From The New Republic: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98811/ron-paul-libertarian-bigotry
December 22, 2011
Nearly four years ago, on the eve of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, The New Republic published my expose of newsletters published by Texas Congressman Ron Paul. The contents of these newsletters can best be described as appalling. Blacks were referred to as “animals.” Gays were told to go “back” into the “closet.” The “X-Rated Martin Luther King” was a bisexual pedophile who “seduced underage girls and boys.” Three months before the Oklahoma City bombing, Paul praised right-wing, anti-government militia movements as “one of the most encouraging developments in America.” The voluminous record of bigotry and conspiracy theories speaks for itself.
And yet, four years on, Ron Paul’s star is undimmed. Not only do the latest polls place him as the frontrunner in the Iowa Caucuses, but he still enjoys the support of a certain coterie of professional political commentators who, like Paul himself, identify as libertarians. Most prominent among them is Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan, who gave Paul his endorsement in the GOP primary last week, as he did in 2008. But he is not alone: Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner recently bemoaned the fact that “the principled, antiwar, Constitution-obeying, Fed-hating, libertarian Republican from Texas stands firmly outside the bounds of permissible dissent as drawn by either the Republican establishment or the mainstream media,” while Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic argues that Paul’s ideas cannot be ignored, and that, for Tea Party Republicans, “A vote against Paul requires either cognitive dissonance—never in short supply in politics—or a fundamental rethinking of the whole theory of politics that so recently drove the Tea Party movement.”
To be sure, these figures, like the broader group of Paul enthusiasts, don’t base their support on the Congressman’s years-long record of supporting racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and far-right militias. Quite the opposite: Like the candidate himself, they manage to mostly avoid making any mention of his unsavory record at all. It’s an impressive feat of repression, one that says volumes about the type of enthusiasm Paul inspires.
Ultimately, Paul’s following is closely linked with the peculiar attractions of the libertarian creed that he promotes. Libertarianism is an ideology rather than a philosophy of government—its main selling point is not its pragmatic usefulness, but its inviolable consistency. In that way, Paul’s indulgence of bigotry—he says he did not write the newsletters but rather allowed others to do so in his name—isn’t an incidental departure from his libertarianism, but a tidy expression of its priorities: First principles of market economics gain credence over all considerations of social empathy and historical acuity. His fans are guilty of donning the same ideological blinders, giving their support to a political candidate on account of the theories he declaims, rather than the judgment he shows in applying those theories, or the character he has evinced in living them. Voters for Ron Paul are privileging logical consistency at the expense of moral fitness.
Continue reading at: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98811/ron-paul-libertarian-bigotry
Fish are the last wild food that most of us will eat.
By Jill Richardson
December 29, 2011
A few days from now, a single bluefin tuna will make international headlines when it sells for an ungodly amount of money — perhaps more than $100,000 – at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market. And while the high price of the first bluefin of the year will be extraordinary, the rarity, and thus the prestige and high pricetag of bluefin in general, provides a clue to humans’ dietary history. Once upon a time, wild foods were a regular and beloved part of the American diet. Today, the American epicure might dine on foraged mushrooms and ramps, but for many of us, fish are the last wild food we eat. What happened? And what are we missing?
Georgia Pellegrini, a chef who has worked in elite restaurants in New York and France, decided to answer this question for herself when she set out to hunt her own food. As her new book’s title implies – Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time – she entered into a masculine realm in which she was often the only woman. Pellegrini traveled across the United States and even England, hunting everything from squirrel to elk. As much as she stands out as a woman, she also stands out among the local and sustainable food movement. (An anthropologist recently pointed out that the local food movement “has been reticent to embrace hunting as an integral part of sustainable eating.”)
As a chef, Pellegrini focuses on her meal’s flavor more than many other sustainable food writers. At one point, while contemplating pulling the trigger to shoot a javelina, Pellegrini says, “I wonder if I had to work hard enough for this. I wonder if I had to exert myself enough… Then I wonder how javelina taste.”
Pellegrini points out that an animal’s flavor reflects its diet. “There’s a vast difference in flavor,” between wild game and meat from the store or even from the farmers’ market, she says. “Wild animals are athletes; they exercise their muscles and eat whatever they want. Cattle live in pens and eat exactly the same diet. With wild animals, you really have to think about how you cook them based on what they are eating. You aren’t just thinking about what you are about to eat; you are thinking about what you’re about to eat ate.”
