Ron Paul is a dick

>> Saturday, August 27, 2011

"We should be like 1900. We should be like 1940, 1950, 1960," Paul told a reporter for NBC News after a lunch-time speech in Gilford, N.H. "I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.”

"There's no magic about FEMA. They're a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don't have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states," Paul said. "A state can decide. We don't need somebody in Washington."
-Jason Volack, "Ron Paul: Who Needs FEMA Anyway?"
ABC News, August 26th

Just to be perfectly clear, this is what Paul is explicitly referring to when he mentions 1900 and Galveston in the same breath:

Wikipedia tells us that Galveston had a population of around 37,000 at the time and that death tolls in the wake of the so-called "Great Flood" were between 6,000 and 12,000, with the number usually pegged at around 8,000 lost in the catastrophe; i.e. somewhere between one-sixth to one-third of the entire population of an American city, wiped out. The only reason reports of the time didn't say the town looked like an atom bomb had hit it was because that technology was forty-five years away at the time; much of Galveston was reduced to splintered wood, with storm-mangled bodies trapped in the ruins and wreckage. It remains one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

No, nothing for the Federal government to care about one whit.

People wonder why the press is giving Paul so little attention this go-around. Well, he's a morally and intellectually bankrupt charlatan who will get exactly the same percentage of the primary vote as he has every other election cycle he's ever participated in, and won't be the Republican nominee for President; I'd make a joke about how it might happen if all his opponents get food poisoning in New Hampshire, but really, no, then the GOP would get Karl Rove or somebody. Sarah Palin will be a serious nominee before Ron Paul is. The only nearly-newsworthy thing about Paul is that he has this cult of devotees who send him lots of money that he blows on his hobby of running for President the same way Bible-thumpers on the TV blow their money on cars and houses, and just like the fact that little old ladies are sending their life's savings to Pastor Goodhair stops being "news" and becomes more of an unpleasant, inevitable and slightly-embarrassing fact--well, same principle goes for some middle-class libertarian with more money than sense; given Paul's negligible odds of ever being anyone actually worth paying attention to, campaign contributions are monies that could be better spent on cocaine and hookers (or if you insist on supporting libertarianism, spend it on gift subscriptions to Reason if you have to).

Sure, Michele Bachmann is just as intellectually bankrupt and vapid as Paul is, but she's a GOP presidential candidate with ladyparts (which is newsworthy, let's face it) and her numbers are a lot better than they ought to be (whereas Paul's are what they always are and ever should be); also, she's already knocked one of her rivals out of the race, something else Paul isn't going to do. Also, I mean, if the press wanted to ignore Bachmann, too, it isn't like that would hurt my feelings any.

But hey, Paul has finally made himself newsworthy if anybody in the press wants to flog him for it: "Presidential Candidate Says We Should Emulate That Time 8,000 People Died." "Referencing one of the worst natural disasters in American history, Representative Ron Paul said it was pretty much no big deal and happened all the time."

He's a tool.


EEH Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:01:00 PM EDT  

how could FEMA have helped? was the destruction and death caused or exacerbated by lack of federal response? because it seems to me that the destruction was caused by galveston being unprepared for such a storm. most people drowned or were crushed by debris. so, how is ron paul a dick? because a storm killed people? how would FEMA have stopped the storm surge? how would FEMA have raised the city by 12 feet? how would FEMA have kept the bridges from being washed away?

EEH Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:08:00 PM EDT  

Because let's be clear: Ron Paul is not saying thousands of people should have died in a flood or underneath their crushed houses, he's addressing the aftermath and the humane response.

Jeff Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:21:00 PM EDT  

To piggy back a bit onto EEH. I believe you missed the point from Ron Paul. His point is that state's should control their effort to respond to natural disasters. That a federally funded program does not work.

I think Katrina is a good example at FEMA's failing.

Now, I don't agree with his belief that people from across the country shouldn't help. I can't just see his point that the federal government shouldn't be involved.

But as it stands, you are grossly misinterpreting his statement if you believe he wants people to die.

Warner Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:28:00 PM EDT  

Ron Paul is a dick.

There are many reasons besides the one Eric posted, but it will suffice.

