All purpose vertically integrated publishing empire for cynicism, hopelessness and misanthropy. Mild nausea is common when using this product. Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to: dizzyness, headache, homicidal rage and yellow discharge. Rarely, users may begin to hear voices urging them to kill. If this occurs, discontinue use and seek psychiatric attention. Do not read when pregnant or nursing; the author thinks that's gross.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Republican News Update

Republicans Gone Wild

Rudy Quote I Forgot
New York Firefighters have been in Florida, helping ensure Giuliani loses the race there once and for all. They particularly don't like his slimy use of the WTC attacks to promote himself and his decision-making 'competence'.

"He didn't prepare us before, during, or after," says Riches.

Giuliani has campaigned strongly on his leadership during the attacks on New York, claiming he is the best suited to prevent an "Islamic terrorist war against us." But the firefighters were quick to question that courage.

"Yeah, the decision he made was, which direction he was going to run," says Riches. "And he ran north, and that's all he did."

Source: Raw Story

So Mike Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to conform with the Bible.

Darn. I really like my blended fabrics too!
If that sounds too extreme and aggressive to describe the smiling Huck -- who introduced himself to the country as "a conservative, but I'm not angry about it" -- then consider how he explained his urge to revamp the nation's founding document. At a public forum on the eve of the Michigan primary, while mocking Republican opponents who don't want to append a "marriage amendment" or a "life amendment" to the Constitution, he said: "I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."
Go ahead, try it Mike. See how far you get. There'll be another Civil War before you can get that amendment passed, I guarantee it.


Despicable Semi-Human Monsters
I'm as sick of Heath Ledger news as the next person whose bloodflow reaches his brain, but this is just too horrible to pass up.
Opening his radio show with funeral music yesterday, Fox News host John Gibson callously mocked the death of actor Heath Ledger, calling him a “weirdo” with a “serious drug problem.”

Playing an audio clip of the iconic quote, “I wish I knew how to quit you” from Ledger’s gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, Gibson disdainfully quipped, “Well, he found out how to quit you.” Laughing, Gibson then played another clip from Brokeback Mountain in which Ledger said, “We’re dead,” followed by his own, mocking “We’re dead” before playing the clip again.


Throughout the course of the show, Gibson continued to bring up Ledger’s death while discussing current events, jokingly claiming that current events may have caused him to commit suicide.
Of course, Gibson has tried to backpedal on his various obscene commentaries and hoping this will all blow over, as it surely will, what with being employed by Fox Noise and all.
On his Fox News show today, John Gibson apologized for his recent comments mocking the death of actor Heath Ledger. “I’m sorry that some took my comments as anti-gay and insensitive,” said Gibson. “Once again, to anyone offended by my comments, I’m sorry.”


UPDATE: Gibson said the same apology on his radio show this evening, though before mentioning that his comments were “anti-gay and insensitive,” he added the words “some gay groups.”
Oh yeah, it's just teh gay who are upset at him being a colossal prick.


Source: Think Progress (Initial Story)
Think Progress (Update/Apology/Update)

McCain Is Scum
So McCain thinks that getting out of Iraq is 'surrender' and handing a victory to Al-Queda... who weren't in Iraq before we got there.
Senator John McCain launched into a pointed critique of his Senate colleague Hillary Rodham Clinton today, saying that “for the first time in political history” a presidential candidate has called for outright surrender in a war.

“Candidate Clinton has called for surrender and waving the white flag,” he said during an appearance in West Palm Beach. “I think it’s terrible. I think it’s terrible.”


“I look forward to the debate with Senator Clinton on that issue. Americans don’t want to throw away the hard-earned gains we have made against Al Qaeda and Iraq. If Senator Clinton has her way, Al Qaeda will trumpet to the world that they have beaten the United States.”
Name one, asshole. Name ONE gain.

Go on. I'm waiting. One way in which we're better off now than before the war.

No, Halliburton stock prices don't count.

Clinton responds of course:
Phil Singer, a spokesman for Senator Clinton, emailed this response: “Senator Clinton and Senator McCain disagree. Senator McCain says it would be fine with him if our troops were in Iraq for 100 years. Senator Clinton wants to end the war and will bring our troops home quickly and responsibly. That’s the best way to defend our nation and protect our national security interests.”
He literally did say something like that at one point, that we could be in Iraq for a century, that it'd be like Korea, etc.

He's a complete loon.

Source: NyTimes Blog

Hunger in America and Right Wing Idiots
So Megan McArdle, right wing commentator and brainless moron, thinks that the 'stimulus' package designed to delay the recession a few weeks shouldn't include any food assistance for poor people because, and I'm not making this up, they're all fat to begin with and therefore should be eating less.
Why not food stamps?

1) The poor don't need more food. Obesity is a problem for the poor in America; except for people who are too screwed up to get food stamps (because they don't have an address), food insufficiency is not.
Needless to say, the facts are against her, and Tbogg takes her apart like a cheap toy.
Food insecurity also has been linked to overweight and obesity, particularly among women (Townsend MS et al. J Nutr. 2001;131[6]:1738-1745; Wilde PE and Peterman JN. J Nutr. 2006;136[5]:1395-1400). This apparent paradox may be explained by the fact that high-calorie, processed foods often are less expensive than fresh, perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.

"One of the first food groups that's cut out of an impoverished person's diet is produce," explained David H. Holben, PhD, RD, of the School of Human and Consumer Sciences, at Ohio University, in Athens. "Generally speaking, they often choose high-fat, high-sugar, low-cost foods that taste good," he added. Re searchers have found that marketing can also influence consumers, who are bombarded with advertising for unhealthful food and receive inadequate nutritional information, especially in restaurants (Hayne CL et al. J Public Health Policy. 2004;25[3-4]:391-407)
Go see the whole thing, it'll make you want to retch.

Source: Tbogg

Bush's Favorite Painting
So it turns out the fake cowboy President has a favorite cowboy painting that he finds inspirational.
George W. Bush is famous for his attachment to a painting which he acquired after becoming a “born again Christian.” It’s by W.H.D. Koerner and is entitled “A Charge to Keep.” Bush was so taken by it, that he took the painting’s name for his own official autobiography. And here’s what he says about it:

I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission. When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is us...

So in Bush’s view (or perhaps I should say, faith) the key figure, with whom he personally identifies, is a missionary spreading the word of the Methodist Christianity in the American West in the late nineteenth century.
It turns out, not so much on the inspirational part.
[Jacob Weisberg]... gives us the full story in his forthcoming book on Bush, The Bush Tragedy:

...["A Charge To Keep"] is not the title, message, or meaning of the painting. The artist... executed it to illustrate a Western short story entitled “The Slipper Tongue,” published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916. The story is about a smooth-talking horse thief who is caught, and then escapes a lynch mob in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The illustration depicts the thief fleeing his captors. In the magazine, the illustration bears the caption: “Had His Start Been Fifteen Minutes Longer He Would Not Have Been Caught.”

So Bush’s inspiring, prosyletizing Methodist is in fact a silver-tongued horse thief fleeing from a lynch mob.
Oops. This is what we get from the famed intellectual Bush, of course. It's not like he actually has to know about anything, anything at all, even things that are supposedly of deep personal significance.

Keep in mind: this thing hangs in the Oval Office.

Source: Firedoglake

Repugnant National Convention 2004
So during the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004, the city police brutally abused protestors and the citizenry, effectively cordoning off a wealthy area of town for the hillbilly rich, so they could parade around in Humvees and cowboy boots while voting for GW.

They threw protestors in makeshift prisons fashioned out of old parking garages filled with toxic waste, and so on, and so forth.

The ACLU has been fighting to get this exposed for years, and those efforts are starting to pay off, with the City being told that, no, it can't make SECRET ARGUMENTS that the ACLU is not allowed to see to prove that it was all saintly and innocent of wrongdoing.
The city must disclose its arguments about why documents on police surveillance of protesters before the 2004 Republican National Convention should be kept confidential, a judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV in Manhattan said the court won't consider a sealed affidavit by David Cohen, the New York Police Department's commissioner for intelligence.
Secret courts, secret trials, secret prisons, secret arguments... this is a country gone completely mad.

Source: Raw Story


Varied Stuff

More Ledgermania
More effects from Heath Ledger's sudden and, ahem, unexpected death. This time in the world of marketing.

First, in an official entry for All Time Most Crass Store Promotion, a Best Buy employee set up a little shrine of Heath Ledger movies as soon as the news came out, in order to sell some extra copies.

The story got out, and Best Buy seems fairly embarassed.

