Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ron Paul Doesn't Like Black People ?

"Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

And who made that wonderful comment? Was it (a) David Duke (b) Dick Cheney or (c) Bull Connor? Nope. Those statements were made--or endorsed depending on who you believe--by none other than Presidential hopeful and Republican Congressman (D-TX) Ron Paul. Yes, the same Ron Paul that comes off so sensible and good-natured on television. The one the media has told you to "watch out for" as a dark-horse candidate. The Ron Paul who seems like a good guy cuz, gosh, he's anti-war and doesn't want to bomb Iran. Problem is, Ron Paul may agree with alot of things many on the Progressive Left do, but for entirely different reasons. He's a self-declared Libertarian, which has so many sub-sets its hard to define the term. In Ron Paul's case, he sees most things that deal with big government as infringing on natural liberty. So naturally, he's anti-military spending and would not have invaded Iraq. Yet in his view of libertarianism, he'd probably also not lift a finger to stop genocide in Darfur--no foreign involvement means no involvement. Sure he's anti-NAFTA, but not because like activist Ralph Nader he is concerned about the plight of the global worker, but because he's an "America First" type who wants to free the American worker (usually white) from corporate slavery. He'd do away with the Patriot Act, certainly...right after he does away with Affirmative Action, Social Security and a host of other "government" enforced items.

That his notions on black people is so dismal should not be surprising, as libertarians tend to enforce their views on limited government by denying things like racism or sexism exist--and therefore do not need to be regulated by government with pesky notions like Civil Rights or Equal Opportunity laws--which again may infringe on the natural liberty of others. Of course, Ron Paul's campaign denies he ever made these statements. Rather they were taken out of context or attributed to him in a newsletter that he sanctioned. While Paul says he takes "moral responsibility" for the publication, he thus far has not condemned or repudiated the statements "attributed" to him. Go figure. But hey, why take my word for it? Thanks to the nice people at the Daily KOS, let Ron Paul--or his doppelganger--speak for himself. Quite illuminating...

from a 1992 peice titled: "LOS ANGELES RACIAL TERRORISM," following the Rodney King riots in 1991:

Regardless of what the media tell us, most white Americans are not going to believe that they are at fault for what blacks have done to cities across America. The professional blacks may have cowed the elites, but good sense survives at the grass roots. Many more are going to have difficultly avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists -- and they can be identified by the color of their skin. This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.

Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.
If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.

Perhaps the L.A. experience should not be surprising. The riots, burning, looting, and murders are only a continuation of 30 years of racial politics.The looting in L.A. was the welfare state without the voting booth. The elite have sent one message to black America for 30 years: you are entitled to something for nothing. That's what blacks got on the streets of L.A. for three days in April. Only they didn't ask their Congressmen to arrange the transfer.

from a Houston Chronicle report from 1996:

Texas congressional candidate Ron Paul's 1992 political newsletter highlighted portrayals of blacks as inclined toward crime and lacking sense about top political issues.

Under the headline of "Terrorist Update," for instance, Paul reported on gang crime in Los Angeles and commented, "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."

Paul, a Republican obstetrician from Surfside, said Wednesday he opposes racism and that his written commentaries about blacks came in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time."

... [I]n the same 1992 edition ... [Paul wrote], "We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."

Paul also asserted that "complex embezzling" is conducted exclusively by non-blacks.

"What else do we need to know about the political establishment than that it refuses to discuss the crimes that terrify Americans on grounds that doing so is racist? Why isn't that true of complex embezzling, which is 100 percent white and Asian?" he wrote.

Ron Paul on Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, D-TX:

"University of Texas affirmative action law professor Barbara Jordan is a fraud. Everything from her imitation British accent, to her supposed expertise in law, to her distinguished career in public service, is made up. If there were ever a modern case of the empress without clothes, this is it. She is the archetypical half-educated victimologist, yet her race and sex protect her from criticism."

Excerpts: Daily Kos, May 15th, 2007


Monday, December 10, 2007

H.R. 1955 = Orwell's 1984 ?

