Monday, January 14, 2008
I've read a sampling of the newsletters in question, and some of the pull out quotes on race are sickening. I will go into my thoughts in more detail soon, but the smear goes beyond the attempt to paint Dr. Paul as a hatemonger. It also is meant to make ideas like dismantling the federal government, scaling back foreign aid to Israel and everyone else, and upsetting sacred cows like the Lincoln cult fellow travelers with bigotry. My best friends are Jews and I have dated many of them - and I still agree with Dr. Paul's argument that American money and help hurts rather than helps all involved.
Monday, November 26, 2007
And now, she openly states she is 100% in agreement with Dr. Paul's monetary policy! On video! Kucinich has his problems, but at least he married well!
Friday, November 16, 2007
First off, Ron Paul is not against gathering intelligence. He simply charges that there is too much bureacracy between the intelligence and the decision makers. There is truth in that claim. The Central Intelligence Agency's charter has two missions - one, to gather and analysis intelligence to preserve national security; and two, to perform covert missions at the command of the President. One of the biggest gripes people have with the CIA - from Kermit Roosevelt in Iran to the black site prisons of the present day - is that there is a whole lot of two and not much one.
Are these two functions unique within the government? Not by a long shot.
There are currently 16 member organizations of the United States Intelligence Community. They are listed below.
- Air Force Intelligence
- Army Intelligence
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Coast Guard Intelligence
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Department of Energy
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of State
- Department of the Treasury
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Marine Corps Intelligence
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- National Reconnaissance Office
- National Security Agency
- Navy Intelligence
Every military branch has their own intelligence group (even Marines and Navy are seperate). They also tend to guard their capabilities jealously, and aren't willing to give up responsibility for them even though technically they report to the Director of National Intelligence.
As for the civilian services, they are very specialized. The NSA, NRO, and NGIA are all part of the Department of Defense and control signals intelligence, satellites, and mapping services (for reconnaissance and targeting of weapons) respectively. Energy monitors nuclear activity around the world. Treasury is on the look out for anything that might affect monetary policy. The DEA is the drug police. And of course State, having personnel all over the world in the embassies, consulates, and miscellaneous missions is in an excellent position for gathering and analyzing intelligence.
Under a Paul administration, foreign intelligence may be boiled down to simply information gathering from the State Department and the Defense Department (including NSA, NRO, NGIA, Coast Guard, and other service intelligence groups),
with Energy keeping responsiblity for the nukes. This of course is not official, but is based off of Paul's public statements in debates and interviews.
Intelligence Community Under Paul (speculating, of course)
Air Force Intelligence
Central Intelligence Agency
Coast Guard Intelligence
Defense Intelligence Agency
Department of Energy Department of Homeland Security
Department of State
Department of the Treasury
Drug Enforcement Administration
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Marine Corps Intelligence
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
National Reconnaissance Office
National Security Agency
While there is intense debate over whether the CIA failed in its mission - given that intelligence was available about the hijackings but nothing was delivered to deicion makers - what can be said with some surety is that eliminating the CIA will not leave America blind and deaf to the world.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Lew Rockwell has a recap of the whole experience behind the scenes.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Huck is the worst because he represents a virulent new form of soft socialism, one that appeals to many mush-brained evangelicals. Giuliani and the others are old fascist types whose limits are well-defined. But there's no telling what the health-nut Huck might try to do using government power.
The focus group just wants somebody to attack Hillary and project power. They have no principles, they have no analytic ability.
Giuliani is now on Hannity and Colmes, mentions that except for Ron Paul neither he himself nor any of his colleagues will let Iran get nukes. That's right: they're all pro-war, except for Paul.
Now a question from Carl Cameron about Putin and Russia and their nuclear plans. Question for McCain: a new Cold War?
McCain: Says when he looked into Putin's eyes he saw the letters KGB. Ooh. Gets applause. Has nothing very specific to say, though. Says he doesn't think there'll be a new Cold War. But everything he says about Putin, "this is a dangerous person" and "he needs to understand that there is a cost to his actions," sounds like warmed-over Cold War rhetoric. McCain says he wants missile defense. "There's going to be some tough times," he says.
