Dying on That Hillock

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Christopher Carr

Christopher Carr does stuff and writes about stuff.

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  1. Avatar Morzer
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    says:

    I am slightly puzzled as to how you managed to give Paul a C, given that he seems to have lost 30% for failure to turn in problem sets and presumably didn’t get perfect marks on the midterm and final.  Leaving aside this mathematical conundrum, how, precisely, does Paul become an example of “cosmopolitanism”?  He seems to have little or no interest in the world outside the US, much less its various cultures and civilizations.  Doesn’t cosmopolitanism demand something more than occasionally polite disinterest?

     Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Morzer
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      says:

      Paul has said he supports peaceful free trade relations with all nations. What could be more cosmopolitan than no more tariff or sanctions tit for tat? Engaging China economically worked. Why not try the same thing for say North Korea?Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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        says:

        …it does help that the Chinese were you know…willing to be engaged economically, rather than looking for classically brinksmanship behavior to wring concessions from the US.Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Nob Akimoto
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          says:

          Kim Jong Il, when he was alive, tried to do business with the U.S. many times. We, or specifically Republicans in Congress, reneged on our end of the deal because Kim was “a Communist”.Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            Other than the Agreed Framework fiasco, I’m not aware of any normalization talks that were scuttled by a Republican Congress.

            Moreover the conditions that allowed  China to normalize relations with the US and establish a trade dialogue were substantively different than simply an agreement about nuclear weapons. The CCP’s trajectory is not something the North Korean regime looked anywhere near replicating.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            This

            1) Doesn’t sound right

            2) Isn’t in any case very Juchey

            3) has, if true, a ‘so what’ aspect, as the DPRK has three pretty major potential economic trading partners in each direction if they really felt like it

            3a) actually do have some special economic zones with the ROK and PRC, which get shut down from time to time when the North Koreans get all shooty. (i.e. Cheonan, Yeonpeon, this woman- http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/11/korea)

            But I’m sure the root cause is that it’s still America’s (and/or the Republicans’) faultReport

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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        says:

        Also, given that Paul has also come out in opposition of multilateral trade organizations and free trade agreements, there’s a question of how one actually achieves “peaceful free trade relations” with a country.

        Simply saying “hey, our markets are open, come on in” does not make for free trade.

        Moreover, there’s a vast gulf between simply  opening your markets and engaging a country economically.Report

      • Avatar Morzer in reply to Christopher Carr
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        says:

        “What could be more cosmopolitan than no more tariff or sanctions tit for tat?”

        A genuine appreciation of other cultures and societies, perhaps?  Your vision of cosmopolitanism is a reductive, starveling creature that comes down to nothing more than free trade to the max.  That ain’t cosmopolitanism by any standard that has previously been applied.

        Incidentally, you might want to peruse this latest piece of evidence for just how bizarre Ron Paul’s worldview really is:

        http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/12/yes-virginia-ron-paul-kook

        Note that the piece is written by a member of Congress, claims to be based on personal experience, and went out as part of a fundraising letter.  Surely you aren’t going to believe that Ron Paul didn’t know about his own fund-raising materials?

         Report

  2. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
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    says:

    There’s a lot to chew on in this post, and I appreciate that you took time to engage my response in the other thread.

    Largely speaking I see two general threads here.

    The first is that there’s a general tendency for Washington to think in 4-8 year stretches when it comes to foreign policy formulation. The fact that different administrations have different priorities and in the end create conflicting national security strategies gives the impression that the US is substantively unable to think in long-term strategic views. Essentially this thread argues that because the US is unable to act in a consistent matter in promoting a firm picture of national interest, its actions end up as being arbitrary and heavy-handed. Given the amount of power the US wields, this in turn makes it appear to be a tyrannical and arbitrary regime.

    The second is the moral dimension. Specifically the deep ambivalence and even disgust that people feel about the government’s actions abroad. Certainly the imagery and the term “collateral damage” have left a deeply discordant image next to America’s self-image abroad. Iraq and its aftermath also have made it very hard to consider the US’s actions in a positive light. Intentions of those on the ground aside, the attitude of top policy makers at times have verged on careless and arbitrary.

    On both these points (as I will try to flesh out over the next couple of days) I think there’s extremely valid concerns, but I’m not convinced that Ron Paul embodies anything like a useful tonic to either of them.

    I guess I’m not convinced that Ron Paul’s prescriptions (which to me seem to be “disengagement”) are particularly constructive.

    As far as I can tell the main pillars of his foreign policy are as follows:
    -Immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan.
    -Reverting to pre-War Powers Act standard for committing force. “Declaration of War” to mean actual congressional declaration of war.
    -Reducing sanctions as a means of enforcing US national interests.
    -Reduction of foreign aid to zero.
    -“Securing the borders” and abolition of the Welfare state to remove “perverse incentives” for immigration.
    -Ending birthright citizenship.
    -Replace nation-building/occupation with “constitutional means” (whatever this means) to target terrorists/enemies of the state.
    -Remove US participation from many intergovernmental organizations, including the UN and WTO.
    -“Promote trade” through some unspecified means that are NOT multilateral institutions like the WTO or Free Trade Acts.

    All of these are taken from his own campaign literature or articles he’s published in the past.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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      says:

      One point I missed:
      Essentially pushing for a very strongly “Powell Doctrine” esque view of US military power wherein the objective would be to accomplish a very specific goal and then withdraw US forces.Report

  3. Avatar James K
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    says:

    Bear in mind that this is a really theoretical issue for me, but with Johnson out of the Republican race, by short-list would be Paul and Huntsman, with perhaps a slight lean to Huntsman.

    Now, my preferred candidate overall is still Johnson.Report

  4. Avatar Mark Thompson
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    says:

    I’m still likely to vote for Paul for the nomination. I already went through my crisis of conscience over all of this in 2008. I reluctantly held my nose and voted for him in 2008 on the grounds that he was the least bad candidate on issues I most cared about. Somehow, the GOP field is even worse this year, at least in the tier of candidates who are likely to survive into February and March. That means holding my nose and voting for him again this time around.

    (Standard caveat: I am technically a registered Republican because in my locale, the GOP primary is more relevant than the general election).

    If, somehow, Huntsman survives to my primary and is actually giving Mittens a run, then I would reconsider, but that has about a snowball’s chance in hell of occurring,

    What pisses me off the most about this story is ultimately Paul’s lack of honesty about it. Had he, in 2008, and to a lesser extent in 2011, come out and just taken responsibility for what he did, explained why he and his pals did it (which is not exactly a secret) and then explicitly disavowed them, detailing how his views had changed, he probably would not have this problem. But he didn’t do that and obviously has no intention of doing that, and he deserves what he’s getting for it.Report

  5. Avatar stuhlmann
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    says:

    My main problem with Ron Paul is that he so often offers simple solutions to complex problems, where those simple solutions conform to his philosophical view of the world, rather than to reality.  Kind of like some people’s support of abstinence only educational programs to counter problems like teenage pregnancy and HIV.  Ron Paul has said that enforcement of property rights can tackle pollution better than the government can.  Property rights existed before the EPA was created in the 1970s, yet air and water pollution were much worse back then.  It took government intervention to clean up the water and air.

    Another example is at the link below.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/ron-paul-would-have-avoided-the-civil-war-by-buying-all-the-slaves/

    I admire Ron Paul for many of his stands on issues, including the need to reduce the size, scope, and cost of government.  However many government agencies, like the EPA, were created to deal with real problems, problems that were not being adequately addressed.  He needs to offer realistic answers to complex problems.  That is what adults do, and we need adult leadership now more than ever.

    I look at voting as an exercise in picking the lesser of evils.  That being said, I could vote for Ron Paul.