Eh. It's not so much that they did it, as that it was so crass, what with the laserjet rush to the printer little flyer, and the completely random selection of dvds they wanted to push (Dogtown? BEST PERFORMANCES?).

Still, that's capitalism for ya.

Source: The Consumerist

I also saw this story somewhere else earlier, will try to dig up the link.

So Virginia has an idiot immediate post-prohibition law still on the books, saying that you can't mix liquor into anything else to drink until a customer immediately asks.

Why this was thought to be of benefit to anyone, I'll never know.

It does however make Sangria, traditionally mixed in large volumes and allowed to seep for flavoring, illegal in Virginia... and they actually enforce this 1930s era law, with fines and everything.

Gah. I hate Blue Laws.

Source: Raw Story

Web History 101
Josh from The Comics Curmudgeon has an article up at about the odd history of the early web. It's pretty entertaining.


Pregnancy Dreams
Yet another reason pregnancy is gross, I think: it apparently causes (relative to the person) weird dreams.

Here are a couple in comics form from the artist who does a comic Brian Clevinger recommended recently. It's a Euro comic, so, gasp, there are nekkid people in them and such.

First, Gabe from Penny-Arcade on the secrets of Photoshop.
Then, a Lovecraftian vision of childbirth (which coincides with my own fairly well)

Carnivorous Plants
No matter how much love and attention I gave it, my carnivorous plant died recently. I think it needed a terrarium. Which is odd, as it lives in a wide range of naturally chilly climates in the wild.

Anyway, here is a newly discovered pitcher plant big enough to eat small rats, in Australia.

A rare new species of plant that eats small rats has been discovered at the tip of Cape York.

Pitcher plants, otherwise known as flesh-eating plants, grow throughout Cape York but now a new, larger species that grows like a vine has been discovered.

The new species has been called "Tenax".
They're coming for us. Next it's the pods.


More Enternews

Lots of Movies

New Bond Title
Ye gods this is too stupid for words.

IVER HEATH, England (AP) -- "Quantum of Solace" is the title of the new James Bond film, the 22nd Bond adventure.

The title was revealed to reporters Thursday at Pinewood Studios outside of London, where the movie is being filmed.

Quantum... of... Solace.

Bond, shark, waterskis.


Cloverfield Sucks
So Cloverfield is making people sick.
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- "Cloverfield" is the first adrenaline-pumping monster hit of the year, bringing in more than $40 million dollars on its opening weekend. The thriller is told from the point of view of five young New Yorkers using their handheld camera. But for some viewers, being "part" of the movie is making them sick -- literally.

Theaters showing "Cloverfield" are posting warnings of possible motion sickness.

One blogger on the popular movie database said, "I had to get up and leave the theater for nearly 20 minutes just to keep from hurling." Other moviegoers have reported being nauseated and dizzy.
If I paid full-price for a rubber-suit monster movie I'd be sick too, though for an entirely different reason.


Adding to that a hilarious Lolcat.

The Ledger Effect
So Heath Ledger's death is ripping through the movie industry.
(CNN) -- Before he died, Heath Ledger had two films in production: "The Dark Knight," the latest chapter in the Batman saga, and "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," the latest film from director Terry Gilliam.

Ledger's death has affected both of them in different ways.

The actor, who died Tuesday of unknown causes at age 28, had finished filming "The Dark Knight" late last year. It's due to be released in July. But marketing of the film, currently in post-production, has been thrown into turmoil, the trade paper Variety notes.

The early push for the film has focused on Ledger's villainous Joker character, including a poster with a shrouded Joker scrawling "Why So Serious?" in blood on misty glass.

The film's studio, Warner Bros., recently restructured its marketing department, Variety reports, after the departure of the executive who helped create the "Dark Knight" campaign. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is a unit of Time Warner.)

The trade paper speculates that the marketing campaign will be changed abruptly.


Gilliam has had challenges before. During the making of his film "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," the Monty Python troupe member coped with filming near a NATO shooting range, a flash flood and a star with a herniated disc, a final indignity that prompted financiers to pull the plug.

But nothing approaches Ledger's death. Indeed, part of the reason Gilliam was able to obtain the film's relatively paltry $30 million financing was because of Ledger's agreement to star, according to Variety.
Geez, Gilliam has just awful luck with behind the scenes film work. He might want to look into another profession with less risk, like chainsaw juggling.


Terrifying Picture
Check out the art sample for this manga series.


Source: Anime News Network

This on the other hand looks intriguing, in a hilarious bad 80s movie way.

Good thing it's a bad 80s movie.

Source: Anime News Network

The Orphanage and Hellboy II

Come for the trailer, stay for the show.

I went to see The Orphanage yesterday with the roommate, sister and brother in law. It's a lot better movie than I was thinking, and really shows you what's wrong with all the PG-13, mass-marketed, focus-group tested, product placement filled crap that passes for mainstream American ghost/scary movies.

The main characters aren't hyper-attractive Dawson's Creek rejects! Special effects aren't the actual star of the film! Children aren't merely used as empathy props! People have real problems!

I was enormously, enormously impressed with the acting of the female lead, Belén Rueda. She reminds me of nothing more than Sigourney Weaver in Alien, how she conveys her character in a very real, gritty, grounded, emotional way. Foreign language or no, her lack of a nomination for Best Actress proves the irrelevance of the Oscars better than the Writer's Strike ever could.

For God's sake, it isn't even up for Best Foreign Language film.


In brighter news, The Orphanage is now preceded by a trailer for Hellboy II: The Golden Army. I nearly lost my head with girlish glee when it came on the screen. It's worth the price of a ticket just to see the trailer, but you get as a bonus a very solid movie as dessert!

Del Toro, can you do no wrong?

Hellboy II Trailer

July 11th will be a very special day.

Nifty Music Videos

Fun Watchable Stuff

Sci-Tech News Update

Wonders Abound

Do You Ever Get the Feeling the Oil Countries are Just Laughing At Us?
News like this removes the doubt for me, mostly.

environments on earth, the United Arab Emirates is about to build what is being described as the world's first sustainable city, designed by British architect Lord Foster.

The site is far from promising. Miles from a polluted sea, a fierce sun raises temperatures to 50C (120F) in the summer, and there is no fresh water, no soil and no animals. But tens of billions of petro-dollars will be poured into these seven square kilometres of desert on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

Called Masdar - "the source" in Arabic - the walled city is intended to house 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses. It will have no cars and be self-sufficient in renewable energy, the majority of which will be solar energy.


With at least $1trillion (£500bn) invested abroad and sitting on nearly 100bn barrels of oil, Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world. Its 420,000 inhabitants are theoretically worth about $17m each, and they are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than any other population in the world.

This week Abu Dhabi is expected to announce a $500m deal to manufacture thin-film solar panels to make Masdar a centre of the global solar energy manufacturing industry.

"This will be the global capital of the renewable energy revolution. It's the first oil producing nation to have taken such a significant step towards sustainable living," said Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, director of WWF's One Planet Living initiative, which aims to develop sustainable communities. But critics said Masdar is a fig leaf for the rest of the Gulf, heartland of the world's fossil fuel extraction.
Ahh, the joy the rich get in rubbing our noses in it. Of course, they won't be laughing when the world petro-economy crashes and they suddenly realize that they live in an uninhabitable desert with a worthless, or depleted, single resource.

Think of it as a very long-term bubble economy, and then remember the folks who worked for stock options for all those dot-coms and thought they'd be super-rich forever.

Source: The Guardian

Begun, This Clone War Has
So some scientists in California have succeeded in creating cloned embyros from human skin cells. This will, hopefully, eventually lead to a simple process to create stem cell lines from, well, anybody. Which could then hopefully be programmed hormonally, injected into the body to regenerate/regrow/heal... well, almost anything.
This sort of research is presently focused on curing intractable disease like MS, or growing new organs without the risk of rejection, but we're talking about the basic building blocks of the human machine; there's no logical reason to stop there... why not focus on lifespan extension? Plus, if you can reset the age of the cells so that they think they're infantile again, you might have a shot at reducing aging symptoms entirely.

Very neat.


Hinode Mania
The longstanding theory about the Sun's corona, and its mind-bogglingly high temperature being caused by magnetic field waves, has received some serious support from the Japanese solar observatory Hinode.
The magnetic waves — called Alfven waves — can carry enough energy from the sun's active surface to heat its atmosphere, or corona.

"The surface and corona are chock full of these things, and they're very energetic," said Bart de Pontieu, a physicist at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in California.