H.R. 1955. Heard of it? Chances are, with our mainstream corporate media engaged in every bit of news except what is most important, you haven't. As Robert Weitzel writing for TRUTHOUT notes, "H.R 1955: the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of barely one sentence old before its Orwellian moment: It begins, 'AN ACT - To prevent homegrown terrorism, and for other purposes.'" The document itself reads as so vague--with its concern for "ideologically based violence" and its desire to "disrupt" radical groups--that it leaves open a wide net. Some have likened it to COINTELPRO, the Counter Intelligence Program of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI that ended up spying on peace activists, infiltrating the Black Panthers and wiretapping Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--all in the name of securing the homeland. Others are calling it, the "Thought Crime" bill, as seemingly simply having an ideology like anarchism or the like could be deemed potentially dangerous and akin to terrorism. Most appalling is that H.R. 1955--that resembles a refined stepchild of the troubling Patriot Act--was proposed by a Democrat (Rep. Jane Harman [D-CA]) and won overwhelming support in the Democratic controlled Congress when it was passed on Oct. 23 by a vote of 404-6. It's companion now rests in the Senate. And despite calls for a reexamination of the bill by civil liberties lawyers, Constitutional scholars, activists and more, it seems to be going full steam ahead.

As noted by Jessica Lee on Indypendent Media, who has confirmed that presidential candidate Barak Obama will also endorse the bill, H.R. 1955 is troubling in its appeal to fear and the never-ending, always-expanding "war on terrorism." She quotes Alejandro Queral, executive director of the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center, who has expressed concern over the bill’s vague definitions of “violent radicalization,” “homegrown terrorism,” and the terms within the definitions including “extremist belief system,” “violence” and “force.”

“This bill fits the pattern we are seeing coming out of Congress – both Republican and Democratic –," Queral said, "of a continued campaign of fear, which gets into heads of Americans that we now need to start criminalizing ideology.”

Since the corporate media has been negligent on this story now for well over a month, some stories relating to H.R. 1955 are posted below.

Bringing the War on Terrorism Home: Congress Considers How to ‘Disrupt’ Radical Movements in the United States

From the November 16, 2007 issue | Posted in National |

By Jessica Lee

Under the guise of a bill that calls for the study of “homegrown terrorism,” Congress is apparently trying to broaden the definition of terrorism to encompass both First Amendment political activity and traditional forms of protest such as nonviolent civil disobedience, according to civil liberties advocates, scholars and historians.

The proposed law, The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1955), was passed by the House of Representative in a 404-6 vote Oct. 23. (The Senate is currently considering a companion bill, S. 1959.) The act would establish a “National Commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence” and a university-based “Center for Excellence” to “examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence in the United States” in order to develop policy for “prevention, disruption and mitigation.”

full article:

The House of Reps Vote 404 to 6 to Pass the Bill that Legalizes COINTELPRO?

by Justin Ponkow and Troy Nkrumah

November 28, 2007

One month ago a bill passed almost unanimously in the House. This bill has received no mainstream news coverage. So it must not be that big of a deal, right? It's just a bill that will soon to go to Capitol Hill and since the Democrats are in control we are all safe from further infringements up on our civil rights, right? Well, maybe that is not totally correct since this bill is a lot more than meets the eye. But indicator number one should be the title, and indicator number two should be how fast it is moving through Congress.

On October 23rd of this year, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 passed 404 to 6 in the House. This bill is proposing an expansion of Homeland Security with the objective of spying on citizens whose political or religious beliefs might lead them to commit violent acts. And we are not referring to the attack of Megan Williams or the numerous police murders of non threatening civilians. No this is solely about spying on political dissidents whose politics were shaped through a critical analysis of US Foreign or Domestic policies.

full article:

Obama Supports Homegrown Terrorism Bill

December 10, 2007 | Posted in IndyBlog |

By Jessica Lee, The Indypendent

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama says that he will support the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (S. 1959). According to the automatic email responses constituents are receiving from his office, Obama appears to be straddling the fence between preserving civil liberties and being tough on terrorism.

“The American people understand that new threats require flexible responses to keep them safe. They also insist that our responses to threats respect the constitution and do not violate the basic tenets of our democracy,” Obama’s email said. Several people who have written to Obama have posted his response on various blogs, including “Justin” who’s personal blog was picked up on

full article:

Read Copy of Bill (several versions) yourself:


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Why Chavez Won by Losing

This week in Venezuela President Hugo Chavez's referendum, which had received international attention in the past weeks, failed to pass by a slim margin of 51% (against) to 49% in favor. Newspaper headlines by the opposition, and their global allies in places like the US, have trumpeted this defeat as a grand loss for Chavez. His detractors have seized on it as evidence that the socialist revolution in Venezuela is now in decline. However, contrary to such gleeful wishes, Chavez may emerge from this setback more popular than ever. And here's why...