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    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to stuhlmann
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      says:

      +1

      Though: “…I could vote for Ron Paul.”  Is that what you meant to type?Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to stuhlmann
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      says:

      Good points. Although I think Paul’s stance on the Civil War is surprisingly reasonable. Your comparison to the bailouts is off: banks were rewarded for their own incompetence with the bailouts – not because we as a society changed our values on anything. Under Paul circa 1860, slave-owners would have received individual compensation for an evil we as a nation had long decided we didn’t want, if only there had been a way to avoid bloodshed. The first eighty some-odd years of U.S. history can be read as clumsy attempts to avoid civil war. In the meantime, compensating slave-owners worked for other nations. Granted, slavery in the United States was a different animal, but it would have been worth exhausting all options before engaging headlong in the bloodiest war in our history for reasons only epiphenomenal to ending slavery.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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        says:

        Arguably the bailouts occurred because we as a society have judged that the economic shocks of letting major financial institutions fail are of a sufficiently large scale that we can no longer tolerate them as part of routine shocks to the economic cycle. That is, they’re “rewarded” because society’s values towards bank defaults is substantially different than the last major wave of bank failures.

        As for an “evil we as a nation had long decided we didn’t want”, are you entirely sure about that? The Confederacy was pretty much supported by a world view that considered chattel slavery to be desirable and right. It’s not as if they were saying “well, I’d let my slaves go, but only if I’m compensated”.Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Nob Akimoto
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          says:

          We as a society have not decided that. 70% of Americans opposed the bailouts.

          Also, an extreme minority of citizens of the Confederacy were slave-owners.Report

          • Avatar Zach in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            Also, an extreme minority of citizens of the Confederacy were slave-owners.

            Was support for the institution of slavery solely confined to that extreme minority of actual slaveowners?Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            As a society, the construction of a welfare state, the FDIC, granting powers to the Federal Reserve, a duly elected Congress passing legislation to the effect of authorizing TARP, all signify to me that in fact society DOES view the largescale social displacements and economic costs associated with catastrophic failure of large financial institutions IS regarded as socially unacceptable. Whether or not opinion polls reflect this overall social trend, as opposed to the visceral reaction to an unpopular policy implementation is secondary.

            Or more simply: are we certain that polls on the support of bailouts is based on a nuanced view of the consequences of allowing the institutions to fail? Given that almost every poll subsequently has also indicated a majority support for government intervention and support in the economy, I doubt it.

            The “only a minority were slave-owners” canard is that, a canard. It doesn’t speak to the national attitude, particularly the institutionalized racism and superiority that underlined a lot of white southern society in the mid-19th century and continues, to some extent into the present.Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            Also, an extreme minority of citizens of the Confederacy were slave-owners.

            Another little-recognized aspect of slavery (in the US) is that freed blacks participated in the system at far greater percentages than free whites did – not just in “buying a spouse” but in amassing significantly large workforces (often 30 or more) of other blacks as slaves.

            That still doesn’t make slavery acceptable, nor does it make the other racist laws of the time acceptable, but it’s intriguing to note that “Jim Crow” laws that did things like preventing blacks from voting, owning property, or patronizing many businesses largely sprang up AFTER the abolition of slavery.

            The law of “Unintended Consequences” seems to apply here.

            It’s not as if they were saying “well, I’d let my slaves go, but only if I’m compensated”.

            Actually, freeing slaves was a relatively common practice. Not a “majority” practice, but enough so that there was definite legal framework on how freeing slaves should be handled, up to and including legal framework for inheritances by black slave concubines to white slaveowners and the children thereof.

            I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that MAYBE the Civil War didn’t need to happen, and MAYBE there might have been a better way to “phase out” slavery or otherwise eliminate it without so many deaths and so much lingering resentment that caused the “Jim Crow” period and resonates even to this day in hefty racial animosity.

            But of course that’s all hindsight, too.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike
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              says:

              Mike,

              … did those legal frameworks stand up anywhere? In Tennessee (I think… this isn’t my field nor my research), they struck someone’s will because it went to someone black, and not the wife and kids.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Mike
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              says:

              Other question is if you could actually have funded a mass buy-out of slave society in the US as one could in say British overseas holdings. For example, the Abolition Act of 1833 in the UK required something in the order of 20 million pounds (out of a GDP of 435 million pounds) to compensate for a plantation value of about 120 million pounds of slaves.

              By contrast by 1860 market prices for US slaves (about $3000/head by the time Fort Sumter fell) amounted to somewhere in the order of 12 billion dollars worth of slave capital assuming a 4 million population for slaves. The entire Civil War cost somewhere around 3 billion dollars.

              Could the US treasury have actually raised enough money to compensate slave owners? More importantly could it have actually done so at a price that the slave owners found acceptable?

              Somehow, I’m not so sure.

              (besides, where would all of this money have come from in a gold standard era United States?)Report

      • I have a little sympathy for this view, because it seems facile to say “it was worth it” for about half a million people to die for any cause, not that the cause of freeing people in bondage wasn’t about as unequivocally good as any cause can be.

        But not only was slavery, as you point out, a different animal in the U.S. from what it was elsewhere–the British Empire, Brazil, the Caribbean islands, and serf-era Russia–the compensation schemes and gradual emancipation schemes (which, with their “apprenticeship” provisions were a sort of partial compensation)–arguably resulted in granting the freed persons in those places much less freedom than the theoretically absolute freedom granted by the 13th and 14th amendments.

         Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Pierre Corneille
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          says:

          Sure, but we could have had the 13th and 14th Amendments without the Civil War.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            That’s wishful thinking.   The issues which would give rise to the American Civil War had been swept under the rug when the Constitution was drafted and signed.    Let the long and mendacious track records of the 3/5ths Compromise, the rhetoric of the States’ Rights maniacs and the dirty war in Bleeding Kansas show there would never be a peaceful resolution to the issue of slavery in the USA.

            Here’s George Washington mincing and aw-shucks-ing on the subject of slavery, to Alexander Spotswood in 1794:  With respect to the other species of property, concerning which you ask my opinion, I shall frankly declare to you that I do not like even to think much less talk of it….

             Report

          • I suppose we could have.  But would we have under a compensatory emancipation regime?  It’s all hypothetical, of course, but I just don’t see the 14th or 15th without the 4 years of war that elevated a significant number of radical Republicans to office.  The 13th, maybe, but the character of that freedom might have been more equivocal, and maybe an even worse caste system than Jim Crow (worse because it would not necessarily violate the constitution) would emerge.

            But again, I suppose it could’ve happened.Report

            • Avatar Mike in reply to Pierre Corneille
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              says:

              But, theoretically, would we have NEEDED the 14th and 15th if the issues of the Civil War had been settled through a bloodless method which didn’t result in the Jim Crow era and efforts by the Jim Crow states to deny citizenship to former slaves?

              Maybe in some form. And yes, the Dred Scott decision preceded (most would say, triggered) the Civil War. But they’d probably have been better written and not come up in some of the problems we’re seeing today (e.g. anchor babies and birthdate-tourism scams).Report

              • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Mike
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                says:

                Yes, I believe the protections of the 14th amendment against arbitrary state-level impositions against denial of life, liberty, or property, and the 14th and 15th amendment protections against denial of the suffrage based on race or other (but not all–sex wasn’t included, e.g.,) arbitrary classifications would have been needed, even in the wake of a less bloody process toward emancipation.  By “needed,” I mean “needed to ensure basic rights to the freed persons.”

                It’s possible that the amendments might have been better written, but I won’t comment here on whether birthright national citizenship was absolutely necessary (though, as you point out, Dred Scott was probably still at least technically “good law”).Report

              • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Mike
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                says:

                Given that the white Southerneers persisted in denying basic human rights and justice to black people for an entire centurey EVEN AFTER they were completely devastated by such a bloody war; in what alternate universe would they have accepted black people as fellow equal citizens, regardless of how much compensation they received?

