This is what I posted on my Facebook note, dated today, August 28, 2012.
Dear Ron Paul:
My name is Todd Andrew Barnett, and I'm the host of a talk radio show called Liberty Cap Talk Live on TalkShoe.com. It's a weekly show that becomes podcasted as soon as it goes off the air at 10 p.m. EST my time, although it airs precisely at 8 p.m. EST my time. It is currently on hiatus, and it will be back for its fourth season this upcoming November 10th. But that's not the topic of discussion which I wanted to speak with you. I am a former campaign supporter and activist who was involved in your presidential campaigns in 2007-2008 and 2011 and this year. Although I wasn't that actively involved in the campaign to the extent where I was hanging up signs every day to promote your cause, I did support you towards the end of last years as a Precinct Leader in the Michigan Ron Paul for President affiliate.
Earlier this year, just shortly prior to the primaries months ago (and that was this year at the end of winter/towards the beginning of spring), I was involved with several activists one day to canvass the neighborhood and urged residents, in the name of going door to door, to support your campaign at the height of the debates, especially while Newt Gingrich, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry were in the debates with you and the presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney (who will be anointed at the GOP convention in Tampa either today or tomorrow as I write this). Although I did this kind of activism for a day, it was too much for me to do, as I have diabetes and cirrhosis, and my legs tire out due to lack of consistent physical activity, and it was hard for me to keep up with the other people involved in my group in that neighborhood.
The reason I left the campaign at the state and national level, and I made my decision on here on Facebook at that point, is that I was unhappy with the way things were going. It seemed like the campaign was making great strides for liberty, at least it did to me for a time. You weren't winning in the straw polls (although it appeared to me that you were originally), you weren't winning at the caucus states, and you weren't winning in other primary states at all. Although it seemed like you were poised to win at the national level on the night of the primary election within the first 20 to 30 minutes, that began to change when the rest of the votes came in. My heart broke when you were losing. Everyone I knew believed that the voting was rigged, and, while I was parroting those talking points myself, I started to realize that you weren't really winning politically. Your ideas may be winning in the minds of some people who were starting to wake up, but I didn't think you were winning at all.I suspected for a while that something was up. And then when I saw Adam Kokesh's interview with Penny Langford Freeman on his show Adam Vs. The Man, I began to realize that the light bulb started to go off. I knew that Jesse Benton, your campaign manager, is mostly the reason why the campaign was failing across the board.
But this is what hurts me the most, Ron. This is what perturbs me and distresses me the most, and I find myself so confounded, so angry, so bitter, so cynical, and so resentful about the campaign now that it has finally come to the point where I must say this to you.
I've lost a lot of respect for you. You, sir, have failed me and the movement. You let me - a former Ron Paul supporter - down. I believed in you when I shouldn't have - twice in a row, especially when it should have been against my better judgment. But it didn't. And that is my fault. I shouldn't have given you a second chance, despite my inner voice telling me, "Don't do it. He's gonna let you down."
But I did it anyway. And I now wish I hadn't. I should've known better, should've listened to that voice warning me outrightly, but I must learn to live with those mistakes and move on. Now I realize that I am a better man admitting my frailties and my mistakes that I have made, and now I've learned not to trust so easily because of those experiences.
You've let me down for the following reasons:
Lew Rockwell and his connections to and involvement with the campaign. Lew Rockwell, Walter Block, and their own operatives at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and largely, Lew Rockwell.com are responsible for promoting your campaign and employing it to attack principled libertarians such as Wendy McElroy, Stefan Molyneaux, or any lover of liberty who has made open, critical remarks about you in the past, even though they have not done so this nearly-over campaign season.
Walter Block has attacked Wendy by slapping what is arguably a "litmus test" on whether she is a libertarian or not (in his piece, she's not one) on Lew Rockwell's website in an op-ed he wrote recently, dated December 11, 2011.
Wendy's response came in a blog post on her website WendyMcElroy.com shortly after Block published his missive.
You could have stopped this by telling Block to back off from his attack, but you didn't, Ron. Wendy, yes, has criticized you in the past, but with good reasons, and I find it immensely impossible to argue against them. She has rightfully taken umbrage at your position on abortion, which she clearly spells it out while on the air on Stefan Molyneaux's podcast show Freedomain Radio (with Molyneux and fellow libertarian Brad Spangler on the phone as well).
Freedomain Radio Episode 953: The Anarchist RoundTable #1 features Wendy's position on abortion and her objections to you on the air as they are laid out.Podcast URL (from the Freedomain Radio Feed Burner at the FDR website (http://www.freedomainradio.com): http://media.freedomainradio.com/feed/FDR_953_Freedomain_Radio_The_Anarchist_Roundtable_1_Ron_Paul.mp3
YouTube URL to FDR's YT Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/stefbot): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEZsOZO5hmk&feature=plcp
iTunes URL to FDR feed: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/freedomain-radio-total-feed/id276675528?mt=2
Lew Rockwell has even been instrumental in covering up the racist newsletter ruckus by having direct influence on your campaign, and you allowed it to happen, Ron. I have it on good authority from a reliable source (the former Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus who got wind of this information by a former legislative assistant of yours) that you were about to expose the newsletter controversy in a press release early on in your 2008 bid, but then Rockwell, as I understand it, told you that, if you released that press release and came forward with it, he would no longer support you, he would tell his allies not to support you, and your campaign would not have any backing (financially, politically, or otherwise) from him whatsoever. You proceeded to tear up that letter and disposed of it, and it has never reached the light of day. EVER.
Even though your former campaign staffer Eric Dondero has come out and attacked you on the newsletter controversy and your positions and even though I despise him ideologically and politically, he is right to point out the hint of anti-Semitism that has been part and parcel of your campaign for years, thanks in large part to Rockwell and his cronies. (I did initially reject that, and I have a Facebook group called Ron Paul Haters Watch, which contained some members responding to Dondero's attacks, but I later felt that his statements were correct, despite his anti-libertarian views in the grand scheme of things.)
Even globs of anti-abortion rhetoric has been a large part of your campaign, in which you have come out against abortion entirely because your religious beliefs drive your goal to outlaw them in a politically-charged sense.
Even Wendy McElroy has noted that you have sidestepped and used a "states' right" tactic, which I regard as a means for political expediency.
Lew Rockwell and his Operatives' Positions Influencing You to Vote in Their Favor. You've allowed Rockwell and his operatives' political and ideological positions to influence you, to the point where you have used them as the basis for your positions on issues such as immigration and abortion. This is even true when you have voted on congressional matters relating to spending appropriations, the congressional budget, and other affairs that have become top priorities for Lew Rockwell.Even the immigration issue that you've taken on has been a major disappointment.
In August 2007, Liberty Magazine, once a subscription-based magazine (which is now free on its website), did a spotlight position on you. The writer of the piece, Bruce Ramsay, in which he said the following:
"The envelope of a Paul fundraising letter sent in early June says, "Time for a real conservative!" The four-page letter inside uses"conservative" 13 times, all on the first page or the last, and "libertarian" not once. It uses the term 'truly pro-American foreign policy' rather than 'noninterventionist,' and it does not mention that he is for withdrawal from Iraq. It does mention that he is for the Constitution, that he would withdraw from the United Nations and resist the push to a 'New World Order' and a 'North American Union.' It also says he considers illegal immigration 'an invasion.' It all sounds as if it were aimed at the readers of The New American."
Liberty's URL for a .pdf of the print issue can be found here.URL: http://www.libertyunbound.com/sites/files/printarchive/Liberty_Magazine_August_2007.pdf
Even you have made some various anti-immigration statements over the years, which have been collected and displayed in great detail at Issues2000.org.
