1/5/08

Paul's No Obama

Michael O'Neill of Sag Harbor (aka, MO) rips Ron Paul for his phony libertarianism when it comes to his oppressive views on immigration. MO concludes that Paul is no Obama. Amen!

I am not at all surprised Ron Paul didn't quite get to Phoenix on Tuesday, as his adepts promised all of us. Phoenix the bird arising from the ashes, not the Arizona hot spot, whence came libertarianism as an ideology that Goldwater rode as his horse into ignominious defeat as avatar of Republican ideology which the intellectually bereft could rally around. No matter the spin after the Iowa trouncing. How typical of the adepts, ever so anxious to show how impure are St. Paul's rivals, they appear to be blind to or they dismiss or would like to diminish St. Paul's pandering contradictions, conforming to the Repubs' mantras of invective, disinformation and lies against immigrants, documented and undocumented.

For all of Ron Paul's railing against big government, the coercive force of the state maintained by police tactics, for declaring his anarchist view that government is best starved, withered away and then drowned down the drain, because government is fundamentally immoral, restricting personal rights to not pay any taxes and taking away liberty. It's as plain as the nose on his face, or rather it should be to the rest of us, that undocumented immigrants are the very best example of a free people living outside the grid of an oppressive central government's repressive laws.

They do for themselves as Libertarians like to claim is their goal. Libertarians should be at the very front line of protecting immigrants living outside the law, if Libertarianism should mean something, anything other than gussied-up selfishness and hoarding for the few promulgated by the grand ole party. Where is his vaunted indignation at our government using violence when used against immigrants. Where is his putative indignation at government surveillance against all of its residents, documented or undoc'd?

Where is this heroic Libertarian credo against spying, recording, taping, searching, beating, jailing and exiling innocent people? Paul lacks the common sense, the judgment, the character and integrity of Obama, Kuncinich, Gravel, Richardson, Edwards and Clinton, et al. How disappointing it must be for the Paulies to see him succumb to the tawdry impulse to pander to a certain swathe of the GOP's activist base of flat earth fundamentalists, as is the case with his most recent campaign advertisement on immigration policy. It is a shameful ad, endorsed by St. Paul himself that ran all over the state just prior to Iowa's caucuses.

His ad has a 5 point program on immigration:

1.) No amnesty: What meanness and ingratitude, besides being a nonsensical twist of language legitimizing vindictiveness at the racist core of Repuke Minimen Know Nothing American Patriots. Tens of thousands of immigrants have been here over 15 yrs and more, and are still in the process of gaining status. Even ICE admit there is a 12 yr backlog in application processing. Immigration is a process not a fait accompli.

The campesinos know well the U.S embassy will never give them a visa as it is well documented that the poor, the uneducated, the unskilled will have no chance to obtain a visa from any embassy, except for exceptional cases. These hard working immigrants have earned the right to due process and the gratitude of our nation for their outstanding and measurable contributions to our well being. They have paid their debt many times over.

Nobody, but not one candidate or pro-immigrant group is recommending amnesty. All agree that people who have worked here should pay fines for whatever civil scofflaw against immigration rules, which are a civil, not a criminal offense, which might have been broken. But, in the Repuke's stance of rhetoric, deportation for 12 million undoc immigrants is feasible, no matter the Nazi-like tactics urged like cordoning off large blocks and systematically searching out all undocumented or raids by armed deputized thugs in the night like the southern bounty hunters deputized by municipalities to seek out run away slaves.

Undocumented immigrants have paid $550 billion (with a b) into the Social Security "rainy day fund" of which they most likely will never see one red penny. Their contributions which amount to $50 billion a year is what keeps SS solvent. Yet, that doesn't cut hay with the Paulies, I know, as they wish to privatize SS so retirees can remain pure and not suffer under a welfare state that will rob them of their dignity, their ability to do for themselves. Paul has urged the government to give over policing the border to paramilitaries. And don't think that is idle harangue. Blackwater has already moved into a 500 acre compound, next to the Mexican border where they can dance with the sugar plum fairies of U.S. treasury billions from federal heaven.

2.) No welfare benefits. This is deliberate disinformation on St. Paul's part and even contradicts what he espoused before the Latino Univision debate. He well knows that present policy forbids an immigrant, documented or undoc'd from receiving any welfare benefit for the first 5 years and under no circumstances for the undoc'd. Instead of imposing this cruel and unwise law, he lies about it, just like all the other Repuke candidates, giving the distinct impression that immigrants have swelled the ranks of welfare recipients, which they (we) all know is false. Paul remains perfectly silent over the discrimination against all those refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants who do not come from Cuban and Israel. Immigrants do not come here to receive stingy, starvation levels of welfare aid. It is well established and even legendary how hard works the poor immigrant.

The massive welfare is taken by subsidized agricultural corporations and tax policies that let the corporations off with myriad tax sheltering of billions for which Paul voted. All this shit about welfare taking away the dignity of those in need and robs them of the wherewithal to seek work, save and pay their own way is made a mockery when Paul voted to permit the heirs of the wealthy not to pay inheritance tax, which evidently will not play havoc on the children of the wealthy. This is part of the massive lie that undocumented immigrants are criminals since they are illegal beings, which has become the ideological tautology of the far right, mainstreamed by the corporate media and the Repub Party as family values.

3.) End birthright citizenship. This is a variant of the racist "anchor baby" those lazy darkies fuck all day and party all night) rhetoric of the hard right. Shame on Paul for his sleazy unconstitutional proposals pandering to the screech choir of nativists and Know Nothings. What pious hypocrisy for Paul to pose as a strict Constitutionalist or even a somewhat lax one, for that matter.

