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Paul’s challenge to progressives

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Ron Paul
Ron Paul

I’ve been pleased to see several progressives making qualified defenses of Ron Paul in the last few days, and I wanted to join in. The most important point about Ron Paul’s campaign from a progressive standpoint is that it might politicize the militant American policy in the Middle East. Americans will get to argue this openly. That is why the Washington Post is slamming Paul–it doesn’t want that to happen. That is why the New York Times has conflated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and white supremacism–to marginalize Ron Paul’s ideas. 

Imagine for a moment that Ron Paul is not there. And that Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum, or Michele Bachmann, gets the Republican nomination and it’s him/her against Barack Obama. Who is going to be framing an antiwar position? None of them. Obama’s big donors are pushing an attack on Iran and Romney’s Super Pac is pushing the same and Santorum and Bachmann’s Christian Zionist friends are pushing war.

Ron Paul represents the opportunity to push an antiwar agenda inside the center-ring political system. His candidacy might actually force Romney and Obama into more antiwar positions. If he disappears, that prospect all but vanishes. An attack on Iran might actually be in the balance. On the other hand, if he sticks around, we might have a presidential debate in which candidates openly dispute aid to Israel, an attack on Iran, and what Paul has called apartheid conditions on the West Bank, with honesty no other candidate is capable of.

If you care about the antiwar issue, joining with Ron Paul is like seculars joining with the Muslim Brothers to get rid of Mubarak. You needed a broad coalition to push Hosni out. In the end, that coalition did the impossible; it moved Obama. Obama wouldn’t have jumped in if not for Tahrir. He needed political cover, and a popular coalition gave it to him.

But what if leftwing secular social-media types had stood around Tahrir Square asking the smart question, Hey what do these folks– Muslim Brothers and Salafis– want to do with the role of women in politics? They would never have gotten rid of Mubarak.

Similarly, if progressives fasten on the fact that Ron Paul published racism in his newsletters in the 1990s and has never come clean on this– all true–they will lack the political power to take on the antiwar agenda. Occupy Wall Street is way more timid on the antiwar issue than Ron Paul. (The other day a commenter on this site said that OWS has vacillated on the Iran sanctions issue. If this is true, it’s shocking.)

There is a larger political challenge to progressives in Paul’s movement. He has a populist movement behind him that seems to have a couple of good ideas. Can progressives engage populists? What class and cultural divides stop us from doing so? Is this a blue-state/red-state issue, or a working and middle class issue? And what is the public-square role of progressives? Are we only in Zuccotti Park? Are we so intolerant of American political processes that we will refuse to engage, holding our nose or not, to try and shift a popular movement? I’m not telling progressives to engage with social conservatives or Tea Partiers– but Ron Paul has embraced the great Bradley Manning and denounced the Patriot Act.

And if you deny the importance of red state populism, then what is the progressive political program? With our books and our websites, are we just elites staking out righteous positions and not dealing with the vast ignorance of the American people on any number of issues? In that sense, the question of engaging with Ron Paul is the question of whether you believe in the messy business of American politics, in organizing the kind of people who may have to go serve in those awful wars, in bands of public opinion that you can either loftily disdain, or hear out.

Go back to Tahrir for a minute. The privileged seculars with whom I identify are a tiny minority. They teamed up with many intolerant people in order to revolutionize the political order. And let’s be clear: This is the nature of Egyptian society; as James North wrote in his very respectful piece here last week, Egypt is socially conservative. But Tahrir seems to have transformed the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brothers worked closely with the seculars, and are surely evolving, socially. Alas, Salafis are a whole other story. In Tunisia the same division among Islamists is taking place; and the seculars know they must be engaged with these folks.

This election year campaign is the American equivalent of Tahrir. We don’t have revolutions, we have elections. And this is our chance to push the antiwar issue–by sharing spaces with people who may be objectionable in other ways.

One way Paul is unbearable is his whiteness. His movement seems almost entirely white, and there is the white racism in his past. But these are not skinheads. And the issue is: Can progressives engage these people? Can they learn anything from Paul’s radical economic agenda? And while you are judging that racism, look at the role of Zionism in progressive communities. The casually-racist statements about Arabs that are absolutely routine in my community. “Arabs and other animals”– chapter title, Erica Jong’s bestseller, Fear of Flying.

Or look at this: Obama campaigns with Eric Yoffie, who doesn’t want “too many Arabs” in Israel. Yoffie didn’t say that in the ’90s. He says it now, all the time. And Obama goes happily to AIPAC, which all but sponsors ethnic cleansing.

You say promoting Paul is dangerous. Here is my insurance policy. Ron Paul will not win. He can’t. Our society is so constituted that if the media elites don’t get him, the mainstream voters will. He’s too eccentric. “Erratic,” as the CSPAN callers like to say. His economic positions (not his foreign policy positions) are the ones that are way outside the mainstream. He won’t win. In the meantime, the further he goes the more he will politicize foreign-policy issues. Myself, I will almost certainly follow Tony Kushner’s imperative at the Nation Institute gala last month, to support Barack Obama. I’m going to have to hold my nose to do that. In other years I’ve voted for Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson; but I don’t think I’ll have that option this year.

Obama will be a better policymaker the longer Ron Paul is in the process. Paul will actually give Obama more political capital to take on the warmongers and neoconservatives by raising consciousness on these issues. I don’t want Ron Paul’s foreign-policy ideas to be in the margins of political life, I want them in the mainstream. That is what he represents.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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221 Responses

  1. stopaipac on January 3, 2012, 11:43 am

    “white racism in his past” um… you mean the past week? that would be more accurate. After all, Ron Paul and his supporters are out supporting restrictive elections laws that will disenfranchise millions of voters. Especially people of color. and with Ron Paul, say good-bye to federal enforcement of civil rights laws. or sexual harassment laws. or labor laws. States Rights!!

    But this is not a crusade to overthrow a dictator. this is a crusade to elect a right-wing extremist. I am not joining. The message that will be sent to america by voting for the Bircher may not be what you want, Phil.

    My last post on Paul. I think my belated New Year’s resolution is to ignore this site. I am sure there are many others who have already made the same decision. But maybe Don Black will recruit new supporters for you Phil.

    • ish on January 3, 2012, 12:20 pm

      The daily peans to Ron Paul here are very very disappointing.

      At least in 2008 the mistaken hopes were placed in the basket of somebody who claimed to be progressive. Now we’re going to put our hopes in an extreme right-wing crackpot? That’s called doubling-down on a bad bet.

      Marching together in Tahrir, great idea, a lesson for the American movement. Voting for Salafists, not so much.

      • dahoit on January 3, 2012, 1:22 pm

        But voting for Likudists is perfectly OK right?The only reason these conservative Muslim movements exist in great numbers today is because of our policies that encourage the people of said countries to support the only nationalist movement unconnected with American NGOs of divide and conquer.It’s all self generated and self defeating,but what can you expect of poison ivy league miseducated hypocrites of idiotic horsemanure,who actually believe in their magnificence,as gods,belied by their total lack of morality,and that their policies have increased the misery of the minority populations is unmentioned by those who call the good doctor the racist.

      • DICKERSON3870 on January 3, 2012, 4:47 pm

        RE: “The only reason these conservative Muslim movements exist in great numbers today is because of our policies…” ~ dahoit

        ALSO SEE: How Israel Empowers Islamist Movements, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 12/30/11

        (excerpt) If Islamist movements come to power all over the region, they should express their debt of gratitude to their bete noire, Israel.
        Without the active or passive help of successive Israeli governments, they may not have been able to realize their dreams.
        That is true in Gaza, in Beirut, in Cairo and even in Tehran.
        LET’S TAKE the example of Hamas…

        CONTINUED AT –

      • DICKERSON3870 on January 3, 2012, 5:02 pm

        RE: “The only reason these conservative Muslim movements exist in great numbers today is because of our policies…” ~ dahoit

        ALSO SEE: The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11 (Martin A. Lee – Razor Magazine 2004)

        (excerpts) The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East…
        . . . For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and therefore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In “Sleeping with the Devil”, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA, Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”.
        This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended…


    • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 12:57 pm


      Barack Obama’s policies on foreign affairs and civil liberties have been much more “right-wing” than Ron Paul’s. And neocons are much more dangerous than Birchers: they are trying to drive the United States into a global holy war against more than a billion Muslims on behalf of Greater Israel that would leave the American economy and its democratic traditions in ruins. Do the simple political math.

      • ish on January 3, 2012, 2:04 pm

        Are those your only choices?

      • annie on January 3, 2012, 2:43 pm

        ish, do you believe this:

        they are trying to drive the United States into a global holy war against more than a billion Muslims on behalf of Greater Israel that would leave the American economy and its democratic traditions in ruins.

        for people who do, wrt the neocons, and if those people self identify more as global citizens vs american citizens then they might feel a moral imperative to stop this more than considering domestic issues, which are more in the purview of congress vs a prez anyway.

        also, i don’t believe the majority of jewish and/or secular neocons are really afraid of muslims taking over the world. i think they use this as a rationale the way fear of communism was ramped up during the cold war. but i think christian zionists very much believe in a holy war. there are people, such as myself who fear bombing iran could bring on a nuclear war and threaten mankind. sorry to be so alarmist but in this age of weapons proliferation the next war in the ME could be much more dangerous than what we’ve seen thus far.

        so i what like to ask you wrt your question, what other choices/alternatives might you be suggesting in this election cycle to stop this impending doom hanging over our ME foreign policy? a name perhaps. a candidate?

    • kalithea on January 3, 2012, 4:31 pm

      I suggest you don’t speak for “many” others, because I doubt many others are motivated by your level of vindictiveness regarding this issue which is baffling given your “stopaipac” moniker.

      “But maybe Don Black will recruit new supporters for you Phil.”

      Now this statement is without a doubt what I meant by “chaff”. Again, considering the “human urgency” that motivates the activism expressed here your comment is truly baffling. At best, it’s a parting cheap shot on the lowest level.

    • stevieb on January 5, 2012, 11:58 am

      I’m wondering what you are refering too when you describe Paul as “a right-wing extremists” – and/or compared to whom?

      My opinion is you don’t understand the problems that America is facing.

  2. annie on January 3, 2012, 11:52 am

    If he sticks around, we might actually have a presidential debate in which candidates openly dispute aid to Israel and an attack on Iran and what Paul has called apartheid conditions on the West Bank, an honesty no other candidate is capable of.

    and the lobby. we have got to have an american conversation about the israel lobby. that 100-0 vote. they’ve got a grip on our politicians that will doom this country if it isn’t broken.

  3. seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 11:58 am


    I love you, man. :) You’ve put forth this compelling argument better than anyone else on the planet — including Glenn Greenwald.

    If Ron Paul is knocked out of the race, we are almost certainly looking at an Iran War and a worse financial crisis than the Great Depression. Ron Paul offers an opportunity to push debate about endless neocon wars and attacks on civil liberties into the political mainstream, where they very much need to be if the United States is going to survive as a successful and prosperous democratic nation. If we go down the wrong road at this critical juncture of American history we are going to end up as a bankrupt police state and military dictatorship — basically a banana republic under the thumb of the few hundred neoconservative billionaires who currently control both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

    Obama supporters especially should be celebrating every Ron Paul success. If Ron Paul manages crack open the Republican Party at its center on the issues of war and civil liberties, much of the relentless pressure by Republicans on Obama to hew to the neoconservative line will evaporate. Obama may discover some room to breathe and recover his progressive values and direction. Ron Paul is Barack Obama’s best hope to be reelected and to fulfill the promises he made back in 2008.

    • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 12:25 pm

      And an important footnote: if Ron Paul by some strange concatenation of circumstances manages to score a 99-yard touchdown through a thicket of defenders — drive all the way into the White House (highly unlikely), I would fight him tooth and nail on many issues — especially the environment.

      Here is my ideal scenario: Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination or runs a successful third party campaign that rocks the Republican Party to its core. Barack Obama wins the election and uses the space opened up by Ron Paul to get back on track in pushing the progressive policies he espoused in 2008.

      • Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 1:04 pm

        “Obama wins the election and uses the space opened up by Ron Paul to get back on track in pushing the progressive policies he espoused in 2008.”

        Where are the Uni-corns? I want unicorns… least some fairy star dust, c’mon mcbride! :)

      • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 1:16 pm


        I know, I know. My sense of who Obama is keeps oscillating between two images: 1. He is a good guy who has been beaten down and shackled by the neocon moneybags who own and run the Democratic Party. We need to help set him free. 2. He is a manipulative power-hungry sociopath who has run a con game on the American people from day one. The better part of me wishes to believe that the first scenario is the case. And I am reading an embittered vibe from him — he really resents that he been boxed in and humiliated by Netanyahu operatives in American politics.

      • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 1:46 pm

        I want to believe this.

      • Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 2:03 pm

        Don’t get me wrong, I definitely understand where you and a lot of other folks are coming from – but I gotta go with the latter (#2). The guy had carte blanche, a mandate like few presidents have ever had – I have to think that he knew this, so I take his administrations actions as voluntary.

        I think foreign policy gives us the best indication of what kind of person a president is, because they have so much latitude – and in foreign policy/defense matters, he’s right up there with woodrow wilson for despotism. I mean sht, Bush woud put you in a secret prison somewhere, maybe torture you a bit; Barry just kills you! And then kills your family! (awlaki) This has to tell us something about the guy, I think…….

      • seafoid on January 3, 2012, 2:32 pm

        I would prefer ponies

      • LanceThruster on January 3, 2012, 2:50 pm

        Dan @ January 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

        I know what you mean. Shrubya claimed a mandate and bulldozed all sorts of nonsense through (with thanks to the help of Dems and their expected spimelessness), yet Obama actually had pretty extensive (comparatively) liberal and progressive support but instead opted for the bi-partisan rainbow brigde as he tried to compromise with the GOP where-in he gave up way too much up front and got little or nothing in return. I’m jaded enough to think that that’s the way the other corporate party wanted it (as they claim all the while that their hands were tied and that’s as good a deal as they were going to get).

        Sidenote – since a filibuster can be implimented by just reading a phone book or reciting poetry or whatever, wouldn’t it be nice to use the opportunity to actually make a detailed credible case for one of the many issues in Congress not given any time of the floor to be heard?

        Seems like you could get your way just by bringing attention to things that the other side would rather not even have see the light of day.

      • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 4:35 pm

        I worked my ever loving –s off as so many did to win Dem seats in both houses. Some of us sold our souls for a few years getting the Dems the majority. (I worked for Zack Space in the district right next to ours) They and Obama pissed it away. How does that go “never again”

    • dahoit on January 3, 2012, 1:40 pm

      And who will crack the Democratic party of its issues of war and civil liberties?And no way in hell is this feather in the Ziowind going to ever enact policies his Wall Street college roommates agenda of neocapitalism,war and Israel, object to.The guy was elected on an antiwar platform and he has turned into the most untrustworthy figure in American political history,and you might still vote for him?C’mon,man!
      Didn’t that alleged liberal,Carl Levin co-author the latest assault on freedom?With that traitor idiot McCain?
      Why does everybody think Dr.Paul,with his wisdom on international problems,is incapable of protecting the environment,and that he would be underhanded,when his track record of honesty is blemish free,no matter what the enemies of the American people spew?A honest and smart man would never ever let our environment be degraded like it has been by our political corporate boondoggles of recent times,as per gulf oil spills and fracking which are destroying our water supplies as we speak.

  4. Mooser on January 3, 2012, 12:10 pm

    Why would Ron Paul fulfill the hopes I might graft on to him any more than Obama did?
    It’s always easy to grow tremendous hopes out of politicians in the areas in which they have not had any power before. What on earth about Ron Paul tells me that if he becomes President, he won’t see the world in the same way he sees the US?
    And besides, really, the nutty son doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    Why would Ron Paul treat foreign policy any different that those newsletters he gave his unwavering attention and deep thought to?

    • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 12:29 pm


      We’ve got to start *somewhere* to turn things around. At least get a debate going in mainstream American politics about endless neoconservative wars and attacks on civil liberties. Then let’s see what happens. We need to change the current dynamic. Ron Paul offers the best opportunity to achieve that objective. The alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.

      • Mooser on January 3, 2012, 1:38 pm

        The only thing that will “turn around” with Ron Paul is Ron Paul, as he whirls in ever-narrowing circles. He will be as easily convinced of the necessity of foreign wars as he is of the need to eliminate civil-rights laws.

      • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 1:50 pm


        You are not responding to the argument being made. It is unlikely that Ron Paul will become president but he is capable of opening up an important debate about policies that should be of urgent concern for progressives. Why is this argument so difficult to grasp? Do you play chess or tic-tac-toe?

      • ish on January 3, 2012, 2:06 pm

        What damage does Ron Paul do to the debate when “our” side of the argument becomes associated with rightwing crackpots like Paul?