Lew Rockwell Using Your Campaign to Attack Libertarians Who Do Not Follow Your Ideology. Rockwell has allowed his stalwarts (such as Walter Block) to attack Jewish Libertarians like former LP member/now libertarian Republican Aaron Biterman who has taken you to task on your position on Israel. While I have disagreed with Biterman's actions regarding his successful attempts to sabotage three Ron Paul Facebook groups (and he has been attacked by various pro-Ron Paul elements for doing so), Ron does come off as anti-Israel (as opposed to anti-Israel's government or anti-corrupt Israeli government).
Here's evidence of Biterman's attack on pro-Paul groups supporting you.
Even your pal Rockwell has attacked Gary Johnson on his "Political Theatre" blog and his current blog LewRockwell.com. While it is true that Gary isn't ideologically pure, you are, Ron? You get a free pass, yet your competitor Gary gets slammed by your cohort Bob Wenzel (who is a sloppy interviewer) for not being libertarian enough.
If that's the game we need to play, fine. But it's a horrible game to play.
Lew Rockwell, His Compadres, and You Have Turned A Blind Eye to Jesse Benton and Trygve Olson's Actions In The Movement. Here's another horrible thought here, Ron. Rockwell, Block, and you have turned a blind eye to what Jesse Benton and Trygve Olson (a Republican plant who was brought in by Benton) have done to ensure that your son Rand will inherit your legacy and run for the presidency in 2016. That's what I find objectionable. That's what I find repulsive.
Thanks to Benton's outlandish behavior calling so many heartbroken and disillusioned Ron Paul supporters who have since Friday fled the Republican Party because the Maine GOP have plainly and successfully lobbied for the Ron Paul delegation not to seated in favor of voting for you, many of them will not come back. Many of them have quit altogether. Some have decided to join the Libertarian Party and support Johnson.
And where were you, Ron? Why didn't you publicly denounce it? Why did Benton call the attendees at your festival "ragamuffins" and "fringe"?
I've been told by a good source from the Republican Liberty Caucus that anything Jesse Benton does, you approve. Is that true? If it is, and if you approved of Benton's latest actions, then shame on you, sir. Shame on you for doing what you did. Many of those activists spent days, hours, and minutes pouring blood, sweat, and tears into your campaign, giving their time and money to you so that you can advance your most crucial cause. And what did they get in return? An outright dismissal. How appalling and repugnant! How arrogant and condescending! How smug and detestable!
There's more, but I think we all get the point.
In conclusion, Ron, I will no longer be supporting you. I am supporting Gary Johnson for President on the LP, despite his shortcomings.
I don't wish you any harm or the worst now that you are retiring in your golden years. But I do wish you will think of this: you blew it. You had an opportunity to win when you said you couldn't imagine yourself in the Oval Office, that you weren't running to win. And yet the libertarian movement has been corrupted.....because of you.
Goodbye, Dr. Paul. Enjoy your life and live it well. I, for one, will not miss it.
Please, I urge you not to run for 2016. It's time for you to let go and make your last years the best.
Sincerely and in Liberty,
Todd Andrew Barnett
Host of Liberty Cap Talk Live
Publisher and Editor of Let Liberty Ring
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Posted by Todd Andrew Barnett at 10:30 AM
Friday, June 1, 2012
MSNBC host Chris Hayes' recent comments about his discomfort with appending the label "hero" to soldiers killed in action has engendered a significant amount of hate-fueled, vociferous invectives from the military establishment and conservative talking heads and bloggers who were deeply irate with and angered by his comments on Up with Chris Hayes.
This is what Hayes said on his show:
Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word 'hero'? I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.Interestingly enough, Hayes had a panel of commentators who espoused similar viewpoints and agreed with his assessment. John McHorter of NYDailyNews.com buttressed Hayes' statement with this following argument:
No, words take on residences, and that happens to almost any word. And sometimes you need to revise. I would almost rather not say 'hero' and come up with a more neutral term, which, of course, would take on partisan residences as time went by. But that's true of the word 'sacrifice, that's true of the word 'valor,' that's true of the word 'hero.' Instantly you get [makes trumpet sound] in a certain way of looking at things, and it is manipulative. I don't think that's necessarily deliberately. We use language unconsciously. But nevertheless, I share your discomfort with those words, because they are argumentational strategies in themselves often without wanting to be.Daily Beast contributor Michelle Goldberg, who was also on the show, concurred with McHorter and Hayes by saying:
Well, and they're also a little bit empty, because, I mean, there is - there are people who are genuine heroes but that kind of implication is that death is what makes you a hero, you know, as opposed to kind of an affirmative actor or any moral act or, I mean.Undoubtedly, the second the word about Hayes' uncomfortableness got out, the congressionally-chartered Military-industrial complex-backed Veterans of Foreign Wars dispatched Director of Public Affairs a.k.a. spokesman National Commander Richard DeNoyer to denounce Hayes' comments on mainstream media outlets like Fox News and many others, calling on Hayes and MSNBC to make "an immediate and unequivocal apology," in which he declared:
Chris Hayes' recent remarks on MSNBC regarding our fallen service members are reprehensible and disgusting.Furthermore, DeNoyer stated:
His words reflect his obvious disregard for the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price while defending our nation. His insipid statement is particularly callous because it comes at a time when our entire nation pauses to reflect and honor the memory of our nations' fallen heroesThe VFW's top spokesman Joe Davis told The Daily Caller on Sunday:
If Mr. Hayes feels uncomfortable, I suggest he enlist, go to war, then come home to what he expects is a grateful nation but encounters the opposite. It’s far too easy to cast stones from inexperienceDeNoyer told the press that the "anti-hero" comments made by Hayes on his show are "devastating" for "those grieving loved ones."
He further in part stated:
Such an ignorant and uncaring and blatant disregard for people's deep feelings are indefensible, and that is why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States demand that Mr. Hayes and MSNBC provides an immediate and unequivocal apology.Unsurprisingly the conservative response to Hayes' remarks was even much harsher than the VFW's. Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard harshly noted:
Nevertheless, [Hayes] hasn't apologized and seems to stand by what he said.Conservative Twitter-feeded website Twitchy retorted, while noting that a new hashtag #MSNBCheroes has been created, the following:
Leave it to Twitter to teach someone a much-needed lesson. Media accountability, baby! Hayes made the mistake, in a fit of deplorable moral relativism, of saying out loud what the Left thinks and believes. At least admit it, MSNBCTwitchy's staff even commented ad nauseum on this subject here.
Kurt Schlichter of Breitbart.com leveled an ad hominem at Hayes, stating:
I greatly enjoy watching progressives seethe as they are forced, for the sake of appearances, to pretend to support our troops. You know it’s killing them.Conservative columnist Ann Coulter took some nasty potshots at Hayes, opining on her Twitter page:
But it’s the progressives’ own doing – their sickening performance following the Vietnam War, when they figuratively and literally spit on our troops – so disgusted decent Americans of all political stripes that to do anything but treat our troops with the utmost respect is to draw near-universal contempt and scorn from across the mainstream political spectrum.
So, the real problem for Chris Hayes is that he actually said what he thinks. He thinks our soldiers are suckers and fools at best, brutal sociopaths at worst. At a minimum, he feels that honoring those who died for this country might encourage people to see that actually defending our country is a good thing. He’s not quite ready to make that leap; after all, most progressives are ambivalent about this whole 'America' concept, if not actively opposed to it.
Chris Hayes 'Uncomfortable' Calling Fallen Military 'Heroes' – Marines respond by protecting his right to menstruate.A comment posted by a user named azgal602 to the widely-read conservative Republican-backed website MediaBusters (which has been claiming to be exposing liberal media bias [when, in fact, it's statist media bias])attacks Hayes' remarks with the following:
People who feel this way and verbalize it should be shipped off on the first military transport to the front line. How dare they sit here in their comfortable safety and reap the rewards of what the military men and women sacrifice for us while belittling their ultimate sacrifice. The lowest of the low[.]Wizbang's Warner Todd Houston attacked the liberal TV host himself, vehemently quipping:
This weekend Hayes felt compelled to warn everyone that calling our troops 'heroes' is something that should make us all 'uncomfortable.'That's a lie right there, because Hayes merely stated that, while some troops are heroes (such as coming to the aid of a fellow soldier who has been hit by rapid gunfire, etc.), he actually stated that the labeling of every American soldier who dies in a war makes him "uncomfortable," even though he also stated that he "might be wrong."
