Category Archives: Uncategorized

No, You Didn’t Ask For This: A Bain Romney Downfall Parody

This was brought up on Talking Points Memo, and I’m sure at least twelve have already been made. I went with bigger rather than smaller subs for readability, since everyone’s seen the underlying clip, oh, maybe once or twice. The language gets very raw, and is not safe for work.

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Seven Unexpected Sentences

“Putin Has No Time To Debate, But He Can Shoot a Whale with a Crossbow” (link)

“‘What would a Roger Corman cheapie from the late ’80s look like if written and directed by a talentless and hysterical Al Gore?’” (link)

“Flaming Lips nab Bon Iver for new collaborative album, hope to also recruit Ke$ha” (link)

“‘It’s raining soup, and Newt Gingrich has the blueprints for soup bowls.’” (link)

“Wait, is that really the devil’s gun? Because it looks like one of those T-shirt guns that they break out during half time at NBA games.” (link)

“Okay, I’m not in the news business, and I’m not going to tell anyone how to do their job. However, it’d be good to have news reporting that I could trust again, and there’s evidence that fact-checking is an idea whose time has come.” (link)

“Sorry- I like Soderbergh and Clooney, and this idea was a good one. But, unfortunately, politics in the US is no longer a laughing matter.” (link)

Milan Kundera “Beyond Causality”

From The Art of the Novel:

Beyond Causality

On Levin’s estate, a man and a woman meet – two melancholy, lonely people. They like one another and secretly hope to join their lives together. All they need is the chance to be alone for a moment and say so. Finally one day they find themselves unobserved in a wood where they have come to gather mushrooms. Ill at ease, they are silent, knowing that the moment is upon them and they must not let it slip by. The silence has already lasted rather a long while when the woman suddenly, “involuntarily, reflexively,” starts to talk about mushrooms. Then silence again, and the man casts about for a way to declare himself, but instead of speaking of love, “on some unexpected impulse” he too talks about mushrooms. On the way home they go on discussing mushrooms, powerless and desperate, for never, they know it, never will they speak of love.

Back at the house, the man tells himself that he did not declare his love because of the memory of his dead mistress, which he cannot betray. But we know perfectly well: It is a false excuse he invokes only to console himself. Console himself? Yes. Because we can resign ourselves to losing a love for a reason. We would never forgive ourselves for losing it for no reason at all.

This very beautiful little episode is a kind of parable for one of Anna Karenina‘s great feats: bringing to light the causeless incalculable, even mysterious aspect of human action.

What is action? – the eternal question of the novel, its constitutive question, so to speak. How is a decision born? How is it transformed into an act, and how do acts connect to make an adventure?

Out of the mysterious and chaotic fabric of life, the old novelists tried to tease the thread of a limpid rationality; in their vie, the rationally accessible motive gives birth to an act, and that act provokes another. An adventure is a luminously causal chain of acts.

Werther loves his friend’s wife. He cannot betray his friend, he cannot give up his love, so he kills himself. Suicide with the transparent clarity of a mathematical equation.

But why does Anna Karenina kill herself?

The man who talked about mushrooms instead of love wants to believe that he did so out of loyalty to his vanished mistress. The reasons we might give for Anna’s act would be worth just as little. True, people are treating her with contempt, but can she not do the same to them? She is barred from seeing her son, but is that a situation beyond appeal and beyond of change? Vronsky is already a little less infatuated, but after all, doesn’t he still love her?

Besides, Anna did not come to the station to kill herself. She came to meet Vronsky. She throws herself beneath the train without having taken the decision to do so. It is rather the decision that takes Anna. That overtakes her. Like the man who talked about mushrooms, Anna acts “on some unexpected impulse.” Which does not mean that her act is senseless. But its sense lies outside rationally apprehensible causality. Tolstoy had to use (for the first time in the history of the novel) an almost Joycean interior monologue to reconstruct the subtle fabric of fleeting impulses, transient feelings, fragmentary thoughts, to show us the suicidal journey of Anna’s soul.

Dostoyevsky grasped the madness of reason stubbornly determined to carry its logic through to the end. The terrain Tolstoy explores is the opposite: he uncovers the intrusions of illogic, of the irrational.