      • American on January 3, 2012, 3:31 pm

        What is our side of the argument? Do you mean not going to war again and /or the Israel issue?

        I don’t see that Paul does any ‘damage’ to either of those, quit the opposite.
        Do you a single other candidate saying no war and treat Israel without favortism?
        Neither of those are ‘crackpot’ ideas.
        No you don’t, not a single one…most of them are promising they will bomb Iran for Israel….THAT is crackpot.

      • Chaos4700 on January 3, 2012, 9:33 pm

        What more damage can Progressives possibly suffer? Our movement is essentially dead.

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 2:22 am

        “What more damage can Progressives possibly suffer? Our movement is essentially dead.”

        It may be endangered, but not quite dead yet. But you can thank Obama ’cause he’s the one that’s killing it.

      • Kathleen on January 4, 2012, 9:01 am

        Rep Paul has all ready opened up the debate but the candidates, and OBama shut him down. I hope folks give Paul a donation…keep him in the running..keep that debate rolling. It is all we have right now because the US congress, Obama, the MSM have been rolling with the bad bad bad Iran agenda

    • MarkF on January 3, 2012, 1:23 pm

      “Why would Ron Paul treat foreign policy any different that those newsletters he gave his unwavering attention and deep thought to?”

      We’re just sprayin’ and prayin’. He’s the only anti-war guy that’s been able to raise the cash and get attention. Short of getting 100 lb. neocons into death-cage matches, we got nothin’. Besides, he’s kinda sexy in the pictures Phil uses….

    • dahoit on January 3, 2012, 1:48 pm

      What,the comments about welfare and riots spoken privately by every white person in history(sometimes seriously,sometimes in jest),despite their avowals of purity of soul and spirit?Please,give me a break.Maybe that great humanitarian Michael Richards of witty liberal Seinfeld infamy can enlighten you.
      Woodmere NY,a(alleged) liberal bastion,has about twenty black people living there,all maids.The rest of the maids go back to the ghetto at sunset,along with the Latino landscrapers.Same with Scarsdale,same with just about any upscale northern suburb,where the majority is white.Hypocrites with nice words but not so nice policies.

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 2:17 am

      For God’s sakes! The man has a record! He voted NO to Iraq, NO to the Patriot Act, NO to FISA, he called the latest defense budget “a slip into tyranny” and refused to vote on it. He votes no to foreign funding. WHAT MORE PROOF DO YOU NEED! He’s voting against his own party on these issues. That’s risky for someone who intends to run for President. Sheesh!

      • Kathleen on January 4, 2012, 9:02 am


  5. James North on January 3, 2012, 12:15 pm

    I agree with Phil’s analysis. Ron Paul is not going to be president. I don’t want Ron Paul to be president. I do want Ron Paul to continue to raise issues no other candidate will touch.
    What has particularly impressed me recently is that reports from Iowa say many military veterans turn out at Ron Paul rallies, and are among his volunteers. Our country sent these people into war zones for multiple tours and now we are forgetting about them — or worse, considering sending them into another conflict with Iran.
    At the very least, Ron Paul’s campaign continues to question this evil and dangerous warmongering. I’m considering sending him a campaign contribution.

  6. Danaa on January 3, 2012, 12:37 pm

    Excellent exposition, Phil. Reflects my own position to a Tee.

    One more reason BTW Paul cannot be elected – his age. He is pushing late seventies, and is bound to slow down, and has some already.

    I really like the comparison with Tahrir square – the necessary alliance between seculars and brotherhood muslims. Which did not bring seculars to power (not enough liberals in Egypt for that) but served to moderate the brotherhood, as you said. Splitting off in the process the more extreme Salafis. Grand alliances are dynamic. Sometimes they are about the enemies of my enemies. Sometimes they force people to revisit their own cherished notions and learn to process that there are other viewpoints, other lifestyles. And that’s what democracy is really all about. Something that America seems to be moving away from.

    Especially liked your take on the elitist segment embedded well in the center of the progressive movements. These elites are, in large part, composed of throughly Jewish and philo-semitic elements. Though they wax poetic on the plight of the “middle class”, and the 99%, all too often these people turn out to have no clue about rural America, the challenges faced by farmers, small business owners and blue collar workers whose ranks supply the vast majority of the soldiers who fight the Empire’s wars. How many Jewish soldiers do any of us know? me – none. But I do know many families who contributed flesh and blood to the military. And opinions from these quarters are surprisingly varied and not without nuance. There must be a reason that Ron Paul is the most popular candidate among enlisted men. And it’s not because they don’t know about his anti-empire views. It’s because they do.

    Indeed many of these soldiers are black and other minorities. So paul the secret racist is not what bothers them (being minorities they know just about most white people are, one way or another). It’s that they have far more fundamental concerns – those that have to do with being human and an American.

    Parts of the “progressive” elite – the well-educated and soon, if not already, well-to-do – would have us all believe that it’s all about gay rights and abortion rights and illegal immigrant rights and school prayers and god and evolution. But the American reality is that most of these issues – while not unimportant to those who have a stake in them – affect only some of us (can quibble about the percentage). But the wars and imperial power projection affect all of us, because they are bankrupting our country, as they fill up the coffers of the well-placed and not very well-intentioned. In the past, I found myself able to come to some meeting of the minds with climate change “deniers’, god-fearing America-loving types and/or libertarians far more easily than with the war-mongering, inner- neocon-channeling firebrands or the fence-sitting, equivocating, social-agenda promoting members of the ultra-educated classes.

    Since few of us overlap perfectly with any one party’s agenda, it is usually a matter of choosing the highest priority, larger overlap areas in deciding who to support. Sometimes evangelists have to hold their noses in voting for Romney – they know what he is not. At this point, progressive agnostic that I am, I find more in common with Ron Paul than with Obama. Of course, that’s unfair because I did rather like Obama the candidate, and who knows what Paul would be like once the corporate state gets its teeth into him – shouldhe by some miracle actually get elected to an office. But that’s where the battle lines are drawn and right now Paul (like Nader before on the left side) is the only one who dares take on the plutocratic empire peddlers. And for me – as for others here – that trumps other considerations.

    • Kathleen on January 4, 2012, 9:07 am

      So clear and on target. “The progressive elites” The Pep’s like Wasserman Schultz, Pelosi, Sherrod Brown. Draw the lines.

      Ron Paul is our only hope to keep the Race for Iran based on false claims and the Israeli Palestinian conflict in the debates

  7. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 12:50 pm

    “Ron Paul represents the opportunity to push an antiwar agenda inside the center-ring political system. His candidacy might actually force Romney and Obama into more antiwar positions. If he disappears, that prospect all but vanishes. An attack on Iran might actually be in the balance. If he sticks around, we might actually have a presidential debate in which candidates openly dispute aid to Israel and an attack on Iran and what Paul has called apartheid conditions on the West Bank, an honesty no other candidate is capable of.”

    Paul’s stance on foreign policy separates him from the rest of the Republican field as well as from the Obama administration. Paul has to stay in the field for these issues to be part of the discussion. Throw him a few bucks

    Former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit has two great pieces up about Paul and those who want him gone
    Fearing the Constitution’s return, the Washington Post launches a panicky, sophomoric attack on Dr. Paul
    By mike | Published: January 3, 2012

    Iowa’s Choice: Dr. Paul or U.S. bankruptcy, more wars, and many more dead soldiers and Marines
    By mike | Published: December 31, 2011

  8. Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 12:56 pm

    “His candidacy might actually force Romney and Obama into more antiwar positions.”

    So, we should just demand that candidates say what we want….I thought this was already the case. By making this statement, you admit these clowns are full of sht, yet you still would”hold your nose” and support- not merely vote for- but support O. Not really a moral position, is it Phil?

    Why is is shocking that Occupy has vascillated on Iran Sanctions? We got cats like Dan Siedarski running around and pro israel groups claiming to be a part of the “cadre of leadership” – what has occupy NOT been timid on?

    The reason why Paul populists dont make sense to “progressives” is that they are coming at this from an anti-authoritarian view, which is just radically opposed to modern day “progressivism” which calls for massive state intervention instead of organic organizing to cure the ills of society. That’s why its always a “we need the government to do….” argument. Progressives defend state power – Ron Ron supporters don’t.

    Modern progressives, faced with Ron Ron supporters, really just have nothing to say. The classical liberal tradition of anti-authoritarianism has been taken over by defenders of capital, the “libertarians” have outflanked them, pure and simple. The working class wants to hear how it can become free from the “fetters of bourgeois monopoly” – the progressives offer a reform, Paul offers an “expropriation” – what do you think resonates more? Now, we can argue that his “expropriation” is not in the best interests of the working class, but it can’t be understated that he wants to do away with part of the system progressives are intent on defending.

    Simply put – the only “left”alternatives to Paul are non capitalist alternatives. Is this on the “progressives” agenda? Hardly. Im rooting for Paul, because I think he offers the best hope of the “left” moving past a system of “pleading” with the state and capital to “help people out” – its time to move past criticizing the conditions of appropriation and move onto criticizing the methods of appropriation – to do that, you can’t be out there talking about “how the government can help people” – and in this sense, it is a class thing, Phil is right. Progressives want to “help” while making a good living – this antagonism becomes more evident with someone like Paul around.

    There is no evidence what so ever that anything or anyone will make Barack Obama a better policy maker. Time to let go, Phil

    • Danaa on January 3, 2012, 5:33 pm

      Dan, I like your take on this, you make some good points to counter Lizzy Ratner, who said below:

      “My argument is that we, as progressives, can and should hope for more than a candidate who will build freedom for some on the backs of others.”

      I have no idea where she is coming from because that is not what Paul says. In truth, the libertarian platform is a bit naive in promising COMPLETE freedom for everyone, which of course, most of us know is not how things tend to pan out. But things also won’t pan out Rattner’s way, which involve a suddenly materialized “better” government capable of enforcing purity of intent and justice for all. Extreme progressives, like extreme libertarians, are equally guilty of utopianism, but at least the libertarian wing managed to brandish a candidate – from right beneath the Republican tent – whereas the progressives haven’t managed to even do this much from within the democratic party ranks. So which is the bigger tent? and why is it that Republicans tolerated someone like Paul so much better than the democrats tolerated actual progressives, like, say Kucinich?

      Regardless of where exactly one stands with regard to Paul’s candidacy, it is very sad to see someone like Ratner fighting tooth and nail on the side of the worst Washington Post neocons, which has been going ape-shit on Ron paul for days now. Just check out Richard Cohen’s column today where he effectively brands Paul as an anti-semite. Then add the TomTom drum rolls from the NYT, and what can we conclude? perhaps the obvious for a change?

      • MatthewArnold on January 4, 2012, 11:56 am

        Freedom! Right. By which you mean, I guess, that if you have the misfortune to be born into the working class, you have COMPLETE FREEDOM to die in a ditch should your flu progress into pneumonia, because you’ll have COMPLETE FREEDOM from health insurance, and your Galtian economic betters will have COMPLETE FREEDOM to amass ginormous fortunes off your labor.

        Sorry to snark, but look, libertarianism is conservatism without the charm. I know many Paulites are college-age people who like that he’s pro-pot legalization and anti-war, but Ron Paul is not only of the proto-Bircher black helicopters wing of the Republican Party, he’s an unalloyed Randian who believes that the law of the land should be the law of the jungle. That’s what libertarians believe. Get government out of the way, may the strong survive and the poor just die already, praise Ayn and pass the tax cuts.

        It is morally abhorrent that people who care about other people (or, for that matter, themselves if they aren’t too big to fail) would consider supporting such an amoral character — even as a short-term tactical move. Really shameful.

      • annie on January 4, 2012, 12:12 pm

        we have the freedom to die in a ditch right now matthew, we don’t need RP for that.and our galtian economic betters already have complete freedom to amass ginormous fortunes off our labor. don’t they? heck we could keep those freedpms without killing lots of muslims and saving trillions in the ME.

      • MatthewArnold on January 4, 2012, 1:48 pm

        Well, Ron Paul wants to embiggen those particular freedoms by a lot, while curtailing other freedoms — like, say, the freedom of nonwhites to vote, or women’s freedom from discrimination, which he sees as matters for the states.

        And hey, setting these sorts of domestic policy issues aside, do you really believe that just because a pseudo-neo-isolationist rightwinger REPRESENTING THE PARTY OF FULL-FLAVORED, UNFILTERED, 100-PROOF MILITARISM AND IMPERIALISM (as opposed to the ‘Lite’ version) somehow makes it to the playoffs by riding the scruff of some college white boys’ goatees, the whole of the military industrial complex and the defense/intelligence/freedom fries wing of the permanent establishment is going to keel over en masse and surrender?

  9. dahoit on January 3, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Sorry,insular predictions by alleged progressives who will end up voting for a non progressive(Obomba) over the one guy who can end the WOT is funny,sorry.As an American who realizes that progressive policies will not be forthcoming from our reactionary political class of both parties who have destroyed the tax base from which such funds are derived by outsourcing and emasculation of industry of goods and not weaponry,and the realization that all these championed governmental agencies to protect our environment,drug safety,jobs,energy have all been transformed into cash cows for corporate greed,while actually doing nada for said purposes,should wake one up to the absolute futility to supporting poison ivy league traitors of idiocy.
    And if calling Dr.Paul unelectable floats your boat,go ahead,but hopefully all the people whose lives have been worsened by said traitor criminals,will think otherwise.

  10. MarkF on January 3, 2012, 1:16 pm

    Look, the guy has some serious absolutist libertarian views, but four years ago he was on Meet The Press, and Russert got Paul into a masterbateriuous conversation about the civil war and how we could have ended it without 500,000 Americans dead, etc.

    The guy said something that stuck. He said, “look, end the empire and you don’t have to put anyone out on the streets”. He said he knew he couldn’t end social security, and the safety nets in place, but if we stopped bouncing all over the world blowing up countries we could stop people from wanting to blow us up and we could pay for our domestic programs.

    Sounds like a pretty good compromise to me.

    • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 1:48 pm

      He makes a lot of sense. And he knows he will never occupy the White House

  11. Lizzy Ratner on January 3, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Phil, it’s one thing to march alongside the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow a dictator, it’s another thing to empower the Brotherhood — or even put them into actual power.

    Moreover, Ron Paul’s offenses go way beyond the racist newsletters. They include (but are hardly limited to) an extremist privatization credo that would shred this country’s already-compromised safety-net, from Medicaid and Medicare, to Food Stamps, Public Assistance, and Social Security; a hatred of any form of labor protection (from OSHA-based protections to sexual harassment and racial discrimination protections, because he doesn’t believe harassment and discrimination exist and, hey, can’t workers just change jobs?); a close-the-borders and kick-out-the-illegals nativism; a deep disdain for the separation of church and state; a love affair with ICBMs and other nucs; opposition to the Civil Rights Act and the “forced integration” that came with it; an anti-scientific, anti-environmentalism that would give unchecked power to oil companies (oil companies!), refineries, and other polluters and pillagers; a deep-seated anti-choice ethos (he has called ending abortion the “most important issue” out there); and a radical free-market corporatism that would give new meaning to the words “economic imperialism.” And, mind you, corporate/economic imperialism causes EXTREME misery for literally billions of people around the world and, given the resource fights that are behind most wars, won’t exactly lead to more peace.

    So while Paul’s foreign policy program is undeniably thrilling, and I’m all for marching alongside it (though not behind it), I would ask — no, beg — that you at least temper your man-crush with a dose of honesty and skepticism about the rest of his positions.

    • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 1:34 pm


      Ron Paul has no chance of rolling back basic entitlements and civil rights legislation. But he does have the ability to open up an important debate in mainstream American politics about bankrupting neoconservative wars and the neocon drive to impose a Soviet-style police state on Americans.

      If the neocons manage to push Obama or Romney into a war against Iran, the US government will be unable to fund many of its current domestic social programs in any case. Kiss many of your splendid progressive dreams goodbye.

      That is how I do the political math. What am I getting wrong?

      • yourstruly on January 3, 2012, 2:32 pm

        not to mention what’s left of our human rights

      • Chaos4700 on January 3, 2012, 9:38 pm

        The way I see it, either way we lose our entitlements. Obama was willing to put even those on the chopping block to negotiate a deal with Republicans, remember?

    • Mooser on January 3, 2012, 1:42 pm

      Ms. Ratner nails it. It’s a pity she has to expend so many well-spoken, well put together words on a guy who should be dismissed with a ROTFL.

      • Scott on January 3, 2012, 1:49 pm

        Well, the words may be well put together, but in a few areas they are not accurate. To mention one, Paul is considered pretty weak by immigration restrictionists, (compared to others in the field) who regret being able to find nary a breath of nativism in his campaign.

      • Scott on January 3, 2012, 1:58 pm

        I understand the wariness about associations– it’s always a dilemma in politics. But does Ms. Ratner not feel some queasiness about joining David Frum and all the other warmongers in the “let’s smash Ron Paul lest his views get any kind of hearing during the election season” campaign? Of course she finds his foreign policy views “thrilling” –but still does her best to ensure they remain unheard.

    • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 1:45 pm


      A few items you failed to mention and factor into your analysis:

      1. Afghan War
      2. Afpak War
      3. AIPAC
      4. assassinations of Americans
      5. Christian Zionists
      6. Clash of Civilizations
      7. Global War on Terror
      8. Greater Israel
      9. Iran War
      10. Iraq War
      11. Islamophobia
      12. Likud
      13. NDAA
      14. neoconservative billionaires
      15. SOPA
      16. torture
      17. total surveillance state
      18. US budget deficit
      19. Wall Street predators and crooks
      20. warrantless wiretaps

      Talk about an elephant in the room.

      • Lizzy Ratner on January 3, 2012, 2:41 pm


        I think you’re assuming that I’m defending — or even supporting — Obama and his crew. I’m not. In fact, unlike Phil, I will not be voting for Obama, and I will not be voting for him because of all the reasons you listed, as well as his failure and betrayals on a large number of domestic social justice issues. So to clarify: all I am doing is asking progressive Ron Paul supporters to keep it real, to temper their love with recognition of some of the glaring flaws in parts of his agenda.

      • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 3:01 pm


        I hear you, and I understood that you find Obama to be intolerable, as do I. (I got on the Obama bandwagon very early on in the last election — well before most Democrats and liberals — and feel like I’ve been hoodwinked, played for a fool.)

        How about Jill Stein? I don’t know much about her yet, but what I’ve seen so far I like. But she won’t be a significant factor in the current election.

        Regarding Ron Paul: I am well aware of the precipitous downside and dangers. I am pretty much throwing the dice in desperation to shake things up. I don’t see any other good moves on the board.

      • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 4:43 pm

        From what I read above is that Phil is basically saying keep Paul in the race to keep some of the focus on US aggressive and lop sided foreign policy partially driven by Israel and the I lobby. Because if Paul goes that debate stops.

      • on January 3, 2012, 6:45 pm

        point taken, Lizzy, now I request that you take a reality check as well.

        You opened your comment with “Phil, it’s one thing to march alongside the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow a dictator, it’s another thing to empower the Brotherhood — or even put them into actual power.”

        why should it be a problem for you or anyone if Muslim Brotherhood gains power; isn’t that the essence of democracy — that the people who are to be ruled choose those who will rule them?

        Now here’s where I’m walking on thin ice: That notion, that other — American exceptionalists or Jewish chosen people — are better able to decide who should rule other sovereign peoples and how they should rule — is at the core of the trouble that Americans — and Jews — get into in other states/nations. Amos Elon alluded to it in a self-reflective fashion as pertaining to Jewish life in Germany in “The Pity of It All.” In “The Twisted Road to Auschwitz,” Karl Schleunes was far more arrogant, and far more specific, in discussing how stupid German volk were “incapable” of adapting to “modern industrialization” and a new form of government post-unification, and foolishly resisted the actions of their betters, Jews, who were instrumental in creating Weimar. Samuel Untermyer trumped them all when he led a boycott on Germans and told a crowd at Madison Square Garden that, essentially, Germans were barbarians and Jews were Germany’s “aristocrats” who had brought culture and industry to Germany. Does not sit well with proud and hard-working people, especially if self-same Untermyer is simultaneously starving Germans.

        That. attitude. has. got. to. change.
        Neither Americans nor Jews are exceptional nor accepted universally as god’s chosen moral and intellectual arbiters.

        The essence of democracy is self-determination, it is NOT the extent to which a subject state complies with the wishes of a hegemon.

      • Chaos4700 on January 3, 2012, 9:39 pm

        So who exactly do you plan on voting for, Ms. Ratner? EDIT: Scratch that, to be fair, you did answer that down in a new thread.

      • Bruce Wolman on January 4, 2012, 12:34 am

        @teta mother

        You are not on thin ice, you are wallowing in deep shit. You need a very serious reality check of your own, as in maybe you should research your potted rendition of history.

        While Untermeyer was calling for a boycott of Hitler’s government and economy in those 1933 Madison Square rallies, the Nazis were running around killing and terrorizing German Jews, vandalizing and coercing boycotts of their businesses, and ordering the removal of Jews from the German professions. The boycott calls were a reaction to the appointment of the Hitler government and the Nazi depredations, not the cause. The problem was not hard-working Germans, it was unemployed Germans. That could be traced to the WWI reparations demanded by the Allies and the global depression, not the Jews.

        Millions of trade unionists and Christian organizations in Europe and the US supported the call for boycott. In light of Hitler’s genocidal intentions and maniacal attitude towards the Jews, evident from his first days in office, it is quite tragic that the boycott movement did not succeed. The reasons for that are another story.

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 2:47 am

        You asked Ron Paul supporters…? OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. ONCE IS ENOUGH. And it’s condescending as hell. Colostomy and spit…some analogies you had there! We sure didn’t need that imagery! We get it! The man isn’t flawless! Now step aside and stop being part of the feeding frenzy against Ron Paul. You’re guilty as hell of silencing him because you’re part of that Progressive group obsessed with sinking him and the narrative we so desperately need! According to you; WE ARE FLAWED, for embracing his message and you know better! But the alternative you provide is zeeero. All you do is sqwak about his liabilities, but where’s your SOLUTION? You have no solution. So quit preaching, because once was more than enough!

        I’m disappointed that Phil will still vote for Obama despite the blood Obama has on his hands, but at least he understands how important it is to support Ron Paul or at least his narrative in this primary race instead of beating him down the way you do.

        OMG…talk about a brick wall! Ugh. I’m gonna have to scroll past your comments because they’re absolutely infuriating.

      • philweiss on January 4, 2012, 8:46 am

        Thanks Bruce for thoughtful intervention here…
        yes: thin ice

    • Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 1:46 pm

      I agree with ratners sentiments, but think she would do well to inject some honesty into her own analysis…. all of which she mentions is part of a bipartisan national elite consensus. Of course, she fails to mention the constitutional protections for citizens that O – following in Dubya’s footsteps- has completely obliterated, as well as the war powers act provisions limiting executive power to wage those imperialist wars she mentions.

      The question to Ratner becomes, if Paul is the enemy of the safety net, worker protections, civil rights, nuclear protections etc – who is the defender? Certainly not any democrat….

      And if Paul is the proponent of unchecked corporate domination, who is it’s deterrent, again, certainly not any democrat……

    • Donald on January 3, 2012, 1:47 pm

      I agree with most of that, Lizzy, but how come you aren’t jumping on Phil for saying that he will vote for Obama? Obviously he thinks those issues you mention outweigh the positive aspects of Paul’s anti-imperialism. And he doesn’t think Paul has a chance of winning anyway. If Phil is guilty of anything here it’s that one can detect lingering traces of his Obama infatuation in this post.

      What bugs me about the debate here and in the mainstream is that people focus on the horrible aspects of this candidate or that, when the simple cold truth of the matter is that ALL of the candidates are horrible in one way or another. I’m at the point where I don’t take anyone seriously who won’t admit this upfront.

      • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 2:02 pm

        Rep Paul diverges from all of the Republican candidates and Obama on Iran and the I/P issue.

      • seafoid on January 3, 2012, 3:13 pm

        I think it is all a puppet show. Obama was chosen by the same people who put Bush in office. All that hopey changey bullsh*t but there was no change in policy. The last 30 years have seen the largest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich in US history and that is going to continue until the system falls over. The President is not going to get in the way of the money flow.

      • slowereastside on January 3, 2012, 2:04 pm

        Well said. “They’re all shit” should be the first premise in any honest political argument today.

      • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 3:38 pm

        George Carlin nails it over and over again.
        “who really owns you”

      • Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 2:11 pm

        me too donald, im with you brother, especially on my man phils barry infatuation

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 3:02 am

        Another guy who bitches but has no alternative to offer.

        My theory is that people who have no alternative but want to kill the hope that the rest of us run with, are way, way too complacent. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking at how this opportunity can help the millions of people out there subjected to U.S. inhumane policies, and avoiding a war that will have devastating consequences for yet millions more, including Americans, while you’re bored because the whole lot is useless even Ron Paul who presents a window of opportunity, which is about all we’ve got right now.

    • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 1:53 pm

      Lizzy you must know there is a great deal of negative spin about the Muslim Brotherhood. And would you say the same thing to Phil about referring to himself as a “liberal Zionist” ? Zionism at its core is racist.
      ” ZAKARIA: One of the visions that haunts Americans is of the Iranian Revolution where a dictator was replaced by an even worse regime that was more anti-American and more threatening to the region. People worry about the Muslim Brotherhood. Are you confident that a post-Mubarak Egypt will not give rise to some kind of Islamic fundamentalist force that will undermine the democracy of Egypt?

      ELBARADEI: I’m quite confident of that, Fareed. This is a myth that was sold by the Mabarak regime, that it’s either us — the ruthless dictators — or a Muslim al-Qaeda type. The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian movement, has nothing to do with extremism as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group. They are a minority in Egypt. They are not a majority of the Egyptian people, but they have a lot of credibility because of liberal parties have been a struggle for thirty years. They are in favor of a secular state. they are of –they are in favor of an institution that have bread lines, they are in favor that every Egyptian have the same rights, that the state is in no way a state based on religion. And I have been reaching out to them. We need to include them. They are as much a part of society as the markets that started here. I think this is a myth that has been perpetuated and sold by the regime and has no iota of reality. You know Fareed, I worked with Iranians, I’ve worked here. It’s 100 percent difference between the two societies”.

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 3:11 am

        I must say, you made me laugh with the “liberal” Zionist analogy. I’m willing to work with “liberal” Zionists whose intentions towards Palestinians are honorable and unselfish, but, that doesn’t mean I won’t try and convert them from Zionism, because Zionism, unlike Libertarianism as we know it has done great harm to millions of people. So there is a difference. Now of course, if some people are equating Libertarianism with supremacy/racism then maybe that’s their problem or paranoia. But Zionism has already proven itself to be supremacist and racist.

        Again, because Ron Paul actually equated the situation in Israel with Apartheid, and because of positive comments he’s made regarding Muslims, I’m hopeful that he wouldn’t discriminate against others.

    • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 1:56 pm

      Rep Paul is never going to occupy the White House. And he knows he would never be able to disassemble medicare or social security. Not going to happen. Am surprised by Lizzy’s inability to support Pauls efforts to bring an anti war and fair policies when it comes to the I/P issue component to the debates.

    • dahoit on January 3, 2012, 1:57 pm

      And yeah,that’s why Obomba killed universal healthcare, because its enactment would have removed the one major shackle holding people in current miserable jobs,their job related healthcare,already biting up huge amounts of our pay,and having none is a nonstarter today.
      Jeez,alleged liberals,pathetic,confused rabbits.

    • NorthOfFortyNine on January 3, 2012, 3:21 pm

      @ Lizzy: They include (but are hardly limited to) an extremist privatization credo that would shred this country’s already-compromised safety-net, from Medicaid and Medicare, to Food Stamps, Public Assistance, and Social Security; a hatred of …

      Lizzy, if I may, you and many “paleo progressives” are stuck in a mind rut. Prefacing all this with the rejoinder that I am against many of Paul’s positions, you misunderstand and misrepresent much of what Paul stands for. Without picking through the details, his platform does not call for the eradication of a safety net full stop, it calls for the eradication of the safety net at the Federal level.

      Paul’s primary emphasis is on a bottom-up political process. Look at Switzerland — can you name a single president this nation ever had? I can’t. In Switzerland, there is very little power at the federal level, it pretty well doesn’t matter. Rather, power is vested at a local level — your neighbourhood votes on your renovation proposal and you apply to your canton for residency. Only a tiny trickle of your tax dollars ever makes it to Basel (or wherever the capital is — see, I don’t even know — there is no “Washington” in Switzerland.)

      And is Switzerland a place you associate with a depraved social system? Hardly. But all of these provisions are handled locally. What’s wrong with that? And where would you rather be poor? Switzerland, with no heavy handed central government? Or the US with all of its boondoggle programs?

      And is Switzerland known for foreign wars & sundry adventures? It’s motto could be: No wars since 1291. How did they manage this? They starved the capital of money, that’s how.

      One last thought on bottom-up vs top-down: Look at this site. Look at the internet. Look at the blogging revolution. Look at Tahir. These are all bottom-up phenomena. That is what is making change happen, not the top-down “big media” organs of the MSM.

      It is not a left vs right choice. It is a centralized vs local choice. Let’s lose the old-fashioned thinking and lose the old-fashioned prejudices. I am as thrilled that Ron Paul is introducing these concepts as much as I am thrilled he is breaking ground on the fori=eign policy front. I would hope others on the site are too. -N49.

      • Pixel on January 3, 2012, 11:10 pm


        However, Ron Paul will never be “allowed” to become the Republican Party nominee, let alone the President. Ironically, that may be his most significant contribution.

        Among the RAMs (Raggedy Ass Masses), of which I am one, his run is opening many eyes.

        Few Americans may engage in sophisticated political discussions but they do know that things are “rotten in Denmark” and that we’re ALL being “played.”

    • IranContraClanDidNineEleven on January 3, 2012, 4:03 pm

      Lizzy Ratner, wrt to Medicaid and Medicare
      Do you know how wasteful and ridiculous these programs are? Have you ever worked in a medical office setting (I have) and seen the hordes of people who would rather let their teeth rot to get silver caps rather than white because the silver ones are cheaper through medicaid? I can assure you that’s not the only market failure arising from these state run programs. It’s a massive mismanagement of funds and should be tossed aside to the garbage heap where it belongs.

    • marc b. on January 3, 2012, 6:52 pm

      lratner, i was pleased to see your pledge not to vote for obama below (or whereever it is when my comment is posted) however i don’t buy the dichotomy between the conventional candidates and ronpaul. despite his rhetoric, many see obama’s actions as designed to undermine social security in the long term, for example, with his payroll tax cut one step towards that goal. (i still haven’t figured out what paul is up to, to be honest. he still smells to me like past third party candidates who are simply designed to draw votes from conventional candidates)

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 3:21 am

        Your Ron Paul comment doesn’t hold water. That being said, as far as Obama’s economic policies are concerned, Obama, could care less who gets social security 20 years from now. He’s doing what’s favors him politically on all levels in the present and financial speaking, he’s kicking the can down the road to the next poor sucker who takes his place.

        Pure and simple, he’s an opportunist.

    • philweiss on January 4, 2012, 12:52 pm

      Thanks for the list. It’s smart and helpful. I’ll try and append it to my next “love bomb” to Paul, as you earlier characterized these posts. I agree, the guy is scary. I also find him a little crotchety and tin-man-like. One of those kids better get out the oil can for his jaw! (How else am I gonna kiss him?)
      But your list of issues speaks again to a real difference between our thinking. You’re global, I’m completely tunnel vision. (You’re fox, I’m hedgehog, per the Isaiah Berlin distinction). You like to cast a wide net; I note that you recently wrote about food stamp policy and social Darwinism in the Nation and actually made me want to read from start to finish, no mean feat.
      Tunnel vision: I wrote this piece with the aim of not using the word Israel lobby, so no one could say that’s all I think about, but the truth is, that’s what I think about re Paul. He’s taking on the lobby.
      And I don’t think you believe in the lobby, because you have a conventional leftwing view that corporatist militarist interest drives Iraq/Iran policy. While I think that a religious ideology has driven policy. Or certainly you diminish that claim, while to me it’s everything.
      And though I am surely guilty of extrapolating my own Careerus Mainstreamus Interruptus at the formerly-beloved New York Observer, where you and I met, after it was bought by Jared Kushner, who had lately been opening Chabad House at Harvard with Alan Dershowitz (I was out at the Observer after Kushner came in, because I was so critical of Israel)– well, I think there are many Kushners in the media, or a solid faction of em, and they’re a substantial force. And because I am interested in redeeming Jewish identity from nationalism, I want to take them on.
      I bet that Chris Matthews has a Kushner boss in David Cohen, who was lately head of the Federations in Philly and now is at Comcast. I imagine this kind of talk probably disturbs you at some level. Because you’re right– when I go around saying Who is a Zionist? there is a certain amount of mindreading/redbaiting involved (as my friend Scott McConnell explained to me a long time ago). And it may be inherent to any conversation about the Israel lobby.
      But if reporters today freely talk about Santorum and Gingrich being Catholic, and Huntsman and Romney being Mormon, as they do, is there a way to talk about Jewishness in politics, and the ways that Jewishness has been defined? I want a conversation about religion in politics, and of Jewish nationalists feeding the idea of a clash of civilizations as a way to keep the U.S. on Israel’s side… Because I believe that’s what’s taken place here.
      I know this is not entirely responsive to your note. I know that I sometimes talk past you. But maybe you’ve talked past me here too….
      One other thing:
      I think the seculars in Egypt can be blamed for empowering the Brothers. I think they understood the risk of revolutionizing Egypt, that a secular regime would give way to a religious one. That is happening now in Tunisia.
      And maybe they thought, it’s a necessary step in our progress, as in all human progress, out of traditional modes of being. And maybe they thought: it’s democracy. A democracy represents people’s choices, and people are benighted…

      • seanmcbride on January 4, 2012, 2:00 pm


        One of your better essays, buried here in the comments. You’ve been very brave, very smart and very visionary on these issues.

