Positive Outgrowth of Ron Paul Campaign?

This looks extremely interesting.  Ron Pauls supporters span the gamut, from conspiracy theorists and white supremacists to frustrated libertarians and conservatives of conscience.  There is a range of desperation and genuine creativity and commitment behind the small but vocal movement.  I’ve kept an eye on it mainly watching a man push a conservative and sometimes extremist agenda with a very slick packaging into the mainstream.

But the commitment of his supporters is, in a word, powerful.  So we on the left should pay attention to items like this:

We’re starting our own grassroots media company. Basic Media, Inc. (in formation) will create, build and connect Internet based radio and television outlets for freedom voices and faces around the United States and worldwide. The newly forming company will develop a wide ranging array of interesting and entertaining content on the web, and transmit our shows to mainstream “off the Internet” people through a variety of communications technologies and strategies.

Very, very interesting.  From the sounds of things, such an initiative would push ideas and ideals that are both laudable and laughable:

As Dr. Paul himself said so well on February 9, 2008: “The neocons, the warmongers, the socialists, the advocates of inflation will be hearing much from you and me.” Indeed. The tired, empty mantras of “right and left,” of “conservative and liberal,” of “Democrat and Republican,” will no longer stand unchallenged in our mainstream media outlets. Freedom, prosperity, peace, hope—the great ideas are coming to America.

Regardless of whether you agree with their message, the idea of combining networked content creation and off the internet delivery is brilliant:

The core technologies are already in place for high quality content creation and delivery on the web, and Basic Media, Inc. will take this process to the next higher level with syndication and delivery platform strategies that carry our message to the radios and television sets of every household in America. Break the monopoly of the establishment media! Break the wall of silence that stifles voices of truth in our nation!

I’m simultaneously cringing and excited for what kind of content could come out of this.  Overall, I think it is a bold effort and one to support and duplicate.  For one, it is a familiar cry, similar to Nader’s “We own the airwaves” approach to media.  But the main reason is that the netroots can combine a strong ability to raise funds and create smart content rapidly to follow this same path.  We can reach more people than we currently do.

If this movement runs into issues of censorship from either the media conglomerates or the government, we ought to be in the trenches with them fighting back.  Not simply because we can find common ground on some points (their anti-war stance), but because the larger issue of the media monopoly on our national conversation is too strong for either of us to break alone.

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Politics: Who Will God Listen To?

So I saw this (Pray for Ron Paul), and immediately my thoughts leapt to Huckabee.  Surely he has people praying for his success.

Yet these prayers directly contradict each other.  So who will the all seeing father in heaven ignore?  Looking at the delegates, it doesn’t seem to be helping either candidate.

Some questions: if God is the type of being that directly intervenes in Human affairs:

  1. Where has he #*@*in been all these years?
  2. Is he registered to vote in all 50 states?

Just curious.

Democrats United: Pre-Existing Conditions

Right now, you can be as hard working as you like. Got a pre-existing condition? Health Care denied.

One thing all of the Democrats share in common, from Obama to Clinton to Edwards, is the desire to pass a law outlawing discrimination based on previous conditions. (Edwards is the only candidate to support universal health care coverage).

Neither McCain, Romney, Ron Paul, Giuliani or Huckabee have a plan to deal with this. The Republicans as a whole are loathe to regulate the insurance industry on this vital matter.

This is a practical issue that effects many of us. It is an issue on which the Democrats present a united front, and stand firmly on the side of ethics.

Texas: Making Education a Joke

These days we expect the anti-intellectual movement known as creationism to rear its head wearing “Intelligent Design” as a flimsy disguise.  Not in Texas!  Tony’s curricublog:

Would Texas state approval of the creationists’ masters degree program in “Science Education” jeopardize its satisfaction of the NCLB requirement for a “Highly Qualified Teacher” in every classroom, and its reciprocity arrangements for teacher qualification in other states?

In an editorial for the Edmond (OK) Sun, with the headline Knowing difference between science, religion important in schools, Dennis Weigand warns against the danger of Oklahoma being plagued by the kind of anti-science-education efforts seen now and recently in the neighboring states of Kansas and Texas.

