26 Reasons Tom Woods Is A Hack (or, Why Courting Ron Paul’s Voters Is a Fool’s Errand)

Generally, I make it a point not to concern myself with the ramblings of Tom Woods, Ludwig Von Mises Institute senior fellow and peddler of dubious historical revisionism. But when his February 8 piece, “26 Things Non-Paul Voters Are Basically Saying,” appeared in my Facebook feed, I bit. As a non-Paul voter, I couldn’t help but be curious about the hidden meaning behind my own words.

What I found was that I blindly trust the government and the media, I don’t care about spending or the Constitution, want drug addicts to get raped, reject Thomas Jefferson, and prefer Goldman Sachs to the US Army.

Huh. And here I thought it was Ron Paul’s slandering of Israel, bigoted newsletters, Civil War revisionism, earmark hypocrisy, shilling for traitors and dictators, 9/11 Trutherism, desire to imprison Scooter Libby on false charges, and anti-Semitism that repelled me from the Texas Congressman. Good thing a genius like Tom Woods came along to so skillfully expose my subconscious motives. All without even meeting me! 

Woods says he’s “trying to understand the thinking behind” those of us who haven’t joined the rEVOLution, but it soon becomes glaringly obvious he’s made no such attempt, and is merely indulging a fanatical desire to berate those who won’t genuflect before his idol. Woods’ twenty-six claims about the non-Paulite psyche are an odyssey of deceit, oversimplification, and sometimes outright childishness.

(1) The American political establishment has done a super job keeping our country prosperous and our liberties protected, so I’m sure whatever candidate they push on me is probably a good one.
Ah, the simpleton’s favorite boogeyman: “the establishment.” Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you know that there’s not much consensus anywhere on the Republican candidates—not among activists, not among pundits, and certainly not among some undefined “establishment.” The intense battle currently raging among Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum supporters is no sign of a movement simply marching to the beat of some elite’s drum. (Oh, and would this be the same political establishment in which conservative superstars Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin regularly praise Paul?) 
(2) Our country is basically bankrupt. Unfunded entitlement liabilities are in excess of twice world GDP. Therefore, it’s a good idea to vote for someone who offers no specific spending cuts of any kind.

(3) Vague promises to cut spending are good enough for me, even though they have always resulted in higher spending in the past.
The idea that Ron Paul is any better than his competitors on spending is dubious. While it sounds good on the stump to say you’ll abolish five departments, you’d think an undertaking of that magnitude would require some discussion as to how. More importantly, though, Paul doesn’t have much of an entitlement reform plan, either; in fact, he’s campaigning on the fiscally-fraudulent promise that if we just take a hatchet to military spending and close down military bases left and right, we won’t have to cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security at all.
(4) I prefer a candidate who plays to the crowd, instead of having the courage to tell his audience things they may not want to hear.
Yet it somehow isn’t the epitome of telling people what they want to hear to promise that we can keep the federal goodies flowing if we simply bring the troops home and stop all that icky fighting. As far as playing to crowds goes, Ron Paul is in a class by himself. After all, this is the author of those deranged newsletters which multiple sources indicate were specifically meant to exploit bigotry and paranoia. Ron Paul is unique among modern politicians in that there’s no crowd he won’t play to, no matter how evil, irrational, or destructive.
(5) I am deeply concerned about spending. Therefore, I would like to vote for someone who supported Medicare Part D, thereby adding $7 trillion to Medicare’s unfunded liabilities.
First, see above about Paul and Medicare. Second, Medicare Part D may well be a mark against Gingrich and Santorum (though not Romney), but to berate people for supporting candidates with Shortcoming X or Bad Position Y, which Woods repeats throughout the column, simply won’t do.

The four Republican candidates don’t exist in a vacuum, and they aren’t running against some Platonic ideal of the perfect conservative or constitutionalist. Unless you stay home on Election Day, it’s impossible to avoid picking a candidate who doesn’t have at least one position that many people will find objectionable. Ron Paul has many such positions, and it would be just as easy to write a similar list of  “26 Things Paul Voters Are Basically Saying,” full of propositions that Tom Woods would never agree to.