Hunter says that Putin gave us an opening by offering to work with us on sea-based missile defense, and says that we should work with Putin on that, put Aegis missile defense in the Black Sea. Lots of cheers when he says we need to keep missile defense strong.
Giuliani: says now is the time to make it clear to Putin that America speaks softly and carries a big stick. He too is a Cold Warrior -- and maybe not even "cold" at all. Says he wants to expand NATO -- NATO is already in a few former Soviet republics, does he propose to expand NATO all the way into Russia herself? Good grief. Says he wants to increase the size of our military in all aspects.
Question for Thompson about Turkey's steps to curb Kurdish terrorism. If America gets to be pro-active and invade Iraq, why shouldn't Turkey do the same thing? Thompson doesn't have much of an answer for this, we have "friends on both sides," he says, but "we have to understand Turkey's position." Says he hopes diplomacy can work. But if it doesn't? He seems to come down on the Turkish side, which in Realpolitik terms is wise.
Tancredo gets to add his two cents. Picks up a Thompson point about Pelosi's Armenian genocide vote, blames her for the Turks getting antsy about Kurdish Iraq.
Huckabee says trained and armed Kurds should fight the PKK, the Kurdish terrorists. Well, do you really think armed Kurds would see the PKK as terrorists, Huck? They'd see them as brothers-in-arms.
Paul says this is all a result of a policy of interventionism. Reminds the audience that Bush ran on a policy of noninterventionism. Paul says the Iraq was is likely to spill over into Iran. "We jeopardize ourselves, and quite frankly we're not able to afford this," he says w/regard to interventionism, and "we don't need another Cold War." Audience is jeering loudly. Booing when he says "the Turks business is not our business." Florida Republicans are trashy people, at least the ones in this audience.
Romney is emoting about genocide, getting applause. Cites Charles Krauthammer -- good to know Romney frankly thinks that one of the prime neocons is a wise foreign policy maven. Lots and lots of applause from the servile audience.
Paul gets a question from Goler, who says that Paul has drawn some of the strongest reactions from the audience, both pro and con. Question is whether the other candidates have left the Republican Party. Paul has a great answer: points out that they do not represent traditional conservatism, that they do not follow the constitution, they are "big government conservatives." Paul points out that Republicans consistently won when they ran as pro-peace, smaller government candidates. Points out that "we have lost our way," which is why "we lost last year, and if we don't go back to our traditions" of hte constitution, civil liberties, etc, we're doomed. Lots of jeering.
Giuliani asked whether he fears a nuclear Iran more than he fears going to war with Iran. Makes it pretty clear that he'd go to war with Iran, though he puts more emphasis on sanctions. He also says he wants to put pressure on China and Russia to pressure Iran. But how? Giuliani cites the difference between Carter and Reagan when dealing with Iran. He doesn't mention Reagan's sale of missiles to Iran -- remember Iran-Contra? Evidently no Florida Republican does.
Thompson gets a question about his laziness. He rambles along in reply, rattling off his resume. After getting to the end, says that, "If a man can do all that and be lazy" he'd recommend laziness to anyone. The brain-dead audience cheers.
That's the end. Not just of the debate, but probably of the Republicans' chances for the next decade or so.
Lots of cheering and cheering from the audience, which doesn't like Hillary and thinks that Hillary-hatred amounts to a substantial political program. The Republicans are sunk: they only know how to emote. That their emotions against Hillary are correct is beside the point. This audience has evidently popped too much Prozac.
Giuliani's response to the Hillary question is to crack jokes. Gets hoots and applause.
So far, no discussion of the fact that there's a bloody war going on in Mesopotamia...
Are Floridians just stupid? Giuliani keeps pandering to the audience, talking about how greateful he is for Florida for defeating Gore. Great, but ancient history...