The Ron Paul Newsletters / Ron Paul Paper Trail – Survival Report January 1994

(The following contains language that may well be considered offensive. This post is an attempt to make clear what was written in past Ron Paul newsletters. More information can be found here)

had monitored the Weavers for 18 months. Yet the y never told the FBI about this. Instead, they suggested that the FBI shoot anyone who carried a weapon outside the house.

That order led to the death of Vicki Weaver. The sniper who shot her, Lon Horiuchi, blew her head off. Horiuchi was trained to hit a quarter-inch target from 200 yards. Yet at the trial he testified that it was “accidental” and he was trying to hit someone else.

The Marshall’s Service also reported to the FBI that the Weavers attacked the government, killed an officer, and had the government “pinned down in a fire fight.” This too was a lie. The Service had told the FBI that Mrs. Weaver was a religious fanatic who intended to kill her children and then herself. But there was no evidence of any of it. In fact, she was a good Christian and a fine wife and mother.

Further, they did not mention that they had shot Weaver’s son in the back the day before the FBI arrived. The FBI did not find out about it until they discovered the boy’s body. The FBI now claims it thought he was shot by someone in the family.

Other troubling aspects of the case include entrapment. The reason the government was interested in the Weavers was because he sawed off a shotgun. But the BATF solicited Weaver to cut it a quarter-inch short and sell the guns to an undercover agent. The government paid Weaver $300 to commit the “crime” they later used to justify their siege.

A U.S. Marshal was shot only after Weaver’s son had been killed. A federal jury acquitted the Weavers for this. The Justice Department is reviewing the case under the auspices of the Office of Professional Responsibility. If the final report follows the tradition of its report on Waco, it will be a whitewash.

“Waco, the Big Lie” videotapes are available for $24.95, including shipping. Send your payment to 18333 Egret Bay, Suite 265, Houston, TX 77058, or phone 800-RON-PAUL.

The ADL Gets Off Scot Free

More than a year ago, the Anti-Defamation League office in San Francisco was caught illegally buying confidential police and other government records in pursuit of groups thought to be anti-Semitic. The uproar caused firings at the ADL, but in court, it got off easy.

The District Attorney in San Francisco agreed to drop the investigation. The Anti-Defamation League agreed to spend $75,000 in San Francisco “combating bigotry.” The ADL did not admit to any wrongdoing. But they promised not to obtain confidential information from any California state or local law enforcement officer in the future.

A woman who represented one of the organizations spied upon was not happy. “Not only is there no admission of guily,” she said “but the ADL are portrayed as good Samaritans waving the flag against bigotry.” Evidence indicated the ADL monitored such groups as the Davidians in Waco, and may have helped instigate the attack.

AIDS Dementia

If you heard a certain behavior of yours caused a deadly disease, wouldn’t you immediately cease and desist? Well, gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense. They have stopped practicing “safe sex.” The rate of AIDS infection is on the increase again. From the gay point of view, the reasons seem quite sensible, as the New York Times explained.

First, these 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. These conditions do not make one’s older years the happiest. Second, because sex is the center of their lives, they want it to be as pleasurable as possible, which means unprotected sex. Third, they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick. Put it all together, and you’ve got another wave of AIDS infections, that you, dear taxpayer, will be asked to pay for.


The Council on Foreign Relations, organized in 1921, started publishing its journal Foreign Affairs 70 years ago. Most Americans have never heard of the journal and quite possibly have never heard of the CFR. In the early years the CFR was very secretive and only the newsletter industry along with the John Birch Society ever mentioned it or tried to explain its program and power.

Times have changed. Ever since the 1980s when Ronald Reagan, who was once a critic of the CFR and the Trilateral Commission, hosted the Trilateral Commission in the White House, there has been much more openness and boldness on the part of both of these organizations.

The original pdf of this newsletter can be found at The New Republic.

The Ron Paul Newsletters / Ron Paul Paper Trail – Survival Report January 1995

(The following contains language that may well be considered offensive. This post is an attempt to make clear what was written in past Ron Paul newsletters. More information can be found here)

5. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. If you have more than one rifle, store it in a hideaway spot. And remember to store ammunition and web gear with it, enough ammo for at least one combat load.

6. Hide your best eggs from prying eyes. Destroy any documents or discs that become unnecessary. Leave no clues. You are not a criminal, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to make you one.

