It might be comical to watch right wingers attempting to come up with talking points to spin the atrocities in Newtown, if the subject wasn’t so horrible. Some of their suggestions for dealing with the issues of gun violence are so absurd, though, that you just have to laugh. To keep from sobbing.
Today’s case in point — libertarian Megan McArdle, now writing for the Daily Beast, who dismisses all forms of gun control and comes up with this howler of a solution instead: children should be trained to “gang rush shooters.”
I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.
Oh, good grief. This is where the leading intellects of the right wing have ended up — in such total fatalism that the best thing they can suggest is for kindergarten students to be trained to commit mass suicide when gunmen enter their classrooms. Astounding.
And we thought Power Line’s ridiculous suggestion to make schools more like biker bars was bad. What the hell is wrong with these people?
One of the amazing things about the rise of the far right (and not in a good way) has been the concomitant rise of conspiracy peddler Alex Jones, and today an elected United States Senator, Rand Paul, revealed that he’s a reader of the twisted dishonest rubbish Jones disseminates: Senator Rand Paul Touts False Claim From ‘9/11 Truth’ Conspiracy Site.
Mad a/b the weather or bad forecasts? I wouldn’t complain, Nat’l Weather Svc just ordered 46k hollow-point bullets bit.ly/NAd071
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) August 14, 2012
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is no stranger to extreme positions or conspiratorial thinking. But Paul sunk to a new low last night, using his Senate Twitter account to promote a false report from one of the world’s most noxious conspiracy websites.
Paul appeared amused by an article on infowars.com suggesting the National Weather Service is stockpiling ammunition.
This story is false (a point that Business Insider, who also linked to the story, should correct). In reality, the ammunition was ordered by the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement, but a clerical error in the paperwork indicated otherwise. Worse, the article that Paul linked to was published on the homepage of what the Anti-Defamation League calls “The Conspiracy King.”
Rand’s father Ron Paul is a frequent guest on the Alex Jones show, so this really shouldn’t surprise anyone — but it’s seriously bad craziness just the same.
The dynamic duo of Ron and Rand Paul have announced a new crusade — keeping the Internet free of government interference and solidly in the hands of the wise, loving corporations who always choose the right path: The Pauls’ New Crusade: ‘Internet Freedom’.
Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement’s long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.
The manifesto, obtained yesterday by BuzzFeed, is titled “The Technology Revolution” and lays out an argument — in doomsday tones —for keeping the government entirely out of regulating anything online, and for leaving the private sector to shape the new online space.
Sure, let the big cable companies and ISPs do what they want! What could possibly go wrong? Free market uber alles!
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul continues to evade responsibility for the ugly, deranged newsletters he sold for many years; recently he claimed that “only 8 to 10 sentences were offensive,” out of all these newsletters.
This, dear readers, is what is commonly known as “an outright lie.” And today The New Republic demonstrates just how blatant a lie, by publishing many more pages from the newsletters. Far from being taken out of context, the craziness you’ve already heard about was Ron Paul’s stock in trade; this is how he made (by some reports) millions of dollars.
The newsletters repeatedly defended and expressed support for a variety of prominent racists. The May 1990 Political Report cited Jared Taylor, a prominent eugenics advocate. The July 1994 Survival Report again cited the “criminologist Jared Taylor.”
The newsletters warned repeatedly of “race war.” The June 1990 Political Report carried an item entitled, “Race War?” which claimed that said war was on the horizon because of “the victimization mentality created by the civil rights movement, where every black failure is a white crime. If there is indeed this sort of trouble ahead, it is just another reason why every honest American should be armed.” The August 1990 Political Report claimed that “we’ve got a potential race war.” The December 1990 Investment Letter reported that “Abortion is rampant, race war is heating up, AIDS is spreading, and inflation is wiping out the middle class.”
The September 1992 edition of the Political Report wrote of a supposed spate of bank robberies this way: “Today, gangs of young blacks bust into a bank lobby firing rounds at the ceiling.” It also said that “We don’t think a child of 13 should be held as responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult, and should be treated as such.”
A January 1993 Survival Report item headlined “Poor Marge Schott!” defended the former Cincinnati Reds owner, who was “being crucified” after she referred to her own players as “million dollar niggers,” said that “sneaky goddamn Jews are all alike” and “only fruits wear earrings,” and claimed that Hitler was an initially positive force for Germany.