McCain is now talking about Iraq, but he's not saying anything of substance. Doesn't say how he's going to win this war that we've been losing for nearly five years. In fact, his answer, to a question about the difference between himself and Hillary on Iraq, shifts into a discussion of the Woodstock museum. McCain says he doesn't remember Woodstock because "I was tied up at the time." Lots of hooting and hollering and applauding -- a standing O! -- from the drugged-up, sexually dysfunctional, statist audience. Yay for other people who fought in wars that we lost! Hurray! Gimme another blue pill!
Huckabee, putting on his serious face, says there's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president. Rants about Islamofascism. Well, there's something pretty funny about Huck being president. It aint gonna happen, for one thing.
Now Thompson, reciting some more talking points. This is going nowhere. Attacks liberals for "insulting" generals.
Paul gets a question about the Iraq War--Hillary is against it too, says the Fox News moderator, so what's the difference between them? Paul points out that most Americans want to come home -- and the Prozac audience boos. Paul points out that Hillary wants to stay in Iraq for at least another five years. Paul also mentions that our civil liberties have been eroded. "We need to get back to the basics, believe in the constitution, believe in the rule of law, and not allow our government to spend endlessly and bankrupt this country." Gets applause from the audience.
Another question for Thompson, about the solvency of the country. Thompson spouts cliches--bankrupting the next generation, "they don't have a seat at the table," blah blah. It's not wrong, but Thompson has nothing specific to say and can't be trusted. Words without meaning. Ok, now he gets to something specific: indexing Social Security to inflation. That's something, but not much.
Giuliani gets the next question. Thompson, the question says, will be accused of trying to cut benefits, "are you prepared to be as bold?" Giuliani says we need to get a consensus behind private accounts. Points out that Medicare and Medicaid are going to be twice as expensive as Social Security in ten years. Giuliani, as terrible as he is, often comes off as better versed in technical questions than the other neocons. Points out that the people who are not covered by health care right now are consumers -- they're not the poor, who are covered by Medicaid, but people who are buying things and who choose to buy something other than health insurance. Not a bad answer, all said.
Romney says he's prepared to be as bold, but not by cutting benefits for poor Americans -- good grief, a totally nonsensical answer. Talks a little about private accounts, says he wouldn't index benefits to inflation except for rich people. "Democrats also love America," he says, blah blah.
Huck now asked about private accounts. Says that Bush used the wrong word with "privatization," should have used "personalization." Says government should stop robbing the Social Security trust fund. This is all pretty banal. Says he wants to give seniors the option of a one-time buyout, for those who don't need Social Security.
Paul: points out that the government is not very good at centrally planning the economy. Says we need to provide for the elderly, but let the young people get out. Talks about the dollar's loss of value; unless the dollar is shored up, the attempt to keep up with cost of living increases won't work, because the currency will be worthless. A new foreign policy would tide people over, with the money redirected from the military. Gets applause.
McCain now asked. Talks about Tip O'Neill and Reagan fixing Social Security; says it has to be a bipartisan solution, with personal savings accounts.
Hunter now gets the question. He decides to talk about protectionism, thinks that Americans are going to get bigger paychecks by keeping (inefficient, uncompetitive) manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Gets wild applause for protectionism. Brit Hume asks, incredulously, whether Hunter really thinks he can solve the entitlements problem with trade policy. Hunter says, basically, yes.
Tancredo: Zzzzz.... Talks a little about the plan to give Social Security benefits to illegal aliens, which he opposes (as does anyone with an ounce of sense, I would think).
Commercial break, thank God. Next round is foreign policy.
This ordeal is brought to us by Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, we're informed. I need a drink.
I think I'm going to start smoking. I want to live in a free country, where cigarettes can be advertised on TV.
And now to a break. I think we all need it.
Ron Paul gets big applause when he's introduced, but, disappointingly, Huckabee and Giuliani are getting bigger pops. Romney and Thompson, even McCain, too. It's not much of a Paul crowd, it seems.