Candidate selection is a matter of weighing imperfect alternatives, and choosing the one you believe has the most strengths and/or fewest shortcomings. Most rational people understand that your choice of candidate doesn’t mean you endorse those shortcomings.
(6) I am opposed to bailouts. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported TARP.
Santorum opposed TARP. Other than that, see (5).
(7) The federal government is much too involved in education, where it has no constitutional role. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported expanding the Department of Education and favored the No Child Left Behind Act.
See (5).
(8) Even though practically everyone was caught by surprise in the 2008 financial crisis, which we are still reeling from, it’s a good idea not to vote for the one man in politics who predicted exactly what was bound to unfold, all the way back in 2001.
While Santorum’s record here is imperfect, it’s worth noting that he opposed Dodd-Frank and sounded the alarm on Fannie & Freddie back in 2005. Beyond that, see (5).
(9) I am not impressed by a candidate who inspires people, especially young ones, to read the great economists and political philosophers.
I am not impressed by a candidate who miseducates America’s youth on the American Founding, the Civil War, the history of US intervention, and radical Islam.
(10) I am concerned about taxes. Therefore, I will not vote for the one candidate who has never supported a tax increase.
That’s not entirely true—Paul signed a letter affirming that tax increases must be on the table to get the debt under control. Beyond that, see (5).
(11) I believe it is conservative to support bringing the Enlightenment to Afghanistan via military intervention.
Here’s where Woods stops even pretending to care about the truth. While it’s fair to say that the Bush Administration and many conservatives were overly optimistic about the power of free elections to transform societies like Afghanistan, it’s not at all fair to suggest that conservatives were ever out to “bring the Enlightenment” to the Middle East. The Afghanistan War that Paul voted for was motivated by the Taliban’s refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden. If they had given him up, there wouldn’t have been a military intervention.
(12) Even though I lost half my retirement portfolio when the economy crashed from the sugar high the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates put it on, I would like to vote for someone who is not really interested in the Federal Reserve.
For what it’s worth, Gingrich is very interested in the Federal Reserve these days. Beyond that, see (5).
(13) Even though 50 years of the embargo on Cuba did nothing to undermine Fidel Castro, and in fact handed him a perfect excuse for all the failures of socialism, I favor continuing this policy.
Another recurring pattern among Paulites: taking dictators’ propaganda at face value and suggesting we let it dictate US policy. It never seems to occur to these guys that, thanks to little things like state-run media, these PR battles are largely out of our hands. However ineffective the embargo may be, it’s doubtful that lifting it, or increasing tourism and diplomacy with Cuba, will improve things. On the whole, the plight of Castro’s Cuba is yet another issue Paul is clueless on.
(14) If someone has a drug problem, prison rape is the best solution I can think of.
I sincerely hope the mental faculties of the average American aren’t so far gone that I have to spell out how this is so insipidly demagogic. It’s also based on a myth [PDF link]—the overwhelming majority of federal drug convictions are for trafficking, not use or possession.
(15) Even though the Constitution had to be amended to allow for alcohol prohibition, and even though I claim to care about the Constitution, I don’t mind that there’s no constitutional authorization for the war on drugs, and I will punish at the polls anyone who favors the constitutional solution of returning the issue to the states.
Again, see (5). And while Paul’s right that drugs shouldn’t be a national issue, his arguments sure sound like he also wants states to legalize them.
(16) I believe only a “liberal” would think it was inhumane to keep essential items out of Iraq in the 1990s, even though one of the first people to protest this policy was Pat Buchanan.
American sanctions against Iraq didn’t starve the Iraqi people; Saddam Hussein did. America, along with the rest of the international community, attempted to deliver humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians through the United Nations’ Oil for Food Program, but Saddam stole billions of dollars from the program and used it to bribe politicians and fund terrorism.
(17) The Brookings Institution says Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract with America was an insignificant nibbling around the edges. I favor people who support insignificant nibbling around the edges, as long as they occasionally trick me with a nice speech.
See (3) and (5).
(18) I am deeply concerned about radical Islam, so it was a good idea to depose the secular Saddam Hussein — who was so despised by Islamists that Osama bin Laden himself offered to fight against him in the 1991 Persian Gulf War — and replace him with a Shiite regime friendly with Iran, while also bringing about a new Iraqi constitution that makes Islam the state religion and forbids any law that contradicts its teachings.
Appeasement types love the talking point about Hussein’s secularism, because on the surface it seems to indicate that he couldn’t possibly have aided theocratic terrorists. But the empirical record doesn’t lie: Saddam’s Iraq was an active state sponsor of international Islamic terrorism. And while I actually agree that history won’t be kind to Bush’s handling of postwar Iraq, does anybody doubt that if Bush had taken stronger measures to install a more pro-Western, less Iran-sympathetic government in Iraq, Paul would condemn that, too?
(19) Indefinite detention for U.S. citizens seems like nothing to be worried about, especially since our political class is so trustworthy that it could never abuse such a power.
As Andy McCarthy expertly explains, this is a gross misreading of the situation. Indefinite detention of US citizens in wartime is well within the confines of the Constitution, current law strictly and expressly limits which citizens may be detained, and citizen detainees retain robust legal protection via habeas corpus petitions. In short, there’s no blind trust of the government required, Mr. Woods.
(20) Following up on (19), I believe Thomas Jefferson was just being paranoid when he said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Jefferson also said:
A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.
Cherry-picking is fun, isn’t it?
(21) Even though the war in Iraq was based on crude propaganda I would have laughed at if the Soviet Union had peddled it, and even though the result has been hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, four million people displaced, trillions of dollars down the drain, tens of thousands of serious injuries among American servicemen and an epidemic of suicide throughout the military, not to mention the ruination of America’s reputation in the world, I see no reason to be skeptical when the same people who peddled that fiasco urge me to support yet another war as my country is going bankrupt.
It never ceases to amaze me how much people with PhDs can get wrong in so little space:
  • The truth about the Iraq War is that we were not lied to—the pre-war consensus that Saddam was a threat spanned both parties, two administrations, and multiple foreign nations; independent postwar investigations determined that the intelligence was not manipulated; and, believe it or not, we did find WMDs.
  • Far too many Iraqi civilians have been killed, which may also be justly laid at the feet of Bush’s inept postwar strategy. But lying about how many Iraqis died as Paul does is another matter entirely.
  • Nobody is pushing for another war in Iran. The other candidates simply insist on keeping military action on the table as a last-ditch option for keeping Iran from going nuclear—which, if you understand the threat Iran poses, is far preferable to Paul’s shameless pro-Iran propagandizing.
(22) I do not trust the media. But when the media tells me I am not to support Ron Paul, who says things he is not allowed to say, I will comply.