The sun contains powerful heating and magnetic forces which drive the temperature to tens of thousands of degrees at the surface — yet the quieter corona wreathing the sun reaches temperatures of millions of degrees. Scientists have speculated that Alfven waves act as energy conveyor belts to heat the sun's atmosphere, but lacked the observational evidence to prove their theories.

De Pontieu and his colleagues changed that by using the Japanese orbiting solar observatory Hinode to peer at the region sandwiched between the sun's surface and corona, called the chromosphere. Not only did they spot many Alfven waves, but they also estimated the waves carried more than enough energy to sustain the corona's temperatures as well as to power the solar wind (charged particles that constantly stream out from the sun) to speeds of nearly 1 million mph.
They then added on to that with some computer simulations and seem to have the theory down. Of course, whenever science finds an answer it seems to come up with two smaller questions:
Many mysteries remain about the sun's restless activities. De Pontieu's group focused on Alfven waves generated by the sun's heat turbulence, but other researchers examined Alfven waves generated when the sun's magnetic field lines stress and snap back together like invisible magnets. That reconnection force also creates jets of X-rays that shoot outwards from the sun, as captured by Hinode's instruments.

Scientists still don't know which source of Alfven waves plays a more important role in the heating the sun's atmosphere, but can use the latest findings as a stepping stone.

"We need to study both more, to see which one dominates," noted De Pontieu. "But it's nice for people to know that Alfven waves can do the job."


Real Life Story, Onion-Worthy
It sounds like a joke, but a double-amputee athlete has been banned from Olympic competition because, according to the federation governing the athletic competition, his prosthetics are significantly better for running than human legs. What's more, they may well be right.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — The IAAF ruled Monday that double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is ineligible to compete in the Beijing Olympics because his prosthetic racing legs give him a clear competitive advantage.

The International Association of Athletics Federations had twice postponed the ruling, but the executive Council said the South African runner's curved, prosthetic "Cheetah" blades were considered a technical aid in violation of the rules.


The IAAF endorsed studies by German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who conducted tests on the prosthetic limbs and said they give Pistorius a clear competitive advantage over able-bodied runners.

"An athlete using this prosthetic blade has a demonstrable mechanical advantage (more than 30 percent) when compared to someone not using the blade," the IAAF said.


Brueggemann found that Pistorius was able to run at the same speed as able bodied runners on about a quarter less energy. He found that once the runners hit a certain stride, athletes with artificial limbs needed less additional energy than other athletes.

The professor found that the returned energy "from the prosthetic blade is close to three times higher than with the human ankle joint in maximum sprinting."
Isn't it amazing that we can even have this debate now? Of course, the prosthetics are hardly a replacement for the whole package of a human leg; really they're just very sophisticated pieces of carbon fiber. But still... how long until people start to replace their fleshy parts electively?

The Onion jokes that the time has already come, getting in on a story that, as I said, was just too much like their own satire to begin with:
NEW YORK—An International Association of Athletics Federations ruling Monday disallowing double-leg amputee Oscar Pistorius, who uses special Cheetah-brand racing prosthetics, from participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics has left over 70 U.S. Olympic track and field hopefuls feeling "pretty stupid" for their recent decisions to cut off their own legs in an attempt to gain a similar advantage

Sources: The Associated Press
The Onion

Friday, January 25, 2008

I Try to Get Out, But He Keeps Pulling Me Back IN

Ron Paul Has Released an Economic Plan. This is a hoot.

I'm going to take this apart piece by piece, just for fun. You can see the original at if you like whacko shit.

Tax Deform
The first part of Paul's plan is a plethora of Tax proposals. These are pretty easy.

1)Eliminate Taxes on Dividends and Savings
This is a blatantly obvious ploy to make the rich richer. Dividends are what you earn on investments, on your stock portfolio. Obviously, the richer you are, the more this benefits you.

2)Repeal the Death Tax
There is no such thing; it's an Estate Tax, as in, a tax on the Estate you leave to your designated heir or beneficiary. The Estate tax is an essential provision of liberty in a democratic society, as it places a cap on inherited wealth and retards the growth of landed aristocracy. This also almost exclusively benefits the wealthy.

3)Cut Taxes for Working Seniors
He wants to repeal the taxes on social security as a part of your income. I have no problem with this.

4)Accelerate Depreciation on Investment. We need to help companies grow and create jobs.
Pass H.R. 4995 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce corporate marginal income tax rates.

A tax cut for corporations. Big surprise.

5)Eliminate Taxes on Capital Gains. Investment should be embraced and rewarded.
Pass H.J. Res 23 (The “Liberty Amendment”), proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to abolishing personal income, estate, and gift taxes and prohibiting the United States Government from engaging in business in competition with its citizens.

This is the big one. No income taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and NO PUBLIC UTILITIES OR SERVICES.

This goes way, way beyond what even your average libertarian believes. This would eliminate everything from the public electric utlity, to the public library, to the highway department, along with all the taxes that pay for all meaningful public services. This is the absolute death knell of the federal system of government. Without those taxes, you have no military, no protection from our enemies, and no federal government. This would turn the United States into 50 separate governments.

This is huge.

6 and 7 are proposals for taking tips for wait staff off of taxes, and for some mortgage relief due to the current subprime thing. They're only there after 5 because he needs camouflage. There won't be any waiters or mortgages to worry about after Paul collapses American Civilization with his plan.

Spending Deform

Two simple proposals here:
1) Pulls our troops out of our overseas global bases, castrating our military strength.
2)Freezes non-defense, non-entitlement spending at current levels, presumably to attempt to account for the massive loss of revenue his tax cuts entail.

Of course, since those two categories make up about 70% of the federal budget, that helps, oh... not a lot.


Monetary Policy Deform
Three proposals here.

1)Televise Federal Open Market Committee Meetings
Ok, so he wants to see the Fed meetings on CSPAN. Probably not a big deal.... hardly revolutionary television, but ok.

2)Expand Transparency and Blah Blah at Federal Reserve
Essentially he wants a weekly book report from the Fed on our incredibly complex monetary policy. On its face, innocuous, but probably impossible to implement, which would give him cover to dissolve the Fed entirely.

3)Return Value to Our Money Legalize gold and silver as a competing currency.
Oh lord, this is great stuff. He wants to legalize people to PRINT THEIR OWN MONEY IN GOLD, SILVER, OR ANY OTHER METAL.



Regulatory Deform
Two provisions here, both pretty whacko.

1)Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley
This is the law passed overwhelmingly by Congress after the Enron scandals. It's byzantine but designed to reign in the kind of blatant, outright corporate fraud that Enron and Worldcom engaged in.

Needless to say, binning this law would put us back in the Wild Wild West days of Enron. Hope you don't like investing in the stock market.

2)Repeal or Remove Costly and Unnecessary Federal Regulations. Neighbors know best how to help their neighbors.
We need to make it easier for community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions to better serve their communities and to help people in these communities get access to credit and capital.
Pass H.R. 1869 to enhance the ability of community banks to foster economic growth and serve their communities, boost small businesses, increase individual savings, and for other purposes.

This one I had no clue on. I had to go look up H.R. 1869.

Basically, it lets small banks entirely off the hook of regulation by the federal government. Local banks can do what they want and not open their books to anybody.

Yeah... that sounds like a great idea.


So there you have it, Ron Paul's plan to save America. A few small sops to the working poor, a meaningless and corrupt gesture to small banks, a ton of corporate handouts, and, oh yeah, an AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION THAT WOULD DESTROY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY FOREVER AND PLUNGE US INTO A NEW DARK AGE

Environmental News

Err, I need filler here.

UC Berkeley Estimates Cost of Ecocide
A study at UC Berkeley attempts to document the extent of yet another way that rich countries bone poorer ones.

UC Berkeley researchers report that environmental damage caused by rich nations affects poor nations so much, it costs them more than their combined foreign debt.

The study examined the impacts of the expansion of agriculture, deforestation, overfishing, loss of swamps and ozone completion from 1961 to 2000.

When all these impacts are added up, the portion of the footprint of high-income nations falling on low-income countries is greater than their entire financial debt, or about $1.8 trillion, according to lead researcher Thara Srinivasan.
Well, this is no big surprise. We raise the seas, they drown in them.

Source: NBC 11

Alaskans and Energy
Well, despite having enormous energy reserves and giving the Big Oil lobby everything they've ever asked for, Alaska is running out of natural gas.

Well, not actually. They still have tons. They just planned so poorly that they can't access it... and have no other way to heat their homes.
Kenai, Alaska - On the shore of Cook Inlet, site of Alaska's oldest oil- and gas-producing basin, the Agrium Inc. fertilizer plant for four decades produced a steady supply of urea and ammonia for international agricultural and industrial clients. Agrium's exports supported a prosperous petrochemical business, employing hundreds and bolstering local tax rolls.

