The Third Man

Ralph Nader was booed when he introduced Mike Gravel at Take Back America, but he hung around the ground floor for some interviews. I'm having YouTube problems, but here's the gist of a few questions I asked about the third parties.

- Nader is fascinated by a possible Michael Bloomberg presidential run. "He doesn't have to become the Unity08 candidate. He's too big for them - he could turn it into a three-cornered election." A Democrat-Republican-Bloomberg race would destroy the status quo because "it'd be the ultimate money election - a multi-billionaire comes in and he tells the people, "I can't be bought, because I bought myself." That is a resonating comment for people... People say to themselves: "Hey, this guy's a self-made man and he won't be beholden to the big boys."

- But he won't endorse Bloomberg. "You can be beholden to the big boys in your mind." His beef: Bloomberg has "been very soft on corporate welfare" and tried to build a stadium with taxpayer dollars. "You never use taxpayer dollars on entertainment, for heaven's sake."

- Also, as much as he likes Bloomberg's potential, "I don't believe that any candidates who are on the scene believe in empowering the people." I asked why he endorsed Gravel, then. "No major candidates." The political system is biased against small candidates who don't show up in polls, thus never getting the coverage and momentum they need to surge.

- Nader thinks Cynthia McKinney would be a strong Green Party presidential candidate. "I think she has a good chance to get the nomination. She has Green values: She spoke out against the war. She's strong on Green Party issues including justice for the Palestinian people, a fair tax code, and abolishing poverty."

- The Democrats will win a "historic landslide" in 2008, with or without McKinney in the race. "The only people who could muck it up are the Democrats, if they implode."

I asked some stuff about Ron Paul, too (a back-of-the-pack candidate whose fundraising is going far better than Nader's theories would ever predict) and I'm waiting for the YouTube tubes to unclog so I can throw that up.

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  • ||

    ""it'd be the ultimate money election - a multi-billionaire comes in and he tells the people, "I can't be bought, because I bought myself." That is a resonating comment for people... People say to themselves: "Hey, this guy's a self-made man and he won't be beholden to the big boys.""

    Didn't Ross Perot try exactly that 15 years ago?

  • ||

    Nader thinks Cynthia McKinney would be a strong Green Party presidential candidate.

    Oh PLEASE, run her. That would be more fun to watch than a DVD collection of NASCAR wrecks.

  • robc||

    Didn't Ross Perot try exactly that 15 years ago?

    He got 19% of the vote without being Mayor of NYC.

  • ||

    "You never use taxpayer dollars on entertainment, for heaven's sake."

    FSM, I hate to agree with Ralph (Dipshit) Nader, but I guess evan a blind pig finds an acorn once in while.

  • ||

    "You never use taxpayer dollars on entertainment, for heaven's sake."

    Unless, of course, the taxpayers want to. Or should we not be allowed to decide how to run our own communities?

  • robc||

    Dan,

    If ALL the taxpayers agree to it, I have no problem with it. As soon as one objects....

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    I posted this in another thread but I think it actually fits better here. I'm very very very alarmed. I am NOT some shill for other candidates, I LOVE Ron Paul's policies and have been advocating for him for President for the last 8 years or so (that, I'm ashamed to say is when I first heard about him, which probably dates me rather too well) and to hear he is even potentially like some of these other idiots is distressing.

  • ||

    Would Bloomberg attract more R or D votes?

  • ||

    Wow Dan, mob rule says give more money to the sports owners! Jeez. Hey I love sports, and I would gladly pay higher ticket prices, I just don't feel I have the right to force YOU to pay for it any more than I want to pay for your opera tickets.

  • ||

    Perot would likely have done even better than 19% if he hadn't dropped out of the race briefly because the GOP was going to sabotage his daughter's wedding, or some such weirdness. I forget exactly what it was he said at the time. A lot of people decided he was a nutter at that point, and he never recovered.

    Al Gore's demolition of Perot on Larry King re:NAFTA was probably Al's greatest moment.

  • ||

    Dan,

    If the people who were paying wanted the stadiums, would you really have to point guns at them to force them to pay for them?

