Since he appeared on the national scene in 2010, Senator Rand Paul has been a favorite of libertarians in the United States. Libertarians assert “the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others,” and also emphasize “the right to property… and the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.” Rand Paul continues to speak for libertarians and characterize himself as a libertarian: “I consider myself to be a libertarian conservative, a libertarian Republican.”
It’s recently been revealed that Rand Paul has committed plagiarism in multiple speeches, columns and his book. Plagiarism occurs when one takes the words of others and represents it as one’s own. It’s a form of theft.
Here’s how Rand Paul has responsed to these revelations:
- “It annoys the hell out of me. I feel like if I could just go to detention after school for a couple days, then everything would be okay. But do I have to be in detention for the rest of my career?”
- “I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done so.”
- “Like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can’t do that, because I can’t hold office in Kentucky then.”
- “This is really about information and attacks coming from haters.”
- “The footnote police have really been dogging me for the last week.”
- “I’m being criticized for not having proper attribution, and yet they are able to write stuff that if I were their journalism teacher in college, I would fail them.”
I know we have a number of libertarian visitors to Irregular Times. Libertarians, how do you react to the Rand Paul plagiarism scandal?
It has come to our attention, through our coverage of the Million Mask March, that there are many protesters aligned with the mysterious hacker group Anonymous who are in search of Guy Fawkes masks to wear to street protests. As a service to those protesters, and in the spirit of hacksterism, we are offering the following two printable graphics for Anonymous – V Is For Vendetta – activists to wear to street marches and the like. Now, you too can show your face as one of the faceless in the crowd, and celebrate the tradition of Guy Fawkes, which is… you know.
This first image of a printable Guy Fawkes mask is flat and simple. Just print it out and slap it over your face, so that no one else can see…
This second Guy Fawkes mask image is a bit more complex. You cut the pieces out, where the lines indicate, and then paste it back together, for a more 3D effect.
Have fun at the protest! You show those people at Parliament who’s boss, okay?
Time was, Kathleen Sebelius looked like a good future candidate for President of the United States. Now, to say that she is having political trouble is like saying that the Titanic got wet.
Are the critiques fair? Are the problems with ObamaCare / the Affordable Care Act really the fault of Kathleen Sebelius, or is she just the patsy for an administrative failure that lies elsewhere, or, option 3) is there really no problem with ObamaCare at all?
We’re creating this pro-Sebelius tshirt as a kind of test case, to measure Democrats’ willingness to engage on the health care reform issue. Will this tshirt sell, as our pro-Sebelius tshirts have sold in the past, or will Democrats whistle, avert their eyes, and walk away while Sebelius becomes a sacrificial lamb to placate the spirits of GOP wrathfulness?
In just one article, J. Clifford has managed to alienate Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, and members of the new 1787 party. He left out another political party, however – the Constitution Party. Remember them?
The Constitution Party doesn’t just claim to have a solid moral foundation for its political policies. Instead, the political party claims that the Christian god, the creator and ruler of the entire universe, is on its side. In 2012, at the Constitution Party national convention, Robert Owens, the keynote speaker, revealed what he called “God’s Plan for Our Victory”.
What is that divine plan for victory? It seems to begin with joining the atheists in taking a nap.
According to the most recent American Religious Identification Survey, 79 percent of the residents of Missouri identify themselves as followers of the Christian god, thus aligning them, in theory, with the Constitution Party, with its “God’s Plan for Our Victory”.
That theory, however, didn’t match the electoral reality of this year’s special election for the seat representing Missouri’s 8th district in Congress. The Constitution Party itself reports, “Our outstanding candidate for Congress in the Eighth District of Missouri’s special election tells why he ran and what happened along the campaign trail. Doug Enyart is blunt. He notes that it’s not easy to carry the Constitution Party flag in an election: resources are hard to come by, more volunteers are always needed, and it’s a struggle to get noticed by the media. But Doug’s story is different: yes, the electioneering was tough, but he had hundreds of yard signs, was invited to a TV debate with all the candidates (there were four), and earned over 3.6 percent of the vote — more than double than what the Libertarian Party nominee received.”
Experts in math will note the gap between 79 percent (voters in Missouri who are Christian) and 3.6 percent (voters in Missouri’s 8th congressional district who voted for the Constitution Party candidate this year).