But operations ceased in December. The reason? Lack of natural gas, the feedstock for Agrium's products. Despite its perch atop a petroleum basin, Agrium couldn't secure enough natural gas to stay in business.

Agrium's woes symbolize a larger energy dilemma: Raw resources are in the ground, but lack of infrastructure and poor economies of scale hinder access to them, putting Alaska in an energy crunch.
Of course, this lack of planning is being used as an excuse to give even more land to Big Oil... so they can misuse even MORE resources.
Natural gas at the North Slope – America's largest known but untapped conventional natural-gas supply – is 700 miles away and unavailable. There's no pipeline to convey North Slope natural gas to consumers, in or out of Alaska.
Boy, I'm glad the good citizens of Alaska have been so responsible with all that oil revenue their state has gotten over the years, building up a robust energy infrastructure and diversified economy for when the fossil fuels run out... oh wait.

Not so much.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Nuclear Water Woes
Speaking of poor planning, remember how Republicans like to talk about nuclear power being green and eco-friendly, renewable power? A long-term solution?

Not so much. At least not the way America runs the show.
Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back or temporarily shut down later this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the awesome amounts of cooling water they need to operate.


An Associated Press analysis of the nation's 104 nuclear reactors found that 24 are in areas experiencing the most severe levels of drought. All but two are built on the shores of lakes and rivers and rely on submerged intake pipes to draw billions of gallons of water for use in cooling and condensing steam after it has turned the plants' turbines.

Because of the yearlong dry spell gripping the region, the water levels on those lakes and rivers are getting close to the minimums set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Over the next several months, the water could drop below the intake pipes altogether. Or the shallow water could become too hot under the sun to use as coolant.

Oops. Naturally many of these are in the South, of course.

An estimated 3 million customers of the four commercial utilities with reactors in the drought zone get their power from nuclear energy. Also, the quasi-governmental Tennessee Valley Authority, which sells electricity to 8.7 million people in seven states through a network of distributors, generates 30 percent of its power at nuclear plants.

While rain and some snow fell recently, water levels across the region are still well below normal. Most of the severely affected area would need more than a foot of rain in the next three months — an unusually large amount — to ease the drought and relieve pressure on the nuclear plants. And the long-term forecast calls for more dry weather.
Once again... oops.

Source: Raw Story

Gharials, or Indian Crocodiles
So it seems like the one clean river in India is still wiping out the local wildlife... as it's too close to one of the many, err, less clean ones.
LUCKNOW, India (AP) -- Conservationists and scientists scrambled Tuesday to determine what has killed at least 50 critically endangered crocodile-like reptiles in recent weeks in a river sanctuary in central India.

Conservationists believe there are only about 1,500 gharials left in the wild.

Everything from parasites to pollution has been blamed for the deaths of the gharials -- massive reptiles that look like their crocodile relatives, but with long slender snouts.


Others believe the gharials may have died after eating contaminated fish from the polluted Yamuna river, which joins the Chambal in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Pathological tests confirmed lead and cadmium in the bodies of the dead gharials, said Suman, the wildlife official.

So much for the theory that you can save one tiny piece of the environment, I suppose.


Biofuels Toast the Environment
Already raising the cost of silly things like, you know, food, in the United States, biofuels are beginning to have a devastating toll on the developing world as well.
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- The world's rush to embrace biofuels is causing a spike in the price of corn and other crops and could worsen water shortages and force poor communities off their land, a U.N. official said Wednesday.


Foremost among the concerns is increased competition for agricultural land, which Suzuki warned has already caused a rise in corn prices in the United States and Mexico and could lead to food shortages in developing countries.

She also said China and India could face worsening water shortages because biofuels require large amounts of water, while forests in Indonesia and Malaysia could face threats from the expansion of palm oil plantations.

"Particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, land availability is a critical issue," Suzuki said. "There are clear comparative advantages for tropical and subtropical countries in growing biofuel feed stocks but it is often these same countries in which resource and land rights of vulnerable groups and protected forests are weakest."

Initially, biofuels were held up as a panacea for countries struggling to cope with the rising cost of oil or those looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union, for example, plans to replace 10 percent of transport fuel with biofuels made from energy crops such as sugar cane and rapeseed oil by 2020.

But in recent months, scientists, private agencies and even the British government have said biofuels could do more harm than good. Rather than protecting the environment, they say energy crops destroy natural forests that actually store carbon and thus are a key tool in the fight to reduce global warming.
Well, there you go. Water depletion, deforestation, pricier food.

This is of course due to the poro management as much as anything else. There are promising biofuel technologies, like cellulose-ethanol, but for the most part they're still some time off.


Ecology and Trade
The United States is running into a bit of hassle advancing its agribusiness agenda in the EU, where they have their own ideas about things like GM food and climate-change.
US Trade Representative Susan Schwab warned Europe on Monday against using environmental issues as an excuse for protectionism amid disputes ranging from biotechnology to greenhouse gas emissions.


Washington and Brussels have frequently clashed over environmentally related issues ranging from hormones in US beef to proposed EU quotas on air transport emissions.

Adding fuel to the fire, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called in October for a European levy on imports from countries outside the Kyoto Protocol, which include the United States.


Among the recent environmental thorns in their trade relations, the EU and the United states are struggling to overcome differences over genetically modified organisms.

While the United States has suspended its World Trade Organisation right to retaliate in a WTO case against the EU over GMOs, Schwab attacked European resistance to such products as being scientifically unfounded.
Because god knows the Bush administration always uses sound science.

Source: Raw Story

Pot Calling Kettle
The Scottish Government is considering asking the United States to rethink its ban on haggis imports.

Imports of Scotland's iconic dish were banned by the US in 1989 in the wake of the BSE scare because it contains offal ingredients such as sheep lungs.


A spokesman for the US Department of Agriculture said: "We do not allow importation because of the UK's BSE status."
Nevermind that the US has its own serious mad-cow problem.

Source: BBC News

Miami Ecosystem
So Miami seems to be having a bit of an issue with a literal mountain of trash.
COCONUT CREEK - City leaders are protesting Waste Management's request to make an unsavory tower of refuse even higher.

The company wants to extend the landfill commonly dubbed Mount Trashmore from 225 feet to 280 feet. Its application is pending before Broward County officials, but if politicians in nearby cities have their way, Waste Management's plan will go nowhere.
Complaining about bad smells and eyesores in MIAMI?

Man, you'd think they'd be used to it by now.

Source: Sun Sentinel

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pop Culture News

Random but Entertaining?

Presidential Paintball
So someone out there developed a paintball flash game starring various Presidential candidates fighting it out in the Oval Office.

Of course, this is a threat to morality and WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

JANUARY 22--For the aspiring young assassin, a popular online games site offers kids the opportunity to assume the identity of a leading presidential contender and then shoot their political opponents in a series of armed confrontations in the White House. While the ammo is paintball, the game on the highly trafficked site allows kids to train a rifle scope on six presidential aspirants and squeeze off a hail of shots (which are accompanied with a rat-a-tat sound). The game, "Presidential Paintball," features six candidates in the crosshairs: Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton; John Edwards; Mitt Romney; John McCain; and Rudy Giuliani (it seems the game was developed before the ascension of Mike Huckabee). If a candidate wins a head-to-head confrontation, he/she advances to a new shootout, which occurs in various White House settings, including outside the Oval Office. When a candidate gets blown away, bloodlessly, a screen appears noting that they have been "eliminated," not killed. To better direct a fusillade, young gunmen can use their computer's mouse to place a crosshairs on a candidate's head or body. Of course, the imagery of Obama and Clinton, both of whom have been the target of threats and receive Secret Service protection, being targeted in such a manner--by children, no less--might be seen as troubling in some quarters.
Note the assumptions! This game is aimed at children! Because there's nothing kids like better than politics! Politicians are being 'targeted'! Because, you know, a flash game is a threat, let alone a serious threat, even when the game itself has taken great pains to be bloodless and basically non-violent.

On and on it goes. Yeesh. Yellowest of yellow journalism.

I should try this game, just to spite the reactionaries.

Reactionary Source: The Smoking Gun

What the...
This really speaks for itself.
Swedish police are quizzing "people of limited stature" with criminal records following a spate of robberies from the cargo holds of coaches - possibly carried out by dwarves smuggled onboard in sports bags.