FEMA worked quite well prior to Bush, but it didn't work well in the hands of an incompetent who didn't turn on his TV before making bad statements.

Eric Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:28:00 PM EDT  

Ron Paul is a dick because he would go back to an era in which people who suffer a natural calamity--"preventable" or not--are pretty much on their own, living in Army tents and waiting for whatever charity people can round up for them. He's a dick because his response to 8,000 people dying and a major national port being obliterated would be, basically, "Enh, we'll see what happens." He's a dick because his attitude to one of the worst disasters in American history is that it isn't a big deal.

Paul is also a dick when he asks, "Why should somebody from the central part of the United States rebuild my house? Why shouldn't I have to buy my own insurance and protect about the potential dangers?” Why should I pay for his house not to blown up by terrorists, for his driveway to be connected to a road, for him not to be robbed at gunpoint by illiterate youths who might not have been roaming the streets if only I'd been "unfairly" hit up for Federal education and law enforcement grants to Paul's neighborhood? Why, indeed, have government at all? Some libertarians would say to settle contractual disputes, but hell, if I was worried about settling legal disputes I could buy myself a gun and take shooting lessons. (Why should I pay for you to have a court system for things like that when I could drive through your neighborhood shooting up the place until I got what I wanted?)

We have government precisely so we can collect taxes from everybody in a fair manner and pay for things like national defense and disaster relief, because that's better than the alternative and it works out to everyone's benefit as a group to do it that way, even if one or two whiners feel like they shouldn't have to take care of their fellow citizens (though many are happy to feed at the trough themselves; another dick thing Paul does is get Federal funding for his congressional district when he ought--as a matter of principle--ought to be refusing to bring home the bacon as my state's late, unlamented Senator Jesse Helms used to do back in the day--for all his faults, at least when Jesse said states shouldn't get taxpayer money, he made sure North Carolina got as little as possible when he was in Washington).

In 1900, there was no coordinated disaster relief. Any Federal relief was done on an ad hoc basis via passing special Congressional bills or by executive order deploying the United States Army to do whatever it could. There was no advance planning and no mustering of resources by the collected states bringing our joint resources to bear. This didn't work. It was inefficient, it was slow; instead of an agency being prepared for the unexpected, it was a matter of figuring out how to use whatever funds (if any) Congress set aside for disasters (something Congress started doing because allocating money on a case-by-case basis after each and every disaster caused delays and further losses). That's why FEMA was created in the first place.

Now, if you want to say FEMA is inefficient, should be funded differently, shouldn't be part of DHS, should function differently, should be reorganized, should be replaced--these are rational things that could be discussed. But what history shows us is that the way Paul wants it to be done is no good at all.

Eric Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:45:00 PM EDT  

While I was writing, Warner addressed Jeff's point: FEMA under Bush was grossly mismanaged, with key positions in FEMA and DHS being given as political prizes to underqualified candidates who were obviously overwhelmed by the disaster. FEMA's floundering after Katrina isn't a point against Federal disaster relief, it's a proof that nepotism can have dire consequences; guess what, sensible people already knew that.

As for Paul saying/not saying thousands of people should have died: no, he's saying the Federal government has no response to thousands of people dying unless a state asks for help at some unspecified point in the process. Which is how it was done for awhile, and it didn't work too well, which is why Congress and the Carter Administration went with creating FEMA. Furthermore, it's a misstatement to say that Paul is "addressing the aftermath and the humane response": anybody who treats the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 as no big deal ("...we deal with hurricanes all the time.") isn't concerned with the humane response; Paul is concerned with the political response, filtered through a naive and juvenile ideology that denies two of government's primary historic roles (funding and implementing civic projects) and its ideological role in American culture (" form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."). If Paul is concerned with humane response, he shouldn't be asking why somebody from the central United States ought to be rebuilding his house (the real implication being that he doesn't want to be asked to help build anybody else's house), he should be considering that he lives--for better or worse--in a Republic that Federally centralized under Lincoln and FDR in which we are all looking out for each other out of a mix of patriotism, moral duty and enlightened self-interest.

Do I think Paul wants people to die? No. Do I think he cares if they do? He doesn't sound like it.

EEH Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 1:55:00 PM EDT  

i'm glad you have more behind your statement. the next time you make an argument then, put your reasoning in the main body of the post, eh?