Stated Doug Mataconis in his fierce objection to Hayes' attitude towards the term "hero":
I suppose the problem I have with Hayes’s comments, and with the comments of those who have been defending him online today, is that the objection to describing those who have died in service to their country as heroes isn’t based so much in a concern that it diminishes the true acts of heroism that have occurred, and will continue to occur in wartime as it is in the fear that acknowledging the sacrifices that these men, and women, have made would somehow be a political statement. That strikes me as a deeply myopic, politically-obsessed, view of the world. Disagreeing with the political decision to go to war should never, I would submit, be a reason to either denigrate or ignore the sacrifices that those who served in that war have made, which seems to be the clear implication of what Hayes and his fellow panelists were saying in this segment. [emphasis added]Mataconis continued further:
Individual soldiers are not responsible for the decisions of those who sent them into battle, and it strikes me as incredibly callous to dismiss the sacrifices made by those who died in such endeavors.Pseudo-libertarian (yet proudly neoconservative Republican) blogger Eric Dondero spews his anti-Hayes venom, blasting the MSNBC show host on LibertarianRepublican.net. Here he said:
Honestly, does it get any worse than this? If you hadn't seen it yet, be prepared. It's been making its way around the right-to-sphere since Friday. His words are truly repulsive. Even liberal pundits and blogs are distancing themselves from his blather.Last but not least the conservative Washington Times editorialized the matter, attacking Hayes by stating:
The word “heroes” has been used to describe America’s fallen for more than 200 years. It’s not “rhetorically proximate” to justifications for war but a traditional mark of gratitude and respect for the sacrifice made by the person who was killed and the family members left behind. It’s a way of recognizing that regardless of how a person died, he did so in service to the country. It’s not a glorification of war but a solemn acknowledgment of sacrifice.Sadly but not shockingly Hayes backpedaled on his statements - for telling the truth. While his statement from his blog can be found here, here's what he wrote:
On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word "hero" to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don't think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I've set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.Shortly after his apology went out, the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf issued an op-ed on the scandal, noting that Hayes shouldn't be the one apologizing for his statements. Rather, his detractors should be making the apologetic rounds.
As many have rightly pointed out, it's very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation's citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday's show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.
But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don't, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.
Friedersdorf partly notes:
If Hayes' critics merely articulated why they didn't share his perspective, even forcefully, public discourse would've operated as it ought to -- one person makes an earnest, comprehensible, intellectually honest argument; other people respond with assents or counterarguments; the best ideas win. Instead, many of Hayes' critics puffed out their chests, emphasized how outraged they were, and proceeded to either elide or mischaracterize much of what Hayes said.He continued in part:
A lot of Hayes' critics have said that, no matter if he's right or wrong on the merits, he shouldn't have been so insensitive as to raise this subject on Memorial Day Weekend, when it might upset people who've lost loved ones and are trying to focus on honoring them as, yes, fallen heroes. Whatever you think of that argument, know this: With no disrespect to Hayes, he spoke on an obscure show that aired early in the morning during a holiday weekend on a liberal cable network. Had his musings been permitted to drift off into the ether, vanishingly few family members of deceased veterans would've heard them; even fewer would've been offended.The reality of the matter comes down to this. The conservatives have declared an open-warfare attack campaign on the First Amendment by engaging in smug name-calling, condescending, and hubristic remarks aimed at Hayes - in the form of ad hominems - rather than opening the dialogue for assents and counterarguments. They will attack anyone - and I mean, anyone - who freely dissents on the view that we must call all American GIs "heroes," whether they are right or wrong.
But thanks to the Schlichters and Hustons of the world, and the Fox News folks who put their segment on the controversy together, a lot of military families were told on Memorial Day weekend that some smug liberal elitist at MSNBC thinks the troops 'are all knuckle dragging, murderous, bigots that just want to shoot someone,' to quote one Hayes critic. There's no getting around it. The people who demagogued and egregiously misrepresented Hayes caused far more upset to military families than his actual remarks, especially in context, ever could.
Yet no one is outraged by their behavior, or calling on them to apologize.
As libertarian writer, blogger, commentator, and ideological thinker Jacob Hornberger called out the conservatives on their hypocrisy on the subject in his op-ed (which is posted on the Future of Freedom Foundation website), in which he pointed out that the Times failed to make it vitally clear as to whether the principles of military heroism in wartime to which the military and conservative establishments hold themselves applies to only Americans or also to soldiers of other countries.
Here he says:
Applying the standard set forth by the Times, would it be appropriate for Germans to use the word 'heroes' to describe Germany’s fallen in the many wars in which Germany has been involved, including World War II? Could it be said that describing Nazi soldiers killed in World War II as 'heroes' would not serve to justify World War II but instead serve simply as a mark of gratitude and respect for the sacrifice made by the German soldier who was killed and the family members left behind? Could it be said that this would just be a way to recognize that regardless of how the Nazi soldier died, he did so in service to his country? Could it be said that describing the Nazi soldier as a hero would not be a glorification of war but rather a solemn acknowledgement of sacrifice?
At one point, Hornberger correctly notes:
In other words, would the Times apply its principles regarding war, soldiers, heroism, and patriotism only to the United States or universally?
Or do they apply only to the winners? Do they apply, for example, to the Soviet Union, one of the winners of World War II, which was governed by a brutal communist regime during the war and for decades afterward, a regime that oppressed Jews and others and kept Eastern Europe under its iron boot for decades after the end of the war. Were communist soldiers opposing Nazi soldiers heroes for serving their government during time of war? Were they heroes for their willingness to die to ensure that their country remained under communist rule rather than Nazi rule?
Indeed, how would the Times apply its principles to the Vietnam War, a war that the United States lost? Surely, it would say that American soldiers who served in Vietnam or who died there were heroes, except perhaps for the ones who committed war crimes. Would it say the same about North Vietnamese communist soldiers or about the Viet Cong?
Moreover, Hornberger quips:
It seems to me that the reason that Nazi soldiers have never been honored as heroes is because the world has long held Germany to a different standard than the one that the Washington Times applies to the United States. Both German soldiers and the German citizenry should have made a critical examination of what their government was doing and realized that their government was in the wrong. On reaching that determination, it was the duty of the individual soldier to refuse to participate in the military, and it was the duty of the citizen to oppose his government, even in time of war.Hornberger precisely notes the problems made by the conservative American pundit establishment while employing the German citizen and Nazi soldier analogy to buttress it. However, this is where he hasn't made this point, which is that conservatives have nothing but solid blood lust on their minds, especially after the 9/11 attacks. They have endorsed and codified into law the idea that we Americans collectively must embrace our long-term presences in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya to mean that the State's own warriors - American GIs - will and must be sacrificed on the altars of blind patriotism, fealty, obedience, and heroism, even if these soldiers have committed crimes such as rapes and murders in those countries and in past wars (especially during the first two World Wars). This is done all in the name of eliminating the terrorist threat, which can only be attained and accomplished via the global War on Terror.
Obviously, the Nazi government didn’t take that position. Its position was that it is the solemn duty of the citizen to come to the support of his government in time of crisis or war. The Hitler regime viewed the citizen who joined the Nazi armed forces as a hero for his willingness to fight and die for his country. The German people who supported the troops and the rest of the government were looked upon as patriots.
Isn’t that the same standard adhered to by many Americans with respect to America’s wars, soldiers, and citizenry?
When Private First Class (Pcf) Bradley Manning gave Julian Assange the video footage of the July 12, 2007 "Collateral Murder" video he needed via his WikiLeaks site to release the horrific footage of unarmed news journalists (who were initially pegged by the U.S. military as armed militants) being gunned down by an Army AH-64 Apache helicopter, was he branded "a hero"? No, he was branded the opposite - a traitor by conservatives and the military establishment. Even James Kirchick, the conservative writer and contributing editor for the New Republic, even believes Manning to be "no gay hero."