According to the Sun, the gang responsible pack their vertically-challenged accomplices into bags and stick them in with other passengers' luggage. The undercover operatives then rifle the hold for valuables before resealing themselves in their hiding place, to be extracted later by another gang member at the coach's final destination.
Wow. Just... wow.

Source: The Register

Social Darwinism
So it seems that a bunch of idiots who were friends on a social networking site are/have been killing themselves.

Possibly just for attention.
Natasha Randall was 17, had a large circle of friends and was studying childcare when, without any indication that she was unhappy, she hanged herself in her bedroom.

Her death last Thursday was the latest in at least seven apparent copycat suicides in Bridgend, South Wales, that have alarmed parents, health authorities and police, who believe that they may be prompted by messages on social networking websites such as Bebo.


Copycat suicides are a well-known phenomenon but in Bridgend the tributes left on websites such as Bebo appear to have had a significant impact. Friends have set up memorial pages where wellwishers have posted messages or bought virtual “tablets” in a remembrance wall. The 19 tablets on Tasha’s memorial page include the messages “RIP chick”, “Sleep Tight Princess” and “Sweet dreams, Angel”.

David Gunnell, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Bristol, said that research had shown a connection between reports of suicide in the media and copycat deaths, and it was likely that discussions of suicide on websites would have a similar effect.

Source: The Times Online

Heath Ledger
So it's old news by now, but Heath Ledger died, and the rumor mill suggests it was an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

This may be one of those cases where in hindsight it seems obvious that there was a problem.
CBS 2 HD's Scott Rapoport spoke one on one with the actor back in December 2005 about his movie "Casanova."

The lost interview is even more eye-opening in light of Ledger's tragic death in New York City on Tuesday.

Jumpy, fidgety and biting his nails …


Ledger appeared uncomfortable that day, confined and twitchy.

He told Rapoport he'd been drinking red wine. There was a bottle of it in the interview room. It was 3 p.m.


It was one five-minute interview, a five-minute peek into a person's life.

There is no escaping how jumpy and jittery Ledger was during the interview. Perhaps a reason for that -- a chronic lack of sleep -- could account for his restlessness.

Ledger told the New York Times back in November he suffered from insomnia.

He said he'd recently tried a sleeping pill, which didn't work, so he took some more.
Lack of sleep really can drive people crazy after a while.

Though in this case it sounds like it was compounded by booze and pill popping.

One final note: Is it more ghoulish that they dug up this 'Lost' interview now, presumably for the first time, to capitalize on his death, or laudable that they didn't try to invade his privacy and paint him as a drunken whacko to begin with for sensationalist value?

Then again, perhaps he'd have gotten some help with a little public exposure.

UPDATE: Just in reference to the subtitle, I want to make it clear that I don't find Heath Ledger's death entertaining. He never did anything to piss me off, and wasn't a jerk, that I'm aware of.

Those idiots with their online suicide circle, on the other hand...

Source: WCBS TV

The Smithsonian Honors America's Greatest Warrior-Poet
Finally, the bravery of Stephen Colbert is being given its due public recognitiion.
"We agreed to go along with the joke and hang it for a short time in between the bathrooms," said museum spokeswoman Bethany Bentley. "Let me tell you two key things here: His portrait is not coming into the collection, and it's not hanging permanently."

That may come as a surprise to Colbert, who has campaigned for the honor and boasted on his Comedy Central show Tuesday night that his portrait was "hanging in the hall of presidents, just a few yards from the father of our country - exactly where I believe it belongs."

Colbert, who plays a pompous conservative talk-show host on "The Colbert Report" and recently tried to run for president as a Democrat, went to great lengths to persuade Smithsonian Institution officials he was worthy.

The portrait - actually three portraits in one - depicts a debonair Colbert standing at a fireplace in front of a similar portrait of himself posing in front of the same mantel with a third picture of himself.


"I don't mean to brag, but as it contains three portraits, my portrait has more portraits than any other portrait in the National Portrait Gallery," he said, adding, "All Employees must wash hands before returning to work."
Joke? Or long-overdue tribute to the Greatest Living American?

Source: The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ron Paul

All Crazy, All the Time

Ah, Ron Paul. Darling of the far-right, the libertarians, the racists, jackboots, separatists, angry militias... and anti-war college liberals.

He's come a long way from the wacky uncle type of the House of Representatives, the kind of guy who would bore you to tears with conspiracy theories over Thanksgiving dinner.

Now he's a major Republican contender (though he has little chance at the nomination) who has raised 20 million dollars for his Presidential campaign. The irony of his long-running crusade against the very paper money he acquires in such great volume is somewhat amusing in and of itself.But who, exactly, is Ron Paul, and what, exactly, does he stand for?

(Before I go any further, let me just give great thanks to David Neiwert, James Kirchick and all the other incredibly hard working journalists and citizens whose content this post attempts to summarize for easy reference. These people have done the yeoman's work on exposing the fraud that is Ron Paul, and should be commended for their citizenship. Thanks also to Wikipedia, the Southern Poverty Law Center, my roommate, friends, and anyone who bothers to read this besides myself)

List of Sub-Categories:

Ron Paul On:
--His Basic Biography
--Ties to Dangerous Crazies
--The Working Class
--Social Security
--The Environment
--International Relations

Ron Paul Basic Biography
Ron Paul is currently a Congressman representing the 14th District of Texas; he has in the past been a representative for the 22nd District. His current territory encompasses much of the coastal area in and around the city of Galveston.

Ron Paul is originally from Green Tree, Pennsylvania, and was born on August 20th, 1935. Thus, he is currently 72 years old, making him one of the older Presidential candidates.

Ron Paul is a doctor, specifically an OB-GYN, who served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force. He earned his degree from Duke University.

Ron Paul is a registered Republican, but has previously sought the Libertarian nomination for the Presidency, in 1988.

That should be enough to get the ball rolling.

Source: Wikipedia (Ron Paul)
Wikipedia (14th Congressional District)
House Biography (warning, propaganda filled)

Darling of the Crayon Writing Lunatic Fringe
Ron Paul has long made a name for himself as a contrarian, Libertarian conservative. He claims to believe in the most absolute of strict constructionism, stating that he won't vote for any law that was not expressly permitted or required by the Constitution. From his official House bio:

He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.
This by itself puts Paul on both the edge of sanity and 'mainstream' political discourse. First of all, it's an incredibly regressive, reactionary and impractical position to take, especially when you're, you know, being elected to the Congress. Secondly, it's actually contrary to the intent of those who wrote the Constitution, who expressly allowed the document to, first, be amended, and second, to cover and confer rights they had not explicitly written in themselves:
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The Constitution is not, despite what Paul and many Libertarians believe, a strictly limited document. The Founders, say what you will, recognized that people would want rights, and demand rights, that they themselves did not think to include; they added both the blanket cover of the 9th Amendment, and the Amendment process itself.

Further, the Constitution gives Congress, explicitly, some very broad legislative powers... it's hard to imagine many laws that you could argue are NOT authorized, except those asserting powers explicitly denied by the Constitution itself.
US Constitution, Article I, Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Note that part there about 'rovide for the common defense and general welfare'. That's a very broad cover. Congress has the power to make almost any law so long as it's in our national interest, as they themselves define it, and it does not violate the Constitution or its amendments, as interpreted by the Courts.

So why, exactly, insist on 'expressly permitted or required' laws?

Because you're a nut, and cater to nuts, and fear governmental power. That, or you can't read the document you claim to revere. I doubt a Doctor is illiterate.

Sources: US Constitution (at Cornell University)

Ron Paul has long associated with some very unsavory characters on the far right wing of the American political spectrum.

Lew Rockwell, for example, was Paul's longtime chief of staff, and is currently the head of a Libertarian think-tank called the Ludwig von Mises Institute. This Institute is connected with the Neo-Conservative movement, and has been sharply criticized by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Auburn, Ala.

Headed up by Llewelyn Rockwell Jr., the Ludwig von Mises Institute is devoted to a radical libertarian view of government and economics inspired by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, whom the institute says "showed that government intervention is always destructive."

Indeed, the institute aims to "undermine statism in all its forms," and its recent interest in neo-Confederate themes reflects that.

Rockwell recently argued that the Civil War "transformed the American regime from a federalist system based on freedom to a centralized state that circumscribed liberty in the name of public order."

Desegregation in the civil rights era, he says, resulted in the "involuntary servitude" of (presumably white) business owners. In the past, Rockwell has praised the electoral success of European neofascists like Joerg Haider in Austria and Christoph Blocher in Switzerland.

Both Rockwell and institute research director Jeffrey Tucker are listed on the racist League of the South's Web page as founding members — and both men deny their membership. Tucker has written for League publications, and many League members have taught at the institute's seminars and given presentations at its conferences.