Term Limits

Read any newspaper or listen to a news story in the US, and all you learned about the referendum put forth by Hugo Chavez was that it would do away with term-limits. The opposition in Caracas--wealthy white elites who despise Chavez's appeal to the poor classes, mostly of color--howled this would mean the man they so villified, and once overthrew in a briefly aborted 2002 coup, would be able to retain power forever. While the issue of doing away with term limits is no doubt problematic, and worthy of debate by the citizens of Venezuela, it was greatly over-blown both by the opposition and their foreign allies. First off, the referendum did not mean Chavez would be president for life. What it would have done is allow him to run more than the current two term limit provides. He would therefore have the option to seek the presidency again, but could lose to a worthy candidate. Thus it was doing away with term limits without doing away with democratic principles. Now the whole issue of how long any politician should be allowed to run for office is certainly up to debate. But before anyone engages in it, let's keep some things in perspective. There are many stable democracies in the world that do not have strict term limits like Venezuela. Margaret Thatcher of Great Britian served three terms (one more than Chavez will ever be able) as Prime Minister; John Howard of Australia served four terms as Australia's president. Last I checked, though I abhor boh Thatcher and Howard's politics, neither were the authoritarian dictators that Chavez, in his bid to expand his terms, has been demonised as. In the greatest irony, the most vocal international critics of Chavez have been none other than the current occupants of the White House--whose own electoral authenticity remains deeply convuluted and controversial. Yet it was not until the 22nd amendment in 1944 that the idea of a two-term limit presidency came into existence. Before that, a U.S. presidential candidate could run for the office as many times as he could get elected. Franklin D. Roosevelt would serve a total of four times between 1932 and 1944. Many have even questioned whether Roosevelt's New Deal policies, that so drastically altered America for the better, would have been possible were he limited to only two terms.

Beyond Term Limits- the Rest of the Referendum

Contrary to media reports, there was much more to the referendum posed by Chavez than simply term limits. In fact, the referendum in full dealt with over sixty changes to the nation's constitutions. Some of these included everything from creating forms of communal ownership to allow landless farmers to acquire property, to cutting the workday from eight hours to six. There was a bid at universal social security coverage for much of the informal sector (street vendors, domestic servants, etc.) who make up at least 40% of the labor force. There were even civl rights guarantees for homosexuals and Venezuelans of color, especially those of African descent. Other reforms hoped to stem the long-standing institutional corruption and obstructionism which Chavez has blamed for stalling his reforms. All of these important matters took a back seat to talk of term limits, which Chavez's detractors at home and abroad seized upon in a well-funded propaganda campaign.

The Opposition- Democratic Idealists or Elitists

While news media reports often speak of Chavez's opposition as mere college students or concerned citizens, the truth is a bit more complex. Those opposing the referendum were an amalgam of everyone from Trotskyites to extreme rightists. The main thrust behind the opposition, that has long villified Hugo Chavez, remains the upper and middle-class Venezuelan elite. Owning most of the media and many businesses, Chavez's appeals to the poor and his socialist principles threaten their power. And they constantly paint him in newspapers and other outlets as a mad dictator. With American backing, these forces managed to carry out a coup in 2002 that pushed Chavez from power--until his supporters (the poor majority of color) took to the streets to defy the coup leaders and place their elected president back in power. Contrary to their cries of dictatorship, Chavez did the unthinkable and never rounded up or arrested many of the leaders of the coup. And except for refusing to renew the license of a TV station that participated in the coup and regularly calls for overthrowing the government, for the most part Chavez has allowed his critics to voice their opinions--which they have done quite often, and at times violently. Thus far, there are no Guantanamo prisons for the opposition in Venezuela. And what of those much touted college students who the NY Times portrayed as fighting for their liberties? Most are upper class and elite, and receive direct money from groups tied to the Bush administration in the U.S.---hardly a grassroots wellspring of democracy. There is also an element of racism in the opposition which many observers within and without Venezuela have noted, including Chavez himself. On more than one occassion, they have portrayed Chavez as a caricature of a primate--and made derogatory remarks to his multi-racial African and indigenous heritage.