Brit Hume introduced Paul as the '88 Libertarian Party candidate.
First question: who is the real Republican, the real conservative? Giuliani is asked whether he's more conservative than Thompson. Giuliani cites George Will to vouch for his conservative credentials. Giuliani claims he brought down crime "Maybe more than anyone in the history of this country." Megalomaniacal much? Claims that someone might find one or two exceptions to his conservatism--no kidding.
Romney is asked about his flip-flops and having run to the left of Ted Kennedy in Mass. Romney is sporting a ridiculous new hairstyle, with a lick of bangs dropping down onto his forehead. He looks absurd. This must be his attempt to make himself look less stiff and polished, but it makes him look like a statue with a bit of pigeon poop dropping down its forehead.
Thompson is asked whether he buys what Romney and Giuliani are selling. He says they have an hour and a half, maybe they'll get somewhere. Cracks a joke about Ted Kennedy's girth (no room to the left of him--no room to the right of him, either). Thompson says "both of these gentlemen have done some good things," but he points out that Giuliani is for government-funded abortion, gun control, and sanctuary cities. Giuliani gets to rebut him: says that Thompson was biggest obstacle to tort reform. "He voted against almost anything that would make our legal system fairer," such as loser-pays laws. Giuliani seemsa bit shaky in his response--he's grasping at straws.
Thompson gets another minute. Blathers about tort reform a bit, says he supported it w/regard to interstate commerce and a few other things, but that local issues belong at the state level. Good comeback to Giuliani. Says he passed an anti-sanctuary-city bill. Giuliani went to court to overturn it, says Thompson. Giuliani replies with his stock answer about New York's problems and the practical need for sanctuary policies.
McCain is asked who's more conservative, himself or Romney. McCain cites his record going back 20 years or so. Says he wasn't a mayor or a governor for a short period of time, he was a soldier and a leader.
Romney calls McCain "an American hero." Romney says he was fighting for issues like keeping the death penalty and lowering taxes as governor. "Fighting against the liberal lion." Gets tangled in a metaphor about building houses -- he says something about houses building other houses!
McCain cracks a joke about Romney's "call in the lawyers" answer from the last debate. Gets applause. McCain says Romney has been fooling people about his own record, and doesn't want Romney fooling the people about McCain's record. Not a lot of substance here.
Romney gets to rebut. Says again he would meet with lawyers before going to Congress in questions of going to war. This is weaselly. None of these clowns believe in following the constitution and actually declaring war -- only Paul does that.
Paul gets a question about gay marriage, asked about his opposition to an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment. Paul says it should be a state-by-state matter, and ultimately a religious matter. Says an amendment is unnecessary; the states should be able to handle the issue and the federal government should get out. Authority can be put in the states by voting in Congress.
Romney is now asked about his support for the constitutional amendment. Romney says he comes from a state that has gay marriage. He cites the risk of gay marriage having such effects as, for example, discriminating against Catholic adoption services. This is a good point, and Romney gets pretty big applause for it.
Giuliani gets the question. He too says there is no need for a constitutional amendment, especially while only one state has actually had gay marriage imposed by judicial fiat. Giuliani cracks a joke about performing 210 marriages as mayor, says they were all men and women -- he hopes. Gets some laughs. Says that he has to get some slack, since it was New York City.
Huckabee is now asked about Giuliani's abortion position. Says he's not interested in fighting the other candidates, but wants to fight "for the American people." He throws out some banalities about human life, gets some applause. Huckabee has a very unctuous, "aw, shucks" kind of faux-sincerity that I find utterly repellent. I think Brownback was less repulsive.
Thompson now asked about his lobbying for Planned Parenthood. Thompson gives a rather incoherent answer, but ends by saying that Planned Parenthood opposes him now, which gets him some applause.
McCain gets a question about his criticisms of the Religious Right -- and the audio goes down! He's giving a long answer, too. Audio's back, he's talking about a "united party."