At the recent Austrian Scholars Conference, the F.A. Hayek Memorial Lecture was delivered by Donald Livingston, director of the League's Summer Institute. In 1994, Thomas Fleming, a founding League member and the editor of Chronicles magazine, spoke on neo-Confederate ideas to an institute conference.

Rockwell, who is also vice president of the Center for Libertarian Studies, runs his own daily news Web site that often features articles by League members.
Along with being his chief of staff, Rockwell was instrumental in writing the now infamous Ron Paul survivalist newsletters, which contained a copious bounty of racist, bigoted, hate speech and lunatic conspiracy theories... and made Paul a very large amount of money.
Financial records from 1985 and 2001 show that Rockwell, Paul's congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982, was a vice president of Ron Paul & Associates, the corporation that published the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report. The company was dissolved in 2001. During the period when the most incendiary items appeared—roughly 1989 to 1994—Rockwell and the prominent libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard championed an open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist "paleoconservatives," producing a flurry of articles and manifestos whose racially charged talking points and vocabulary mirrored the controversial Paul newsletters recently unearthed by The New Republic.


The publishing operation was lucrative. A tax document from June 1993—wrapping up the year in which the Political Report had published the "welfare checks" comment on the L.A. riots—reported an annual income of $940,000 for Ron Paul & Associates, listing four employees in Texas (Paul's family and Rockwell) and seven more employees around the country. If Paul didn't know who was writing his newsletters, he knew they were a crucial source of income and a successful tool for building his fundraising base for a political comeback.

These newsletters are hardly a fluke, or a short-term thing, as revealed by The New Republic:
Paul's newsletters have carried different titles over the years--Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report--but they generally seem to have been published on a monthly basis since at least 1978. (Paul, an OB-GYN and former U.S. Air Force surgeon, was first elected to Congress in 1976.) During some periods, the newsletters were published by the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, a nonprofit Paul founded in 1976; at other times, they were published by Ron Paul & Associates, a now-defunct entity in which Paul owned a minority stake, according to his campaign spokesman. The Freedom Report claimed to have over 100,000 readers in 1984. At one point,
Ron Paul & Associates also put out a monthly publication called The Ron Paul Investment Letter.

The Freedom Report's online archives only go back to 1999, but I was curious to see older editions of Paul's newsletters, in part because of a controversy dating to 1996, when Charles "Lefty" Morris, a Democrat running against Paul for a House seat, released excerpts stating that "opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions," that "if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be," and that black representative Barbara Jordan is "the archetypical half-educated victimologist" whose "race and sex protect her from criticism." At the time, Paul's campaign said that Morris had quoted the newsletter out of context. Later, in 2001, Paul would claim that someone else had written the controversial passages.

(Few of the newsletters contain actual bylines.)
So Paul published a series of these things, over the years, and made a lot of money off of them. He has associations with the right-wing fringe, the far fringe, of political thought.

He also has ties to those who would take those ideas and try to implement them.

From Mother Jones:
When I read this very well-documented story in the Lone Star Times about the $500 donation to Ron Paul from well-known white supremacist Don Black, I didn't really blame Paul for taking the money. After all, it's hard to screen out every kook in advance. I assumed Paul would immediately return the money (or donate it to a group like the Holocaust Museum), prevent a link on Black's Neo-Nazi website, Stormfront, from connecting to the campaign's donation page, and announce these moves on the official Ron Paul website. I assumed wrong.

Five days after the Lone Star Times story appeared, Paul spokesman Jesse Benton told the paper he was still unsure whether the campaign would return Black's money. "At this time, I cannot say that we will be rejecting Mr. Black’s contribution," he said, "but I will bring the matter to the attention of our campaign director again, and expect some sort of decision to be made in coming days." Would the campaign at least block fundraising links from Stormfront's IP address? Again, Benton said, he'd have to bring up the idea with the campaign director.

Since then, more than two weeks have passed without an update from the Paul campaign, so I sent Benton and email today asking what the campaign manager had decided. Would Paul be returning Black’s money and blocking further donations from Stormfront? A few minutes later he wrote back, and this is what he said:

Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and the protection of inalienable individual rights for every American. All of our campaigns energy is dedicated to spreading the message of liberty and limited government, and we do not spend time screening donors or blocking websites. We don’t know who Don Black is, and pay him no attention. If a small number individuals who hold racist beliefs want to waste their money by giving to Dr. Paul, a man who stands firmly against their small minded ideologies, then the campaign will simply use those funds to protect freedom, peace and civil liberties across our Nation.
So Paul will happily take money from white-supremacists, claiming he doesn't know them.

Or does he? Remember how his campaign said they didn't know who Don Black was?

Funny... Here you have a picture of Paul with Mr. Black, of Stormfront. A man Dr. Paul doesn't know... and whose money he's happy to accept.

What, exactly, is Stormfront? Why, a thriving online Neo-Nazi community!
Source: Southern Poverty Law Center

To the thousands of white supremacists who regularly visit Stormfront and its forum, Kelso is best known by his e-moniker, "Charles A Lindbergh." He signs off all his posts with a quote from Lindbergh, a well-known racist and anti-Semite: "We can have peace and security only as long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood."

"I admire the aviator so much, " Kelso says.

The aviator, were he still alive, might well admire Kelso. As Stormfront celebrates its 10th birthday — the first major hate site on the Internet, it was created by former Alabama Klan leader Don Black in 1995

— Kelso has much to be proud of. In the three years he's been a senior moderator of the site, it has grown from fewer than 10,000 registered users to, as of mid-June, an astounding 52,566. And while many thousands of that ever-growing total probably haven't visited in years, independent Web monitors recently ranked Stormfront the 338th largest electronic forum on the Internet, putting it easily into the top 1% of all sites on the World Wide Web.

Black and Kelso have created something more than just another hate site that draws people for a few months, then fades for lack of interest. Using everything from good manners to "white scholarships" to such catchy gimmicks as highlighting its members' birthdays, these two men have built something that very few people on the entire Internet have — a genuine and very large cyber-community. That they did it at a time when major neo-Nazi groups are on the decline is merely icing.

"Without a doubt," Bob DeMarais, a former staff member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance (see related story), wrote recently, "Stormfront is the most powerful active influence in the White Nationalist movement."

Want to find the latest headlines on black-on-white crime? Go to Stormfront. New developments in the National Alliance's leadership woes? Go to Stormfront. Details of yet another nefarious Jewish conspiracy? Go to Stormfront.

Stormfront's recent growth spurt is only the beginning, Kelso says. He and Black share a larger goal, one that their friend Duke also tried with a fair measure of success — establishing real legitimacy in the realm of public opinion.
Ron Paul has also made numerous appearances before racist, neo-confederate or right-wing extremist groups, given interviews to their media outlets, and advanced their crackpot theories on the New World Order in general. See Here

So, to wrap up. Paul's former chief of staff? Radical Neo-Confederate. Paul supporter Don Black? Neo-Nazi former Klansmen. (And Paul has nothing bad to say about either of them. Funny that.)

Endorsements for Paul also include many members of the Constitution Party, a radical ultra-right wing political party full of anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-UN type positions, as well as David Duke, famed KKK leader, the Jefferson Republican Party, another tiny right wing loon group known for supporting far-right judge Roy Moore, as well as the Ohio branch of the Reform Party, the eclectic group of loons originally founded by Ross Perot.

Sounds like a lovely group of whackos, doesn't it?

Southern Poverty Law Center (Neo-Confederate Listing)
Southern Poverty Law Center (Stormfront article)
Mother Jones
The New Republic
Wikipedia (Constitution Party)
Wikipedia (Jefferson Republican Party)
Wikipedia (Ron Paul Endorsements)
Orcinus (Ron Paul and His Followers)
(Ron Paul vs. The New World Order)
Ron Paul On the Issues:

Ron Paul On Abortion
What is Ron Paul's take on abortion? Well, let's find out!
The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle.

In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.

In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, HR 1094.

I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn.

I have also authored HR 1095, which prevents federal funds to be used for so-called “population control.”

Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken direct action to restore protection for the unborn.

Well, that was fairly easy, wasn't it? Not only is Ron Paul anti-choice, but he thinks human life begins at conception.... and he has tried to make that the law of the land several times.
-- He wants to erase the distinction in U.S. law between a zygote and a person
H.R.2597: To provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception.

H.R.1094: To provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception.