        My take is that you are trying to save Jewish civilization (“the Jews,” your people, however one wants to put it) from the kind of self-destructive nationalist monomania that periodically bedevils and trips up all ethnic groups (including mine — European, white, Anglo-Irish, whatever).

        What is a goy like me doing getting involved in this debate? It is easy to see that debates within the Jewish world over Israel and other issues have enormous strategic impacts on American and global politics. (And Jewish debates about Jewish issues are always so damned intellectually interesting in their own right, with universal implications — that’s the real lure.)

  12. HarryLaw on January 3, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Mooser, You are saying that all politicians are liars, how cynical of you but also true, in which case why vote for anybody, Paul at least offers something different from the status quo, Nader and Kucinich at least see some of Pauls good policies which also have the potential to save millions of lives in endless wars and trillions of dollars. Seanmebride I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on this and on your other comments on the Ratner article.

  13. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 2:01 pm

    With Romney or Obama we are more than likely going to see a military strike on Iran.

    On the economy Obama appointed many of the same people who brought the US economy to the edge into his administration. He appointed Dennis Ross.

    Romney and Obama are going to run down the middle. Romney is a moderate so is Obama. Once Romney gets by the teabaggers and evangelicals and gets the nomination he will run it down the middle.

  14. Lizzy Ratner on January 3, 2012, 2:17 pm

    It’s a fair point about my failure to criticize Phil for saying he will ultimately vote for Obama. Thank you for that, since you are absolutely right: Obama voters should be criticized loudly and vigorously. The man has been a horror show on almost all the issues I care about, has sold out worse than I could ever have dreamed, has buckets of blood on his hands. I certainly will not be voting for him. Though it confines me to obscurity, I will most likely be voting for the newly-formed Justice Party (assuming it holds up on further research). Yes, we do have other parties in this country besides the Republican and Democratic ones. So my argument is not that people like Phil should excoriate Ron Paul and love Obama. Absolutely not. You will never hear me praising Obama. My argument is that we, as progressives, can and should hope for more than a candidate who will build freedom for some on the backs of others. I believe it is hugely destructive for progressives to give up on some of our core beliefs. Yes, I’m a purist, which will probably make me an obscurist, but I still hold out hope for a movement and an ethos and a candidate that can reconcile economic, social, and international justice into a single a vision.

    • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 2:38 pm


      I appreciate and admire your idealism and principled embrace of obscurity, but my survival instincts tell me that we need to start pushing back hard against the neocon juggernaut with whatever tools are available — otherwise they are going to continue to run roughshod over us.

      If the neocons hadn’t inflicted such grave damage on American interests during the last decade (and on Jewish and Israeli interests as well), we wouldn’t be talking about Ron Paul now. He would barely be a blip on the screen.

      If you want to get really angry at someone, get mad at the neocons and their insidious influence over both the Republican and Democratic Parties. They played key roles in wrecking both the Bush and Obama administrations. They own and control Mitt Romney lock, stock and barrel. They are pushing the United States to the brink of catastrophe.

    • yourstruly on January 3, 2012, 2:43 pm

      how about riding the paul campaign as far as it goes and then switching to the justice party (its probable presidential candidate, rocky anderson, former mayor of salt lake city) in november? best of all would be a surge of the occupy movement, such that peace, equality, justice and prosperity will be the issues that matter most.

      • Mooser on January 3, 2012, 3:26 pm

        Uh-0h “we as progressives”. You know if somebody, somewhere, would point me to anything which makes “progressive” any more meaningful or cohesive than “aging hipster” I’d like to know about it. It seems to be an appellation which sprung from nowhere, and means specifically nothing.
        Of course, if a progressive is what used to be called a “socialist” that might be encouraging…

      • seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 4:04 pm


        I define myself as a progressive libertarian (or libertarian progressive) and I’ve thought a great deal about what that means. For me, it’s a very specific set of values and policy positions.

        Here they are:

        1. anti-colonialism
        2. anti-crony capitalism
        3. anti-ethnic nationalism
        4. anti-hereditary oligarchy
        5. anti-military adventurism
        6. anti-racism
        7. anti-radical wealth inequality
        8. anti-religious nationalism
        9. anti-theocracy
        10. anti-torture
        11. pro-civil liberties
        12. pro-corporate transparency and accountability
        13. pro-creative capitalism
        14. pro-democracy
        15. pro-due process
        16. pro-Enlightenment
        17. pro-environmentalism
        18. pro-equal opportunity
        19. pro-free speech
        20. pro-freedom of assembly
        21. pro-freedom of religion
        22. pro-government transparency and accountability
        23. pro-human rights
        24. pro-meritocracy
        25. pro-personal responsibility
        26. pro-privacy rights
        27. pro-reason
        28. pro-science
        29. pro-self-determination
        30. pro-separation of church and state
        31. pro-US Constitution and Bill of Rights

        I take these issues very seriously.

      • NorthOfFortyNine on January 3, 2012, 4:17 pm


        Nice list. I ditto it. -N49.

      • Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 5:31 pm

        Once again I would like to add – to no one in particular: LIBERTARIAN = Socialist. If the word has any meaning, to be libertarian is to be a socialist. More specifically, an anarchist. The term was coined by an anarchist during the french revolution – the Libertarians were Pre-Capitalist!

        So, lets get the Ron Ron guys on board with libertarian socialism! They’re almost there…. a little Von Humboldt, a little Babeuf, a little Bakunin and a little Tommy Jefferson – poof! we’re living in a real libertarian paradise (lets leave the twelve paragraph critiques on the above aside for now)

      • Dan Crowther on January 3, 2012, 6:13 pm

        see what I mean? a “progressive” who is not anti-capitalist.

        I would say, look at all the things sean is against – don’t they all kind of flow from the fact that the system at it’s core relies on the subjection to arbitrary authority for survival? I think its easy to explain imperialism, if I understand that the entire system, right down to it simplest form of production, is formed of classes of people that give orders, and those that take them.

        And this goes right back to The Enlightenment that we always talk about here… all the liberals had something to say about wage labor – “the artisan recedes while the art advances” – “we may admire what he does, but we despise who he is”….all the way to Adam Freakin Smith who warned of the consequences to the division of labor and of what external control would do to men “turn them as stupid and ignorant as man could be”……

        Lets move past state capitalist liberalism. Its a tired act. The Left is dead……
        long live the left….

      • tombishop on January 3, 2012, 10:56 pm

        Dan, your characterization of anarchism and socialism is not historically accurate. Study the conflict between scientific socialist Marx and the anarchist Bakunin in the International Working Men’s to see that they are opposites.

      • American on January 4, 2012, 12:30 am

        Yeah, that is a good list sean.

      • Dan Crowther on January 4, 2012, 9:24 am

        I didnt characterize anarchism or socialism…as for Bakunin – I’ll qoute him, “every anarchist is a socialist, but not every socialist is an anarchist”

        Thats why I said “more specifically” a anarchist. I do realize there is a difference between Marx and Bakunin, Ive read alot about the internationals and the schizm that took place……

        Im trying to figure out what I got wrong…..the term libertarian came from an anarchist, who is by definition a socialist. thats just a fact.

      • Oscar on January 4, 2012, 10:49 am

        Great list, Sean McB . . .

        Disappointed that the progressives only see Ron Paul as an MSM talking point with the mere hope that the issues can be “discussed and debated” all the way to the GOP convention, permitting progressives to feel better about casting yet another disastrous vote for passive chickenhawk Obama in November. Yeah, sounds about as fruitful as the “peace process.”. Good luck with that.

        Phil, I’d urge you to look more closely at the nationwide support of Dr Paul and not harp on the MSM point of the “whiteness” of his multitude of followers. You might be surprised to find we’re not all skinhead supremacists.

        Stop talking about ending the wars and do something about it. RP is the only candidate who will bring troops home. Not Obama, not Romney, Santorum or Gingrich. Full stop.

      • marc b. on January 4, 2012, 1:53 pm

        Once again I would like to add – to no one in particular: LIBERTARIAN = Socialist. If the word has any meaning, to be libertarian is to be a socialist. More specifically, an anarchist.

        i don’t mean to be a ball buster danC, but what do you mean? in my pea brain i have never equated the philosophy of ayn rand with the politics of eugene debs, for example.

      • Dan Crowther on January 4, 2012, 3:43 pm

        marc, I am really glad you ask!

        As my above comments say – the word “libertarian” comes from the french revolution, coined by a socialist (who started a anarchist newspaper)

        In the American context, it is viewed as being “ultra capitalist” – but its important to remember that capitalism was NOT something the original libertarians, along with most of the classic liberals were for. In fact, most classic liberals lived in pre-capitalist countries

        So, to the Randians and the modern “libertarians” – capital is what is most free in society. But this is a distortion of libertarianism, as libertarian meant that that for man to be “truly free” he must have a say over his labor, rather than being subjected to external orders. A system based on worker control, or democratic control over production is in its essence, socialist.

        This is NOT to say that marxism is libertarian, quite the contrary – although some of his early writings, and some of his later writings can be taken as libertarian – but in the end, he was for the state and the high priests of socialism that would administrate it.

        So, to me at least, the Paulites are very very close – they are anti-authoritarian, pro-enlightenment, rule of law etc. – now we just have to work on their definition of “economic liberty” which, to me, does NOT mean “every gets to keep their money” – but, rather “everyone owns their own labor”

        I also think its important that we begin to take back the meaning of words, especially in the political sense. Libertarian is just an obvious example of this.

      • justice on January 5, 2012, 6:59 pm


        Though I applaud and agree with most of your list, aren’t #7 and #s 11,23,25,26,27 and 31 contradictory? In other words, if you believe it is the government’s right to take private property (aka the fruits of my labor) from some for whatever arbitrary reason they come up with, then you do not believe in #s 11,23,25,26,27, or 31. Those items are not compatible with #7.

        When you empower the government to rob your neighbor for you because you envy his wealth and want some for yourself, it is still immoral, and should be a criminal act if there was any justice in the world, but unfortunately, it is simply business as usual for our government, and people have become blind to what it really means.

      • seanmcbride on January 5, 2012, 9:22 pm


        When I describe myself as a progressive libertarian, I am well aware of all the self-contradictions in that formulation. But those are the kinds of paradox with which I feel most comfortable.

        I don’t have any easy answers (or any answers at all) to your questions. I am wary of the concentration of too much power and wealth in either government or private hands. On these matters one must be pragmatic — trying to steer the best course between abuses in either direction, with continuous adjustments and readjustments in the distribution of power.

        No matter how hard we try to be enlightened and fair on these matters, vast eruptions of the collective id periodically wipe away all these efforts at civilized and humane arrangements.

      • yourstruly on January 5, 2012, 9:49 pm

        and if one has a millions of dollars income while some of your neighbors are starving, or comatose but have no health insurance, or old and infirm with no income, doesn’t one have a responsibility to redistribute part of said income towards the downtrodden?

      • justice on January 6, 2012, 7:28 am

        No.That system, in place for more than 60 years, hasn’t worked, and is immoral. If it was working, there would be no rampant poverty and need. One has a moral responsibility to try and help in any way he can, with his OWN assets. He does not have a right to redistribute his neighbor’s income according to his view of who might “deserve” it more.
        In the system we have, arbitrary people decide, generally for political reasons, who gets the benefit of the taxpayers’ forced largesse. The recipients are generally the politicans and their friends, the companies that donate to their campaigns, and others they want to remain friendly with, as well as foreign countries who have a powerful and effective lobby. I don’t want my tax dollars given to most of these recipients, but I have no control over that. I protest, but they do not care.
        Then figure in the cost of the infrastructure to redistribute (estimates range from 30-40 cents of every dollar collected actually goes to recipients vs. administrators), and you have a pretty unworkable system. My friends who believe in the goodness and efficacy of government tell me it just hasn’t worked properly because the “right” person has not been in charge. I think 60+ years is an adequate test.
        I believe in helping people in need. To that end, I personally give whatever I can, to whatever people and causes I learn about, and agree with. Family, friends, neighbors, fellow community members, schools, churches, Palestinian causes, Haitian education causes. You will find most Ron Paul people (and I know thousands) believe in helping people, just like Ron himself, and they go out and do that themselves- quietly, often anonymously, donating time, money, and energy to people and causes. I find that a far better way to help people in need. Direct, local action is a hallmark of Ron Paul’s example, but he does not believe in enacting laws to try to legislate morality.

    • kalithea on January 3, 2012, 3:54 pm

      “Yes, I’m a purist, which will probably make me an obscurist, but I still hold out hope for a movement and an ethos and a candidate that can reconcile economic, social, and international justice into a single a vision.”

      Indeed, you are a purist headed for obscurity. Know thyself. But you left out this: you have the luxury of time and waiting around for the messiah who will fulfill all your aforementioned expectations.

      …Meanwhile, Iranians, Afghans, Palestinians, Pakistanis, Somalis and Yemeni get pounded. Excuse them if they have more “pressing” existential issues to deal with than you.

      You know, the analogy Phil used of Tahrir Square was precisely meant for YOU, even if he didn’t intend it to be so specific. Tahrir means LIBERATION.

      I don’t mind joining with Ron Paul, the Libertarian, so that the people the U.S. government is persecuting are LIBERATED from persecution ASAP, because unlike you, they don’t have the luxury of playing the purist waiting game. As far as I’m concerned, God LIBERATE me from the self-righteous who would silence hope with their purity!

      So if you can’t join this growing “motley” group in the noble, yes NOBLE purpose that unites us (as opposed to nitpicking and wasting this opportunity over what divides us), then quit tearing us down!

      • on January 3, 2012, 4:06 pm

        Good comment, kalithea.
        They OWN us, but at least we should put up a good fight, and join the forces with those who care and have a courage to express it.
        There are not too many of them. Ron Paul is one of them ,and
        those who stir trouble trying to discredit him should, and I’m being nice, just back off.
        You may not know it yet, but he is trying to save your behind as well.

      • on January 3, 2012, 4:55 pm

        “Yes, I’m a purist”. NO ,you are just very naive.
        And naivness can be very dangerous and damaging.
        Depending how much power and authority “the naive” individual has.

      • on January 3, 2012, 5:06 pm

        “O sancta simplicita”.
        “Dimitte illis; non enim sciunt quod faciunt “.

      • American on January 4, 2012, 12:33 am

        Actually kalithea you didn’t go far enough. I personally advocate a program of select assassinations. A lot of them, true– but much cheaper, neater and quicker than a full scale revolution.

    • Paul Mutter on January 3, 2012, 4:21 pm

      Obviously there is no perfect candidate and Ron Paul, unlike Obama, stands against militarism. And it’s not like by criticizing Paul’s associations we’re ignoring Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann or Perry’s racist, anti-Palestinian comments.

      I am that glad Lizzy can express her “Salafi-Leninist” reservations here on Mondoweiss. Ron Paul is someone who civil libertarians and the anti-war camp can work with, and for that, I am grateful.

      But where does the “progressive” movement go from 2012? That is what Lizzy wants us to ask. Why can’t progressives elect their own wildly popular anti-war Congressmen and women? Paul is, perhaps, one of the keystones for the future election of such candidates because of the way he is contesting the warmongers in his party, and also among the Democrats.

      I’m fine that Phil is promoting Ron Paul’s foreign policy views and think his voice is a necessary one in this election cycle. Very much so. But he doesn’t get a free pass on the rest of his record just because of this.

      Lizzy’s commentary is a valuable addition to the debate. Phil and others here write about Occupy, so it’s not like we can just ignore “whence progressivism?” in 2012. Which is why we’re having this debate.

      This isn’t a Mondoweiss Civil War or something ridiculous like that (goodness knows how many people would just *love* to see such a thing occur). And if you think this is indeed such a conflict, then Heaven knows what you must make of +972 Magazine’s contentious discussions about normalization and the right of return.

      • annie on January 3, 2012, 5:00 pm

        great comment paul, i agree completely

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 3:34 am

        Where does the progressive movement go from 2012? Nowhere. From the rabid reaction to the window of opportunity Ron Paul represents by progressives everywhere with a slim minority reaching for this opportunity, I’d say progressives are having an identity crisis thanks to Obama’s hard turn to the right, or maybe it was a grand deception all along on his part.

        Glenn Greenwald is one of the forward-thinking progressives around.

