Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The Administration wouldn't tell the truth if it rose up like an erupting volcano. They'd deny the lava descending on us—them (I hope there's some justice left and it will get them instead of me).
There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam did not put the hi-jackers up to 9/11. It was not a cakewalk. We have not been greeted as liberators in Iraq. And, those who disagree with the brains behind this horrible mistake are not traitors. Jesus Christ on crank!
And I do believe that, thinking of justice, Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove, all of those fuckers ought to be prosecuted for international crimes against humanity.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
These lies led us into the war and occupation of Iraq. They led us, so far, to nearly 4,000 American deaths, numerous British losses, and unknown numbers of Iraqis killed. Beyond these deaths are countless maimed and emotionally devastated people, both military and civilian—on all sides. Our economy is shattered and scandals thrive like weeds.
Lies. The president, the vice-president, secretary of state—and their mouthpieces—sanctimoniously lied through their polished teeth. They claimed evidence of weapons of mass destruction, that Americans would be welcomed and honored by Iraqis, and that Iraq had subsidized and helped train the hijackers of 9/11. They hinted that Americans who dissented from the administration’s party line were flirting with treason. These lies have been—and are—spread widely and elaborated on by cadres of conservative commentators.
We were lied into a disastrous war. We are still being fed lies. Those who got us into this war should be removed from office and prosecuted for war crimes.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Nixon's Ghost Stalks the White House...
White House Tape Recycling May Have Erased Controversial E-Mails
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2008; 2:17 PM
The White House has acknowledged in a new court filing that it routinely recycled computer backup tapes containing its e-mail records until October 2003, a practice that could mean that many electronic messages from the first two years of the Bush administration are lost forever.
The disclosure raises the possibility that the White House effectively erased e-mail related to some of the biggest controversies of the Bush administration, including the leak of a CIA officer's name, the start of the Iraq war and the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes.
The White House's electronic record-keeping system has come under increasing scrutiny from Democrats in Congress and is the subject of a lawsuit by two advocacy groups. The administration previously has acknowledged problems with its archiving systems, but had not disclosed its practice of overwriting backup tapes.
The backups are meant to preserve records in case of a disaster. They also serve a role in ensuring that federal record-keeping laws are met, according to administration officials and records management experts. Two separate statutes require the White House to preserve federal or presidential records.
The prospects for recovering data that has been overwritten is uncertain, especially if the tapes were re-recorded numerous times, technology experts say.
In a court affidavit filed shortly before midnight yesterday, the official in charge of overseeing White House computer systems said that recycling, or overwriting, the backup tapes was "consistent with industry best practices related to tape media management."
Who? Kucinich? WHO?
Kucinich: kept out of the last Demican debate by a decision of one of our corporate masters, NBC. And the courts let them get away with it. WTF? It was for the four leading candidates; Richardson was placing fourth and he dropped out, therefore—Kucinich, the only avowed progressive candidate, was booted. In Nevada, yeah, where GE and their connections to the Yucca Mountain project are powerful, and, of course, where Harry Reid...and the Democratic National Committee didn't let out a peep... Hey, if voting could change the system it would be against the law, yup. And the system is, if it is anything, self-preserving. The system doesn't have room for people like Kucinich. Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, sure. But nobody who's going to shake things up—or even talk about shaking things up.
That's also why Paul and Huckabee are ultimately out of the loop. The electoral system works by hammering down anyone who sticks their head up too far.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
"No Treaty Withdrawal," according to Lakota elder
'No treaty withdrawal', says Lakota elder
From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
January 12, 2008
The Lakota Freedom Delegation, which in December declared that the Lakota people were withdrawing from their treaties with the United States and reasserting their sovereignty as an independent state, is acting without the support of the Treaty Council, the traditional government of the Lakota, Wikinews has learned.
Wikinews spoke with Floyd Looks-For-Buffalo Hand, an Oglala Lakota Treaty Delegate and Elder, also an author and a spiritual leader in the indigenous Lakota religion, and who is also blood uncle to Lakota Freedom Delegation member Canupa Gluha Mani.
The Lakota Freedom Delegation has claimed that, while the BIA-recognized tribal governments of the Lakota have not supported them, the Lakota Freedom Delegation's authority extends from support by the Treaty Council of the Elders of Lakota as well as from the 1974 International Indian Treaty Council.
"There was no treaty withdrawal. It was three people."
