answer to this? Do Democrats or Republicans? This is a private issue between two parties and the relevant code would reflect the values of the citizens concerning reasonable risk and similar factors. I'm not suggesting we eliminate all regulation, some is necessary. This is a continuum and where we will differ is a matter of degree.

Where I absolutely disagree is that it is fine and dandy for these regulatory agencies to spring up when not authorized by the Constitution. The formal process is important. It makes us move more slowly with more deliberation and there is less opportunity to make a lasting change based on the passion of the moment. But even more important is that when we don't, we open the door to government creep. The Constitution reserves all powers to the states that are not specifically appointed to the federal government, and citizens have more rights than those listed in the Bill of Rights. That's all too easily looked past.

No doubt multiple causes factor into boom-bust cycles, but the idea is that without the misleading information provided by the banks on the cost of loans, the cycles would be at a lower amplitude.

I appreciate your responses but I don't see that you've established how Ron Paul's politics presuppose a nation of gentleman farmers and that is a point you have made reference to more than once.
posted by BigSky at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2007


No one comes out and says they are opposed to fiscal responsibility. Most libertarians though, feel like many of the policies forwarded by the Democrats, and as of late, the Republicans, are far too free spending.

Though I do not call myself a libertarian, I, too, believe that Republicans and Democrats alike have an inordinately large conception of what size the federal government should be. You need not quote me statistics about the national debt to convince me that Democratic and Republican congresspersons alike are, for the most, part fiscally irresponsible.

If I were a single-issue voter, and my single issue were fiscal responsibility, I would vote for Ron Paul in a heartbeat.

I am not a single-issue voter. Nor do I believe that most Americans are single-issue voters, and for those that are, for many of them fiscal responsibility is not that one single issue they care about.

I appreciate the reference to the Federalist but in my opinion the context makes this an inappropriate comparison.

I disagree, but Pope Guilty's quote makes a stronger case than mine, so I'll drop the assertion.

My first guess is that Franklin wants to claim that the government has full rights to take property for revenue to whatever degree is necessary while also supporting the idea of natural rights.

My read of Franklin's statement is that he does not believe that property, in general, is a natural right. He believes that sufficient property for the survival of oneself and one's offspring is a natural right. I don't see this as Franklin wanting to have his cake and eat it too: it simply means that while Franklin believes in the concept of natural rights, he does not believe the specifics of what constitutes those natural rights are the same as what many other people seem to believe.

as Greenwald explains in his column, following the Constitution as written and as intended is the best practice. No one is clamoring for a Constitution without change,

Then a leader should have an opinion on whether the Constitution should change or not, wouldn't you agree? For Ron Paul to say "the U.S. Department of Education is unconstitutional and should therefore be abolished" is not an answer to the question of whether the federal government should be involved in education--even if everyone were agreed on that point, it would only shift the question slightly to "should we amend the Constitution to allow a federal Department of Education?" What is Paul's position on that? Hiding behind "the Constitution doesn't allow it" isn't an answer to the question of whether the federal government should be involved in education, given that we have the power to amend the Constitution. (I'm aware that the President doesn't have any direct role in the amendment process, but given his influence from the "bully pulpit," not to mention that his would be the office likely to oversee a constitutional Department of Education, I'd like to know his opinion one way or the other.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:22 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


To whoever it was up there who said that some of the candidates look like larval smilers: RON PAUL IS A LARVAL SMILER YOU BLOODY FOOL
posted by tehloki at 7:44 PM on November 7, 2007


I like turtles.
posted by MapGuy at 7:52 AM on November 8, 2007


Turtles are pretty effin' great.
posted by cortex at 7:54 AM on November 8, 2007


Unlike Ron Paul.
OH SNAP
posted by brownpau at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2007


ooh, look, ma, snappin' turtles
posted by pyramid termite at 2:08 PM on November 8, 2007


BigSky: Let's set our preference for what the state should and should not fund aside. When we are talking about $375,000 in debt per full time working American, it is irresponsible to even be talking about continuing social welfare programs. Even if Malor is exaggerating the severity of the consequences, these are very significant numbers.

How is that number calculated? (I'm afraid Malor's original link is dead.) There's about 80 million full time US workers, federal debt is about $9 trillion (including money owed to government trust funds such as the Social Security trust fund), so I get about $110,000 per full time worker, or about $30,000 per capita. It's about 65% of GDP (which is $44,000 per capita).

If you look at Canada, our total public debt (federal and provincial) was close to 100% of GDP back in 1995. Since then we've been running consistent surpluses, so it's dropped to 65% of GDP.

