You Cannot Negotiate with Iran?

by Ron Paul

Note: I wrote these words on the 4th September this year. It turns out that I was broadly right. Mr Obama took a big risk, and now seems to have outflanked the neo-cons. We can all be grateful to him. Here is what I wrote:

Since the only notice I take of America is to loathe it and wish for its collapse, I may not be best qualified to comment on its internal politics. However, I suspect Mr Obama is playing a clever game. He doesn’t want another war in the Middle East. He opposed the Iraq War. He’s spent five years saying no to an attack on Iran. Going to war in Syria will probably mean fighting Iran and annoying the Russians and Chinese. The best outcome of an intervention will do nothing for him or his friends. So, having been nagged rotten by the whole gang of crazed neo-cons into supporting their war, he’s broken the rules of the game. He was expected to press all the buttons on his own authority, and let the Congressmen make prosy speeches about supporting the Government, and then vote the necessary funds and shut up. What he’s done instead is to tell these people to decide for him. That means the sticky-fingered drunkards and debauchees the Americans turn out in diminishing numbers to re-elect will have to get up on their hind legs in public and risk losing their meal tickets at the next election. If they vote yes to war, and – as it almost certainly will – it goes tits up, Mr Obama drags them down with him. If they vote no, he can shrug and go back to doing whatever else he’d rather do. It also means he can sack a few of the warmongers forced on him.

Most of his opponents assume that Mr Obama is just a stupid black man who has been elected twice by various ethnic voting blocs. I suspect he’s a great deal cleverer than they are. Of course, both propositions may be true. To succeed in American politics, you only need to gabble a few set phrases in front of the television cameras, and know which bribes to take. Beyond that, an IQ in the low 70s is probably an advantage. But I suspect – or hope – that Mr Obama really is clever. He may be the most effective President his country has had since the second Mr Roosevelt. The difference is that, where Mr R inflicted America on the world for three generations, Mr O seems to want all its rottenness to curdle at home. I know which I prefer.

We shall see. SIG

You Cannot Negotiate With Iran?

by Rep. Ron Paul, December 02, 2013

You cannot negotiate with Iran. That is what they told us for years. The Iranian leadership is too fanatical, they are not rational actors, they are “not like us.” One US official even recently said that deception is part of the Iranian DNA. But just over a week ago negotiations between the five permanent UN Security Council Members plus Germany and the Iranians produced an historic agreement that may be first step toward a new era in US relations with the Middle East.

As Middle East expert Eric Margolis pointed out this week, for Iran’s major concessions it will only receive “$7 billion – of its own money, which has been frozen abroad by US-led sanctions.” That sounds like quite a bit of compromise for such a “fanatical” country.

Earlier this summer the same people made the same arguments about Syria. You cannot negotiate with Syrian President Assad, they said. He is insane; he is another Hitler. But not only was it possible, a deal was signed ending the threat of a US strike in exchange for Syria agreeing to give up its chemical weapons and the ability to manufacture new ones. Syria upheld its end of the agreement and the chemicals were all accounted for on schedule.

Why have the interventionists, the neocons, and the special interest groups claimed for so long that negotiation and diplomacy was tantamount to surrender; that countries such as Iran and Syria “only understand force”? It is because these groups are afraid of diplomacy. They do not want a peaceful resolution to these conflicts. They see US foreign relations only in the starkest terms: do what we say and we will give you aid, disobey us and we will bomb you.

Now the warmongers who call themselves “foreign policy experts” have been exposed. The whole world sees that they are wrong. Their advice is bad. Their limited vision of how foreign affairs should be conducted is actually dangerous to the United States. It is now clear that there are workable alternatives.

As with the US threats against Syria, public opinion polls on talks with Iran demonstrate that the American people are solidly behind diplomacy and opposed to another war. According to one recent poll, Americans support the deal reached with Iran by a margin of two-to-one.

Congress, however, is once again far behind the American people. Even as US negotiators were reaching agreement with their Iranian counterparts, US representatives and Senators were drafting legislation to increase sanctions on Iran. Instead of listening to the American people, many in Congress seem attached to special interests like the Israel and Saudi lobbies, which oppose anything less than full Iranian capitulation. Israel refuses to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty yet it seeks to dictate the rules of the treaty to those who have signed it. Saudi Arabia is desperate to control the region politically and economically, and it views an Iran that is free to sell oil and other products on the open market as a threat to Saudi power.

For too long both Israel and the Saudis have benefited from a US military guarantee. It has created “moral hazard” that only encourages more belligerent behavior on both of their parts. It remains to be seen whether this six month trial period will develop into a permanent move toward normalization of relations with Iran. What if Congress refuses to give Iran its own money back? But we are moving in the right direction and we should be optimistic.

A better US relationship with Iran may signal the beginning of the end of US meddling in the region and serve as an incentive for Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Gulf States to solve their problems themselves. This would be a great boost to US national security, just as an Iran open to US business and trade would be a great boost to our economic security. Is peace finally breaking out? Let’s hope so.

41 responses to “You Cannot Negotiate with Iran?

  1. Julie near Chicago

    Thank you, Sean, for your gracious good wishes for my country. We can use all the friends we can get. Just like you folks across the Pond. :>)

    It’s interesting to see that there’s so little daylight between Paul the Elder and his buddy the hard-Leftist Kucinich, and that we are able to read the former’s vomitus on the pages of the Libertarian Alliance’s weblog.

    As for the Sith, It may or may not have the gift of cunning, but a Great Mind he is not; although it’s been clear all along that Its wish is to make Zimbabwe out of America. It’s been saying so (though not phrasing it that way) since well before 2008, and never gave anyone any reason to disbelieve It. Perhaps LA’s readership will understand Its current stance vis-á-vis the ME (and the economy, and the Health Fraud Act, and the courting of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the inclusion of open Communists in powerful positions in this “administration,” and … and … and … ) better once it grasps this simple fact.

    The hilarious thing is that It also enjoys posturing as “the leader of the Free World” — a position that is, currently, unfilled.

  2. I am a little baffled by statements like “It’s wish is to make Zimbabwe out of America”. I cannot see any difference between Obama and any other US Second Wave Progressives. His intention, like those of his fellows, does not appear reasonably to be “Zimbabwe” but rather to make of America that “shining city on the hill”, the delusion that has accursed them as a people.

    The thing about Paulism that is so disastrously unpalatable to too many Americans is the idea that the USA should be just another country. It seems very likely though that after their century of hegemony (which followed our century of hegemony) that they are in a not dissimilar state to how we were in 1913; the world’s superpower, and about to lose it all. The British psyche survived that because of a natural capacity for self-deprecation. The end of Empire was thus not seen as catastrophe, and while we may complain about British governments “managing the decline”, that was what they had to do and what they did, in retrospect, with some success. For a people whose whole sense of self-worth is predicated on a belief in an intrinsic superiority of nature, this transition in the USA is likely to go much less well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it collapse into Balkanism- particularly, the North[1] and South[2] finally breaking apart as fingers start pointing at whose fault it is.

    An interesting century ahead, I think.

    [1] Puritan agrarians from East Anglia
    [2] Scots-Irish pastoralists

  3. Just to add about Obama, what I was trying to say was that I am not entirely convinced that he is especially Marxist. He certainly was brought up in a profoundly marxist upbringing; the problem I have is that the same can be said of the whole New Left. Tony Blair’s New Labour project consisted almost entirely of “former” Communists, while Ed Miliband, who may well be our next prime minister, is the lesser son of one of the most odious, influential post-war marxists on record.

    (I admit to a particular loathing of Miliband; his way of thanking the country that gave him refuge from the Holocaust was to spend his life trying to destroy it.)

    So is Obama any more malign than the rest of his fellows? I’m not sure. I daresay Paul will set me right though :)

  4. Julie near Chicago

    No, Ian, Obama is NOT just another Progressive, unless by “Second-Wave Progressives” you mean out-and-out Communists, the ones who “nudged” the already-leftward Progressives into real Communism by taking over their name and extending their agenda, which, whatever else, had NOT been to diminish America.

    Obama’s plan was specifically stated to be to “fundamentally transform America.” And he explained that to its own people, every country is exceptional, the message being “so don’t flatter yourselves.”

    You see, Obama is like you, Ian, in that he sees no value in America as she is–still less, as she was intended to be. (That’s not our beef with Paul the Elder, by the way. He’s become a fool, but it’s not that he wants to change or diminish America–except, perhaps, insofar as he feels as if America is the country that defeated the Confederacy. I don’t know whether that kind of alienation is a part of his problem or not, but I do know he’s hung with a crowd of that sort for many years. Only lately did he come to break with Lew Rockwell, I believe, but now he’s picked up other far-Lefties to run with. But our problem with him is that he’s gotten locked into an “America is evil” mindset based on an incomprehensible ignorance of history from, say, 1953 on, and from mindset he’s absolutely not about to countenance ANY self-defensive actions on our part. So we see him as DANGEROUS, because we know he won’t stick up for us in a pinch.)

    He’s the battered wife who explains to the cops or her therapist why her husband has to beat her, because she keeps doing wrong things.

    But Obama actively wants us to be a country where the government will decide who gets what and who can do what. This is distinctly not Paullian, by the way. His vision is of a State controlled by the few, with just enough “freedom” to keep the slaves mollified.

    Somebody said Obama doesn’t really want to be President, and that, I think, might be true. Dictator, yes, because the totalitarian Dictator cannot be held accountable by the slaves. But a President has to make decisions that will make things turn out well for the country to whom he’s responsible, and “the buck stops here.” Well, the buck most certainly, and famously, does NOT stop with Obama.

    So in this he is like Mugabe. The other piece of him is like Péron (Eva more even than Juan? This I cannot say), and all the dictators who are also wealthy rock-star wannabe’s–also like Mugabe, yes. Fidel. Mao–whether he chose to parade the rock-star side or not, he certainly insisted on Adoration, although that might have been calculated politics, to make it easier to get away with the horrors he wreaked on the Chinese people.

    Obama is another horse altogether from the corrupt, Progressive Clintons. They, as I’ve said all along and as others have also said, are Americans in a way that Obama is not. They will never put America ahead of the Clintons; but they are not so stupid as to want to kill the goose, although they could easily do so through their own greed and blindness.

    There is the difference.
    . . .
    As for Americans generally…no, we do not wish to see America diminished, let alone broken or rendered a nullity. We know that some horrible things have been done in our name, and where they could have been avoided we wish with all our hearts that they had been; but we also know that “we” are guilty of far less than some would like to hang on us, and that some of the horrible things we’ve done were necessary given the circumstances at the time.