"Russell Means and Duane Martin [Canupa Gluha Mani] and that lady [Phyllis Young], they do not speak for the nation. You've got to have consensus" among the eight tribes of the Lakota, he said, which the Lakota Freedom Delegation has not obtained. Mr. Hand stated that he was speaking as a tribal delegate with the consensus of the Oglala Treaty Delegation and his chief, Oliver Red Cloud.
Hand furthermore called the treaty withdrawal event a "publicity stunt" and that furthermore the 1974 meeting was not authorization to act on behalf of the Lakota people. While Means, Canupa Gluha Mani, and the rest of the delegation "have free speech" and can do as they wish, he said, the Elders of Lakota "stated that they should remove themselves from treaty territory," that is, the Reservations inhabited by the Lakota. But "they're still living here" (Canupa Gluha Mani has been residing in Asheville, North Carolina since the treaty withdrawal press conference on 19 December).
When asked if the above decisions represented the consensus of the whole Treaty Council, Hand stated, "we all do the same because we're all fullbloods. We all speak our own language."
Hand went on to explain, though, that the Treaty Council was planning to reconsider the Lakota's arrangement with the United States government. The Treaty Council of all eight Lakota tribes, which will meet on 28-30 January 2008, will consider whether to "sit down to negotiate" with the federal government. Members of the Lakota Freedom Delegation are expected to take part in that meeting. European-Americans, Hand said, are "not honoring" the 1851 and 1868 treaties which connected the Lakota to the United States, and noted that the Lakota were the only people to "conquer" the United States during the Indian Wars of the 19th century.
The arrangement with the United States, which he called a "contract", "handcuffs us through the federal programs". On their own, Hand said, "if we rely on a sovereign nation as a nation, relating to other nations with our economic development I think we can survive." Hand noted that one possibility under consideration was asserting the right to negotiate independently of the US government with foreign powers in areas such as airport access rights. The Lakota, he said, would charge foreign airlines half what the United States charges to make use of airports on Lakota soil. "We can be well off," he argued.
In another contradiction of the Lakota Freedom Delegation's program, Hand said that the Treaty Delegations "don't want technology on our reservation". One of his concerns was environmentalism. People of European descent are "taking too much out of Mother Earth", he said, making reference to ongoing environmental effects of uranium mining which has long been a contentious issue on the Lakota reservations. The Treaty Delegation's goal, he said, is "preserving the land and animals and letting the water remain free."
However, one of the plans of the Lakota Freedom Delegation is to install renewable energy technology on tribal land, such as solar and wind farms. This follows projects in the past, whereby wind turbines were erected on the Rosebud Reservation. Such projects would lessen dependence on foreign energy sources, as well as coincide with the Lakota's traditional respect for the environment.
Hand also expressed hope for ethnic solidarity among the non-European peoples of the world. "All the people of color in this world will go for unity and understanding and peace" if they overthrow the Europeans and establish their own governments, he said.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
US health care sinks even farther—even behind Portugal
U.S. HAS WORST RECORD OF DEATH FROM TREATABLE DISEASE
By Nicholas Timmins
Financial Times (London)
January 8, 2008
More U.S. patients die from diseases that could be treated by timely
intervention than in any other leading industrialized country, a study
by top health academics showed yesterday.
A decade ago, the U.S. had the fourth worst record among a group of 19
industrialized co untries in terms of deaths per 100,000 people from
diseases that are amenable to treatment. These include infections,
treatable cancers, diabetes, and heart and vascular disease, according
to Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and
Over the succeeding five years, the number of such deaths in the U.S.
fell from 115 per 100,000 to 110. But other countries improved
faster, leaving the U.S. with the worst record, behind Portugal,
Ireland, and the UK, where the preventable death rate runs at 103 or
104 per 100,000.
"If the U.S. performed as well as the top three countries in the
study" -- France, with 65 deaths per 100,000, and Japan and Australia,
both with 71 per 100,000 -- "there would have been 101,000 fewer
deaths per year," the authors write in the journal *Health Affairs*.
The study looks at preventable deaths below the age of 75 and found
that while most countries had made big strides in reducing them over
the past decade, with an average fall of 17 per cent, the U.S.
experienced only a 4 per cent decline.
With the rising cost of healthcare and numbers of uninsured becoming
issues in the U.S. presidential campaign, the authors say it is
"difficult to disregard the observation" that the slow fall in the
U.S. preventable death rate "has coincided with an increase in the
Cathy Schoen, senior vice-president of the Commonwealth Fund, which
supported the research, said: "It is starting to see the U.S. falling
even further behind on this crucial indicator."
FRANCE BEST, U.S. WORST IN PREVENTABLE DEATH RANKING
By Will Dunham
January 8, 2008
WASHINGTON -- France, Japan, and Australia rated best and the United
States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to
treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers
said on Tuesday.
If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top
three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United
States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal
Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could
have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and
ranked nations on how they did.
They called such deaths an important way to gauge the performance of a
country's health care system.
Nolte said the large number of Americans who lack any type of health
insurance -- about 47 million people in a country of about 300
million, according to U.S. government estimates -- probably was a key
factor in the poor showing of the United States compar ed to other
industrialized nations in the study.
"I wouldn't say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because
I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access.
But if you don't, I think that's the main problem, isn't it?" Nolte
said in a telephone interview.
In establishing their rankings, the researchers considered deaths
before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke,
certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections, and
complications of common surgical procedures.
Such deaths accounted for 23 percent of overall deaths in men and 32
percent of deaths in women, the researchers said.
France did best -- with 64.8 deaths deemed preventable by timely and
effective health care per 100,000 people, in the study period of 2002
and 2003. Japan had 71.2 and Australia had 71.3 such deaths per
100,000 people. The United States had 109.7 such deaths per 100,000
people, the researchers said.
After the top three, Spain was fourth best, followed in order by
Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria,
Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland and Portugal,
with the United States last.
The researchers compared these rankings with rankings for the same 19
countries covering the period of 1997 and 1998. France and Japan also
were first and second in those rankings, while the United States was
15th, meaning it fell four places in the latest rankings.
All the countries made progress in reducing preventable deaths from
these earlier rankings, the researchers said. These types of deaths
dropped by an average of 16 percent for the nations in the study, but
the U.S. decline was only 4 percent.
The research was backed by the Commonwealth Fund, a private New
York-based health policy foundation.
"It is startling t o see the U.S. falling even farther behind on this
crucial indicator of health system performance," Commonwealth Fund
Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen said.
"The fact that other countries are reducing these preventable deaths
more rapidly, yet spending far less, indicates that policy, goals and
efforts to improve health systems make a difference," Schoen added in
The point in the article I cited is that Ron Paul is not a libertarian so much as a far far FAR right wing populist, appealing to the paranoid white folk around the country. That's why the militias, the so-called "Patriot Movement," the survivalists, and the white racists are supporting him, yeah. Why?
Look: the man's against income taxes and believes the IRS is illegal; he supports a Constitutional amendment to ban abortions, he wants Christian Protestant God messages displayed in public schools, he favors the quarantine of AIDS patients and believes the virus can be spread by saliva (and he's a doctor, yet!), and he believes we should go back on the gold standard. He also thinks the law is skewed in favor of black people over white people. Jesus.
The man may not wear a white sheet—or camos—but, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck...
Ron Paul: don't always need a hood and sheet to be a klansman?
The libertarians have had a free ride for a long time, especially from the Left. Maybe it’s because the libertarians are against the anti-dope laws. But they’re also against all the other laws: like health laws, and anti-pollution, anti-abuse, any kinds of protections of the public. They’ve ended up as a theoretical wing of conservatism, kind of intellectual reactionaries.
But, Ron Paul takes into the closet, as it were, of conservative and libertarian thought: the paranoias about race and sex, the fears, and the rage... In other words, if politics do make strange bedfellows, the right wing has taken bundling into orgy-porgy neo-nazi politics...
This is from a long and thorough piece by James Kirchick, The New Republic, Published: Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Paul's newsletters have carried different titles over the years--Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report--but they generally seem to have been published on a monthly basis since at least 1978. (Paul, an OB-GYN and former U.S. Army surgeon, was first elected to Congress in 1976.) During some periods, the newsletters were published by the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, a nonprofit Paul founded in 1976; at other times, they were published by Ron Paul & Associates, a now-defunct entity in which Paul owned a minority stake, according to his campaign spokesman. The Freedom Report claimed to have over 100,000 readers in 1984. At one point, Ron Paul & Associates also put out a monthly publication called The Ron Paul Investment Letter.
the newsletters ... reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.