So I don't think you can argue that the US is anywhere close to bankruptcy. The market doesn't think so, either; the yield on a 30-year US treasury bond is 4.6%.

That said, the US does have to address its federal deficit (about 2% of GDP). But comparing US tax revenue to other Western countries, the US has a lot of room to raise taxes. In Canada, total government revenue is about 40% of GDP; in the US, it's 27%.

Whether public health care is a good idea or not, I think it's hard to argue that the US can't afford it.
posted by russilwvong at 2:01 PM on November 9, 2007


How is that number calculated?

Link.

Excerpts:

"The federal government’s gross debt was about $8 trillion as of September 30, 2005. This number excludes such items as the gap between the present value of future promised and funded Social Security and Medicare benefits, veterans’ health care, and a range of other liabilities, commitments, and contingencies that the federal government has pledged to support. Including these items, the federal government’s fiscal exposures now total more than $46 trillion, representing close to four times gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year 2005 and up from about $20 trillion or two times GDP in 2000. Given these and other factors, a fundamental reexamination of major spending programs, tax policies, and government priorities will be important and necessary to put us on a prudent and sustainable fiscal path."

"Importantly, as reported in the fiscal year 2005 Financial Report of the United States Government, the federal government's accrual-based net operating cost--that is, the cost to operate the federal government--increased to $760 billion in fiscal year 2005 from $616 billion in fiscal year 2004. This represents an increase of about $144 billion or 23 percent. To make matters worse, the federal government's liabilities and unfunded commitments, which include military and civilian retirement benefits and promised Social Security and Medicare payments, are growing rapidly. Simply put, our nation's financial condition and long-term fiscal imbalance is on an imprudent and unsustainable course."

"The federal government's gross debt[Footnote 3] in the U.S. government's consolidated financial statements was about $8 trillion as of September 30, 2005.[Footnote 4] This number excludes such items as the current gap between the present value of future promised and funded Social Security and Medicare benefits, veterans' health care, and a range of other liabilities (e.g., federal employee and veteran benefits payable), commitments, and contingencies that the federal government has pledged to support.[Footnote 5] Including these items, the federal government's fiscal exposures now total more than $46 trillion, representing close to four times gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year 2005 and up from about $20 trillion or two times GDP in 2000. About one third of the approximately $26 trillion increase resulted from enactment of the Medicare prescription drug benefit in fiscal year 2004. (See table 1.) The federal government's current fiscal exposures translate into a burden of about $156,000 per American or approximately $375,000 per full-time worker, up from $72,000 and $165,000 respectively, in 2000. Furthermore, these amounts do not include future costs resulting from Hurricane Katrina or the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. "
posted by BigSky at 6:57 AM on November 10, 2007


Sounds like we don’t need a president we need a bankruptcy attorney.
I find it interesting to follow the shifts in this thread. Where did popetard go? Did he find some zombie chick to poke with his Cranus Magnus. Has anyone yet to quote an opposing candidate from either party as refutation of Ron Paul’s views.
I have seen Ben Franklin and Hamilton thrown up against the Ronster, but how about someone still alive. I may concede that in doing so you proved a tangential point of your own, hardly convincing, opinion. Whoopee! I would vote for Franklin but last time I checked he is still dead. I can really respect a man who was banging well into his 70’s and let his son rot (literally, his teeth fell out from malnutrition) in jail for a difference of political opinion, Tory bastards.
Don't lecture me with your selective history lessons, bitch. My peeps stepped off the boat December 8, 1608, founded the plantation upon which Williamsburg was built and wrote part of the history you so gravely caution us against misunderstanding.

Oh, and the lame ass attacks you brought on Dr. Paul’s quotes were just that, lame ass. You certainly failed to prove your case for insanity, nut job etc. A difference of opinion I can respect, if you can back it up with a well reasoned argument, statistics, science, or God forbid, an opposing candidate that has an argument that isn’t full of buzzword bullshit writing checks with their mouth that they can’t cash with their ass. Ron Paul sucks doesn’t fit that criteria. If not Ron Paul then who, why and just how will they make our lives better, safer, freer? I don’t want to hear your Socialist Ostrich, Chaos is yummy bullshit either, bring a solution, prove the man wrong or concede that you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

Bing it, let’s hear it... Pussies.