    If you really want a stadium, there is nothing wrong with calling up the owner of the team and offering him a donation.

    Since this has been pointed out to you repeatedly, and you still can't get it, I have an assignment for you:

    Write a 1000 word essay comparing and of contrasting the morality of consensual sex with a) forcible rape, b) date rape. Your discussion should include the benefit and injuries (if any) suffered by all parties.

    You have one week. good luck.

  • robc||

    Hayekian Dreamer,

    Considering the trolliness of that article, I would like to see some more details.

    Speaking of which:
    "a populist opportunist who tailors his campaigns to the whim of the day"

    What? because goldbuggery is clearly a big issue these days? One of Paul's biggest problems is his issues arent necessarily the whim of the day.

  • ||

    "You never use taxpayer dollars on entertainment, for heaven's sake."

    Unless, of course, the taxpayers want to. Or should we not be allowed to decide how to run our own communities?


    Replace "entertainment" with "financing things people wouldn't pay for themselves" and I think you'll get the idea.

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    Frankly people in the other thread have responded to the article as well and after viewing their responses I agree, it is clearly a mere hit piece that tailors its information to make Ron Paul look worse. I was NOT trolling however and I am still concerned about public perception of Dr. Paul once the right wing hit machine gets a hold of this info and the spin.

  • ||

    Hayekian Dreamer,
    If it's true, so what?

    To quote the article:

    Some will no doubt claim it is no big deal because campaign funds are not public money. Others will say spending $5.1 million on relatives is not that much in a political system where campaigns cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Such rationalizations seldom pass the smell test. Some of those who will dismiss the practice as no big deal because the money isn't taxpayer funds are the same ones who want public financing of elections, in which case it would be taxpayer money.


    Point to me a libertarian who thinks that campaign funds should be taxpayer based. I don't know what crack Mr. Thompson has been smoking when he writes that because Paul "has become a poster child for both Libertarians and so-called 'progressives'" he thinks that we will also endorse taxpayer based campaigns.

    If I trust my family (eg. my sister has a degree in marketing and has worked in the field for a while) to run my campaign and they need to be compensated to do it, then by golly that's who I am going to hire.

  • robc||

    Hayekian Dreamer,

    Maybe my perspective is warped but I think the "racist" newsletter is going to hurt worse than "daughter on campaign payroll".

    Campaign fundraisers do make ridiculous amounts of money whether related or not. If she is bringing the dough into his campaign, I dont see the issue at all.

  • ||

    I am still concerned about public perception of Dr. Paul once the right wing hit machine gets a hold of this info and the spin



    I suspect this is the spin. Seriously, if it is as prevalent as Mr. Thompson claims it is, then it isn't a club that the party powerhouses can use against Paul. That is assuming it's even true, proof of which Mr. Thompson faithfully failed to include in the article.

  • robc||

    Kwix,

    Considering the blatant untruthiness of the rest of the article, Im leaning towards disbelieving it, even though I dont see it as a big deal anyway.

  • Hayekian Dreamer||

    You're right Kwix, it IS the spin. And when WND and other such sites (Drudge?) pick it up what do you think primary voters (who are of course on average slightly more informed than the average) going to think? It doesn't matter what the FACTS are, this is politics. I mean, we all knew that "swift boat vets for truth" were talking out of their ass (well, I'd hope we did) but between them and the fact Kerry was a douchebag his candidacy was doomed (you can of course how much of a role each factor had, but that each played a role is I think self evident).

  • ||

    Well, here are the supposed facts from CREW(pdf):

    RON E. PAUL (R-TX): Ranking member of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International
    Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology of the House Committee on Financial Services.
    Rep. Paul's campaign committee, Committee to Re-elect Ron Paul,1 as well as his
    leadership PAC, Liberty PAC,2 have paid his family members.
    Lori Pyeatt (daughter)3:
    • In the 2006 election cycle, Rep. Paul's campaign committee paid his daughter, Lori
    Pyeatt, $36,097 in salary and $601 in reimbursements.4 In addition, Rep. Paul's
    leadership PAC paid Ms. Pyeatt $20,121 in salary and $2,239 in travel reimbursements.5
    She is listed as the treasurer of the PAC from 2002-2006.6
    • In the 2004 election cycle, the campaign committee paid Ms. Pyeatt $53,661 in salary
    and $712 in reimbursements7 In addition, Rep. Paul's PAC paid Ms. Pyeatt $3,000 in
    salary.8
    • In the 2002 election cycle, the campaign committee paid Ms. Pyeatt $48,711 in salary
    and $241 in travel reimbursements.9 In addition, Rep. Paul's PAC paid Ms. Pyeatt
    $2,300 in salary.10
    Johnnie Leblanc (daughter Joy Leblanc's father-in-law)11:
    • In the 2006 election cycle, Rep. Paul's campaign committee paid Johnnie LeBlanc
    $2,282 in salary.12
    • In the 2004 election cycle, the campaign committee paid Mr. LeBlanc $111 in salary.13
    Nora Leblanc (daughter Joy Leblanc's mother-in-law)14:
    • In the 2006 election cycle, Rep. Paul's campaign committee paid Nora LeBlanc $8,726 in
    salary and $5,165 in reimbursements.15
    Joy Leblanc (daughter)16:
    • In the 2004 election cycle, Rep. Paul's campaign committee paid his daughter, Joy
    LeBlanc, $500 for a photo shoot.17
    Matt Pyeatt (grandson)18:
    • In the 2004 election cycle, Rep. Paul's campaign committee paid his grandson, Matt
    Pyeatt, $450 for recording equipment.19



    Now then, a more, balanced reading of the report can be found at USA Today

  • ||

    Unless, of course, the taxpayers want to. Or should we not be allowed to decide how to run our own communities?

    Yeah, "the taxpayers" overwhelmingly want munincipal governments to subsidize stadiums, golf courses, the symphony, the art museum etc. Hell, most never use the aforementioned "civic improvements".

    If these attractions are so desirable they can be supported by the users and or benefactors. I really, really like to bowl. I neither expect nor want the taxpayers to be robbed so I can do it for less than the actual cost. Golf courses stick in craw the worst, but to be consistent and true to myself, I have to oppose subsidies for the art museum, the zoo, the history museum, and other luxuries that I enjoy. I like a lot of these thing but my neighbor may not and out of respect for him I can't justify confiscating his money for them. This is, amazingly enough, both altruistic and selfish.

    Now Dan T. is that clear enough for you? Probably not. BTW the concept is called limited government.

  • pdog||

    Hmm.... how does one go about 'abolishing poverty' ? Make it illegal to be poor?

  • ||

    Dan,

    If the people who were paying wanted the stadiums, would you really have to point guns at them to force them to pay for them?


    I guess we have a fundamental difference in philosophy, really. I think that when people choose to live in a community they consent to both the taxes (which is really just the price for living in that community) and also collective decisions on how that tax money is to be spent, as decided by the elected leaders.

    I guess you and many others here don't.

    But I am still puzzled as to why if you don't live in a certain city, what difference it makes to you how that city conducts its business. When it comes to individual freedom, I hear a lot of "we should mind our own business" yet for some reason communities have to conform to the ideas of outsiders?

  • B||

    From the USA Today article:

    "It is not illegal for federal candidates to pay family members for political work, as long as they are paid fair market value, the Federal Election Commission has ruled."

    I have no idea what a campaign worker typically gets paid, but the salaries paid to Ms. Pyeatt hardly look astronomical.

    I can see not allowing family members on congressional staffs, but a person (even an incumbent) *campaigns* as a private citizen funded through donations and/or their own money. They should be able to hire whomever the hell they want.

  • ||

    Dan, sometimes people like to comment on things that don't necessarily involve them. Does this come as a suprise to you?

  • ||

    Consent to collective decisions? Cost/benefit ratio--- any given taxpayer boondoogle costs me as an individual far far less that the cost of moving away in protest. It'd have to be a hell of a bad policy decision. That's like arguing a spouse consents to bedfarts because they don't get a divorce.