The March 1994 Survival Report warned of a “South African Holocaust.” It said, “Quite frankly, I cannot see how South Africa is going to escape a blood bath.” In June 1994—two months after South Africa’s first democratic election—an item headlined, “There Goes South Africa,” claimed that “Mandela is trying to appear as a moderate, and indeed he may be as the Red ANC goes.” The newsletter advocated a separate state for whites in South Africa, writing, “If everyone accepts the notion that a homeland can be created for the Palestinians, I wonder why no consideration is given by world opinion leaders to a similar situation for the whites in South Africa, as they have requested.”
Racism was not the only ugliness Ron Paul peddled; he also traded in conspiracy theories, anti-government militancy, and antisemitism:
A letter on congressional letterhead, dated August 30, 1979, from Paul thanked a Mr. Amos W. Bruce for “the copy of the article in The American Mercury and the copies of your essays. I found them all very interesting.” The American Mercury was an anti-Semitic magazine owned by Willis Carto, one of America’s most notorious holocaust deniers and the founder of The Liberty Lobby. The issue of The American Mercury Paul praised included essays entitled, “You Can’t Escape the Kosher Food Tax,” “Are You Ready for the White Man’s Doomsday,” and “Racism - Black African Style.”
Is it just a coincidence that Ron Paul’s star is rising in the Republican Party at this moment in time?
Byron York seems to believe it’s news that not all of Ron Paul’s supporters are Republicans, but come on; that’s been incredibly obvious for years. Ron Paul lives out on the fringes where extreme right and extreme left wrap around and meet.
It’s incorrect to call these people “mischief voters,” as York’s headline does, or to imply that they’re Democratic operatives trying to skew the election to help Barack Obama.
This is Ron Paul’s deeply committed base of supporters (otherwise known as “kooks”), and there’s nothing “mischievous” about them.
Starring in a pair of new films made by antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theorist James Jaeger: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Yesterday, filmmaker James Jaeger of the Jaeger Research Institute publicized the films SPOiLER: How A Third Party Could Win and Original Intent, which “exposes the historical march of Cultural Marxism.” Guests in the films include far-right notables including Pat Buchanan, Chuck Baldwin, Ted Baehr and Edwin Vieira. Original Intent and SPOiLER also include one notable guest: congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. In fact, Paul’s Campaign for Liberty is listed alongside the Jaeger Research Institute under the film’s “affiliations.”
Even a brief glance at Jaeger Research Institute’s “research” reveals that it is a fringe, conspiratorial organization. In 2003, the group published a column arguing that “Zionist Jews appear to control both parties” and that “the Zionist leadership betrayed the Jews of Europe during the Jewish holocaust.” Another writer for the Jaeger Research Institute wrote, “I find it hard to believe that there is no truth in any of the accusations of child murder leveled against Jews over the centuries.”
A reminder: the Republican Party has put Ron Paul in charge of overseeing the Federal Reserve. What could possibly go wrong?
When I was sixteen, I read the works of Ayn Rand. Specifically, I read the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which I reread several times, and some selected edited portions of her ‘philosophical works’.
The books made a large impression on me. I was a highly intelligent young man frustrated in the educational system, where I felt like I was being robbed of an education by being forced to be in class with a bunch of people who were, intelligence aside, completely unmotivated to learn.
I was annoyed by my classmates who were given cars, nice clothing, etc. by their parents when I had to work, and work hard, for a modest amount of spending money. I didn’t mind that hard work, either— I liked it, and I despised my classmates who I felt lacked work ethics.
My relationship with my parents was rocky, mainly due to my dad’s uncontrolled rage issues and I often felt that I’d be better off without them.
“I felt that I deserved to be rewarded for my intelligence”So the writings of Ayn Rand really resonated with me; the idea of breaking the world into two groups, the ones who are actually contributing, and those who are parasites and leeches. I felt that I deserved to be rewarded for my intelligence, that I deserved to be free from the petty restrictions of my parents, and, most of all, that my classmates didn’t deserve the stuff that they were provided for by their parents.
I had a history teacher that year who was also a fan of Ayn Rand, and I got along famously with him. I read a lot of the more respectable glibertarian thinkers during that time, and became very competent with the standard arguments that you’ve probably seen repeated over and over in threads on LGF and elsewhere.
