For those of you who haven’t been keeping tabs on the massive, slow-moving trainwreck that is the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, the first movie cost $20 million and made $4,627,375 at the box office, while the second cost $10 million and made $3,336,053. The third had to be partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign that yielded a cool $446,907—we have to wait for the September release before formally declaring it a failure, but I think it’s safe to say we’re not looking at a blockbuster here. It gives one the warm fuzzies to realize that a movie based on Ayn Rand’s epic paean to capitalism is a failure by her own measure, since the free market has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Atlas Shrugged cinematic “franchise.”
But wait—the final installment will be pulling out all the stops!
After toying with the idea that the third installment could be made into a musical (not kidding, look it up), the Randroids are bringing out the biggest guns: Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist. Hannity was apparently already in the second one, but conservative weirdos really work best in an ensemble, don’t you think? Apparently the pundit guest-stars weren’t even given scripts but were instructed instead to just “riff” off protagonist John Galt’s ten hour monologue. This should give you an idea of the professionalism of the movie.
They say politics is just show business for ugly people, but when show business gets political, some of that ugly is gonna get on the silver screen. For a preview, check out Ron Paul’s feverish endorsement of Ayn Rand below. Watch the crazy old man give his book report. Do it.
This made me groan, but it didn’t really surprise me all that much either…
In 1988, a floppy disk was sent out as an invitation to a Ron Paul fundraiser hosted by Timothy Leary at his home in Benedict Canyon. That year Paul made his first bid for the White House on the Libertarian party ticket and Leary—given Paul’s stance on drug legalization—was a big fan.
A second disk, which may have been distributed to those attending the fundraiser, is signed by Leary with the following message:
“Thank you for joining me today in support of Ron Paul and the Libertarian Party. As we enter these closing years of the Roaring Twentieth Century, we’re going to see personal computers enhance our lives in ways we can scarcely imagine. Fellow Cyberpunk Chuck Hammill has helped me assemble a collection of bits and bytes you may enjoy.
“If you’re wise ... digitize!”
In agreement with Leary’s interests at the time, the disk contains software credited by the Libertech Project for those who “like the idea of techno-thwarting government abuse” and was “distributed free to Libertarians, Objectivists, Discordians, Cyberpunks, Survivalists, Soldiers of Fortune, Hackers, Entropists, Deltaphiles and similar types…”
The disk contains DOS programs generating fractal graphics and a copy of the paper, “From Crossbows to Cryptography: Thwarting the State via Technology” by Chuck Hammill, given at the Future of Freedom Conference in November 1987.
It’s hard to imagine what ultra-square Ron Paul would have made of Leary’s “futant” pals. I sure hope a videotape of this fundraising event shows up one day on YouTube!
Other prominent supporters of Ron Paul’s candidacy in 1988 were Jesse Ventura, Barry Goldwater, Ralph Nadar and Cynthia McKinney.
In case you’d like to peruse the uh… far-out newsletters that Republican Presidential Ron Paul published in the 80s and 90s, there are 50 of them posted online at the Et tu, Mr. Destructo? blog.
The newsletters, which were described by TPM’s Benjy Sarlin as “compar[ing] African Americans to zoo animals, warned of a coming race war, and generally promoted racist, anti-semitic, and fringe militia views” will still probably not convince Ron Paul fanatics of a damned thing!
“[...] there’s no way Paul could have been ignorant of the content [of] 8-12 page newsletters published under his name for over ten years. Paul supporters face three losing propositions:
• He lacks the competency to control content published under his own name for over a decade, and is thus unfit to lead a country.
• He doesn’t believe these things but considers them a useful political tool to motivate racist whites, which makes him fit to be a GOP candidate, but too obvious about it to win.
• He’s actually a racist, which makes him unfit to be a human being.
Further, you can’t dismiss this in the name of higher political or socioeconomic aspirations. Since Paul has no chance of winning — seriously, no chance at all — his only value is as a voice, a conduit for principles. And if your only hope is to change the discourse by amplifying ideas, you can do that via many voices and avenues. As I said in my Vice follow-up, acknowledging some of Paul’s good ideas, when you opt to support anti-imperialist and civil liberties ideals by supporting Paul the Candidate, you end up supporting everything else about him. That includes those newsletters and the unambiguous message to those who enjoy them: You can write these things and succeed; this works. The other good ideas to which he’s signatory can’t erase the fact that he put his name to those words printed above. The moral weight of those newsletters drags down even the most high-minded aspirations he has about civil liberties, and everything crashes down on all of us.
But his explanation is still relatively incomplete. As USA Today’s Jackie Kucinich noted on Thursday, when Paul responded to a similar controversy over the newsletters in a 1996 interview with the Dallas Morning News, he said that he was indeed aware of some of the offending passages and even offered explanations as to the thinking behind them. For example, he said a passage suggesting that “[g]iven the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal,” was based on outside research.