To understand Paul's philosophy, the best place to start is probably the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Auburn, Alabama. The institute is named for a libertarian Austrian economist, but it was founded by a man named Lew Rockwell, who also served as Paul's congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982. Paul has had a long and prominent association with the institute, teaching at its seminars and serving as a "distinguished counselor." The institute has also published his books.
The politics of the organization are complicated--its philosophy derives largely from the work of the late Murray Rothbard, a Bronx-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and a self-described "anarcho-capitalist" who viewed the state as nothing more than "a criminal gang"--but one aspect of the institute's worldview stands out as particularly disturbing: its attachment to the Confederacy. Thomas E. Woods Jr., a member of the institute's senior faculty, is a founder of the League of the South, a secessionist group, and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, a pro-Confederate, revisionist tract published in 2004. Paul enthusiastically blurbed Woods's book, saying that it "heroically rescues real history from the politically correct memory hole." Thomas DiLorenzo, another senior faculty member and author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, refers to the Civil War as the "War for Southern Independence" and attacks "Lincoln cultists"; Paul endorsed the book on MSNBC last month in a debate over whether the Civil War was necessary (Paul thinks it was not). In April 1995, the institute hosted a conference on secession at which Paul spoke; previewing the event, Rockwell wrote to supporters, "We'll explore what causes [secession] and how to promote it." Paul's newsletters have themselves repeatedly expressed sympathy for the general concept of secession. In 1992, for instance, the Survival Report argued that "the right of secession should be ingrained in a free society" and that "there is nothing wrong with loosely banding together small units of government. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, we too should consider it."
Paul's alliance with neo-Confederates helps explain the views his newsletters have long espoused on race. Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report, published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began," read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with "'civil rights,' quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda." It also denounced "the media" for believing that "America's number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks." To be fair, the newsletter did praise Asian merchants in Los Angeles, but only because they had the gumption to resist political correctness and fight back. Koreans were "the only people to act like real Americans," it explained, "mainly because they have not yet been assimilated into our rotten liberal culture, which admonishes whites faced by raging blacks to lie back and think of England."
This "Special Issue on Racial Terrorism" was hardly the first time one of Paul's publications had raised these topics. As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled "What To Expect for the 1990s," predicted that "Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities" because "mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white 'haves.'" Two months later, a newsletter warned of "The Coming Race War," and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, "If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it." In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, "Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo." "This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s," the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter's author--presumably Paul--wrote, "I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming." That same year, a newsletter described the aftermath of a basketball game in which "blacks poured into the streets of Chicago in celebration. How to celebrate? How else? They broke the windows of stores to loot." The newsletter inveighed against liberals who "want to keep white America from taking action against black crime and welfare," adding, "Jury verdicts, basketball games, and even music are enough to set off black rage, it seems."
Martin Luther King Jr. earned special ire from Paul's newsletters, which attacked the civil rights leader frequently, often to justify opposition to the federal holiday named after him. ("What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!" one newsletter complained in 1990. "We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.") In the early 1990s, a newsletter attacked the "X-Rated Martin Luther King" as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours," "seduced underage girls and boys," and "made a pass at" fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that "Welfaria," "Zooville," "Rapetown," "Dirtburg," and "Lazyopolis" were better alternatives. The same year, King was described as "a comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration."
While bashing King, the newsletters had kind words for the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. In a passage titled "The Duke's Victory," a newsletter celebrated Duke's 44 percent showing in the 1990 Louisiana Republican Senate primary. "Duke lost the election," it said, "but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment." In 1991, a newsletter asked, "Is David Duke's new prominence, despite his losing the gubernatorial election, good for anti-big government forces?" The conclusion was that "our priority should be to take the anti-government, anti-tax, anti-crime, anti-welfare loafers, anti-race privilege, anti-foreign meddling message of Duke, and enclose it in a more consistent package of freedom." Duke is now returning the favor, telling me that, while he will not formally endorse any candidate, he has made information about Ron Paul available on his website.
