The Dim-Post

December 27, 2011

One from the vaults

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 10:54 am

I’ve been keeping half an eye on the reality-TV freakshow that is the US Republican presidential candidate nomination, and something tenuously NZ-related just popped up. One of the prospective freaks is Ron Paul, a libertarian congressman from Texas, who promises to abolish the US Federal Reserve, arguing that the state’s powers of fiat currency are the greatest threat to freedom.

As usual, being a freedom loving, classical-liberal libertarian seems closely linked to being a white supremacist, and Paul is fighting battles over this charge on a number of fronts. One of his former aides has stepped up to defend(?) Paul, and published this open letter. The relevant passage:

In 1988, Ron had a hardcore Libertarian supporter, Jim Peron, Owner of Laissez Faire Books in San Francisco. Jim set up a magnificent 3-day campaign swing for us in the SF Bay Area. Jim was what you would call very openly Gay. But Ron thought the world of him. For 3 days we had a great time trouncing from one campaign event to another with Jim’s Gay lover. The atmosphere was simply jovial between the four of us. (As an aside we also met former Cong. Pete McCloskey during this campaign trip.) We used Jim’s home/office as a “base.” Ron pulled me aside the first time we went there, and specifically instructed me to find an excuse to excuse him to a local fast food restaurant so that he could use the bathroom. He told me very clearly, that although he liked Jim, he did not wish to use his bathroom facilities. I chided him a bit, but he sternly reacted, as he often did to me, Eric, just do what I say. Perhaps “sternly” is an understatement. Ron looked at me directly, and with a very angry look in his eye, and shouted under his breath: “Just do what I say NOW.”

Jim Peron played a brief roll in New Zealand politics, back in 2005. He was involved with the Rodney Hide led ACT Party, and Winston Peters accused Peron of paedophilia using Parliamentary Privilege. As always with Peters, the details of what happened are all pretty murky – Russell Brown summarised it at the time. Eventually the Immigration Service revoked his visa.

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38 Comments »

  1. The race for the Republican nomination is the only reality TV show in town as far as I am concerned. It is endlessly entertaining. A few months ago I put money on Romney. I mean, surely, as crazy as the republicans are, they wouldn’t choose one of those other wingnuts. Would they? WOULD THEY? I feel I might end up losing some money…

    Comment by DT — December 27, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  2. oh yes dt, its a blast, bring on the return of the daily show for starters, what a hoot it all is. with all the sinister/mad overtones to boot

    Comment by Cnr Joe — December 27, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  3. Never mind. Even though Ron Paul is a kook on foreign policy, any of those Republican candidates would make a better president than Obama. He is a complete disaster.

    . . and as for the creature from Jekyll Island, it’s answerable to no one. Someone should really take a look within.

    Comment by Porky — December 27, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

  4. Such epic trollbait. Thanks Danyl, compliments of the season.

    Huntsman is the guy who should win. Romney is the guy who could win. Perry is the guy who …. um… anyway. Gingrich/Palin is the perfect-storm ticket for the Obama administration to get stuck into. Paul/Palin is the perfect-storm ticket for the satiriat to get stuck into, and the best opportunity since 1964 for the American people to stare into the howling void of liberthoritarian dystopia.

    I think they should go for it. Bad ideas need to be put to the sword once in a while, not just passed over and left to fester.

    L

    Comment by Lew — December 27, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

  5. Lew: I doubt Palin will stand for the Vice Presidency. Not only is she much less popular than she was even a year ago, this is literally without precedent in American politics. A repeat-Vice-Presidential candidate is just likely to attract the label of “loser”.

    Comment by Hugh — December 27, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

  6. Hugh, sure. But I’m not talking about what *will* happen, necessarily.

    L

    Comment by Lew — December 27, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

  7. Yeah, I should have re-read that. In my defense there are a lot of people on the Left who seem to be longing for a Palin candidacy presumably because it’s such a tempting rhetorical target. But I see now you’re not one of them.