Bravo 401k, okey dokey, over and out.
posted by MapGuy at 9:16 AM on November 10, 2007


In general, it's a not a good idea to cash checks with your ass, anyway. There's always a little bit of a mess, and the handwriting on the endorsement never looks right.
posted by psmealey at 12:05 PM on November 10, 2007


I mostly use my ass to make deposits.
posted by cortex at 12:14 PM on November 10, 2007


that's why they're called assets
posted by pyramid termite at 3:13 PM on November 10, 2007


Don't lecture me with your selective history lessons, bitch. My peeps stepped off the boat December 8, 1608, founded the plantation upon which Williamsburg was built and wrote part of the history you so gravely caution us against misunderstanding.

Did your 1608 peeps have slaves?
posted by brownpau at 7:17 PM on November 10, 2007


Did your 1608 peeps have slaves?

according to this, there were only 23 blacks in virginia in 1625

now his 1750 peeps might be a different story ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:37 PM on November 10, 2007


Thanks for the reference, BigSky.

So the $46 trillion number includes all future Medicare expenses--about 2/3 of the total--over an infinite time period.

Hmm.

To me, it's difficult to analyze this in terms of affordability, because it takes place over an infinite time period, and because the government will be collecting taxes to pay for these expenses over an infinite time period as well.

Or to put it differently: the government has to pay interest on the $9 trillion (and if its interest bill rises too high, that can definitely cause a debt crisis). It doesn't pay interest on future Medicare expenses.

I think it'd be more useful to think about projections of future Medicare spending as a percentage of GDP. Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office:
Federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid is expected to total 4.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) this year, and the Congressional Budget Office projects that without changes in laws, such spending will reach 5.9% of the GDP by 2017 — an increase of nearly 30% in 10 years....

Beyond 2017, these trends are poised to accelerate — driven primarily by rising costs per enrollee for health care. Over the past four decades, costs per beneficiary for Medicare and Medicaid have increased about 2.5 percentage points faster per year than per capita GDP. If costs continued to grow at the same rate over the next four decades, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid would reach about 20% of the GDP by 2050 — roughly the same share of the economy that the entire federal budget accounts for today. If, instead, costs per enrollee tracked the growth of the GDP per capita, spending on Medicare and Medicaid would reach about 7% of the GDP by 2050, owing to demographic changes alone. In other words, of the 15-percentage-point increase that would occur if historical trends continued, less than one fifth would be due to aging.
Note that private health care spending (about half of total health care spending in the US) is also increasing rapidly, for much the same reasons: Fee-for-service reimbursements encourage providers to deliver each service efficiently but also create an incentive to supply additional or more expensive services.

I'd suggest that this is really a problem with health insurance, not government spending in particular: we keep inventing new, expensive treatments, and it's difficult for doctors to refuse treatment to patients.

Paul Krugman, The Age of Diminished Expectations:
When an insurer pays the bills, doctors and patients have every incentive to pursue any procedure that may yield a medical benefit, regardless of cost. This in turn makes insurance very expensive, prohibitively so for many people.

But there's a mystery here. Most people are insured privately, not by the government. Why don't private insurers offer "plain vanilla" plans tailored to those who cannot afford the current, expensive plans, or who would prefer to have a little less health care and pay smaller premiums? In principle, one might think, all that an insurer would have to do is impose some limits either on the kinds of procedures a policy will pay for or the maximum amount it will cover. Why doesn't the marketplace just say no to high medical costs?

There seem to be two answers. First is that while we have a lot of doctors in this country, we have even more lawyers....

There may be a second, more honorable reason why we can't say no. ... An ethos of saving life, of doing the best for the patient--no matter how diluted by the fact that doctors are no more saintly than anyone else--is very difficult to reconcile with a system that explicitly provides radically different levels of care to different people. It is of course true that a billionaire will often manage to get treatments the rest of us don't, but that's very different from imagining a system that explicitly pulls the plug on people with $2,000 policies while keeping the machinery going for those who paid $5,000....
And the result?
Does this mean that all Americans receive too much health care? No, because there is a paradox of the system. We will spend virtually unlimited amounts on insured patients, but not everyone is insured. And since insurance becomes increasingly expensive as it is called upon to pay for ever more sophisticated medicine, a growing number of people are unable to afford that insurance--a terrifying position, given the potential costs of medical care. The paradox is that because it tends to make health insurance more costly, improved medical technology actually tends to drive people out of our health care system. It's even possible that medical innovation actually worsens the nation's overall health, because the fancy new treatments do less good than the harm done when people who can no longer afford insurance are priced out of the system.
The US spends about 16% of GDP on health care (half public, half private); about 16% of Americans and 11% of American children are uninsured. Canada spends about 10.5% (70% public, 30% private), insures everyone, and gets better results in terms of public health.

In the Canadian single-payer system, the government determines what treatments will be covered. So it can assess whether expensive treatments are worth it or not. That gives us a better handle on controlling costs.
posted by russilwvong at 11:16 PM on November 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


In the interest of full disclosure; on the tard side I had a relative twelve years later on the Mayflower as well, so an argument could be made for; you got your idio idealistic batshit hat wearin evangelical close minded serf nut in my gene pool. I still say better crazy than shallow. But later on mom’s side we had a well thought of Revolutionary war general, who Washington credited with changing the course of the war and bringing the British to Yorktown ready for surrender (your welcome). Forget that the little mishap with his brother’s ship in Rhode Island sort of started the whole thing (sorry bout that). On the diversity side there is a no shit Indian princess (but only by marriage so I think that is a step princess, whatevah). It was Pocahontas’s cousin so I think that qualifies, but really what does it matter and seriously who cares. And Ben is like a third cousin so like him or not I would have to in good conscience vote for him, drunken bastard that he was family is family.

And to answer your question no, to the very best of my knowledge my 1608 peeps did not own slaves. It was more common to have indentured servants, usually for a period of seven years as the story goes. Not sure if we had any hottie English nannies on the list. None were listed as being a possession or in servitude in the wills that I have read. But then death may have absolved the debt, I am not sure, I apologize. Interestingly my Revolutionary war relative died of heat stroke working a plantation in the Carolinas because he refused to have, use or own slaves. I think it was his Quaker roots. The plantation was a gift from the people of South Carolina for the ass kicking he handed the British during the Revolutionary war. The General was not a very good Quaker, Planter or by strictest terms General, as he technically lost nearly every battle he fought, being a classic insurgent. We still like him, he had pluck if however unfortunately daft.

Anyway after his death his widow invited this black guy from the DC area to come down and tutor the children. While there he, our tutor, invented or to be perfectly correct patented a machine that could be argued ensured the continuation of slavery for another 100 years. You see Catherine Littlefield Greene was Eli Whitney's landlady and while residing on our plantation in the capacity of tutor he patented the cotton gin. It has been suggested that Catty actually came up with the idea of using a comb like device to remove seeds. But since women could not hold patents and Nathaniel was still quite dead, she asked Eli to obtain it on her behalf. There is also some question as to if Eli didn’t get the invention from Joe Watkins a farmer, who resided near Petersburg, Georgia. I am told that a similar device had been in use in India for quite some time before Eli filed for the patent. I have found history to be somewhat relative or at least perspective centric.

I am only half way though Hamilton’s gajillion page biography, so I am still a bit light on the entire breadth of his socio economic policies but I have tasted his Rum with the master of the still in Barbados. Sweet nectar of Jesus.

And no I wouldn’t want Bernake delivering my kids, did you see the ball kicking he took on economics 101 from a freakin’ baby catcher? I honestly felt bad for him. It also occurred to me that the Ronster has an interest in the facilitation of panic in the market place to further his cause. So that is a little scary and maybe ego maniacal, but I am fairly sure we are screwed anyway so better to accept it and get through it than to continue to live in our, “Hey man everything is groovy pass the petroleum,” haze. If we haven’t already we are getting close to overstepping ourselves and engaging in policies that are flakier and sicker than a chain of Michael Jackson themed day care centers.
posted by MapGuy at 6:13 AM on November 11, 2007


russilwvong,

So the $46 trillion number includes all future Medicare expenses--about 2/3 of the total--over an infinite time period.

No. It's 75 years.

... An ethos of saving life, of doing the best for the patient--no matter how diluted by the fact that doctors are no more saintly than anyone else--is very difficult to reconcile with a system that explicitly provides radically different levels of care to different people. It is of course true that a billionaire will often manage to get treatments the rest of us don't, but that's very different from imagining a system that explicitly pulls the plug on people with $2,000 policies while keeping the machinery going for those who paid $5,000....

I don't think so. Those two are pretty much the same thing. The dollar values are irrelevant. And this can not be avoided.

Milton Friedman:

"Enactment of Medicare and Medicaid provided a direct subsidy for medical care. The cost grew much more rapidly than originally estimated—as the cost of any handout invariably does. Legislation cannot repeal the nonlegislated law of demand and supply: the lower the price, the greater the quantity demanded; at a zero price, the quantity demanded becomes infinite. Some method of rationing must be substituted for price, which invariably means administrative rationing."