Like blacks, gays earn plenty of animus in Paul's newsletters. They frequently quoted Paul's "old colleague," Representative William Dannemeyer--who advocated quarantining people with AIDS--praising him for "speak[ing] out fearlessly despite the organized power of the gay lobby." In 1990, one newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine "who certainly had an axe to grind, and that's not easy with a limp wrist." In an item titled, "The Pink House?" the author of a newsletter--again, presumably Paul--complained about President George H.W. Bush's decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite "the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony," adding, "I miss the closet." "Homosexuals," it said, "not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities." When Marvin Liebman, a founder of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom and a longtime political activist, announced that he was gay in the pages of National Review, a Paul newsletter implored, "Bring Back the Closet!" Surprisingly, one item expressed ambivalence about the contentious issue of gays in the military, but ultimately concluded, "Homosexuals, if admitted, should be put in a special category and not allowed in close physical contact with heterosexuals."
The newsletters were particularly obsessed with AIDS, "a politically protected disease thanks to payola and the influence of the homosexual lobby," and used it as a rhetorical club to beat gay people in general. In 1990, one newsletter approvingly quoted "a well-known Libertarian editor" as saying, "The ACT-UP slogan, on stickers plastered all over Manhattan, is 'Silence = Death.' But shouldn't it be 'Sodomy = Death'?" Readers were warned to avoid blood transfusions because gays were trying to "poison the blood supply." "Am I the only one sick of hearing about the 'rights' of AIDS carriers?" a newsletter asked in 1990. That same year, citing a Christian-right fringe publication, an item suggested that "the AIDS patient" should not be allowed to eat in restaurants and that "AIDS can be transmitted by saliva," which is false. Paul's newsletters advertised a book, Surviving the AIDS Plague--also based upon the casual-transmission thesis--and defended "parents who worry about sending their healthy kids to school with AIDS victims." Commenting on a rise in AIDS infections, one newsletter said that "gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense," adding: "[T]hese men don't really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners." Also, "they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick."
The rhetoric when it came to Jews was little better. The newsletters display an obsession with Israel; no other country is mentioned more often in the editions I saw, or with more vitriol. A 1987 issue of Paul's Investment Letter called Israel "an aggressive, national socialist state," and a 1990 newsletter discussed the "tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise." Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, "Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little."
Paul's newsletters didn't just contain bigotry. They also contained paranoia--specifically, the brand of anti-government paranoia that festered among right-wing militia groups during the 1980s and '90s. Indeed, the newsletters seemed to hint that armed revolution against the federal government would be justified. In January 1995, three months before right-wing militants bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, a newsletter listed "Ten Militia Commandments," describing "the 1,500 local militias now training to defend liberty" as "one of the most encouraging developments in America." It warned militia members that they were "possibly under BATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] or other totalitarian federal surveillance" and printed bits of advice from the Sons of Liberty, an anti-government militia based in Alabama--among them, "You can't kill a Hydra by cutting off its head," "Keep the group size down," "Keep quiet and you're harder to find," "Leave no clues," "Avoid the phone as much as possible," and "Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
The newsletters are chock-full of shopworn conspiracies, reflecting Paul's obsession with the "industrial-banking-political elite" and promoting his distrust of a federally regulated monetary system utilizing paper bills. They contain frequent and bristling references to the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations--organizations that conspiracy theorists have long accused of seeking world domination. In 1978, a newsletter blamed David Rockefeller, the Trilateral Commission, and "fascist-oriented, international banking and business interests" for the Panama Canal Treaty, which it called "one of the saddest events in the history of the United States." A 1988 newsletter cited a doctor who believed that AIDS was created in a World Health Organization laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. In addition, Ron Paul & Associates sold a video about Waco produced by "patriotic Indiana lawyer Linda Thompson"--as one of the newsletters called her--who maintained that Waco was a conspiracy to kill ATF agents who had previously worked for President Clinton as bodyguards. As with many of the more outlandish theories the newsletters cited over the years, the video received a qualified endorsement: "I can't vouch for every single judgment by the narrator, but the film does show the depths of government perfidy, and the national police's tricks and crimes," the newsletter said, adding, "Send your check for $24.95 to our Houston office, or charge the tape to your credit card at 1-800-RON-PAUL."
In other words, Paul's campaign wants to depict its candidate as a naïve, absentee overseer, with minimal knowledge of what his underlings were doing on his behalf. This portrayal might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically--or if the newsletters had just been published for a short time. But it is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views. In that respect, whether or not Paul personally wrote the most offensive passages is almost beside the point. If he disagreed with what was being written under his name, you would think that at some point--over the course of decades--he would have done something about it.
What's more, Paul's connections to extremism go beyond the newsletters. He has given extensive interviews to the magazine of the John Birch Society, and has frequently been a guest of Alex Jones, a radio host and perhaps the most famous conspiracy theorist in America. Jones--whose recent documentary, Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement, details the plans of George Pataki, David Rockefeller, and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, among others, to exterminate most of humanity and develop themselves into "superhuman" computer hybrids able to "travel throughout the cosmos"--estimates that Paul has appeared on his radio program about 40 times over the past twelve years.
Then there is Gary North, who has worked on Paul's congressional staff. North is a central figure in Christian Reconstructionism, which advocates the implementation of Biblical law in modern society. Christian Reconstructionists share common ground with libertarians, since both groups dislike the central government. North has advocated the execution of women who have abortions and people who curse their parents. In a 1986 book, North argued for stoning as a form of capital punishment--because "the implements of execution are available to everyone at virtually no cost." North is perhaps best known for Gary North's Remnant Review, a "Christian and pro free-market" newsletter. In a 1983 letter Paul wrote on behalf of an organization called the Committee to Stop the Bail-Out of Multinational Banks (known by the acronym CSBOMB), he bragged, "Perhaps you already read in Gary North's Remnant Review about my exposes of government abuse."
Ron Paul is not going to be president. But, as his campaign has gathered steam, he has found himself increasingly permitted inside the boundaries of respectable debate. He sat for an extensive interview with Tim Russert recently. He has raised almost $20 million in just three months, much of it online. And he received nearly three times as many votes as erstwhile front-runner Rudy Giuliani in last week's Iowa caucus. All the while he has generally been portrayed by the media as principled and serious, while garnering praise for being a "straight-talker."
From his newsletters, however, a different picture of Paul emerges--that of someone who is either himself deeply embittered or, for a long time, allowed others to write bitterly on his behalf. His adversaries are often described in harsh terms: Barbara Jordan is called "Barbara Morondon," Eleanor Holmes Norton is a "black pinko," Donna Shalala is a "short lesbian," Ron Brown is a "racial victimologist," and Roberta Achtenberg, the first openly gay public official confirmed by the United States Senate, is a "far-left, normal-hating lesbian activist." Maybe such outbursts mean Ron Paul really is a straight-talker. Or maybe they just mean he is a man filled with hate.
James Kirchick is an assistant editor at The New Republic.
Copyright © 2007 The New Republic. All rights reserved.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Jesus Christ on crank!
Romney. Obama. Clinton. Huckabee, oh god, Huckabee. Romney rushing to reassure us that he believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ. There will be no religious test for office, my ass! The Protestants have taken over the country and we better get used to it. Obama, the cool kid on the make, charismatic but what's in there? We know what's in Hillary Clinton: she's like a walking computer. McCain? Well, he's at least got a steady personality that he lets hang out. Huckabee is just fucking scarey. He's the really really nice guy who'll do whatever it takes to you to save your soul, including burning you at the stake to get you to recant.
Fuck. It's no worse, I guess, than having Woodrow Wilson and Andrew Jackson running against each other. If you add Cotton Mather and William Jennings Bryan and George Custer into the race.
What you see up there on the dais really isn't what you get, except in terms of shallowness and mendacity. And what you hear isn't important.
What is important is the war against Islam. The economy, it's been on steroids so long it's about to collapse. Corruption in D.C.—but, enough of that! Let's get to something really important, like John Edwards' hair!!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Obama takes Iowa (nobody knows where, though)
I'm going to make a prediction: the Republicans will lose the presidency; Obama will win, but mainly because he will take a brave stand firmly in the center of absolutely every fucking thing you can think of. I think the Republicans will go down to a serious defeat; but it'll be their own fault. The Democrats will win through no credit to their own positions (assuming that not having a position equals having a position). There will be nothing earth-shaking or truly innovative from the Democrats. They're worse than a bunch of social workers...
I mean Obama may not be the Democratic candidate; maybe it'll be Clinton, maybe Edwards. It doesn't matter: nothing will change too much. None of the campaign donors will find anything to be offended by. There'll be no nationalization of health care nor phone companies nor oil companies. The profit-motive, "free market capitalism," and corporate take-over will continue. Only the style will change.
Ron Paul: a dim and flickering bulb
But a lot of people seem to believe he’s the, ahhh, great white hope of Republican politics. Yeah, it’s a bad pun. Paul is a bad joke.
The gold standard. A sales tax. No welfare. No abortions. No public education. I mean...hell, he isn’t even Jeffersonian. He’s cracked.