    My bet is Romney/[Somebody who wasn't a candidate this time around]

    Comment by Hugh — December 28, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  8. As the Republican nominee enters 2012, they would do well to wrap their minds and messages around these seven mathematical facts:

    * Every day, the U.S. government takes in $6 billion and spends $10 billion. This means that every day the federal government spends $4 billion more dollars than it has.
    * The real unemployment rate is a jaw-dropping 11 percent.
    * Every fifth man they pass on their way to work is now out of work.
    * College graduates are now 34% less likely to find a job under Obama than they were under President George W. Bush.
    * Every seventh person they pass on the sidewalk now relies on food stamps.
    * The ravages of the Obama economy now mean that more Americans live under the federal poverty line than at any time in U.S. history since records have been kept.
    * Under President Barack Obama, every fifth child in America now lives in poverty.

    These are not partisan jabs, manufactured statistics, or ideological swipes. These are mathematical facts. And the presidential candidate who can most clearly and credibly articulate them—and their concomitant solutions—is bound to win. (Even putting Obama’s disastrous foreign policy aside). All this is the inevitable result of electing a narcissistic left-wing man-child as President who surrounds himself with know-nothing left wing eggheads who are so detached from any tangible reality.

    . . and as for Mr Liebowitz . . he stares into the camera, raises his eyebrows, pauses, then bellows “FUCK” . . it must take him and his staff of 23 writers all night to come up with that stuff.

    Comment by Porky — December 28, 2011 @ 6:51 am

  9. * Nine out of every ten RWNJs you pass on the blogwalk will now use the phrase “Under President Barack Obama” to preface every result of their own economic and foreign policy prescriptions. Mathematical fact.

    Comment by ak — December 28, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  10. Even by recent standards, the Republican pre-primary scramble has been bizarre. Bachmann is actively crazy and Cain managed to command the polls without having an actual campaign organisation or, it seemed, much idea of what it might take to be president. Perry and Gingrich are ghastly human beings. Oh yeah, and before all that there was Donald Trump.

    But Paul may actually be weirder than any of them. As TPM notes, his objection to the Mexican border fence proposed by various of his fellow loons was that he feared it would be used to imprison Americans, to prevent them fleeing the US with their capital. To Mexico.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/12/plain_site_watch.php

    This is all tied up with his Birchian beliefs with respect to the (fictional) “NAFTA Superhighway” and the secret new US currency it presages:

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/what-ron-paul-believes.php

    Dude’s freakin’ nuts.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s approval ratings are recovering to a perfectly comfortable 46-47% range, basically where Bush was before he won his second term. But that’s not really the main number. Check out his big — often double-digit — head-to-head leads against all prospective Republican candidates:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/president_obama_vs_republican_candidates.html

    Romney is the only one in touch — and the only electable one among them since it became clear Huntsman wasn’t going to run — but is hated by the party base for being Mormon and not completely batshit insane.

    Comment by Russell Brown — December 28, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  11. Porky’s maths seem appropriate for a Republican field that has problems with concepts such as “science”. Even if the “real” unemployment rate is 11%, for one-in-five males to be out of work the female unemployment rate would have to be virtually zero. Which it isn’t.

    And FWIIW, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report has US unemployment at 8.3%, with Males over 16 at 8.6% (see http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm). Sure there are damn lies, then statistics … but it takes a source to beat a source.

    Oh – and this, too: http://pragcap.com/how-the-republicans-can-win-the-white-house

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 28, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  12. “he did not wish to use his bathroom facilities” … what, did he think he’d catch something off the toilet seat????

    Comment by Spitfire — December 28, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  13. @Spitfire: Quite possibly. The NY Times reports that back in the early 1990s “A passage in [a newsletter sent out under Ron Paul's name] asserted that people with AIDS should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because ‘AIDS can be transmitted by saliva’”. He’s since disavowed the publication, claiming he didn’t write or edit it … but it’s still his name on the masthead.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 28, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  14. If Romney cruises through the primaries he’ll have latitude to pull the old gambit of picking a swing state senator or governor as his running mate (possibly but not necessarily great Latino hope Marco Rubio). If he takes damage he might have to choose a VP to appease the red meat base, which will be hilarious unless he wins.