On the same show in he made his statements, Chris Hayes did state this talking point:
The argument on the other side of that is, we don't have a draft. This is voluntary. This is someone making a decision to take on a certain risk of that. And they're taking it on because they're bound to all of us through this social contract, through this democratic process of self-governance in which we decide collectively that we're going to go to war. And how we're going to go to war, and why we're going to go to war. And they also give up their own agency in a certain way that, for a liberal caricature like myself, seems very difficult to comprehend -- submitting so totally to what the electorate or people in power are going to decide about how to use your body, but they do that all of full volition. And if the word hero is not right, there's something about it that's noble, right?
Hayes is correct. Military service is now voluntary (unlike the service which was mandatory at the height of the Vietnam War), and any average Joe (or Jane) can choose to join it if he (or she) wishes. That individual takes a big risk for joining the military, knowing the potential dangers that come with the uniform.
Having said that, no one - or no persons - twisted the arms of the current rank-and-file troops to sign up for the military. Those men and women who chose that profession as a way to pay for college or to establish a career within that institution made their beds, and they must lie in them. They made their choices; now, they must take personal responsibility for those choices and live with them, whether they like it or not.
The word "hero" is casually thrown around like it has some paramount meaning in this militarized world in which we live. Whenever I think of the word "hero" or "heroine," I think of someone who risks his or her life to save the life of another person and rescues them from danger, even if it's done at his or her own risk. The word has now come to denote any soldier who is either killed or fatally maimed (by a device such as an IED, for instance) on the battlefield. That is a spurious use of the term, even if the glorification of the war and the act of a soldier dying "for the freedom of Americans" (especially when the term is heavily loaded and is deemed at best legitimate) seems like a noble, patriotic sacrifice for the country.
If conservatives ardently objected to Hayes' contentious statement, all they had to do was to state where he was wrong if they believe he is not right. Nope, all they did was resorting to name-calling, assassinating his character, and smearing him in the name of preserving the modern right wing-fueled military establishment.
If conservatives care about the troops as much as they say they do, then perhaps they can explain to anyone who isn't at the ripe young age of five years old as to why the military-industrial complex remunerates those fallen soldiers meager wages (which haven't been increased in years) and provides crummy Veterans Affairs-backed TriCare and housing that they have to pay for themselves (despite the lie stating the opposite), not to mention invalidating their right to vote (when they have to work long hours that prevent them from showing up at the election polls every four years)? Can someone with a backbone please justify that logic for me?
Conservatives who attack Hayes' First Amendment-protected rights will play the patriot card to their advantage as long as it benefits them and their corporate statist allies who want to keep the flow of the profits of the war profiteering coming. This isn't done to protect the troops; it's done to protect the status quo at the expense of the troops and the American taxpayers who will have to keep funding these military boondoggles.
And remember this much - the conservatives are merely biblically and patriotically correct, which, like the Left's own brand of political correctness, is used to protect popular speech from unpopular speech that is by default protected by the First Amendment (and not the other way around). It is a political weapon to protect the right's brand of free speech that must never be allowed to dissent and/or deviated from, because it is the State's own correct ideology. The individual doesn't matter in their eyes; only the massive State does, even though they hide behind limited statism (a.k.a. "small government") to justify its own existence.
Hayes' subsequent unnecessary apology serves as a reminder that, if you're going to state what you believe, then you must stand by your principles, whether you're right or wrong and regardless of how others feel about the situation. His principles have to mean something; otherwise, what's the point of stating them if they contain no meaning and no truth? But Hayes took the cowardly way out and refused to stand his ground. It didn't even please the conservatives anyway, because they were too busy hating him for not only making the statements but also for daring to make them in the first place.
The statists in the two major party camps are cheerleading this war and engaging in political masturbation, but one of them is rhapsodizing censorship. That's not a surprise, because the conservative war on free speech and dissent from the State has been unleashed upon us.
This time they're using the military as an excuse to justify it. Here comes the right wing open-warfare attack campaign on freedom of speech! The war has begun.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Here's an old interview with infamous "pro-war libertarian" (more like neoconservative)Eric Dondero by the late, great Harry Browne. This interview was done at the time a sick and dying Browne was delving into the mind of a Republican nutjob who supported the War in Iraq and claimed that the "Islamo-Fasicists" (a massive force of Islamists who purportedly embraced fascism) are coming through our borders.
Of course, Dondero called those who didn't support the War, who didn't support military action in Iraq, and who didn't sign on board with the "Muslims-Are-Coming" Little Chicken mentality "complete wimps" and "crazy." Dondero leveled loads of insults, screams, and accusations against Harry on one of his last radio shows.
Callers whom one can hear are the infamous http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifAlex Jones and then-(and now former) National Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus Bill Westmiller. Bill then pointed out that Eric dropped an email to the RLC list, urging the then-Bush administration to "drop a nuclear bomb on Mecca."
Of course, Dondero accuses Harry of not being a libertarian because Harry would have responded by writing in one of his columns that the attacks were "a criminal act," yet later in the interview he says:
Look, I don't want anybody to get the impression that, you know, uh, libertarians hold a single view on foreign policy. We are all in agreement - all libertarians - that we should get out of the United Nations and end foreign aid. I think, you know, we have massive disagreements on the War on Iraq and the responding to September 11th. Harry, I consider you a comrade in the libertarian movement. You and I should be concentrating on getting the Congress to stop foreign aid and getting us out of the United Nations. You know, if we have differences on this, perhaps we can put them aside.
What a complete hypocrite he is!
*Note: Dondero claims to "care about the 3,000 people" who were massacred on 9/11, yet he didn't give a rip about them long before the September 11th attacks.
Monday, December 12, 2011
For the record, here's my official Facebook status post on my wall serving as a response to Walter Block's hit piece aimed solely at libertarian/anarchist Wendy McElroy. The following is taken from my FB account in its unabridged entirety:
As much as I like Ron Paul tactically and not politically (I'm not an official financial supporter, although I did contact the Paul campaign and offer to volunteer my time and services to help him tactically), I think LewRockwell.com blogger and writer Walter Block's attack on libertarian/anarchist feminist Wendy McElroy is completely unfounded and uncalled for.
Wendy is right about Paul politically, but she's not the only person to have called Paul out on his anti-libertarian stands on a few issues such as abortion, immigration, religion, and antiwar if not authorized by the Constitution, and constitutional fetishism all on account of his status as a politician. (URL: http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php) I have called Ron out even though I have praised him during the debate (except for his "secure the border" rhetoric). I know Thomas L. Knapp has called him out in the past and still does to a certain extent. (URL: http://knappster.blogspot.com/2011/12/when-hes-right-hes-right.html) I know Stefan Molyneux has been critical of Paul in the past. I know Sheldon Richman criticized Paul over the old racist newsletter controversy that plagued the Paul campaign in 2007 and 2008, and he was completely spot-on regarding Paul allegedly being unaware of the letters (a claim which Richman didn't even buy at all). Even Jim Davidson has good reasons to oppose Paul's candidacy, simply because Paul supported a two-time bailout, prowar candidate named Lamar Smith over a libertarian Republican candidate who was more principled than Smith. Simply put I can't blame him for it.
With that in mind, because Block measures a libertarian's credentials simply by whether he supports his favored political candidate (who happens to be Ron Paul) and not by his ideology, will he attack me? Tom? Stefan? Sheldon? Anyone who dares to have a brain against him and the renewed deification of Paul (which seems to be happening already)?
I am so disappointed in Block that I truly question whether he is a libertarian nowadays or whether he's just a front for the GOP establishment, considering he no longer measures an individual's belief system solely on his ideology but rather whether he supports a candidate like Ron Paul. I totally resent and object to that game entirely.