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/28/greek-economic-crisis-children-victims
Nation shocked by stories of parents forced to give up children because of poverty – but charities warn of more cases to come
Even before Greece‘s economic crisis engulfed his own home, Dimitris Gasparinatos found it hard to provide for his six sons and four daughters. His wife, Christina, who was struggling to make ends meet with his salary of €960 (£800) a month and welfare aid of about €460 every two months, was unhappy and desperate.
Deep in debt, the couple owed money to the butcher, baker and grocer – the very people who had kept them going in the port of Patras, west of Athens. In their tiny flat, the family slipped increasingly into a life of squalor.
“Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess,” said Gasparinatos. “We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn’t been paid for months, something had to be done.”
And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.
“The crisis had killed us. I am ashamed to say but it had got to the point where I couldn’t even afford the €2 needed to buy bread,” he told the Guardian. “We didn’t want to break up the family but we did think it would be easier for them if four of my children were sent to an institution for maybe two or three years.”
The next day, his 37-year-old wife visited the local town hall and asked that her children be “saved”.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/28/greek-economic-crisis-children-victims
From The Baltimore Sun: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-schaller-ron-paul-20111227,0,7713781.column
Thomas F. Schaller
December 27, 2011
To look at him, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul seems harmless. He’s cute and contrarian. He wears poorly fitting suits. He’s decidedly un-slick. You almost want to pat him on the head.
So we’re not supposed to criticize Dr. Paul as a nutjob who subscribes to some rather wacky ideas. And subscribe is the operative word here, folks: The newsletters Dr. Paul published for nearly two decades during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s are chock full of racist, homophobic and anti-new world order rants.
From Dr. Paul now comes the nuttiest claim of all. He wants us to believe newsletters published with the titles Ron Paul’s Freedom Report; Ron Paul Political Report; and, weirdest of all, The Ron Paul Survival Report do not reflect the views of, um, Ron Paul. He says he never wrote them, never even read them, and now disavows them. (Question: Why disavow words you neither wrote nor read?)
Nice try, congressman. There’s his name in giant, bold letters at the top of each issue. On some editions his face appears at the top, or his signature at the bottom. The lack of bylines attached to specific articles, his defenders say, means Dr. Paul can’t be held accountable for the words they contain. But the newsletters include first-person, biographical mentions like “my wife Carol” and “my youngest son … starting his fourth year of medical school.” His wife’s name is Carol; his youngest son, Robert, is a physician.
Americans are buying from local artisans, fair-trade merchants, certified sweatshop-free manufacturers and others in the burgeoning non-corporate economy.
By Jim Hightower
December 27, 2011
It wasn’t that long ago that the act of “gift giving” didn’t require a maddening trip to Walmart or a desperate online search for this season’s must-have toy. Rather, a gift implied something from within, a little piece of yourself, no matter how small, showing you care.
Could that old-fashioned concept possibly become new-fashioned? Yes. With today’s working-class depression severely restricting the ability of most people to splurge on “stuff,” and with the public’s rising unwillingness to keep shoveling their money at narcissistic corporate profiteers, a return to a more modest — but also deeper — spirit of gift-giving seems to be spreading.
Realizing that buying globalized corporate crap is not really a gift, more and more people are putting their money where their values are. They’re buying from local artisans, fair-trade merchants, certified sweatshop-free manufacturers, recycling shops, co-ops, farmers markets, homeless centers, church bazaars, charities and other sources of the burgeoning non-corporate economy.
And what if you used your gifts as a way to inspire the recipients of your presents to tap into their own generosity? This is surprisingly easy to do. As proposed by a Methodist church group in my town of Austin, Texas, just send a bit of cash to that grandson, niece, mother-in-law or whomever — on the condition that they must donate the money to a charitable organization of their choosing.
By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) received an unwanted endorsement on Tuesday when Don Black, the founder of the white nationalist group Stormfront, told The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur that he supported Paul’s presidential candidacy.
Paul has recently been plagued by racist, hate-filled newsletters that were published under his name. The newsletters were published about 20 years ago and contained a number of incendiary comments about African-Americans, gays and Israel. All of the newsletters featured his name, but Paul has said he did not edit or write the controversial language, and disavowed it.