7. Bojangles Robinson ain’t the only one who can tap. Avoid the phone as much as possible, and never speak in plain English about club business.

8. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet. Most groups meet under cover of another activity: a gun club, a Bible study, a self-help group, even a bowling league.

9. Remember you’re not alone. At this writing there were an estimated 1,500 militia groups scattered across the 48 states and Alaska. The feds are actively investigating about 80 with varying levels of resources and efforts.

10. Remember your principles. Don’t lose sight of our objective. The opposition will do its best to provoke some precipitous action on our part to discredit us and our cause. Follow the orders of Captain Parker at Lexington: Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here.

Bearish on the Precious Metals?

The enthusiasm that was evident in the gold and silver markets in September has once again given way to disappointment. The failure of both key metals to break key technical and psychological levels, namely $400 on gold and $6 on silver, has sent many investors back to the sidelines. The gold shares as they tend to do, suffered bigger percentage losses than the metals. The general relationship between movements in the metal and the major gold shares is about five to one. If gold goes up or down 5%, as it has recently, the shares will go up or down approximately 25%.

Precipitating the latest drop was the belief the Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s preemptive interest-rate hikes were working. Contributing to the slide was the election of the Republicans to control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. The initial take by the precious metals market was that maybe there is light at the end of the long deficit and inflation tunnel and, therefore, the dollar will once again gain the confidence of the marketplace as a store of value.

The question we must now ask is: where do we go from here? The bears on gold say that high interest rates globally make the opportunity cost of holding gold too high at this time.

The bearish argument is compelling, but it misses the point. The Orange County debacle is just the tip of the derivative iceberg. Private losses are estimated at close to $75 billion. The Fed is not going to keep raising interest rates. They are stuck. The U.S. is the biggest debtor nation. If Greenspan keeps raising rates, he will drive the deficit through the roof, no matter what piddling cuts the Republicans have in mind. The derivative problem will continue to get worse. The real reason Greenspan raised interest rates was not to combat inflation – after all, the Fed exists to inflate – but rather to execute a plan of interest-rate arbitrage in the currency markets to stave off the run taking place on the dollar.

With $15.9 trillion in overall debt – government, corporate, and individual – the Fed cannot allow the debt bubble to burst; otherwise the world would face a massive deflation and the dollar and all currencies would be destroyed as they are all over-leveraged, not unlike Orange County. Unfortunately, we could go on and on for the reasons to be bullish, but the bottom line for gold is the dollar, and it doesn’t look good for the dollar.

Of all the gold shares that are currently in an oversold position, points out Greg Orrell, my recommended gold stock broker. Santa Fe Pacific Gold (FLD NYSE $13 3/8) is the best buy at the current time. The company has high-quality, low-cost mines located in the U.S. and is currently producing 900,000 ounces annually, projected to go up to 1.5 million ounces by 1998. The share not only had to absorb the massive selling that took place with gold going down, but it also got hit at the same time with shares that were issued as a dividend from its former parent, Santa Fe Pacific Corp.

A Resurrected Ecu?

You might think that the Trilateralists had given up on creating the European Currency Unit, the Ecu, to replace all existing European currencies, and to be combined with the dollar and yen in a new world order money. The dream seemingly died two years ago when the D-mark became so out of line that the Exchange Rate Mechanism simply fell apart. After Denmark and Britain pulled out, it seemed dead.

But that would be a mistaken impression. The transnational elite hasn’t given up on the Ecu any more than it gave up on creating a world agency to manage trade after the Senate defeated it in 1948. The establishment still gather [sic] in Brussels to plot their monetary designs.

This description was buried in the Wall Street Journal: “once a month, ranks of dark limousines parked outside the modern

The original pdf of this newsletter can be found at The New Republic.

The Ron Paul Newsletters / Ron Paul Paper Trail – Political Report November 1990

(The following contains language that may well be considered offensive. This post is an attempt to make clear what was written in past Ron Paul newsletters. More information can be found here)

In that same Federalist Paper, Madison wrote:

Instead of being analogous to the power of declaring war (the president’s power as commander in chief) affords a striking illustration of the incompatibility of the two powers in the same hand. Those who are to conduct a war cannot, in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded. They are barred from the latter functions by a great principle in free government, analogous to that which separates the sword from the purse, or the power of executing from the power of enacting laws.