Video researcher Andrew Kaczynski unearthed a clip in 1995, before the newsletters had become an election issue in his district, in which Paul discussed the publication as one of his passion projects in his years out of Congress. He described it as a “political type of business, investment newsletter.”
Ron Paul’s base is by far the most devoted of any candidate and it’s unlikely the story, which came up in the 2008 election as well, will have much impact on his core supporters. But with Paul surging in Iowa and increasingly broadening his reach within the party, it might put a ceiling on his momentum.
In addition to the objectionable content of the newsletters, his odd explanation contrasts heavily with his hard-earned brand as an unconventional anti-politician who always tells the truth as he sees it and never waters down his views to pander to voters. It’s hard to square this with a candidate who claims that he somehow never bothered to read a newsletter published under his own name that generated as much as $1 million in revenues in just one single year. Even accepting that premise, how many politicians looking to start a publication would just happen to pick a half dozen writers with blatant white supremacist and milita leanings to run the effort?
Paultards, don’t shoot the messenger here. If you’re going to comment, comment on THIS STUFF, okay? Keep it ON THE TOPIC.
In the clip below, Paul discuses the newsletter at approx 1:40 in:
Before I post this, first I really must offer the obligatory disclaimer that I am not endorsing the person or candidacy of Rep. Ron Paul by publishing this video on DM. I won’t go into the reasons why because that only invites avalanches of angry rebuttals from his supporters, who feel very, very passionately about their candidate, and frankly I really just don’t care to hear it. But I’m not putting them down, either. This ability to be able to excite the passions of his base the way that Ron Paul does is a rare, and indeed enviable, quality for a politician to have. Furthermore it’s something that (usually) only comes about because the supporters see themselves as standing behind a person of principle and integrity and on those counts, I have no trouble giving Rep. Ron Paul his due.
Whilst Ron Paul is decidedly not my cup of tea, I do happen to agree with a whole heap of what he has to say on civil liberties, ending the drug war and a dramatically more isolationist American foreign policy. His views on the Military Industrial Complex are anything but wacky! On the flipside, there is just so much that alarms me about his other views that I could never come even close to being persuaded to pull the lever for him in a voting both. As I would classify my views as basically “Marxist,” these reasons should be obvious enough.
Having said all that, and although I would not like to see Ron Paul as the next President, I sure as shit would love to see him debate Obama.
I’d also love to see him throw a hand grenade into the heart of the Republican political establishment, which I think is coming. Some of Paul’s (better) ideas are getting a lot of traction and this is very alarming to the GOP elite, who never took him seriously. As you will hear repeated ad naseum in the weeks leading up to the 2012 Iowa Caucus, “Ron Paul can’t win nationally.” And that’s not the Democrats talking. The Republican establishment is scared stiff of the assent of Ron Paul, and will do everything they can to quash his candidacy.
Fun fact, in late December of 2011, Ron Paul is out-polling where John McCain was nationally this same week in 2007.
Holy shit is this one effective political ad. It comes to us via the Ron Paul presidential campaign. Regardless of what you think of the messenger —I’m not a Ron Paul fan, to be quite clear on that front— the argument laid out here is a devastating one.
The message in the ad resonates and just because this message comes from someone we disagree with on several issues, doesn’t make it any less valid or any less important to get out there.
Ignoring this ad just because you disagree with the messenger on other issues, would be akin to ignoring Barack Obama’s message on the plight of the middle class just because you disagree with his stance on marijuana.
And from a typography/motion graphics point of view, it’s quite well done. (In fact, it reminds me of the opening from my own 2001 UK TV show a bit. No wonder I like it…).
The video was adapted from speech given by Paul on March 11, 2009 called “Imagine.” The original text of the talk is below:
Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”
Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up checkpoints on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.
Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.
Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.
The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe-straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment towards us.
According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of re-evaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn’t stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. 50,000 troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.
Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.
Voice and Music was done by Jeremy Hoop. Video animation was done by Nicholas Bozman and MysteryBox.
A bipartisan measure to end federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana was introduced today in Congress for the first time since 1937.
The ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ was co-sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Texas Republican Ron Paul—- along with Reps. Cohen (D-TN), Conyers (D-MI), Polis (D-CO), and Lee (D-CA)—and would stop the Feds from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana. The law would remove THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, as well as the planet itself, from the “schedule” of the US Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
“The Marihuana Tax Act” was passed in 1937. Language in the new bill is similar to the language of the bill that repealed prohibition in 1933 and would nullify the conflicts between state laws—like here in California, where for all intents and purposes, pot is pretty much legal—and Federal drug laws.
It’s about time. They’ve been talking about legalizing cannabis since the Jimmy Carter administration. Enough already.