There are a number of possible explanations for this discrepancy.
- Voters in Missouri’s 8th congressional district buck the statewide trend, and are only 3.6 percent Christian.
- Most Christians in Missouri have rebelled against the plan of their god.
- The Constitution Party does not actually have the support of any god, but is just a group of kooky people who are extremely out of touch with American culture, even as it is manifested in Missouri.
As for myself, I am partial to another explanation. The Christian god’s plan for victory for the Constitution Party is to have all good Christians take a long, hard nap in 2013, so that, unlike all the unholy voters who made it to the polls this year, they will be well-rested for the 2014 congressional elections.
Back in mid-October, FreedomWorks for America, a political action group affiliated with Tea Party moneybag David Koch and led by Republican activist Matt Kibbe, blasted Senator Mitch McConnnell for making a deal with Democrats to keep the federal government of the United States of America. “Republican leadership has completely lost its way. Not only is this proposal a full surrender – it’s a complete surrender with presents for the Democrats. Apparently Mitch McConnell’s idea of a ‘compromise’ is to increase the debt limit, fully fund a broken health care law, and promise talks of increasing spending down the road.”
FEC records show that FreedomWorks wasn’t just blowing hot air. The PAC was angry enough to spend over $20,000 on a media campaign opposing the re-election of Mitch McConnell. Will FreedomWorks spend more money attacking Republican members of Congress in 2014?
It’s likely. In the 2012 election cycle, FreedomWorks devoted over a million dollars to bringing down Republicans it deemed to be insufficiently anti-government.
One of the following titles is not from a real ethnography. Can you pick the fake study?
Sociable robots, jazz music, and divination: Contingency as a cultural resource for negotiating problems of intentionality.
You Have Dislodged a Boulder: Mothers and Prisoners in the Post Keynesian California Landscape.
Legos, gummy bears and helplessness: Facilitating ethnic identity in the postmodern dance studio.
Producing affect: Transnational volunteerism in a Malaysian orangutan rehabilitation center.
Another country is the past: Western cowboys, Lanna nostalgia, and bluegrass aesthetics as performed by professional musicians in Northern Thailand.
Mobile phones and Mipoho’s prophecy: The powers and dangers of flying language.
Marginal utilities, time, and zombies: Comment on Jane Guyer’s “Prophecy and the near future: Thoughts on macroeconomic, evangelical, and punctuated time”.
Audit cultures: Neoliberal governmentality, socialist legacy, or technologies of governing?
Traversing No Man’s Land in Search of An(Other) Identity – An Autoethnographic Account.
Baseball, Beer, and Bulgari –Examining Cultural Capital and Gender Inequality in a Retail Fashion Corporation.
Proletarian or Promethean?–Impacts of Automation and Program Integration on Social Service Workers and Their Clients.
For some time now, we have recommended that conscientious Americans stop selling items on the CafePress Marketplace. Why? The online print-on-demand venue takes the image you have created and reserves the right to sell it on sweatshop-made crap — without telling you. Say it three times: “CafePress Marketplace = Sweatshop Crap.” Two more times now and you’ll remember it. Here at take the alternative route of supporting this website by selling on our separate CafePress Shop or at Skreened, online domains in which we still have the power to sell only products that are made in countries with reasonable labor laws.
But if you really needed another reason to avoid selling on the CafePress Marketplace, here’s that reason: as of November 1 2013, unless you promote the CafePress Marketplace by following other designers and leading your own fan base to the CafePress Marketplace, you’ll get paid about half as much for every item that you’ve sold with your image on it. In order to make any kind of decent return, you have to start selling the CafePress Marketplace to your family, your friends and your acquaintances. You have to turn yourself into their “volunteer” marketer.
Don’t let yourself be turned into a tool of corporate capital. Stop selling on the CafePress Marketplace.
There are times when no comment is necessary. This is one of those times. Shared via screen capture to preserve the beauty for the future.
Twitter is not forever: read the exchange for yourself right here, as long as it lasts.
Back in June, our writer Jim noted the emergence of a shadow of a new political party in the USA. It calls itself 1787, and has declared that it will run a candidate for President of the United States in 2016.