    Comment by bradluen — December 28, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  15. I always felt rather sorry for Jim Peron, but to my knowledgde until now nobody has accused him of “playing a roll.” Admittedly, it is a part to which he is well-suited, though perhaps less than the increasingly roll-shaped Perigo.

    Comment by Rj — December 28, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  16. Andrew, Porky said the “real” unemployment rate. Unemployment only includes those actively seeking work, and hence not those who have given up looking for work (not uncommon in this economy, donchaknow). According to an article in the Financial Times (paywalled, but quoted here by Ezra Klein), “According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.”

    Comment by derp de derp — December 28, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  17. @derp de derp: My main point was that Porky’s “mathematical facts” were internally contradictory. And like I say, there are damn lies, and then statistics. But I’d be a bit careful about assuming labour market characteristics as of 2007 are the exact same as they are in 2011. For one thing, the proportion of the population aged over 65 has risen in that time period from 12.6% to 13.1%. And there are a multitude of reasons why people may cycle in and out of the workforce … such as deciding to go to college instead (http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1391/college-enrollment-all-time-high-community-college-surge).

    But all that said – the US economy is in the toilet, there’s far too many people unemployed (in a real sense) and Obama has yet to fix things (although there is some support for the claim his policies have made the situation less worse than it otherwise would be, and a decent part of any blame for the failure to fix things also must fall on an obstructionist Republican congress).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 28, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

  18. “Obama has yet to fix things (although there is some support for the claim his policies have made the situation less worse than it otherwise would be”
    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/four-reasons-why-keynesian-stimulus-does-not-work/

    “and a decent part of any blame for the failure to fix things also must fall on an obstructionist Republican congress”
    you assume more taxes will fix things?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 28, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

  19. Romney is the only one in touch — and the only electable one among them since it became clear Huntsman wasn’t going to run — but is hated by the party base for being Mormon and not completely batshit insane.

    Huntsman is running. You may mean Christie. And however nuts Ron Paul may be, he appears to be the only candidate (Obama included) who doesn’t think the President has (and should have) the authority to detain – indefinitely and without charge or trial – US citizens found on US soil, which makes him, better than everyone else, pretty much no matter what his other policies are.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 28, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

  20. Great coverage Russell!

    Comment by geog773demotonys — December 29, 2011 @ 4:12 am

  21. Clunking Fist quotes the Cato Institute and thinks that means he speaks with authority. Enough said.

    Comment by DT — December 29, 2011 @ 8:04 am

  22. @CF: I see your Cato Institute general condemnation of a theory they don’t like and raise you some real-world studies of the actual impact of Obama’s policies: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/did-the-stimulus-work-a-review-of-the-nine-best-studies-on-the-subject/2011/08/16/gIQAThbibJ_blog.html

    As for Obama’s proposals … I don’t assume new taxes will necessarily fix anything. However, given that “The U.S. economy would get a boost of up to 2 percent under President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan, say economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Moody’s Analytics Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co”, and that “Tax cuts account for more than half the dollar value of the plan”, I’m thinking you don’t know what you are talking about. (See http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-09/obama-job-plan-would-boost-u-s-gdp-by-up-to-2-next-year-economists-say.html)

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — December 29, 2011 @ 8:12 am

  23. While China soars, Iran plots and the rest of the world looks on aghast, the latest controversy in the USA according to Fox is not the economy or the frank and open corruption in their Congress that has led to the The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011) that threatens the entire integrioty of the internet… No, it is the latest round of dog whistle racism and yet more proof that the old Confederacy has never seen a Jim Crow law it didn’t like.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10010031

    The United States is doomed unless it realises Abraham Lincoln was a wiser man than Rupert Murdoch:

    “…A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South…”

    Read Lincoln and weep at the decent of the Republican Party into madness.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 29, 2011 @ 8:47 am

  24. China may be soaring but towards what is another question, real estate implosion, social unrest, mass pollution, counterfeit food products.