  • ||

    Consent to collective decisions? Cost/benefit ratio--- any given taxpayer boondoogle costs me as an individual far far less that the cost of moving away in protest.

    Right, but doesn't this mean the system works? You're saying that the benefits you're getting from living in a community are worth the price you're paying in taxes. Of course you may not like every single thing about that community, but part of living together with other people does mean putting up with their bed farts, so to speak.

    As long as you're free to choose what community you are a part of, complaints about the cost of the one you pick seem hollow. Especially since it seems many of the most desirable places to live in America also have the highest taxes.

  • ||

    "Especially since it seems many of the most desirable places to live in America also have the highest taxes."

    Yes Dan T., and thats why everyone is fleeing the low-tax southeast and rocky mountain west to move to New York and California, respectively. Oh wait, never mind.

  • Another Phil||

    Dan,

    I don't believe that any individual rights (including property rights) should be subject to the desires of a majority. Do you believe that by choosing to live in a particular municipality that you must accept the will of the majority in all aspects of your life. If not, where do you draw the line, and why?

  • robc||

    I think that when people choose to live in a community

    I not only didnt choose to live in my city, I actively voted against it. My city/county merger was FORCED upon me.

  • robc||

    When it comes to individual freedom, I hear a lot of "we should mind our own business" yet for some reason communities have to conform to the ideas of outsiders?

    Communities arent individuals.

  • ||

    Dan,

    I don't believe that any individual rights (including property rights) should be subject to the desires of a majority. Do you believe that by choosing to live in a particular municipality that you must accept the will of the majority in all aspects of your life. If not, where do you draw the line, and why?


    I do agree that if you are going to have rights, they should not be subject to the whims of the collective.

    But that's not what we're talking about here - I don't think there is a right to not pay taxes, and only an anarchist would suggest that such a right exists.

    Now, I suppose you could argue that taxation is a violation of an individual's property rights, but my response would be that the taxes you pay serve as the price the community charges to protect that property and enhance the value of it. Meaning that your property would be worth a lot less if it wasn't serviced by a public street or located near a thriving source of commerce.

  • ||

    Communities arent individuals.

    True, but there's no reason why communities can't have collective rights. In fact, you really can't have a community/civilization without the ability for it to act collectively.

    Look at it this way - I'd prefer that the people of NYC decide how their city is run and that the people of Pig's Knuckle, Arkansas decide how to govern their town as well. Many here seem to think that both cities should have to adhere to the same set of rules, as decided by an outsider.

  • robc||

    Dan T,

    Do you not see the difference between a public street and a publicly purchased stadium for a private team?

    Some of here arent anarchists, but there is a line, and that line is still very, very, very, very, very close to anarchism. If my local taxes went for roads, fire, and police I wouldnt have much to complain about.

  • robc||

    Dan T,

    Only individuals have rights. There is no such thing as states rights or community rights. We give up some of our rights to form governments, but they do get rights in the process.

    I dont want to tell NYC or Pig's Knuckle how to govern their town, as long as they respect ALL the rights of their inhabitants. Beyond that, they can govern as they please.

  • robc||

    "but they do get"
    should be
    "but they do not get"

  • ||

    "You never use taxpayer dollars on entertainment, for heaven's sake."

    "Unless, of course, the taxpayers want to. Or should we not be allowed to decide how to run our own communities?"

    Should a majority of sports lovers within a city be allowed to coerce those who don't give a damn about sports to have to help pay for a stadium? Nader is right on this. The owners should have to pay for the stadium or it should come out of contributions.

  • ||

    "Do you not see the difference between a public street and a publicly purchased stadium for a private team?"

    Streets, police, and fire departments are for all the city's citizens. To force everybody to pay for stadiums regardless of whether they go to a game or not is a case of might makes right.

  • ||

    Guys! Dan is supposed to be working on his essay!

    Please don't distract him.

  • robc||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    That question was for Dan. I know what the rest of us believe.

  • robc||

    tarran,

    The essay is too easy. As long as the majority approve, it isnt rape.