But administrative rationing is a disaster. Who pays for innovation? Where is the voice of the market to direct research and production? Money spent on so called luxuries helps to ultimately make those items available for the rest of the population. Books are an obvious example. That only a small percentage would be able to afford some new medical procedure does not make its sale immoral. If anything, the billionaire who is buying it is doing the world a favor in showing the producers that there is some degree of demand.
posted by BigSky at 12:37 PM on November 11, 2007


Toynbee ideas in Kubrick's 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter
posted by Nelson at 1:03 PM on November 11, 2007


BigSky: No. It's 75 years.

Thanks for the correction. Over a 75-year timeline, gross domestic product would be roughly $1000 trillion, compared to the current fiscal exposure of $46 trillion. ($13 trillion per year * 75 years = $975 trillion; I'm assuming growth and the discount rate roughly cancel each other out.)

I don't think so. Those two are pretty much the same thing.

The problem is that for whatever reason, private insurance companies don't offer plain-vanilla $2000 plans (the average is $11,000 and rising). So the number of people being priced out of the market is rising.

Friedman: Enactment of Medicare and Medicaid provided a direct subsidy for medical care. The cost grew much more rapidly than originally estimated—as the cost of any handout invariably does. Legislation cannot repeal the nonlegislated law of demand and supply: the lower the price, the greater the quantity demanded; at a zero price, the quantity demanded becomes infinite. Some method of rationing must be substituted for price, which invariably means administrative rationing.

But this applies equally to private health insurance, which is why private health spending is rising rapidly as well. The patient doesn't pay for treatment--the insurance company pays--so you get the zero cost/infinite demand problem. Krugman:
Start with the basic fact: the great majority of Americans are covered by some form of health insurance. Older people are covered by Medicare; poor people by Medicaid; and most others by some form of private insurance, usually provided by their employers. Insurance doesn't cover everything, but it does cover most big expenses. So when a patient and a doctor discuss a possible test or treatment, they know that a third party will pay the bill.

Now suppose that in this situation there is a test or treatment that is very expensive but that might help a patient. A patient who was paying for his own health care might decide not to proceed, figuring that the money involved would add more to his future quality of life--or, if one wants to be grim about it, to that of his heirs--than the likely benefits of the procedure. But since he doesn't pay for it, he tells his doctor to go ahead. That is, the system does not make any trade-offs between medical gain and economic loss. In the jargon of medical economists, treatment is always pushed to the "flat of the curve": the point at which further expenditure brings no medical benefit, which may be well beyond the point at which a patient whose own money was at stake might decide that the medical benefits were not worth the cost.

The tendency to push treatment to its medical limits, irrespective of cost, has become increasingly expensive over time, thanks to the development of ever more sophisticated medical technologies. Once upon a time, there was only so much that even the rich could spend on medical care: aside from a few surgical procedures and some good advice on public sanitation, as recently as 1940 doctors had little to offer except a consoling bedside manner. Today we have an extraordinary array of possible tests and therapies: CAT scans and MRIs, radiation and chemotherapy, double and triple bypasses. These new techniques save many lives, and make many other lives more comfortable, but they do so at an often enormous price. The flat of the curve moves ever further to the right: we find more and more medically useful ways to spend more and more money on health care.
So you have "administrative rationing" (e.g. HMOs refusing to pay for particular treatments) in the private system as well.

But administrative rationing is a disaster.

It works pretty well in Canada.

Who pays for innovation?

Innovation proceeds pretty much the same--if doctors invent new treatments which are cheaper and/or more effective than existing treatments, the new treatments can be listed, i.e. covered. As in the US, a lot of medical research is funded by the government.

This isn't to say that the US should adopt the Canadian single-payer system. That's up to Americans to decide. But the rising cost of health care is definitely a major challenge for the US, and you may want to take a look at what other countries have done; as I said earlier, the Canadian system provides universal coverage, with better results, at considerably lower cost.
posted by russilwvong at 5:41 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way, returning to foreign policy for a minute, here's what George F. Kennan had to say on the subject back in 1999:
I feel that we are greatly overextended. We claim to be able to do more than we really can do for other people. We should limit our contributions, and let others take the initiative.

I'm close to the isolationists, but not entirely, because I've always recognized that those alliances to which we belong and which the Senate has approved as provided for by the Constitution, we must remain faithful to those. That includes the original NATO alliance, our alliance with Japan. Our complicated relations with Latin America contain elements of long-term assurances, in the Monroe Doctrine sense.