Now that Block is trying to stir up bullshit in the movement with his claims against Wendy (who hasn't written about Paul in over four years now) and with anyone who doesn't agree with Paul (even if they're not neocons or progressives), he's merely doing more damage to the cause of Liberty and not helping it. That's my objection right there. Who the hell does he think he is just by doing this? Wendy has been an ardent defender of liberty for years and has never wavered since. For Block to stoop to that level the same way neoconservative Republican Eric Dondero has done is shameful, putrid, and disgusting. I'm embarrassed to have any association with him. I'll be more embarrassed to be in the same room with him. It's one thing to attack progressives and neocons who want Ron's head on the issues that he's right on. It's wrong to attack fellow libertarians who criticize and call out Ron on the issues that he's wrong on. Not only does that say more about Block, but it makes him politically and ideologically fair game, IMHO.
Not that I'm a fan of Kevin Carson or just his biggest fan, but he was right about the term "vulgar libertarian." Block fits that mold pretty damn well, and it shames me to say that.
What on earth was he thinking when he wrote that? Is he trying to push anyone out of the movement for not supporting Ron Paul for legitimate reasons? Is he off his rocker or what? Can someone please explain that rationale to me? I merely ask, because I don't get it.
Whether you agree or disagree with critics of Ron Paul is not the point and even neither here nor there. The point is that Block is not only off-base for making this libelous and accusatory charge against her, but he's also wrong to begin with. I will follow this up with this post and any updates to this commentary as well as my previous commentary on the subject.
I was disheartened to see LewRockwell.com columnist and Loyola University Professor Walter Block's newly-launched tirade against renowned libertarian/anarchist individual feminist Wendy McElroy in his LRC piece today entitled "Is Wendy McElroy Still A Libertarian?: No; She Opposes the Ron Paul Candidacy." (It's a shame that Lew Rockwell himself has even allowed this putrid, disgusting, preposterous, and outrageous filth to be housed and archived on his popular website, let alone its own server.)
I encountered this putrid, disgusting, and outlandish drivel when fellow left-libertarian/agorist/voluntaryist Edgardo Peregrino posted this on his Facebook wall a few hours ago.
Edgardo posted the following with Block's article on his wall, which caught my eye instantly:
I hate to disappoint Dr. Block, but not everyone who opposes Ron Paul is a bloodthirsty neocon or progressive.
Since then his wall has been hit with a few comments which have been largely negative about Walter's hit piece:
Caleb McGinn As brilliant as Walter Block is he sure writes some stupid shit sometimes. Lew Rockwell probably wrote it for him.
2 hours ago · Like · 1
Edgardo Peregrino I'm a big fan of Dr. Block but sometimes I wonder what's going through his head when he writes shit like this.
2 hours ago · Like
Bryan Tint What about Patrick Buchanan?
2 hours ago · Like
Steve Lolyouwish Maybe not but they're certainly not helping.
2 hours ago · Like
Wendy has responded to her old friend Block's knee-jerk hit piece on her website with the following post:
Apparently the litmus test for being a libertarian is whether you support a particular political candidate or not. At least, that's the message of Walter Block's article today on LewRockwell.com: Is Wendy McElroy Still a Libertarian? No; She Opposes the Ron Paul Candidacy. The attack is odd...for a few reasons. Just one of them is that I have not written of Ron Paul for over four years now. Indeed, I am ignoring almost everyone's political campaigning from now 'til November for the sake of my digestion. Ah well. Clearly, and especially from the last paragraph, Walter is trying to bait me into some sort of exchange. Alas, Walter, old friend, I am not a puppet and I do not jump to the jerk of a string.
UPDATE: My indefatigable husband just sent me a link from the past, a link to the 2007 blog post in which I responded to a similar article Walter wrote in a similar view years and years ago. I don't have anything to add. It is well-trodden territory.
(The article that Wendy wrote in response to Walter in a similar fashion some years ago over her August 1997 commentary titled "Ron Paul or Antiwar.com?" can be found here. Her commentary on the same piece before Block responded at that point can also be traced to here.)
I have responded to the entire affair on my Facebook wall in defense of McElroy, which I will post in a separate blog posting of my own. In another separate blog posting, I will be commenting on the entire matter, which will enable me to put my thoughts in correct order before I begin.
UPDATE (12-12-2011): A Facebook user identified as "Eric Lau" wrote a scathing attack on Wendy McElroy on Edgardo's post in which Block attacks her for opposing his campaign (while apologizing for and defending Ron Paul) in a pathetic, snarky attempt to discredit her:
Erik Lau What Wendy McElroy is writing about Ron Paul is ridiculous rant or outright lies. How can any libertarian accuse Ron Paul of not being a libertarian, but an enemy to freedom. She might really dislike most political action and especially from GOP but her factual opinion of Paul is savagely wrong - and that is very damaging.
about an hour ago · Like
Saturday, December 3, 2011
It's official: the Herman Cain Train has been derailed on the heels of a 13-year-old love affair with a woman (which he continues to deny completely). This also is in part due to a number of his supporters and donors dropping him over that ruckus and the sexual harassment allegations leveled against him (which he also continues to deny). This political train wreck can't be salvaged. Once it went off the railroad tracks, it couldn't be put back together again.
It's over for him politically. However, I don't think he will be riding off into the sunset entirely. Now he's peddling his new online political organization, which he will most likely employ to shore up his leftover base and bring it over to his cause and serve as a financial and political platform to establish a steady stream of cash flow for him and his opportunistic disciples.
This however does create some good news and some bad news for us on the freedom side:
Good News: Ron Paul will gain more of the attention and spotlight with Cain out of the race. With Cain's supporters now looking at both Newt Gingrich (who will probably get the bulk of the Cain support vote) and Ron Paul, a Paul backing would be stronger, more consistent, and more energized than Gingrich, considering that Newt is an ideological and political elephant in the presidential room.
Bad News: Gingrich gets Cain's votes at the present moment, but that could and may well likely change in the weeks and months to come, perhaps prior to the Iowa caucus primaries. He may be the flavor of the month for now, but what about the long term? Chances are his campaign will fizzle out, and that will most likely happen, largely in part because of his past history of infidelity and peccadillos, and all that makes him gravely fair game. At least Ron Paul doesn't have such skeletons in his closet, but Gingrich certainly has them.
Whatever happens, this may well be Ron Paul's light to shine in the days and weeks to come. At least Ron is ideologically principled and consistent, whereas Gingrich isn't. In the short term, Gingrich may be the top contender, but that will only heighten his political downfall - that is, if and ONLY if Ron Paul capitalizes on Cain's loss, brings Cain's supporters into his fold, and heads into 2012 with a strong shot at nabbing the GOP nomination crown.
Last week's nauseating, nonsensical, and pathetic GOP presidential debate hosted by CNN and the neoconservative think tank The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. is both an epitome and a disturbing reminder of the lunacy of the Republican sideshow freaks (except for Ron Paul as usual) who have consistently demonstrated their naivete to the American public at large. These reprobates - from Mitt Romney to Herman Cain - will never learn and acknowledge that an offensive, aggressive, and warlike foreign policy will proceed to put American lives in jeopardy until they trace the history of this interventionism from Jefferson's attack on the Barbary Pirates (rather than to pay bribes to them) to the present day evils committed in the Middle East. (Take the United States government's present incursions here for instance.)
However, it goes without saying that the stentorian choruses of defending, protecting, worshiping, idolizing, and insulating the status quo are certainly over-the-top but not surprising. Ranging from preserving American foreign aid to Israel to "American exceptionalism" and "America leading the free world," they are nothing but contrivances to prop up pseudo images of the State's "benevolence," the self-deceit and vanities of the governmental players involved, and the State's self-appeasing, self-serving, and self-aggrandizing way of fashioning its own hubris under the guise of self-reassurance.