This is from the Huffington Post.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Ron Paul is Scary, But Those That Cheer Him Are Even Scarier
Posted January 3, 2008 | 10:57 AM (EST)
The scariest thing about Paul is that even though only a few hard core Paul backers will waste a vote on him, millions more seem to agree that his off beat views, especially on race matters, make sense. They even stand logic as high as it get can go on its head to defend their leader against all comers. That's especially true when it comes to Paul's views on race and ethnic politics. That's not a small point given the open but more often sneaky role that race and ethnicity will increasingly play in the presidential derby. Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Bill Richardson have pulled out all stops to woo and court blacks, Latinos and Asian voters. They have made poverty, affordable health care, immigration reform, and job protections the linchpins of their campaigns.
Paul and the GOP candidates have done just the opposite. They duck, dodge, and deny racial issues. The only departure from their racial blind eye is to fan anti-immigrant flames. Paul has gone one better. In an ad, he demanded that students from alleged terrorist countries should be denied visas into the U.S. Paul offered not a shred of proof that there are hordes of students pouring into America to commit terrorist acts. The ad was more than just a cheap ploy to fan terrorism fears. This reinforced the worst in racial and religious stereotyping and negative typecasting. The stereotype is that any one in America with a non-white face and is a Muslim is a terrorist.
Then there's Paul's now infamous slavery quip that he made on Meet the Press. Paul claimed the Civil War was an unnecessary bloodbath that could and should have been avoided. All Lincoln had to do was buy the slaves. Other slave promoting countries, asserts Paul, didn't fight wars and they ended slavery peacefully. Paul's historical dumbness would have been laughable except for four things. One, he was dead wrong. Lincoln twice made offers to the slave owners to buy the slaves. They turned him down flat. The countries that freed the slaves without war, presumably France and England, unlike the U.S., did not practice slavery in their countries. And France did fight a war-- Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Haiti to put down the slave revolt there.
Two, he's running for president and has a national platform to spout his wrong-headed views (Meet the Press!). Three, he's done and said stuff like this many times before. Among the choice Paulisms are that blacks are criminally inclined, political dumb bells, and chronic welfare deadbeats. There was also the alleged Paul hobnob with a noted white supremacist. Here's what Paul on his campaign website ronpaul2008.com has to say about race. In fact he even highlights this as "Issue: Racism" on the site. "Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry." In other words, the 1954 landmark Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of education school desegregation decision, the 1964 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and legions of court decisions and state laws that bar discrimination are worthless. Worse, says Paul, they actually promote bigotry by dividing Americans into race and class.
Paul's cure for racial bigotry is to change people's hearts. Whew!! The ghosts of Barry Goldwater, Strom Thurmond, the unreconstructed George Wallace, and packs of Southern States Righters and Citizens Councils big shots would lustily cheer Paul on that one. They railed for decades against the federal government's lift of even the tiniest finger to protect black rights and lives. Their stock line was that race relations can only change when hearts change. If we waited for that to happen the "whites only" signs would still be dangling prominently from every toilet and school house door in the South.
Paul's views are a corn ball blend of libertarianism, know-nothing Americanism, and ultra conservative laissez faire limited government. This marks him as a type A American political quirk.
Now there's the fourth reason not to laugh at Paul. And this is really what makes him scary. There are apparently millions that don't see a darn thing wrong with any of this and pillory anyone who does. They are even scarier than him. Maybe ABC and Fox should let Paul crash the New Hampshire debate. It's always good to see an extremist publicly confirm just how scary he and those that cheer him on really are.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His forthcoming book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February, 2007).
Remembering Anna Mae
The most famous round in the fight is the one where two FBI agents were killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. There are a dozen or so books about it, movies, and on-going reporting. Who killed them? Leonard Peltier is doing life in prison for it. His trial was a farce. It was as lame as the OJ Simpson trial, and if there had been as many Indians on the jury as there were black people on the Simpson jury, Peltier probably would have have walked.
I don’t know if Peltier is “innocent”; two other men charged with the same murders were found not guilty by reason of self-defense. All three were present when the agents were killed. The government’s prosecution, though, was shameful.
There’s more, though. Anna Mae Aquash, a member of the American Indian Movement and a tireless organizer was shot and killed on the Reservation, twenty-some years ago. One man was just found guilty and another man is awaiting trial. The scenario presented to us is that the leadership of the American Indian Movement thought she was a snitch and ordered her killed.
