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Looking for a Defense of Ron Paul

5:14 pm in Uncategorized by Margaret

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Lately, The Lake has played host to a small but very vocal group of people supporting Ron Paul for President. As The Lake encourages debate, I have no problem at all with people coming along and stating their opinions, even stating them with vehemence. That is after all what our little community is all about. What I have a problem with is that none of these people seem willing or able to defend Ron Paul’s more ridiculous beliefs. Instead they resort to attacking me or Barack Obama. This isn’t surprising, considering that true believers and ideologues, when unable to form a cogent argument, will resort to name calling and general venom.

I have laid out a clear and  cogent description of words and actions that have come from Ron Paul, his staff and his campaign with citation but so far I haven’t seen an explanation as to why my accusations are wrong, why these things are irrelevant or why they are false, My intelligence has been questioned, my affiliation, my motives and even my willingness to back up my accusations. When called out on their shooting of the messenger, the fallback “defense” of Ron Paul becomes just another attack on Obama and the thinly veiled accusation that I must be an Obama supporter. I won’t put everybody through chapter and verse of all of my anti Obama bona fides because everybody who knows me at The Lake knows that I am no Obama fan but this is the same sort of crap I used to get when I would criticize Obama during the primaries in 2008. Ironic that these people would be using the same sort of strategy that was used against me by the Obama supporters. Only the vocabulary has changed because back then I was called everything from “PUMA” to “racist” to “Republican Troll”.

I will stipulate that Ron Paul is anti foreign wars/adventures. I will stipulate that he was for auditing the Fed, the separation of church and state, habeas corpus and medical marijuana. Also that he opposes the Patriot Act, the War on Drugs, torture, the national ID card, domestic surveillance and capital punishment. Those are all good things and I can support such a candidate. But he also opposes reproductive rights, membership in The United Nations, and the 1967 Civil Rights Act saying ,

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society”

He has been very credibly accused of racism, calling MLK Day “National Hate Whitey Day” as well as homophobia having stated,

“Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

 

Ron Paul also is a proponent of Austrian School economics and is anti taxation, has pledged never to raise taxes and, impossibly,  to scale spending back to pre 2000 levels, (because we haven’t had enough austerity yet). He has advocated cutting the deficit by eliminating “most federal agencies”. and says that he would never support legislation that isn’t specifically supported in writing by the Constitution. He helped author and introduce The Sanctity of Life Act, designed to overturn Roe vs Wade, and calls himself a free market environmentalist, meaning that he thinks the free market,  property rights and tort laws, rather than regulation are what are best suited to maintain the health of the environment. He also opposes birthright citizenship, (so much for his strict adherence to the Constitution), and voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Paul also would like to see the elimination of legal tender laws and the removal of sales tax on the sales of gold and silver, returning us to the wild west days of using whatever people find locally valuable,(gold, silver), to conduct business with. He would also like to see the federal government entirely out of health care provision or regulation, stating that the price will go down if only free market dynamics were allowed free reign.

I could go on but frankly I’d still be here this time tomorrow, typing and citing so I’ll stop here but let’s dispense with the false attacks on me in which I apparently make statements and then refuse to back them up. That’s a specious argument and nothing more than an ad hominem attack on my character for having the temerity to criticize Ron Paul. I’ve done my best to provide citation for each and every one of my accusations but I have no doubt the effort is wasted on the true believers.

I’ll at this time further stipulate that Obama is a neoliberal asshole who has no business calling himself a Democrat, let alone being President. I don’t believe that he has had his hands tied by the teabag Republicans any more than I believe Henri Phillipe Petain was just looking out for his fellow Frenchmen and women. I also agree that the power of a President is limited and that he or she can’t make unilateral decisions in most cases. I’m not attempting to evaluate his chances of winning the nomination, becoming President or enacting any of his policy beliefs however. My argument and my contention is that some of Ron Paul’s positions are so far outside the mainstream of the United States, that he could never be a good or effective chief executive and custodian of the United States.