Chavez the "Dictator" Accepted Democracy

Though the opposition in Caracas is putting on a face of joy, beneath they must be seething. Their entire premise, as that of the US, has been that Chavez is a dictator and strongman. Yet after only narrowly losing the referendum, Chavez accepted defeat, congratulated his opponents and said that even had he won, with such a narrow margin, it would have been a pyrrhic victory. Hardly the words and actions of a dictator. The many t-shirts the opposition had printed to begin a mass propaganda campaign against the Venezuelan "dictator" had to be shelved, when Chavez showed them how a democracy actually works. Perhaps those lovers of democracy among the opposition will once again show their respect for the rule of law with another coup attempt.

Beyond Chavez: Mistakes, Lessons and the Future

The hard reality here is that in many ways, even taking into account the propaganda of the opposition, Chavez overreached. The term limit issue was easy fodder for his opponents to grab onto. And placing over sixty sweeping changes on one referendum was probably too much for his base to comfortably engage with. By accepting defeat, this does not mean Chavez socialist revolution has come to an end. Rather the lesson here is to play the political game more carefully. What's more, all such revolutions, even when they mean well, can easily fall into the trap of a cult-of-personality. Chavez, no matter his desire to create change, did not rise to power by himself and cannot complete the changes he'd like to see come about by himself. Rather than attempting to retain the seat of power, new institutions that can create new leadership for the future is needed. As noted by Mark Weisbrot in Alternatives International:

"The popular presentation of this contest as between pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez forces is misleading. It is a struggle of left versus right, with the two sides divided and polarized along the lines of class, democracy, national sovereignty, and race."

And long after Chavez has exited the political stage, that battle will need to be fought.


Joe Klein, TIME & GOP Lies

Reason #8975 why I STOPPED reading TIME, Newseek and other so-called popular political mags several years back. Enter the Joe Klein fiasco, which started about two weeks ago, as it goes to the heart of how these printed materials can cause more confusion, and disinformation, rather than enhance the public good. First Joe Klein (so-called "liberal" writer) prints a lie in TIME about the Democrats and the FISA bill. When Glen Greenwald of Salon takes him to task, Klein refuses to backdown. When the pressure (and the accompanying truth that can't be dismissed) gets too heavy, Klein then begins to backtrack without ever really taking responsibility. When it gets too hot to handle, Klein simply walks away from the matter and tells his readers its too hard to figure out. Meanwhile it comes out, that Peter Hokstra (right wing Republican wack-job, the one who crazily claimed to find WMDs in Iraq long AFTER it was apparent there were none) was the person who gave Klein his information. So what we have is a well known journalist who took the words of an obviously partisan political figure as fact without bothering to do his own checking, and then had it printed in his magazine. Finally, after so much criticism, TIME finally issued a retraction. However, it was about as half-a*sed, as Klein's, giving its 4 million readers no real clear cut information. So you have a so-called liberal writer, TIME and a right-wing Republican in bed together, all protecting each other. And this is supposed to be our source of "objective" news....

A timeline of articles detailing the Klein, FISA, TIME, Fiasco.

Nov. 21 2007
Joe Klein: Both factually false and stuck in the 1980s The Time pundit spouts pro-capitulation advice to Democrats that is as obsolete as it is grounded in falsehoods.

Nov. 25 2007
Time magazine's FISA fiasco shows how Beltway reporters mislead the country Joe Klein passed on outright GOP lies about the House Democratic FISA bill to 4 million Time readers and now obscures what happened.

Nov. 26 2007
Joe Klein digs Time's hole deeper still The still-uncorrected errors in the Time article are made far worse by Klein's ongoing deceit.

Nov. 27 2007
Demand answers from Time magazine The Time editors responsible for Joe Klein's "Shameful Journalism" arrogantly refuse to account for what they did.

Nov. 27 2007
Everything that is rancid and corrupt with modern journalism: The Nutshell Time's "correction" reads like satire.

Nov. 29 2007
The Chicago Tribune vs. Time magazine The newspaper clearly and unequivocally states that Joe Klein's statements were false. UPDATE: GOP Rep. Pete Hoekstra outs himself as Klein's source.