All of these things are said to shroud "national security" (which is government security) from the American people. The Democrats are just as horrendous on this issue, because they see it as a part of the government's need to engage in humanitarianism abroad with the backing of the U.N., unlike the GOP that prefers to have Americans and the Pentagon declaring war against a foreign regime for "defending national security first" and then "humanitarianism second." (Even Rick Santorum shares the Democratic trait on that thinking alone, despite his tough talk on terrorists and terrorism.)
Despite their minute differences on those issues, both major parties favor barbarism and welfare-warfare equality. With Republicans and Democrats like these (who are the heart of the tyrannical two-party system that expands, operates, and fuels the federal government), who needs enemies at all?
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Are we all better off or worse off that we now know about the increasingly mounting yet substance-lacking (although scathing) reports about the sexual harassment charges pending against GOP presidential contender Herman Cain? Not that I'm defending Cain on any grounds due to his waffling and conflicting answers in response to the allegations and his incredible statements about his version of the accounts of the story (which is still in progress), but why is this any more or less significant than the politically-charged sex scandals of the past? (Anyone remember then-President Bill Clinton's affair with Ginnifer Flowers and Paula Jones' infamous sexual harassment suit against him?)
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Conservative (and Libertarian) Love Affair with Maximum "Limited" Statism, Corporatism, and Constitutional Fetishism
Whenever I hear (some) "limited government" conservatives and (minarchist) libertarians utter phrases like "We must keep the U.S. federal government to its Constitutional size" and "Only Congress has the legal and just power to [do this] or [do that]" or "These new laws and regulations are an affront to and assault on free market capitalism" or "President [Insert name here] has signed into law a bill that clearly violates the Constitution," I feel a sudden chill rushing down my spine. And it's not a good feeling. None indeed whatsoever.
The problem with this school of thought is that the individual who stands to defend this rhetoric bar none injects an enormous amount of political and ideological faith in a few areas under a blind guise of praxeological arguments. Not surprisingly, these aforementioned arguments are of the following:
- That the United States of America as a quasi-governmental corporation must be governed by a blanket set of rules called a constitution and that these rules see the State as a pet to be tamed and put on a leash;
- That, unless the Constitution "authorizes" the State to partake in legal functions (such as granting Congress the power to "coin Money" and to "declare War" against a foreign power) as "America's Founders had originally intended and envisioned them," the President, the Senate, and the Congress "has no constitutional authority" to engage in these said functions if said rules expressly forbid them to do so;
- That the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which states in part, "The powers not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," is the law of the land and that Constitution "is only granted enumerated powers at the State level that the Constitution does not clearly spell out and define." Oh, and don't forget that they also say that Washington, D.C. "has no right to tell people and their States what they can and cannot do" because these issues (like taxes, economic regulations, immigration) pertain to "state sovereignty" and "states' rights."
(Some of these so-called limited statist conservatives reach an impasse with their ideological and political paradigms because they cannot reconcile their love affair for the Constitution and their alleged pro-liberty ideologies with their corporate socialist and privileged philosophies, given that they express deference to the State while appearing to favor laissez-faire "free market" capitalism);
- That the U.S. Supreme Court was never meant to be an instrument of judicial activism (that is, the Court having legislative power from the bench on the whims of the judges on account of their personal and political views and interests) but rather a provider of a strict, restrictive interpretative federal power on interstate commerce and limited judicial power (as mandated by the 11th Amendment);
- That the State was meant to be "limited" in nature, and that it must be confined to the chains of the Constitution, as "America's Founders intended it to be";
- That the State is meant to be in place to have "federal powers few and defined," and that some functions of society (such as roads, the police, prisons, and the courts) must be socialized and not left in the hands of a free market;
- And so on and so on;
What's equally troublesome is their easily-debunkable claim that free markets exist now (despite regulations by the State) and their corporatist/privileged safety net protection rackets are protected and carried out by state decree. Even Objectivists fall under this perturbing rubric all too well.
If those phrases are meant to be taken seriously, then I must ask those who employ them in political and ideological discourses this very paramount question: Why? Why must we care about "limited government" when the State is not some kind of a canine that can be put on a leash and trained to behave at his owner's command? Is it worth spewing those words, knowing how impossible it is to have a limited "minimized state" government because of its temptation to grow? This political opiate has taken on a life of its own. Even the Founders of whom some conservatives and minarchist libertarians have grown so fond had individually different ideas of what the role of government should be in civil society on its own merits. It's no secret that the "Founding Fathers" of the United States couldn't bring themselves to see eye-to-eye on how "small" the State should be. (The Articles of Confederation merely accomplished this [despite some of the problems that it had], but that document was thrown aside in favor of the current constitution.)
If we are an astute judge of constitutional history, then it is obvious that the great constitutional experiment that the Founders established has not created a government "limited" within power and scope but a plutocratic-autocratic hybrid apparatus. In other words, the State has become both an instrument of unlimited power and a collusive partner with Big Business and Fortune 100 and 500 corporations that enjoy privileged advantages at the expense of the underclasses. This is where the "free market capitalism" angle comes in: a politico-economic system that is state capitalistic in nature but disguised as a pseudo "free market capitalistic" system exploiting the underclass and protecting privileged elitism by according the ruling class with tangible perks that are not available to the poor a.k.a. the ruled.
And it doesn't help that a minor subset of libertarians, whether they fall under the minarchistic or, to a lesser degree, the anarchistic categories, have embraced this "vulgar libertarian" mindset, while forgetting that they condemn corporatism if it does not benefit them but, once it starts to work for them, they immediately embrace it. And some of their conservative allies who embrace the constitutional fetishism that the State is their enemy and that Wall Street and corporate America are enemies of true liberalism, a free market, and a peaceful civil society.
Conservatives (even the Ron Paul ones) have done the same, albeit a much lesser degree than the others. If nothing, they are their own worst enemies, and yet they don't recognize that.
The conservative and libertarian love affair with maximum "limited" statism, corporatism, and constitutional fetishism is enough for me to deliberately question the absolute integrity of these groups.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Who Won the Debate?
By You Decide
Published September 22, 2011
Fox News and Google's Republican debate Thursday night in Orlando featured eight presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. Who won the debate?
Share your thoughts, answer our question then click "Leave a Comment."
Thank you for voting!
Mitt Romney 23.37% (9,021 votes)
Rick Perry 12.73% (4,914 votes)
Newt Gingrich 7.23% (2,792 votes)
Ron Paul 37.75% (14,573 votes)
Rick Santorum 1.47% (566 votes)
Gary Johnson 2.05% (790 votes)
Herman Cain 11.67% (4,507 votes)
Michele Bachmann 2.11% (816 votes)
Jon Huntsman 1.62% (627 votes)
Total Votes: 38,605
At least this is a sigh of relief, given that tonight's debate was the most pathetic and most predictable one of all.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Real Time talking head Bill Maher, with a panel of guests such as Mullings.com publisher/founder and columnist, Republican strategist, and former Vice President Dan Quayle and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich press secretary Rich Galen, The Eisenhower Institute's Jennifer Donahue, and Current TV host "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" (which used to be on MSNBC) Keith Olbermann (himself), took shots at Ron Paul, due to his answer to Wolf Blitzer (of "The Situation Room") over the health care issue at the CNN/Tea Party GOP presidential debate last week.
The exchange that transpired and erupted into a national media ruckus went like this:
MR. BLITZER: Before I get to Michele Bachmann, I want to just -- you're a physician, Ron Paul. So, you're a doctor; you know something about this subject. Let me ask you this hypothetical question: A healthy, 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides: You know what? I'm not going to spend 200 (dollars) or $300 a month for health insurance, because I'm healthy; I don't need it. But you know, something terrible happens; all of a sudden, he needs it. Who's going to pay for it, if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?
REP. PAUL: Well, in a society -- in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.
MR. BLITZER: Well, what do you want?
REP. PAUL: But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy, but not before --
MR. BLITZER: But he doesn't have that. He doesn't have it and he's -- and he needs -- he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?
