Tube City Almanac

January 10, 2008

Wake Me Nov. 5

Category: Politics || By

I saw my first "Ron Paul for President" sign in the Mon Valley the other day.

Made of plywood and lettered with spray paint and hardware-store stencils, it's been plunked down on the corner of Buttermilk Hollow and Thompson Run roads in West Mifflin.

"NO MORE IRS, CFR," it says, "RON PAUL 2008." I'm not sure, but it's about a half-mile from the house that sports the "NO KIDS NO SCHOOL TAXES" sign, so perhaps the same person erected it.

I'm assuming "CFR" refers to the "Council on Foreign Relations," not the "Code of Federal Regulations," but I suppose it could be "campaign finance reform" or the "Canadian Finals Rodeo."

. . .

Whenever I hear Ron Paul speak, he sounds perfectly reasonable and rational at first (calling the Patriot Act, for instance, "constitutionally offensive," or arguing that the Iraq war was a massive foreign policy blunder), and I find myself nodding my head in agreement.

Then he uncorks some truly whack-job statement that brings me back to Earth.

For instance, Rep. Paul, who's a favorite of "alternative medicine" practitioners, wants to stop the FDA and FTC from regulating vitamins and dietary supplements and their advertising. (Think about that the next time you give your kid a Flintstones vitamin.)

Or take Dr. Paul's insistence (please!) that the Civil War was a bad idea, and that slavery should have been "gradually" phased out.

. . .

So I'm sure glad that Maria from 2 Political Junkies wrote this takedown of the politician-physician. It saves me a lot of trouble.

I want to like Ron Paul. But I'm reminded of Barry Goldwater's campaign slogan --- "In your heart, you know he's right" --- and LBJ's rejoinder: "In your guts, you know he's nuts."

As a friend of mine puts it: "I'd like Ron Paul better if I didn't keep seeing his bumper stickers next to ones that say 'DUMP ISRAEL' and 'GET US OUT OF THE U.N.'"

(And actually, I kind of admire Barry Goldwater, and not just because of this.)

. . .

A complete libertarian philosophy is wonderful in principle, except that I like the FDA regulating my food, and I like NHTSA telling me my car's not a death-trap, and I like the EPA ensuring that my water and air are reasonably clean.

We can argue about the merits of individual regulation, and "how much regulation is too much," but personally, I'd rather pay taxes to support the FDIC and SEC than "pays my money and takes my chances" with unregulated banks and stockbrokers. Wouldn't you?

. . .

The presidential candidate I like best so far is apparently planning to drop out --- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He combines excellent federal government experience (as U.S. Secretary of Energy) with foreign-policy experience (as a special presidential emissary) and executive leadership (as a governor since 2002).

And he's funny. I remember hearing him interviewed by NPR in the waning days of the Clinton Administration, and at times I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

It would be nice to have a president who's a wit; we haven't had one since Reagan, or maybe Kennedy, and most of their material was crafted by their speech writers.

Alas, the governor can't help the fact that he looks like an unmade bed.

He's a little schlumpy, and bears an unfortunate resemblance to another very funny man, Lou Costello. In the last Democratic debate, I kept waiting for him to jam a hat down over his eyes and say, "I'm a ba-a-a-a-ad boy."

. . .

Happily, there seems to be a bunch of good candidates on both tickets. Even Mike Huckabee isn't completely objectionable, although I sure wouldn't vote for him. (Which is fine with Huckabee, since I'm a heathen Mary-worshipper.)

But Ron Paul? Sorry. I don't care if he is "a Green Tree native," and I don't care how vocal his grass-roots supporters are. That doesn't convince me at all. Every cause --- no matter how stupid --- has a few passionate grass-roots supporters.

OK, maybe not the Wal-Mart in North Huntingdon. But just about everything else.

Your Comments are Welcome!

Can you hear me now?

Hey, the FDA, actually the drug lobby, wants the FDA to ban all over the counter vitamins, herbs, etc..

Why not. Nutritional supplements are big business and bad for their bottom lines.

If I can take fish oil, and it fixes my cholesterol, why would I buy Plavix? Get my drift?

When was the last time some one died of a Plavix deficiency? Scurvy though…

I’m with him on this one. Drug companies are evil. They have to be to be competitive.

The answers are in nature. Not the lab.