“He’s clearly not a white nationalist, he does not have the same worldview we do,” Black told Cenk. “But we agree with his stand on the issues, which we believe are heartfelt, coincide with ours. I might prefer that he understand the racial issues that we deal with a little more than he does.”
By Stephan Horbelt, Editor
Many people are unaware that Hollywood royalty Warren Beatty and Annette Bening have a transgender son, Stephen, who was previously named Kathlyn. Rumor has it that Beatty was at one time devastated by his then-daughter’s decision to live life as a man, but a recent family dinner at a Hollywood restaurant suggests otherwise!
The UK’s Daily Mail reports that Beatty toasted his “brave son” while the entire family was at dinner last weekend. Of course, this is all according to the National Enquirer, but we hope it’s true!
[A] source told the tabloid the special family meal at Italian restaurant il Covo was a way to publicly give his support to the 19-year-old, who decided she wanted to switch genders last year, but had been living as a man for at least two years previously.
The source said: “The dinner was an unofficial public display that he’s proud of his family, especially Stephen, for having the courage to be who he truly is. It wasn’t easy for Warren. But he learned a lot about the transgender community over the past year.”
And as a result, the 74-year-old is now bragging to friends about his “intelligent and courageous son Stephen.”
The source added: “Warren even made an emotional toast to Stephen during the dinner and said he was proud to have such a brave son.”
The person who was most pleased by the Bugsy actor’s new found understanding was his 54-year-old wife Annette Bening. The source added: “Annette was simply glowing. She said the evening was the best Christmas present she’s ever received.”
Continue reading at: http://www.frontiersla.com/Blog/FrontierBlog/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10330542
From The Orlando Liberal Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-orlando/rick-perry-uses-over-1-million-of-taxpayer-money-to-fund-his-campaign
Robert Sobel, Orlando Liberal Examiner
December 28, 2011
He was once thought of as the man who would stand on top of the Republican mountain and replace President Obama as the most important man in the United States. He has conservative values, has experience in the government, but still supports the Tea Party. He was the most interesting man in the Republican party, then he spoke. The Republican debates showed a lot about each candidate and when the spotlight was on Rick Perry, he couldn’t deliver.
From Talking Points Memo: http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/ron-paul-hired-anti-gay-activist-to-run-iowa-campaign.php
Ron Paul has faced a torrent of criticism in recent weeks over newsletters printed in his name during the 1980s and 1990s which contained racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic content. He is also on the hook for accepting the support of fringe right-wing groups. While Paul dismisses these concerns, his campaign seems to have no problem working with and enjoying the support of anti-gay extremists, including one supporter who has called for the implementation of the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
Paul’s Iowa chair, Drew Ivers, recently touted the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a pastor at the Dominion Covenant Church in Nebraska who also draws members from Iowa, putting out a press release praising “the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.” But Kayser’s views on homosexuality go way beyond the bounds of typical anti-gay evangelical politics and into the violent fringe: he recently authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law.
“Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just,” he argued. “But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.”
Reached by phone, Kayser confirmed to TPM that he believed in reinstating BIblical punishments for homosexuals — including the death penalty — even if he didn’t see much hope for it happening anytime soon. While he said he and Paul disagree on gay rights, noting that Paul recently voted for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he supported the campaign because he believed Paul’s federalist take on the Constitution would allow states more latitude to implement fundamentalist law. Especially since Kayser believes that there is no separation of Church and State under his own interpretation of the Constitution.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/28/venezuela-free-removal-pip-breast-implants
Health minister says women with implants made by French company PIP can go to hospitals to have them removed
Associated Press in Caracas
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 December 2011
Venezuela is offering free surgeries for women to remove faulty French-made breast implants.
The health minister, Eugenia Sader, said women with implants made by the now-defunct French company, Poly Implant Prothese, can go to hospitals that carry out plastic surgery to have the implants removed, the state-run Venezuelan news agency reported.
Sader said the procedure would be to remove the implants and would not include replacing them. “Those patients are running a risk,” Sader said.
France’s health system has recommended that women with the PIP implants get them replaced, and has agreed to pay for surgeries. In Brazil and Argentina, however, health officials just recommend check-ups.
It is unclear how many women have the PIP implants in Venezuela, where breast enlargement surgery is popular and doctors say the French implants used to be widely used.