  15. mudder on January 3, 2012, 2:41 pm

    Until we get private money out of public elections by publicly financing campaigns, we will continue to be saddled with AIPAC-inspired foreign policy and AIPAC-inspired foreign wars. Ron Paul has consistently opposed campaign finance reform. Here in 2002:

    Campaign finance reform really means more regulations, more controls, more telling the American people how they can spend their money and how they can lobby Congress. Your freedoms should not be restricted because some politicians cannot control themselves. The problem is that there are members of Congress who yield to the temptation and influence of money, who effectively sell their votes to those who can give them money and keep them in office. If enough members did not yield to the temptation, they would not have to posture with phony campaign finance reform bills and they would not have to undermine the Constitution.

    We need to get money out of government. Only then will money not be important in politics. Campaign finance laws will not make politicians more ethical, but they will make it harder for average Americans to influence Washington.

    Politicians, to paraphrase Paul, don’t need laws to make them behave ethically, they just need to refrain from yielding to the temptations of the lobbyists.

    And that’s why AIPAC should welcome Paul.

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 3:43 am

      Yes, AIPAC would screw Ron Paul with his own policies, because AIPAC is as dirty as they come. But there is something that’s being missed here. Ron Paul believes in personal responsibility and that’s part of the message as well, albeit how naive it sounds. It seems to me that personal responsibility and evolution go hand in hand. Unfortunately, most of society hasn’t evolved that far. But emphasizing the necessity for more personal responsibility and teaching by example is important even if it’s still a dog eat dog world.

    • justice on January 6, 2012, 7:44 am

      Actually Paul’s argument is that we stop taxing people to death, stop sending so much money to Washington, stop doling out money to interest groups and corporations. Tax people the minimum amount the government needs to function, with far less interference and involvement in so many different things, and the Congress and Senate would not have any money to distribute to their friends. That is the only thing that will keep them honest, and the only thing that will disband the army of lobbyists who are there fighting over who is going to get a slice of the ever-expanding (and non-existant) pie, that they are “paying” for with a giant credit card.
      We baby-boomers have a lot to answer for. We have run up such huge debt that will be passed on to our kids-who are much smaller in number than we are, and many in our generation still want to find more and more new programs and new ways to spend money we don’t have. One wonders if they know anything about basic mathematics.

  16. on January 3, 2012, 2:42 pm

    Great video from Gilad’s Atzmon site
    “Ron Paul publicly names neocons and explores the ideology”.
    A MUST see.

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 4:12 am

      I agree! This video is REQUIRED VIEWING. Unbelievable!! Thank you for posting it.

      My respect for Ron Paul just doubled!

  17. HarryLaw on January 3, 2012, 2:59 pm

    I do hope Ron Paul does not have the capacity to split mondoweiss readers too much. Remember “The life of Brian” …..

    Graham Chapman:- “are you the Judean Peoples front”
    John Cleese:- “…..F… O.. we are the Peoples front of Judea”
    Terry Jones:- “what happened to the popular front”
    John Cleese:- “He’s over there…”
    All:- “SPLITTER!”

    • kalithea on January 3, 2012, 4:13 pm

      “I do hope Ron Paul does not have the capacity to split mondoweiss readers too much.”

      Unfortunately I must borrow from a Huffpo headline: Iowa Separates the Wheat from the Chaff.

      So what if this issue splits us, eventually, the wheat must be separated from the chaff.

      There are people being maimed, slaughtered, denied their rights and losing their land and homes not to mention the rights that Americans are losing to this warped Neocon agenda while some here are nitpicking at purity. The imminent fate of these people is my baby; my priority!

      Some people around here want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

      The priority should be THE BABY above and beyond! The argument to rescue the baby is THE WHEAT. Spare me the chaff.

    • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 5:33 pm

      no way..healthy debates and differences of opinion

      • kalithea on January 3, 2012, 5:54 pm

        Healthy debates are fine when you keep reality, which in this case is the existential threat to human beings being sacrificed by warped policy, in focus.

  18. LanceThruster on January 3, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Btw, to be fair to Paul, I remember reading a piece about an early Jimmy Carter campaign against Carl Sanders for state senate that seemed to use questionable tactics (see: ).

    I still am a big fan of Carter (though again, I’ve heard ultra-progressives explain that Carter’s support of some government action in Central/South America easily made him a war criminal as well) but either everyone’s past is their own albatross, or it is not.

    I don’t know if there is a single pol who matches my views on everything, and it seems we’re all subjected to selecting the lesser of two evils regardless.

  19. James North on January 3, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I think Phil is somewhat mistaken to use the analogy from Egypt. He is partly right, in that the 20 percent or so of Egyptians who are “liberals” are tending to vote for the more moderate Muslim Brothers vs. the more conservative Salafists in the second round of the parliamentary run-off elections. Egyptian liberals may not like the Brotherhood, but they are afraid of the Salafists.
    What’s different here is that Ron Paul is raising vital issues of war and peace that all the other candidates from both parties are ignoring. I personally do not think Israel or the United States will attack Iran, but even if the odds in favor are only, say 20 per cent, the prospect is such a calamity that Paul must continue to be heard this entire election season.
    The fact that he is attracting military veterans to his cause is also promising. Once the other spineless candidates from both parties see that you can be antiwar without being labelled weak, they may start to shift.
    If I do contribute to Paul’s campaign, I will not do so because I agree with most of his policies, or because I want him to win. I want him to keep speaking out against an attack on Iran that would be a disaster for everyone.

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 4:16 am

      Well if it starts looking like its gonna end up as an Obama/Santorum matchup, you better start contributing early because Obama will probably move even further to the right in the debates, knowing him.

  20. on January 3, 2012, 3:43 pm

    America does not deserve Ron Paul. People are so ignorant and brainwashed that , on average, they are completely lost. It is a lost country and if somebody has some will and financial means they should think about gettting out of this country.
    I do not where, though. Maybe Moon??
    Very important, recent video that proofs that people may discuss whatever they want on the internet , but corrupted, bloody politicians are doing whatever they deem is right. We ARE doomed, my dear friends.
    Duped and doomed.
    That’s REALITY.

    “Ron Paul: War with Iran has already been decided by the Powers that Be ”

    • Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 5:03 pm

      I’m am with Lizzy on Pauls stance on domestic issues (although folks have told me that I really do not get Pauls deeper take on domestic issues) I do not support him. But I do support his foreign policy stances. He is the ONLY CANDIDATE to moderate the bomb bomb bomb Iran crowd and Obama is clearly looking like he is part of that crowd

      • on January 3, 2012, 5:34 pm

        “An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count.
        A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter.
        A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run. ”
        by Sydney J. Harris

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 4:20 am

      God bless you! You really get it!

      The next freedom they’re going to tamper with will happen right here on the web. Maybe then people will get their pitchforks out and storm the citadels of power.

  21. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 4:55 pm

    Was looking for the numbers on just how white Iowa is New Hampshire beats out Iowa, North and South Dakota as well as Wyoming.
    So what the hell do Iowa and New Hampshire reflect this nation? The only thing it says is the two whitest states in the US lead the election process.

    New Hampshire 93.9% white

    Iowa 91.3%

    North Dakota 90.0%

    Wyoming 90.7%

    South Dakota 85.5% (Indian reservations)

  22. HarryLaw on January 3, 2012, 5:21 pm

    Glenn Greenwald is Hors de combat today so when he recommends another article on the presidential race, you can bet its a good one and it is please check this Matt Taibbi piece out here:-

  23. Koozie on January 3, 2012, 5:27 pm

    If I’m an American in 2012, there are three issues at the top of my mind:
    (1) Wall Street collapse and Wall Street bailouts without ANY accountability
    (2) A looming war in Iran on the heels of an Iraq war that cost over a trillion dollars.

    America, please focus on these two issues and the candidates who propose the most serious solutions. The rest is a distraction.
    P.S. Sorry, the Perry gag still cracks me up.

  24. Donald on January 3, 2012, 5:29 pm

    The New Yorker has some pieces on Ron Paul, some online, and one of them both online and in the dead tree edition. That last one is here–


    Notice that in that article (which is in the dead tree edition) Lemann says almost nothing about how Paul’s anti-interventionism would appeal to lefties more than Obama’s policies. Instead he concentrates on economics and the role of government at home. It’s sort of the elephant in the room being ignored again. Not that I’m a Paul supporter, but this is not good journalism.

    There’s a question and answer session that Lemann conducted with readers where the anti-interventionism and Israel are brought up by readers–on Israel Lemann says that being anti-Israel apparently isn’t that strong a vote-getter since the other Republican candidates all attack him for it. This is sort of a dodge. It’s a plausible dodge–Lemann can claim he doesn’t have time for an in-depth examination of all the issues Paul raises, but he could have spent a paragraph or two on it in the main piece.

  25. Donald on January 3, 2012, 5:45 pm

    I’ve been glancing at the reaction to Glenn Greenwald and Matt Stoller’s qualified interest in Ron Paul on the lefty side of the blogosphere and much of that reaction has been predictably hysterical. But there are a few sane voices. Here’s Corey Robin–


  26. Danaa on January 3, 2012, 5:59 pm

    The column today by the resident Jewish neocon-coddling Richard Cohen is a case in point for the issues raised by Phil and the many good MW commenters. In his column, Cohen compares Ron Paul to Lindberg and Hitler, branding him effectively as an anti-semite. Why? because of some so-called “racist” newsletter a decade or so ago that Paul did not write? of course not (since when did Cohen evince the slightest modicum of sympathy for the downtrodden of this country or any other?). Cohen and the rest of waPo are out gunning against Ron Paul for days now not because of his anti-worker views or smaller government agenda, or Austrian economics (WaPO more than often endorses some or all of those views, if not always overtly). Na – the shrillness of the anti-paul attacks – increasingly in evidence since he surged in the polls – are because Paul will not kow-tow to the Washington power structure dictates, overtly rejects the empire’s dron war against humans and will not do AIPAC’s bidding. Israel and the welfare of the financial elites are are really the only things I ever noticed Cohen caring about much, as is most of WaPo’s opinion board, apparently.

    I am totally with Phil and others here. the most significant thing about Paul’s candidacy is that it opens a very necessary debate about foreign policy and civil liberties in the US – and by extension – elsewhere in the world.

    I am, however, appalled by the frentic tone and thoroughly unfair critiques from the “progressive’ camp, as put forth by Ratner here and elsewhere by the rag-of-record the NYT. Frankly this shows that the progressive “movement” itself is deeply compromised and may have lost sight of who exactly it is supposed to be fighting for. Brandying about words like “Justice” is nice and well, but let’s be consistent at least and make sure that we really mean justice – as in, universally, because the Palestinians, the Afganis and the Iraqis – whom the US deeply wronged are frankly first in line there. Certainly way ahead of gays in the US military or illegal immigrants – and well on par with inner city blacks that the democratic party has effectively turned its back on. And speaking of justice for blacks, Paul’s pitch for drug legalization and ending the war on drugs could probably do more for poor blacks than any pathetic democrat platform proposal currently pushed by neoconut Debra Wasserman-Schultz.- a pretend democrat, if there ever was one.

    To me the fact that Ratner, an avowed progressive, and someone like Richard Cohen, or William Krystol, suddenly find themselves on the same side with regard to Ron Paul (if from different directions) is a worrying sign for the future of any progressive agenda. It keeps reminding me of the strange alliances that formed in response to OWS and, as Phil said, the strange timidity of the latter with regard to foreign policy.

    I do find it interesting that neither of the two longest outspoken congressmen against AIPAC and the American Empire – Kucinich and Paul – are Jewish. Neither were several others who took up the same issues like Baird. Now why is that I wonder? not enough good progressive Jewish politicians over the years to bring just one courageous jewish soul out into the open? Just wondering….

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 4:40 am

      Impressive comment. Not the only one mind you. It seems that Ron Paul ignites something in us that we had almost given up on. Shame that so many Progressives just don’t get it.

  27. PeaceThroughJustice on January 3, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Phil wrote: “Obama will be a better policymaker the longer Ron Paul is in the process.”

    If you’re registered as an Independent or Democrat, you might want to change your voter registration so that you can participate in your state’s Republican primary. It’s an easy process, and for most states there’s still time.

  28. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 6:17 pm

    Wasserman Schultz talks about “elitist” in the lead story on Chris Matthews tonight

  29. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 6:20 pm

    Will be listening to whether Chris Matthews or anyone else on the program brings up Rep Pauls stance on Foreign Policy. That he is the only one pushing the envelope on these issues. Far more than Obama too

  30. gloriousbach on January 3, 2012, 6:37 pm

    kalithea: “There are people being maimed, slaughtered, denied their rights and losing their land and homes not to mention the rights that Americans are losing to this warped Neocon agenda while some here are nitpicking at purity. The imminent fate of these people is my baby; my priority!”

    “[K]eep reality, which in this case is the existential threat to human beings being sacrificed by warped policy, in focus.”
    Absolutely right: committing to the most important priorities. Never believed a word from Obama in 2008 & refused to vote for him then. In 2012, will write-in Paul. Living at latitude 38″: 54′ & longitude 77″:02′ there’s no angst involved.

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  31. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 6:40 pm

    whoa in the piece with Joe Scarborough he mentions “restraint in foreign policy”

  32. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 6:42 pm

    On Hardball “Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan” Thank goodness

  33. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 6:52 pm

    Mondoweiss folks might want to watch Hardball tonight

    man oh man Matthews compares Des Moines right now to Dresden after the 1945 allies bombing. Stupid comparison
    They are discussing money spent by Wall Street and Super Pacs

  34. Kathleen on January 3, 2012, 7:02 pm

    Interesting analysis on Romney’s strategy ” splintering conservatives” on Hardball

    “keep Rep Paul in the tent”
    Can Gingrich bounce back

  35. anonymouscomments on January 3, 2012, 7:05 pm

    this totally nails it.

    regardless of our political preference or “horse”, he is a net gain for the vast majority here. the full ron paul effect will be if he makes a 3rd party run though. let’s hope for it.

    *obama supporters*- obama is nudged to a more sane FP, and gets more FP breathing room due to paul’s position in presidential debates (though we cannot be assured he will really explore the added Fp breathing room… we can “hope” against hope)
    *ron paul supporters*- he was not gonna win, but his being there, moves the political center of gravity towards him, especially on his more universally admired positions/qualities (no needless wars, balanced budget, actual sincerity about the war on terrorism and our “enemies”)
    *nobody supporters/won’t vote for any of the ugly options*- the ron paul effect gets us a better political space, and surely did no net harm
    *those who would vote for the republican nominee*- NO BENEFIT FOR YOU, and if ron paul pulls enough Rs, he just might spoil it for the republican; and you are generally the trolls and israel apologists so good riddance

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 2:00 am

      I have to disagree with you, Ron Paul gets much greater exposure lasting as long as possible in the Republican race and then obviously greater exposure should he become the nominee than he’ll ever get in a Third Party. If he was ignored at the start of these primaries, in an Obama/Romney or Obama/Santorum matchup he would be totally ignored and the effect on Obama’s policies would be nullified, since Obama’s threat would be coming from the Right in mainstream perception so his policies would remain where they are UNLESS the polls started reflecting that Ron Paul’s third party was stealing a significant chunk of votes from BOTH PARTIES. Then his Party would start getting attention and threaten Obama’s side on foreign policy issues. But I see the former outcome more likely.

      Waiting for a Libertarian Third Party run is a risk not worth taking. The time to support Ron Paul is now! The time to build momentum with his message is now!

      • anonymouscomments on January 4, 2012, 12:34 pm

        i want him to get the R nomination, but call me a defeatist, i don’t see it. but the longer, and the better his showing… the better. so no letting up, and no contributing to the smear. the MSM can knock anyone off the 1st position; that is just our reality. for the few prez debates he gets in (as a 3rd party), the audience will be huge. so even if he does not alter either R/D position, he gets a hearing.

        and don’t get me wrong, the fact that we will get someone the powers that be want…. will mean continued disaster. paul might have been the only hope. but let me also state this clearly:

        if paul *actually* (hypothetical here) was threatening to win the WH, he would be DEAD. no QUESTIONS, D-E-A-D. you may think this is absurd, but when someone intends to alter US course 100%, gut the CIA, and take TRILLIONS from the MIC? some nutter blows up or shoots him at a fund raiser/rally. or some health problem (i am a biomedical engineer, they could go some more exotic health problems route).

        sorry guys, it’s a rough road ahead, no single person is gonna get us out of the entrenched power system that has grown over the 20th century. we need a movement, and it can’t be dependent on a single person.