Jews and Christians Against a Mideast War

I was please to facilitate, and to sign, an ad that ran on the op-ed page of the New York Times last month. It denounced the smear of anti-Semitism used on war opponents, and noted that “America can only be harmed by this war. Our kids killed, our liberties suppressed, our taxes raised, the government engorged, the recession deepened, our constitution shredded.” It urged those “salivating for war” to “buy rifles and parachute into Baghdad. But not to kill our soldiers and wreck our economy.” The promoters of the war want a “New World Order,” said the ad. We believe in the “old American republic.” Co-chairman of the new group are Burt Blumert of the Center for Libertarian Studies and Lew Rockwell of the Mises Institute. Other signers included: Professor Richard M. Ebeling of Hillsdale College, Professor Paul Gottfried of Elizabethtown College, Professor Edward Kaplan of Western Washington University, Dr. Gary North of Remnant Review, entrepreneur James Rodney, and Professor Murray N. Rothbard of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The committee has a small deficit. To help, and to join, send dues of $50 to JCAMW, PO Box 2802, Auburn, AL 36830.

The Duke’s Victory

David Duke received 44% of the vote in the Senate primary race. In Louisiana, 60% of the white vote, and 9% of the black vote! This totaled 100,000 more votes than the current governor when he won.

Duke lost the election, but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment. If the official Republican hadn’t been ordered to drop out, he might have won. Certainly there would have been a run-off.

Duke’s platform called for tax cuts, no quotas, no affirmative action, no welfare, and no busing. “Tonight, we concede the election,” he said. “But we will never concede out fight for equal rights for all Americans.”

To many voters, this seems like just plain good sense. Duke carried baggage from his past, but the voters were willing to overlook that. And if he had been afforded the forgiveness an ex-communist gets, he might have won.

Liberals like Richard Cohen of the Washington Post say he got so many votes because Louisianians were racists and ignorant. Baloney.

David Broder, also of the Post and equally liberal, writing on an entirely different subject, had it right: “No one wants to talk about [race] publicly, but if you ask any campaign consultant or pollster privately, you can confirm the sad reality that a great many working-class and middle-class white Americans are far less hostile to the rich and their tax breaks than they are to the poor and minorities with their welfare and affirmative-action programs.”

Liberals are notoriously blind to the sociological effects of their own programs. David Duke was hurt by this past. How many more Dukes are there waiting in the wings without such a taint?

More Federal Spying

On September 1, a federal data bank for tracking physicians, dentists, and other health-care professionals began operating at a cost of $16 billion. It will accumulate data on 50,000 providers in the first year. When a doctor is sued, his name is put on a blacklist. Since 80% of the OB-GYN doctors are sued, many innocent physicians will be blacklisted wrongly.

This program is designed to monitor physicians, but it will spread to all professions and businesses. If it is right for physicians, why not for attorneys, business people, and everyone else?


Liberal Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) recently pointed out that Jack Kemp’s 27-person public affairs office is spending its time on Kemp’s next campaign instead of HUD.

Mikulski, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees HUD, deleted the funding to cries of anguish from Kemp. Undoubtedly it will be restored, but I still enjoyed the whole thing.

U.N. Tyranny

I recently visited a Congressional friend involved in foreign affairs, and he told me that the administration may push

The original pdf (Part One, Part Two) of this newsletter can be found at The New Republic.

Five Refutations of Andrew Sullivan And A Puzzling Daily Dish Reader

I gave praise to Mr. Sullivan yesterday for retracting his Ron Paul endorsement. That he did so took courage, for no one wants to admit they may be wrong, and because he shares some key principles with the man, such as an end to extravagant military excursions and prison for drug possession. I do not make these refutations to pick a fight, but because I think any defenses or points in favor of Paul should be responded to. I think there is a dangerous aspect to Paul that is not there in say, Rick Santorum, not because some of the policy ideas he and Mr. Sullivan share are poor or destructive, but because some of them are very good, which causes advocates to ignore all other aspects of the man’s character and policy because of the quality of some proposals.

