The Hypocrisy That Wasn’t

Longtime readers know that my opinion of Rand Paul isn’t high but my opinion of intellectually dishonest people is even lower. The story that Rand Paul has decided to go to Canada to receive medical treatment has been spreading like wildfire in socialist circles. A proponent of capitalism is going to a country with socialized medicine in order to receive treatment seems like a great demonstration of hypocrisy after all. However, the socialists sharing this story have forgotten one major fact: although Canada is a land of socialized medicine, a handful of private facilities still exist. This minor detail is important because it turns out that Rand Paul is going to one of those private facilities:

Those who chuckled at this supposed irony missed a major detail, even though it was noted in the press coverage: Paul’s surgery will take place at the Shouldice Hernia Hospital in Thornhill, Ontario. The clinic is private, and run for profit; The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, who is from Thornhill, notes that it was “grandfathered in to Ontario’s socialized health system.”

Instead of demonstrating Rand Paul’s hypocrisy, this story demonstrates one of my pet peeves: biased nuance. When you criticize the actions of an individual those who consider themselves on the same side as that individual will analyze your criticism with a fine-tooth comb in the hopes of finding a detail that calls your criticism into doubt. That same level of concern isn’t take for criticisms made against perceived opponents.

If you see a criticism of somebody you perceive to be an opponent, do a little digging before you share that story with your ideological circlejerk. It’ll save you from looking like a fool when somebody on that individual’s “side” analyzes the criticism and finds details putting it into doubt.

Rand Paul Threatening a Filibuster Should Be Treated as Guarantee of Passage

I have quite a few friends who remain deluded about the political process in this country. They still believe that the right man in the right office can reverse the course of the United Police States of America. With Ron Paul retired the hopes and dreams of these poor fools lies with Rand Paul.

The federal government is going through its yearly ritual of renewing its surveillance powers. As with previous years, this year’s ritual involves the members of the House and Senate pretending to debate whether or not they’re going to renew their own powers. Those who still believe in the political process also believe that these debates are genuine. Since they believe the debates are genuine they also believe that somebody like Rand Paul can prevent the passage of a bill by filibustering it. Several of my friends told me that Rand Paul would stop the renewal of the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. I told them that Rand Paul wasn’t going to stop shit, which proved to be correct.

I also pointed out the historical precedent, which is when Rand Paul attempts to filibuster a bill the bill ends up passing. Now there’s another data point to add to that precedent:

The Senate has voted to reauthorize a controversial legal authority that enables vast government surveillance programs, including spying operations used by the NSA.

The bill was passed 65 to 34, and now moves to President Trump’s desk. He is expected to sign it into law. Earlier this week, a group of senators threatened to filibuster the bill, but lawmakers cleared a 60-vote hurdle earlier this week that allowed them to block the attempt.

The bill allows for continued spying operations under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Critics charge that the bill, which renews 702 and powers National Security Agency spying, is nominally for foreign targets, but allows the government to sweep up American communications with few safeguards.

Although this post probably comes off as a criticism of Rand Paul, it’s really a criticism of those who continue to believe in the political system.

The political system of the United States, like the political system of every nation, is designed to concentrate power in the hands of the ruling class. The Founding Fathers, like the founders of almost every nation, claimed otherwise and many people foolishly believed and continue to believe them. But the results speak for themselves. George Washington himself lead a military force to deal with rebellious whiskey distillers during his stint in office and the federal government has only continued to expand its power since. At no point in the United States’ history has the federal government’s power receded in any meaningful way.

After more than two centuries you would think that people would catch on. But they haven’t nor are they likely to do so.

Shutting Down the Opposition

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, which will keep the government’s surveillance powers as they have been for ages now. I’m of the opinion that the bill will pass with little or no alterations. However, several of my political friends have challenged my opinion on the grounds that Rand Paul announced that he was going to filibuster the bill. I responded by stating that Rand Paul won’t accomplish jack shit and if history is any indicator his act of filibustering the bill will just ensure its passage. I’m not one to not say I told you so, so let me just say that I told you so:

The Senate voted 60-38 this afternoon in favor of cloture to end debate and to prevent any amendments prior to a formal up-down vote on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. (Small clarification: Debate will be limited to 30 hours prior to the vote. So Paul and Wyden and others will be able to speak at length, but they won’t be able to stop the vote.)