      • anonymouscomments on January 4, 2012, 1:05 pm

        BTW, when it comes to electoral politics, someone who could reverse things needs to pull about equally from BOTH sides of the skinny R/D isle. ron paul is close to that in many ways, but lacks enough mainstream pull.

        but if you have that much faith in ron paul, then you should want him to run 3rd party, and win. getting the biggest mandate ever. the only way i could see that happening is if during the year 2012 massive numbers of people realized the truth about 9/11 due to key people breaking the silence (media, foreign heads of state, etc.)… and i do not see that happening, at all. then i also repeat my assassination warning, but of course with a dead ron paul, people would really wake up.

        so i think the elites have to fully ef america, we go through even tougher times times, and then start anew. we are politically sensitive people here, so the status quo is a living hell, for so many reasons. for most americans, they don’t notice, and don’t even know the basics about power and ideologies. when they can’t get cheap stuff from china though, and the social “fabric” starts falling apart, more people will start to get educated. all of us politically aware people, with various positions, are the canaries in the coal mine.

        sage francis songs that come to mind just now
        recorded and released in ONE day, OCTOBER 11, 2001 (1 month and he nailed it on the civil rights front)-
        about fascism-
        or great live-
        rich get richer till the poor get educated-

  36. kalithea on January 3, 2012, 7:12 pm

    Some Progressives and surprisingly even individuals here are setting up Ron Paul as the boogeyman who will deconstruct the Civil Rights Act. This is a vicious presumption and lie that has a specific goal: to silence Ron Paul on issues that embarrass Progressives still supporting President Obama who has descended into the Neocon nadir.

    Personally, I find it reassuring that Ron Paul had the guts to associate the situation in Israel with Apartheid, “embraced the great Bradley Manning and denounced the Patriot Act” amongst other things while Obama extended the Patriot Act and is punishing whistleblowers, Bradley Manning being just one.

    Ron Paul is bringing topics that the “establishment” considers taboo into mainstream discourse. We urgently need someone to move this kind of narrative forward.

    I’ve been waiting anxiously for this opinion piece which has impressive parts to it, especially the analogy to the struggle in Tahrir Square which brought together such disparate groups as liberal secular activists, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Christian Copts. While these people were struggling to defeat Mubarak as we’re trying to defeat the Neocon/Zionist Lobby/WallStreet triumvirate who in essence represent a fascist cabal that have influenced dictatorship-like legislation that does end runs around the law and the Constitution, these protesters didn’t stop to squabble about their polarizing ideological differences. The urgent, common goal was paramount in their minds and they would never have succeeded unless they were steadfastly united like brothers and sisters in this NOBLE cause and THIS IS WHAT WE ALL NEED TO DO, left, right and centre to free ourselves from this emerging dictatorship that usurps power from the people for itself.

    The exception I must take with this piece is that I’m not as confident that Obama will seize this opportunity to raise “consciousness on these issues”. Obama has disappointed time and time again. When he was President-elect Obama and the opportunity was presented to him to make a compassionate statement on the slaughter occurring in Gaza he showed what a coward he really is deferring to Bush. I believe that unless Obama’s back is to the wall; he won’t budge. This is why the Lobby has influenced his positions so far to the right. So we must represent a CREDIBLE threat to his re-election by shoving Ron Paul’s narrative in his face and making it an ULTIMATUM. But we won’t have that power without Ron Paul and his supporters. No, we must depend on our efforts to propel this discussion forward by supporting Ron Paul who has the platform to get it into the mainstream. Don’t count on Obama; don’t put all your eggs in his basket, because he just might drop it all. We must support Ron Paul with the same conviction we supported candidate Obama or we won’t achieve the ultimate goal which is to defeat the triumvirate cabal that is so powerful; they have the media and elected representatives in their pocket. This is serious business; we can’t have a half-hearted attitude about this. This is going to be a nasty fight and the punches won’t be coming only from the right but from delusional Progressives as well. THIS IS OUR MOMENT FOR REVOLUTION. We are secular, Copts and Muslim Brothers, we are Libertarians, Progressives, Independents, you name it! And speaking of Progressives, under Obama’s Presidency, Progressives are becoming an endangered species, because the Progressives fighting us on this issue are undergoing an identity crisis because of Obama’s betrayal of Progressive values. We need to rescue them from the kool-aid intoxication.
    I have to say that thanks to Ron Paul, I’ve never been this excited about a Republican primary! LOL! I hope and pray Ron Paul is catapulted to the end and we can liberate ourselves and the people persecuted and affected by the three-headed cabal that has usurped the people’s power and want to plunge us into the darkness of a catastrophic war and the ensuing financial disaster it represents. Think about it SERIOUSLY – this is a TURNING POINT, that we either SEIZE or regret letting go for a long time to come.

    • on January 3, 2012, 9:21 pm

      Wonderful comment kalithea.
      I wish it could be heard and understood by everybody.
      You are right. This is a state of EMERGENCY, 911 call, a nation ,who is having a major hear attack and either is going make it, or ………………….not.
      Many people do not seem to understand the seriousness of the whole, very grim situation. It is not only in America, the whole Europe ( most of it) is under control of “triumvirate” ( or a few headed Beast), who tries to overpower once democratic nations ,and make us into their slaves. Slaves of 21 century spied by the newest technology. This is not a game. THIS a very bleak REALITY that seems so unreal that many people don’t want to bother even think of it.
      I’m very sceptical that people will be able to wake up on a massive scale, but there is always a bit of hope. Hope against all odds.

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 1:22 am

        I’m glad you get the urgency and the seriousness of the situation we’re in. I wish everyone would wake up to what’s happening. Alas…

        But we must keep up the fight, this door/window that opened with Ron Paul is not yet shut for good.

      • CloakAndDagger on January 4, 2012, 9:38 am


        I laud your passion, courage, and humanity. You are not alone.

  37. seanmcbride on January 3, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Has Ron Paul already significantly shifted the political center in Republican and American politics?

    The Drudge Report poll on the caucus candidates at the moment puts Ron Paul substantially in the lead with 31.71% of the votes and more than 150,000 votes total. Total votes cast in the poll so far: 476,585 — almost a half million people. That’s a lot of people.

    These are hardcore Republicans mostly, leaning towards the Tea Party one would guess.

    Imagine that: after investing so much energy in making pro-Likud policies a litmus test for Republican success (especially in the debates), the Israel lobby is learning that Republican voters are paying little attention. I have often suspected that American support for Israel is broad and paper thin — it could disappear in a flash under various plausible scenarios. The Israel lobby may soon be going into full panic mode.

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 1:18 am

      Don’t hold you breath, they can always count on Democrats to do their dirty work, because if Ron Paul came in 3rd in Iowa over 50% of the fault lies with Democrats who went on a viral feeding frenzy to sink him in the polls. The Zionist Huffington Post being the biggest culprit.

  38. Methuselah Now on January 3, 2012, 8:18 pm


    The need for Liberal Mythology.

    On the night Barack Obama got elected, I told a dedicated cool-aid fan of Obama, friend living in America, that it reminded me exactly of the night of May 1st 1997 in the UK, and that He was going to be America’s Tony Blair – people naively ascribing their liberal dogma’s on him, but he would end up doing what he essentially has – the few scraps to indulge the left-wing, but for the stuff that actually matters to most of the whole population, he would be worse than what a republican president would be indulged by his opposing critics.

    Sadly, even now, people apologise for Obama. oh if only he wasn’t forced to by the big bad zionists, businesses, rich people, anti-libertarians, the media, et al. It could never be that he’s a typical self-serving politician.

    If you vote for Obama again, knowing what you now should, than every law that takes away civil rights and liberties, every death, every invasion, every wiretap, every drop of blood, will be your personal responsibility as much as Obama’s already are – either you accept that you are a fool, for how many times can someone be fooled, or are simply mendacious.

    It is the height of self-righteous liberal arrogance that not only should Ron Paul not be elected, that he won’t be, and than that you will vote for Obama by holding your nose. This is going to be the whole Democratic strategy – yeah we did these things, completely antithetical to liberal values, let alone American or constitutional limits, but vote for us, because we’re less bad than the other side, even though in the time we have had, we actually continued and made even worse, what the previous really big bad republican did.

    The genius of people who suffer dogma and need to self-justify their positions for the sake of the precious ego.

    Incidentally, this is the difference between democrats and the defused movements such as OWS, most, though not all, of that grouping has already matured to figure out a pox on both their houses, that the system is actually corrupt, they are the same coin. The pretence, the game of different values, that rarely practically effect the majority, are simply smokescreens and distractions, whereas Ron Paul, at least has a 20 year consistent record of most of his primary positions – he is the uncomfortable mirror, the boy who shouts the emperor has no clothes (which is what in a clever and subtle way so as not to be found to picking on Israel, and slandered, of saying no foreign-aid is all about). At the same time, it was Nixon who went to China, what has Obama, despite the polished (so much like Blair) rhetoric, done to actually create new friendships to those previously marked out as Enemies of America for their lack of submission to American 1% interests?

    Apologies in advance for the bluntness of the above, but the ending of self-delusion sometimes needs a crack!

    Yours kindly,


    What Kalithea says, plus ever get the sense that sometimes, societies deserve what they get. If Ron Paul doesn’t make it to the convention, if Obama via Ron Pal isn’t forced to publicly confront his moral failures and hypocrisies, then maybe the American people are deciding they want the society that is to come – one that is always at war or getting ready for war, with the biggest disparity between its peoples, abysmal education, and oh yeah, completely bankrupt, really bankrupt, until one day, that global dollar currency drops like a stone and all the other related consequences.

    • on January 3, 2012, 9:31 pm

      ah, but our other choices were Clinton and McCain. Not voting is not an option.

      what would you have done?

      No, societies do NOT deserve what they get, societies — THIS society, has been deliberately manipulated for many years by very powerful forces. It has happened to other societies that worked their way out. Not sure if US can.

      • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 1:12 am

        Yes! Societies get what they deserve! When George W. was re-elected, the entire world was stunned, STUNNED at the overwhelming stupidity of Americans. There’s always that moment, that fork in the road that provides an escape from impending doom. But that all gets blurred in their mind because Americana gravitates to the trap: a leader that LOOKS good, an Alpha-male, that either has bright shiny teeth, or a good swagger, or whose great for a beer or can make lofty speeches and oh yes! who’s pure as the driven snow. Oh and don’t even mention a third party…OMG! The great unknown is sooooo terrifying, better stick to the 2 devils we know. That’s the level of shallowness that defines American elections and America’s choice for the Presidency.

    • on January 3, 2012, 9:41 pm

      Very nice, reasonable comment too, MN.
      In order not to face the harsh reality many people use very basic defense mechanisms . One of them is denial.
      “Denial (also called abnegation) is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and REJECTS IT instead,
      insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.
      The subject may use:
      simple denial: deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether
      minimisation: admit the fact, BUT deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)
      projection: admit both the fact and seriousness, BUT deny responsibility.”

    • kalithea on January 4, 2012, 1:15 am

      If only, IF ONLY, the poor choices Americans make didn’t have such disastrous consequences on the rest of the world!

  39. Richard Witty on January 3, 2012, 8:23 pm

    Progressives have not taken up the challenge to Ron Paul’s conservative vision.

    Aside from very very limited influence on world affairs, and then limited ability to secure our economy’s addictions (oil and minerals), the largest component of Paul’s credo is an opposition to any mandatory association (government), in contrast to cooperative or charitable or individual.

    Charity doesn’t provide a safety net for all its holes, some inevitably, some from the negligence of conservatives and of progressives. Cooperatives are inherently “tribal”. The Jewish National Fund for example was originally a voluntary cooperative enterprise, hated among those Ron Paul supporters that oppose Zionism.

    Social insurance and law need be color-blind and universal.

    Constitutionally, commerce is inter-state, and is subject to federal regulation. Relative to inter-state and global commerce, state regulation (the source of corporate chartering and implied regulation), does nothing, can’t.

    • Donald on January 3, 2012, 10:05 pm

      Richard, are you criticizing the JNF as an example of the sort of “tribal” private cooperative that might spring up in a world run according to Ron Paul’s libertarian ideals? If so, good for you for saying that law and social insurance need to be color-blind and universal.

      Palestine remembered article on the JNF

      Paul has no chance of winning though. His campaign might be valuable if it can force some public debate over our imperialist policies, even if progressives dislike most of his other policies.

    • Chaos4700 on January 3, 2012, 10:08 pm

      Social insurance and law need be color-blind and universal.

      Remind me again, what’s your stance on Israeli checkpoints and the apartheid wall in the West Bank?

    • justice on January 4, 2012, 10:44 am

      I’m not sure anyone in this forum could compete with Ron Paul’s lifetime of practicing charity. Not talking or pontificating about it- directing others how they should practice it- but quietly practicing it, every day. As a physician, bringing more than 4000 babies into the world, helping more than 4000 mothers be healthy or regain their health, often charging nothing for his services (see for example, I would expect that he exemplifies a charitable life far better than most. Even in Congress, my former representative was telling me about the time someone was in serious medical trouble outside one of the buildings, and as he felt helpless to do anything, Ron Paul rushed over and treated the man. I’m not sure anyone has any room to lecture him on charity, morality, or decency as practiced in his life. You could possibly fault him for his inability to speak in acceptable progressive-ese, apparently a serious deficiency to some.

      • yourstruly on January 6, 2012, 12:36 am

        yes indeed, he did mention charity in the cnn debate – where wolf blitzer presented him with the hypothetical case of a young comatose man who previously had refused to purchase health insurance. when blitzer asked him what as president he’d do if such a situation arose, paul’s answer, “nothing, he made his choice.” when blitzer pressed him, his response, “there’s always charity.” as for paul’s personal sense of charity, what does that matter, since for a politician the question isn’t what s/he might do if, say, a physician, but what s/he has to offer the public. his answer in that republican debate indicates that in the matter of providing health care to the american people, he puts libertarian ideology before the health needs of the public. still, unless a good on domestic as well as international issues candidate appears, progressives have to seriously consider voting for r.p., even if it means holding our noses while doing so.

      • justice on January 6, 2012, 3:02 pm

        I didn’t see the debate, and will not take the time now to ascertain the accuracy of your portrayal, but I do find it interesting that the same people who can see through the media spin on Israel/Palestine seem unable to recognize the media spin and baiting and setup that they employ on Ron Paul. His philosophy does not lend itself well to sound bites, and in almost all of the debates they gave him gotcha questions, when they gave him any questions at all, then gave him no time to fully explain his answers. It is very hard to understand a part of his philosophy without really listening to a full explanation of the whole package, because it is all tied together. They generally ask him the most ridiculous questions (see Jon Stewart clips), attempting to put him in the worst light possible, and he sincerely tries to actually answer their stupid questions. I hope he will learn to ignore their baiting questions, and get his real message across. He’s not the most polished speaker in the world, but that endears him to his supporters even more. Look where glib talkers have gotten us…. and look at his life’s work, rather than media spin. The man has lived an exemplary life of charity, humility, and service. He walks the walk, rather than spending his life talking a good game while doing nothing himself, like so many armchair quarterbacks.

  40. kalithea on January 3, 2012, 8:43 pm

    I need to elaborate on this part of my comment because I can’t emphasize it enough: “This is serious business; we can’t have a half-hearted attitude about this. This is going to be a nasty fight and the punches won’t be coming only from the right but from delusional Progressives as well.”

    If Ron Paul makes it beyond Iowa expect the big guns (Neocons, the Lobby ie Zionists, Wall Street, the MIC, you name it…) to come out full force against him.
    We can’t continue disclaiming Ron Paul’s shortcomings or sketchy past. We must stand behind him 100% and annihilate such criticism with the part of his platform that represents our common goal and the only hope of arresting the momentum of the forces of darkness that have taken America down a dark imperialistic path that is harming so many people including Americans.

    If we can put a black man who was labeled the Muslim Manchurian, portrayed as a terrorist in Muslim garb, nick-named Barack Osama and the anti-christ in the WH ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE! And believe me they’re going to paint Ron Paul with a tiny mustache and armband for starters!

    We can propel Ron Paul to the end, but the effort must be unshakable in its conviction. It can be done. Now that we’ve addressed the questionable aspects surrounding him, PUT IT BEHIND YOU. We can’t allow this man and the important message he’s carrying forward into the mainstream to be defeated prematurely or sabotaged by our faithlessness or insistence on purity and allow the other side to capitalize on this dithering.

    We must help carry Ron Paul to the end! Don’t be like the Israelis waiting indefinitely for the “perfect” partner for peace and sabotaging every representative chosen by Palestinians. Purity is a bogus excuse! Stop waiting for the messiah, Obama was supposed to be the “messiah” who would free us from all of this, and look how he turned out.

    I nearly fell off my chair when I heard Rand Paul! today discussing the Iran issue with Blitzer, the iconic media shill for Zionism, and bringing up Meir Dagan, and another ex-Mossad chief and an ex-shin bet official as all being against an attack on Iran and talking about the cataclysmic effect war with Iran would have. It’s happening! It’s getting out there, who cares who the mouthpiece of truth is! I’m definitely not a fan of Rand, but hey, if he can get in Blitzer’s face and I mean he SHUT HIM DOWN today, then hallelujah bring him onnnnnn!

    We must be united in this cause and set aside the differences. Let’s grab this bull by the horns and run with it with CONVICTION or be defeated and live with regret.