(23) I know the media will smear or marginalize anyone who would really fix this country. But when the media smears and marginalizes Ron Paul, I will draw no conclusion from this.
More sheer delusion. For years, Paul was one of the media’s favorite Republicans because he dutifully repeated all of their anti-Bush, anti-war propaganda. What does Woods make of no less a left-winger than Rachel Maddow sticking up for him? I assume the main “smear” Woods has in mind is the newsletter controversy, but the available evidence is clear: the newsletters are indefensible, and Paul likely knew exactly what was going on. Even so, the media has largely given him a pass, with the harshest treatment being an entirely fair interview Paul walked out on in a huff. The why is obvious: most MSM-ers figure Paul isn’t worth the trouble to destroy because he’ll never be president anyway, and letting him get the nomination would the godsend they don’t dare hope for, because he gives them the ultimate opportunity to sell the narrative that conservatives are bigoted crackpots.
(24) I want to be spoken to like this: “My fellow Americans, you are the awesomest of the awesome, and the only reason anyone in the world might be unhappy with your government is because of your sheer awesomeness.”
I would call this a straw-man argument, but usually straw-man arguments at least sound somewhat like something people are actually saying. This sounds more like something you’d hear in a schoolyard tantrum.
(25) I think it’s a good idea to vote for Mitt Romney, whose top three donors are Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley, and a bad idea to vote for Ron Paul, whose top three donors are the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force.
Actually, if you dig into the numbers, Paul’s claim to be the military’s favored candidate is misleading at best. And it never ceases to amaze me how tone-deaf Paulites are about their guy’s weaknesses, and how carelessly they play right into critics’ arguments. If Woods wants to open the door to guilt by association, then he also has to account for their guy’s popularity with David Duke, Stormfront, the American Communist Party, and numerous other assorted neo-Nazis, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and anti-Semites.
(26) I have not been exploited enough by the cozy relationship between large financial firms and the U.S. government, and I would like to see it continue.
If Woods wants to make a case that Romney and Santorum are shills for large, exploitative financial firms, he’ll have to do better than this. Maybe he’s got Gingrich, but to that I’ll once more refer readers back to (5). I’ll take an apologist for Freddie Mac over an apologist for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad any day of the week.    