I see Paul as a sort of strange twin to George W. Bush. While Paul is portrayed as a stark contrast to Bush in foreign policy and domestic spending, the same impulsive, impatient broad statements and ideas, unqualified by in-depth analysis or examination is there in Paul’s writings (with the newsletters, in terms of writing style and ideas, they fit in very well with), the same stubborn, superficial approach is there in Paul as it was in Bush. This is the case in Paul, whether it be his economic ideas, his Trilateralist ravings, or his theory that FDR allowed Pearl Harbor to take place to further his own ambitions. Before, An Epic Grand Overseas Adventure and Faith Based Initiatives were great ideas, a refreshing contrast to the debauched and ambitionless Clinton years, that were to be embraced, never mind the details. Now, A Gold Standard, A Razing of All Programs Home And Abroad, An End To The Fed are great ideas that are to be endorsed, never mind the details.

A small note: a decade ago, Bush also presented himself as a humble, consistent, plain-spoken man from small-town america, a fine contrast to the know-it-all elites.

The following appeared in Mr. Sullivan’s blog over the past week.

Ron Paul, “Bigot”

A video that attempts to present an image of Paul counter to that of the one in the newsletters.

A man arrives at a hospital with his pregnant wife who needs medical care. They do not receive it because of their race. The police are called, but Ron Paul suddenly appears and delivers the baby, though it’s still-born.

I find it strange that Mr. Sullivan, and others, seem to think those who are occasionally malicious, callous, or cruel towards someone because of their race are old-time Hollywood villains who twirl their mustaches while cackling of their evil plans, tossing babies onto railroad tracks and running down women. History is filled with those of one skin color who’ve been very genial with people of another skin color, and who will also be fine with occasionally hurting some by selling them substandard housing or medicine, because they are a lesser kind of people, or maybe just because they have less ability to resort to the law, the police, and power overall, for help.

Let us be clear what Paul, a champion of accountability is being praised for in this commercial: doing his job. To quote Chris Rock, “Do you want a fucking cookie?” Had he not done so, and there was the same accountability expected of doctors for all patients, he would be fired, if not sued for negligence.

Were Paul President, and the ideas he has championed in the past were implemented, I assume we would have entirely private hospitals. Those private hospitals could legally, again, consistent with Paul’s explicitly stated beliefs – not those still under question in his newsletters, but in Freedom Under Siege – refuse treatment for this black couple, on the grounds of their race, or whatever grounds they wanted.

The ad ends with this voice-over:

He’s just an honest man, which is something we need in this day and time. There’s a lot of politics and no honesty. When you have honesty, people will do anything to blot you out. And that’s what people will try to do with him, is blot him out. Because he will be honest.

So, when publications that Paul profited from are brought up, which contain instructions on how to kill a black man and get away with it, which Paul has freely admitted to being involved in, then later denied it, and now refuses to even answer any questions on, those who brought up the material will be chastised for persecuting him for his honesty.

The Gays Are Not So Upset

Weigel wonders why the homophobia in the newsletters hasn’t gotten much attention. Wise words from Dan Savage:

There is no comparing Paul and Santorum, said Savage, because Paul is a leave-us-alone libertarian. “Ron is older than my father, far less toxic than Santorum, and, as he isn’t beloved of religious conservatives, he isn’t out there stoking the hatreds of our social and political enemies,” he explained. “And Ron may not like gay people, and may not want to hang out with us or use our toilets, but he’s content to leave us the fuck alone and recognizes that gay citizens are entitled to the same rights as all other citizens. Santorum, on the other hand, believes that his bigotry must be given the force of law. That’s an important difference.”

Agreed. The attempt by the left and the neocon right to make Paul out to be the real bigot in this race is gob-smacking. Maybe one reason the gays are not so upset is because they have a better idea of what is threatening to them than Dave Weigel. (The exception is Jamie Kirchick, but he is as motivated by Israeli issues as gay ones).

I’ve been busy this year, so I may have missed the election of Dan Savage to the position of President Of All Homosexuals. I don’t think Savage has ever made the claim, nor would he, to speak for all gay men and women, though that appears to be the position given him here. I read Savage stating his opinion, and only his opinion, in the Weigel piece, with no dissenting or supporting opinions of other gay men and women. That they are entirely in accord with Savage is an assumption that Mr. Sullivan makes, and which I do not.