  41. john h on January 3, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Entrance/exit polls, 8:43; Guardian:

    The New York Times is running the numbers from the entrance/exit/shake it all about polls:

    Another key finding in the entrance polls so far: almost 30 percent of voters identify as either independent or Democratic, much higher than in 2008 and toward the high range of the estimates that pollsters made in their likely voter models. The entrance polls report that about half of those voters are breaking for Ron Paul.

    Likewise, the percentage of moderates according to the the exit polls is about 20 percent – twice as high as in 2008 – and those voters so far are breaking for Mr. Paul as well.

    • john h on January 3, 2012, 10:52 pm

      Guardian sage Ana Marie Cox has her thoughts on what we have learned tonight:

      The exit and entrance polls produce surprisingly little drama, because that would mean commentators admitting they didn’t see the results coming.

      Paul’s strong showing keeps getting brushed aside as an expected outcome, which of course must be true: Remember all the interviews and magazine covers he got last summer, and how seriously he was taken at the debates?

      A Paul win, as I’ve written before, would actually be a rejection of the entire narrative that the media has forced upon the GOP primary. Paul voters, according to those CNN polls, are young people, are independent, but are also evangelical and conservative.

      All of those groups feel strongly that what they see and hear on the news is biased against them, and are a set of voters for whom “electability” is a side issue. They want to express themselves, and it seems as though they have.

  42. kalithea on January 3, 2012, 8:57 pm

    This is the version of continuation of my previous post that should appear:

    I need to elaborate on this part of my comment because I can’t emphasize it enough: “This is serious business; we can’t have a half-hearted attitude about this. This is going to be a nasty fight and the punches won’t be coming only from the right but from delusional Progressives as well.”

    If Ron Paul makes it beyond Iowa expect the big guns (Neocons, the Lobby ie Zionists, Wall Street, the MIC, you name it…) to come out full force against him.
    We can’t continue disclaiming Ron Paul’s shortcomings or sketchy past. We must stand behind him 100% and annihilate such criticism with the part of his platform that represents our common goal and the only hope of arresting the momentum of the forces of darkness that have taken America down a dark imperialistic path that is harming so many people including Americans.

    If we can put a black man who was labeled the Muslim Manchurian, portrayed as a terrorist in Muslim garb, nick-named Barack Osama and the anti-christ in the WH ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE! And believe me they’re going to paint Ron Paul with a tiny mustache and armband for starters!

    We can propel Ron Paul to the end, but the effort must be unshakable in its conviction. It can be done. Now that we’ve addressed the questionable aspects surrounding him, PUT IT BEHIND YOU. We can’t allow this man and the important message he’s carrying forward into the mainstream to be defeated prematurely or sabotaged by our faithlessness or insistence on purity and allow the other side to capitalize on this dithering.

    We must help carry Ron Paul to the end! Don’t be like the Israelis waiting indefinitely for the “perfect” partner for peace and sabotaging every representative chosen by Palestinians. Purity is a bogus excuse! Stop waiting for the messiah, Obama was supposed to be the “messiah” who would free us from all of this, and look how he turned out.

    I nearly fell off my chair when I heard Rand Paul! today discussing the Iran issue with Blitzer, the iconic media shill for Zionism, and bringing up Meir Dagan, and another ex-Mossad chief and an ex-shin bet official as all being against an attack on Iran and talking about the cataclysmic effect war with Iran would have. It’s happening! It’s getting out there, who cares who the mouthpiece of truth is! I’m definitely not a fan of Rand, but hey, if he can get in Blitzer’s face and I mean he SHUT HIM DOWN today, then hallelujah bring him onnnnnn!

    I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this race, Ron Paul is making this race exciting because I have a stake in this race and ironically he’s given me a reason to hope again. I’m hopeful because Ron Paul’s bold message will challenge the smug, overly complacent, chickenshit Obama.

    We must be united in this cause and set aside differences. Let’s grab this bull by the horns and run with it with CONVICTION or be defeated and live with regret.

  43. thetumta on January 3, 2012, 9:10 pm

    This is the last election? War, a serious one is next and it will reach all of us. We are well on our way. I for one, am moving on if I can. Been there, done that, not a Frat boy.

    Phil. We’re just too many days, minutes, too late. Iran will be our undoing. Just the latest Empire to be undone by our Political Class clients.

    Here we go!

    Hej! Tumta

  44. kma on January 3, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Phil, your “insurance policy” is that Ron Paul won’t win? so, you and Lizzy Ratner and Annie Robbins and a few million die-hard democrats really just want four more years of Obama. or you’d take Romney as a second choice. you like Paul but you really wish he were a democrat. but you can’t find a democrat with balls. so you give up.

    who is going to die? nobody you know? nobody in your family? do you give a shit about the rest of us or our kids or their kids? we deserve what is coming to us. we suck.

    insurance policy…. ugh.

  45. on January 3, 2012, 10:13 pm

    Pretty interesting, rather long article: “The fall of the Roman Empire” for those who care to read.
    “The situation could only go from bad to worse.
    By systematically ACCOMMODATING undesirable trends RATHER THAN REVERSING them, a chain reaction was set in motion which could only END in total COLLAPSE. Thus, welfare caused the increasing demoralisation of the urban masses. The public games made them still more degenerate. Both helped attract more people to the cities, thereby increasing the dimensions of the problem.

    In the meantime, the inevitable depopulation of the countryside and the ruin of the yeomen and rural middle classes, made agriculture increasingly dependent on slave labour, further accelerating rural depopulation and further swelling the urban masses. The shortage of money to buy food and the inevitable soil deterioration required further taxation and ever more expeditions undertaken in search of tribute and booty by an ever less effective army, whose loyalty to the State was ever more in doubt, and which eventually simply disintegrated along with the rest of the body politic.

    Our politicians are today caught up in a very similar positive feed-back process,
    from which they appear even less capable of extracting us.
    With NEITHER VISION OR COURAGE, they simply allow the SHIP OF STATE to DRIFT into ever more turbulent waters and content themselves with superficially repairing its ever more battered hulk, for no other purpose than to defer, for ever shorter periods, the inevitable day when it must flounder BENEATH the waves.

    Such is the price WHICH MUST be paid if social and ecological exigencies are subordinated to short-term political and economic interests.”

  46. kalithea on January 3, 2012, 10:58 pm

    Potential level of debating discourse between Santorum (who looks to be winning Iowa) and Obama:

    RS: I want to bomb Iran!

    O: No you don’t; I’m gonna bomb Iran! Bomb, bomb, bomb!

    RS: I luuuuuuuv Israel!

    O: No you don’t I love Israel more! More more more!

    RS: I love Jesus!

    O: But, Jesus loves ME. me me, me! I WIN!

    God help us! From bad to worse!

    To all you effing purist Progressives that trashed Ron Paul 24/7 on every blog lately; I HOPE YOU’RE PLEASED WITH YOURSELVES!


  47. ToivoS on January 4, 2012, 2:50 am

    Damn, Ron Paul did not win in Iowa today. The one guy who opposes American imperialism. Hey Lizzy Ratner, you must be happy tonight.

    • ish on January 4, 2012, 2:11 pm

      If you think Ron Paul opposes American imperialism you are very very naive.

      • ToivoS on January 4, 2012, 7:36 pm

        Ish if you understood the meaning of “imperialism” there is no way you could write that. You have aptly demonstrated your inability to think flexibly, but now illiteracy? Paul is a very strong supporter of free market capitalism (something I believe has never existed, BTW) but not in government involvement. Imperialism uses the armed forces of the state to promote private investments abroad. Can you grasp the difference?

      • ish on January 4, 2012, 8:54 pm

        Seriously I feel like I am in a bizarro world where you and other commenters are looking at someone’s right foot and trying to convince other people and yourselves that it is their left foot.

        Ron Paul is a far right extremist. He’s a conspiracy theorist and no friend to women, gay people, people of color or… the movement to support the rights of the Palestinian people.

        This is lunacy. Just stop it.

      • ToivoS on January 4, 2012, 10:26 pm

        Sorry Ish I pointed out a simple error in your reasoning: You do not know the meaning of “imperialism”. You simply blather on about some other subjects. Of course Paul is not going to support the rights of Palestinians, his whole essence is not to intervene in the internal affairs of other nations. I might not agree with why he is saying this, but I most certainly agree with the policy implications; i.e. the ME would be much better off if the US refrained from interfering in their internal affairs. That includes stop bankrolling the Israeli state and their expansionist policies.

  48. RoHa on January 4, 2012, 3:00 am

    If you want Ron Paul to win, you will have to find a way of keeping the vote-counting honest.
    The machines can be fixed. Paper ballots can be lost.
    How are you going to do it?

  49. Richard Witty on January 4, 2012, 3:29 am

    Ron Paul did much better than anyone would have expected three or four months ago, but nowhere near where people expected a week ago.

    He’ll duplicated his performance once more, maybe twice. He’ll have a 100 delegates at the republic convention, better than last time, but not a “player”.

    In spite of Peter Beinart’s description of him as “party changing” or Burston’s “Thank God for Ron Paul”, at least for saying some things like ‘war should have a very high bar to be pursued’.

    Instead we have Romney (who will win the republic nomination, and will get to make his argument and will garner republican enthusiasm, though not from the nuts). And, we will have Obama. They will get along.

    They are both the same kind of leaders. They facilitate, they mediate.

    Both will suggest the engineered version of sustainability. Neither will give room for indigenous in the modern world. And, as such, the Netanyahu version of Israel will continue to swamp the Arab world.

    And, the economy and society will remain growth and knowledge-based, rather than enough and wisdom-based.

    There will still be a conflict of civilizations, as much derided as the term is.

    Thomas Friedman’s article this morning in the times, bothers me, for its knowledge-based utopian advocacy. A plane that has taken off, but with no safe landing place, a problem kicked down the road.

    • Donald on January 4, 2012, 12:28 pm

      I agree with most of that, I think. I’m not sure what “They will get along” means. Obama and Romney are similar, but they want the same job, so they’re not going to get along. And bad as Obama has been, Romney has shown a flexibility in the positions he takes (I’m being polite to him) that is astonishing even by ambitious politician standards. Nobody can say for sure what position he is likely to take if he makes it to the White House.

      Unless Paul pulls off a spectacular upset soon, though, I suspect you’re right that he’s not going to be a major player. The press will happily ignore his antiwar positions if he doesn’t pose a serious threat of winning the nomination or at least winning enough delegates to wield a large amount of influence.

  50. justice on January 4, 2012, 8:13 am

    Phil, I find it perplexing in the extreme that, despite your professed horror at the policies that Obama has enacted, and your opposition to them, that you, along with so many other “progressives”, plan to hold your nose and vote for Obama In the next election. You have a problem with Ron Paul, a doctor who has saved countless lives in the course of his lifetime, and has stood strong against establishment policies that usurp our civil rights (for ALL people, I might add), stands strong against racist drug wars, stands strong against foreign interventionism while advocating a policy of free trade, travel, and friendship with all nations, because you and all the other “progressives” know he must be a racist based on establishment media “reports” (smears) that his apologies for decades old newsletters are not enough?

    So you’ll support Obama, who has actually killed millions of Muslims, consigned millions of Palestinians to a living death, has stepped up drone attacks on numerous countries in Africa and Asia, resulting in the deaths of many innocents, has shredded our Bill of Rights and can now lock up any of us in indefinite detention on his say-so.

    So who has been responsible for more misery, death and destruction in the world? You think Obama did all that because he was forced to by the Republicans- that he’s really a nice guy because he uses progressive catch-phrases?

    I contend that anyone who supports Obama next time around also has blood on his hands. You may not have foreseen it last time. This time you cannot say you didn’t know.

    • philweiss on January 4, 2012, 8:43 am

      global warming is also a huge concern of mine. i regard obama as better on this…

      • justice on January 4, 2012, 10:15 am

        And this would be a more important and immediate concern than starting a war with Iran, or killing more innocents, pre-emptively attacking more countries, and starting WWIII? It seems like we may not need to worry about global warming, or any other issue if we continue down this path…..
        I cannot imagine any issue more compelling than dramatically changing our foreign policy- TODAY. I have worked very hard, in progressive, libertarian, and conservative circles for the past ten years toward that end. It is painfully slow going, as evidenced here, where people bring up issues that pale in comparison to the very real life and death issues that our foreign policy is responsible for. Prioritize!

      • kma on January 4, 2012, 1:21 pm

        Obama says he believes in global warming. that’s all you want?
        what about tar sands, frakking, offshore drilling, gas consumption, subsidized nukes, and a military breaking emissions records…?
        you are completely fooled by the commander-in-speech.

  51. DaveS on January 4, 2012, 10:45 am

    Lizzy Ratner’s articulation of Ron Paul’s offenses should not be taken lightly, but she makes some critical errors. First, most of us are agreed that Paul’s quest is quixotic and that his chances of ending up in the White House are slim at best. Consequently, there is undeniable value in his strong and hopefully long-lasting candidacy that might force his foreign policy/civil liberties views into mainstream debate. Lizzy’s accusation of Phil’s “man crush” is misplaced, as he is merely cheering on a strong Paul showing and not hoping for eventual triumph. Second, what differentiates Paul’s offenses from those of other Repubs? Is he really so much further out there than they on abortion, immigration, favoring the wealthy, etc.? Phil focuses on the issues that make him remarkably different, which should not be misinterpreted as glossing over his faults, which are quite unremarkable in the Repub field. Third, as commander in chief, Prez Paul would have final say on many issues on which he is great – ending wars and not starting new ones, and even whether to prosecute whistleblowers, while his foul domestic agenda would encounter serious opposition from a democratic opposition that is lockstep with Obama, right or wrong. It is for this reason that I find myself contemplating a vote for Paul (in the unlikely event of his nomination), despite the fact that Lizzy articulates my sentiments fully with respect to his faults.

    One other thing I agree and disagree with Lizzy about is criticizing Phil for planning to vote for Obama. I share her opinion and will not do so myself. In fact, I didn’t vote for him last time (and am quite proud of that now), have voted for Nader the last four elections and Ron Daniels not Clinton in 92. I have been accused by most friends of wasting my vote, and I plan to vote third party again in 2012. I tell myself that I am voting for the best candidate and it is tens of millions of others who are settling and wasting their vote. I tell myself that I refuse to vote for people who have proved to me that they don’t deserve my vote. But I do not criticize those who choose to cast their vote for one of the two eventual winners. It seems to me a reasonable decision to try to impact the real contest between Obama and the Repub, but one I do not share. In fact, given Lizzy’s thorough assessment of Paul’s demerits, which I assume she thinks are substantially worse than Obama’s, I’m a little surprised at her refusal to vote against those policy positions.

    • philweiss on January 4, 2012, 12:21 pm

      Ratner is wrong. I have a man crush on Samel, not Paul….

      • DaveS on January 4, 2012, 12:38 pm

        love you too phil

      • Dan Crowther on January 4, 2012, 1:02 pm

        you guys want to be alone for a lil while?

  52. Richard Witty on January 4, 2012, 11:16 am

    Global warming is not an issue to me.

    I live in a zone where that was under a mile of ice 20,000 years ago, a quarter mile deep lake 10,000 years ago, and stable for at most a couple hundred years in any stretch.

    Its another one of those “it’s always been like this” or “we’ve always been here”.

    I am a very very strong advocate of sustainablity, and the simpolicity version of it, rather than the engineered version of it.

    The remedies for US adventurism in the middle east, global warming, and a genuine sustainable society, are the same.

    The cart however does not come before the horse. Energy consumption from fossil fuels (and nuclear – Indian Point how many miles from your home Phil, Vermont Yankee about the same distance from mine, both on faults, both old plants) has to reudece to 20% of current to stabalize carbon levels in the atmosphere, create a village/sustainable urban society.

    As Jimmy Carter stated clearly, so long as we are additiced to fossil fuels, we’ll be in wars in the middle east.

    They’re oil wealth is inevitably an ill-gotten gain, to whichever small group of beneficiearies profit by it.

    • Charon on January 4, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Alternatives are not going to materialize as long as big oil is big. That’s the problem. We the people need to declare war on big oil. I personally think the story about the Chevy Volt catching fire is phony and intended to ruin the vehicle’s image and reduce sales. Big oil can do this. They really did kill the 90s version of the electric car through a chain of patent acquisitions over what eventually became Texaco’s Cobasys NiMH batteries (from Ovonic – GM – Chevron – Texaco ‘s Cobasys). I don’t know if the Cobasys NiMH is better than others, but it is expensive to license for hybrids and they did sue Toyota in the past (dunno if it was over Prius or RAV-4). The patent expires in three years. That’s just one example.

      A few years back I had an environmental science course where both the professor and the book re-enforcing that fossil fuel was in a class of it’s own with no alternatives. It put it on a pedestal and only listed the cons of alternatives. I dropped the class because the professor was a jerk and later found out that a major oil subsidiary published the book.