Where is your god now?

I’ve noted on many occasions that the State has builtin redundancies. Any apparent exploit that could be used to hold back its expansion can be bypassed with another form of defense. For example, the threat of a filibuster can be bypassed by voting to put a cap on the length of each individual’s argument. These redundancies prevent upstarts or well meaning individuals from accomplishing anything of note via the political process.

Redundancies in the System

The State has redundant layers of protection to defend itself from being meaningfully changed. We see this every time a police officer is fired for excessive use of force but is then later rehired because the union forced the department’s hand. But the redundancies don’t stop there. When a government goon goes rouge the system quickly moves to stop them from doing any damage.

Rand Paul, while mostly a run of the mill statist, has moments where he decides to go off of the rails. The Republicans have been crafting their Obamacare replacement bill in secret. Since he wasn’t invited to the party, Rand decided to grab a camera crew and attempt to bust into the secret meeting only to be stopped by armed guards:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday blasted House Republicans for keeping their ObamaCare repeal and replace legislation under wraps.

“I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view,” Paul tweeted.


Reporters later tweeted photos of the senator attempting to access the room where the bill is being kept, and being denied entry.

It was a good publicity stunt and it shows why the electoral process is not an effective means of changing the system. Even when voters manage to elect somebody who is mostly unoffensive to the State, like Rand Paul, he’s unable to make even minor maneuvers against the status quo. His father, likewise, was almost entirely ineffective as a politician because of the system’s redundant layers of protection. No matter how hard you vote you’re still playing in a system designed by the people in power.

Bigotry By Any Other Name

To the cheers of neocon everywhere Donald Trump said he wanted to prohibit all Muslims from entering the United States. Those of us who would rather not see a future where we have to hide Muslims under our floorboards to prevent the Gestapo from finding them Trump’s announcement was much reviled. Hoping to capitalize on those of us who found Trump’s announcement disgusting, the Rand Rapid Response Rangers quickly moved in to promote their messiah. There’s just one problem though. Rand Paul also wants to use his collectivist beliefs to discriminate against an entire group:

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Tuesday that rival Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country was a “mistake,” even though it was similar to a plan Paul already proposed to halt immigration from the Middle East.

Trump had said Monday that he wanted to implement a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. Paul was asked to respond to Trump’s statement during an interview with New Hampshire radio station WGIR.

“I think it’s a mistake to base immigration or moratoriums based on religion,” Paul said. “But you know, I’ve called for something similar, which is a moratorium based on high risk.”

When somebody proposes to discriminate against people based on religion everybody loses their head. But when somebody proposes to discriminate against people based on imaginary lines on a map everybody seems totally fine with it. Imaginary lines, like religion, tell us nothing about specific individuals. Prohibiting people from a specific country is no different than prohibiting people of a specific religion. Flags are no better indicators of a individual’s character than holy books.

Rand Paul Supports Having A Powerful Federal Government

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Rand Paul. Unlike his father, Rand is an inconsistent man that sways whatever way the political winds are blowing. His supporters, or the Rand Rapid Response Team as I like to call them, are always quick to claim he is just playing politics to win the presidency so he can beat Americans in the head with liberty. They never seem to have an answer as to why Rand, upon winning office (which he’ll never do), don’t continue to play politics to get a second term but I digress. From an anarchist point of view Rand is a tyrant through and through. But even from a small government point of view Rand is a tyrant. For example, his latest tirade was against so-called sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities, for those who don’t follow the neocon news cycle, are supposed cities that refuse to enforce immigration laws. Neocons, Rand Paul included, really hate them:

Among those jumping on the anti-sanctuary-city bandwagon was presidential candidate and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Paul proudly introduced the PACT Act (“Protecting American Citizens Together,” ugh), because, as he states in his office’s emailed press release, “Our nation now has whole cities and states who stand up and willingly defy federal immigration laws in order to protect illegal immigrants who have broken our nation’s laws. This must end and it must end now. My bill makes it clear, the American people will not stand for cities harboring violent criminals.”

