Rand Paul: Certifiable?

The President is supposed to take charge of the oil spill in a major speech tonight, but until then let’s just gossip about Rand Paul.

First off, I hope you didn’t miss the juicy bit about Rand not being a board-certified ophthalmologist, as he had claimed. He’s certified by a board, the National Board of Ophthalmology. But the National Board of Ophthalmology is a board Rand set up himself about ten years ago and runs out of a post office box in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He is not certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, which is the official board that certifies ophthalmologists.

Apparently he had claimed to have been certified by both boards, but fibbed. When asked about this, the best excuse he could come up with was “what does that have to do with the election?”

The other juicy bit was brought up by Dave Neiwert over the weekend. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Kentucky, but I’ve always found it beautiful in its way. But what is making it not so beautiful is mountaintop coal mining, the kind of mining that takes off the tops of mountains and doesn’t put them back.

So here’s our boy Rand on mountaintop removal:

PAUL: I think whoever owns the property can do with the property as they wish, and if the coal company buys it from a private property owner and they want to do it, fine. The other thing I think is that I think coal gets a bad name, because I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it’s been flattened out. As I came over here from Harlan, you’ve got quite a few hills. I don’t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there.

And some people like having the flat land. Some of it apparently has become quite valuable when it’s become flattened. And I think they do a good job at reclaiming the land, and you know, adding back in topsoil, bringing in help. So the bottom line is, it’s not just me pandering to coal. It’s me believing in private property.

Now, the part about “some people” liking the flat land and claiming it becomes “quite valuable” when it is flattened is hallucinatory. Yes, the excuse the coal companies trot out for leaving the former mountain tops barren is that the flattened land is ready to be “developed.” Developed by whom, pray tell, and for what? Many of these mining areas are too sparsely populated, and too far off the beaten path, to support a bunch of shopping malls or housing developments. And the land doesn’t offer much else in the way of resources, except that it used to be pretty. Dave has some graphics showing how much of the land has not been “reclaimed,” and data that says only 4 percent of “flattened” land in Appalachia has been “developed” in any way.

The thing is, how can you live in Kentucky and not know this? Put another way, how far up his ass has Rand shoved his head?

The other major factor of mountain removal is that the mining operations pollute water for miles around. Rand is in denial about this, saying that if it were true, “local judges” would stop it. But the fact is that “local judges” have no authority to do anything about it, and many hundreds of miles of mountain creeks and streams have been polluted.

Are you hearing this, Kentucky?

8 thoughts on “Rand Paul: Certifiable?

  1. Anyone who has to invent some phoney board – or almost as bad, get a “diploma” from some phoney college – to certify themselves – is a joke.

    The mountaintop removal issue – apart from the points you cited – is a case where libertarianism runs into environmentalism in a classic, big way. It invokes The Tragedy of the Commons, which is one of the clearest arguments against libertarianism:

    …the article describes a situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently, and solely and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen.

    When you explain the Tragedy of the Commons to libertarians, they have nothing to say. The light sort of starts going on in the minds of the better educated ones.

    The real issue is whether enough people in Kentucky will see through Rand’s particular brand of selfish myopia to choose someone else.

  2. I don’t mean this question to come off as obnoxious as it sounds, but why not just assume Paul is lying (as opposed to being clueless)? Perhaps he knows exactly what is going on and just doesn’t care. His ersatz medical organization would suggest that lying and dissembling is the null hypothesis.

  3. Ayup. A FEW of us in KY are hearing/reading this.

    But Rand Paul will get elected because he has the Mitch McConnell machine pumping cash into his coffers.

    Most of KY voters won’t care what he says as long as when they enter the voting booth there is an (R) next to his name.

    Sad but true.

  4. Look, Inhofe and DeMint, two of the dimmest bulbs in politics, are already Senators. Does anyone think that Paul and Angle couldn’t be? Hell, his Daddy’s a Congressman, and has been for years – and he’s a nut. Angle was a State Senator, if I’m not mistaken, so she’s already been elected to a state office. You have the two Kings, IA and NY, two stupid xenophobes, in the House, and they get re-elected time after time. Those two just begin the long line of nuts, lunatics, and absolute idiots we have in the House. You have David Vitter leading by a huge margin in the polls over the Democrat in the race for the Senate. This is a “family values” politician from a conservative state who got caught in a multi-state sting with prostitutes. Prostitutes! In NY, you lose your governorship. In LA, you get re-elected. I just read in TPM, that in the 70 closest House races, incumbent D’s are losing most of them.
    I can’t believe it, but people are going to vote for their own demise. It’s ‘Back to the Future,” in America.