    On balance, however, we do believe America has been a force for the kind of good that is available to countries. And we are, rightly, proud of that. We would like to see it continue. And wouldn’t you, and the rest of the world, share the planet with a country whose people have no designs at all on your country nor any others? Most of us do not, you know. Most of us are live-and-let-live types, who would prefer to go about our business without having to worry about being ambushed or anything.

    But we do have to go armed, after all … to our sorrow, as well as yours.

    . . .

    War and Obama. I think I speak for almost all Americans when I say that Obama’s military policies, such as they are, have nothing to do with what any sensible person would think is good for America.

    • Explaining that Mr Obama is bad for America doesn’t touch my argument. I don’t care what he does to America, so long as we don’t get sucked into America’s wars. This is not an American blog, and American visitors should get used to the fact that most of us care more about our own country than theirs. If they want to find that shocking, tough titty.

    • Saving only the Old White Dominions of the Empire, who are Family and thus are special, America ought to be our best and truest friend in the world. I live in eternal hope that this could always be so.

      (Digression: Like Germany, France ought to be a true and good old friend also, almost on a par with The Dominions, since we once owned most of France and almost got the lot in 1421, but this will still sadly take some doing – many years I fear.)

      I have often had “free and frank discussions” with my colleague Sean, who on many political issues is more knowledgeable than I am about American history and politics. However, he knows that I “do not entirely share” his views about the USA, since I feel that on occasion he confuses “America” (which is 300 million astonished individuals) with its prevailing political enemy-class, which is of course Nazi as everyone knows, just like ours here. That’s why they cuddle up to each other at dinners and stuff like that.

      Until America caught the potentially-incurable-disease of Socialism, sometime probably in the early 20th century – probably through sharing dirty professors and intellectuals with contaminated European aukarkies, and thus fatally-compomising its immune-system – this deep friendship might have been inevitably so. No excuses based on a foreign war (whichever bit you like – it has all been one war since 1752) would have been necessary.

      Yes, I would like the American People to be our good and old and dear friends. This never results in bad things if it can be done.

  5. Julie near Chicago

    It must be wonderful, Ian, to be able to see through to the very hearts of us Americans. :>)

    I can’t help wondering whether some Britishers are perhaps still discombobulated by having lost first your American colonies, and then your Empire, as a result of which you suffer from an advanced case of jealousy, which also renders you completely unable to see that we Americans are mostly rather solidly ANTI-Imperialistic ourselves.

    You see, I can psychologize too.

    Most of us are not Progressives of any sort, you know, and certainly not the Teddy Roosevelt type. Nor are we in the slightest interested in world domination or some such tinpot trinket–although most Americans think, or at least hope, that “democracy” is a synonym for “freedom” and as such would like to see it taken up worldwide; and even that is changing, as more people become aware of the pickle we’re in and start to learn a little more about the nature of our system as a Constitutional Republic and definitely not a majoritarian-style unlimited democracy. And being, basically, a benevolent bunch (at least when it’s not too inconvenient), we hope the rest of the world will settle down and that the various governments will allow their people freedom too.

    • Most of us don’t object to the loss of Empire, and usually get on very well with the former subject races. What we don’t like about America is that its ruling class and ours have turned us into a subject race. We don’t like that, and I think it a fine bargain if the price of slithering out of it is the utter destruction of the United States.

    • Julie, your people were right to leave us in 1776. It was the best thing you ever did, saving helping us later on here and there.

      We were wrong to try and keep you if you wanted to go.

      America is, in my opinion, our First Child.

  6. Julie near Chicago

    Oh, your other comment, Ian. I think O’s basic worldview probably is Marxist, in the sense that that really seems to have been the cultural constant in his life. Well, except perhaps for whatever contact he had with his stepfather.

    So I could imagine that he functions from that basis as a kind of wind-up toy, the winding having been done by various people, Frank Marshall Davis, etc., etc., culminating in the Community Organizing training that was Alinsky’s legacy.

    He’s pretty clearly alienated from any recognizable American sensibility. He does not understand the American project (which consists, really, just of persons’ being left alone by their governments as long as they’re not grossly misbehaving), nor does he wish to. It is not the desire of the Marxist to see people improve their lot; rather, the Marxist’s wish is to Improve people himself. (Not just Marxists, either, unfortunately. There are always candidates for Messiahship.) I think that in part O is in this tradition. But I also think that his ultimate object of worship is — himself, and that any ideology he holds will fall if he feels it might require him to forgo first adulation, and then money and power (or the illusion of it).

    By the time we’re his age, most of us have learned that we’re not actually going to Change the World. At least not in the cosmic, one-swell-foop sense.

    • I don’t care if he’s a Marxist or a Moslem, or if he’s a crack-smoking homosexual from Kenya. I don’t care if he’s building gas chambers for the Amish, or wants to declare himself President for life. I judge Mr Obama purely by his effect on my country. By that standard, he’s been our best ever Yankee Overlord. He let us run away from Iraq, and doesn’t ask too much of us in Afghanistan. He hasn’t dragged us into war in Syria. He’s making up with the Iranians. Sooner or later, he will run seriously out of money, and will probably make savings by pulling his army of occupation out of England. Because he doesn’t think we are any use to him, he will leave us alone.

      I’m delighted with the man. I hope the next President of America will be another black lefty. Or I’d settle for someone with a very brown face and an impenetrable Mexican accent. Any American who can’t understand this should acquire the mental flexibility to realise that the sun doesn’t rise and set in Hicksville.

  7. Julie near Chicago

    Clarification, my comment at 6:11 above:

    This is distinctly not Paullian, by the way. OBAMA’s vision is of a State controlled by the few, with just enough ersatz “freedom” to keep the slaves mollified.

  8. This post was headlined as by Ron Paul – when actually it is just a Sean Gabb rant (with a couple of paragraphs by Ron Paul tacked on at the end – and I suspect that Dr Paul was not shown the Sean Gabb post).

    No most of Barack Obama’s opponents do NOT think he is a “stupid black man” – Sean stop smearing tens of millions of human beings as racists.

    As for the idea that only “neo cons” are opposed to the deal with the Iranian “Hastener” regime (the Iranian regime. from the Supreme Leader on down, wanting nuclear weapons so that they may use them – and thus “hasten” the coming of the Hidden Imam) – actually the leading neocon publication, the Economist, is wildly in favour of the deal.

    They (the Economist publication) have made the deal with the Irainain regime their front cover story – claiming that it may “unlock the Middle East” – the neocon position being based on the fundamental misunderstanding that peace-and-democracy can and should be spread in the Islamic world.

    So this post is either an extreme example of either Sean Gabb ignorance or Sean Gabb “naughtiness” – his practice of saying things he knows not to be true, for the purpose of causing irritation.

    Schoolboy behaviour. At least in a school where there is no cane for cheek.

  9. As for the few paragraphs by Ron Paul at the end of the Sean Gabb post.

    These are well intentioned (unlike Sean Gabb’s writing – Sean’s intentions are rarely good), but harmful – specifically harmful to the campaign of the son of Ron Paul, Rand Paul.

    There are three possible outcomes to the present situation.

    Either the Iranian regime will be overthrown (Supreme Leader and all) – as nearly happened in 2009 (sadly Mr Obama undermined the efforts of the Iranian people to overthrow the regime).

    Or the Israelis will attack the Iranian nuclear development bases – it may require a nuclear attack to be sure of destroying them (as some are underground or buried in the sides of mountains – and some of the conventional weapons, and delivery systems, that the Americans have the Israelis do not have).

    Or the Iranian regime will succeed in its aim of using nuclear weapons on Israeli civilian targets (cities) in an effort to “Hasten” the return of the Hidden Imam. The present deal with the Iranian regime being much the same as the deal with the North Koreans – which led to the North Korean nuclear bomb (the difference being the North Koreans have no religious reason to use their nuclear weapons, although they may use them at some point, whereas the Iranian regime does have a reason to use nuclear weapons).

    Whichever one of these three outcomes happens the Lew Rockwell style absurd paragraphs (supposedly written by Ron Paul) will harm the Rand Paul campaign in 2016.

    Full disclosure – I would like to see Dr Rand Paul elected President of the United States in November 2016.

    However, for this to happen Rand Paul will have to convince his father to stop this sort of stuff being written and published in his name.

  10. Well Julie, I don’t want to get into an angry argument, but that is quite a reaction to my simple proposition (and, so you tell me, Obama’s) that America is not “exceptional” but merely a country like all the others. And this is the problem, I think.

    In this regard, America reminds me of a little girl who has been told too often that she is the prettiest little girl in the world, and has come to believe it; and thus if somebody dares tell her that she a perfectly fine little girl but not really that special, she has an extravagant fit of bawling and then declares that such an observation must be due to jealousy of her; because she is, after all, the prettiest little girl in the world.

    I just want to pick up on this;

    unless by “Second-Wave Progressives” you mean out-and-out Communists, the ones who “nudged” the already-leftward Progressives into real Communism by taking over their name and extending their agenda, which, whatever else, had NOT been to diminish America.

    I have a problem with this, because I don’t thnk it fits to history. Clearly the Progressives and the Marxists have merged, so the question is, who got absorbed into who? And I think all the evidence is that it was the marxists who got absorbed into the progressives, rather than the progressives being nudged into “real communism”.

    I think the most clear way of settling this would be to look at what the modern left are trying to achieve; and basically every campaign of theirs is quite clearly either a direct continuation (or revival) of a progressive era campaign, while it is entirely impossible to discern a single communist goal in their programme. I’d ask you to consider Marx, Engels or Lenin falling through time and landing at a modern leftist gathering; imagine their bafflement at the feminism, gay rights, anti-industrialism, save the polar bears buffoonery and a vote on condemning transgenderphobia. Our bearded intellectuals sit and wait to hear of the emancipation of the proletariat, and wait and wait, and it never comes. There is no interest in ending capitalism; what they do desire, as they always have, is a tightly regulated capitalism which incorporates compulsory provision for the poor. I am no fan of Obama, but I cannot see anything in his programme which is more marxist than that- Obamacare for instance is, from a European point of view, a very tepid form of State healthcare, riddled with corporate pork and the usual American establishment circle jerking. It’s a far cry from the dictatorship of the proletariat. Indeed when you compare Obama to what FDR intended for the New Deal and, indeed, the astonishing levels of State control of the US economy in general in the decades prior to Reagan, he looks like a moderate.

    The USA dallied terrifyingly close to a form of fascism during the 20th century (the lobby most close to trying to revive that being the Neocons) and it seems, to me as an outsider, the current political struggle is not so much about overall levels of statism as a revival of the Jeffersonians versus Hamiltonians (anti-federalism vs federalism), hence most of the argument is about whether the statism should be at the state or federal level. None of it seems to me to really have much to do with communism, which is more of a scare-word being thrown about by anti-federalists. The Libertarian argument should be about something rather different, which is the total level of state intereference from any level from the parish council up to the highest, which to digress is one reason I think us Europeans need a distinctly non-American form of libertarianism, to avoid getting embroiled in the inappropriate American narrative which, at the moment, is as I just said, this federalism issue.

    And in summation, I just don’t buy into this “land of the free” stuff. Not from the country that banned beer, for fuck’s sake. That one historical fact alone should indicate to anybody that there is something profoundly wrong with the USA in terms of liberty, and there has been for a very long time.

  11. Paul-

    (the Iranian regime. from the Supreme Leader on down, wanting nuclear weapons so that they may use them – and thus “hasten” the coming of the Hidden Imam)

    Whenever I read something like this, I’m reminded of those leftists who used to insist that Ronald Reagan and Caspar Weinberger were plannng to fight the final battle with nuclear weapons at Meggido and thus immanentise the Eschaton. I didn’t believe that either.

  12. Julie–I agree with Mr Gabb about the American state (which is the enemy of us all). The American people–well I have no animosity to them at all.
    Obama is sinister scum–no doubt. His NDAA and other capers are deeply sinister–but they are all at it. You can say the US blazed the trail to tyranny but what is happening has more to do with the fact that the state’s hold is slipping and they are terrified of the disasters to come (which they have brought on themselves–and us worse luck).

    The Iran deal is ok as far as it goes–but we must not forget that Iran is a scum regime of murder/torture and must ultimately fall from within. I don’t think they want nuclear Armageddon, islamists or not. Lew Rockwell has the right spirit but is too fond of the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” concept–sometimes they are your enemy also.

    America is special in so far as it adhered to the dream of freedom. Unfortunately, scumbags have tried to undermine that right from the off and have now mostly succeeded.

  13. Looking back at what I wrote, i may have got the emphasis a little wrong in downplaying the marxism. Perhaps a better way of summing what I am proposing is that the current thing, whatever you want to call it (PC, New Left etc) is Anglospheric, particularly American, social concerns powered by a Marxist theoretical engine. So the end result would look less recognisably like “communism” as we have seen it as a like a kind of internationalist fascism; economically for instance that would mean a “market” in nominally private hands, but in practise indistinguishably merged with the State.

  14. I was not aware that either Ronald Reagan or Casper Weinberger were “Hasterners” Ian.

    The Supreme Leader of Iran is a “hastener” (the supposed moderate President was approved on to the candidate list by him – not a surprise as this man was a servant of the Supreme Leader for years).

    There is no dispute about what “Hastener” theology is.

    Israel must attack or be destroyed – it is as simple as that, And if the Israelis do not have the courage to do what must be done (even if it means using nuclear weapons – if that is the only way) then they have learned nothing from Jewish history. If someone repeatedly says that they are your enemy and mean to destroy you (as the Iranian regime has repeatedly said) then one must kill them first. Not sit about waiting for the Americans.

    As Mohammed repeatedly showed – “talks” and treaties of peace and friendship have only function, to lull a target into a false sense of security before one launches a surprise attack (to sign a treaty of peace before launching a surprise attack was a favoured tactic of Mohammed).

    By the way – you still do not seem to understand Barack Obama (a lifelong Marxist – someone who did not have to be converted to Marxism at university as he already was one before he even arrived at Occidental).

    I always ask the same question about Barack Obama – when did he STOP being a Marxist?

    He was a Marxist as a child – thanks to his mother and to Frank Marshall Davis (and to Pops), he was a Marxist at Occidental, he was a Marxist at Columbia (all the major Marxist conferences in New York City in the period have Barack Obama in attendance), he was a Marxist at Harvard Law (a friend of all the leading Marxist academics there – and there are many), and he was a Marxist over 20 years in Chicago (before and after Harvard Law) working with Rev. J. Wright, Bill Ayers and the rest of the Comrades.

    So when did Barack STOP being a Marxist – was it January 20th 2009?.

    Even the (deliberate and planned for from the start) consequences of Obamacare appear to be unknown to you.

    The private insurance companies will be bankrupted (over time) and the “private providers” (the crony capitalists) who play ball with the government, will be discredited and replaced (just as the student loan providers were).

    Again this is hardly a secret – leftists (the people who actually wrote the hundreds of pages of the “Affordable Care Act” which Congress passed without reading) made speeches at conferences explaining their intent to their followers.

    That leaves doctors who provide treatment directly – for payment straight from individuals.

    Watch out for them being forced to take Medicare and Medicaid people. “We have to do something about the doctor shortage” – forced labour is slavery, but the government has been happy with that for a long time (after all “Civil Rights” is based on forced labour [based on slavery] – being forced to do serve people one does not wish to do business with).

    As Rand Paul correctly summed up matters.

    “Obamacare will end up with Americans being pushed into some version of Medicaid”.

    Still you are in good company Ian – after all in 2008 Jamie Dimon (of J.P. Morgan Chase) thought he could control Barack Obama (make him his instrument).

    I wonder what the Board of Directors of J.P. Morgan Chase now think of that judgement – now that the 13 billion Dollar fine (for doing the things the government TOLD J.P. Morgan Chase to do) has come down – on top of all the other fines and regulations (such as Frank-Dodd).

    “A young lady took a ride on a tiger……..”

    And it has hardly started yet.

  15. Of course that should really read “Dodd-Frank-Obama”.

    I loved that (nasty person that I am) the three politicians in Washington D.C. who got the most money from the bankers (Senators Dodd and Obama and Member of Congress Chairman Barney Frank) were the ones who stuck in the knife (there will be many more knives to follow – as A.G. Holder just showed).

    The “libertarian” left pretend that the money paid by business enterprises to Washington politicians is control money – actually it is Protection Money.

    And it does not work – not in the end.

    Of the three Senator (nor President) Obama is a Marxist, former Congressman once Chairman of the Banking Committee Barney Frank was a democratic socialist and former Senator Dodd had no clear political beliefs (he appears to have been in politics for the money).

    Yet Protection Money did not work with any of these three people – not even Dodd (who took the money then betrayed them anyway – what can they do? sue him?).

    It is wasted money.

    And that does not even cover the bankers who actually believe in watered down versions of the collectivist ideology themselves.

    And many financial services people actually do – at least to some extent.

    After all they are university people.

    And what has someone like me got to offer them?

    “All lending should be from REAL SAVINGS” – their comfortable lives would be over if that was followed.

    It would be like offering “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” in the 1935 General Election.

    As Stanley Baldwin pointed out – it would have been electoral suicide to take a hard line on the Nazis in 1935.

    The Labour Party (then pledged to get rid of the RAF and so on) would have won the election had the Conservatives taken a tough line on the Nazis in the 1935 General Election.

  16. Julie near Chicago

    Dear Sean,

    Calm down, you’ve got your knickers in a twist over a very mild observation to the effect that you were being rude to your American guests by trashing their family. If this is the worst rebuke you ever receive, you must be in heaven with the angels.

    To state the absolutely obvious, for the record: Yes, this is your weblog. Yes, you have every right to say whatever you please, regardless of who does or doesn’t like it. And you have the right to ban anybody you want, for any reason whatsoever, including simply that you’re feeling liverish.

    However, you dish out the hate (to which you admit in your posting here, when you state that you loathe America and wish for its collapse) in heaping barrelsful every so often, and eventually, I, who care about my country just as much as you do about yours, feel I must protest. If you can’t stand that, ban me and we’ll be done with it. I hope you don’t, though; there are some people here whose postings and especially comments I look forward to and (mostly) enjoy.

    Speaking of protest, I’d suggest you take out your resentment on your own government, rather than on us. You folks elected your MP’s and wound up with Tony Blair, not we. And P.M. Blair decided Britain would join the Coalition, not Pres. Bush nor any other American.

    It might interest you to know that there’s some buzz over here to the effect that in fact P.M. Blair pushed us to remove Saddam, rather than the reverse.

    I sorrow for the loss of your soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I thank your country for joining with us to end Saddam’s horrible regime, and to try to render the ME a safer place for us all.

    I will also apologize to you and your country for botching the peace after Saddam was gone.

    Heck, I’ll even apologize for not supporting you folks over Suez, assuming that what I’ve read about that is correct. A very bad mistake on our part.

    As for the current unspeakable mess, this I do lay on Obama and his (HIS!) choice of disgusting advisors. And his ME actions are mostly repudiated by most folks over here, except for some of the pontificators.

    Finally, I want to point out that I was addressing YOU only in the first paragraph of my initial comment. The remainder of that comment was intended to address the posting itself, not you. The rest of my responses were part of my conversation with Ian.


  17. Everybody do nice thoughts now please. I just sat with my cat Cassie while she died, and I need a libertarian group hug.

    • Ian – Sorry to hear about the cat. Losing a pet can be very painful. I’ve lost three dogs in my lifetime. The last time it happened was so awful that I resolved not to have any more pets.

      Anyone who hasn’t had pets can find it difficult to understand the bonds that form between people and animals. When I was at university, I was grabbed by a Biology student who assured me repeatedly that animals weren’t conscious in our sense. I thought at the time he’d have to say that – after all, he spent his days torturing rabbits. My experience is that the larger mammals are very like us. They know love and anger and loyalty. They have a sense of humour. They dream. They lack our capacity for speech and rational thought, but are not at all stupid.

      I’m glad your cat didn’t suffer too much. She had a better death than most. But all my sympathies.

  18. Julie near Chicago


    I’m not interested in an angry exchange either. I wrote my comments last night in a spirit of trying to explain how things look to us.

    I’d like you to know that I didn’t really absorb your second comment (I think it was), the one ending with the smilie, until I was through posting the meaty remarks. I took it as a sign that you wanted to end on a convivial note, and the bit about Paul was a good little touch of humor. Gracefully done and much appreciated.

    Now, you wrote:

    ‘His intention, like those of his fellows, [appears to be] to make of America that “shining city on the hill”, the delusion that has accursed them as a people.’

    You couldn’t be more wrong about that, I assure you, but what I want to point out is that when I said, “You see, Obama is like you, Ian, in that he sees no value in America as she is–still less, as she was intended to be,” it was specifically in response to your statement above. Your stance (not just here, but in many of your postings) is that you wish America were different and she’s just a pain in the neck as she is. If that’s not saying you dis-value America, I don’t know what is. However, what I want to explain is that my comment was intended to be substantive, to convey actual information; I did not intend it as a jab.

    Following the quote above, you wrote this:

    “The thing about Paulism that is so disastrously unpalatable to too many Americans is the idea that the USA should be just another country. … For a people whose whole sense of self-worth is predicated on a belief in an intrinsic superiority of nature, this transition in the USA is likely to go much less well.”

    And here, I have to ask: Can you spell “chutzpah”? *g* No, Ian, you do not have a direct telepathic connection to the hearts and minds of Americans generally. That remark of yours is a patronizing piece of psychologizing, and it’s beneath you.

    . . .

    Leaving those two comments out of it, I thought we had a pretty good discussion. Again, my aim was simply to try to explain my take on O, and to point out some places where I believe you and others misunderstand Americans.

    Pace. :>)

  19. Julie near Chicago

    Ian, I am SO sorry. I do know how you feel, having been there myself. Here is a really huge hug, and a shoulder with a nice thick towel on it as well, if you need it.

  20. Julie near Chicago

    How old was Cassie? Has she been ill? How long have you had her? What sort of puss is she? And, do you have pictures?

  21. Quasimodo Jones

    Condolences, Ian B. Pets can be better friends than humans. Hope you can find comfort in both the past and the future. :)

  22. Julie near Chicago

    David, thanks for the moral support. Most of us, at least in my generation, think of Britain as our mother country and hold her in very high regard, or so I believe. (LOL–even if Mr. Marks did once say something to the effect that Americans tend to have a rather “sappy” Anglophilia!)

    My own view has been that our American basic way of looking at things (that’s only one way to put it, but I mean to include values and philosophy, insofar as we have one in common, and more besides) comes from a blending of the Judeo-Christian, the Græco-Roman, and the Anglo-Saxon or British outlooks, understandings, ways of doing things. Paul corrected me by pointing out the Germanic strain, so now there are these four. And I have thought for a long time that there’s much too little emphasis put on the British strand of philosophy and law and understanding of the world in general.

  23. Julie near Chicago

    Mr. Ecks, that’s a very interesting comment. There’s not a great deal in it that I’d argue with, given your view of “the State” as something that is completely separate from and does not include the rank-and-file citizenry. Whereas to me the State is the whole body of the people, with the government ostensibly there to navigate us through foreign affairs (and provide some sort of “protection” of persons and property, which for the federal govt. should be mainly national defense).

    I don’t mean that I think this is an entirely accurate representation of things as they are today. It’s more the ideal that I think we should be holding in mind and aiming to approach more closely.

  24. Thanks for the hugs :)

    Julie, Cassie was 13, an ordinary tabby moggie who me and my then partner got from a rescue agency when she was a little under a year old. It was originally my partner who wanted a cat, but Cassie sort of cleaved to me as primary carer/servant, so when we split up I got the cat and Gill got the curtains, which was a good deal, and Cassie has been my familiar ever since.

    She was diagnosed with liver cancer six months ago. She pottered along with it pretty well as the tumour got bigger and the rest of her got thinner and thinner, but she didn’t seem to be distressed and was still eating fine until a few hours before she died. She was startig to get mobility problems though and I was thinking about it getting to the point of euthanasia, so I’m glad she went on her own; I had actually said to her a couple times this week that maybe she ought to think about moving on. Yesterday afternoon I nodded off for a nap, when I woke up she was in convulsions on the bathroom floor, so I just sat with her til she passed on.

    She was a very outdoors cat; during the summer I would barely see her, except when she came in for food. She even slept outdoors. She wouldn’t eat much cat food then either; I suspect she was mostly living off the land, so to speak. Then there would be some very particular day when she’d decided winter had arrived, and switch to being an indoors cat for the winter, until a particular spring day would arrive and she decided it was summer again, and she disappeared once more outside.

    I’m more upset than I thought I would be; I was quite blase about her impending death until it actually happened. I keep crying when I think of her sleeping peacefully on my lap just a few hours ago. I’m just about to go out and bury her, wrapped in a favourite old sweater she slept on, with her shoelace (the only toy she would ever play with) and a couple of the treat sticks she liked. Here I am, an atheist, burying a cat with grave goods like an ancient Egyptian. This makes no sense.

    I fear I am made of insufficiently stern stuff for the libertarian revolution of the proletariat. Unless David can create a position called Interior Minister For Soppy Old Cat Lovers.

  25. Very sorry to hear about your cat Ian.
    As a rationalist, you must concede that neither side of the case is proven in the matter of God (whatever you may think most likely) and so it is still possible at least that you and Cassie may yet meet again.

  26. I am sorry to hear about the death of your cat Ian.
    I remember when I had pets – and how sorry I was when they died.

    As for life after this one – and meeting our friends again.

    If God is good – then he will not punish people for the “crime” of not believing in Him.

    And to say that to deny Heaven to beings that God created is not a punishment – seems like a dodge.

    God (if He exists) did not have to create the universe – He choose to. And thus accepted moral responsibility for the beings He created (just as a mother and father have a moral responsibility to their children).

    That includes the beings in the universe – including humans and our animal friends.

  27. I may be an atheist, but am also a libertarian, so I believe I do not have the right to impose my opinion regarding the supernatural on others, and that includes cats. Hence I have sent Cassie on her way (perhaps) to the afterlife with the feline essentials: something to sleep on, something to eat, and something to play with. Just in case. :)

  28. Julie near Chicago

    Ian, thank you so much for giving us this little picture of Cassie. I love her decisiveness as to “Now is the day when Summer begins,” with lifestyle adjusted accordingly, and then “Now is the day when Winter starts,” and going inside so as not to miss the holidays and all.

    And I’m more delighted than I can tell you that she had the run of the countryside during the appropriate seasons, and also that it seems to have been relatively easy for her until the very end. :>)))

    I am glad you sent her off with her shoelace. If you and I are ill-informed (which I admit would not distress me at all), then I am sure she’s looking at you from Wherever with great Cat-love.

  29. Julie near Chicago

    Paul, your comment above at 9:45 — I have reached the exact same conclusions myself, which I think is interesting, given that I’m not a believer any more.

    . . .

    But the fact is, my outlook on the world is certainly informed with the (version of the) Christian culture that was my cradle and is still my home. I should think that O’s outlook would be similarly nearly-indelibly informed by some version of the Marxist outlook and culture.

    What we do with our outlooks is something else, of course.

  30. Julie people can break with their upbringing and education – but it takes real effort and there is always suffering involved.

    A “long dark night of the soul” – even when no religious change is involved. I have seen people give up the Marxist faith (and it is a faith) and they show signs that Mr Obama has never shown.

    He (Mr Obama) has gone through life in a bubble – never questioning what he has been taught. And his unquestioning (uncritical) cast of mind has served him well.

    After all he did not have the grades to get into Columbia (Occidental was paid to accept him – which is fair enough) or Harvard Law – he was admitted by the influence of academic “friends” – people who would not have been friends to a non Comrade.

    Ditto with his job at Chicago – he had only one published article (which was not really his) yet was given a job at the University of Chicago. This would not happen without “fiends”.

    The job as a lawyer was the same.

    No normal young lawyer would be allowed to spend his days at the office with his “feet on the desk” trying to write his autobiography.

    A normal young lawyer would be told “you have not had a life yet – so you have nothing to write about, and you should be writing at home anyway, and there is also this thing called WORK which is what you are supposed to be doing here”. His only client appears to have been ACORN.

    Ditto with the jobs on Charity Boards, and the seat on the Illinois State Legislature (with everyone else on the Democrat Primary ballot struck off – an election with one candidate).

    To open his mind to critical thinking would have meant throwing all this away.

    It would have meant a life of hard work – of suffering and pain.

    As for religion……….

    As Thomas Aquinas pointed out – although faith and philosophy are different there can be no fundamental conflict between them (as reason is the most important gift of God).

    Bad philosophy can not (can not) be good theology.

    And. as the Scholastics pointed out, natural law is the law of God – but if God did not exist, natural law would be exactly the same.

  31. Ian – ritual is indeed important.

    If grave goods help – there is nothing wrong with them.

    I have never understood the hostility to “ritual” that one sees in a lot of people (including the post Vatican II Roman Catholic Church)

    There is nothing wrong (and a lot right) with art, music, and formal language.

    Or being part of a tradition that has existed for centuries before one was born and will carry on long after one is dead.

    I think this is actually especially true for atheists.

    And new traditions can be developed – and incorporated into life.

    If they pass “the rest of time”.

    The effort to start everything from a “blank sheet” in the modern age has been a failure.

    Not just a material failure – but also a spiritual failure.

    And one does not need to be religious to see that.

    In fact I suspect it is more important for atheists.

    But they must not be “empty rituals” – people must live the ritual (feel it – in practical life) or they decay and die.

  32. Thanks Paul.

    You also see hostility to ritual among the radical Protestants; worship should not to be enjoyed, spartan places of worship, no music; they smashed the organs and the stained glass windows etc. Hence my argument that Puritanism is in a sense dehumanising. There is a danger in unrestrained hedonism, but also in the ruthless suppression of it; as I always argue, the free actions of individuals will find a level.

    This is just as true if there is a free market in religion. Those who want a sombre form of worship can choose such a church; those who want a jolly good sing-song can go to another, and so on.

    It’s interesting how this sort of struggle tends to repeat itself; there were the Byzantine Iconoclasts for instance, who no doubt Sean knows much more about than I do. I find it hard to believe that a society that devotes itself ideologically to “plainness” is likely to be a nice place to live. Islamism (in cultural terms) is another current example. People need to indulge the emotional, in some form. This is true when contemplating both life, and death.

  33. Julie near Chicago

    Paul — Re the Sith, Marxism, and breaking out: Yes indeed.

    (My point was, Given his entire background, why would one expect him not to be a Marxist?)

    By the way, you wrote:

    “A normal young lawyer would be told “you have not had a life yet – so you have nothing to write about …

    Well said!

    A very long time ago, some young person who wanted, I guess, recognition as either a pundit or a philosopher, complained to either Miss Rand or Nathaniel Branden that no one seemed interested in publishing his ideas. And the response was to the effect that he must have experience, he must have accomplished something in the real world, first.