Ron Paul's pithy response to school shootings, and related problems

ThinkProgress reports on Libertarian/Republican Congressman Ron Paul's comments suggesting that armed guards in schools would create an Orwellian police state:

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

(Selection and emphasis by ThinkProgress)

This is an awesome point.  But ThinkProgress follows it up with many of the problems with Ron Paul's connected views -- which I think reflects the overall problems with Ron Paul's politics.  He's good at identifying major problems and standing up to them.  He's not so good at providing reasonable, evidence-based solutions to those problems.

Unfortunately, Paul also repeated several myths about guns in an attempt to equate calls for regulation of gun ownership with the NRA’s lunacy. His suggestion that “more guns equals less crime” is belied by the most recent research; the reverse is most likely true. Likewise, Paul’s claim that “private gun ownership prevents many shootings” is not supported by any real research. And the idea that gun control can’t work because “criminals don’t obey laws”misunderstands the several policy proposals on the table that would almost certainly save lives.

Paul appears to simply oppose any action to address gun murders, saying somewhat bizarrely that “our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.” His conclusion is the same as that of the editors of National Reviewmass murder is the price of freedom.

(Emphasis mine.)

The Fiscal Cliff

The Washington Post has written about the serious political and economic risk that's coming on January 1st of next year if the American government doesn't do something about it -- their article is called Recession imminent if 'fiscal cliff' on tax hikes, budget cuts not averted, CBO says.  I love the Washington Post's headlines.  They're so rarely insane and hyperbolic. Meanwhile, the rest of the media is calling it Taxmageddon.

In its report Wednesday, the CBO warned that the nation would be plunged into a significant recession during the first half of next year if Congress fails to avert nearly $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to hit in January.

The massive round of New Year’s belt-tightening — known as the “fiscal cliff” or “Taxmageddon” — would disrupt recent economic progress, push the unemployment rateback up to 9.1 percent by the end of 2013 and produce economic conditions “that will probably be considered a recession,” the nonpartisan CBO said.

This issue was brought up in the comments of this blog, a couple weeks ago.  Commenter 12Centuries responded to my post, Barack Obama's Tax Calculator:

Well this is actually not true. It’s propaganda from a campaign site, and people assume there will be zero bias? The analysis is ignoring many factors. On January 1, (called Taxmageddon in the media, google it) taxes are scheduled to go up for 114 million middle class families by an average of $1,600 when a number of tax cuts expire.

A typical middle class family of four would see its taxes rise by $2,200 on those factors alone.

In addition, EVERY one of the existing income tax brackets will be ratcheted up, starting with the lowest 10% bracket, which will be hiked to 15%. The 25% bracket will jump to 28%; the 28% bracket will go to 31%; the 33% bracket will be replaced by a 36% bracket and the 35% bracket will soar to 39.6%.

On top of all that, the tax calculator on Obama’s website doesn’t take into account a single drop of the new healthcare taxes, as the administration doesn’t consider them to be taxes, although the Supreme Court does, and you’ll still have to pay for them on your tax return.

THAT is accurate. Don’t believe the hype.

Now, that commenter was wrong.  It's not hype or propaganda for a tax calculator which compares two tax plans to present the results based on the assumption that those tax plans are instituted.  She or he did, however, correctly point out that the media is calling it Taxmageddon, and that it will be very bad if it happens.

Personally, I think the responsible thing for the Obama administration to do is to let it happen -- unless Congress is willing to let them pass a sane tax policy.  The economic policies that the Republican party treat as dogma have been proven, for decades, to not work.  It's better for the American people to suffer the short-term problem of their refusal to create a sane spending plan than to cave to their demands, and institute policies that would help sustain the long-term decline of America as a country of significance.

Mainstream Republican views [TW: rape]

Tyler Oakley reblogged a post from Tumblr user AGV notes, titled Top 5 Quotes About Rape from Republican Men:

These are the best (worst) GOP rape quotes I could find - but message me if you have more. Let’s hold these people accountable.

1. Todd Akin: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down” - mid 2012 Senate Campaign

2. Claytie Williams: “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it” - mid 1990 Gubernatorial race in Texas 

3.  Chuck Winder: “I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.” - March 2012

4.  Ken Buck: “A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse … It appears to me … you invited him over… the appearance is of consent.” -October 2010

5. Rick Santorum: “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you… rape victims should make the best of a bad situation.” - January, 2012

PEOPLE: WE SHOULD ALL BE FURIOUS. WE SHOULD ALL GET PISSED OFF AND BE VOCAL ABOUT IT. WE SHOULD ALL VOTE.

These aren't fringe nutjobs, they're people with a lot of popular support.  Three of those quotes are from this year.  There are a lot of people in this country who seriously support this party over the other leading party.

Even if these are considered fringe views by a lot of Republicans -- even if these quotes lead a lot of voters to think, "That's a little over the line, but it's not a dealbreaker."  It's still terrifying.  These quotes are so far away from okay that if you think they're just over the line, you're too far gone.

These quotes represent such a massive detachment from reality, compassion and empathy that it's absolutely clear that these people are not fit to govern.  It's not okay for politicians to be this far off on this.  Like it's not okay if a science teacher denounces germ theory, or like it's not okay for the police to deal cocaine.

It's not just stupid.  These aren't just bad people.  They're people who explicitly lack the qualifications to perform the jobs they're asking for.

To however many people this reaches, if you understand how nuts this is, please, please remember to vote.