    I am pretty much resigned to the death of America. The “Shock Doctrine” has been tested in South and Central America. Now’s the time to bring it North, I guess. The “Deficit Hawks” are prevailing. They’re asking people to tighten their belts. Unfortunately, the people who’s belts will be tightened are the ones whose belts are on the last notch already. Meanwhile, it’s the fat-cats who sit in their stretch pants, who decide who pays what cost. And the one thing you can absolutely bet on is that the people paying the cost are not going to be the ones who could actually afford to do it.
    I don’t think this country deserves what’s about to happen. But, then, maybe we do. If a state like KY, noted for its beautiful mountains, has citizens who don’t care enough to vote in someone who wants to preserve them, what’s to prevent them? Now look at KY, and think of this country. Paul won’t be the first, and he won’t be the last candidate elected who shouldn’t even be the answer to a trivia question in 50 years, let alone serve in Congress. How does this happen? The answer to ‘what’s the matter with Kansas,’ is the same as ‘what’s the matter with America’ – it’s the people. The majority of the people in this country are scared by people with real brains, who care, so they usually elect someone like themselves, with the same venal flaws and ignorance. Carter, Clinton and Obama were aberrations for the era. All the wattage from the best and the brightest in this country can’t outshine millions of dim bulbs.
    If they win, maybe this next election will be the last gasp of the xenophobic conservative religious right. But can we survive taking that chance? This country is already arguably a Banana Republic. I’d at least like it to stay at the ‘arguable’ level. I don’t want this country to jump into that pool with both feet. But we may well do that in November. Only to find out too late that the pool was empty of water.

    OK, someone talk me off the ledge. PLEASE!

  5. “As I came over here from Harlan, you’ve got quite a few hills. I don’t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there”

    Yeah what the hell a hill or two or a pond or a lake or the whole god dam Gulf of Mexico for cripes sake.

    Where do these fucking people come from? He can’t be serious right? He must just be shilling for big coal right? Is it possible that he is just that ignorant?

    My hero John Prine wrote a wonderful song about the bounty left after the Coal Companies leave, its called Paradise.

  6. Yes the Rand Paul thing is pretty bizarre. It strikes me as irrefutable evidence that libertarianism doesn’t really function outside of the academic environment. Remember, before McConnell pulled him back, he said the Civil Rights Act was a bad idea! Holy shit! I still think the quote, “my freedom ends where your nose begins,” is the most clever way to talk about these freedom loving libertarians. Unless we all live in vacuums, we simply can’t function without interacting with other people.

  7. “There is no man so blind as he who will not see.” We here in America, as a group, do not want to see a future in which gas is realistically priced at maybe $8.00 per gallon. But that will come.

    No dwindling resource can be continuously overexploited without a market result. The truth spoken by Jimmy Carter about getting free of imported oil and wasteful depletion of energy supplies was not welcomed by Americans as a group. Instead, they mocked his sweater.

    When an adult tells a child that spoiled and self-indulgent behavior is counterproductive in the long run, the child does not welcome that wisdom. When Americans are told that they must face a less prodigal energy future, they do not respond by trading down to more efficient vehicles. They get all libertarian about not being told what to do and mock the “nanny state”. Then when they encounter $4.00 gasoline, they whine.

    If America persists in willful pursuit of a no-longer-sustainable lifestyle, then the child will end up in a corner it has painted for itself (to mix some metaphors).

    Finally, to the point: President Obama talked calm sense about what must be done in the short term and in the long term. Will America listen, or will America content itself with the short term goal?

    I still have the bumper sticker on my car, and tonight tells why. I still have to fight the urge to rip it off over letting Bushco off for war crimes and not kicking the bankers harder and not ending DADT prosecutions, as he easily could. He’s too much of a corporatist, but he is so much better than Bush and McCain that my pragmatic side makes me keep supporting him. He is the grownup in the room.

  8. This comment was meant to go with the next topic, related to the Tuesday night speech. Never mind!

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