An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 women in the country have breast enlargement surgery each year, said Dr Marisol Graterol, of the Venezuelan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/28-5
“The state and city pretty much shut us down at the historic ‘public square’ at the Capitol,” said Roger Ehrlich, an Occupy Raleigh activist, “so it seemed reasonable to assemble at the modern, corporatized version – the mall.” Ehrlich and I were among six people arrested on Black Friday during an Occupy Raleigh protest at the Crabtree Valley Mall.
The Occupy tent occupations provided a public forum for democratic protest and created a space for envisioning new communities. Then, police began to crack-down on encampments, disinformation campaigns grew and public support waned. As a result, many Occupy movements have expanded tactics from long-term public occupations to short-term direct actions on private property, such as ports, banks, homes, and malls. What are the implications of this shift to the power hubs of the 1%?
First, this transition from the public to the private directly exposes the collusion between government and corporations.
As a resident of Oakland and a doctoral candidate at the University of California-Berkeley, I had survived the police brutality in the public spaces of Occupy Oakland and Occupy Cal. Yet I ended up being arrested on private property by a planned coordination between mall cops and the city police.
Actions on private property expose this complicity of the government with corporate interests, which is the crux of the Occupy movement. It is this trend of the government ceding more and more rights, control and funding to the corporate 1% at the expense of the 99% that has the movement up in arms.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/28-5
From Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/14932718385
By Robert Reich
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.
So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.
Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.
Moreover, the economy won’t be in superb shape in the months leading up to Election Day. Indeed, if the European debt crisis grows worse and if China’s economy continues to slow, there’s a better than even chance we’ll be back in a recession. Clinton would help deflect attention from the bad economy and put it on foreign policy, where she and Obama have shined.
The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats haven’t had since FDR. Twelve years gives the party in power a chance to reshape the Supreme Court as well as put an indelible stamp on America.
Continue reading at: http://robertreich.org/post/14932718385
By Joel Greenberg,
Published: December 27
The trigger for the violence was a wave of Israeli media reports about ultra-Orthodox Jews in the town who had put up the controversial sign and hounded local religious schoolgirls, spitting and hurling abuse at them for what they deemed insufficiently modest dress.
The plight of one frightened girl, 8-year-old Naama Margolese, was highlighted Friday in a prime-time television report, along with the sign ordering sidewalk segregation, fueling the debate in Israel over attempts to limit the public visibility of women — a growing trend that has generated an angry backlash.
On Tuesday night, thousands of Israelis gathered in Beit Shemesh to protest religious coercion and the attempts to sideline women. Some held up signs that said: “Exclusion of women is my red line.”
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/27/shimon-peres-condemns-extremists
Israel’s president says minority threaten national values as TV news shows sobbing 8-year-old recounting ordeal
Israel‘s president urged “the entire nation” to support the battle “to save the majority from the hands of a small minority” on Tuesday, amid rising tensions between the country’s secular and religious Jews on one side and extremist ultra-orthodox groups on the other.
“We are fighting for the soul of the nation and the essence of the state,” Shimon Peres said as thousands of Israelis gathered for a protest following an attack on an eight-year-old girl for dressing “immodestly”.
Tuesday’s demonstration in the town of Beit Shemesh took place close to a school at which girls as young as six have been targeted by zealous ultra-orthodox, or Haredi, men for dressing in regulation knee-length skirts and tops with sleeves to at least the elbow.
Haredi protesters have spat and shouted “whore” and “Nazi” at the pupils and their mothers. Earlier this week, Israeli television news broadcast footage of Naama Margolese, eight, sobbing as she described being abused and spat at on the street by Haredi men. The girl comes from an orthodox Jewish family and attends Orot girls school, which serves religious Jewish families in the area.
Two days of rioting and attacks on television crews by zealous Haredi men in Beit Shemesh followed the broadcast.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/27/shimon-peres-condemns-extremists
Because everyone knows religion is really about the exercise of racism, homophobia and misogyny.
Time to remove religion from the position of being a protected class. It isn’t like you are born with it, religion is a product of indoctrination and you can change it with counseling and a desire to change.
I did. I was indoctrinated into Catholicism but I managed to discover free though and break free from the enslavement of superstition and belief in invisible magic sky beings. I became and atheist and so could they.