I’m critical of Ron Paul because publishing such things as an article about how to kill a black man and get away with it disgusts me. I do not assign him a role as the real bigot, as if this were a final place in a reality show contest, but rather, think it’s the simple obvious duty of skeptical thinkers to point out such things as this man’s profiting from racial paranoia, his encouragement of the quarantine of those with HIV and AIDS, and his support for the removal of legal protections that might prevent those with HIV or AIDS from being fired simply because they had the disease. I point these things out because of my belief in their inherent importance and a skeptical approach to all politicians, not from some larger goal to select Mitt Romney over Paul, and not because I’m an agent for Mossad.

The Newsletters Issue Bombs In Iowa

In the week since the scandal emerged, Paul’s favorable numbers among Democrats have gone from 59 to 70 percent, and stayed pretty much the same among Republicans and Democrats. So Kirchick’s story and our blogospheric debates seem have had one major impact: bolstering Paul’s support from the center-left.

Mr. Sullivan finds a causality here which escapes me. When two events take place in the same week, I think it remains an open question, absent linking evidence, that one is connected with the other.

Here is a possibility: Iowa is a state that has suffered greatly in the past decade with stagnating or declining wages, and many of their best men and women wounded or dead in poorly led overseas wars. They are looking for someone like them, who feels like they are, an outsider distant from power. The newsletters will be ignored, just as Pat Buchanan’s past vileness was ignored in 1996, because they dealt with people outside of Iowa life and culture. Had the newsletters featured the same vile content about christians as they had about blacks, gays, and jews, Paul’s campaign would be over.

“Dr Paul is consistent and honest, which is very hard to find.”

Quote of the Day

“I voted for Obama in 2008 but we need a change. Dr Paul is consistent and honest, which is very hard to find. He is not just telling us what we have heard before,” – Samantha Dunn, a 28-year-old teacher in Iowa, to the Daily Telegraph.

It would seem Rick Santorum, one of the more loathsome creatures of this earth, is consistent and honest as well. He would also, no doubt, be a change from the current administration. Pat Buchanan, supported by Paul in 1992, and very successful in Iowa in 1996, very much fits the bill as well.

This quote is just that, an excerpt, so there may be fuller thoughts behind it, but what’s striking is that it places agency entirely with the candidate rather than the voter. This song right now is boring, hopefully this next one will be better. This is when the phrase, occasionally used, “the Ron Paul cult” fits because in a cult you are entirely beholden to a leader, freed from having your own thoughts and demands. Mr. Sullivan finds hope in the above statement, I do not.

Engagement in democracy does not mean simply evaluating the personal traits of potential leaders, then blindly following and defending them, but having a set of well-thought out demands, asking that of one’s leaders, and doing everything possible to implement those reforms. The president should be an instrument of the people, of those ideas, rather than one in a series of magicians who’ll entertain until the children get bored. If you do not have such an active population, then I think you have the possibility of a dangerous reactionary, whether Paul or someone else, taking power in these very difficult times.

Sorry, he’s a libertarian.

Dan Savage runs a letter from a reader pushing back against his tolerance of Paul’s record on gays:

Ron Paul does not advocate for leaving gays alone. He simply advocates for the states to be able to oppress them instead of Washington. Take, for example, this 2003 article. Paul decries the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v Texas decision that eliminated state sodomy laws:

“Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment ‘right to privacy.’ Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights—rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.”

Essentially, Paul has no interest in leaving anybody alone. He only wants to get rid of one government scared into submission by oppressive douchebags and replace it with 50 governments scared into submission by oppressive douchebags. That’s not really any better, and I think you may have missed that in your statement to Dave Weigel.

All this is true. Paul really is a federalist in the extreme sense, and he would give states and their courts the power to decide issues such as these. Of course, that also means that those states, like Massachusetts or Iowa or New York, can advance gay equality in a more organic, less top-down way – and Paul, unlike his colleagues, does not back a federal marriage amendment to prevent them. And note that Paul finds anti-sodomy laws “ridiculous”.

Sorry to break the news, but he’s a libertarian.

Lawrence v. Texas involved a group of police entering a house on the grounds that there was a weapons disturbance, who instead came across two men engaged in sex. The two men were arrested for violation of Texas sodomy laws.

The key sentences of Paul’s objection:

The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution.

