Saturday, December 31, 2011

#OWS Appealing Message & Ron Paul's Dark Side

Ron Paul's Libertarian ideology definitely has a dark side which makes him not much better than other social conservatives.
Victims demand health care as well and scream discrimination if insurance companies claim they have a right to refuse to issue a policy to someone already infected with the AIDS virus...
The rights of the insurance company owners are not considered, while legislation is passed forcing insurance companies to provide the insurance demanded by the victims. The individual suffering from AIDS certainly is a victim ... frequently a victim of his own lifestyle ...but this same individual victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care.
...The concept of equal pay for equal work is not only an impossible task, it can only be accomplished with the total rejection of the idea it’s of the voluntary contract...
By what right does the government assume low power to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to?
...Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity...Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem?

Ron Paul quoted in article: Paul Once Criticized Equal Pay, AIDS Patients, Sexual Harassment Victims By Stephen C. Webster at "Raw Story" via Information Clearing House December 30, 2011

UPDATE Occupy movement :

US Occupy protests 'could intensify'

Utah Doctors Join "Occupy" Movement by Brian Moench,, December 27,2011

Taking inspiration from the Occupy Movement, last week a group of doctors and environmental groups in Salt Lake City, Utah announced a law suit against the third largest mining corporation in the world, Rio Tinto, for violating the Clean Air Act in Utah. This is likely the first time ever that physicians have sued industry for harming public health.

Air pollution causes between 1,000 and 2,000 premature deaths every year in Utah. Moreover, medical research in the last ten years has firmly established that air pollution causes the same broad array of diseases well known to result from first and second hand cigarette smoke--strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, virtually every kind of lung disease, neurologic diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, loss of intelligence, chromosomal damage, higher rates of diabetes, obesity, adverse birth outcomes and various cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer and leukemia.

As we see in the above quotes at the top of this post  from the article by Stephen C. Webster on potential presidential candidate Ron Paul 's libertarian ideology is not so benign as his supporters believe it to be. Ron Paul's popularity with liberals and progressives is primarily based upon his non-interventionist foreign policy and his views about the War on Drugs . As a libertarian Ron Paul is in favor of more progressive drug policies ie decriminalization and even legalization of some drugs such as marijuana .

 But like any political candidate it is necessary to examine and critique all of their policies and not merely cherry pick the ones we happen to like. This is especially a concern after the election of President Obama who garnered support based upon his rhetoric and style and not on what he in reality stood for ie the status quo, pro-big business, pro-foreign intervention and his adherence to a number of Bush era  policies from indefinite detention to going after Whistleblowers to his Drone Wars and targeted assassinations and his pro-Israel stand to ignoring the police brutality exhibited against the peaceful Occupy Movement protesters and so on.

Ron Paul as we see is also on the side of Big Business and corporations such as the Health Insurance Industry  and not on the side of consumers or workers. He is somewhat mean spirited when it comes to women's rights or the rights of Gays or workers in general. We shouldn't conclude that Ron Paul's adherence to a Libertarian ( Ayn Rand)  ideology is based upon  liberal or egalitarian principles but rather is based upon a belief in unfettered winner take all free market Capitalist principles.  Ron Paul is primarily against Big Government's intrusion upon the functioning of Corporate entities. He is in favor of even more deregulation of the Corporate giants  and is not going to be in favor of regulations foisted upon corporations to ensure they pay their fair share of taxes or that they be accountable to consumers ie regulations regarding the safety of a product or predatory practices . Libertarians in general believe in Caveat Emptor that is Let the buyer beware which means if a business knowingly sells a product which is dangerous to the health of consumers or its quality is inferior to how it is advertised the consumer has no right to return it or to take legal action where necessary.

Though the definition below suggests that even allowing for Caveat Emptor there would still be redress in cases of Fraud but given the libertarian view one should not count on there being any allowable exceptions to such a rule since the view is based upon a belief in the Free Market Place steeped in unfettered deregulated  19th century Capitalist ideology.