                There are some ideas and beliefs that are so deep that they can only be extracted through something as brutal as Sherman’s March.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            Yes. But that would have come with MORE suffering, not less. NOBODY could have stopped the secession — like WWI, there were too many rich people watching their power leak away.

            Lincoln could have sat back on his hands, and watched the South fall on itself over a couple of decades, gradually getting states back as they couldn’t support themselves no more.Report

        • Avatar Katherine in reply to Pierre Corneille
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          says:

          The idea of buying the slaves as an alternative to the Civil War was unfeasible for several reasons.

          1) Slaves were the second-most valuable form of property in the United States, in the 1950s, after land.  The federal government didn’t have remotely the amount of money it would have cost to buy them all – and simply the action of offering to buy them would have driven up the price.

          2) It would result in there being a lot of free blacks in the South, which is something the South greatly feared and would not have consented to, absent a war, for any sum of money.  This fear existed to the point where several Southern states had made it illegal or very nearly impossible to free one’s own slaves.

          3) It would have been opposed by most non-slave-owning Southerners.  Non-slave-owners largely hoped to buy slaves in future, or valued the social status conferred on them by the South’s white supremacist system (no matter how poor you were, you had a measure of elite status due purely to not being black).

          4) Related to 3, it would have upset the very foundation of Southern society and economy.  ”Everything” in the south – social status, economic power, religion, political ideology, science – was oriented around slavery.

          5) Finally, it runs contrary to every political position taken by the South prior to the war.  Remember, they didn’t secede because of abolition.  Lincoln intended, and repeatedly stated that he intended, to take NO ACTION WHATSOEVER against slavery where it already existed.  His central political position in the election was that he would prevent expansion of slavery into the territories.  This is a far more mild and less disruptive proposition that “free all the slaves by buying them”, and the South considered it sufficiently offensive and dangerous to warrant secession.  The South also could have voted for Stephen Douglas, who supported expansion of slavery under the principle of popular sovereignty.  The South also found this unacceptable because they wanted slavery expanded to ALL the territories, and wanted the bans on slavery in pre-existing northern states invalidated.  That’s what Dred Scott meant – that it would be contrary to federal law to ban slavery anywhere.

          The core of this is Lincoln’s statement that the country could not exist forever “half slave and half free” (not an abolitionist statement – he wanted to prevent the expansion of slavery in the hope that this would produce a slow decline of it).  The South did not, in any way, shape, or form, want a compromise that would make the nation “all free”.  They wanted a nation that permitted and promoted slavery throughout its territory, that made slavery the basis of its economy and society.  When Lincoln’s election prevented them from getting that federally, they seceded to form their own slave nation.  The idea that anything could have induced them to willingly give up slavery runs contrary to all their own statements and actions at the time.

          All this, of course, is merely pragmatic reasoning, and does not get  into the problem of the immorality inherent in supporting the idea that people could be property by paying the Southern whites for persons who they had no legitimate moral right to own.

           

           Report

          • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Katherine
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            says:

            Good points, Katherine. I think our having a serious discussion about the issue proves that it’s not a “crackpot” or “totally insane” idea.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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              says:

              Err. Isn’t the serious discussion about the issue about why the idea is ahistorical and wouldn’t have worked under even the most optimistic of circumstances?

              Doesn’t that qualify an idea as being crackpot and/or totally insane?

              If not, why not?Report

              • Avatar Pierre Corneille in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                I think I agree.  The only argument that has so far made sense in favor of the pro-buying out argument–what someone, maybe you, pointed out below as the actual cost of compensation approximating the cost of waging the war–is probably, as someone also pointed out below, so a-historical, and and relies so much on actors in 1860-1861 being able to predict the future, that it’s hard to imagine it being a good argument.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Pierre Corneille
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                says:

                So even “hard to imagine it being a good argument” doesn’t approach “crackpot” or “insane” or any of the other hyperbole. And even if it did, would “position on the inevitability of the Civil War” even be included in a problem set or multiple choice section of an exam?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                would “position on the inevitability of the Civil War” even be included in a problem set or multiple choice section of an exam?

                I think the issue here is that your contention relies on the world being different than it was at the time (hence the ‘ahistorical’ charge upthread). The southern states seceded for the express purpose of retaining slavery as an institution. The idea that compensating slave owners for their losses to prevent the war is inconsistent with the primary cause of the war. It assumes a state of affairs that didn’t exist.

                Of course, maybe I’m misreading the thread.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                I think the main point regarding the argument about paid manumission is that it’s part of a trend of providing simplistic alternatives to complex problems that do not have easy solutions. It speaks to a level of naivette that makes one question a person’s overall sense of judgment. You also look at things like the assumption that market forces would have made discrimination go away, or that Pakistan would’ve happily given Bin Laden over to US authorities, and you start to wonder if this man is able to actually deal with people on a realistic basis.

                Also when you couple it with things like his attitude toward Lincoln, and combining with the newsletter, the donation from Storm Front, the  happy participation in Bircher events, the critique of the Civil Rights Act, voting against renewal of the Voting Rights Act makes one believe that perhaps his racial views aren’t as benign as he tries to present them.

                At some point these things stop being a coincidence and add up to something else entirely.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                It speaks to a level of naivette that makes one question a person’s overall sense of judgment.

                Exactly. In my view, it demonstrates one of two things (or maybe both, since they often go hand in hand): a general perhaps willful ignorance of reality or a kool-aid level faith in first principles.

                In either case, it may not rise to the level of ‘crackpot’ when coming from the guy at the end of the bar, but it arguably does when coming from a Congressman.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Bill Buckley had a few choice words for the Birchers in his day, which might well be applied to Ron Paul in ours.

                How can the John Birch Society be an effective political instrument while it is led by a man whose views on current affairs are, at so many critical points . . . so far removed from common sense? That dilemma weighs on conservatives across America. . . . The underlying problem is whether conservatives can continue to acquiesce quietly in a rendition of the causes of the decline of the Republic and the entire Western world which is false, and, besides that, crucially different in practical emphasis from their own.

                Apropos to nothing, John Birch, the missionary to China, stood up at my grandparents’ wedding.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Buckley hated the Communists more than he loved the Constitution.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                William F Buckley had the good sense to tell the truth about the Birchers and get them evicted from polite conservative company.    Every time I hear someone wrap themselves in the Constitution as if it were Holy Writ makes me fumble around for my Zippo lighter in the earnest hope I can immolate that dumbass before he can extricate himself.

                You can call me a Post-Conservative.    Today’s Conservatives aren’t fit to trim the weeds off his grave.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                I’m not post-Enlightenment yet. Maybe when I grow up.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                The Enlightenment is over.   The modern Conservative man of letters has turned the Fleisch-Kinkaid readability index down to Mouth-Breathing Oaf to get in print these days, if the current crop of populist dunces running on the GOP ticket are to be taken at face value .   If we are to be guided by Reason, it will not be via wishful thinking and specious conclusions about how things would be So Much Better if only we returned to the Good Ol’ Days.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                President Obama now has the lowest average Flesch-Kincaid score for State of the Union addresses of any modern president – with his 8.5 grade level falling just below the 8.6 score recorded by George H.W. Bush during his presidency.

                By contrast – the speeches delivered by two of the most popular presidents in Republican circles in recent generations – Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush – recorded average scores of 10.3 and 10.4 respectively – nearly two full grade levels higher than Obama.