The Democratic Party has proven to be an untrustworthy ally for liberal Americans, and the Green Party has been both ineffective and just plain odd. The Libertarian Party promotes dangerous schemes that would concentrate power even more densely in the hands of corporations and the wealthy. The Republican Party is occupied by a combination of furious bigots and arrogant economic elitists.
So, when a new political party comes along, I’m willing to seriously consider it. Serious consideration means looking beneath the superficial gloss, though. In fact, 1787 is encouraging critical scrutiny of its plans, writing to the FEC, “We encourage every American to work hard to prove us wrong, because that is the best way to find the best solutions.”
Taking 1787 up on its offer, I find some troubling pieces of information.
Jim has already pointed out that the bylaws of 1787 allow for Board of Directors to control the way the political party operates, without any democratic input from the membership. That’s a serious problem that caused Unity08 and Americans Elect, other recent attempts at creating new political parties, to lose credibility and fall apart.
1787′s political philosophy is extremely vague, amounting to a new version of Ross Perot plan to govern by getting smart people together to come up with intelligent policies. 1787 writes to the FEC, “1787 has one goal: to find intelligent and sustainable solutions for our national challenges. Every policy is grounded in extensive research and common sense. There is no preconceived agenda, no inflexible platform, and no misplaced loyalty to special interest groups.” What is there to 1787, then? Intelligence and sustainability aren’t really differentiating points. Every political party has intelligent members, among the not-so-intelligent members. Every political party seeks to sustain its policies. What does “common sense” mean, to 1787′s leadership? Squinting at a problem and seeing what feels right?
That squint and see what feels right has been employed by 1787′s founder and Chairman, Emily Mathews. To help promote 1787, Mathews has written a thin book entitled The Butterfly Effect. In that book, Mathews argues vigorously against funding Head Start education for preschool children. She wants to see Head Start completely thrown out, because, she concludes, Head Start has failed. Mathews bases this conclusion, however, on a single study which was profoundly flawed. The study purported to compare children who went to Head Start programs with children who did not, but many of the children who were recorded as going to Head Start actually stopped attending the program early on during the study. Furthermore, many children in the control group actually went to other preschool programs, rather than not attending preschool at all, which is what would happen if, as Mathews recommends, Head Start is completely dismantled.
How could Emily Mathews support the destruction of Head Start education programs, on the basis of one flawed study? Well, she’s a Texas Republican. Mathews ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in 2004 – but was soundly defeated by her rivals. Mathews received only 2.72 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.
The Texas shines through in 1787 again as the new political party proposes using “fossil fuel as a bridge” between fossil fuels and environmentally responsible fuels. That’s like proposing Manhattan as a bridge between Manhattan and Long Island.
1787 has so far completely failed to address the NSA spying scandal. Both on the party’s web site and in The Butterfly Effect there is no discussion at all of the massive electronic surveillance system created by National Security Agency, or of the laws that have enabled the construction and maintenance of that system: The FISA Amendments Act and the Patriot Act. The complete failure of 1787 to address this issue suggests that the party’s leadership doesn’t have a particularly strong regard for the Bill of Rights.
Though 1787 sometimes claims to be completely open in its politics to whatever its members want it to be, at other times, 1787 promotes very specific political ideas. For example, in financial policy, 1787 promotes “New standards for credit ratings and nationally recognized statistical rating organizations,” but then states that “Our policies will be fluid as our national conditions change or when we discover a better way – a perpetual work in progress.” In the area of civil liberties, 1787 has no specific policies at all – only vague assurances that freedom is important.
1787 claims to have “no misplaced loyalty to special interest groups,” but it has no mechanisms for preventing such corrupt connections from forming. It places no special campaign finance restrictions on its candidates, and, although it promises to have an independent audit, 1787 doesn’t say anything about whether the results of that audit will be shared, or will merely be shredded on receipt.
1787 proposes having a National Convention in September next year, in Philadelphia, to sort out issues like these. Perhaps it will, and perhaps the result will be a political party worth supporting. At present, however, 1787 looks like a poorly conceived mess.
We keep hearing that God will punish communities that allow same-sex marriage.
Well, today God had His chance. The Illinois House just voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
What mighty weather judgment did Jesus and His Dad send to Illinois in response? November temperatures in the fifties, with cloudy skies.