Tancredo gets his first question, about the hyphenation of the party -- neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, compassionate conservatives, etc. Tanc rambles a bit, says every candidate brings something good, but they also bring differences, and it shouldn't be a sin to discuss them. Cites his own American Taxpayers Union rating and his ratings from various other organizations. He sounds pretty shaky--I don't think he'll be in the race much longer.
Hunter gets his first question. He says Carl Cameron has been "dividing the party for the last ten minutes," and he'll try to unite them. He starts talking about Cuban freedom fighters. Direct pandering to the Cubans. Gets huge applause for it.
Wendell Goler is now asking about health care and education -- two issues that the federal government should not be involved in at all, as Ron Paul will hopefully have a chance to explain.
McCain gives a very generic answer, talks about Hillarycare, the Canadian and British National Health Services, etc. Wants to give out tax credits, which is good, but kind of weak.
Paul is asked about insurance and government programs creating the massive costs of health care. Goler asks whether other doctors, like Dr. Paul, should treat patients without taking medicare--basically, on charity. Paul says that the only way to save money and bail out Medicare in the short term is to fix our foreign policy, redirect some of that military money, and in the long term move away from managed care back to a free market system. Points to the AMA and pharmaceutical companies' roles. Gets pretty good applause.
Romney asked about his own health-care plan in Massachusetts--Romneycare. Romney says he's proud of what he did in Mass. Romney seems to have fixed his drooping forelock -- was that deliberate, or was it a genuinely unscripted hair moment? That, I think, is about as much interest as Romney can generate.
Hunter says Romney's plan, which mandates people buying health insurance, actually drives up the price of healthcare, which it does. Jokes about Romney's plan mandating fertility coverage for 90-year-olds, which he says is "optimistic." Gets some laughs, gets good applause.
Romney says he took as many mandates out as possible. "It was a compromise." Sheesh. Hunter is right: mandated insurance only adds to costs. It's also just plain statist. Awful, awful stuff. Romney is visually oozing; he's like a used-car salesman.
Now Huck. He's talking about how much money is spent on chronic disease. Wants emphasis put on prevention. Remember, folks, Huck wants to control what you eat and what you smoke. He wrecked his own health with a bad diet, and now he wants to "save" the rest of us.
Tancredo gets the question. I can't bring myself to write much more about Tanc. He's on his way out. Says federal government shouldn't be involved, gets applause.
Thompson is asked about his vote for No Child Left Behind. He refuses to say plainly that his vote was wrong, though he now criticizes NCLB and the teaching the test. His answer is rambling. Says he wants to "help the states." What does that mean? He throws out random cliches: vouchers, charter schools. And then he cites societal breakdown, gets applause from this evidently zombie-like, mindlessly cheery audience.
The focus group, which can't articulate any substantial vision but just wants a Republican "leader" to stop the Democrat Hillary, symbolizes pretty well how far wrong the GOP has gone.
Edit: Ah, Colmes just announced that the line opens at 8 pm, when the debate starts. That makes marginally more sense than asking who won before the debate so much as begins -- but not a whole lot more.
This is Fox, so of course we'll get some kind of sci-fi postapocalyptic scenario question toward the end. Weirdly, Fox is already running a telephone poll asking who won the debate. Is this some kind of ploy to get Paul supporters to call in early and then disqualify them? Or maybe it's just Fox trying to see if the other candidates can muster any support at all with the phone lines open early. Most likely, though, there isn't any point to it at all.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Paul began his remarks by telling students that, “the medical system is going well except for a few groups: the patients, the doctors, the hospitals, the labs, and the politicians. Everybody else is happy.”
I have spent some time in politics, and this is the most inventive idea yet (and much less pandering and slimey than Giuliani's $9.11 idea). Sign up at http://www.thisnovember5th.com/ so your name will be counted.
Please join us this November 5th for the largest one day political donation event in history. Our goal is to bring together 100,000 people to donate $100 each, creating a one day donation total of $10,000,000.
-Hat tip to Casey Khan at LRC Blog.