It seems you think that the people best equipped to handle a disaster are the feds, while Paul thinks the best response is voluntary and local. men of goodwill can disagree on that point, and still have humanities best interests in mind, no?

Janiece Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 2:36:00 PM EDT  

men of goodwill can disagree on that point, and still have humanities best interests in mind, no?

Only if those who believe the response should be voluntary and local can prove such a recommendation would actually, you know, work. You and Ron will have a hard time convincing anyone of that.

Also, I would contend that spanking the proprietor because he responded to your question re-actively rather than using his secret mind-reading powers to respond proactively doesn't make much sense. Just sayin'.

Eric Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 2:57:00 PM EDT  

Don't sweat it, Janiece, EEH is simply trying (here, and over at Facebook) to educate me in the finer points of logic and argument. I have surely learned something in the course of our exchanges, though perhaps not what was intended, and am content if things simmer down; I've said what I needed to, at least, and have little to add at this point.

Tom Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 3:05:00 PM EDT  

How could FEMA have helped? Well, of course it couldn't have done anything for Galveston in 1900, because it didn't exist. But if it did, it could have helped evacuate many of the people who stayed and died. It could have helped build a seawall before the disaster instead of after. It could have helped find and bury the bodies, which maybe wouldn't have been so many if there had been a FEMA available. There are lots of ways a Federal agency could have helped.

Even Ron Paul himself sees the value of insurance. Why shouldn't he have to get his own insurance to protect himself from disaster? He asks the question. Don't you see that the proper job a a nation is to protect its citizens? Aren't the government agencies Ron Paul wants to disband part of a large insurance policy for us, American citizens? The agencies that protect us against natural disasters by forecasting them. Helping ensure buildings aren't brought down by extreme weather, or by earthquakes? Protecting us against companies that sell us rotten meat, or bad drugs? How about the agencies that build roads so that emergency teams can get to where they're needed. Or certifying the emergency teams themselves. Or Corps of Engineers who build the levees and dams and such, for flood protection? These are all part of an insurance policy aimed at protecting Americans from the world at large. Unexpected disasters, and expected ones that can be planned for. But Ron Paul doesn't want government. Or at least he doesn't want to pay for it with taxes. He only wants insurance for himself, not for all of us. The "group" of American citizens can provide "group insurance" for us all.

But no, it should be done by the states. That way my state won't have to pay for your state. And if I don't like what my state says I should do, I can go to some other state, because I'm sure I can find some loophole somewhere else, if the government isn't doing for everybody. And I can use my money to influence a State better than I can to influence the Feds. And cheaper, too, probably.

As Eric pointed out, the Constitution which is so "loved" and misunderstood by "conservatives" and "libertarians" says, America was created to provide for Americans. The government's job is to do all these things that help its citizens, and the way to pay for them is taxes.

So, Eric, shame on you for making poor EEH read an entire post and all the comments before he finally sees that you have excellent points. He still doesn't see them as anything other than your "talking points" so he won't be swayed by them. His mind is already made up. Point out contradictions to him, and he'll forget them a few minutes after he leaves your post. "Men of good will can disagree..." Which means, "I'm going to ignore you rather than listen to your ideas."

Ron Paul is a dick because he contradicts himself. He wants to be selfish rather than socially responsible. He wants laws that apply to everyone else, but not to him. He wants all the benefits of government, without having to pay, in any way, for those benefits.

And, as you point out, Eric, most everybody has come around to where they know that. No one serious takes him seriously. Only people like poor EEH, who doesn't realize Ron Paul wants to take everything EEH has, too, without paying for it. EEH would be better off without Ron Paul, but he still supports him. This is exactly like chickens working hard to bring the ax to the farmer. Do you think the farmer will be grateful to the chickens? No, he'll just go ahead and chop off their heads. Chickens don't matter much.

Oh well.

Warner Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 3:25:00 PM EDT  

Also a big enough disaster, which Katrina arguably was, overwhelms a state government. It also shuts down roads, communications, power, food distribution, gasoline distribution and possibly has damaged/destroyed stockpiled equipment.

There is nobody telling a Katrina, that is disaster equipment don't touch.

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