                Kennedy (12.0) and Eisenhower (11.9) delivered speeches that had a reading difficulty of three and a half grade levels higher than Obama.”

                http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2011/01/keeping_it_simple_obama_record.phpReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                I’m sure the point stands.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                I’m sure some people will insist it still does, JB.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Given the recent F-K scores, I think we can all agree we’re post something-er-other.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Don’t make me quote any of the chumps on the stump just now.

                Who said this?

                I could have possibly beaten Senator McCain in the primary. Then I could have been the candidate who lost to Barack Obama.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Why you want to die on this hillock, I don’t know, Blaise, but go ahead.  BHO has quantifiably bottomed out the discourse.  As for the rest, a google away:

                Rick Perry: 11
                Newt Gingrich: 11
                Herman Cain: 10
                Michelle Bachmann: 10
                John Huntsman: 9
                Mitt Romney: 9
                Ron Paul: 8

                http://wafflesatnoon.com/2011/10/10/who-is-the-smartest-republican-candidate/

                 Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                Newt Gingrich has this All Summed Up.

                In every election in American history both parties have their clichés. The party that has the clichés that ring true wins.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                That was my first thought, Mr. Stillwater, but it was Bush41 who was 2nd worst to BHO.  Bush43 came in almost 2 grade levels higher [!] than BHO in their SOTU speeches.

                Another one bites the dust.Report

      • Avatar Chad in reply to Christopher Carr
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        says:

        A. This was attempted but slave owners valued holding people as slaves over compensation.

        B. 7 states seceded before Lincoln was inaugurated.Report

    • Avatar Erik Kain in reply to stuhlmann
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      says:

      I think Matt Yglesias argued once on favor of the buy all the slaves solution.Report

  6. Avatar miguel cervantes
    Ignored
    says:

    Helion, is not our fight, the Necromongers are misunderstood, besides a few planets need to be vaporized for their own good. Yes, they intended Chronicles to be some allegory of the left parody of the Iraq invasion,  but I subvert the meme.Report

  7. Avatar Ryan Bonneville
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    says:

    I think the class/grade frame is exactly right. No one here is pretending that Paul is objectively the best candidate imaginable. But, compared to the horror show that is the rest of the GOP field, he can’t help but run away with it. He’s the only person in the field who is even plausibly acceptable.

    That said, if Johnson gets the Libertarian nomination, I will almost certainly vote for him in the general. But I’ll be voting for Paul in the odd event that he’s still viable when the DC GOP primary rolls around.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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      says:

      Also, as a quick note, Huntsman, as far as I can tell, is the Republican version of Obama. “Moderate”, “sensible”, all those Beltway buzzwords, would do little or nothing to challenge the status quo on anything, and would also fill the Supreme Court with right-wing maniacs to boot. Not an option for me.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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        says:

        Huntsman’s honest, and he believes in evolution. I’ll vote for science, if I vote for nothing else. (which is to say, run an incompetent Democrat against most republicans, adn I’d still have to vote Dem, unfortunately. I would vote for Huntsman, though, in that event).Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Kim
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          says:

          On the other hand, none of his appointees to the bench would believe in evolution. Worth taking into account, I think.Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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            says:

            Would any Paul nominees believe in evolution or climate change?

            I’m not convinced.Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Nob Akimoto
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              says:

              Oh, goodness no. My point here is that Paul, despite the things I don’t like about him, is someone I am willing to support because he has a few issues where he is really, really right, and those issues are really, really important.

              Huntsman, on the other hand, would govern like a standard-issue Republican who isn’t an idiot (i.e., more Bush I than Bush II). If I get to choose between that and Obama, I’m not interested enough to cast a vote either way.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                …see, by the point where Huntsman can get nominated for President, the Republicans as a whole will be worth looking at again. We’ll see who’s at their head (not Koch, presumably…), and make a decision based on that.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                because he has a few issues where he is really, really right, and those issues are really, really important.

                We’ve already proven below that he doesn’t really mean what he says to one of those “really, really important” issues below.

                And what about those issues where he’s completely cuckoo for cocoa puffs? Are those issues just not “really, really important” to you given the damage that Ron Paul could cause trying to do what he says he wants to do?Report

              • Avatar ktward in reply to Mike
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                says:

                Thank you for that.

                I’ve said this to myself a thousand times: why are Foreign Policy and the War on Drugs the only critical issues among the ranks of the otherwise thoughtful Paul supporters?

                Economy/energy/environment/education policies must truly be nothing more than secondary afterthoughts among these people, because in general they readily admit that Paul’s domestic policy prescriptions are indeed completely cuckoo.

                The well-being and future prospects for our families don’t hinge nearly as heavily upon legalizing marijuana and the hotly disputed legalities of dealing with terrorists as they do on the gamut of domestic policies. (Not that I don’t support legalization of marijuana, for instance, but on my list of policy priorities it’s not even near the top.)Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Kim
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          says:

          You could have “belief in evolution” as a prereq to even enter your class actually. But I do think Paul believes that the theory of evolution is a good model of the natural world despite his equivocating. He is a medical doctor.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Christopher Carr
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            says:

            a medical doctor who has never seen a medically necessary abortion, and thus is rather a bit of a laughingstock among his claimed speciality… (particularly since he uses that experience as an excuse to not need to say “except in cases of the health of the mother”).Report

            • Avatar Mike in reply to Kim
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              says:

              Indeed.

              As someone whose sister needed one of those “medically necessary” abortions because my unborn nephew was fatally deformed and causing medical issues that had her in a hospital bed on IV’s for saline, liquid feeding, and a breathing tube with a 99% chance of death if they didn’t abort… Ron Paul can go to hell on that one, he’s an incompetent, inept, worthless crank who should have his medical license yanked for even saying such a thing.Report

        • Avatar Katherine in reply to Kim
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          says:

          Huntsman, as Daniel Larison over at TheAmericanConservative has pointed out repeatedly, is willing to launch an invasion of Iran.  He has the appearance of reasonableness, but not reasonableness itself.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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        says:

        No Rightwing maniac could make it through the legislature. In fact, the last really horriffically right wing maniac I remember was Rhenquist. Nowadays, I think someone like Roberts is more likely to get in.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Murali
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          says:

          It’s an odd universe in which Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito don’t count as right-wing maniacs.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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            says:

            Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito can be considered right wing, but Roberts is the most moderate of the bunch by far and Scalia and Thomas have reasonably argued positions. They, at least give a veneer of respectability to process over conclusion. Rhenquist didnt. Rhenquist cared more for the conclusion than the procss and lined up arguments like soldiers.

            The question is whether they are maniacs. Just judging from their wikipedia entries, Rhenquist is the only one who actually seems unhinged. And he is dead and gone. Even Thomas and Scalia work a fairly conservative line (which is still within the limits of respectable conservatism)Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Murali
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              says:

              Okay, well, fine, you can take out the word maniac as an unnecessary rhetorical flourish if you like. But those four are really, extremely right-wing (especially if you compare to the median legal scholar, where the Democratic appointees are basically just run-of-the-mill). Huntsman’s nominees would all be very right-wing, and that doesn’t seem like something I want if I also have to put up with Beltway conventionality on everything else.Report

            • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Murali
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              says:

              I suppose this is true.

              Being a whore for corporate interests like Roberts and consistently ruling against weaker parties in cases is not, per se, “right wing extremism.”Report

  8. Avatar Mike
    Ignored
    says:

    There is such a thing as a “too important to fail” portion of the test. For instance, in many professional certification courses, there is a “safety procedures” section.

    You fail this section, and they don’t care HOW well you may have done on any other portion of the test: YOU FAIL.