This will have serious and lasting impact on Texans, and unfortunately, the rest of us when they move to other states and start doing things like voting or speaking out loud.

what if it’s not just Texas students, but the science teachers in that state who are not well enough educated in the sciences that they can tell the “the difference between science and religion”?

What we have here is an attempt to kill the ability of some students to reason.  Reason, in the view of some religious proponents, must be restricted so as not to approach the pearly gates of faith.  “Keep your Reason off my Bible” might as well become the new slogan for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  To see specifically what the approved program will be:

to get a good overview of the program without clicking through the pages on their site, you can visit this post on Ed Darrell’s blog.

This is ridiculous.  It is an assault on the quality of education provided by the state, separation of church and state, and the ability of Texas students to live and flourish in a world that runs on science.

I wonder what Mike Huckabee’s or Ron Paul’s take on this would be?  (For more on creationism, evolution, and the candidates: the Carpetbagger Report).

This Ron Paul White Supremacist Thing Just Won’t Die Already

$*#@_*& Arrrrgh!  Yet in the frustration a part of me wants to just soak in all that delicious stupid just floating about.   It can’t be all bad, can it?  The cheeky optimism that looks facts right in the face, and stars with glassy eyed conviction right the fuck through.  How awesome would life be if it was viewed with the same unimpeachable faith held by Ron Paul’s supporters?

First up, via the right good General Jesus Christ (Christian, Patriot), we have this gem:

Michael Rivero
What Really Happened Radio

Dear Mr. Rivero,

Like you, I support Ron Paul to be our next president and was very upset with Bill White, Commander of the American Nazi Party, for posting about the good relationship white supremacist groups have had with him in the past. Certainly, that could not help his campaign.

Your response was perfect. It was a stroke of genius to counter the charges that Dr. Paul is a secret white Supremacist by declaring that a “Jewish cabal” is trying to frame him.

And David Duke’s posse rush to his defense as well (via the right good General JC):

Well, the Anti-Defamation League has exhibited another acute attack of foot-in-mouth disease by attacking the extremely popular presidential candidate Ron Paul. Ron Paul’s supporters come from all walks of life. They are white, black, Asian, heterosexual, homosexual, Catholic, Protestant, Wiccan and Jewish. Probably no other candidate has shown such a broad appeal, or excited such intense commitment in his supporters.  There’s a reason for this other than his good looks, of course, which we’ll explore in a minute.

From that last line, someone has an acute attack of nose in Paul’s ass disease.  I mean come on.  (And as if DavidDuke‘s website has any credibility when discussing the ADL.  It would be like expecting the KKK’s website to fairly discuss the NAACP or SPLC).  But back to the argument, if you can call it that.  Essentially they repeat the tired and broken line that having friends/supporters of a given group erases the possibility of prejudice, bigotry and hatred.  It does not.  Aside from being genuinely ignorant about Ron Paul’s racism, there are those who simply have other priorities, or who refuse to look at the facts.

The problem is not that Ron Paul has racist blowhards for supporters.  The problem is that Ron Paul has actively pandered to these groups, and has worked to bring their malicious rhetoric of bigotry into the mainstream.   The problem is Ron Paul’s positions, even when they don’t actively appeal in and of themselves to hate groups, provide the exact same arguments, excuses and loopholes sought by those who opposed every shred of dignity and every step of progress we took together as a nation during the civil rights movement.

It would be so easy for Ron Paul to deal with this White Supremacist skeleton once and for all.  He could come out and condemn these groups.  He could take responsibility for and apologize for the articles he wrote and the groups he supported, and promise not to do so again.  He could stop using the insane rhetoric surrounding his ideas about who controls the banks and other bits of hate group grist in his speeches.

He could recognize that maybe, for some fundamental rights, federal level protection is desirable.  Hell, he could even realize that for human rights, we need world level action.  But that’s a bit progressive for most these days, especially a modern day isolationist.

So in the meantime it looks like we’ll keep hearing about these little messes, and his supporters will continue to cover their eyes and ears, and shout desperate things in our general direction.

But until Ron Paul takes the right stand on bigotry and hate, he isn’t even a viable candidate.

Darfur and the Candidates

The invisible genocide hasn’t made inroads into the 2008 election for most “major” candidates.  For those who have, you have the sane few who have stated policy on Darfur like Bill Richardson and John Edwards.  Then you have those on the insane side who think we can safely ignore the Darfur conflict because its just another civil war, like Ron Paul.