I was convinced that rational self-interest should be the guiding light of civilization, government, and society, and that pure capitalism was the best mechanism to make sure this happened.
To the many obvious cases where rational self-interest had not been followed— to the Exxon Valdez spill, fraud and embezzlement, etc, I handwaved those aside with the idea that it was because the system wasn’t pure enough, that if we just got rid of government involvement and depended on the self-regulation of the market, people would rely on themselves, educate themselves, and avoid purchasing from companies that, say, polluted, or didn’t hire black workers, or refused to serve gay people.
Then I went to college, and met a wide variety of people from a diverse set of backgrounds. I was exposed to some of the great thinkers being analyzed closely in my classes. The combination of these two things— actually meeting and understanding people of a different background, and learning the tools of critical analysis of texts— led to me quite quickly dropping, ashamed, my previous glibertarian Randian stance.
By talking with those who had grown up without a father around, I realized that as much as my dad’s anger issues sucked, I never had to doubt he cared about me, I never had to doubt his constant presence, and so I didn’t have to deal with the doubt and pain that the absence of a father causes a child.
By talking to those whose parents were uneducated, I realized how amazingly advantaged I was coming from a family where my parents both held PhDs, where their circle of friends included experts and world-class scholars, and where books filled our house.
By talking to those who had come from a poor, working-class, or untravelled middle-class background— or even a privileged, wealthy background— I realized how important and valuable it was that I’d met and socialized with people from all walks of life. From my devoutly working-class machinist grandfather, to the Fromm, Gund, and Renoir families, my contacts spanned the social atmosphere. I was at home in any social situation, able— if I took the effort— to get along with nearly anyone and find common ground and a way to put them at ease.
By rereading Atlas Shrugged with the critical skills that I’d learned in classes, I quickly was able to see the gaps, the assumptions, the unproved axioms, the contradictions, the failures of logic. Mostly, her bare assumption that competence and ethical virtue are twinned was completely without merit, and the rest of her argument, once that support had been removed, fell apart. A man could easily be a brilliant inventor, a capable businessman, and ruthlessly exploitative of his workers. Walt Disney certainly was. And such a man would, in a world without perfect information, outcompete a competitor who was ‘only’ brilliant and capable.
I quickly saw that in capitalism, whoever had the edge of exploitation, whoever found an advantage that was based not in something difficult— like actually making a superb product— but in something easy and repeatable— like advertising, or making a product with a ton of pollutants as by-products, or paying your workers as little as possible and forcing them to spend money in the town that you control— would win the capitalist game, and not just win it, but ruin it.
“Capitalism, in its pure form, rewards parasitism just as the natural world does”Capitalism, in its pure form, rewards parasitism just as the natural world does. Evolution does not judge its creations on how much worth they put into the world; capitalism is a similar system. A parasitic worm that feasts on its host is an excellent organism from an evolutionary standpoint, and thrives and propogates. A cigarette manufacturer, likewise, from a capitalist standpoint, is a great thing, with a product that’s always in demand. So they thrive.
I began to notice many companies are profitable because of parasitism, even if they provide a valuable product. Coal and energy companies, though they produce something real, do not pay for the effects of their use; they don’t pay for the pollution they create. Instead, we do, in asthma, cancer, and now, global warming, which threatens to end our current phase of civilization.
I saw how in a company I worked for, how a bad manager’s decisions had little negative effect on the company’s profitability but a huge negative effect on the workers; workers sacrificed their health, their personal lives, and their own chances at career advancement in order to keep their jobs; a net loss of efficiency to the system, and yet in the short-term the profitability of the unit went up, and so he was rewarded. By the time the department fell to pieces, that manager was gone— up to the Vice Presidential level, where he was able to continue making the same bad decisions.
In the end, I came to the obvious conclusion: pure capitalism could only possibly work if everyone acting within it had access to perfect information — if you could look up in half a second every relevant fact about a company, how it treated its workers, how it polluted, how it did quality control, etc. etc. — and if everyone in the world had the knowledge and master of all subjects necessary to make judgements based on that information. However, given the value of that information, in capitalism information itself becomes a commodity, and companies do their best to hide all relevant facts about themselves other than the ones they represent for PR purposes.
