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Civil Rights
  • Ron Paul Blames "People Like You" For Questions About His Racist Newsletters

    Do you remember the racist newsletters, variously titled the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report, published in the 1980s and '90s and featuring such first-person gems as "'I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense…for the animals are coming" and "Am I the only one sick of hearing about the 'rights' of AIDS carriers?"

    CNN's Gloria Borger remembers and came armed with research, whereas Ron Paul had only testiness and a dramatically-dropable microphone

    [Ron Paul responded,] "I never read that stuff. I was probably aware of it ten years after it was written and it's been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this and CNN does it every single time. So when are you going to wear yourself out?"

    "Is it legitimate? Is it a legitimate question to ask that something went out in your name?" Borger continued.

    "And when you get the answer, it's legitimate you sort of take the answers you get. I didn’t write them. I didn't read them at the time and I disavow them. That is your answer."

    "It's legitimate, it’s legitimate. These things are pretty incendiary," Borger pressed.

    "Because of people like you," Paul riffed.

    I think it's awesome that the candidacy of a person disproportionately favored by technology-savvy collegians  is being threatened by newsletters that look as if they've been mimeographed in a militia bunker (sadly, because they were probably mimeographed in a militia bunker).

    Even better is the idea that never having read the newsletters that were published under your name and reportedly generated $940,000+ for you and your associate Lew Rockwell constitutes a strong defense of your character and management ability. It's exactly the kind of Reagan-esque leadership — Iran Contra Reagan, not Morning in America Reagan — that the Republican Party is looking for these days.

    Still, judging by internet comments, Paul's most ardent libertarian supporters know everything (except the touch of a woman) so it is common knowledge that a man of Paul's moral rectitude couldn't possibly believe any of the racist drivel attributed to him in his newsletters. Helpfully, Paul's explicitly non-racist views on civil rights are just as insane, as he believes the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a mistake because it undermined the private property rights of business owners. And nothing says "liberty" like local law enforcement ejecting black patrons at the whim of racist restaurant owners.

    Tags: Civil Rights, CNN, Libertarian, Primaries, Racism, Republicans, Ron Paul
  • Barack Obama Celebrates Bill of Rights Day With Support for Indefinite Detention Bill

    Happy Bill of Rights Day! I don't know about you, but the White House celebrated in glorious, hypocritical style by issuing a proclamation exalting the "fundamental liberties [that] have shaped our national character and stirred the souls of all who dream of a freer, more just world," right after reversing its position on the National Defense Authorization Act

    Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantanamo Bay.

    Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of "a war that appears to have no end".

    The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the "war on terror" to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.

    The Obama administration does have a checkered record on civil liberties, but it's important to acknowledge the progress that has been made. For example, when you hear that knock on your door in the middle of the night, it's quite possible that an openly-serving gay soldier will be the one to drape a black hood over your head (kinky!) and haul your terror suspect ass to Guantanamo.

    Secondly, while the Bush administration just assumed that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force empowered them to imprison people without charges, the Obama administration will have these provisions formally codified. Rule of law, baby!

    Finally, it's probably only a matter of time before SOPA, PROTECT IP and various other "Internet kill switch" bills shut down whole swathes of the Web where whiny civil libertarians talk about these issues, and then we'll finally be spared the embarrassing knowledge of just how far we done fell.

    Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Guantanamo Bay, Military, Terrorism
  • Feds Remind Alabama Not to Pull an Alabama

    Strict immigration laws can help states cut down on crime, but they pose a significant risk to civil rights and family cohesion. So they’re kind of a  double-edged sword.

    And in the chaotic, poorly funded public school classroom that is the United States, Alabama is the slow child who cannot be trusted with sharp objects

    The Justice Department has sent a letter to dozens of local law enforcement agencies in Alabama that receive federal money, warning them that they risk losing that funding if they're not careful in how they enforce the state's tough new immigration law.

    The Obama administration has already sued the state, claiming that the law is unconstitutional. Now it's keeping the pressure on by addressing how the law is carried out.

    The law, HB56 passed by the Alabama Legislature in June, attempts to combat illegal immigration by establishing harsh penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers, requiring public schools to report children and parents who are not legal residents, and forbidding illegal migrants from having any transactions with the government.

    If you listen closely, you can almost hear the government let out a long pained sigh and say, "Listen, Alabama. I thought we went through this already. You can't mistreat people just because they have darker skin and funny names."

    "Remember the '60s? You beat and hosed down black people. We had to send in soldiers — soldiers, with guns — to make sure you let them vote and go to school. Remember that? It was in the news a lot. There were even a bunch of movies about it. Remember? Don't do that again."

    "Now go back to the corner and try not to eat any more sparkly glue."

    Tags: Alabama, Civil Rights, Immigration, Mexico, Obama Administration
  • Jon Stewart on Obama's "Backseat" Remark

    Did you hear President Obama said he wants to run over all the Republicans with the Democrats' car and stuff all their bodies in the trunk? Not cool, Mr. President. Fix your teleprompter.

    The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11pm / 10c.

    Tags: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, Democrats, Fox, Jon Stewart, Megyn Kelly, Republicans, Sean Hannity, The Daily Show, Video
  • Quote Unquote: Obstructionist Pride!

    John McCain — speaking before an applauding audience — basks in his party's record of holding back national progress

    "You know the President says that, quote, we're 'the party of no.' No, we're not 'the party of no.' We’re the 'party of hell no.' "

    It's kind of funny how kind history will be to McCain and the whole GOP. You know how you and all your friends are always talking about the unparalleled bravery of George Wallace?

    What a fantastic tradition McCain is so proudly holding up.

    Tags: Arizona, Civil Rights, John McCain, Quote Unquote, Senate