4.) Secure the border with physical barriers. He knows this is a stupid waste of enormous sums of money and manpower, expanding significantly the power and reach of our government. Worse, Paul knows it is futile and misleading to attempt physical barriers to immigration. He had said so himself previously. Fundamentally, he succumbs to the hoary lie that the darkies are terrorists and threaten the security of the U.S.A. This is a very old charge of American nativists, first hurled in the late 19th Century.

Look up accounts of the deportation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in forced marches of 1916 across the searing Sonora desert from Bisbee to the border by armed vigilantes on horseback in the Bisbee Bee. In those newspaper accounts Mexicans are referred to as terrorists. Of course these terrorists had their properties confiscated and given over to the most enthusiastic vigilantes. Remember between 1854 to 1900 there were 305 documented lynching of Mexican and Mexican American terrorists in Texas alone. How painful it must be to have to support this kind of racism coming directly out of all the pandering Repuke candidates, including Paul.

5.) End student visas from terrorist nations. This might be the most unconstitutional proposal put forth by Paul. While pandering to AIPAC and Christian Zionist fundamentalist propaganda, it insidiously gives legitimacy to an official policy of collective punishment. We seem not to mind the terrorists if they are Cuban émigrés or other erstwhile allies of the U.S. like Israeli settlers. Would it be fair to deny visas to American students' study abroad programs because of crimes committed by Bush/Cheney? Paul favors wasting billions to build a futile wall that he well knows will not deter immigration outside of regular channels.

The presentation of this ad is constructed to impart a fear mongering approval for the anti-immigrant hate that is being deliberately and systematically fanned by the Republican wing of the latter-day Know Nothing Party redux.

The imagery of dusky-skinned immigrants swarming into the country is a classic Brown Peril trope, as is the ominous voice-over informing us: “Today, illegal immigrants violate our borders and overwhelm our hospitals, schools, and social services.” While in the Univision debate, Paul sang an entirely different corrido tune: “But we have to realize where the resentment [against immigrants] comes from. I believe it's related to our economy." Well, duh.

"When the economy is weakening,” he relates "and there's resentment because of our welfare system – jobs are going overseas; our good jobs, [and] pay is going down.... There's a lot of resentments because the welfare system is based on mandates from the federal government to put pressure on states like Florida and Texas to provide services which the local taxpayers resent. Some of our hospitals are closing. So it's an economic issue, too. If we deal with the welfare state and a healthy economy and a sound money [system] and all this wasteful spending overseas, we would have a healthy economy; I think this problem [with illegal immigration] would be greatly reduced.”

Now, this bit of contradiction is not just pandering to a Latino audience. In the Newsweek interview he showed how aware he was of the unfairness of scapegoating immigrants for the economic deterioration of the American middle class under his party's policies. Policies his nostrums would make even worse. Paul reflected on the fact that as an obstetrician he delivered children now referred to as “anchor babies” who were “immediately put on [welfare] benefits. They can get housing allowances, food allowances, and Americans resent it because our economy is weak.... I want a healthy economy. Then we will be able to have a much more generous immigration policy, which would fit my personal philosophy and our Constitution.”

And again, this time before the Des Moines Register editorial interview related in which he elaborated on the dangers of enforced multiculturalism, including bilingualism and welfare benefits for non-citizens all of which are all about as big a problem as flag burning in the U.S. He goes on to say: "I'm also convinced that if we didn't have the welfare state, this would be a non-issue. If we had sound money, no welfare state, and we were thriving.... It's because we're having these economic problems that I say the illegal alien becomes an easy scapegoat." But that was then, now he sees that fund raising and attention can be obtained by his revising his stance to fit more fully with for what the Repuke mob is screaming: good óle American Patriot
racist gore.

This supposedly astute economist totally ignores the now overwhelming evidence presented by academic scholars establishing indisputably that immigrants contribute much more to our economy than they take in services. While still expressed in the context of his continuous, steadfast drumbeat against government, welfare, SS, and healthcare for the poor, the weak and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant at least previously came out as a non-problem to Paul. That was then, but now with a little more fundraising to be done, more money needed, a lot more fame to be had tossing out red meat and. . .

Paul is either less than truthful or pandering to an anti-immigrant hatred being fanned by all Repuke candidates. Yet we are told Paul is different from those politicians, that he stands on principle and that his candor imparts his outsized credibility translated into popularity and electoral ascendancy. Yet with his own contradictory presentations, depending on his audience, the emperor stands naked admiring his raiment. On the issue of immigration as with so many other issues, Paul stands as just another unprincipled flack of Republicanism, without the courage of his cranky and feckless convictions.

And certainly not of Obama's pro-immigrant and courageous political stance, his principled refusal to scapegoat immigrants for the crimes and colossal ineptitude of Cheney/Bush and the Repuke majority Congress. For those who dismiss criticism of Paul's character as wanting, because immigration is just not really so important, I have to laugh. Immigration is nothing less than the single most important issue for the Repukes and they are desperately trying to make it the priority of the national political debate. Desperate, because they are incapable of running on anything else. To deny that, as does my neighbor Eileen, is to deny reality, which evidently doesn't seem to bother the St. Paulie adepts.

You can't say you admire and respect Obama, but work for Paul because he opposes the Iraqi war and imperialist bases around the world. His ideology or convictions are retrograde, warmed-over Republicanism based on isolationist indifference to the world. Anything, but progressive.

--mo
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