Ron Paul

Four of Seven Dwarves: Consistent, Courage, Resolute, Cheerful

“Consistent” (Paul), “Courage” (Santorum?!), “Resolute” (Willard), “Cheerful” (Newt)

Those are the one word answers the GOP candidates gave CNN’s John King to explain themselves.

All I could think of where the seven dwarves remaining. (Bachmann? Crazy. Perry? Dummy. Cain? Slutty.)

That said, I’m not sure what service men and women think of Santorum claiming credit, presumably for his socially restrictive policies while never serving, is all that courageous. And Willard? “Resolute”? I guess that’s Mormon for “multiple choice,” right?

These people are clearly all too delusional to have their finger on the nuclear button.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Advocates Extending PATRIOT Act to Domestic Terrorists

I watched last night’s Huckabee Presidential forum between thrilling plays in the Big 10.2 Championship game. Since each candidate appeared by him or herself, it lacked the entertaining in-fighting of other episodes of this reality show. But it was fascinating because some rising stars in the Republican Party–three far right Attorneys General, OK’s Scott Pruitt, VA’s Ken Cuccinelli, and FL’s Pam Bondi–served as co-moderators. As such, I think the forum provided some indication of where the leading edge of Republican crazy is.

Which is troubling, because in a question directed to Congressman Ron Paul, Pruitt endorsed applying the PATRIOT Act to purely domestic terrorists. [Update: bob johnson, who is from OK, says this wasn't an endorsement. A pity, then, that Pruitt not only extended the discussion of PATRIOT to domestic grounds but also set up Bondi for more fearmongering.] After raising the specter of Tim McVeigh’s attack on the Murrah Federal Building, Pruitt asked,

Pruitt: What thoughtful alternative do you have to the PATRIOT Act to prevent acts of domestic terrorism in the future?

Paul provided the same kind of answer he has provided when he has gotten asked similar questions in the context of foreign terrorism in other debates, noting that the PATRIOT Act should have been called the repeal of the Fourth Amendment. To which Priutt doubled down:

So Congressman, you don’t believe that there needs to be a comprehensive law at the federal level equipping law enforcement to prevent domestic terrorism in this country?

Now, as I said, Paul gets asked a similar question at just about every debate. The authoritarian streak of today’s GOP party likes to call out Paul’s libertarianism so as to mock it as outside acceptable bounds of GOP ideology (usually just before everyone applauds torture).

Which is why I find it so troubling that Pruitt did so with regards to domestic terrorism.

Continue reading

Udall Amendment Fails 37-61

In the battle of two wrong sides, the Democrats lost, with the Udall Amendment failing 37-61. The vote is interesting, first of all, as a read of Obama’s ability to sustain a veto. Right now, the militarists do not have a two-thirds majority to override.

Also of interest are some of the Democrats voting against the Udall Amendment, most notably Sheldon Whitehouse.

Rand Paul and Mark Kirk are the only two Republicans to vote in favor of Udall.

I’ll have a more complete discussion of the vote count shortly.

Update: Here’s the roll call. The Dems voting against are:

  • Casey
  • Conrad
  • Hagan*
  • Inouye
  • Kohl
  • Landrieu
  • Levin*
  • Lieberman*
  • Manchin*
  • McCaskill*
  • Menendez
  • Bad Nelson*
  • Pryor
  • Reed*
  • Shaheen*
  • Stabenow
  • Whitehouse

I’m interested in the way the Dem SASC members voted. I’ve put asterisks next to those people above; SASC members voting for Udall’s Amendment are Udall himself, Akaka, Webb, Gillibrand, and Blumenthal. Begich did not vote.

Update: Ron Paul corrected to Rand per skinla.

The Gray Lady Calls the GOP Candidates Gray

The NYT had a hysterical editorial calling out the GOP candidates for claiming that waterboarding is not torture.

As hard as it is to believe, the Republican candidates for president seem to have learned very little from the moral calamities of the administration of George W. Bush. Three of the contenders for the party’s nomination have now come out in favor of the torture known as waterboarding. Only two have said it is illegal, and the rest don’t seem to have the backbone to even voice an opinion on the subject.

At Saturday night’s debate in South Carolina, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann said they would approve waterboarding of prisoners to extract information. They denied, of course, that waterboarding is torture, even though it’s been classified as such since the Spanish Inquisition. “Very disappointed by statements at S.C. GOP debate supporting waterboarding,” Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, wrote on Twitter. “Waterboarding is torture.”

[snip]

As empty as Mr. Romney’s remarks were about Iran, his refusal to renounce waterboarding is disturbing. There are few issues that more clearly define a candidate’s national security policy in the 21st century than a position on torture. A few candidates will fight terrorism using the rule of law, honoring the nation’s moral standards to encourage other countries to do the same. Others will defend the United States by promising to extract information from captives using pain and simulating death, degrading the nation’s reputation. That group now includes Mr. Cain, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Romney.  [my emphasis]

Oh, I agree with the sentiment. On this issue (aside from Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul) the GOPers are a bunch of immoral thugs.

But I’m rather amused that the editorial page of the NYT–the NYT!!!–is attacking others for refusing to call waterboarding torture.

As Glenn Greenwald noted, here’s what two of the then-editors have had to say about whether waterboarding is torture or not.

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller explaining why his newspaper won’t describe Bush interrogation techniques as “torture”:

[D]efenders of the practice of water-boarding, including senior officials of the Bush administration, insisted that it did not constitute torture.

New York Times Washington Bureau Editor Douglas Jehl on why his paper refuses to describe Bush’s waterboarding program as “torture”:

I have resisted using torture without qualification or to describe all the techniques. Exactly what constitutes torture continues to be a matter of debate and hasn’t been resolved by a court. This president and this attorney general say waterboarding is torture, but the previous president and attorney general said it is not. On what basis should a newspaper render its own verdict, short of charges being filed or a legal judgment rendered?

And here’s what the NYT’s spokesperson said in response to a study showing that they had changed their language on waterboarding once the US embraced using it.

“As the debate over interrogation of terror suspects grew post-9/11, defenders of the practice (including senior officials of the Bush administration) insisted that it did not constitute torture,” a Times spokesman said in a statement. Continue reading

Ron Paul Shits in the Saint Ronnie Punch Bowl

[youtube]KuC4iYpNzT4[/youtube]

At around 9:30 last night, I tweeted something I tweet everytime I watch an episode of the GOP Presidential Candidate Survivor show:

Once again, we’ve gotten to that point of the GOP Debate I hate where Ron Paul starts to sound sane.

Then, about 10 minutes later, Paul said this:

Are you all willing to condemn Ronald Reagan, for exchanging weapons for hostages out of Iran? We all know that was done.

Thunk.

And then Santorum, proving he’s the stupidest of a really dumb presidential field, tried to answer.

Santorum: Iran was a sovereign country, not a terrorist organization, number one.

Paul: Oh they’re our good friends now.

Santorum: They’re not our good friends but they’re a sovereign country. Just like the Palestinian Authority is not the good friends of Israel.

So in one fell swoop, Santorum effectively sanctioned anything Iran did–such as plotting to kill a diplomat in our country–because they’re a sovereign country, misstated that the PA, rather than Hamas, negotiated the prisoner exchange, and suggested that the PA is a sovereign country.

And then Paul went on to note that the detainees at Gitmo are “all suspects, you haven’t convicted them of anything,” to boos from the crowd.

I’ll admit it. Ron Paul was, racism and corporatism notwithstanding, utterly sane in these few minutes. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a politician lay bare the stupidity of our political class like this.

(FWIW, Newt went on to sheepishly confirm that it was true, to which Paul responded with the most impish grin.)

Competence versus Populism

A number of people are pointing to David Frum’s seeming come-to-Jeebus realization that Conservatives should beware of picking incompetent hacks in the guise of political loyalty.

Here’s the lesson to learn: It’s always important to respect the values and principles of the voters. But politicians who want to deliver effective government and positive results have to care about more than values — and have to do more than check their guts. They need to study the problem, master the evidence, and face criticism.

It’s not only conservatives who succumb to gimmicks of course. The left still feels a lingering attachment to socialism, the most disastrous gimmick of them all. Tough-minded conservatives slashed that illusion to pieces decades ago. But since then, we have begun to go a little easy on ourselves. And over the past half dozen years, the consequences of our militant anti-elitism has come home to roost.

If elitism means snobbishness, then of course it is a vicious thing. If it means being impressed by credentials instead of evidence, then again: good riddance. But if it is elitist to expect politicians to be able to see through glaringly false and stupid ideas — well in that case, call me elitist.

But few note where Frum’s criticism is directed: to those who support Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. Continue reading

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