Ron Paul supporters meanwhile, are invited to defend him, keeping in mind that defending Ron Paul does not include attacking me, Barack Obama or anyone else. If that’s your idea of defending a person, place or idea, then Clown Hall might be more your speed, (no, I won’t link to it). Defend him means to tell me why my assessment of Mr. Paul is wrong or unfounded and provide citation, (as I have), to refute my contentions. Defend him doesn’t mean telling me how much better he is than George Bush, Barack Obama or Attila the Hun. Defend him doesn’t mean giving me a list of his virtues that I have already stipulated to or other virtues to which I have not yet stipulated. Let’s assume I stipulate to all Ron Paul’s more progressive virtues and dispense with that right now. I have agreed that he does have some positive things to say. Defend him only means to tell me why all of these horrible and atrocious things that he has most definitely been guilty of are not relevant to your support for Ron Paul. Defend him means to explain to me why supporting this anti-choice,  racist, anti social security, medicare et al, anti immigrant, homophobic, misogynistic, isolationist, Randian, Constitutionalist, (except where he disagrees with it), anti taxation, pro corporate rights, Godfather of teabaggery is consistent with any “Progressive values”, many of you claim to espouse.

Why?

I’ll wait.

The floor is yours.

 

The Importance of Trying

8:12 am in Uncategorized by Margaret

Cross posted from Renaissance Post

We can accept the axiom that nothing tried is nothing gained. Most people will tell you that though I doubt even ten percent really and truly believe it. Americans have become soft and complacent but it’s not a phenomenon limited to us. All great societies eventually come to an end because the people were too comfortable to come out of their stupor long enough to recognize what was going on around them. Who cares if some people were enslaved? THEY aren’t. Who cares if some people are hungry? THEY have plenty. Who cares if some people don’t enjoy full equality? THEIR rights are intact. This has been going on throughout human history.

Why should anybody care if gays and lesbians don’t enjoy full citizenship? They are a tiny minority. Why should it bother me that the poverty rate among African-Americans is so much higher than the population at large? Why get involved if Muslim men and women are being profiled and harassed at airports? Does it really affect me when police officers accost Hispanic looking people just to check on their citizenship? Should I be disturbed when large corporations dump unlimited money into political campaigns? The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic “yes”.

Our founders were fleeing the same sort of tyranny that is beginning to manifest itself today. The kind in which the majority apparently have the right to dictate to the minority how they should live, worship, eat, relax, etc. The Church of England harried and persecuted the Puritans and that, as much as the quest for gold, led to the founding of our nation. Because of their temporal proximity to these abuses, the enshrined in The Constitution of The United States a little thing they called A Bill of Rights. Not a Bill of Privileges. Not a Bill of Things the Majority Will Allow. A Bill of Rights, designed and enshrined specifically to prevent future majorities from imposing their wills upon the minorities.

Now we are again engaged in a struggle in which the majority feels that it is their right and duty to impose upon the rest of us their idea of what is “right” and “wrong”. I’m not talking about crime. I’m talking about how people worship, what they believe, what they read, who they can love, what is permissible to ingest. This is not what our founders intended and is a cancer that eats away at the heart of our Republic. As long as all of us aren’t free, none of us are. So the next time you see somebody attempting to extra legally impose their will on someone else, the next time a friend tells you that gays shouldn’t have the same rights as you do, the next time that you hear that we have to profile Islamic people “for our safety”, stand up and say “Stop! This isn’t what our nation is all about. That woman has the same rights as you do. That gay man is just as much a citizen as I am. That Muslim is only worshipping as he/she sees fit.”

Don’t get comfortable, don’t get complacent, don’t believe that tyranny can’t happen here. It can and it has begun. Remember the words of  Martin Niemöller,

“They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

It’s important to remember this and to stand up to those who believe that they have a monopoly on “being right”. We are all “The People” referred to in the Preamble to the Constitution. Religion doesn’t grant Christians supremacy over Jews, Muslims or Atheists. Heterosexuality doesn’t grant the right to dictate behavior to LGBT Americans. Being Caucasian doesn’t mean being superior to all other races and ethnicities. It’s important to loudly and vehemently reject these ideas when they manifest themselves. Speak up! Try to educate people. Try to make them understand that path leads to tyranny. Try to make a positive change in attitudes even though it seems like the entire world is against you. Because it does matter. Because it CAN happen here. Just ask Martin Niemöller.