 According to this ideology it would be unfair to tobacco growers and distributors to place health warning on a package of cigarettes or forcing Pharmaceutical companies to allow an independent body (peer review) of experts to test their product or review their studies or to force them to list all side effects and other warnings nor would any government agency have the right to regulate pollutants produced by industries -BP for instance would not be responsible for cleaning up an oil spill nor could corporations be made accountable for unsafe working conditions . Nor would employees have any rights only the employer would have rights.

For further criticism of Ron Paul & Libertarianism and Ayn Rand see:

  "Support Attracted by Ron Paul Sends Chills " by Tony Norman  the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via, December 27, 2011

One of the most bizarre things about the Republican presidential primary contest is the popularity of Ron Paul.

The Texas congressman has been a libertarian standard-bearer for more decades than that economic philosophy has been popular or tolerated, even in conservative circles.

Along the way, Mr. Paul has developed a reputation as a principled ideologue, especially when he is contrasted against chameleons like fellow front-runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Because Mr. Paul espouses social-political theories that young people in the first throes of infatuation with Ayn Rand's dreary melodramas take seriously, he is as close as many of them will ever get to the long-dead founder of Objectivism.

Mr. Paul has become an avatar of enlightened self-interest, even while maintaining a friendly, if not necessarily avuncular, demeanor. He's like a prickly old uncle who shows up at a family gathering after years in exile ready to pass on his version of the family's twisted history to the next generation. His outsider status in the family appeals to our sense of adventure and curiosity. The fact that he is feared adds to his charm.

For a contrary view on Ron Paul's appeal see:

" Ron Paul and the Killing Machine" By Mike Whitney at Information Clearing House, December 30, 2011

Ron Paul is the only antiwar candidate who has a (microscopic) chance of winning in 2012. He’s also the only candidate who will make an effort to restore the Bill of Rights and reverse Congress’s decision to allow the president to “indefinitely” imprison American citizens without due process. For these reasons alone, Paul should garner the support of leftists, liberals, and progressives. But he won’t, because liberals are convinced that Paul will try to dismantle the social programs upon which the elderly, the infirm, and the vulnerable depend.

These concerns are not without foundation. Paul opposes government meddling in the market and sees Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as steps towards socialism. That means, there’s a good chance that these programs will come under fire if Paul is elected. The question is: How should we balance our concerns about Social Security with our opposition to the war(s)? To answer that question, we need to create a “hypothetical”.

and from the"  Caveat Emptor :[Latin, Let the buyer beware.] A warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are "as is," or subject to all defects.
When a sale is subject to this warning the purchaser assumes the risk that the product might be either defective or unsuitable to his or her needs.
This rule is not designed to shield sellers who engage in Fraud or bad faith dealing by making false or misleading representations about the quality or condition of a particular product. It merely summarizes the concept that a purchaser must examine, judge, and test a product considered for purchase himself or herself.
The modern trend in laws protecting consumers, however, has minimized the importance of this rule. Although the buyer is still required to make a reasonable inspection of goods upon purchase, increased responsibilities have been placed upon the seller, and the doctrine of caveat venditor (Latin for "let the seller beware") has become more prevalent. Generally, there is a legal presumption that a seller makes certain warranties unless the buyer and the seller agree otherwise. One such Warranty is the Implied Warranty of merchantability. If a person buys soap, for example, there is an implied warranty that it will clean; if a person buys skis, there is an implied warranty that they will be safe to use on the slopes.

As Joe Brewer points out the Occupy Movement managed to grow as a viable movement in large part because of it's use of two basic framing devices of the 99% versus the 1% and the notion of occupying . American citizens in general were able to relate with the movement given these two simple notions .

The Occupy Movement has been able to tap into the break down of societies narrative of the road to success and contentment . Because of the inequality of the haves versus the have-nots the old narrative could no longer be sustained . The aspirations of the average citizen could no longer be fulfilled given the prevailing economic and political and social reality in which only a small minority could expect to do well while the majority had no realistic hope of doing well . The deck as it were was stacked in favor of the few and against the many.