REP. PAUL: That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. (Cheers, applause.) This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody -- (applause) --
MR. BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!
REP. PAUL: No --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes! (Applause.)
REP. PAUL: I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa
Rosa Hospital in San Antonio. And the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals. (Applause.)
And we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves, our neighbors, our friends; our churches would do it. This whole idea -- that's the reason the cost is so high. The cost is so high because we dump it on the government. It becomes a bureaucracy. It becomes special interests. It kowtows to the insurance companies, then the drug companies. Then on top of that, you have the inflation. The inflation devalues the dollar. We have lack of competition. There's no competition in medicine. Everybody's protected by licensing. We should actually legalize alternative health care, allow people to have -- practice what they want. (Cheers, applause.)
Incidentally, Maher neglected to mention the last set of statements that Paul made at the debate, which explained his position on the matter, and yet Maher tried to sandbag Paul by launching into a "Ron-Paul-wants-that-30-year-old-man-in-a-coma-to-die" tirade that was unbelievably laughable all the way.
Maher's nonsense can be found here:
(Maher's potshot actually takes place at time index 5:03 in the YouTube clip, just to showcase how obtuse and myopic this douchebag really is.)
Maher and his panel, in a pathetically snarky yet par-for-the-course statist Leftist fashion, begin their attack by quoting Blitzer and Paul's statements during that moment in the debate. When Maher paraphrases, albeit in a twisted way, Ron's answer, Maher condescendingly screams out, "He's in a coma! How the fuck can he know what he wants to do?" Then Galen snarkily nods, "It narrows his choices!" Maher agrees, "It narrows his choices!"
Oh please! Blitzer's hypothetical was ridiculous to say the least. One day a healthy 30-year-old man who chooses not to buy health insurance is somehow on life support the next day, and the hypothetical doesn't even allow wiggle room for what might have caused him to collapse in the first place? And Ron Paul's answer was outrageous, because he favors separating health care and State, whereas Maher and his cronies don't? Who's kidding whom here?
It certainly tells me that Maher and his companions need to have their heads checked if they think they can respond with emotion without logic and critical thinking standing in the way of their collective judgment.
Friday, September 16, 2011
There are undeniably and distinctly three separate yet existing economies in America. We have the State-regulated and not-very-productive economy which is run by Big Business as part of Corporate America and is in collusion with the State. We have a State-run non-productive political economy which is run by the U.S. federal government, the Congress, the Military Industrial Complex, and its political fat cats (lobbyists). And then there's the underground, highly-productive, highly-efficient productive REAL private (Agorist) economy which is run by individuals providing products and services to people. I choose the latter.
President Obama came off seriously resolute when he told members of Congress to pass his jobs bill immediately. (A transcript of his political speech is provided here.) The move was a ploy to buy votes and shore up political support for his re-election campaign, which has already swung into full gear. But then nothing what he says ought to shock anyone. It doesn't for me, at least.
Here are the videos of his speech before the entire body:
and Part 3
And what is so special about his precious jobs program that he wants imposed upon the populace by federal edict? Nothing...that is, if you haven't drunk the statist Kool-Aid and bought into his pie-in-the-sky rhetoric that it will "create" jobs and "boost" the economy.
Here's the warped logic of his plan: he claims that his purported $447 billion package will "grow the economy" if Congress acts to pass it "right away." (Notice that he echoed those words 18 times in a row.) But that's not all of it.
According to him, the bill is laden with payroll "tax cuts" that will bring us out of the recession and boost the economy. (I put the pluralized term tax cuts in quotation marks because of the dubious, suspicious, and fallacious claim of his statements.) When one views cuts in payroll taxes, one sees that the cuts gut the Medicare and Social Security taxes that make up the FICA tax. However, one must recognize that those taxes fund both Medicare and Social Security. Both programs are running colossal deficits and creating cost overruns that threaten their very existence. That simply means that they are generating less revenue than they require to issue their payouts to retirees (who are supposed to be the intended recipients of those funds). That also means that more of the funds that haven't been touched yet and are withheld in the Treasury will have to be cashed in at some point.
The news gets worse than that. I should note that the Treasury is already plagued with a $1 trillion-plus deficit. That means more money will be extracted from the already-weakened, highly-regulated productive private sector to reimburse the Social Security and Medicare monies. That will be so unless the President chooses to radically alter the tax code to make up the lost difference. But it will not be so. The money will be coercively taken out of private capital markets in the economy and shifted right back into those sectors in the appearance of higher taxes under the guise of a payroll tax cut. In Obama's Bizarro World, that's expected to boost the economy.
The plan unsurprisingly subsidizes small firms in the form of a doled-out $4,000 tax credit as a condition to hire more employees who have been out of work for six months or more than it would otherwise. This is giving employers an incentive not to hire workers because of the additional costs that this requirement would impose on businesses, considering this is not done in real demand but on political gimmicks and musical chairs. It sounds great to hire employees with this tax credit, but with other regulatory, tax, and other expenisve burdens imposed on businesses, this is, as I have stated before, just merely window dressing to shore up political votes for his re-election.
This is the liberaltard logic to which we are all subjected. My head won't stop spinning right now.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Florida Republican Congressman Allen West appeared on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch show on Fox Business this past Friday night to discuss the economic and financial impact on President Obama's jobs plan which he attempted to peddle to Congress on Thursday night. Of course, West condemns Obama's jobs plan (which he deserves good talking points for stating the obvious about the jobs bill on which the President wants Congress to vote), but then Napolitano shifts attention away from that topic and veers into the 9/11 remembrance issue (which is today, in fact).
West responds with his comments (which starts exactly at 4:13 in the following YouTube video.
West states, "9/11 is a historic event that we must never forget." A "historic event?" Who is he kidding? One assumes in a single breath that West is likening the 10-year-old attacks to a NASA space shuttle launch. What happened was a horrendous and atrocious tragedy that transpired ten years ago. Of course Americans are never going to "forget" what happened. That shouldn't be foolishly construed to signify that we must let it rule our lives or shape our way of life for eternity. Americans don't make a habit of recalling the brutal events that led up to and after the events of that fateful day on a daily basis. It's more or less a political talking point to fuel the War on Terror than to draw paramount lessons from a tragedy that was born out of the U.S. government's incessant interventionistic foreign and domestic policies that guided America on its imperial path for decades and after 9/11. Claims by the establishment that the federal takeover of the airports and every facet of American life has made the nation safer are apocryphal and dubious, given the unconstitutional and tyrannical abuses of the State's TSA and Homeland Security Department agents and officials. It's all a matter of public record. What will take for West and his cronies to see it?
West then continues, "You know, in this year we're gonna celebrate the tenth anniversary of 9/11." Why would any American in his or her right mind would want to "celebrate" such an awful atrocity that claimed the lives of 3,000 Americans who were killed in the crossfire because the terrorists responded to the repeated interventions of the U.S. federal government that have been the heart and soul of modern U.S. foreign policy for decades?
If we really want to pay homage to the fallen men and women in the World Trade Center towers and the planes that went down in those areas, then there's only one thing to do: end our foreign policy of intervention and replace it with one of non-intervention, bring our troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya, and spread the message of liberty and peace to those regions. End the sectarian violence, the coercion, and the corruption that have engulfed the people and their respective lands.