Tom Woods embodies everything that’s wrong with the Ron Paul rEVOLution: its dishonesty and hypocrisy, its selective image of the American Founding relentlessly promoted as gospel, and the endless disgraces it’s willing to overlook while simultaneously denigrating all others for much lesser offenses. And while trying to talk sense into a hack like Woods would be an exercise in futility, there’s a lesson here everyone else should heed.

Conservatives sometimes argue that we need to play nice with Paul and figure out a way to bring his voters into the GOP fold. But if the sheer irrationality on display here doesn’t prove any such attempt to be a fool’s errand, then the seething contempt for the very thought of backing anyone else should. These guys were never part of the conservative coalition to begin with; they’re hopelessly infatuated with an America that never existed, which in their minds Republicans have betrayed just as fully as Democrats. 

No significant percentage of them will consider voting for a normal Republican, and the only way to catch their attention would be to emulate the worst aspects of Ron Paul’s ideology. What good is it to win some voters if we lose ourselves in the process?

Chris Christie and His Islamist Pals

Here’s recent video New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie angrily denouncing the critics of one of his judicial nominees, Sohail Mohammed, as Islamophobes who are groundlessly smearing a good patriot based on his religious background.
Oh really? That’s not the impression I got from Jonathan Tobin’s January write-up on Mohammed:
Mohammed is mainly known for the fact that he was the defense attorney for Muslims who were arrested in the wake of 9/11 because of their ties to terror organizations. In one case, Mohammed fought the government’s effort to deport Mohammed Qatanani, the imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County and an influential member of the extremist — though well-connected — American Muslim Union. Though the New York Times praised him in 2008 during his deportation trial as a “revered imam” and portrayed the case as an overreaction to 9/11, Qatanani, a Palestinian, is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and admitted to being a member of Hamas when he was arrested by Israeli authorities in 1993 before coming to the United States. Though he claimed to be an advocate of interfaith dialogue (and was accepted as such by some liberal Jews), Qatanani was no moderate on the Middle East. His ties to Hamas were well known, and just the year before his deportation trial, Qatanani endorsed Israel’s absorption into an Islamic “Greater Syria.” Qatanani clearly lied about his record as an Islamist on documents that he used to enter the country. But he was nevertheless able to evade justice in the immigration courts because the judge accepted his undocumented claim that the Israelis tortured him.
Qatanani also benefited from having some highly placed friends in the justice system as a result of the political pull of the American Muslim Union, which boasts Sohail Mohammed as one of its board members. The AMU was able to get former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, and then U.S. attorney Chris Christie to intervene on Qatanani’s behalf during the trial. As far as Christie was concerned, this was not a matter of merely signing a letter or making a phone call. The day before the Immigration Court announced its decision, Christie actually spoke at Qatanani’s mosque (Qatanani’s predecessor had boasted of raising at the mosque $2 million for Hamas via the now banned Holy Land Foundation) at a Ramadan breakfast dinner, where he embraced the imam while praising him as “a man of great good will.”
Terror researcher Steve Emerson was quoted at the time as calling Christie’s involvement in the case “a disgrace and an act of pure political corruption,” especially since “I know for certain that Christie and the FBI had access to information about Qatanani’s background, involvement with and support of Hamas.”
Put aside all the other black marks against Christie; this alone is enough to disqualify him from any presidential consideration, serious or otherwise. Absolutely disgraceful.
Interestingly enough, I found the link for the top video on the sidebar of Ann Coulter’s website, with this confusing caption: “Our Next President Defends Slander about ‘Sharia Law’ Judge.” Coulter has been an obsessive Christie for President advocate, and I’ve been especially curious how the author of Treason would react to her hero’s coziness with Islamic radicals. Saying that Christie “defends slander” seems awfully damning, but she still calls him “our next president.” Here’s hoping Ann has reconsidered her support for Christie, and that she’ll clarify it soon.