    Ron Paul is that way. He fails the sanity check.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Mike
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s interesting that we consider the wanton slaughter of thousands of people on the other side of the planet with robot airplanes a perfectly sane thing to be in favor of.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Ryan Bonneville
        Ignored
        says:

        I think Mike is talking about the Gold buggery and ending the fed, not about the foreign policy. But Paul’s kookiness, if it is kookiness about the fed is the kind of stuff that is least likely to find its way into actual policy. Foreign adventures on the other hand…Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          This is my main point, really. Ron Paul DOES believe in kooky things (see the post I wrote about his goldbuggery, for instance), but we’ve activated some kind of forcefield that only allows a certain set of (incredibly horrifying) kooky ideas through. I just don’t understand why we think goldbuggery is of a different order of magnitude than murdering people.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to Ryan Bonneville
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, goldbuggery is of a different order of magnitude than murdering people. Its smaller.

            BTW, it just seems that ever since WW2, Americans have been pretty okay with killing foreigners at the drop of a hat. The kookiness vibe is down (Its become normalised). All we’re waiting for is the sheer monstrosity of it to strike. But as Mr Isquith has written, it may not be any use holding our breaths.Report

        • Avatar Mike in reply to Murali
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          says:

          Gold buggery = pretty insane.

          “End the Fed” stuff = also pretty insane.

          Stuff Like This = just plain nuts.

          Does Ron Paul somehow get more than three strikes before he’s out?Report

          • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Mike
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            says:

            Notably, unlike murdering people with robot airplanes, none of Ron Paul’s “insane” ideas are also plots designed by supervillains.

            Also, a small quibble: while goldbuggery is something I would call “weird” or “wrong”, I honestly don’t think it qualifies as “insane”. But that’s not the point anyway. The point is the aforementioned forcefield that keeps goldbugs out but lets in bloodthirsty sociopaths as long as they have nice hair.Report

            • Avatar Mike in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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              says:

              I think Nob’s comment right here says all that really needs to retort to your comment.

              Does it make a difference in your mind whether it’s the US Military having one of their members control the “robot airplane murdering people”, or whether it’s just Ron Paul taking US Treasury money and paying some “contractor” to set up and control the robot airplane?

              Because it doesn’t seem to be a difference to me. Nobody seemed to give a crap, internationally, whether it was “official US troops” or “blackwater contractors” doing Bad Things in Iraq. They were still hired by the US and that is what matters.Report

          • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Mike
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            says:

            Why is the idea of a gold standard “insane” and not just a bad idea?Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr
              Ignored
              says:

              Can we meet in the middle and call it an article of faith?   Faith is the evidence of things not seen, like a Flat Earth or Ancient Aliens or Ghost Hunters?Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Well BlaiseP, if we’re talking about the kind of gold standard that existed in the Bretton Woods system, U.S. real GDP grew 150% from 1946 to 1971 in conjunction with that gold standard. Over the following twenty-five years, from 1971 to 1996, U.S. real GDP grew 115%. Here we don’t need any faith. We have historical data that show that a gold standard is not catastrophic. (Did I mention that I don’t support a gold standard?)Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                Other than ignoring the fact of WHY the Bretton Woods system was abandoned in 1971, that would be a nice bit of “historical data”. This view of the economic data from 1946 – 1996, and ignoring for example the comparative effects of the stock market crash of 1987 and 1929 due to the changes in currency structures, is both completely ahistorical and arbitrary. It’s no different than say, the people saying the unemployment rate between 2008 – 2010 was somehow caused by the changing of presidential administrations.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                That is to say…

                It’s like saying…
                “Guy A had lived 52 years while smoking without cancer…after he quit smoking he only lived 22 years and had cancer for the last 12 years of his life. Ergo: smoking not causing cancer should be considered historical evidence.”Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                Look, Bretton Woods made the US dollar the basis currency, as it remains today.   It was never a “gold” standard, at best the US dollar was fractionally covered by gold at a fixed price.  Bretton Woods established exchange rates, not a gold standard    In point of fact, nations preferred gold to dollars.

                We have all the historical data we need to demonstrate what happens when we try to balance money on the back of commodities, the entire 18th and 19th centuries.

                If the USA’s economy grew between the end of WW2 and the beginning of the 1970s, we were the only major power left which hadn’t been bombed into oblivion.  Bretton Woods had a negative effect on the postwar recovery:  the resulting shortage of dollars    Do yourself a favor and examine the rise of the Eurodollar contract to see why any semblance of a gold or commodity standard is patently absurd.   Sorry, as I’ve said before, nobody who hasn’t actually participation in currency and risk markets simply has no grasp of the issues at hand or how money works in the real world.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                Nob and Blaise, I generally agree with what you’re saying here; my point is that a gold standard a la Bretton Woods was not catastrophic. Granted, I was negative thirteen years old in 1971, but I don’t think the devalued U.S. dollar that compelled an end to the system was as severe as the crisis we now face.

                My point – to reiterate – isn’t that a gold standard is awesome and we should return to it. I actually think it’s a bad idea for reasons hashed out over the last several days. I mean, look at the price of gold over the last five years. It’s proven to be totally unstable.

                But, I don’t think rabid support of the present managed float regime should be a litmus test for any political candidate, and I don’t think “Ron Paul! For Christ’s sake! The guy favors a gold standard! What an insane nutbird!” is a reasonable position.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr
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                says:

                Chris, here’s where we agree:

                You’re thinking seriously about monetary theory and exhibit some mastery of the subject up to around the 1940s.   Most people never get any farther than Buyin’ Stuff.   Though you don’t embrace the Gold Standard itself, you seem to find some redeeming features in the concept.   I’ve owned a passel of gold for six years and don’t feel I’ve made a dime in the interval:  I’ve merely preserved my dollar value from those times.   Believe me when I tell you I was only taking advantage of other folks’ panic, I saw it coming when I did that gig for Citi, watching a big player bottom-feeding like some two-bit loan shark, granting credit to people where it should have rejected those loans.   I helped write that Frankenstein’s Monster ruleset and pricing tree, pulling out the old rejection Messages and re-routing them ever-higher into the pricing tree.

                Most of the time, I capitalize on fear and failure.   My old man did, too, as an investor.   The two most abundant elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.   Stupidity has a longer shelf life.   I’m divesting out of gold into other fear and failure targets, simply because so much of the market is now undervalued.

                Absolutely everything about the Gold Standard in any variant is wrong, precisely because gold is a magnet for the stupid and fearful.    People like me treat the stupid and fearful as their lawful prey.   Though it offends you to see people like me call Ron Paul a nutbird, he really is one and there’s no way around that diagnosis.

                 Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                “People like me treat the stupid and fearful as their lawful prey.”   This has got to go into a book of aphorisms somewhere. I may even include it among the quotes in my Facebook profile.

                Personally, I think having this discussion is worthwhile. Commodity-based currencies will always have the problems you (and I) have described, and as such, are probably not suitable as sole basis for a system of currency.

                However, I’d certainly like to see more automaticity in the system, Congressional oversight, and transparency, and I think Ron Paul’s candidacy highlights those issues, even if I ultimately disagree with him about a gold standard as the monetary correction we’re looking for.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh.  Feel free to use that little zinger on an as-need basis.

                Okay, let me outline a sovereign hedge against deflation using commodity futures.   The recipe begins by finding the ten largest markets.   We want to trade the nearest futures contracts in all ten.   As you doubtless know, futures contracts have expiration dates.   We don’t want to take delivery or enter the spot markets which follow on them.   We’re going to do a lot of buying and selling on a weekly basis.  Prepare yourself.

                Wheat trades on 3, 6, 9 and 12, March, July, Sep and Dec.  so the nearest contract at this point is March, as you can see.   The nearest contract on Soybeans is the January contract.

                We begin by parceling out an arbitrarily large sum of money, let’s just make it 10 million to make the math easier.   We’re not trading on margin, we’re going full-value.   A million in wheat, a million in soybeans, and so on.

                Every week, we re-examine our positions.   Some contracts will have gone up, others down.   We sell winners and buy losers until we’re rebalanced.   If they’ve all gone up or all gone down, same principle applies, we rebalance those ten positions until all those pots contain roughly the same dollar values.

                As we near the expiration date of each contract, we move out of that contract into the next available contract.   The only thing we care about is keeping each of those ten pots with equal dollar sums in them.

                Some contracts will fluctuate more than others.   We just don’t care about those trends:   commodities futures, unlike stocks, will never go to zero.   Using this scheme, you’ve hedged against deflation, all you’ve done is create a physical commodities index and the safest harbor against deflation possible.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                So, rather strange question…

                Would it be possible for a President Paul to unilaterally create in effect a commodity backed currency by issuing an executive order that all federal transactions be conducted with say gold or silver coinage?

                Nutty as this may sound, it was the basis for Jackson’s Specie Circular. Granted, the Federal Reserve might be able to wiggle itself out of this, versus the lack of a central bank during the Crisis of 1837, but it does make you wonder how much damage a gold bug could do as a president.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Christopher Carr
                Ignored
                says:

                Anyone remember the Coinage Act of 1836?Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Nob Akimoto
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                says:

                That was actually before my time.Report

      • Avatar E.C. Gach in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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        says:

        I’m with you on this Ryan.  This point, and the set of facts it is connected with are in large part what motivates my politics right now.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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        says:

        http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.+3076:_blank
        Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001, sponsored and authored by none other than our favorite representative from Texas.

        Essentially, Ron Paul is against using US government assets, but he’s totally fine with arming private groups of people and giving them US sanction to go around looking for “terrorists abroad”….Report

        • Avatar ktward in reply to Nob Akimoto
          Ignored
          says:

          Holy Toledo. I find this part super interesting:

              The President of the United States is authorized to place a money bounty … for the capture, alive or dead, of Osama bin Laden or any other al Qaeda conspirator responsible for the act of air piracy upon the United States on September 11, 2001 …

            In other words, Paul was a-okay with any posse putting a bullet to OBL’s head, in stark contrast to his position today:

            Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who is poised to launch his presidential campaign tomorrow, said this week he would not have authorized the mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, arguing that killing bin Laden was unnecessary and that he has “respect for the rule of law.”

            In a radio interview with WHO Newsradio 1040, Paul told radio host Simon Conway that, had he been president, he would have pursued an alternate strategy.

            “I think things would be done somewhat differently,” Paul said, of how he would have handled the situation, citing “respect for the rule of law and world law and international law.”
            http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20062264-503544.html

            Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
            Ignored
            says:

            Also it’s not as if this is a development he’s since abandoned. In fact, he’s doubled down on the whole “Letter of Marque” thing bringing it up again in 2009 arguing that it would’ve been cheaper than our current costs of the wars.Report

            • Avatar ktward in reply to Nob Akimoto
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              says:

              Quite a few peeps have thrown support behind Paul at least in part because they are vociferously against what they perceive as Obama’s abuse of Presidential powers in dealing with terrorists. It’s totally a worthwhile debate, but I’m struggling to understand how Paul’s justice-by-bounty-hunter distinguishes itself as principally more lawful or constitutional.

              In fact, quite a few horrifyingly bad scenarios are coming immediately to my mind based on this Paul-authored legislation. A nightmare of Blackwater proportions, if you ask me. (Or Xe or Academi or whatever the nom du jour.)Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to ktward
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                says:

                Well in fairness…the power to issue letters of marque and reprisal ARE innumerated in the Constitution. (nevermind the context of what these things were supposed to be for in the 18th century)Report

                • Avatar ktward in reply to Nob Akimoto
                  Ignored
                  says:

                  No kidding. I did not know that.

                  Well then, there’s my answer: among thoughtful Paul supporters, killing terrorists without due process is not a matter of contention so long as it’s a paid civilian pulling the trigger.

                  Golly, now their support of Paul makes all kinds of sense to me.Report

                • Avatar Jaybird in reply to ktward
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                  says:

                  There’s also the “targetted assassination” thing that is troublesome when it comes to American Citizens.

                  Treason is covered in the Constitution. Heck, Death is even one of the punishments mentioned. Why not have a trial for treason? Even “in absentia”?

                  Surely that would be preferable to “trust me”, wouldn’t it?Report

                • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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                  says:

                  Well at least “targeted assassination” is better then random unfocused assassination.Report

                • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                  Ignored
                  says:

                  And “Non-intervention” is even better than that.

                  (Psst! Greg! We’re not in a “Der Chimpler is better than Obama” thread. We’re in a “Ron Paul” thread! Quick! Start talking about racism!)Report

                • Avatar ktward in reply to Jaybird
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                  says:

                  A good point worthy of debate (heaven knows there’s been plenty of it), but there’s no evidence in Paul’s interesting bit of legislation that he even acknowledges any due process distinction. al-Awlaki was a known aQ operative, and that’s evidently good enough for Paul’s paid posse to do their thing.

                  I do realize that Paul is today stumping on “due process”–which perhaps puts another dent in Mr. Consistency’s shiny reputation–but the whole hired gun thing is positively nuts. I remain flummoxed as to why certain thoughtful folks are supporting him.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to ktward
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                says:

                Presumably, if Blackwater or Xe or Academi or Dog the Bounty Hunter or Boba Fett or IG-88 or Bossk violated the laws of another sovereign nation, they’d be held liable to that nation’s laws instead of having the full backing of the occupying U.S. military.

                Not that I think the Barbary Pirates is a superior model to the Gulf War for how we should be conducting foreign policy, but I can’t imagine a scenario where sending bounty hunters after bin Laden would have screwed up the Middle East more than we have in the last ten years.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike
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        says:

        Of Kucinich, I’ve heard it said: “If you sat him in the Oval Office, and had one red button labeled “do not push this button” — he’d push it, just to see what happens.”

        Some people fail at safety. Other people choose imprudently.Report

    • Avatar ktward
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      says:

      I prefer to focus on policy: empirically speaking, what I feel far worse about are the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and millions of refugees who continue to suffer today right in front of our unblinking eyes.

      Mr. Carr, I’m having trouble reconciling your above “Wars are evil and that’s the Ron Paul hill I’ll plant my vote on” post with this, your comment to TVD, just a few months ago: https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2011/08/09/nickelanddimed/#comment-171277

      I am neither a progressive nor a liberal. I actually voted for Bush in 2004. I didn’t vote in 2008. I’ll probably vote for Obama in 2012.

      I should preface that I’ve never held any particular prejudice where your commentary is concerned, unless it’s that I probably feel at least an initial affinity for anyone taking TVD to task. (Rarely do I see eye-to-eye with his worldview.)

      However, you’ve thoroughly confounded me:

      – You voted for Bush in 2004. By that election day, we didn’t know everything that we’ve come to learn was so wrong about the prosecution of the Iraq War, but we knew plenty enough to recognize that it was a monumentally bad, possibly even evil, idea.

      So in 2004, to your mind, the blood-and-treasure consequences of the Iraq War–along with the disturbing FoPo implications and the collateral damage to our constitutional liberties as underscored by Bush’s presidency–were not the overarching concern for you as it appears to be today.

      – Regardless of what your opinions are of Obama’s policies today, I would think that candidate Obama in ’08 would have appealed to you, much as he did to most conscientious objectors to the Iraq War. It was a cernterpiece of his campaign, and we certainly knew virtually all of the dirt on the war by then. Yet you didn’t vote for him. Maybe that was your intention, or maybe you were out of the country and forgot to do the paperwork, but either way I’m left with the impression that even as recent as ’08, the Iraq War and all of its baggage were still were not an overarching concern for you.

      – A few short months ago you were ready to “probably” vote for Obama, well-hashed warts and all. Since then, you’ve apparently seen the light and decided that war and all of its horrific implications are indeed your overarching concern and not only is Ron Paul your man, you’re apparently ready to call it quits on America if anyone not possessed of some Paul-like FoPo vision isn’t our next President.

      Ironically, you seem to be lacking the very consistency of ideals that Ron Paul is widely and deservedly lauded for. What gives?Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to ktward
        Ignored
        says:

        Wow, you’ve really been keeping track of what he’s been saying!Report

        • Avatar ktward in reply to Murali
          Ignored
          says:

          Yikes, I’ve really painted myself as a creeper. Eww.
          In actuality, I don’t follow anyone here except E.D., though I have considered following BlaiseP’s comments on the occasions when I kid myself I have that kind of time.

          CC’s post intrigued me, in that it’s been a never-ending source of annoyance for me that, for instance, we didn’t hear a peep from the Tea Party folks until we elected a black dude for President. Now, I’m not suggesting Mr. Carr is TP, he decidedly is not. But I did wonder, given his anti-war intensity in this post, whether or not he voted for GWB in ’04. Enter google, et voilà.Report

          • Avatar Murali in reply to ktward
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            says:

            I will supply context. Mr Carr is a libertarian, and libertarianism has had a long alliance with the Republicans. For Mr Carr, that had not yet broken as of 2004 and was wavering in 2008 since he voted neither way. By 4 months ago, that is confirmed and he is voting purely on the basis of who represents his views better. When Ron Paul didnt have a chance, that looked like Obama. Now that it looks like he may, he switches.Report

            • Avatar ktward in reply to Murali
              Ignored
              says:

              Your contextual characterization doesn’t actually speak to the meat of my query– unless it’s meant to point out that I was wrong about Mr. Carr and that he is, indeed, possessed of Tea Party-like mentality.

              That said, I’ve no philosophical aversion to being wrong. But if I should come to that realization, I should like to come to it based on Mr. Carr’s own amplification.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to ktward
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        says:

        I’ll have a full, detailed response to this later tonight.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to ktward
        Ignored
        says:

        “You voted for Bush in 2004. By that election day, we didn’t know everything that we’ve come to learn was so wrong about the prosecution of the Iraq War, but we knew plenty enough to recognize that it was a monumentally bad, possibly even evil, idea.

        So in 2004, to your mind, the blood-and-treasure consequences of the Iraq War–along with the disturbing FoPo implications and the collateral damage to our constitutional liberties as underscored by Bush’s presidency–were not the overarching concern for you as it appears to be today.”

        *Sigh* You might say my vote for Bush in 2004 was an optimistic vote for Powell. I was also in New Zealand as a student at the time and wasn’t really paying much attention. People who were paying more attention than I was I’m sure saw that the Bush Administration was radicalizing even further and getting ready to jettison Powell. I didn’t. 2004 was the first time I could vote, so I wanted to, and I did, even though I didn’t like my choices.

        “Regardless of what your opinions are of Obama’s policies today, I would think that candidate Obama in ’08 would have appealed to you, much as he did to most conscientious objectors to the Iraq War. It was a cernterpiece of his campaign, and we certainly knew virtually all of the dirt on the war by then. Yet you didn’t vote for him. Maybe that was your intention, or maybe you were out of the country and forgot to do the paperwork, but either way I’m left with the impression that even as recent as ’08, the Iraq War and all of its baggage were still were not an overarching concern for you.

        Candidate Obama did appeal to me in 2008, quite strongly actually, up until his support for the bailouts at which point I reconsidered my active, emphatic support for Obama. Again, I was outside the country, this time in Japan. Voting in the Presidential Election didn’t seem as important this time around. I am a resident of Massachusetts, and we all knew who’d win Massachusetts. John Kerry ran for Senate re-election against some other Democrat. I ultimately decided getting an absentee ballot to reelect Kerry by a landslide and cast a vote for Obama in Massachusetts wasn’t worth the hassle.

        – A few short months ago you were ready to “probably” vote for Obama, well-hashed warts and all. Since then, you’ve apparently seen the light and decided that war and all of its horrific implications are indeed your overarching concern and not only is Ron Paul your man, you’re apparently ready to call it quits on America if anyone not possessed of some Paul-like FoPo vision isn’t our next President.

        Ironically, you seem to be lacking the very consistency of ideals that Ron Paul is widely and deservedly lauded for. What gives?”

        A few short months ago, I didn’t think Ron Paul would have a chance in hell of getting the Republican nomination. I figured it’d be Romney or Gingrich or Bachmann or someone else just awful. In that case, Obama’d be the lesser of two evils. I’m still extremely disappointed in the Obama Administration, and I don’t  know if I can, in good conscious vote for a guy who casually sends drones out to kill civilians and who’s increased the number of countries we’re in and who’s assassinated an American citizen.

        But I can definitely vote against someone who thinks the Palestinians are terrorists and don’t deserve to exist or who thinks we should immediately bomb Iran or who thinks the War on Terror needs to be expanded even more because we’re not doing enough to fight terrorism.

        I think I’ve been relatively consistent in my opposition to killing foreigners. And I’m certainly not ready to call it quits on America. As I’ve said here countless times before, I prefer to criticize my own team, and I don’t like like what my team has been doing for the last ten years. In light of that, I’ll support someone like Paul who clearly wants to take our foreign policy in the same direction as I do.Report

        • Avatar ktward in reply to Christopher Carr
          Ignored
          says:

          An altogether thoughtful response, Mr. Carr, and I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to engage.

          I have a few pursuant thoughts of my own that I think are worthwhile to expound upon, but  little time to do so at present. Mind if I jot down those thoughts later? But being the holidays and all, if you’d just as soon skip it I completely understand.Report

          • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to ktward
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            says:

            This thread will still be here. I won’t be around until the 26th either, so please take your time. I look forward to your thoughts.Report

            • Avatar ktward in reply to Christopher Carr
              Ignored
              says:

              Apologies for the late reply, Mr. Carr.

              I admit, the holidays have largely erased whatever thoughts I held relative to this thread. But you were so gracious in your engagement I did not wish to leave you rudely unacknowledged.

              Upon quick review, however, I’ve managed to miraculously (!) salvage a few thoughts.

              I’m still extremely disappointed in the Obama Administration, and I don’t  know if I can, in good conscious vote for a guy who casually sends drones out to kill civilians and who’s increased the number of countries we’re in and who’s assassinated an American citizen.

              My own first vote, at 18, was for Reagan in his fist POTUS term. So I get the whole disappointment thing.

              I’ll simply offer that “disappointment” when one is young and spouseless and childless looks very different from when one is older and married and a parent. Forgive me for saying so, but you and EDK are graced with the luxury of indulging your young selves in pageant illusions of World Peace.

              For a whole lot of us, policies that come under the auspices of civil rights and economic justice more broadly and personally affect us than, say, a few admittedly tragic drone missions in an already seriously fished up part of the world. Iow, I’m more concerned with issues like Pell Grants and Campaign Finance Reform.

              I don’t  know if I can, in good conscious vote for a guy who casually sends drones out to kill civilians and who’s increased the number of countries we’re in and who’s assassinated an American citizen.

              I’m always willing to entertain discussion on Obama’s flawed policies (no shortage of convo there), but it stretches all bounds of credulity to opine that his foreign policy is undertaken or executed with any measure of “casualness”.

              Elections are ALWAYS about personal priorities.
              That said, I’m not suggesting that your priorities are necceassily less valid than my own. But relative to Paul’s candidacy and campaign, I’m simply asking for clarification: why, to your mind, is FoPo such an overarching priority over DoPo, when Paul’s domestic policy is so demonstrably ill considered?

              As I’ve said here countless times before, I prefer to criticize my own team, and I don’t like like what my team has been doing for the last ten years. In light of that, I’ll support someone like Paul who clearly wants to take our foreign policy in the same direction as I do.

              Some otherwise thoughtful peeps like yourself have, for whatever reasons, assumed that Paul’s non-interventionist position somehow indicates a “less crazy” mentality as compared to the rest of the 2012 GOP field. But Paul is no less batshit crazy than the rest of them, it’s just that his crazy has been around much longer than the other candidates’ and so much of it has been forgotten.

              Until now.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to ktward
                Ignored
                says:

                @Ktward, you’ve given me a lot of material to respond to here, and I’ll do my best.

                “I’ll simply offer that “disappointment” when one is young and spouseless and childless looks very different from when one is older and married and a parent. Forgive me for saying so, but you and EDK are graced with the luxury of indulging your young selves in pageant illusions of World Peace.

                “For a whole lot of us, policies that come under the auspices of civil rights and economic justice more broadly and personally affect us than, say, a few admittedly tragic drone missions in an already seriously fished up part of the world. Iow, I’m more concerned with issues like Pell Grants and Campaign Finance Reform.”

                I’ve experienced a lot for someone my age. Without going too much into autobiography, I’m hoping you’ll take my word for it when I say that my opposition to the more violent policies of the Obama Administration and a preference for the foreign policy of Ron Paul is not naive or quixotic. It springs from a desire that my nation simply minimize the level of harm it inflicts upon the world – sort of a foreign policy Hippocratic oath.

                Civil rights and economic justice are fine and reasonable values, but (1) we already enjoy a remarkably high standard of both in this country; (2) the President has very little direct control over either; and (3) many of Ron Paul’s policies – which no other Republican contenders share – such as ending the Drug War and making transparent the capture or potential capture of the public treasury by special banking interests, will do more to ensure civil rights and economic justice than anything anyone else is proposing.

                “I’m always willing to entertain discussion on Obama’s flawed policies (no shortage of convo there), but it stretches all bounds of credulity to opine that his foreign policy is undertaken or executed with any measure of “casualness”.

                I had this conversation with Nob Akimoto slightly upthread. Collateral damage and blowback are two things which the U.S. government is still not taking seriously enough. Sanctions and trade embargoes kill people. I’m a strong consequentialist. I don’t really care who my President is as a person. I don’t really care how much effort is put into finding the exact best way to achieve a certain goal, when that goal is elevated above human life on 1% chances and tenuous intelligence, what we’re getting ourselves into is a blood feud.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      Nob makes some excellent points despite his mis-characterization of Paul’s peaceful cosmopolitanism as “disengagement”

      And I would argue that calling Paul’s philosophy  ‘peaceful cosmopolitanism’ is a mischaracterization – but I also don’t think ‘isolationism’ is per se, a dirty word.

      establishing bases in over 150 countries the soldiers of which go around assaulting and raping locals and yet are not held accountable to local law; not to mention that the analysts at the DoD seem to still miss the concept of “blowback” entirely, nor do they seem to care about any long-term repercussions

      And you yourself have dropped all nuance and complexity from this passage, or else I have forgotten our anti-insurgency operations in Germany and Japan over the last decade, (and how often the average deployed service member actually deals with local nationals in Afghanistan)

       Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe
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        says:

        There are, however, cases of US personnel engaging in rape of local civilians, or reckless behavior on the roads causing accidents or fatalities and getting wrist-slaps for them.

        Now granted this has changed significantly as the DOD has gotten more sensitive to the concerns of local civilian populations. For example, more recent hit and runs in Okinawa have been charged with vehicular manslaughter under UCMJ.

        But it’s true that there are problems associated with the extraterritoriality granted to US personnel in foreign bases.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      CC – Great post, per usual.  However, for clarification let me note – for at least myself – that one of your assumptions is not correct:

      It seems Ron Paul’s moment has passed here at the League, and we’ve implicitly chosen instead to support some other Republican contender.

      You would be mistaken to assume that my rejecting Paul should be seen as a coming endorsement for any other Republican candidate.  As far as I’m concerned none of these people in this primary is fit to be President of the United States.  (Hunstman goes into the maybe/maybe not category; but also into the “was never able to coherently tell me what his vision was” category.  And maybe that’s enough for him to go squarely into to the “unqualified” department for this particular job description.)  I might write about his in more detail this weekend.Report

    • Avatar E.C. Gach
      Ignored
      says:

      I still support R. P. for the reasons layed out in one of Conor F.’s recent posts at the Atlantic on the subject.

      In the end, my calculus of Ron Paul’s bad ideas/possible racism/poor management and the potential harm likely to occur as a result of those things still leaves him in the “better than” column when compared with everyone else.Report

    • Avatar jfxgillis
      Ignored
      says:

      Chris:

      Ron Paul is a crackpot. That in an of itself is not disqualifying. I’ve argued for years that the presence of crackpots in our political system is a good thing, whether it’s Henry B. Gonzales or Cynthia McKinney from the Dem side, or Ron Paul or Allen West from the Repub side.

       

      However, crackpots have to be utterly sincere and straightforward in their crackpottery, and on that count, Paul’s newsletters are disqualifying.

       

      At best, the newsletters are cynically manipulative demagoguery with venal and mercenary motives. At worst, he believed what was published in his name. Both possibilities are disqualifying. After that, the rest of your “grades” don’t matter.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith
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      says:

      I’m still down with Huntsman, I don’t care if he played hookey from Carr’s class. 😉Report

    • Avatar greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      @Jay-Actually i just find the phrase “targeted assassination” odd. Assassination is by definition targeted at someone. Sorry about those Paul\Racism threads, the stupid is just to powerful there.Report

    • Avatar Chad
      Ignored
      says:

      How principled, how righteous. Never mind the 12-13% of the population who are being told that overt bigotry against you is still acceptable dependent upon the candidates views, or the millions of Americans who do benefit from the Department of Education, Commerce, etc. who would be subject to extremely questionable staffing if not downright dissolution. The economic consequences worldwide of an American Chief Executive who believes that we should still be trading in gold, which would be every bit as symbolic as fiat money except without any control of how much is available. Obviously you’re a much more thoughtful and caring person than those who can’t in good conscience support a Paul Presidency.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Chad
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        says:

        Chad, how many of that 12 – 13% are arbitrarily incarcerated for drug offenses? Some of the implications of the Paul newsletters disturb me too, but I don’t think the man himself is a bigot, and I know his policies will do much to correct the structural racism that, despite what we tell ourselves, is still a very real part of life for minorities in the United States.Report

    • Avatar Katherine
      Ignored
      says:

      Pulling out of US foreign military bases is not “disengagement” or “isolationism”.

      Withdrawing from the UN and WTO, two of the major organizations that function as a venue for multilateral interaction and debate, however, is.  Practically every other nation in the world is part of them; you’d locking yourselves out of global dialogue.

      Four years without the US on the Security Council could be very handy for some parts of the rest of the world, so as a non-American I’m not necessarily opposed.  (Independent Palestinian state in 5,4,3,2,1…)  For Americans, though, withdrawal from a position that currently gives you veto power over most major international decisions is pretty clearly unwise, as you sacrifice one of your major tools for defending your (and certain other allied countries’) interests.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      It seems Ron Paul’s moment has passed here at the League, and we’ve implicitly chosen instead to support some other Republican contender. I find myself perhaps the only one here who still supports Ron Paul for the Republican nomination. (Please correct me if I’m wrong).

      I’m not supporting any of them.Report

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