Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012.

Iowa Caucuses

Republican Party

I’m not going to stay up waiting for the winner, but if I had to guess right now, I’d say the finish is going to be Santorum, Romney, Paul. Of course, anything is possible.

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Ron Paul: Hard Right Loon

Obama Administration

I think it’s important to keep pushing back on the “progressives for Ron Paul” personality cult, so I’m pushing — Jonathan Chait has a must-read piece called “How Ron Paul’s Libertarian Principles Support Racism.” It’s all worth reading, but I’d like to address this part —

In a 2004 statement condemning the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Paul laid out his doctrinaire libertarian opposition. “[T]he forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty,” he wrote. “The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties.”

The idea that the 1964 Civil Rights Act increased racial tensions is itself a racist statement. There was plenty of racial tension before the civil rights era; it’s just that it was mostly just racial minorities who were tense.

Paul views every individual as completely autonomous, and he is incapable of imagining any force other than government power that could infringe upon their actual liberty. White people won’t hire you? Then go form a contract with somebody else. Government intervention can only make things worse.

The same holds true of Paul’s view of sexual harassment. In his 1987 book, he wrote that women who suffer sexual harassment should simply go work somewhere else: “Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity. Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts?” This reaction also colored his son Rand Paul’s response to sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain, which was to rally around Cain and grouse that he can’t even tell jokes around women anymore.

The comment threads are, as usually, full of people defending Ron Paul and saying that discrimination is not a POLIICAL issue unless government does it. What’s missing from this is any connection to the real world, to the actual lived experience of racism and sexism in our culture, and the way a majority faction can use local and state government to impose their bigotry, even to the point of allowing some people to get away with murdering other people. African Americans in many parts of the U.S. were not just being discriminated against; they lived under a literal reign of terror.

Have we really forgotten that? It appears some of us have.

See also Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Banality of Racism

Kevin Drum, “Crackpots Do Not Make Good Messengers

Alex Knapp, “Ron Paul Versus the 14th Amendment.”

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I Don’t Like Bullies

Obama Administration

Some elements of the “progressive” blogosphere like to bully and demean bloggers who refuse to get on the anti-Obama bandwagon. This has been going on for a while, which is one reason I’ve dropped out of socializing with many of them. Now the kewl kids have ganged up on Angry Black Lady

I’ve put off writing this post for days, and I still don’t have the words to express my disgust about the “rape analogy heard ’round the Twitterverse.” In case you’re not up to speed, long story short, I had a Twitter discussion with Marcy Wheeler about the NDAA; a Greenwald supporter quipped that if I saw Obama raping a nun on live TV, I would defend him for it; another supporter quipped that I would fantasize about playing the role of the raped nun; and Greenwald piled on. When asked to account for the clumsy rape metaphor, Greenwald doubled down, claiming that it wasn’t a metaphor, and that he actually believed that I and other Obama supporters would defend Obama if we were to see him raping a nun.

I confess I didn’t read all of the twitter discussion about NDAA, mostly because I think twitter discussions of complex issues are always stupid. It might be that I would decide I agree with Marcy Wheeler’s position on NDAA. Or maybe I wouldn’t. I’ve read differing opinions about how much the detention provisions actually apply to U.S. citizens, and until that’s clarified for me I’m not quite ready to throw up my hands and run around screeching that we’ve all been put until martial law.

But this tendency to stereotype and demonize people who disagree with you reveals a deep lack of character. So I am personally expressing solidarity with ABL on this matter. Do I agree with every sentence she writes? No, but she has an intelligent and well-thought-out perspective that definitely needs to be heard and respected among progressives.

And I think Glenn Greenwald should be ashamed of himself. Awhile back he wrote a book that I admired quite a bit, called A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. The book correctly evaluated the way the Bushies gave themselves permission to wage war and gut civil liberties because they saw themselves as inherently good people battling inherently evil people. And here Greenwald is falling into the same error. In his mind, people who disagree with must be so evil or depraved or brainwashed they would make excuses for raping a nun. He’s dividing the world up into the “good” people who see things as he does versus the “bad” people who don’t.

Time to retire, Glenn. Go clear your head for a couple of years, at least.

If you’re in the mood for being further sickened and disgusted, do read “Occupy’s Iowa options: Ron Paul or Uncommitted” by Lynda Waddington. And don’t spare yourself from reading the comments, which are downright terrifying.

The article explains there are a number of small progressive groups in Iowa trying to shake things up, and they aren’t all doing the same things. But some who align themselves with OWS are trying to get themselves elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention so they can vote for Ron Paul. The point of this is to send a message to the Dem establishment about militarism, and I respect that.

However, the comments reek of Ron Paul worship, and that’s terrifying. Sample:

Original Tea Party & Occupy movements are merging
It is not extremist to ask questions about Building # 7
Learning from & teaching each other
Agree on more issues than disagree

Never under-estimate Liberal/Libertarian common cause.

Of course they should support Ron Paul. Who else shares any of their concerns? Not Obama, that’s for sure.

Here I might gently point out that Ron Paul supports ending all environmental regulation and consumer protection, wants to gut the 14th Amendment, wants to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid and leave us all at the mercy of the “free market” for health care, and wants to end reproductive rights for women. So one might ask the writer which “concerns” he is talking about. Apparently the civil liberties of women and minorities are no longer “liberal” concerns.

And I also want to add that in the event Ron Paul became president, don’t assume he would go around ending wars. Paul obviously is a psychologically unstable man who maintains some cognitive consistency by remaining inside a small ideological bubble, where everything is simple. His opposition to war is less about world peace and nonviolence than about an extreme America-first myopia. As soon as the security advisers brief President Paul about what’s really going on in the world and demand that he start making decisions about real-world things, IMO he’s as likely as not to flip out and want to bomb everything he doesn’t understand. Which is pretty much everything.

Anyway, the commenters say over and over that Ron Paul is the only one talking about the “real issues” that are of concern to progressives. These real issues are the war on drugs and ending the war in Afghanistan. All other issues are things we progressives can put on the back burner, because they aren’t that important. And, anyway, a President cannot overturn Roe v. Wade. (No, but he can appoint right-wing whackjob Supreme Court justices who can, and will.)

So, basically, we liberals are supposed to sacrifice everything we gained in the entire 20th century to end the war in Afghanistan and the war on drugs. I think not.

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