New on NewsReal – Peter Beinart Recycles Trash Talk of Republicans as Islamophobes

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The nice thing about being on the Left is that your arguments never become stale. Regardless of what the facts say, whether or not a claim has been soundly refuted in the public arena, or how many times you’ve said it, you can always recycle the same smears. Today’s recycler is Peter Beinart, who takes to the Daily Beast to bemoan the Republican Party’s descent into bigotry:

I once ate a Shabbat meal in Salt Lake City, where my hosts—staunch Republicans and Orthodox Jews—talked with wonder about the extreme courtesy with which their Mormon neighbors accommodated their religious needs. Conservatives, they explained, were actually more tolerant of minority faiths than liberals. I’d like to believe that a Muslim family in Utah or Alabama could say the same today. In a sense, the Republican Party’s honor depends on it.

My, that does sound serious! Whatever could have been the catalyst for this clarion call?

[Rep. Peter] King, a Long Island Republican, will hold hearings this week on terrorism by American Muslims. Think about that for a second. King isn’t holding hearings on domestic terrorism; he’s holding hearings on domestic terrorism by one religious group.


Yes, think about that for a second—and you’ll apparently have reflected on the issue more than Peter Beinart. As Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney explains, one of the reasons King’s hearings are so important is that they present the opportunity to “explore the extent to which virtually every prominent group that purports to speak for that community is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood or sympathetic to its agenda.” And if you know anything about the Brotherhood or other Islamist organizations, you know this is hardly an answer in search of a problem. Gaffney makes the following point:

[C]onfusion about the true nature and intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood is much in evidence at the moment.  The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, contributed to it, first by testifying last month that the Brotherhood is “a largely secular organization.”  He subsequently recanted that preposterous characteri­zation, but nonetheless downplayed concerns about the group by insisting that it is “heterogeneous,” has “eschewed violence” and is engaged in good works, like hospitals and day care.

Such contentions are, presumably, contributing to the Obama administration’s intention – as reported on the front page of the Washington Post last Friday – to establish relations with Muslim Brotherhood-dominated or other Islamist governments emerging from the revolutions sweeping the Middle East.  The implications of that decision would be incalculably problematic for our homeland security, as well as our foreign policy interests.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Leon Wolf, Scourge of Pseudo-Cons Everywhere

Leon Wolf, author of a gloriously merciless review of Meghan McCain’s book Dirty Sexy Politics, has a couple of excellent posts up at RedState taking to the woodshed some not-so-conservative views and figures who reside on the Right.

First, CPAC and GOProud apologists:

Of course, conservatives have always been willing to wander into the arena of ideas and engage in spirited debate with liberals. Who can forget Buckley’s famous exchanges with Gore Vidal? It positively begs the question, however, to assert that CPAC is a place where this must occur and that conservatives must be willing to attend for this purpose or they are shirking their responsibility.