  • ||

    Let me ask you guys this, then.

    If a majority of residents of a community (via their elected representatives) should not be able to decide how much tax to levy and how to best spend the money collected, who should decide?

  • robc||

    tarran,

    Who are we to tell Rapetown what laws to have?

  • ||

    Do you not see the difference between a public street and a publicly purchased stadium for a private team?

    I think in most cases the city/state owns the stadium and leases it to the privately owned team.

    Of course I see the differences, but I also see the similarities. Both examples improve civic life, in different ways.

  • ||

    Man poor.
    No man no poor.

  • ||

    I guess we have a fundamental difference in philosophy, really. I think that when people choose to live in a community they consent to both the taxes (which is really just the price for living in that community) and also collective decisions on how that tax money is to be spent, as decided by the elected leaders.

    That might make sense if communities were contract-based organizations. But they're not. Unless you think that living in a community "claimed" by the Bloods or the Cryps [sic] means you've chosen them as your government?

  • Alan Augustson||

    Nice. Nader's damn-near endorsing a candidate who hasn't even declared (and likely won't, because as a Green she could accept no PAC money), and ignoring some perfectly good candidates who have.

    So, what -- has he also now fallen prey to the infatuation with celebrity?

  • ||

    "Dan,

    I don't believe that any individual rights (including property rights) should be subject to the desires of a majority. Do you believe that by choosing to live in a particular municipality that you must accept the will of the majority in all aspects of your life. If not, where do you draw the line, and why?"

    I do agree that if you are going to have rights, they should not be subject to the whims of the collective.

    But that's not what we're talking about here - I don't think there is a right to not pay taxes, and only an anarchist would suggest that such a right exists.


    No anarchist says that there's a right not to pay taxes. We say that no one has the right to steal.

    Now, I suppose you could argue that taxation is a violation of an individual's property rights, but my response would be that the taxes you pay serve as the price the community charges to protect that property and enhance the value of it. Meaning that your property would be worth a lot less if it wasn't serviced by a public street or located near a thriving source of commerce.

    So what you're saying is that if someone does something for you, you have to pay them even if you didn't ask for it, or even if you didn't want it? That's what I get out of your post.

  • ||

    Nader should run again. He needs to have a podium to keep talking from. The Dems have ignored him to death. Nader has something that everyone can find disagreement with, but I believe he believes what he says, as they do. I'm not too sure about other candidates...RP excepted. Nader isn't a phony, nor hypocrite.

  • Edward||

    Dan T

    If we let Wal-Mart and other businesses run things, they would decide, and the market would sort it all out.

  • Edward||

    Nasinuwhatever

    "So what you're saying is that if someone does something for you, you have to pay them even if you didn't ask for it, or even if you didn't want it?"

    So if the streets and roads were privatized, I would have to pay to use them much as I have to pay taxes now. I have to use the roads and streets to get around. So what's the difference?

  • libertreee||

    So if the streets and roads were privatized, I would have to pay to use them much as I have to pay taxes now. I have to use the roads and streets to get around. So what's the difference?-

    There are at least 2:

    1. If streets are privately owned, there would be more opportunity for competitive streets that you could take, up to the point the market would allow. Therefore, there would be more incentive to maintain the roads best at lowest cost to consumer.

    2. "socialism can't calculate". The market feedback in point one is missing when you deal with public goods. Rational prices cannot be set by public entities because prices are determined by people bidding for goods in free markets. So, the political process is inherently inferior to the market process. It is much more easily captured by special interests. Political decisions are much harder to fix than economic decisions. If consumers do not like an product in the market, the producer has every incentive to change or go out of business. Politicians tend to resist changing bad policy right up until they are voted out of office, which is a much less efficient process.

  • Edward||

    libertree,

    But I would still have to use the roads and streets and be forced to pay for the privilege. And anyway, how do you know the prices would be low? Key arteries that people have to use might get very expensive. To reduce the need for emergency services, a private owner could restrict the age and condition of vehicles that could use the road. I'm speculating, but so are you. The difference is that as a non true-believer, I'm skeptical. Oh wow, the stars in your eyes are twinkling like Christmas lights!