Peace. Out.

Paul Shelly (URL) - January 10, 2008

You’ve been listening to WEDO again, haven’t you, Councilor? :-)


Like you, I agree with a few of Ron Paul’s positions, but I disagree with his other positions so strenuously that I can’t overlook them.

I think there’s a lot of good to be done by alternative medicine and chiropractic, and I use an osteopath myself.

But I have also investigated enough to know that there are a lot of snake-oil peddlers around, and anyone thinking of using an alternative practitioner, or who wants to trade in their prescriptions for “herbal remedies” or “nutritional supplements,” needs to educate themselves first, and then write “caveat emptor” on their hands in ink.
Webmaster - January 10, 2008

Hey, when someone’s in the newsroom to summarize the Daily News front page and WEDO can slot it, AM 81 gets a fairly good capsule to run at 12:05 p.m. (Local news, not vitamin or whatever is being touted on the talk shows that surround it.)

Seriously, I keep hoping the two contests continue to be stalemates into the spring. Pennsylvania has an outside chance of affecting the GOP nomination (how’s that for irony?), but it may be a real stretch to expect Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama still will be battling come April.

But what do I know?
Does it matter - January 10, 2008

Honestly if Bill Richardson did the ‘I’m a baaaddd boy’ bit I think he would have won New Hampshire, or at least made the whole ‘debate’ more interesting. It was a hard choice between watching that and all the crappy playing by the Steelers D in the Jacksonville loss.

Ron Paul is intersting, and at least makes the Republican debates worth watching just for his comments. Of course every so often he just says something, and I just think…‘Yeah that ain’t going to fly in America today’ .

Actually I think they should flash ‘caveat emptor’ every five minutes for any get rich quick, drug, or home equity loan commercials on TV. ;-)
PPL - January 11, 2008

True. Lot of snake oil peddlers out there. One of these days, I’m going to take them up on enhancing my breast size…. :)

Seriously, holistic practitioners, chiropractors, herbalists, nutritionalists are wonderful alternatives and augmentations to “traditional” medicine.

Funny, in real traditional medicine (from the far east) the emperor’s doctor got paid to keep the emperor vibrant and healthy. Avoiding illness, rather than reactively treating them, seems to be a course of action lost in our Western Culture.

My wife is an oncology nurse, working on the bone marrow transplant ward at Shadyside. I hear all of the horror stories of how the “medicines” (aka Chemo) adversely effect patients.

When was the last time that you saw an herbal supplement cause birth defects in babies? Drugs approved by the FDA have!

Who has gotten sick from a tylenol deficiency?

Hey, drugs we generally believe to be safe, such as tylenol and aspirin cause more deaths each year than ephedra ever did.

You are exactly right though. Consumers need to be educated, deal with reputable manufacturers and take things only as recommended. They likewhise should consult with the MD or Osteopath (I have one too!) for contraindications.

My point was that drug companies, like oil companies, insurance companies and attorneys are a neccesary evil. Greed, unlike what Gordon Gecko said, is not always good.

Environmental issues cause nearly all of our illnesses in my opinion. Lead, asbestos, pertoleum products, emmissions, transmission lines, (cell phone towers????), chemicals in our ground water, mercury, yada, yada, yada are the culprits of many of our maladies.

All put there by big business for us gullible consumers.

What is your take on the cell phone towers or or near schools issue?

One inquiring mind would like to know.

As always,

Your Councilman,

Paul Shelly
Paul (URL) - January 11, 2008

On the way to work this morning I saw a car with “RON PAUL AWESOME MOBILE” written on the back windshield.

I don’t understand how self-professed libertarians can ignore all the ways in which he’s not for individual choice.
Karen (URL) - January 11, 2008

FWIW, Paul has now disavowed knowledge of those newsletters, even though they went out under his name. That he gets any support at all (witness how much money he’s been able to raise) scares me as much as anything that might come at us from the Middle East. Huckleberry can barely disguise his intolerance of anyone not an evangelical Christian, and that nonsense regarding that attack ad that he “pulled” in Iowa makes him a hypocrite as well. I can support either Clinton or Obama, though both have their flaws. I agree that Richardson has the best chops, but he can’t seem to stir any interest (or money). Maybe he might be interested in the Veep job? Or Secretary of State?
ebtnut - January 11, 2008

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