    Comment by merv — December 29, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  25. Actually merv I should have said while China, India, Brazil, and practically anywhere not in the neo-liberal dominated insanity of the Anglo-sphere soar…

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 29, 2011 @ 9:39 am

  26. ‘neo-lib … insane … anglo-sphere’

    Can I have whatever you’re on please.

    Comment by merv — December 29, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  27. Latest polling out of Iowa is looking more promising for Romney.

    Paul pretty much at a ceiling – anyone likely to vote for him already is. Gingrich down. Perry, Bachmann, Santorum all squabbling over 4th place.

    Comment by Phil — December 30, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  28. DT @ 21 “Clunking Fist quotes the Cato Institute and thinks that means he speaks with authority”
    Fair call: I was supposed to link to the Wall Street Journal article it Cato Inst commented on.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204777904576651532721267002.html
    AG, you counter with a blog post. I’m struggling to check the credentials of Dylan Matthews.
    And it’s true I was not up with the contents of the latest package. Reading a bit about it, some of the tax cuts have that temporary flavour which doesn’t go down well in the private sector: any additional staff you take on have a double-whaming cost when the payroll tax “holiday” eventually ends (I.e. when the govt finally realises that it has to balalnce its books).
    “A reduction in government spending and the end of the payroll-tax holiday and an expiration of extended unemployment benefits would have cut GDP by 1.7 percent in 2012, according to JPMorgan chief U.S. economist Michael Feroli. Instead, the Obama proposal more than makes up for that potential loss and may add a net 0.1 percent to the economy, he estimates.”
    So we could argue that the deficit will blow out by another 1.7/1.8% of GDP? That is, future generations will have to pay for the stimulus with increased taxes/reduced govt services.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — December 31, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  29. Danyl – You may wish to look at the sociological evidence for the views of people who tend to be anti-capitalist. Sociologist James Lindgren looked at this in the paper “What Drives Views on Government Redistribution and Anti-Capitalism: Envy or a Desire for Social Dominance?”

    Inter alia, people who are anti-capitalism and pro-government redistribution are:

    – less educated
    – less likely to give anything to charity
    – less likely to engage in altruistic behavior
    – less likely to support free speech
    – more racist
    – more intolerant of gays
    – more intolerant of atheists
    – more angry, revengeful, and pessimistic

    To quote Lindgren’s conclusion:

    Those who support capitalism and freer markets and oppose greater income redistribution tend to be better educated, to have higher family incomes, to be less traditionally racist, and to be less intolerant of unpopular groups. Those who oppose greater redistribution also tend to be more generous in donating to charities and more likely to engage in some other altruistic behavior.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — January 1, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  30. Sanctuary – The thing about India, China, and Brazil in recent decades has been economic liberalization. It has been quite the opposite of the economic prescription we get from illiberal anti-capitalist commenters here. India for instance was heavily influenced, to the great harm of their citizens welfare, by Fabian Socialist ideas prior to the 1991 economic crisis and the neo-liberal reforms that followed. The reforms included ending industrial licensing to allow private enterprises to operate in industries they were previously barred from, disinvestment, which was a policy of partial privatisation of state enterprises, abolishing import licenses, reducing tariffs, and liberalising foreign investment. The gradual economic liberalisation in China ought to be well known. This included the largest privatisation in the world with more than 90,000 firms privatised. Now some areas of mainland China have levels of economic freedom comparable to Hong Kong. Between 1991 and 2005 600 million people were taken out of poverty. Perhaps the fastest reduction in poverty in world history and it was because of economic liberalisation. Compare that to the millions who perished during the Great Chinese Famine because of socialist policies.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — January 1, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  31. chuckle

    Comment by will — January 1, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  32. Here’s left-wing icon and famed progressive blogger Glenn Greenwald on Ron Paul who is quote “not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite” (simple minded Manichean sounds like a certain blogger I can think of): Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

    “Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil.

    As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position?

    The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

    He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish….”