My bolds. Here is Paul, in his book, Freedom Under Siege:

Privacy is one of the most sacred elements of a free society. It is now common to pass laws which routinely violate the Constitutional guarantee that our homes and persons are not to be invaded by government agents.

Sorry to break the news, but if he’s a libertarian, he’s an awfully inconsistent one.


A Puzzling Daily Dish Reader

A reader writes in to Andrew Sullivan’s blog about the newsletters:

I think Massie’s argument is crap. The reason people are ignoring the 30 year old newsletters written by other people is because they are 30 year old newsletters written by other people.

People don’t care about these things, because they hear Ron Paul talk and they get the message. They get the idea, and they even get that the guy is “just” the carrier of the idea, and not a Newt-aggrandizing ego-maniac. These are very attractive qualities. And his positions – particularly his dedicated anti-war position, in the context of the Obama betrayals – are extremely appealing to huge swathes of the country.

I wouldn’t allow myself to actually think he was a contender until recently. But look at the field.

Here’s the part of the letter that I find puzzling.

Look at the international situation. Look at Iraq. Look at minorities. Look at the economy. If “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” as B.O. suggested in one of his hollowest campaign speeches, then isn’t Paul the one to give us back to ourselves? Who is left?

I really don’t understand how the bolded item fits with the others. The others would all be threats and problems outside of ourselves, which need to be fixed or abandoned. When I think of “minorities” in the current economic climate, I think of certain racial groups that are suffering even more because of crisises in poverty, housing, and education. They are fellow citizens, too many of whom are facing an even greater plight than many of us. I would think of them being part of a list that would include fellow citizens who are all suffering, such as children, students, the elderly, low wage workers, etc., and I think I would try to come up with a less general label than “minorities”.

The only way “Look at minorities” fits the rest of that section is if…I look at them as a threat or a problem outside of myself. Now who might possibly perceive them that way? Just think about that for a minute. I’m curious if Mr. Sullivan noticed that same strange incongruity.

Daniel Boorstin on Presidential Debates and other Pseudo-Events

From The Image: Or What Happened To The American Dream, the chapter “From News Gathering to News Making: A Flood of Pseudo-Events” (1961):

A perfect example of how pseudo-events can dominate is the recent popularity of the quiz show format. Its original appeal came less from the fact that such shows were tests of intelligence (or of dissimulation) than from the fact that the situations were elaborately contrived – with isolation booths, armed bank guards, and all the rest – and they purported to inform the public.

The application of the quiz show format to the so-called “Great Debates” between Presidential canddiates in the election of 1960 is only another example. These four campaign programs, ponpously and self-righteously advertised by the broadcasting networks, were remarkably successful in reducing grest national issues to trivial dimensions.

In origin the Great Debates were confusedly collaborative between politicians and news mamers. Public interest centered around the pseudo-event itself: the lighting, make-up, ground rules, whether notes would be allowed, etc. Far more interest was shown in the performance than in what was said. The pseudo-events spawned in turn by the Great Debates were numberless. People who had seen the shows read about them the more avidly, and listened eagerly for interpretations by news commentators. Representatives of both parties made “statements” on the probable effects of the debates. Numerous interviews and discussion programs were broadcast exploring their meaning. Opinion polls kept us informed on the nuances of our own and other people’s reactions.

The drama of the situation was mostly specious, or at least had an extremely ambiguous relevance to the main (but forgotten) issue: which participant was better qualified for the Presidency. Of course, a man’s ability, while standing under klieg lights, without notes, to answer in two and a half minutes a question kept secret until that moment, had only the most dubious relevance – if any at all – to his real qualifications to make deliberate Presidential decisions on long-standing public questions after being instructed by a corps of advisers. The great Presidents in our history (with the possible exception of F.D.R.) would have done miserably; but our most notorious demagogues would have shone.

This greatest opportunity in American history to educate the voters by debating the large issues of the campaign failed. The main reason, as [Theodore White, in his book The Making of the President: 1960] points out, was the compulsions of the medium. “The nature of both TV and radio is that they abhor silence and ‘dead time’…Although every experienced newspaperman and inquirer knows that the most thoughtful and responsive answers to any difficult question come after long pause, and that the longer the pause the more illuminating the thought that follows it, nonetheless the electronic media cannot bear to suffer a pause of more than five seconds; a pause of thirty seconds or dead time on air seems interminable.

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