Beyond that, when other countries come to us asking for help, we should ask, "Why do you need it?" and "Why should we provide it?"
Kennan also suggested (in Around the Cragged Hill, 1993) that the US strengthen the UN--if the US withdraws from a more active role to focus on addressing its critical domestic problems, it'd be helpful to have the UN take over.
To the extent that we can resign some of our responsibilities, particularly in peacekeeping matters, to the UN (which is probably where some of them belong anyway), it can ease the shift toward a less ambitious and more self-effacing American policy.
As I understand it, Ron Paul is advocating withdrawing from all existing alliances, including NATO and the US-Japan alliance; and wants to withdraw from the UN.
posted by russilwvong at 5:52 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Didn't you guys already do that when you sent in Bolton?
posted by Artw at 6:40 PM on November 11, 2007


I have seen Ben Franklin and Hamilton thrown up against the Ronster, but how about someone still alive.

Franklin and Hamilton were cited in direct response to BigSky's assertion that the founders would not have desired our current level of taxation. If you know a way to refute a "the founders would have wanted" argument by citing people who are alive, rather than, you know, actual founders, by all means share with us!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:20 AM on November 12, 2007


Franklin and Hamilton were cited in direct response to BigSky's assertion that the founders would not have desired our current level of taxation. If you know a way to refute a "the founders would have wanted" argument by citing people who are alive, rather than, you know, actual founders, by all means share with us!

Heh. Let's look at that strand of the conversation. MapGuy posted this Ron Paul quote, "One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens pay nearly half of everything they earn to government.". Then DevilsAdvocate says that he doesn't politically trust someone who makes claims about what the Founding Fathers desired beyond a working government independent from Britain. This is because they supposedly disagreed on everything except the need to compromise, and to state otherwise shows an "amazing ignorance" of history. When I ask for an example of disagreement on this claim of Ron Paul's I am pointed to two quotes concerning the state's right to tax. This is not the same as showing that the Founders would have ever considered such a tax rate acceptable. Pope Guilty's quote is intriguing, but I would have to see more context to concede the point. Considering Benjamin Franklin's personal history and his other writings it's difficult to imagine him agreeing to a socialist state.

In other words, you may have cited Franklin and Hamilton in response to me, but that doesn't mean you proved your point. And even if you showed Benjamin Franklin to be a dyed in the wool collectivist, so what? Have you really shown Ron Paul to be incredibly ignorant about the founding of the nation? Would that show he isn't to be trusted? When Ron Paul claims that the founders didn't intend a nation that taxed almost half, your showing one founder's disagreement, does not mean Paul is disingenuously referencing history. To prove that, you would have to show that there was real contention amongst the founders on this issue. And if you can show that there was a sizable minority of the founders (like say, 20%) who would have approved of such a tax rate, then I will certainly concede that Ron Paul's claim was overstated. But I would still disagree about the amazingly ignorant part. My impression is that most Americans don't think there was any serious disagreement on this point.

-----

russilwvong,

Over a 75-year timeline, gross domestic product would be roughly $1000 trillion, compared to the current fiscal exposure of $46 trillion. ($13 trillion per year * 75 years = $975 trillion; I'm assuming growth and the discount rate roughly cancel each other out.)

This seems pretty blase to me. That 46 trillion is what we need in the bank right now, gathering interest, for us to match our current commitments over the next 75 years. This is real money, you can't just wave it away by comparing it to the projected GDP 75 years from now. Don't you think there's a reason why the GAO says, "Simply put, our nation's financial condition and long-term fiscal imbalance is on an imprudent and unsustainable course."?

But this applies equally to private health insurance, which is why private health spending is rising rapidly as well. The patient doesn't pay for treatment--the insurance company pays--so you get the zero cost/infinite demand problem.

I think this is exactly backwards. It certainly is in reference to Friedman; he's talking about Medicare and Medicaid. Of course you pay for private insurance, where does the private company get the money? And your usage of the policy, especially in what it implies about future use, affects your cost. It is with government subsidized health care that the patient does not pay. Granted, the patient pays through taxation but there is no direct cost between his usage and his tax rate, so the practical cost when he has a covered 'want' is zero.

Yes, there is rationing in private insurance. I meant it in a different context, as in the government for all practical purposes, deciding on the level of medical care its citizens will receive. When the health care consumers have a range of resources the market provides incentives for procedures to be developed that only the wealthy will be able to afford. If one of those procedures is very successful then its availability may increase. First, by the producers discovering that there is a higher than originally projected demand which would allow them to cut the retail price, or by a technological advancement which would reduce the price. And of course it is important to note that without these high dollar treatments already existing, there would be less incentive to develop applicable technology. If most consumers do not make independent decisions on health care spending there is less possible reward to offset the costs of development.