The bill would cut off a range of federal law enforcement grants to localities from any city daring to go its own way on enforcing federal immigration law. This, from a politician who generally sells himself as a strong federalist welcoming local experimentation, especially when, as with marijuana law, respect for local decisions might halt government interference with people’s lives for no good reason. Medical marijuana states are themselves “defying” federal laws, yet that doesn’t bother Paul on principle.

Kudos on the name. The PACT Act not only rhymes but it’s a backronym! Obviously my anarchist perspective doesn’t give any value to the imaginary lines that separate one tyrannical regime from another but even if I channel my long-dead small government memory Rand’s actions are inconsistent with liberty.

Anybody who believes in decentralizing power, which is what small government advocates claim to believe, should approve of an individual state or city deciding who they want to let live there. What business is it of the federal government who an individual state or city chooses to allow in?

Neocons have a hard-on for hating “illegal” immigrants. Rand Paul is a candidate for the Republican Party and therefore has to appeal to neocons. Time and again he has showing a willingness to do whatever is necessary to please is neocon base, which will always hate him because of who his father is, and even go so far as to introduce legislation to push the neocon agenda forward. If Rand merely pandered to the neocons then the Rand Rapid Response Team may have some grounds on which to claim their messiah was just playing politics. But the guy is introducing anti-liberty legislation in addition to pandering.

Obviously I’m not going to tell you what to do, especially when it comes to politics since I don’t play that game anymore. But I will severely judge anybody who claims to be an advocate of liberty and a supporter of Rand Paul. The two things are not equivalent.

Rand Paul Wants To Bring Back Religious Profiling

Here’s a reminder, for those who need it, that Rand Paul is not a libertarian nor an advocate of liberty. After the shooting in Chattanooga the presidential wannabe took some time out of his busy schedule to urge for the reimplementation of a program that almost exclusively profiles Muslims entering the country:

Yet, Paul commented to Breitbart:

I’m going to have our subcommittee and maybe committee in Homeland Security look into whether or not we could reinstitute this NSEERS [National Security Entry Exit Registration System] program.

So what did this program do? It not only singled out Muslims entering the country for extra interrogation at the airport (which is stupid because if they pose a threat then why grant them a visa at all?), it required Muslim foreign boys and men over 16 years already in the country to personally appear before Uncle Sam’s functionaries and register. Explains the Migration Policy Institute:

Registration includes a meeting with an immigration official where the interviewees are fingerprinted (both digitally and with ink), photographed, and asked a series of questions under oath. In addition to the initial registration, foreign visitors must also appear at a U.S. immigration office within 10 days of the one-year anniversary date of initial registration. All of these foreign visitors are required to complete a departure check only at a designated departure port (of which there are approximately 100 nationwide) on the same day that they intend to leave the country. Willful refusal to register is a criminal violation; overstaying a visa is a civil violation.

Expecting terrorists to voluntarily stroll to an immigration office to be fingerprinted and IDed is absurd, of course. So the entirely predictable upshot of the program was that although it managed to obtain not a single terrorism-related conviction, it did ruin plenty of lives of peaceful Muslims caught in its dragnet. Consider the case of Abdulameer Yousef Habeeb, a refugee from Iraq. As per the ACLU:

he was lawfully admitted to the United States after suffering imprisonment and torture by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Habeeb was on a train from Seattle to Washington, D.C., to start a new life when Border Patrol agents singled him out for questioning without any individualized suspicion. As a refugee, Habeeb was not required to register with NSEERS, but when he showed the border agents his refugee documentation, the agents insisted—incorrectly—that he was in violation of NSEERS’ registration requirements. Detained for a week, Habeeb lost his job. Habeeb was terrified of being returned to Iraq, yet the government stubbornly continued deportation proceedings for six weeks. Ultimately, after the ACLU filed suit, Habeeb won an apology from the government stating: “[T]he United States of America acknowledges that, by not registering under NSEERS, you did nothing wrong [and] regrets the mistake.”

Paul maintains that immigration is not a right; it’s a privilege. But the Constitution guarantees immigrants in the country the same due process and other basic rights as citizens because it understands that a Leviathan that is authorized to abuse the rights of one set of people is not likely to respect those of others for very long.