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — January 2, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  33. “…The thing about India, China, and Brazil in recent decades has been economic liberalization…”

    Jesus you right wingers talk some elastic tosh. China tightly controls it’s currency and it’s money markets. You should try a little history on your right wing cornflakes. Here, just a few a weeks back from the Economist –

    http://www.economist.com/node/21541753

    “…State-controlled companies account for 80% of the market capitalisation of the Chinese stockmarket, more than 60% of Russia’s, and 35% of Brazil’s. They make up 19 of the world’s 100 biggest multinational companies and 28 of the top 100 among emerging markets. World-class state companies can be found in almost every industry. China Mobile serves 600m customers. Saudi Arabia’s SABIC is one of the world’s most profitable chemical companies. Emirates airlines is growing at 20% a year. Thirteen of the world’s biggest oil companies are state-controlled. So is the world’s biggest natural-gas company, Gazprom.

    State-owned companies will continue to thrive. The emerging markets that they prosper in are expected to grow at 5.5% a year compared with the rich world’s 1.6%, and the model is increasingly popular. The Chinese and Russian governments are leading a fashion for using the state’s power to produce national champions in a growing range of “strategic” industries…”

    Economic liberalisation, the whore whose name is whatever you want it to be.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 3, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  34. “Jesus you right wingers talk some elastic tosh. China tightly controls it’s currency and it’s money markets. ”
    So before they haven’t finished the journey, Sanc, no ones arguing they “have it right” or anything.
    “…State-controlled companies account for 80% of the market capitalisation of the Chinese stockmarket,”
    Yep, but they may be making up a shrinking proportion of the Chinese ECONOMY. Most real Chinese companies list in HK, I believe.

    “The Chinese and Russian governments are leading a fashion for using the state’s power to produce national champions in a growing range of “strategic” industries…””
    Sounds like you want to live there, Sanc! :)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 3, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  35. alcohol, sun & typing don’t mix, do they? I don’t know where the “before” came from.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 3, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  36. Sanctuary – The trend in these nations in the past few decades, which is obvious to all, has been that of economic liberalisation. China pursued the largest privatisation policy in world history with over 90,000 firms privatised. It was not under Maoist socialist or Fabian socialist policies that these nations saw rapid declines in poverty and increases in prosperity it was only after they pursued policies of economic liberalisation.

    The empirical evidence on privatisation is vast so it will suffice to say that on net private firms perform better, are more efficient, invest more, and privatisation enhances economic welfare. See for instance, this paper: From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Evidence on Privatization which concluded on the basis of their extensive review of the empirical literature: “we (now) know that privatisation ‘works’ in the sense that divested firms almost always become more efficient, more profitable, and financially healthier, and increase their capital investment spending”. For example they found that of the ten studies examining the relative efficiency of private to public enterprises in the same industry, eight studies found the private sector firms performed better, two found no significant differences, and none of the studies found the public sector was more efficient.

    Privatisation continues apace around the world as it has been for decades. In fact 2010 was a record year for privatisations: See Privatization Trends and Major Deals in 2010.

    Finally, comparing the growth rates of developing nations to developed western nations is comparing apples to oranges. Developing nations are picking low hanging fruit e.g., electrification, agricultural mechanisation, reapplying labour from low productivity areas like farming to higher productivity manufacturing through industrialisation and urbanisation. They are following avenues of growth not available to already developed nations. In years to come these processes will slow and growth will decelerate.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — January 3, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  37. Jim Peron is now an opponent of Paul and attacks his bigoted paleo-conservative links quite harshly. Jim has known Paul for well over 20 years and has no time for him.

    Comment by James — January 7, 2012 @ 5:17 am

  38. Jim had his visa revoked when he was out of NZ at a conference in Germany….a dirty and sneaky act to save Peters face as his accusations against Jim had fallen over under examination. To this day Jim has yet to know what justification was used to ban him as he was never charged or convicted of any wrong doing. The people who conspired against Jim included Peters, Perigo, Mary Ann Thompson, Matthew and Madeline Flanagan and Helen Clark among others. It was a dirty smear campaign that never resulted in a definite outcome but cost Jim his life here and his relationship. He’s now in California and running a successful on line business and is still active in the US liberty scene…he also is a regular columnist for the Huffington post.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-peron/creationism-and-the-marri_b_1177087.html

    Comment by James — January 7, 2012 @ 5:28 am


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