Further cause of for grievances has been due to the failure of those in authority to curve the excesses of the rich and powerful . As the system unraveled the majority were left to fend for themselves while the minority that is Big Business and Banks were bailed out by the government using the funds which rightfully belonged to the majority. The majority were ignored and not even consulted about this use of their money which as part of the social contract were put into the hands of their representatives in the government. To put it simply it became a case of taxation without representation . The politicians, lobbyists and the government showed their true colors as they eagerly gave away billions with little accountability or fairness to the body politicand the reasonable expectations of a quid pro quo relationship.

Strategic Frames of the Occupy Movement by: Joe Brewer, via, December 29,2011

A vitally important example analyzed by the linguist who brought frame analysis to the political world, George Lakoff, is the use of military language to describe the invasion of Iraq as an unending war. Despite the fact that the “Iraq War” only lasted a few weeks (culminating in the capture of Baghdad in early 2003), our political leaders and media figures continued to deploy a frame of war to characterize what would more accurately be described as an ongoing occupation. Note how the logic of occupation is profoundly different from that of war:

During an occupation the use of military tactics to resolve issues tends to fail. Diplomacy and political solutions are what is needed to resolve conflict;
During an occupation the death of civilians is an unacceptable loss of innocent lives. Civilian deaths are seen as unavoidable “collateral damage” during a war;
During an occupation the role of politicians is to be humanitarian leaders, elevating human security in the region impacted by conflict. Politicians become military leaders during times of war and often seek consolidation of war powers that restrict civil liberties at home and abroad.

...The 99% frame evokes a maximal inequality that resonates deeply with the lived experiences of working-class people in the US and around the world. I’ll come back to the significance of this lived experience in a moment.

The power of the Occupy frame is two-fold: (1) It is a verb that represents action taken by one who has power to influence the world, and (2) it demarcates an abstract spatial location that is scalable. The significance of the first feature should be clear — to feel one’s personal empowerment by taking action and claiming a space is deeply moving. One who can stake a claim to space has power. And that power gives them a sense of control over their destiny. This is the underlying motivator for collective action that has captured the imaginations (and bodies!) of protestors around the world, from Tahrir Square to Zuccoti Park.

The second feature is what allowed OWS to go viral and spread across the globe. The demarcation of abstract space, when overlaid on top of real-world physical locations, is a recipe for unconstrained growth. More simply, it is the act of claiming a space that offers a feeling of empowerment. While one physical location was claimed in a New York City Park, the concept of occupation could be generically applied to all physical spaces. This is why protestors in other cities were inclined to claim the OWS brand and stake out their own turf. And, just as the emotional experience of despair is conceptualized as an abstract space, the Occupy frame allows anyone and everyone to claim cultural turf by occupying democracy, love, citizenship, compassion, freedom, politics, and more.

The broad flexibility of the Occupy frame gives it a fractal nature. It applies equally well from the small scale (Occupy Oakland) to the very large (Occupy Humanity). In mathematical terms, the concept is “scale free” and nonlinear. It can grow to fill any cultural container because its conceptual core is abstractable and pliable.

Taken together, these two frames offer a conduit for emotions to flow and actions to congeal. They are the linguistic building blocks that convey a deep sense of injustice along with clear notions about what can be done about them — namely to reclaim public space and take back the political discourse on behalf of the citizenry.

UPDATE GOP presidential Candidates:

Rick Perry: Abortion Okay If Woman's Life At Risk Huffington Post, December 28, 2011

and :

Michele Bachmann: AR-15 'Is A Great Gun' Huffington Post, December 29, 2011

and :

Rick Santorum :

Santorum enjoying late boost in Iowa But divided loyalties might help Romney
By Brian C. Mooney and Tracy Jan, Globe Staff December 30, 2011

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