H.R.776: To provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception
Source: Orcinus

So Ron Paul is extremely anti-choice, and has tried to ban all abortions by designating that a zygote is human life. He actively seeks to overturn Roe vs. Wade by Congressional edict, failing to understand, I suppose, that Roe v. Wade is a: not the law of the land anymore (that's Casey vs. Planned Parenthood), and b: that these rulings are based on Constitutional privacy principles, and thus can't be overriden by Congress, except by an amendment.

Oh wait, silly me. He got that one too.
H.R.392: A bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States guaranteeing the right to life.

Ron Paul on Religion
What does Ron Paul believe about religion?

Well, you won't find his website toting any of his grand ideas about religious freedom. But you can get some idea from his Congressional Record...
-- He would deny the use of the Federal court system -- and even Federal precedent -- to people discriminated against because of their religious beliefs or sexual orientation. This would also limit the cross-state recognition of same-sex marriages.

Some of these bills he cynically calls this the "We the People Act".
H.R.300: To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes.

H.R.4379: To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes.

H.R.5739: To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes.

H.R.3893: To limit the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, and for other purposes.

H.R.1547: To restore first amendment protections of religion and religious speech.

H.R.4922: To restore first amendment protections of religion and speech.

H.R.5078: To restore first amendment protections of religion and speech.

Ahh, isn't it nice how he titles some of the bills to mean exactly the opposite of what they do? Let's take a closer look at two, picked at random.

H.R.... oh, 3893, why not.

We the People Act - Prohibits the Supreme Court and each Federal court from adjudicating any claim or relying on judicial decisions involving: (1) State or local laws, regulations, or policies concerning the free exercise or establishment of religion; (2) the right of privacy, including issues of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction; or (3) the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation where based upon equal protection of the laws.

Allows the Supreme Court and the Federal courts to determine the constitutionality of Federal statutes, administrative rules, or procedures in considering cases arising under the Constitution. Prohibits the Supreme Court and the Federal courts from issuing any ruling that appropriates or expends money, imposes taxes, or otherwise interferes with the legislative functions or administrative discretion of the States.

Authorizes any party or intervener in matters before any Federal court, including the Supreme Court, to challenge the jurisdiction of the court under this Act.

Provides that the violation of this Act by any justice or judge is an impeachable offense and a material breach of good behavior subject to removal.

Negates as binding precedent on the State courts any Federal court decision that relates to an issue removed from Federal jurisdiction by this Act.
So you'd no longer have the right to sue for discrimination on the basis of religion, sexual orientation or marriage equality if your state decides to discriminate against you, or allow said discrimination.

Under this law, your state could declare an official religion, compel church attendance, and, oh, for laughs, imprison you if you weren't... a Baptist. For a lark.

Source: Library of Congress

Let's take another. HR.... 4922.

First Amendment Restoration Act - Denies jurisdiction to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. district courts, and the District Courts of Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, to hear or determine religious freedom-related cases.
This one only gets you on the religious angle, I guess. Hope you like theocracy, Ron Paul supporters!

Source: Library of Congress

Ron Paul on Race
How does Ron Paul feel about race? Well, let's go to the Congressional Record to start.

Ron Paul thinks that it's too easy to become a citizen; you shouldn't get in just because you were born here. This is a commonly held position of the race-baiting anti-hispanic fringe, naturally.

-- He would propose an amendment to the Constitution to gut the Fourteenth Amendment by denying citizenship to people born here whose parents aren't already citizens "nor persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States". That latter part could produce some serious political discrimination, especially if radicals can have their citizenship revoked:
H.J.RES.46: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to deny United States citizenship to individuals born in the United States to parents who are neither United States citizens nor persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States.

H.J.RES.46: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to deny United States citizenship to individuals born in the United States to parents who are neither United States citizens nor persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to deny United States citizenship to individuals born in the United States to parents who are neither United States citizens nor persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States.
But the true feelings of Ron Paul are perhaps best expressed by his self-published newsletters. Let's take a survey of the highlights, shall we?

"A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism" analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided."

The November 1990 issue of the Political Report had kind words for David Duke.

This newsletter describes Martin Luther King Jr. as "a world-class adulterer" who "seduced underage girls and boys" and "replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration."

The January 1991 edition of the Political Report refers to King as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours" and a "flagrant plagiarist with a phony doctorate."

A February 1991 newsletter attacks "The X-Rated Martin Luther King."

An October 1990 edition of the Political Report ridicules black activists, led by Al Sharpton, for demonstrating at the Statue of Liberty in favor of renaming New York City after Martin Luther King. The newsletter suggests that "Welfaria," "Zooville," "Rapetown," "Dirtburg," and "Lazyopolis" would be better alternatives--and says, "Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house."
Ha Ha, that Wacky Dr. Paul. He likes David Duke! He thinks black people are all lazy, welfare-dependent crack addicts!

Wait, wait, here's another:
Ron Paul: 95 percent of black men are ‘criminal.’

Kos highlights a 1992 article from Ron Paul’s self-published newsletter, The Ron Paul Political Report:

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.
Be afraid of Blacks, America! Dr. Paul says so! They are also too stupid to understand politics!

Remember folks, these are from newsletters published under his name, for sale, for his personal profit.

He can deny he's a racist all he wants, or claim that somehow, for many years, this stuff was published without his knowledge, but HE CASHED THE CHECKS. Keep that in your minds.

Sources: The New Republic (and Ron Paul's Newsletters)
Think Progress

Ron Paul on Gays
As noted in the Religion section, Paul has proposed laws to allow states to discriminate against gays, deny them marriages and equal rights, and the like. See that section for more details on his legislative efforts to make gay people second-class citizens. Let's see some more of that trademark Paul bigoted flamethrowing!
In the course of defending homophobic comments by Andy Rooney of CBS, a 1990 newsletter notes that a reporter for a gay magazine "certainly had an axe to grind, and that's not easy with a limp wrist."

The June 1990 issue of the Political Report says: "I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities."

From the August 1990 issue of the Political Report: "Bring Back the Closet!"

A January 1994 edition of the Survival Report states that "gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense," adding: "[T]hese men don't really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners." Also, "they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick."

Gay men are suicidal! Gays are limp-wristed sex-fiends! Gays should shut up and go back into hiding!

Hilarious, Dr. Paul!

Source: The New Republic (and Ron Pauls Newsletters)

Ron Paul on the Working Class
Ron Paul's site is conspicuously bereft of information about how he plans to help the working class... perhaps that's because he plans to injure them, as grievously as possible.

In fact, Ron Paul is against unions, the minimum wage, and worker safety (he seeks to dismantle OSHA)!

-- He has tried to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Act:
H.R.2310: A bill to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

H.R.13264: A bill to repeal the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

-- He would like to make it much easier to decertify labor unions:
H.R.694: To amend the National Labor Relations Act to permit elections to decertify representation by a labor organization.

-- He opposes the Minimum Wage:
H.R.2962: A bill to repeal all authority of the Federal Government to regulate wages in private employment.

-- He would deny the prevailing wage to employees of federal contractors, and remove prohibition on kickbacks in Federal projects:
H.R.736: To repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act.

H.R.2720: To repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act.

-- He wants to severely weaken Social Security:
H.R.2030: A bill to amend the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to make social security coverage completely optional for both present and future workers, to freeze benefit levels, to provide for the partial financing of future benefits from general revenues subject to specified conditions, to eliminate the earnings test, to make changes in the tax treatment of IRA accounts, and for other purposes.

H.R.4604: A bill to repeal the recently enacted requirement of mandatory social security coverage for employees of nonprofit organizations.
Ron Paul wants the poor to get poorer, and lose their limbs in the process. What a charming individual!

Source: Orcinus

Ron Paul on Education
This one's a doozy. First, go read my roommate's post on how Ron Paul wants Home Schooling to be equivalent to a public educational degree, with no standards or oversight.

You back yet? Ok. So your neighbors can educate their kids to believe solely in the Great Pumpkin, and that's all right with Ron Paul. No standards, no oversight, nothing. Crazy religious cults will have their way with kids completely, and brainwashed armies of nuts will roam your streets. This wil be paid for with your tax dollars.

It gets better though. Ron Paul is a proud signing member of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. Their position on education? One simple sentence.
"I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education."
There you have it. Ron Paul will get rid of all public education, if he has his way. All of it. Every single school. Every single teacher.