But just you wait! Tonight, it’s going to drizzle.
Our writer Jim has spent the last few days giving fair coverage to the fact that the Million Mask March would be taking place today in many locations around the world. There have been protests going on all day, in a remarkable number of nations, from Australia to Armenia. Now, as the world turns toward darkness, the line of protests is moving toward Anaheim.
Okay, so we understand that there’s a big series of protests going on today. Even more important, however, is to understand what the Million Mask marches are all about.
For many participants, the purpose of the protest seems to be to have a protest. That was the message I got from many photographs from the protests, such as this image from London, showing a sign reading, “United as one, no power can stop us.” That message is loud and clear: Nothing can stop the Borg. The question is, what do the Borg want?
Some good REM sleep, suggests another protest sign: “If they don’t let us dream, we won’t let them sleep.” Has someone been stopping people from dreaming? Who? How? Is sleep deprivation an ethical protest tactic? It sounds like the kind of torture that has been conducted in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
Questionable protest tactics are at the foundation of the Million Mask March. It was planned for Guy Fawkes Day, in commemoration of a terrorist conspiracy by Catholic Englishmen who, when they saw that the government would not meet their demands, decided they would kill everyone in Parliament with a gigantic bomb. The enthusiastic embrace of Guy Fawkes – the man of the mask himself – as an inspiration has led to some hesitation among supporters of nonviolence.
In one city, protesters pooled their money to buy space on big billboards, for images of Guy Fawkes masks on top of unsheathed swords. Swords? Who is going to get cut?
Threats. There were many threats in the protests today, like this one: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Let’s pause, and think this through, please. Do we really want out governments to be afraid of us? Why? People who are afraid usually act impulsively, and make terrible mistakes. I want my government to respect my freedoms and be receptive to my opinions. That’s not the same thing as fear.
The rhythm of the slogan, in which one idea is turned around into its opposite, seems to be popular. Witness “We are not anti-system, the system is anti-us.” We do not want the government to be watching us, but want us to watch the government. We are not breaking the law, the law is breaking us. We do not argue with the validity of elections – rather, we elect the validity of argument. I get it.
Looking at the Million Mask March events around the world today, there were some slogans that were just plain bizarre: “Unfuck the World”, read one sign. Was it anti-sex, or just against everything being all fucked up, or was it merely about getting a thrill from carrying a big sign with the word “fuck” on it?
Some protest messages seemed to have a local, rather than global, relevance. This protester, in the Philippines, for example, seems to be addressing Internet censorship that’s taking place there. “You shut down our Internet, we shut down your government.” Fair enough, although the ideal in a government is that it isn’t really somebody else’s. My concern with this sign is for how the message transfers over to politics in the United States, where it has been right wing fanatics who want to shut down the government, mostly in order to keep pushing for lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy, and in order to avoid environmental protections.
I see many messages from protesters saying that they’re protesting against corruption and for justice, but those are very general positions, much like saying that they’re protesting bad things, and marching for good things. I actually don’t see many messages of protest against NSA spying, though some suggested that would be the dominant issue.
I’m searching a huge number of sources created by the protesters themselves to try to discover what the Million Mask March seeks to achieve, but most of what I find seems to be an expression of a raw feeling that protests need to be taking place, and that a demonstration of outrage… against stuff… needs to be made. So we find ourselves with the widely distributed sign carried today by people across the world, reading:
The corrupt fear us.
The honest support us.
The heroic join us.
For what? To fight for honesty? Okay, I’ll be honest. I had a doughnut this morning, and I should have told my wife about it, but I didn’t. Is that the kind of honesty the Million Mask March is looking for?
Really, if the heroic join you, and the honest support you, what role is there in your protest movement for the confused, who are watching you, and noting that something seems to be going on, but don’t want to be co-opted by a movement that may end up supporting questionable political ideals and tactics?
At this point, the Million Mask March is like a petitioner showing up at the world’s front door with a blank piece of paper, asking everyone to sign their names in agreement, or be counted among “the corrupt”.
The corrupt don’t fear you, dear ones. The corrupt ones chuckle at you for a second, then get back to their business. Get your thoughts organized, and then the corrupt may start to take notice.