      Urban legend says if we changed all our lights to CFL ones that enough energy would be saved to shut down every power plant. CFLs have issues of their own (poison, the ‘color’ of the light, size, etc.) but if that urban legend is true, the good would probably outweigh the bad.

      Why does everybody hate and attack the concept of Perpetual Motion generators? Like something run using permanent magnets (or semi-permanent magnets powered by sunlight?). I’ve never read an honest response to this. All I’ve heard is “permanent magnets require energy” (???), “permanent magnets are expensive,” (free energy is worth it) “permanent magnets used in a generator would be dangerous to assemble,” “permanent magnet generators would generate heat from friction and fail quickly,” (heat is wasted energy, so don’t waste it, a careful design in theory could repel instead of touch). Well I’m scientifically ignorant they would say, that I don’t understand energy and physics and relativity. I do understand that even science doesn’t try to explain magnetism other than the elementary-level stuff. Magnetism is left out of energy theories on purpose. Scientists are the scientifically ignorant ones in this case.

      Even if there was a breakthrough in perpetual motion, big oil would buy the tech and probably ‘take care’ of anybody who knew of it. Lobbies run the show. The Israel lobby isn’t the only big lobby in town and they have a mutual friend in the big oil lobby. Things need to get worse before they get better. Oil production needs to decline (pseudo scientists don’t think this will ever happen, they don’t think it is fossil in origin and that it is naturual and sustainable.. it also is organic and scabs like blood.. the blood of our planet? crazy, but you never know). Big oil needs to be taxed up the wazoo. We’ll pay for it at the pump, but alternatives would actually be made.

      • libra on January 4, 2012, 6:17 pm

        Charon: “Urban legend says if we changed all our lights to CFL ones that enough energy would be saved to shut down every power plant.”

        With every power plant shut down how could anybody watch TV let alone microwave a tasty TV dinner?

      • ToivoS on January 4, 2012, 7:52 pm

        Charon states re perpetual motion machines I’ve never read an honest response to this.

        Then try reading this. At a theoretical level they would violate the laws of thermodynamics. At the level of observation, those laws are based on literally thousands of experiments, none of which has been found to be in violation of those laws. Many of these experiments began with effort to find “free” energy.

      • Richard Witty on January 4, 2012, 10:04 pm

        There is no need for magic to accomplish energy conservation.

        Fossil fuel energy is spent in the US (really rough):

        40% on transportation
        40% on space heating and lighting
        10% on energy generation (really change from one energy storage medium to another)
        10% on industrial purposes

        Transportation can be accomplished by doubling mileage, doubling passengers or freight per trip, halving distance transported.

        Space heating and lighting can be accomplished by design, insulation, and tightening.

        We’re ignoring it, not changing how we live, not creating enterprises that create alternatives to how people live, not enacting public policy that limits waste, not enacting public policy that funds and researches for innovation.

        Electric vehicles are a method to increase mileage per fuel equivalent only. The best EV’s realize only double the average mileage of an internal combustion engine, mostly through the more efficient electric motors. It comes at a cost though.

        An EV is more expensive, centralized, capital intensive in constructing, delivering energy, repair.

        An EV-centric system will reduce global warming, but increase the use of nukes, increase toxic materials in the electric drives and batteries, and generate a lot of profits for shareholders, and reduce the amount of work for the rest of us. (1/8 of the mechanics needed.)

        There are only two sources of “free energy” on the planet. Sunlight and nuclear. (Actually tidal energy is a third, but difficult to capture.)

        All fossil fuels, wind, PV, passive solar, wood, etc. are stored solar energy. All geothermal, fission plants, are nuclear in origination (the center of the earth is a nuclear furnace, similar in ways to the sun, though at a much much smaller scale).

        There is no free energy in the “ether”, except maybe motivational/psychological, from prayer (“the well”).

      • annie on January 5, 2012, 12:41 am

        richard, you forgot defense. big consumer of fossil fuels. start over on those percentages.

      • john h on January 5, 2012, 1:05 am

        Richard, this thread shows you do have something to say that some will listen to and respond to positively. It also shows you can say it with far less invention of your own word combinations and stock phrases.

        That highlights the real problem that, nearly all the time, we have with you and you have with us.

        Think about what can be learned from how this thread went. Then take a little time out and reflect on how this situation between us could be radically improved.

        It starts with you because that’s what you are, the initiator.

      • MRW on January 5, 2012, 2:01 am

        Well, this is dead wrong: “There is no free energy in the “ether”, except maybe motivational/psychological, from prayer (“the well”).”
        Yang and Lee proved it in late 1956, got an instant 1957 Nobel Prize for it three months later, and the information was promptly removed from EVERY advanced electrical engineering university and post-grad text thereafter.

      • MRW on January 5, 2012, 2:13 am

        The DOE has other percentages than the off-the-wall percentages that Witty gave here.

        Industrial 31%
        Transportation 28%
        Commercial 19%
        Residential 23%
        Source: US Energy Administration 2010.

        The rest of your description of energy is completely off-the-wall as well. Nuclear is not a “free energy” and it is non-renewable.

        Cars, for example, account for 16% of the country’s total energy use.
        Residences: 37%.

      • MRW on January 5, 2012, 2:27 am

        annie, defense fuel is considered National Security Item #1. If anyone thinks oil is going away as a fuel, they’re crazy. Not until tanks, trucks, planes, ships, and supply lines are fueled by something different. The government does not give a shit what houses and cars are fueled by, and it will starve the private sector before letting the military go without.

      • MRW on January 5, 2012, 2:42 am

        Your state doesn’t use much renewable energy, Richard. Check out the interactive map. The most work being done in renewables is out west.

      • Richard Witty on January 5, 2012, 5:04 am

        Defense uses are included in the percentages. They use fossil fuels for the same purposes.

        The percentages are rough, intended to map out the possibilities of change, rather than just to seek for some magic.

      • Shingo on January 5, 2012, 8:09 am

        The percentages are rough, intended to map out the possibilities of change, rather than just to seek for some magic.

        Allow me to translate that for those who don’t speak Wittish:


      • libra on January 5, 2012, 8:36 am

        RW: “There is no need for magic to accomplish energy conservation….”

        Richard, how well you can write when the subject is divorced from Zionism.

        Well actually there is an indirect connection. Because what you say about conservation applies particularly to the US with its current profligate use of energy. But most of the world needs much more energy to improve its standard of living. This will need non-fossil sources both for environmental and cost/availability reasons. Much of this will be solar, with the Middle East as one of the best paces to produce it.

        Thus continuing Zionist-led US/Israeli efforts to destabilise the Middle East are harming the development prospects of this region and thus reduce investment in such new energy sources. Of course an own goal for Israel as it misses a huge market on its door step for its promising solar technologies. Not for nothing is it the land of the freier.

      • Richard Witty on January 5, 2012, 10:47 am

        The reason that you can’t understand my comments on Zionism is twofold:

        1. The questions themselves that are raised are not specific ones, but nearly solely, “Israel good vs Israel bad”. There is actually very very limited expression of support for Palestinians except to support the summary statements of “Israel bad”.

        As I regard BOTH Israel and Palestine as good ultimately, I find myself in opposition.

        2. The language and ideological themes applied are of almost different languages.

        I do not find the anti-colonial language to be useful to anything that I know of in the current world. Colonialism is NOT the predominant relationship of really any powers in the world currently.

        The language that describes the Israel/Palestine conflict is that, “conflict”. There is oppression in it, but that is in the context of primarily “conflict”, with the circle of stimulated escalation the more important theme.

        There is some merit to the theme of ‘stop the “rape”, then address the dynamics of the conflict’, as there is also some merit to ‘stop the violence, then address the dynamics of the conflict’.

        On solar, there are downsides to solar as well.

        A friend, Chris Martenson (look him up, a libertarian – or he used to be) summarized three stresses in modern economy: energy, environment, economy/debt.

        One of his themes on energy is that a critical change in the energy extraction/generation profile is the relationship between the number of BTU’s to get the energy from source to end-user and the number of BTU’s in the energy itself.

        So, for example, if it takes 100 BTU’s to extract oil, then another 100 BTU’s to refine it, then another 100 BTU’s to transport it to end-user, and there is 1000 BTU’s in the oil, then the % of energy cost to energy use is 30%.

        Historically, the era of energy-cheap sources of energy are over.

        Oil used to cost 4% to extract. Now in deep water wells, it costs over 20%. Photovoltaic solar is in the 30+% range of energy to construct compared to energy delivered.

        Wind is still efficient. Geo-thermal is efficient (even ground – air heat pump geothermal, not even volcanic). All of the fossil fuels are going down. Coal is still efficient but much much less so than previously. Oil, similarly. Natural gas used to be considered a waste-product from oil drilling, but is not in the middle.

        Conservation, utilization, and intentionally energy-efficient settlement design, is the name of the game.

        The best two things that one can do currently to make change is to pay off all your debt (credit cards, loans, mortgage), and if you can don’t borrow ever.

        Make your home a close to net-zero energy small homestead. Every home has some southern exposure, capable of capturing heat in a passive solar greenhouse. Insulate every home very well , even if it takes the form of a “house blanket” put on every winter. Grow as much of your own food in your home. (In a solar greenhouse with a small yard, you can grow a material % of your green and root vegetable needs. Protein, fat and carbohydrate needs are less expensive – grain is cheap, beans are cheap.)

        Its very possible. Cities are tough, more socially dependent. Not too much possibility for any scale of homesteading.

      • libra on January 5, 2012, 12:31 pm

        RW: “The reason that you can’t understand my comments on Zionism is twofold: …”

        Richard, whilst it’s true I often struggle with your English when the subject is Zionism, I avail myself of the excellent interpretation services offered by eljay and James North. So I’m really quite clear where you stand.

        As for solar power, just remember this handy moniker – “Solar gets better all the time, Israel gets worse all the time.”

        Spend your time worrying about the future of Israel, Richard. The really smart people will sort out solar (some of them even Israelis).

      • eljay on January 5, 2012, 12:55 pm

        >> There is actually very very limited expression of support for Palestinians except to support the summary statements of “Israel bad”.

        RW appears to have been covering his eyes and ears as well as holding his nose. He’s missed the tremendous amount of support for Palestinians as Palestinians, and the fact that statements of “Israel bad” have very much to do with the mountains of evidence which demonstrate that Israel has been – and continues to be – very bad to Palestinians, both within and without Partition borders.

        >> There is some merit to the theme of ‘stop the “rape”, then address the dynamics of the conflict’ …

        Only an immoral “humanist” could even think to suggest that there is merely “some” merit to stopping a rape immediately.

      • eljay on January 5, 2012, 12:58 pm

        >> … I avail myself of the excellent interpretation services offered by eljay and James North.

        I am honoured to have my name mentioned alongside that of the Master Translator. :-)

      • Richard Witty on January 5, 2012, 2:55 pm

        I worked for a branch of the American Solar Energy Society (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) for two years in the late 90’s. I was their accountant, edited their quarterly newsletter, conducted fundraising campaigns directed at mass audience donors, emphasizing global warming as primary issue.

        The reality of “embodied energy”, the amount of energy it takes to create either fuel or energy generation assets remains.

        Solar cells are at an historical all-time low in cost, and still solar is 6 – 8 times as expensive as coal for power plants.

        The $ cost can have to $1.25/kwh and still not be economical yet. The efficiency and durability of solar cells have increased incrementally, but not dramatically, for all the new innovations in thin-film solar, different layering of materials, three-dimensional arrays.

        There is a great promise in parabolic solar, as NOT as high-tech a field, NOT requiring enormous and highly capital intensive plants to construct, and scalable.

        And, there are innovations in the scalability of wind that don’t require 15 mph prevailing winds to be economical. (So, not usually where most people live.)

        Eljay and North get my posts, my gists, my understandings far far more wrong than right. A better path to understand my points is to ask.

      • Richard Witty on January 5, 2012, 2:57 pm

        There isn’t much real support for Palestinians expressed here. There is anger at Israel, which is not the same thing.

        For example, there has been no effort to conduct any community economic development that I’ve seen. I’ve done that more than I’ve seen here, in fundraising for a Palestinian/Israeli joint solar project before the second intifada.

        In saying that there is merit to “stopping the rape”, I am agreeing with you, Eljay. Why attack someone agreeing with you? (You haven’t distinguished between elements of Israeli policy that are of the “rape” nature, from the distinct neighbor nature. Please don’t say that every element of the relationship is of a rape. That gets nowhere.)

        You think that addressing the dynamics of the conflict is irrelevant though?

      • eljay on January 5, 2012, 3:25 pm

        >> In saying that there is merit to “stopping the rape”, I am agreeing with you, Eljay. Why attack someone agreeing with you?

        Unlike eljay – who demands that the rape be stopped immediately, before the dynamics of the rapist/victim conflict are addressed – RW merely sees “some merit to the theme of ‘stop the “rape”, then address the dynamics of the conflict’.” This does not constitute “agreeing with” eljay.

        >> … You haven’t distinguished between elements of Israeli policy that are of the “rape” nature, from the distinct neighbor nature.

        It appears that RW is so bereft of morality that he is unable to comprehend that Zionist terrorism, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and land, and Israel’s 60+ years, ON-GOING, offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder – all of which eljay has mentioned on numerous occasions – are not of a “neighbor” nature.

      • libra on January 5, 2012, 6:45 pm

        Richard, once again I’m impressed about how well you write on subjects other than Zionism. I’m sure we could have an enjoyable and productive conversation about the future of solar energy but that is not the purpose of Mondoweiss.

        Perhaps you could use your blog’s bandwidth rather than Phil and Adam’s for such a conversation. How about combining your interests with a post on the role of renewable energy in reshaping North Africa and the Middle East this century? Perhaps you can include something on what role Israel can play in this, how it could go about this, and what benefits it would reap. May be if its interesting Phil and Adam would re-post it on Mondoweiss? Who knows?

        But to come back to your last point, how can I better explain the difference between your Zionist-related writing versus your non-Zionist writing? Good English versus bad? Objectivity versus subjectivity? Genuine concern for all versus poorly disguised tribalism? I’m astounded you can’t see the difference yourself. Do you know someone you trust who teaches English in some capacity and could ask to explain it to you?

      • Richard Witty on January 5, 2012, 8:55 pm

        Read my Zionist-related writing and make sure you understand what I’m saying, then please criticize points, logic, weight, proposal.

        Just, please stay away from the cheap dismissal or character assassination.

  53. on January 4, 2012, 2:38 pm

    Here is a sample, for everybody to see, how bad is the situation in Greece.
    And I suspect that this is just a beginning.
    “Let’s all watch as the world goes to the devil”.
    (a false Maria from the movie “Metropolis”.)

    • MRW on January 5, 2012, 2:21 am

      This is horrible. Just horrible.

    • yourstruly on January 6, 2012, 12:52 am

      note the happy outcome for the family with 10 children. how? through charity, the only source of support that the impoverished are left with, once the safety net is nonexistent. the race back to the 19th century? or is to dickensonian times? if the latter, how appropriate, this being the year of his 200th birthday celebration.

      • justice on January 6, 2012, 7:51 am

        Dickensian?? Really??? Wow. That seems a bit over the top….Maybe you could think outside of the box a little, for other alternatives to the current system. Maybe going back to “Dickensian times” might not be the only alternative?

  54. ToivoS on January 4, 2012, 6:03 pm

    Last when Paul surged in the Iowa polls there was a real opportunity to put his anti-war and non-intervention ideas out there in the public discourse. The establishment launched its smear campaign and successfully kept that part of the message out of the discussion. This was probably predictable. It frustrating, however, to see the rigid left join in the attack. One thing that is positive about the RP threads here at MW is that it has certainly shown who can apply common sense in their politics and those stuck in rigid doctrine.

    • MRW on January 5, 2012, 2:21 am

      ToivoS, the dirty little secret is that RP has as many delegates as Romney and Santorum, and is apparently picking up more. After the caucus, they chose delegates, which TV didn’t cover in the middle of the night, and I gather RP picked up additional delegates just by volunteers standing there and coming forward. This isn’t over.The MSM are going to ignore him in New Hampshire and thereafter. But there’s a small problem of Occupy America and the military. People are pissed. After Obama announces cuts in military benefits tomorrow after giving the Israeli military more money on Christmas Eve, there’s going to be a slow burn throughout this next year.

  55. justice on January 5, 2012, 10:34 am

    “One way Paul is unbearable is his whiteness.”

    Is it ironic to complain about Paul’s purported racism, while engaging in it yourself?
    Your comment is the very definition of racism. Substitute ‘blackness’ for ‘whiteness’, and you might then be able to recognize how very racist that statement, and sentiment, is.

    Racism, in any form, is not acceptable.

    • libra on January 5, 2012, 12:12 pm

      Well said, justice. I wondered when some one would comment on this.

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