We pander to these people with their odd beliefs way too much.
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/us/for-bishops-a-battle-over-whose-rights-prevail.html?_r=1&hp
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: December 28, 2011
Catholic Charities in Illinois has served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children. But now most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois are closing down rather than comply with a new requirement that says they can no longer receive state money if they turn away same-sex couples as potential foster careand adoptive parents.
For the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, the outcome is a prime example of what they see as an escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people. The idea that religious Americans are now the victims of government-backed persecution is now a frequent theme not just for Catholic bishops, but also for Republican presidential candidates and conservative evangelicals.
“In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer who helped drive the church’s losing battle to retain its state contracts for foster care and adoption services.
The Illinois experience indicates that the bishops face formidable opponents who also claim to have justice and the Constitution on their side. They include not only gay rights advocates, but also many religious believers and churches that support gay equality (some Catholic legislators among them). They frame the issue as a matter of civil rights, saying that Catholic Charities was using taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples.
While the right wing brands liberals as “Libtards” I’ve always thought the real “Libtards” were Libertarians, particularly those who claim to be Libertarian based on the supposed positions of Libertarianism regarding drug illegality.
That one of those positions that causes me to think the person who claims to be a Libertarian based on access to drugs has consumed too many drugs.
All surface and no substance. Libertarianism is more libertine than liberal. It is anarchism’s evil twin.
I first became aware of it while reading “American Opinion” (John Birch Society) in the college library back in the 1960s. It is the dance partner of Ayn Rand’s “Objectivity” and realy doesn’r espouse freedom for all but rather free rein for the elite, the rich and powerful to act totally in their own personal self-interest and fuck everyone else.
It’s nice to be king. It sucks to be a slave to tyranny and Libertarianism doesn’t extend the same rights to the poor that it extends to the rich. While the rich are free to use any power they happen to have to oppress the masses the masses are not permitted to organize to resist that power.
Libertarianism is an oligarchy on crack.
Lately I’ve been getting into it with morons who think Ron Paul is an alternative to Obama.
He isn’t and the one thing I find comforting is that he is unlikely to go anywhere.
Having denounced liberals as crypto-communists for half a century during the Cold War, the American right now routinely accuses the center-left of being fascist. This libel was given currency in Jonah Goldberg’s 2009 book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.” From the support of a few progressives a century ago for eugenics, and expressions of admiration by a few 1920s liberals for Mussolini’s ability to make the trains run on time, Goldberg and others on the right have crafted the latest in a series of right-wing conspiracy theories about American history, this one claiming that Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt deliberately set the U.S. on the road to an American version of Mussolini’s corporate state.
Given their professed interest in admirers of Mussolini, it is curious that American conservatives and libertarians have not seen fit to discuss the view of fascism held by one of the heroes of modern American libertarianism, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. In his book “Liberalism,” published in 1927 after Mussolini had seized power in Italy, Mises wrote:
It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aimed at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has for the moment saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history.
Friedrich von Hayek, who was, along with von Mises, one of the patron saints of modern libertarianism, was as infatuated with the Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet as von Mises was with Mussolini, according to Greg Grandin:
Friedrich von Hayek, the Austrian émigré and University of Chicago professor whose 1944 Road to Serfdom dared to suggest that state planning would produce not “freedom and prosperity” but “bondage and misery,” visited Pinochet’s Chile a number of times. He was so impressed that he held a meeting of his famed Société Mont Pélérin there. He even recommended Chile to Thatcher as a model to complete her free-market revolution. The Prime Minister, at the nadir of Chile’s 1982 financial collapse, agreed that Chile represented a “remarkable success” but believed that Britain’s “democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent” make “some of the measures” taken by Pinochet “quite unacceptable.”
Like Friedman, Hayek glimpsed in Pinochet the avatar of true freedom, who would rule as a dictator only for a “transitional period,” only as long as needed to reverse decades of state regulation. “My personal preference,” he told a Chilean interviewer, “leans toward a liberal [i.e. libertarian] dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism.” In a letter to the London Times he defended the junta, reporting that he had “not been able to find a single person even in much maligned Chile who did not agree that personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than it had been under Allende.” Of course, the thousands executed and tens of thousands tortured by Pinochet’s regime weren’t talking.
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/2011/08/30/lind_libertariansim/