It's too bad the GOP and its stalwarts including West can't see that.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
According to Monday's edition as well as Tuesday's edition of the New York Times, the U.S. Postal Service is attempting to avoid a default in its monthly $5.5 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury. The long and short of it is this: the quasi-government agency is faced with some looming (yet very likely) possibilities resting squarely on its shoulders:
- Yanking Saturday delivery for its residential and business recipients;
- Closing down 3,700 offices nationwide;
- Consolidating other post offices;
- Laying off 270,000 of its 574,000 employees; and
- Altering retirement and health care benefits and programs that its dwindling employee base enjoys;
According to the Times on Monday, the costs and reasons for the declining use of the Postal Service are simply the following:
'Our situation is extremely serious,' the postmaster general, Patrick R. Donahoe, said in an interview. 'If Congress doesn’t act, we will default.'In recent weeks, Mr. Donahoe has been pushing a series of painful cost-cutting measures to erase the agency’s deficit, which will reach $9.2 billion this fiscal year. They include eliminating Saturday mail delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers — nearly one-fifth of the agency’s work force — despite a no-layoffs clause in the unions’ contracts.The post office’s problems stem from one hard reality: it is being squeezed on both revenue and costs.As any computer user knows, the Internet revolution has led to people and businesses sending far less conventional mail.
The Obama administration unsurprisingly responded on Tuesday with the following:
The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it would seek to save the deficit-plagued Postal Service from an embarrassing default by proposing to give it an extra three months to make a $5.5 billion payment due on Sept. 30 to finance retirees’ future health coverage.
Patrick Donahoe, the postmaster general, speaking before the Senate. His office has proposed alleviating its fiscal problems by taking back an estimated $50 billion in pension overpayments.Speaking at a Senate hearing, John Berry, director of the federal Office of Personnel Management, also said the administration would soon put forward a plan to stabilize the postal service, which faces a deficit of nearly $10 billion this fiscal year and had warned that it could run out of money entirely this winter.
'We must act quickly to prevent a Postal Service collapse,' said Senator Joseph Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which held the Tuesday hearing on the Postal Service’s financial crisis.
Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe testified that even with a three-month reprieve on the $5.5 billion payment, the post office was likely to run out of cash and face a shutdown next July or August unless Congress passed legislation that provided a long-term solution for the ailing agency.
To help erase the postal service’s deficit, Mr. Donahoe has proposed several painful and controversial steps, among them, eliminating Saturday delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers — despite union contracts with strict limits on layoffs.'
The Postal Service is on the brink of default,' Mr. Donahoe testified. 'The Postal Service requires radical change to its business model if is to remain viable in the future.'
Mr. Berry said the Obama administration would push for legislation to allow a three-month delay in the $5.5 billion payment. But he stopped short of endorsing a far-reaching proposal, backed by the postal service, to allow the agency to claw back more than $50 billion that two independent actuaries have said the post office has overpaid into a major federal pension plan. Postal Service officials say such a move would go far to alleviate the agency’s financial problems.
Mr. Berry said the administration was studying the proposal, but not endorsing or opposing it at this point.
For the longest time the agency has engulfed itself in an economic, financial, and political quagmire. Although it is in some ways configured like a private business, it is not functioning like one, and it certainly is not one. The prices of its stamps, envelopes, packages, and other services proceed to spike on an annual basis with no end in sight. New Jersey-based Rutger University's very own The Daily Targum scribed in an op-ed that the agency's labor costs "make up 80 percent of the USPS's operating costs" and that its own mail inventory "is so small these days the USPS cannot keep paying as many employees as much money as it currently does." (Bear in mind that the paper is crying havoc over the complete shut-down of the agency, saying that "it is still something we don't want to see." Why? Because, according to the Targum, "The USPS is a valuable federal service.")
The Targum also opposes "privatization" of the institution for the following reason:
[T]he increased privatization of traditionally government-provided services is a frightening thought for too many reasons to list here, and, therefore, we'd rather not have to rely on private companies for all of our mail needs.
This refrain is all too common from the minds of "privatization" (preferably, marketization) opponents. They believe that a federal post office must be maintained, and that Congress must rescue the agency and save its workforce from the impending forces of layoffs as forced upon by real, natural market forces working against the federal establishment, their concession that the agency is unable to remunerate its employee base as much as it used to due to the excessively low demand for its services notwithstanding. What the paper fails to figure into account is the health care and pension costs that are drying up the funds for the agency, which are mandated by the labor unions in their existing contracts. The unions as well as Congress have made it virtually (almost) impossible for the agency to craft its health care and retirement benefits plans, simply due to the political and protectionistic nature of these parties. Oh, and let's not forget that the USPS is protected by congressional edict from free market competition with any company that wants to jump into the game and offers consumers a better value and service that the USPS has failed to accomplished at its given, ongoing rate. This means that the organization is a legally-protected, government-approved, and government-imposed monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail and standard mail (once known simply as third-class mail). No other firm can legally challenge the USPS and provide more efficient products and services to customers because of the government cementing the Offices as the only legitimate provider of delivered U.S. and international first-class and standard mail; thus, Congress merely restricts access to mailboxes by the USPS. Other private mail firms are legally prohibited by law allowed to drop off deliveries to mailboxes.
The reason for this is that the prices charged by the USPS are universally uniform across the board throughout the States, irrespective of where its customers live. And the old congressional law that sustains the enterprise's monopoly on these services ensures that package deliveries are set at a uniform price based on the weight and volume of the contents within them, especially when it is cheaper than Fed-Ex or United Parcel Service (UPS).
The Constitution's own Article 1, Section 8 stipulates that Congress is accorded with the power "to establish Post Offices and post Roads." But just because the Constitution allows the government to get involved doesn't mean that the State should get involved, and that it should be granted an exclusive monopoly over mail service.
But how did the Postal Service become powerful? Throughout the 19th century, just shortly before the passage of the Postal Act of 1863, mail was dispersed from city to city where a post office would pick up the volumes, or an independent contractor handled the delivery. Then came the Postal Code of 1872, which put into place a local monopoly on mail delivery by outlawing private carriers. At one point these carriers numbered to 147 and pioneered some innovative services. For instance, they introduced postage stamps just before the Postal Service got into that business.
Before 1971, postal service was provided by the U.S. Post Office Department, which centrally planned the agency by fixing prices of its products and services and determined which managers would be charge. The agency was the biggest recipient of globs of congressional subsidies and an annual appropriations budget as set by the governing body. By the time the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 was passed and signed into law, the Department was shut down and reallocated into what has become the USPS today, thus making it a quasi-public independent agency separated from the Executive Branch and structured to be a self-financing agency whose own existence and its operations depend upon the sales of its postage, mail products, and other services. According to federal law, it must cover its costs, and request the U.S. Treasury to lend funds to it (which is supposed to be limited to approximately $3 billion annually in bailout subsidies to its coffers and allow for a total debt ceiling of $15 billion).
What makes this firm so different from real private firms is that it carries privileges that other companies are not allowed to possess. For instance, it is not subjected to vehicle licensing requirements, and it pays no sales and property taxes. As Tad DeHaven of the CATO Institute noted a year ago:
It doesn’t have to pay parking tickets, and it has eminent domain powers. It pays to itself the income taxes that it would owe if it were a private business.
Understand this point for once: the USPS is more or less a wing of the U.S. federal government. The Postmaster General and a Board of Governors, along with some federal control and oversight by the Postal Regulatory Commission are unaccountable to the taxpayers and the American public at-large. The federal mail delivery organization in itself neither has any incentive to innovate, nor reduce its internal and external fixed and varied costs, nor enhance customer service and other areas in the name of efficiency, nor establish other ways to keep it financially and economically solvent.
And this claim that private companies are not capable of providing our needs is nonsense. A private mail service enterprise could provide physical delivery of mail at a much faster and cheaper rate than the USPS does and provide postage, packaging, and a variety of options and services for clientele that would be far superior in terms of innovation and quality than the USPS does. However, in the grandest scheme of things, the Internet and smart phone technologies have provided innovative means of electronic communications for customers by ISP and mobile phone carriers at a fraction of the costs that rival the high, exploding costs of the USPS, thus making physical mail delivery a relic of American history.
While DeHaven and other similar critics urge for the privatization (or marketization) of the organization, I dispute that notion. I call for the abolition of the firm and allow an unfettered free market to prop up and flourish, providing more quality and more pioneering products and services to consumers globally at the lowest price. This signifies an end of the U.S. Post Office, an idea whose time has ultimately come.