The movement, AIM for short, has hung on over the years. Most of the original members are still around: Russ Means, Dennis Banks, John Trudell, Russ Redner, Dino Butler, Kenny LoudHawk. None of them have been directly implicated in Aquash’s murder. That the movement has endured is a thorn in the government’s paw—particularly the FBI’s paw.
But it seems like the Indians are their own worst enemies. As the 2nd trial in Aquash’s death approaches, snitch labels are flying; the plot is complex and ugly. Old time members are turning on each other. Of course, the only beneficiary from this is the FBI, always eager to settle a cherished grudge. Hell, the Indians shot two agents and only one man went down for it: can’t let them off that easy.
It’s sad. I don’t know who killed the agents and I don’t know who killed Anna Mae Aquash (well, I’m sure that directly or indirectly the FBI killed her). I don’t think we’ll ever know. I know the FBI plays dirty, has played dirty, and will play dirty, the world without end, amen.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Yea! A Mormon Conspiracy to rule the country! Yea! Huzzah!
I found this story via a posting by Tristero on Digby—about how the Swift Boat folks are going after Romney, and trying to set up McCain to get the Repugnican nomination. I don’t know about the McCain part. I’ve stayed away from that kind of speculation. But I really do enjoy outrageous conspiracy rumoring. And the following piece is definitely outrageous. “Lunatic-ish” might be more descriptive... "Gutterball" just doesn't do it justice...
New anti-Romney mailer called 'gutterball politics'
By Thomas Burr
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 12/31/2007 03:03:59 PM MST
Updated: 2:52 PM-CLINTON, Iowa -- Another anti-Mormon mailer, this one alleging Mitt Romney is part of an LDS Church conspiracy to topple the government, has hit voters' mailboxes in Florida, continuing a string of attacks on the presidential candidates' faith days before the first primary contest.
The rambling letter, from an organization calling itself the Freedom Defense Advocates, alleges Romney is running for president at the bidding of church leaders and that Mormons are a violent people who want to overthrow the U.S. Constitution.
"Help me sound the alarm that one day the Mormon Church plans to replace the Constitution with a Mormon theocracy," reads the letter, signed by John Boyd.
"Mitt Romney's political success indicates this may be sooner than most have thought. Do you really want a president who believes he will someday become a god? Is that who you want occupying the most powerful position in the world ... the United States presidency?"
It was unclear Monday how many voters received the mailer, though the group said it was "widespread." The Romney camp said it had only heard of one recipient.
Boyd says he runs a political action committee, though no group by that name has registered with the Federal Elections Commission or the Internal Revenue Service.
The letter - which is also posted on
the group's Web site and makes a plea for donations - is one of a string of attacks on Romney's Mormon faith in the last few months in the states with the earliest presidential primary balloting. South Carolina voters received a Christmas card raising the specter of plural marriage, and phone calls critical of the Mormon faith were reported in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Romney traveling press secretary Eric Fehnrstrom said the letter was a "contemptible piece of literature and whoever is behind it ought to be ashamed of themselves."
But Fehrnstrom said the campaign is not going to ask for an investigation and is focused on winning the early Iowa caucus and other primaries and not on the dirty politics going on under the radar.
"Is it a concern? Sure. Whenever people engage in this type of gutterball politics, that is a concern," Fehrnstrom said. "But the vast majority of people that we meet, either in South Carolina or other parts of the country, they don't look so much to what church Mitt Romney belongs to, but they look at the values that he shares with them. Mitt Romney's values are as American as you can find."
Boyd, from Lynchburg, Va., declined to say who belongs to his group or how many mailers went out and to where, but he said it is "widespread all over the U.S." and in the thousands.
He said he shipped out the letters "because Romney is a member of the Mormon cult" and people need to know his plans so he can be stopped. He accuses the campaign of a direct connection to the LDS Church, but offered no direct evidence.
"We just want to alert the voters in these early states, in these key states, the truth of what the church is," Boyd said. Asked what he thought of Romney's campaign response, he said, "It's not despicable. [But] if telling the truth is despicable, I guess we're guilty."
The St. Petersburg Times first reported the letter on Monday and noted that the group's Website was registered on Dec. 6, the day that Romney gave a much heralded speech in College Station, Texas, on the role his faith would play if elected.