  • Edward||

    By the way, libertree, you would know socialism if it bit your balls off. You probably think words can mean anything you want them to mean. We live in a capitalist economy. It's just not the libetropia of your overwrought imagination.

  • libertreee||

    I know the prices would be low because of theory -that is, competition and profit incentives tend to lower prices, while lack of competition (monopoly) tends to raise prices; and because of
    the history of privatization, which as a reader of this magazine, whose foundation has been at the forefront of privatization, I can look up quite easily in the reason.org foundation area.

    As for socialism, I used that in the generic sense of public ally owned and managed. Not in the specific sense of communism and fascism/nazism. Except for N Korea, we all live in mixed, interventionist economies.

    "The Impossibility of Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" by Ludwig von Mises (1920) laid out the undeniable theorem that socialism cannot calculate because in the absence of prices, there is no economic calculation. Without economic calculation, the basic goods, especially the factors of production, are impossible to rationally allocate.

    Mixed economic systems depend largely on cost/benefit analysis based on statistics. Note how statistics and state(ism) come from the same root. Statistics are only as good as the basic data put into them, and the interpretation given them by managers and media . Prices however are signals that tell potential investors real time information about where to put their own hard earned money. And if the consumers do not follow up by purchasing the product, the incentive to change the product is much more immediate and final.

    My balls are fine. You might want to thaw your mind out a bit, though.

  • libertreee||

    BTW-prices might be higher on private roads, but they would be higher because more rationally connected to service-

    eg-HOT lanes, where people pay extra to avoid traffic jams

    Time sensitive pricing--where it costs more to drive in rush hour, less in off peak hours.

  • ||

    Dan T. - If the sports teams want bigger stadiums so they can make more money perhaps they should get financing from the players that conduct their business in the building they desire.

    You see the players want more money to play a game only some people want to see. The owner wants to make more money so he can pay those players more and get a bigger cut himself.

    Neither party wants to actually pay for the facilities they say they need to make these profits a reality unless the tax payers help them.

    So who should be on the hook for paying for a very small amount of people to profit? I think those that go to the games should pay the price. If Roger Clemens is still worth 75,000 per pitch or whatever amount he makes certainly the market will show that by purchasing tickets at whatever price it costs to see him. Hey people actually still pay hundreds to see the Stones and Babs etc. But they pay that of their own free will and they go to the shows.

    If the teams can't make the money to pay the salaries based entirely on merchandise and tickets then they need a new business model, a reduction in payroll or to close shop.

    What we as tax payers do not need is to finance million dollar cry babies new playing fields so they can play a sport kids play for free every day of the year.

    If the sports and teams/players are worth the money they will make it, if not oh fucking well they need to go bye bye like any other busniess would be forced to do if they could not get forced tax payer supplments to make them more money.

  • GreenGenes||

    Cynthia McKinney has integrity to hold to her principles despite the spin against her. Her track record is to follow through on issues she supports even when "party" leadership punishes her for it.

    Whether it's voting rights, stolen elections, civil rights, Cointelpro, 9/11, impeachment, she's held her ground, attempted to move those issues forward. That's a candidate who's not for sale. That's a candidate who can ably represent people over corporations as well as dysfunctional gov't institutions.

    See this excellent speech "Revolutionary Love" and her history and plans for 2008.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2508693105235438933

  • GreenGenes||

  • ||

    McKinney wants to eliminate poverty? As the the government measures it that's not possible. Since poverty is a relative measure, defined as being in a certain percentile of income, there will always be "poverty" no matter the actual circumstances of the supposedly impoverished. Not that she actually wants to get rid of poverty, since poverty pimps like her need it to stay in office.

    Besides which I question whether poverty is really a serious problem in the US. Is there really a statistically significant number of people starving? Are there vast areas filled with homeless squatters that I'm missing? The goal cannot be "one is too many", because that's impossible to satisfy, nor can we allow the goalposts to be constantly changing so as to imply that none of our efforts work.

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