I checked the link that explains what NSEERS is and it clearly noted that, “Except for North Korea, nearly all of the countries designated in Special Registration are predominantly Arab and Muslim.” In other words this program places special restrictions on people from specific countries that grants Border Patrol agents the right to harass them without cause. Even somebody who advocates for controlled immigration should acknowledge that placing additional restrictions on specific people is not an acceptable way of handling immigration. It’s necessarily collectivist in nature, which should be the first clue that it’s a bad program, since it focuses on where a person is from and not the person themselves.

Unlike his father, who was a true advocate for liberty, Rand Paul isn’t even pretending to be an advocate for liberty anymore. He just wants to be president and will say anything that he thinks will gain him the nomination. If he gets elected there is absolutely no reason to believe he won’t continue this trend of kowtowing to neocons as he will likely want a second term.

Dumbest Thing You’ll Read All Day

Salon has a long running track record of trying to disagree with libertarians on everything. Sometimes this causes it problem. For example, due to the publication’s idiotic claims that Rand Paul is a libertarian (he’s not by any definition I use) it has to disagree with everything he does. Rand has been claiming he opposes the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program and that means Salon has had to find a reason to back peddle on its previous opposition of the same so it doesn’t find itself on the same side as Rand. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you the dumbest thing you’ll read all day:

Perhaps to those like Sen. Rand Paul who’ve never had to fight assumptions based on one’s ethnicity or the color of one’s skin, the thought of cell phone data being pooled and analyzed is disconcerting. However, as someone who regularly puts up with extra scrutiny, whether it’s at an airport or a shopping mall, I welcome the leveling of the playing field that bulk data collection brings. I urge our government not to follow the Russian method of profiling, but, instead, to use bulk data collection to arrive at objective analyses.

That’s right, opposing surveillance is now white privilege. I’m not sure how that is since persecuted minorities have the most to lose from the NSA’s surveillance. The data it collects isn’t used to clear anybody, it’s only used when it can lead to somebody’s prosecution. With everything being illegal in this country anything you say at any point is likely incriminating to the right prosecutor. If you’re part of a targeted minority, such as Muslims, the last thing you want to do is have the NSA collect your phone calls because something you said could very well be used to fabricate charges to justify putting you in a cage.

Rand Paul’s Worst Nightmare

A lot of libertarians who went through the Republican nomination process in a futile attempt to get Ron Paul nominated have been pointing out Rand’s chances are basically nil. But the nomination process isn’t the only thing that may stop Rand’s campaign in its tracks. He has a wily competitor for president and that competitor has a secret weapon:

Vermin is also known for using his fairy dust to turn democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry gay back in 2012. Odds are good Rand is aware of this tactic, and that may be his motivation to keep Vermin away. In an interview this afternoon, Vermin acknowledged it’s possible that Rand fears being turned gay, and would not comment on whether he has any fairy dust in his possession, calling that a “closely held secret.” Rand better hope Vermin isn’t holding any fairy dust. He can’t afford to go gay, as he’ll lose his base of conservative homophobic anti-gay marriage supporters and thereby any shot at winning the primary.

Being turned gay by Vermin Supreme (and let’s be honest, almost any man would turn gay for Vermin Supreme) would not only end Rand’s presidential run but his political career. There are two things that will ensure the Republican Party base won’t support you: being gay or Muslim.

With that said it’s nice to see Vermin Supreme entering the race once again. He’s the only presidential candidate I’m willing to endorse. Although I’m wary of his dental reeducation camps his promises of zombie power and free ponies are needed if this nation is to rise to glory. I doubt any other candidate stands a chance against him and am willing to call it now: Vermin Supreme will be the next president of the United States (so long as Emperor Norton allows it, of course).

The Best We’re Going to Get

The biggest downside to Rand Paul running for president is that Rand Paul is running for president. Normally I wouldn’t care but I’m a libertarian and that has caused a lot of people to ask me what my opinion of Rand is. To make matters worse they expect my response to be positive and get upset when it’s not. Usually they say some variation of “He’s the best we’re going to get!”

That’s like marrying an abusive significant other because you think that they’re the best you’re going to get. You shouldn’t settle for shit just because your other suitors are slightly shittier. Spend some time being single, or in this case not involved in politics, and enjoy your life until something genuinely good comes around.