Dec. 4 2007
Time magazine refused to publish responses to Klein's false smears Both Sen. Feingold and Rep. Holt asked to respond to Joe Klein's falsehoods. Both were blocked from doing so. UPDATE: Chairmen Conyers and Reyes, and Sen. Dodd, add their protests.

Dec. 7 2007
Rep. John Conyers: Setting the Record Straight on FISA Contrary to GOP and media spin, the RESTORE Act does not grant "terrorists the same rights as Americans," as Klein alleged. The bill explicitly provides that warrants are not needed to intercept overseas communications.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Look Ma', No Nukes- The NIE Report on Iran

So in the midst of saber-rattling about the threat posed by Iran's "alleged" nuclear weapons program (President Bush has warned Iranian nukes could ignite World War III), the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was released this week. And what do 16 different U.S. intelligence agencies conclude? That Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program back in 2003, and has not restarted it since. The news has sent the neocon war hawks, the White House and their allies into a frenzy. President Bush, in a series of bizarre speeches, has claimed the report doesn't change anything and that Iran is still dangerous. Neocons and warhawks have spent a great deal of print and air time attempting to spin the report to their liking, or questioning its validity. We've seen this story before, during the lead up to the Iraq war. Only that time, it was behind the scenes, and the intelligence community was pressured to cherry-pick information to come out with bogus claims. After getting blamed for that fiasco in the end (as the hawks and the White House sought to cover their role in pushing for war), the intelligence community has decided they aren't getting burned twice. An awkward looking National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, released the NIE this past Monday in full spin mode--probably only because he knew leaks were inevitable if they tried to bury it. In fact, looks as if President Bush knew the direction the NIE was going since at least August, but STILL continued its saber-rattling. And this guy still isn't impeachable?

So here we are, at an interesting place, where the main drumbeating for war has been interrupted by intelligence reports that come (ironically enough) from the very country that has been doing the most saber-rattling. What do with this pause? The hawks and neo-cons have been busily shoring up support from the Europeans and others. Iran has declared the NIE a victory. World bodies like the UN are moving cautiously. And the White House is still into spin, spin, spin. Three articles below that attempt to shed some light on the meaning of the NIE and where things can, and should, go from here, from three of my favorite writers: an earlier Nov piece by author Trita Parsi, Robert Scheer at the Nation and Juan Cole at

The Iranian Challenge
by Trita Parsi

Iran will be the top foreign policy challenge for the United States in the coming years. The Bush Administration's policy (insistence on zero enrichment of uranium, regime change and isolation of Iran) and the policy of the radicals around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (unlimited civilian nuclear capability, selective inspections and replacing the United States as the region's dominant power) have set the two countries on a collision course. Yet the mere retirement of George W. Bush's neocons or Ahmadinejad's radicals may not be sufficient to avoid the disaster of war.

The ill-informed foreign policy debate on Iran contributes to a paradigm of enmity between the United States and Iran, which limits the foreign policy options of future US administrations to various forms of confrontation while excluding more constructive approaches. These policies of collision are in no small part born of the erroneous assumptions we adopted about Iran back in the days when we could afford to ignore that country. But as America sinks deeper into the Iraqi quicksand, remaining in the dark about the realities of Iran and the actual policies of its decision-makers is no longer an option.

full article:

Bush on Iran: Fool Me Twice
by Robert Scheer

Bush is such a liar. Or is he just out to lunch on the most important issue that he faces? In October, he charged that Iran's nuclear weapons program was bringing the world to the precipice of World War III, even though the White House had been informed at least a month earlier that Iran had no such program and had stopped efforts to develop one back in 2003

full article:

The GOP's Iran Option is Off the Table

Rudy Giuliani was counting on Iran as a weapon of mass distraction in the '08 race. But the flailing Republican right has just been disarmed.

By Juan Cole

Dec. 11, 2007 | The conclusions of the latest National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iran's lack of a nuclear weapons program will have a profound impact on the 2008 presidential campaign. The report may well prove a key element in throwing the election to the Democrats. Republicans have used the alleged nuclear threat posed by Iran to scare the American public and to turn attention away from Iraq, economic troubles and Republican scandals. But the NIE findings have pulled the rug out from under the Grand Old Party.

full article: