Monday, May 30, 2011

Pottage: Ron Paul, His Groupies and their Jewish Problem

One day, when Jacob was cooking pottage,
his brother Esau came in from hunting in the field
and said to Jacob: I am starving, let me eat some
of that red, red stuff! Jacob said: Sell me your birthright here
and now. And Esau said: Here, I am going to die!
What good is my birthright to me now?
--Breshit 25:26-33

Ron Paul became quite a phenomenon during the 2008 election because of the enthusiasm and inventiveness of the young people who seemed hungry for liberty, and who found many unique ways to support his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Ron Paul, a libertarian at heart, was once a candidate for the same office for the Libertarian Party. That was in 1988, and I voted for him then, as he seemed a solid enough libertarian candidate, and was certainly better than the mainstream choices.

But during the 2008 election, some of Ron Paul's supporters, and supporters of the Ron Paul R
3volution began to display a distressing lack of critical thinking skills, and many of them brought a more leftist agenda into Paul's campaign, including a virulent hatred of Israel, and far worse, some of the most classic of the antisemitic cant, charging American Jews with dual loyalty, and complaining that Jews control the banks and the money--with an undertone that money is inherently evil and corrupting--and that Jews control the media. This all seems to be at odds with what ought to be Ron Paul's libertarian values, and with capitalism, which he espouses.

I came late to the R
3volution, having put off reading Paul's book by the same title after Obama had sworn an oath to the Constitution and promptly violated it. I thought Paul's book was reasonable enough. He did not advocate a one sided removal of foreign aid to Israel, for example, but instead advocated the classic libertarian idea that no foreign aid is moral. And yet, I had heard odd things about him from other Jews of all political stripes, and particularly from Jewish Libertarians. I heard that Ron Paul was an antisemite, or at least that he tolerated antisemitism among his followers, and that it was rampant among the most fanatical of them, the ones I call groupies.

At about the same time, through a series of acquaintances, I began working on the problematic Retake Congress effort through a company called Common Sense, Inc. (Someday I will tell that story of my naivete and failure, but not now. There are some innocents that still need to be protected). In doing the work, I had reason to frequent many of the social media and blog sites where Ron Paul R3volutionaries gathered, and read their comments. These included the Daily Paul, Liberty Forest, and various local and national Campaign for Liberty (C4L) blogs, message boards and discussion groups. And I began to understand what other Jews had warned me about with respect to Ron Paul's groupies.

They have a Jewish problem.

And it goes far beyond reasonable disagreements about aid to Israel or politics. Rather, it seems to pick up on the old classical antisemitic canards described above. They come right out of the history of Christian and collectivist Europe, and are particular to the antisemitic racism that replaced earlier Christian anti-Judaism with what become classical Nazi dogma and doctrine. It is the same racist antisemitism that the Nazis exported to the Middle East, absurdly claiming that while Jews are an inferior race, the Arabs are "little Aryan brothers." (When one believes absurd racial theories as the Nazis did, one more absurdity does not matter). It seems that some of the leftists who converted to the Ron Paul R
3volution brought along with them the same classic antisemitic ideas that the Nazis took to the Arabs.

When it comes to American Jews, it appears that the "love" in the Ron Paul R
3volution does not apply. It applies to everyone but us. Last year, I wrote a blog entry about my experience of antisemitism in the local Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty. The cant there was taken lock, stock and barrel from Arab-Islamic antisemitic claims that included the blood libel, and was served up with a side of the dual loyalty charge. In that blog entry, I opined that Ron Paul might very well be ignorant of the kinds of antisemitic cant that was posted on Liberty Tree, in the comments to The Daily Paul, and in other Ron Paul forums and social media on the web.

The antisemitism at these sites is also of the classically European variety, made into American conspiracy theories about Jews and Money. You know the type. They include the word "Jew" linked to one or more of the following: "the FED", "the Rothschilds", or "the Bilderbergers". The "Jews control the media" trope is equally represented, whereas the blood libel claims of the Islamists are usually only present in great abundance when Israel is in the news. Which means that it is present often enough.

Whether he likes it or not, Ron Paul has a Jewish problem.

Although I have been hard pressed to find solid evidence that Ron Paul himself has ever made any of these claims, it would be stretching my credulity and yours to continue to claim that Ron Paul probably does not know about the libels against Jews perpetrated on websites devoted to his cause. That these claims come more often than not from his more devoted but kookie followers, the ones who indulge in believing that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney singlehandedly wired the twin towers for demolition (because, you know, steel does not melt), does not excuse his silence on the matter. If he wants the support of rational people for his presidential run, then Ron Paul must address the Jewish problem in his campaign and clearly differentiate his own ideals from the beliefs of the antisemites among his followers. (Addressing some of the more truly bizarre conspiracy theories wouldn't hurt, either).

It has been suggested to me by some of Ron Paul's followers, as well as by other Jewish Libertarians, that it is likely that this antisemitism within the Ron Paul social media sites are the result of leftist infiltration meant to hurt Ron Paul, and that the perpetrators are therefore not Paul supporters. This is certainly a possibility given what we know about the Alinsky tactics outlined in Rules for Radicals. It would be hard for the casual observer to know that this is what is indeed happening, sans a full investigation of the sites and origins of the offending posts.

However, if this is the case, it is clear that the antisemitism meme is not difficult to spread among Ron Paul's young followers. It is truly frightening to witness their credulity and even eagerness to pick up on it, and spread the notion that Jews are to blame for all that is bad about their world. What we are seeing here is the abject failure of public education to teach the current generation to think critically, to question what they are told intelligently, and to reject the concept of collective responsibility. Sadly, through one hundred years of progressive education, young people in America who are not privileged enough to go to elite schools, or to have parents who can counter the indoctrination of collectivism, have been taught to bargain away their birthright of individual liberty for a pottage of "that red, red stuff."

These young fools may claim to be libertarian, but their propensity to make blanket statements such as "the Jews control the media" and "the Jewish-controlled banks" gives the lie to these claims. Libertarian thought insists on the responsibility of the individual for his actions. Collective responsibility is a collectivist notion, and it is not compatible with the radical individualism that lies at the heart of libertarianism.

And there is a real danger to the acceptance of such notions, for hand-in-hand with the doctrine of collective responsibility comes the concept of collective salvation. Hundreds of thousands of Hitler Youth members marched to certain death when the Wehrmacht was spent at the end of WW II, simply because they did not have the critical faculty to understand that Hitler was no messiah. Hundreds of Islamic young men, and now women, and even children, are induced to blow themselves up, convinced that the murders they commit will be rewarded by Allah. They are encouraged not to think, because their salvation relies on the collective not on responsibility for their own actions. To watch American young people accepting such ideas is terrifying. If they can uncritically accept groundless conspiracy theories and baseless hatred of other human beings, what else will they accept? What will they do?

If our young people who claim libertarianism as their credo are not to be cheated out of the blessings of liberty as a result of selling out their birthright, it is up to all of us to confront racism and any other form of collectivism for the evil that it is, and to refuse to support Ron Paul in any way until he does the same. His silence is shameful, and a man of his years ought to have the wisdom to understand what such ideas will do to the young people who espouse them for his sake.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Israel: In Which I Do Not Know What to Say

I have been working on a blog entry in my head, and gathering together sundry comments that I have made here and there, but the POTUS announcement inviting Israel to just commit suicide already, and spare the world the need to destroy her, threw me into a sea of emotions that I have not yet traveled through. The situation seems so dire to me that I cannot find the issue I was preparing important. It is, and I know that; but for the nonce, it seems that I must let it go.

And although I have a number of ideas about the O-chamberlain's new version of "peace in our time", I am not at all ready to settle on one, and I find myself obsessively visiting blogs and news stories hoping to find a word of encouragement. I know they are out there, and I just must work through the obsessive moments of early mourning, and come out to a place where I can find some internal balance once again.

One of the very difficult things about being Jewish, loving my people and our homeland, Israel, is that it is impossible to go anywhere on the internet be it You Tube, blogs, news stories, and discussion groups, and not see the blinding hatred for us and for the Jewish state that appears to be everywhere. Even for posts that are supportive of Israel, I have learned to discipline myself against taking a look at the comments, for the vitriol is real and frightening, and so irrational as to be unanswerable. Everybody has an opinion, and most are based on misconceptions and a terrible ignorance of history.

Today, though, I am not prepared to discuss any of the issues, as the shock of what POTUS did is still fresh. And even though I expected it, it was still a shock. All I can say at this moment is this:
The O-dolater--O, he who presented himself as a Greek god at his nomination--does not speak for me. He never really did, and he never really can. I have never had much respect for him, and now all I feel is a sick contempt. By his actions and words, he is--as Craig Biddle of the Objective Standard noted--"giving the green light to a second Holocaust."

So, since I cannot write rationally at the moment, in mourning as I am for the government of my country that has made itself the enemy of my people, I will post a portion of a letter I wrote to Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek, and some links of people who have a stake in the survival of Israel. The letter to Roberts expresses my thoughts on his second Israel post, one in which he laments the inability of people to discuss the issue without vitriol. I wrote, in part:

I am a frequent reader of Cafe Hayek, and I comment infrequently. I I did read your first post on Israel, and followed the link and found the Harsanyi's post to be thought provoking. I appreciate that you posted it, and I shared your post on my Facebook Wall in order to give it wider coverage.
I support Israel, and I agree with you that foreign aid is a bad thing altogether. I believe that the United States needs to stop supporting wars by providing funds to all sides in all areas of the world. I think that forcing people to support causes they oppose through their tax dollars will always lead to vitriol. But the vitriol and hatred aimed at the tiny state of Israel has a special and extremely nasty quality all of its own, and some of it crosses the boundary into outright antisemitism. Although antisemitism is almost universal on the political left, it does appear on the right. Growing up in a libertarian household, with a parent who helped found my birth state's Libertarian Party, however, I hardly saw it among Libertarians. But since the Ron Paul R3VOLUTION, I have seen it rear its ugly head to a startling degree, especially among those who substitute a good deal of anger and passion for strong and solid libertarian values. I have, for the most part, given up on commenting on any blog, news story or You Tube post about Israel, because the comments become so vicious and irrational that they are unanswerable. For this reason I did not even look at the comments on your first post when I cross-posted the link.
I want you to know that I do not think you have betrayed your principles and values, and it is my suspicion that those who have accused you of this have minimal education in the basics of libertarian thought and the major arguments within thoughtful libertarian circles.

Here are Russ's two posts about which I was writing: Israel and Israel II . "Israel" contains Robert's link to David Harsanyi's comments on the O-amalek's speech.

Here is what the Jerusalem Post columnist and Center for Security Policy member Caroline Glick's column: Obama's Abandonment of America .
Isn't interesting, that even though what is preying on the mind of every Israeli is dismay that the United States has abandoned our treaty with Israel, commingled with the relief that now at least Israel does not need to concern itself with pleasing the United States, this Israeli's realization is that in this speech Obama has made it clear that he is abandoning America and her citizens first and foremost.

Just a few thoughts, while I consider whether I want to pray: "Pour out your wrath, O G-d" or "Extend the wings of your protection over the land of Israel and all of its people". Maybe both.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Who's Out of Touch: Rejecting "Shared" Sacrifice

It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice,
there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings.
Where there's service, there is someone being served.
The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves
and masters, and intends to be the master.
--Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Congress called oil company executives to a "show" hearing on Friday. The hearing was intended to make it look like Congress is "doing something" about the high price of gasoline at the pump. The show was also intended to assuage the fears of some members of Congress, who are "terrified" of the massive budget cuts that will be required to return the federal budget to fiscal sanity. The new buzz phrase out of the administration and the Democractic Party is "shared sacrifice"; the oil companies should "sacrifice" what is being called 'subsidies" in order to bring down the price of gasoline at the pump.

There are so many things wrong with that last statement that I could easily write several in-depth blog entries about what is happening in Congress and to the oil industry. I could write about the "terror" that certain members of Congress are feeling about the need for fiscal sanity. I could write about economics, and the law of supply and demand, and Gresham's Law. And I could write about the fact that Congress produces nothing (except perhaps excessive CO2) and therefore has no power to do anything to create wealth, create jobs, or lower prices except to get the hell out of the way. And maybe by the time I finish this entry, I will have written about all of the above. However, I am going to focus on two words in the sentence above: subsidies and sacrifices.


I don't know if you have noticed, but the Obama Administration, certain members of Congress, and the press have been very busy redefining words and concepts related to the tax code lately. For example, we have heard a great deal about how they intend to 'reduce spending' though the tax code. In plain English what this means is that they want to take more of your money (and mine) by force in order to continue spending because they are "terrified" of the change in their spending habits that must inevitably come. Conceptually, what this means is that they believe that they own you and your wealth; it is all theirs to dispose of as they see fit, and thus it is "cutting spending" to let you keep less of what is theirs. Politically what this means is that the people they call "taxpayers" are their cash cows. Frankly, in their eyes, we are slaves put on G-d's Green Earth to provide them with the means to continue the fantasy that the piper never need be paid.

In the show hearings of oil executives before Congress, the same redefinition is being accomplished for the word "subsidy." In plain English, a subsidy is money that a government pays out to some favored class in order to support some favored project or end. In this case, a subsidy of the oil companies would mean that a check is drawn on funds in the US treasury and sent to the oil companies in return for some action or restraint of action on the part of the latter. But what Congress is actually talking about is an increase in the taxes that actually paid by the oil companies to the US Treasury. In other words, certain tax deductions--namely those dealing with the depreciation of the value of oil wells as they are drained, and on the equipment used--will be removed, and the oil companies, rather than giving up a check from the government, will be sending a larger check to it. These tax deductions for depreciation are common to all businesses, because much of the capital that must be acquired to begin production depreciates in value with time and must eventually be replaced. Because the oil companies would be singled out with respect to losing these deductions. This is unconstitutional, but since the federal government has sneered at the Constitution with respect to taxes since 1913, this is hardly a concern for them. And it has become depressingly clear that all three branches of the federal government consider themselves to be above the law in any case, as they do not bother to even find out what the Constitution says about any matter that concerns them. Some of them even laugh at the idea that they should consider the duties that Constitution demands of them. Remember Pelosi?

Conceptually, the redefinition of the word subsidy by Congress has the same effect as the redefinition of spending cuts does as explained above. It puts all companies that have been taking depreciation deductions on notice that the United States considers all profits earned to belong to itself. Again, it is Congress claiming that private businesses are slaves to itself and its spendthrift ways. We are all serfs, with respect to our businesses, and with respect to our personal wealth. Congress has, through a clever redefinition of terms, annulled our right to our own property.


To make a sacrifice means to give up something of greater value for the sake of something of lesser value. It means for example, the total destruction of a food animal in order to appease an angry god, rather than using all of the hours of work and all of the energy put into the animal in order to feed one's family and increase one's health, wealth and well being. By this definition, a sacrifice is never a moral good. With this in mind, consider this exchange between Senator Jay Rockefeller and John Watson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Chevron Oil:

Rockefeller begins this exchange by telling five oil executives, including Watson, that their companies are "out of touch" and that they must be willing to participate in a "shared sacrifice" in order to reduce the budget deficit.
Watson then says: "I don't think Americans want shared sacrifice. I think they want shared prosperity."
Rockefeller: "Do you understand how out of touch that is? We don't get to shared prosperity until we get to shared sacrifice."

First, notice how adroitly Rockefeller shifts responsibility for the federal deficit from himself and the federal government to the private businesses whose profits he wants to consume in order to continue deficit spending. The oil companies, being private concerns, have no power to reduce government spending, nor can they lower the federal deficit. Both houses of Congress must do those things. But Congress is "terrified" to do so, according to Rockefeller.

Frankly, I am more terrified of the 10% inflation, calculated by the traditional formula, that we are now seeing, and the increase of inflation that must occur as the dollar is devalued as a direct consequence of deficit spending at record levels. But I digress . . .

Rockefeller calls for "shared sacrifice." Of course he is lying. What he is really calling for is that the oil companies, and soon every company, and finally every individual, sacrifice profits and wealth in order that he, the Senate, and the House do not need to lose their power and prestige (earned as it is through promises and pork) by making the tough choices. Ultimately, since he believes that the United States owns all of us, and all of our productivity and our wealth, he need not "share" the sacrifice at all. He, and the Congress and the Administration--none of them--have any intention of sharing the sacrifice of wealth to dissolute spending. Rather than lose his power and prestige, he is willing to pour the wealth of others, wealth he does not own, down the toilet. This is known as "eating the rich."

This is the problem with "eating the rich." Once they are consumed, who do you "eat" next? The slightly less rich? The comfortably well-off? The middle class? The working poor? And once that wealth is gone, who is going to be creating wealth at all? It is the investment of wealth that drives productivity, and productivity that makes profits and pays on the investment two, ten and a hundredfold. Eating the rich is a sacrifice indeed; it is a race to the bottom, and will produce nothing.

The show is being put on in order to convince us non-corporate types that it is "us against them." But we do own pieces of those companies, or other companies that produce other products in other markets. Millions of us have our retirement funds invested in many different companies. The return on our investment comes when the companies make profits for us by producing value used by human beings. The wealth that is created by profits is indeed the "shared prosperity" that Watson was talking about in his testimony. It would be a terrible sacrifice indeed--and a moral evil--for the federal government to steal that wealth and pour it down the unproductive maw of the federal deficit just to delay their own day of reckoning.

It is very likely indeed that Americans are going to have to make hard choices, demanding that Congress make extreme cuts in spending and we will have to become more self-reliant in order to do so. But this is not a sacrifice on our part. We would be reducing our reliance on government and reducing our consumption temporarily because we wish to preserve a greater value: future prosperity for ourselves and our children. And we would be doing it in order to preserve the greatest values of all--life, liberty and property. These values make possible the great engine of wealth that America once was and may yet be again--should we so choose.

I cannot know what choices others might make, but as for me and my family, we will pay for our future prosperity and happiness with the coin of self-discipline and self-reliance, knowing that this entails a change in our own financial habits. And we must demand that the federal government do the same. You can keep your sacrifice, Mr. Rockefeller, and we will keep our wealth. We choose prosperity.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Justice in Abottabad

Last night, as I was sitting in bed, catching up on Facebook, I saw a post by the CIT stating that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces. At the same time, almost to the second, a friend had IM'd, saying: It looks like the bogeyman is dead." And so he was. Almost ten years since he had become a household name, and many more since he had begun his war with the United States and others, and he had been killed by Navy SEALS, his DNA taken, and his body buried at sea.

I felt a moment of solemn satisfaction of my sense of Justice. I wanted to stand up and sing The Star Spangled Banner, which is what the crowd in Times Square did at almost the same time. I went to sleep after a long day doing various tasks to get the house ready for sale--it's a long, drawn out business--and getting the loss of our friend's new dog registered with the Pet Alert. I did not spend any more time on the internet. And I am glad I did not. I did not want to see the moment of justice politicized and criticized, nor hear any theories about why the government was lying to us about this, too.

So today I put up my flag, and then drove down to Los Lunas to look for Tri. (No luck, but three sightings were reported through the Alerts, so we know where she is hanging around).

It was not until I was driving back up here that I heard the politicization. And later, checking on the web, I saw that the crazy train has once again pulled away from the station, this time with a series of theories on the Libertarian Enterprise alleging that bin Laden has been dead since 2001, and the death was just announced now in order to save Obama's presidency in 2012. I was not perturbed. I do not believe that this one incident will save the O-incompetent from being a one-term president. Only the Republicans can do that by once again choosing a candidate who hardly differs from the Big O himself, himself.

I was not perturbed, but neither do I have either the gumption or the patience to construct fancy arguments to counter either ideologues or loonies. However, there was one protest that kept cropping up that I do want to address, and that is that POTUS and our government are somehow murderers of Osama bin Laden. No, I am quite convinced that bin Laden was ultimately his own worst enemy, and after years of escalating attacks in on the West, he had finally met his match, and even if it took nearly 10 years, vengance is a drink best served cold.

Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States particularly, and upon the West in general. He took up the sword, and he used it against both military targets and civilians in Yemen, in Africa, and within the borders of the United States. He made deliberate, well publicized threats to kill many thousands of innocent people through the organization of terror he created, Al Quaida.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEAL Team 6 on 1 May 2011, decades after he began his open war on the West and everything that is not Muslim and not extreme. He was killed, but not murdered. Murder is the unlawful killing of one human being by others, and the victim is innocent within the circumstances of the crime. Self-defense is the killing of one human being by others in order to stop him from committing assault that results in morbidity and death, or the destruction of property resulting in injury or death of innocents. In the case of killing for self defense, the one killed is not innocent, but has initiated force against innocents.

As Americans living under what is left of the Constitution, we have ceded self-defense against foreign invaders--whether they are a nation state or a band of brigands--to the federal government. This is one of the few actions of the federal government that is entirely lawful and Constitutional. Because bin Laden declared war against the United States by his threats, and followed it up with action, he is not a criminal, he is an enemy. We do not capture enemies and bring them to trial, we make war against them. War is not a rule-abiding exercise, and those who make war as Osama bin Laden did, know that. By taking up the sword against the United States, by attacking us on our own soil, he could expect nothing less than total destruction. And so he got it.

This is justice. To cut a man like Osama bin Laden any slack is to discount the rights of the innocent people who were working at the embassies in Africa and at the World Trade Center, and the innocents killed within the Islamic (so-called) House of Peace. It also discounts the fact that Osama deliberately provoked and attacked US military targets,including the USS Cole and the Pentagon. To ignore or excuse such behavior for any reason is to commit an injustice against those whose lives and property were destroyed by a deliberate act of war. It is not within the purview of the federal government and its executive to do that. In order to "provide for the common defense", the President of the United States must act. In this case, Obama acted properly and must be commended.

Of all of the sayings in the "other" Testament, there is one that unequivocally true. It is: The one who takes up the sword will die by the sword. Osama bin Laden took up the sword of Islam against innocents and against military targets. He made war on the United States. Responding to that is not murder, it is justice. Osama died at the hands of those whose Constitutional duty is to defend the people of the United States and their property.

Although I think that to madly celebrate the death of this evil man is unseemly, I do think that the sense of relief that people feel, and the pride that they exhibit at having finally gotten justice--shown in such acts as the singing of the Star Spangled Banner in Times Square Sunday evening--is entirely appropriate. There is pride in doing justice, because it is the moral response to acts such as Osama bin Laden's murderous terror. He chose his behavior, and in so doing, chose the consequences of it. The innocent people falling from the sky to their deaths on September 11 did not so choose.

I am not joyful about this, and I do not celebrate; rather, this moment has caused me to be happy that their deaths have finally been accorded the justice that they deserve.