DarfurScores.org offers another window into those running in 2008 who are currently in Congress:

Barack Obama:  A

Hillary Clinton: A+

Dennis Kucinich: A

John McCain: C

Ron Paul: F

The conservatives seem to be stuck on one of two notes:  war or isolationism.  We either impose ourselves on the world or ignore the world and keep to ourselves.  These “solutions” do not work in the face of active genocide.  What we need are efforts to confront and engage all of the stakeholders in a conflict.  We need leadership.  John Edwards’ words on Darfur strike a chord:

“There comes a time when we must say, ‘Never again.'” — John Edwards

That is a clear reference to the Holocaust.  The scream of spiritual death that the Holocaust tortured out of humanity has been heard again and again throughout history.  Our response to that suffering must be an outpouring of compassion and the courage to take up responsibility and act.  A President must understand the urgency of genocide and be able to articulate it as an international issue the global community must address as one.

The Decisive Do Not Vote Ron Paul Guide

What is the decisive do not vote for Ron Paul voting guide? His voting record (David, Orcinus):

In the comments thread to my previous post on Ron Paul, the indispensable Trefayne compiled a series of posts on Paul’s track record as a congressman, particularly those bills he sponsored or co-sponsored.

Here’s Trefayne:

What’s more, consider Ron Paul’s record in Congress. Not that he’ll ever occupy the Oval Office, but what would he do after pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq? His past legislative proposals will provide some clues, and they are not friendly to progressive ideas. Here are some bills that Ron Paul has proposed, not merely voted on, but sponsored. And you can see that he tries repeatedly on certain issues, which suggests they are important to him.

So what are Ron Paul’s positions?

  • Anti Choice
  • Anti Gay
  • Anti Worker
  • Anti-Democracy
  • Anti-Environment
  • Pro Corporation
  • Pro Discrimination/Racism
  • Against the International Criminal Court
  • Anti-Government Education

Ron Paul provides liberals, progressive, and classical Republicans with their own reasons for utterly rejecting his candidacy. For some his opposition to a federal minimum wage, safety standards, and anti-union policies might be enough. For others, his continued attempts to weaken and eliminate public education. I think we can all agree Paul’s support of the electoral college is bullshit. The positions he takes are those of a man who opposes any sort of government regulation, be it anti-trust, pro-environment, or anti-discrimination. Ron Paul is a schizophrenic anarchist/totalitarian, who wants complete power to regulate abortion, sexuality and other religious matters, but wants to essentially eliminate federal government, taxes, environmental protection, public education, regulation of corporations, and participation in any international bodies.

Beyond all of this, Ron Paul is a marketing home run for the far right extremist crowd:

Because as I’ve been explaining in some detail (along with Sara), Paul has so far managed to pull off something of a neat trick: Appearing thoughtful and principled, even though his beliefs and principles are largely derived from the extremist far right — a fact that he’s wisely muted in the campaign.

Ron Paul is more than just an outlet for the radical right. He is a successful re-branding for the hate/conspiracy theory branch of the Republican party. And as for the common view that the extremists he attracts are not his fault (Orcinus, emphasis mine):

Paul himself doesn’t necessarily believe these things — but the theories themselves are so thoroughly rooted in racial and anti-Semitic animus, often playing the role of providing a thoughtful “academic” face to smooth-talking racists like David Duke, that it’s hard not to hear Ron Paul holding forth on them now and understand perfectly well where those ideas are coming from, even if it’s never acknowledged. Though having seen Paul work the militia circuit in the 1990s certainly gave me a good idea.

It’s quite clear who these theories are speaking to, as well. It’s odd that a normally sharp-eyed reporter like Edsall can’t see that. Evidently, he’s fallen for the “libertarian” cover schtick without looking further to see what that really entails.

It’s “not Ron Paul’s fault” he attracts extremists only if the positions he’s staked out, and the beliefs he advocates, aren’t his fault either.

Ron Paul is an extremist in mainstream clothing, a radical Republican hiding behind a independent/libertarian stage mask. His voting record and his rhetoric say otherwise. Are we listening?

(image source: this guy’s awesome forum sig)