While I respect Kennan's accomplishments and expertise I won't sign off on every last view of his. This is not a subject of particular importance to me, but if the U.S. was to withdraw from the U.N. it wouldn't exactly cause acute distress. Syria's views on human rights are of no interest. Given the U.N.'s failure to deal with Rwanda I don't think we need to consider them seriously as a supplier of military force. Private charities may well be more efficient at humanitarian aid. This is a very small issue.

All that said, I certainly like this quote of Kennan's, "Beyond that, when other countries come to us asking for help, we should ask, 'Why do you need it?' and 'Why should we provide it?'".
posted by BigSky at 11:55 AM on November 12, 2007


BigSky: And your usage of the policy, especially in what it implies about future use, affects your cost.

?!

So if you get sick and get some treatment that the insurance company pays for, they can raise your rates? If that's the case, I think I'm suffering from a fundamental misunderstanding of how the private health insurance industry works.

Assuming this isn't the case--that is, once you're insured, the insurance company can't raise your rates or cut you off--then a client who gets sick doesn't pay for their treatment. Instead, healthy clients are paying for the treatment. That's the way insurance works in general: most people never have to make a claim, but the one unfortunate person whose house burns down in a fire gets reimbursed.

If most people paid for health care on a fee-for-service basis (as was the case when medical care was much cheaper), this zero-cost problem wouldn't apply.

Again, private spending on health care has also been increasing rapidly.

There's a long article about medical innovation in the latest New Republic. In short, a lot of medical research takes place in government institutions (like the National Institutes of Health) and universities, not in private industry.

That 46 trillion is what we need in the bank right now, gathering interest, for us to match our current commitments over the next 75 years. This is real money, you can't just wave it away by comparing it to the projected GDP 75 years from now.

But having 46T in the bank isn't the only way to meet the commitment for the next 75 years. Take a simpler example: suppose you have an annual production of 10T, and some financial commitment of 1T annually, 10% of production. Assume both are fixed. Over the next 75 years, the total financial exposure is 75T, 7.5x annual production. But that doesn't mean that you're bankrupt, it just means that you're doing your calculations over a long time period. If you looked at 150 years, it'd be 150T.

I totally agree that the US is on an unsustainable fiscal course. To me, there's two separate problems: the Bush tax cuts, which opened up a gap between revenue and spending; and the long-term problem of health-care spending (private as well as public). To me, what would make sense would be to balance the budget (ideally, run surpluses) by reversing the tax cuts and cutting spending; and look at ways to get health-care spending under control.
posted by russilwvong at 11:00 PM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


BigSky: This is not a subject of particular importance to me, but if the U.S. was to withdraw from the U.N. it wouldn't exactly cause acute distress.

That was a relatively minor point; I think the implication that Ron Paul would withdraw from NATO and the US-Japan alliance would have more radical effects.
posted by russilwvong at 11:03 PM on November 13, 2007


I don't know enough about NATO and the US-Japan alliance to comment.

That was a good article on medical innovation. This wasn't the article's focus but the claim on how pharmaceutical companies marketing directly to consumers changes treatments is a bit questionable to me. Health care consumers don't make a lot of decisions. While the pharmaceutical companies do direct a lot of their marketing to consumers, doctors get plenty of it as well. Allowing people to make their own decisions on medication, meaning less regulation, might well change how the market responds to the pharmaceutical companies' offerings. People with a disease in common talk to each other, and when they have access to a variety of methods, word gets out on what works and what doesn't. The counterpart to this argument is that private insurance could easily be more restrictive about what treatments a customer can pursue for a given condition than government ever would. But this is all mostly a quibble as far as responding to the article. My main objections to universal health care, assuming that the article is right about innovation, are the continuing growth of the government, the budget, and it not being within the powers of the federal government according to the Constitution. If we were to first control the budget, reduce government bureaucracy, and re-establish Constitutional limits on the power of the federal government, then I could see considering an Amendment for universal health care.

So if you get sick and get some treatment that the insurance company pays for, they can raise your rates?