Many conservatives (including myself) live their lives surrounded by combative liberals, whether in the work place or in our social circles. We are constantly on the defense of our principles. The very reason we attend CPAC is that it is healthy once a year to be around like minded individuals and recharge our batteries for the fight in the upcoming year. It is not the Free Exchange of Ideas and Debate Club Conference. It is the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Of course, the post attempts somewhat to skirt this problem by asserting that conservatives can believe in all kinds of ideas. This assertion is based on a faulty taxonomy of conservatism that could well have been pulled from an essay written by a left-wing journalist assigned to cover conservatives like they were Gorillas in the Mist […]

It is of course the libertarian’s right to believe and think as he does, but it is important for conservatives to be honest with ourselves on this point: many areas in which the libertarian desires to reduce the size and scope of government are borne of fundamentally liberal instincts.

Second, pro-appeasement libertarians:

You see, there is almost nothing more important to Gillespie and his ilk than being blasé about Islamic terrorism. At this point, it has actually become tiresome. Yes, Nick, we are all very impressed at how very little you care about the government protecting the lives of your fellow citizens, and we are all admiringly agape at your daring suggestion that we have nothing to fear from Islamic terrorists. The victims of the families of 9/11, the USS Cole bombing, and the World Trade Center bombing I’m sure find you edgy and cool and would like to hear your views on the relative merits of The White Stripes and The Black Keys at their next cocktail party.

Of course, the real “point” of Gillespie’s post is for a hard-boiled Libertarian to lecture mainstream Republicans on what they ought to do to win elections. Ordinary people might find this as out of place as me lecturing Kobe Bryant on what it takes to win NBA titles, but Gillespie manages the trick with such panache that none of the other authors or commenters at Reason (who are also smarter and much more in tune with todays voters than anyone who might read such a pedestrian site as RedState) seem to notice what a majestic buffoon he makes of himself in the process. To recap, the Republican party has held the White House for 20 of the last 30 years with pro-life, anti-gay marriage candidates; the Libertarian party has never cracked double digits in a Presidential election, ever. Even in 2008, with Republican brand identity at generational lows and a relatively high profile candidate in Bob Barr, the Libertarians managed to get beat by Ralph Nader who was running without the Green Party nomination. If we are smart enough to follow Gillespie’s advice, someday the GOP nominee might well reach the soaring heights of barely beating Cynthia McKinney. 

Expert articulation of critical messages. Go read ’em both.

New on NewsReal – Reagan vs. Palin? Patti Davis Says the Sarahcuda Would Make Her Dad Spin in His Grave

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Leftists are generally happy to get a hold of so-called conservatives who are willing to bash the Right, but their favorite mouthpieces are the relatives of high-profile Republicans who are willing to go against the grain. A couple weeks ago, they paraded Ron Reagan Jr. around to suggest his father’s Alzheimer’s began in the Oval Office, and one of the Gipper’s other left-wing kids, Patti Davis, recently sat down for an interview with The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, in which she tried to argue that Reagan wouldn’t be much of a Sarah Palin fan if he were alive today:

When I tell her that Sarah Palin will be headlining one of the Reagan birthday celebrations, as keynote speaker of a lavish dinner at the former family ranch, Davis exclaims. “Are you kidding me?” She adds, “As far as Sarah Palin is concerned, I think he would be completely baffled at her fondness for shooting animals.”

Wait a minute—Reagan was against hunting? If that sounds surprising, that’s because Davis simply made it up. In a May 1983 speech before the National Rifle Association, the president called “America’s sportsmen, hunters, and fishermen” the nation’s “foremost conservationists of our national resources,” and said he “deeply appreciate[d]” the NRA’s efforts to teach children “marksmanship, firearms safety, and some of the values and ethics of hunting and the outdoors.” In the same speech, Reagan also laments “a kind of elitist attitude in Washington that vast natural resources must be locked up to save the planet from mankind.” Reagan would most likely say that, by hunting, Palin was participating in a proud, valuable American tradition; if he would find anything “baffling,” it would more likely be how little his own daughter understands his views.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – "WikiLeaks: The Movie(s)," Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The enemies of liberty may be gaining steam in Egypt right now, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to notice. No, to them we’re still our own worst enemy. Mike Fleming at Deadline reports that no less than seven potential film projects based on cyber-anarchist Julian Assange and his whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks are under consideration:

The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal and Management 360 have partnered with financier/producer Megan Ellison to option The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, an article about WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in The New York Times Magazine written by the newspaper’s executive editor Bill Keller. Ellison, an exec producer of True Grit, will finance development through her Annapurna Pictures and she, Boal and Management 360 will produce. Boal might write the film, but that will depend on if he has time […]


His is just the latest in a growing number of Julian Assange/WikiLeaks movies that should continue to swell as more books about the controversial figure get published. I’ve heard DreamWorks is circling Inside WikiLeaks, a book that will be released February 15. It is written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s number 2 at WikiLeaks who defected because he wanted WikiLeaks to apply journalistic discretion in the dispersal of secret government documents while Assange wanted to release as many as he could get his hands on.

There is also the $1.5 million memoir by Assange. Movie/TV rights will be handled by CAA for lit agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop, and rumors are that The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass might come attached (insiders said that’s not definitive). Among the other Assange movies that have already mobilized, Universal  Pictures will finance and distribute an Alex Gibney-directed documentary on Assange and WikiLeaks that will be produced by Gibney and former Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger, and HBO is in talks with BBC to collaborate on a pic that would be based partly on  Raffi Khatchadourian’s New Yorker article No Secrets: Julian Assange’s Mission for Total Transparency. Another documentary, WikiLeaks: War, Lies and Videotape has been picked up to be distributed by Zodiak. There are two more books available for movies: WME is handling Megaleaks by Andy Greenberg, and there is also WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy is coming from David Leigh and Luke Harding, two reporters from UK’s The Guardian who were the first to receive leaks from Assange and then shared them with Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

All of this is to be expected, of course—Hollywood has a track record of presenting the United States government as the bad guy in our conflicts abroad, from Vietnam onward. They pretty consistently bomb at the box office, but Hollywood keeps churning them out anyway, their left-wing ideology drowning out whatever good business sense or understanding of what the audience wants they may have.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – What Motivates Radical Libertarians’ Blind Allegiance to Anti-Government Thugs Like Julian Assange

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The outpouring of support WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have received from the usual paleo-libertarian suspects is as illuminating as it is predictable. Take, for example, Ron Paul’s latest attempt at LewRockwell.com to make excuses for the leaking of highly sensitive government data because—as always—the real villain we should be worried about is Uncle Sam:

[S]tate secrecy is anathema to a free society. Why exactly should Americans be prevented from knowing what their government is doing in their name?

In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, however, we are in big trouble. The truth is that our foreign spying, meddling, and outright military intervention in the post–World War II era has made us less secure, not more […]

The neoconservative ethos, steeped in the teaching of Leo Strauss, cannot abide an America where individuals simply pursue their own happy, peaceful, prosperous lives. It cannot abide an America where society centers around family, religion, or civic and social institutions rather than an all-powerful central state. There is always an enemy to slay, whether communist or terrorist. In the neoconservative vision, a constant state of alarm must be fostered among the people to keep them focused on something greater than themselves – namely their great protector, the state. This is why the neoconservative reaction to the WikiLeaks revelations is so predictable: “See, we told you the world was a dangerous place,” goes the story. They claim we must prosecute – or even assassinate – those responsible for publishing the leaks. And we must redouble our efforts to police the world by spying and meddling better, with no more leaks.

True to form, Paul doesn’t even try to address the evidence that WikiLeaks is a national-security threat operating against the law and beyond the First Amendment’s protection. As usual when it comes to foreign policy, the self-appointed spokesman of our forefathers is actually on the wrong side of the Founding regarding the necessity of maintaining a certain level of secrecy (see Federalist 64 and Federalist 70). And once again, the Paulite cult’s strange fixation on Leo Strauss pops up. (On that note, I have a suggestion for NRB’s Paulite readers: when you comment on this post—and I know you will—instead of regurgitating the same old complaints, how about explaining to me just what nefarious Straussian teachings we “neocons” are under the influence of?)

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.