Source: Alliance for the Separation of School and State

Ron Paul on Social Security
As noted above in the Working Class section, Ron Paul hates him some Social Security. He wants to destroy the system as we know it entirely; it would be completely optional for present and future workers, benefit levels would freeze, so that inflation can take care of our excess elderly, and... well that about sums it up. It's a pretty simple position really. Bankrupt the system, screw those already paid in.
-- He wants to severely weaken Social Security:
H.R.2030: A bill to amend the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to make social security coverage completely optional for both present and future workers, to freeze benefit levels, to provide for the partial financing of future benefits from general revenues subject to specified conditions, to eliminate the earnings test, to make changes in the tax treatment of IRA accounts, and for other purposes.

H.R.4604: A bill to repeal the recently enacted requirement of mandatory social security coverage for employees of nonprofit organizations.

Source: Orcinus

Ron Paul on the Environment
Ron Paul doesn't seem to care much for the environment. He's in favor of weakening the Clean Air Act, water protection, soil protection, and so forth. He is also in favor of off-shore oil drilling, removing the Federal taxes on gas and oil, increasing coal mining, letting people dump more or less whatever they want into the rivers.... and so forth.
-- He would limit or try to repeal various environmental protection laws and regulations, including the Clean Air Act, the Soil and Water Conservation Act, and the use of devices that protect the "bycatch" of sea life:
H.J.RES.104: To disapprove a rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to proposed revisions to the national pollutant discharge elimination system program and Federal antidegradation

policy and the proposed revisions to the water quality planning and management regulations concerning total maximum daily load.

H.R.3735: To disapprove a rule requiring the use of bycatch reduction devices in the shrimp fishery of the Gulf of Mexico.

H.R.4423: To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide that the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery shall be managed in accordance with such fishery management plans, regulations, and other conservation and management as applied to that fishery on April 13, 1998.

H.R.2504: A bill to amend the Clean Air Act to postpone for one year the application of certain restrictions to areas which have failed to attain national ambient air quality standards and to delay for one year the date required for adoption and submission of State implementation plans applicable to these areas, and for other purposes.

H.R.7079: A bill to repeal the Soil and Water Conservation Act of 1977.

H.R.7245: A bill to amend section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to restrict the jurisdiction of the United States over the discharge of dredged or fill material to discharges into waters which are navigable and for other purposes.

Ron Paul also has a lot of bills relating to the shrimp industry and trying to block competition. Maybe he's in their pocket?

-- He would promote offshore oil-drilling, the construction of more refineries, coal-mining on Federal lands, and block conservation measures. This would further threaten our coastal and internal environments, and further trap our economy in fossil-fuel dependency:
H.R.2415: To reduce the price of gasoline by allowing for offshore drilling, eliminating Federal obstacles to constructing refineries and providing incentives for investment in refineries, suspending Federal fuel taxes when gasoline prices reach a benchmark amount, and promoting free trade.

H.R.4004: To reduce the price of gasoline by allowing for offshore drilling, eliminating Federal obstacles to constructing refineries and providing incentives for investment in refineries, suspending Federal fuel taxes when gasoline prices reach a benchmark amount, and promoting free trade.

H.R.393: A bill to amend section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to restrict the jurisdiction of the United States over discharge of dredged or fill material to discharges into waters which are navigable and for other purposes.

H.R.4639: A bill to repeal all Federal regulations and taxes on the production of fuel.

H.R.5293: A bill to prohibit the imposition of unreasonable severance taxes or fees on coal or lignite mined from Federal lands.

H.R.6936: A bill to prohibit the Secretary of Energy from promulgating any federal emergency energy conservation plan which would restrict recreational boating.

-- He has fought ratification of the Law of the Sea. As President would he "un-sign" it? [More here.]
H.CON.RES.56: Expressing the sense of the Congress that the United States should not ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Source: Orcinus

Ron Paul On International Relations
Ahh, International Relations. Here Paul really shines. He wants to, more or less, end them.

Paul wants us out of the United Nations, lock stock and barrel. Paul wants us to kick them out of the country, more or less. Paul wants us to stay out of the International Criminal Court. Paul wants us out of UNESCO for some reason.

This is of course perfectly in line with his crazy-ass friends on the conspiracy loving right, who think that the UN is a tool of the Antichrist, literally, and dedicated to seducing their children into Satan's army.

I'd post some of the bills he's tried to pass here, but they're all the same really. Cut funds, cut privileges, get us out of the UN, etc. Go see the Orcinus page copiously linked here if you want more details.

Ron Paul on Guns
Ron Paul wants to get rid of background checks on guns, and requirements for gun-locks; he wants to use the Federal government to overrule state regulations on concealed weapons, and Paul wants to give gun ownership to minors, recent felons, fugitives, addicts, domestic abusers and more!

I hope you like hearing gunshots in the night, America. Ron Paul wants guns in the hands of anyone with hands; he'd probably work something out for amputees involving an elaborate sling. He is, after all, a doctor.

Source: Orcinus

Ron Paul on Taxes
Tax policy and libertarians are like... well, oil and fire I suppose. Mixing them is never a good idea,

as libertarians tend to be greedy, self-absorbed, short-sighted misers in addition to their paranoid fear of the government that taxes fund.

Ron Paul is no different. He has proposed an amendment to ban the Income, Estate and Gift taxes, several times.

He has also tried to instead set the income tax rate at 10%, which wouldn't fund much of a bake-sale, let alone a government; again, many times.

He also wants you to pay your income taxes every month, and not automatically have them withheld. So your April annual headache? TIMES TWELVE! WHEEEE

Source: Orcinus

Ron Paul on Money
Ok, you may have thought Ron Paul was strange before, but this is the ultimate. This is his personal obsession. He's written several books on the subject of money, and has some pretty in-depth views of monetary policy that need to be discussed.

In the same way that a schizophrenic delusion needs to be discussed, at least until the thorazine kicks in.

Ron Paul is obssessed with money; specifically, paper money and gold. He hates the former; loves the latter.

Ron Paul is one of those right-wing cranks who thinks that, because paper money is not backed by gold, that it has no value. He wants to put us on the gold standard; he wants to make federal paper money OPTIONAL, and only the government has to take it; he wants to let the states print their own currency.

Yes, you read that correctly. Fifty states, fifty kinds of coin. I hope you don't like to travel much.
-- Does he want to abandon the dollar and set up 50 separate state currencies? Does that even make sense?
H.R.2779: To repeal section 5103 of title 31, United States Code.

H.R.3931: A bill to amend the Coinage Act of 1965 to provide that coins and currencies of the United States, including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations, shall be legal tender only for the payment of Federal taxes, duties and dues.
He also wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve, which has helped to alleviate, if not prevent outright, many recessions in the last fifty years by carefully controlling the monetary supply; they're doing less than a bangup job under the current administration, however.

So under a Ron Paul world, you'd have to change your coins at every state border; you'd be carrying around actual gold and silver in your pocket; you'd also face constant currency fluctuations because, you know, people need gold to make stuff, and find it in the ground all the time, so its actual real world quantity, and hence value, is, well, out of our hands. David Neiwart explains:
As I explain in Chapter 5 of In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest:
The Freemen justified this with an argument straight out of Roy Schwasinger's seminars: The federal government was bankrupt and illegally printing bogus money anyway, money that no longer had any basis, since the government took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971. So the Freemen were free to create their own money out of equally thin air -- not only that, but by basis of the "constitutional" nature of the common-law courts that issued the liens, their system was more legitimate than the federal government's.

The alternative-universe notion that the Federal Reserve system prints "funny money" based on no real foundation has floated about on the far right for years, and is a key component of some cult belief systems like Lyndon LaRouche's. In reality, the modern international monetary system is based on the economic engine behind each kind of currency -- the levels of supply and demand that a nation produces.

It is, like all economic systems, essentially a mental construct, but it has very real grounding in the work of producing goods and services within each nation. The American dollar's continuing strength abroad is a reflection of our nation's output; indeed, it is still considered the basis of most international currency rates.

Those who argue that money must be based on some hard commodity -- usually gold and silver -- ignore the fact that when a currency is based on gold, the value given to gold is as essentially arbitrary as that assigned to paper currency. That is, the value of gold would rise and decline according to the value of the output behind the economic system using it as a standard. Indeed, since gold is still used in manufacturing and jewelry-making, the crossover between gold as a commodity and gold as an expression of currency had the tendency to destabilize the currency system, which is why the United States went off the gold standard in 1971.

So who's for financial insecurity, recessions, and monetary policy determined by right-wing cranks?

Ron Paul!

Source: Orcinus

General Sources: Firedoglake
The New Republic
Wikipedia: Various

UPDATE: I fixed the broken subheading and link at the top for the International Relations section. I plan to go back and make minor grammar and punctuation fixes at a later date.