It's not quite like that. If the group in your plan is small and a few members get diseases that are expensive to treat or develop conditions that will possibly require expensive treatments later (e.g. organ failure), then the rates for the group go up. If new members don't come in to the plan as the group ages the rates go up. These are indirect effects on the price of health insurance, but the insurance companies do have a way to make your price more reflective of the level of risk in your own coverage. They keep the rates for a plan low based on the low risk members, and then invite current policy holders to reapply. If they don't qualify for the plan's new low rate their rate goes up. Here's an old NYT article. The insurance companies' power to do this varies from state to state. Federal law allows them to increase the renew rate by 95%.

I agree with your comment on the U.S. meeting its financial commitment, it isn't impossible. And I'm sure you understand my skepticism about our capability to do so given the obscene rise in debt since 2000. As you probably guessed, I am not in favor of reversing tax cuts but cutting spending sure sounds like its worth a look.
posted by BigSky at 8:20 AM on November 14, 2007


Eject all foreigners! Put up a big walls and withdraw from the world!

It worked for 13th century China.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ron Paul Caption Competition
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on November 14, 2007


BigSky: My main objections to universal health care, assuming that the article is right about innovation, are the continuing growth of the government, the budget, and it not being within the powers of the federal government according to the Constitution. If we were to first control the budget, reduce government bureaucracy, and re-establish Constitutional limits on the power of the federal government, then I could see considering an Amendment for universal health care.

Fair enough. One way to proceed would be for individual states to set up single-payer health care plans.

Thanks for the civil discussion, it's been quite interesting.

Here's an old NYT article.

Holy God. If I understand this story correctly, even though this particular family was part of a large group, after the family's three-year-old was diagnosed with a major kidney problem, their insurance company doubled their premiums every year. Eventually the family had to drop their insurance policy entirely.

That's completely insane. So if you get some condition requiring medical treatment over a long period of time, your insurance company can basically force you out? What kind of insurance is that?

Of course the article is quite old (1993). I Googled "policy churn" and found this link on multiple risk pools, on a campaign site for universal health insurance in California.

I also found more detailed testimony by the Renshaw family, from 1992.
posted by russilwvong at 12:01 AM on November 15, 2007


Jesus jumped up, would you look down there? Do you see that? Do you know what that is?
posted by cortex at 7:02 AM on November 15, 2007


It's comment 300!
posted by cortex at 7:02 AM on November 15, 2007


Guess what I got in my email today:

Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 10:15:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Ronald Paul <dr.paul2007@yahoo.com>
To: [BUNCH OF EMAILS ADDRESSES REDACTED}
Subject: Cheney & Bush deliberately let Sep. 11 happen...


All the quite enlightening discussions we've had aside, could someone tell me why I should vote for a candidate that sends me an unsolicited e-mail like this, one that's clearly in violation of CAN-SPAM?
posted by dw at 10:38 AM on November 16, 2007


dr.paul2007@yahoo.com

could someone tell me why I should vote for a candidate that sends me an unsolicited e-mail like this

Are you trolling? This seems too far beyond stupid to think you are making a genuine comment. The candidate sent you an unsolicited e-mail? That's Ron Paul's email address? So, he signed up with Yahoo in 2007. And he, himself, is taking the initiative in contacting people who have never expressed any interest. Huh. OK. Is he going around harvesting email addresses from forums and blogs as well?

I don't think I've ever read a sillier comment on here and I've been lurking for 6+ years! Why don't you contact his campaign and see if they had anything to do with it. But they'd probably lie to you if they did, and the From: does say Dr. Paul...

Good Lord.
posted by BigSky at 9:00 PM on November 16, 2007


Sorry, was really cranky yesterday and tired of dealing with the torrent of spam I've been getting at work, despite spam filters that block 80% of what comes in to my account. That was a cheap shot.

Still makes me want to beat the crap out of the instigator.

What is Ron Paul's stance on spam, anyway? Doesn't sound like he'd keep CAN-SPAM, but that hasn't been all that effective, anyway.
posted by dw at 7:40 AM on November 17, 2007


Cool. I know I could have certainly made the point with less hyperbole. I mean 6+ years... Here?! Come on.

He might not have stated a position that relates to spam. By the way, CAN-SPAM, if I read it right, does not apply to political messages. But I think most politicians know how likely it is to backfire. Somehow spam manages to be much more annoying than junk mail.
posted by BigSky at 12:55 PM on November 17, 2007


What is Ron Paul's stance on spam, anyway?

Likely not as wide as Larry Craig's.
posted by ericb at 1:00 PM on November 17, 2007


Updates!
*Ron Paul spam traced to Ukrainian botnet.
*Inside the Ron Paul botnet.
posted by brownpau at 10:55 AM on December 5, 2007


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