And in the end, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could separate my natural talents (and why should I feel I deserved anything from my natural talents, anyway) from what I had gained through my upbringing. There was no way for me to judge the success or failure of others from afar, or to conclude that someone did not deserve my help.
“We humans are the only thing that can break away from the Darwinian cruelty of the world”In the end, I realized that we humans are the only thing that can break away from the Darwinian cruelty of the world; we can help each other, we can support each other, and we can all benefit from that. From either a selfish perspective, one of rational-self interest, or a human, empathetic, and sympathetic stance, it makes sense to provide for the destitute, to educate the ignorant, to help the sick, and to otherwise do what we can to catch those who fall through the cracks.
In the end I realized it is the best thing, too, from any perspective, to make sure that the known dangers of capitalism are safeguarded against, that we identify the practices that are exploitative, that are parasitic, that produce profit without producing wealth, and we regulate and manage companies in order to increase its efficiency by disallowing those exploits.
In the end, I realized that the power of corporations was one of the largest exploits in capitalism, that a corporation, as a legal entity, represented a power entirely different from an individual. A corporation does not fear imprisonment, shame, nor even death. A corporation does not need to live in a neighborhood, to socialize with others. Corporations have no natural checks on their behavior, and the short-term profits which the market demands of them result in not only parasitic, exploitative behavior but the legal and political machinations to defend those practices.
In the end, I realized that the only hope for humanity really was rational self-interest, but it lay not in using the crude selfishness of Randism as the barometer of that self-interest, but the true extended phenotype of sympathy; we’re all in this together, and what helps others helps me.
If you bothered to read this whole thing, thank you for your time and attention.
The hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas in 1900, with winds up to 145 mph, was the deadliest in US history. Official reports put the death toll at about 8,000, but many believe the true number was much higher. So many people were killed that it was impossible to bury them all; the stench of bodies could be smelled for miles. For weeks after the storm, funeral pyres burned as workers kept pulling decomposing corpses from the rubble.
Sounds horrific, doesn’t it?
But to Crazy Uncle Ron Paul, those were the good old days.
GILFORD, N.H. — After a lunch speech today, Ron Paul slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and said that no national response to Hurricane Irene is necessary.
“We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” Paul said. “I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.”
During the last election, it became a running joke at LGF that Ron Paul’s odd supporters would spam and skew and vote repeatedly in every Internet poll they could find, trying to boost the Crazy Uncle’s apparent popularity.
This measure of popularity is completely bogus, of course, because it’s trivially easy to vote more than once in a silly non-scientific Internet poll; usually, all you have to do is clear your browser’s cookies and bam! you can vote as many times as you can stand clicking a button. And Paulians have a level of button-clicking persistence that dwarfs the capabilities of sane people.
Well, following Monday night’s Republican debate, the Ron Paul robot army immediately launched campaigns to spam every poll they could find, because it was so incredibly successful for them in the last go-round.
The funniest post on this subject at a Ron Paul website is here: CNN Reports Ron Paul At 0% While CNN Online Poll Shows Him At 75% « RunRonPaul.com.
Blogger Trevor Lyman was outraged — outraged, I say! — because a silly Internet poll at National Journal showed Ron Paul with zero percent of the votes:
While the online poll conducted by CNN shows Ron Paul as the clear winner with 75% of the votes, CNN reporters pull a fast one by citing a lesser known poll hosted at National Journal claiming Ron Paul came in at 0%.
CNN discards their own poll in favor of another poll that shows results more to their liking.
This is overt propaganda.
But not to worry — as soon as he posted this, Paulians sprang into action:
The National Journal poll cited by CNN now shows Ron Paul in the lead with 33% of the vote.
Voila! Ron Paul is now the clear winner!
Here’s another Paulian website that provides a list of Internet polls (mixed in with ads for quack thyroid medications and crazy rants about radiation), and hey! There’s LGF! But wait, something must have gone wrong — because the landslide winner of LGF’s poll is: Barack Obama. How did that happen?
There’s no trickery involved here; LGF’s polling code uses IP addresses instead of cookies, which makes it much more difficult for the Paulians to scam. They still managed to artificially inflate their idol’s numbers, but were prevented from driving him into the lead.
Here’s another Paulian site with a list of polls: Godlike Productions: support RON PAUL vote in the DEBATE POLLS.
This one advertises itself with the slogan, “UFOs, Conspiracy Theorists, Lunatic Fringe.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.