The List II: The Strange Case of Dr. Ron Paul.
It is extremely difficult to summarize the very complex platform of Texas Rep. Dr. Ron Paul without getting too deep into the weeds as to why he’s often a clueless… even dangerous… presidential candidate that no one should ever seriously consider voting for. The Texas Libertarian is extremely popular among young voters (mostly Conservative & Libertarian)… reminiscent of my days as a HUGE Ross Perot supporter in 1992. so I get it. Republicans that like Ron Paul’s economic policies cringe at his foreign policy, and vice versa; Liberals that like Paul’s foreign policy, cringe at his domestic policy. But just as I was with Ross Perot 20 years ago, most Paul supporters seem to have blinders on when it comes to his other “peccadilloes”. It’s not until you look at Paul’s platform (and personal history) in detail that you realize this man shouldn’t get any closer to the White House than he already is down the road at the Capitol.
Besides foreign policy, Paul is also extremely popular with the “audit the Fed” crowd… another position that appeals strongly to both Liberals and Conservatives (for different reasons). Most “Paulies” confuse this with an opposition to “Big Money” (aka: “Wall Street”) Paul even expressed “support”… but not “praise”… for the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, calling the movement “legitimate” and “very healthy”, but with misplaced anger. Remember, Paul started the “Tea Party” movement that blames the government for everything, not Big Business. One of the prime benefits of being an “unexamined” candidate like Ron Paul (or Ross Perot for that matter) is that everyone projects their own desires as to what they think the candidate believes w/o any authoritative source to set them straight. I’m here to be that source.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Ron Paul’s platform has a lot of cross-Party appeal. The Good: Paul is best known as being staunchly anti-war, opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and calls for an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan (and the only Republican candidate to approve of President Obama removing all troops from Iraq this past week); favors limiting the use of military force around the world; ending the pointless and expensive “War on Drugs”; and leads the call to audit the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States. Paul also thinks it’s no business of the Federal government whom a person marries or why. The Bad: Paul is also a “Free Trade” zealot that believes there are no “good” government Regulations, no services that can’t (and shouldn’t) be privatized, and no government program that can’t be eliminated (most of which serve the Poor) and turned over to for-profit corporations. Paul also believes “Global Warming is a hoax” and supports abolishing the EPA in order to allow oil companies to drill whenever & wherever they want, spurring “economic growth”. The Ugly: Paul has a nasty record of making racist & anti-Semitic remarks. In 1990, Paul “published” a series of “Newsletters” (that many of his supporters today try to claim were not actually written BY him, but instead just published in his name.
But Paul has never made that claim himself nor disavowed them Now that Paul is leading in Iowa, scrutiny over those newsletters now has Paul saying that one of his 7-8 staffers wrote them, but he’s not going to bother to find out who.) making wildly inflammatory remarks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., blacks in general, and Israel (all links below). Paul is a cryptic candidate that has gotten as far as he has by staying out of the Media spotlight (not by choice, but by being publicly shunned by most outlets) and avoiding repeating some of his more questionable past remarks while on the campaign trail (eg: Paul denies being a “9/11 Truther”, but refuses to denounce the Truther movement, only saying that he “understands” how people can be so distrustful of their government.)
So why exactly does Ron Paul want to audit the “Federal Reserve Bank of the United States”? His website explains why here (emphasis his):
The Federal Reserve is the chief culprit behind the economic crisis. Its unchecked power to create endless amounts of money out of thin air brought us the boom and bust cycle and causes one financial bubble after another. Since the Fed’s creation in 1913 the dollar has lost more than 96% of its value, and by recklessly inflating the money supply the Fed continues to distort interest rates and intentionally erodes the value of the dollar.
Okay, here is where I keep getting into trouble. As culpable as the Fed was/is in our current economic crisis, they are by no means the cause or “chief culprit” as to why our economy crashed. Without going into too much detail, the Fed did nothing different in 2007-2008 that they hadn’t already been doing for decades. I am definitely NOT defending the Fed here, nor am I suggesting they don’t need to be audited, but the cause of the economic crisis wasn’t the Fed “creating fiat money”. It was the deregulation of Banks, Wall Street Commodities traders, and CREDIT RATING institutions, that took ENORMOUS gambles that failed to pay off when rising unemployment (due to $2/$3/$4 gasoline sucking BILLIONS out of the economy) resulted in a record number of mortgage defaults. And the failure of Paul to recognize that simple basic fact means he’ll be running around half-cocked trying to fix things that would do nothing to solve our current economic crisis nor prevent it from happening again.
Paul’s solution for the economy? Put us back on the “Gold Standard”… a windmill he’s been tilting at for over 30 years now. And anybody that thinks we can do that today is completely clueless as to how money works in the computer-age. I could (easily) go on for paragraphs explaining why this idea is ridiculous (and I did, painfully deleting a half dozen paragraphs), but just trust me, Paul’s understanding of economics is not unlike when your grandmother mails you a $5 birthday check to “buy that new video game you said you wanted”.
Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous Paul’s wish to return to the Gold Standard is, recently, Bank of America dumped $75 TRILLION (with a “T”) dollars worth of Derivatives on U.S. taxpayers. How do you cover that debt with gold? Paul believes “we have plenty of gold” to back all the currency in the United States if we simply adjust the value of our currency to match the amount of gold we have. This is insane. (Damn, I started going back into the weeds explaining why). Paul descries “currency manipulation” when The Fed prints money “out of thin air”, but then makes the case that you could increase your money supply (and you must to keep up with a growing economy) by manipulating the value of your gold supply… aka: “currency manipulation”. Is your head spinning yet?
“The government that governs least governs best.”
The foundation of Paul’s Libertarian ideology is: “the government that governs least governs best.” In Libertarian World, government regulations don’t “keep you safe” or “protect you from harm”, they serve only to “restrict your freedom”… including the freedom to die from tainted food or a defective product. That also includes the freedom to harm yourself, or allow companies to gamble on just how much harm they can get away with while maximizing profits… until the number of people dropping dead hits the evening news. And because government services cost money (unlike the private sector?), the fewer government services there are, the less you’ll need to pay in taxes. Of course, with the government no longer providing those necessary services, that means massive wholesale privatization… which means paying FAR more to corporations (with stock holders, executive salaries, bonuses and profit margins) to provide those same services. But don’t worry about THAT! The “Free Market” will control prices! (Unless they have a monopoly or collude to fix prices. And with no more government regulation, what’s to stop them?) Paul is one of those “Free Market” utopians that truly believes companies will always do what’s in the best interests of their clients and would never do anything to hurt anyone, out of fear of losing customers. Just ask owners of the Ford Pinto in the late ’70s, or parents today about the amount of arsenic in their child’s apple juice, if corporations always have the best interests of their customers at heart. Ask Roughnecks from the “Deepwater Horizon” how concerned BP was with “safety”. Back in 1993, some people got very sick and three children died from undercooked
While Paul claims to oppose the hugely unpopular NAFTA, he is a huge proponent of “Free Trade”. Kind of like opposing Chevy’s while calling yourself a supporter of GM. How does Paul reconcile this? Paul says NAFTA isn’t “true” Free Trade but simply “managed trade”. So the problem with NAFTA, according to Paul, is that NAFTA isn’t “free enough” [ibid]. So, if you hate NAFTA and think it has destroyed jobs in this country (that “giant sucking sound” that Ross Perot warned us about), Paul is not on your side. (When ABC News pointed out to Congressman Paul last August that his campaign T-Shirts were not “Made in America”, Paul was unapologetic, saying only that that’s “the free market” at work.)
Paul’s “small government” zealotry would mean MASS PRIVATIZATION of every government function except for the military and the police (“security is the only legitimate function of government”, according to Paul). A campaign ad entitled “Big Dog” that plays more like the trailer for an action movie, explains how Paul would “save $1 Trillion dollars on Day One”:
…by eliminating FIVE government agencies. The Departments of: Education (we’ll still need to educate our children though, so that gets privatized. And you thought four years of college was expensive), The Interior Department (Land Management, National Parks, and the EPA), Energy (drilling permits, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and toxic site clean-up), Housing & Urban Development (home loan assistance, fair housing enforcement, regulating utility bills), and Commerce (Economic Development, the Patent Office, NOAA [the Weather Bureau], and the Census.) You know, useless stuff like that.
I like this parody of the Paul ad much better:
Paul would also “get rid of the IRS” (an idea everybody loves) and replace it with… well… nothing. According to Paul’s website: “‘a heavy [sic] progressive or graduated income tax’ is Plank #2 of the Communist Manifesto“. You read that right, paying more because you earn more, is Communist. According to Paul, with government cut to the barest of essentials, we could cover the cost of running the government with just “excise taxes and non-protectionist tariffs” [ibid]. “Excise Taxes” are a tax on production, which I’m certain Paul defines as a National Sales Tax… something I’m highly ambivalent about. On one hand, a National Sales Tax would erradicate the problem of “tax cheats” and collect revenue from many sources currently missed, like criminal activity, gambling proceeds, people being paid under the table, etc. I would support a NST that exempts most staples (food, clothing, etc), but the tremendous downside of taxing production is that people will simply buy used items whenever possible to avoid paying the taxes on a new item, dramatically hurting sales and costing millions of jobs (Herman Cain was roundly criticized on this very point, refusing to exempt staples yet suggesting the poor can just “buy used” items to reduce their tax burden… never explaining where they’d buy “used food”.) Paul has not said whether he would exempt any items from his “FAIR Tax”… once again allowing his supporters to project their own beliefs as to what Paul wants rather than hearing from the man directly.
What “excise taxes” fail to reap, “non-protectionist tariffs” will have to cover. I’m having a hard time understanding the logic of “non-protectionist tariffs”. The point of “protectionist” tariffs are to raise the prices of cheap imported goods that complete with goods made in THIS country, making American goods more competitive with cheap imports. “NON-protectionist tariffs” would be tariffs on items we DON’T make/grow in this country. So if you want something you can’t get anyplace else… like a computer or new TV… you’ll pay more for it. Sounds like an opportunity to start making those items here! Great! Except that the moment you do, goodbye “non-protectionist tariff”, and suddenly that imported item gets a LOT cheaper, putting the American manufacturer out of business. That’s a recipe for a new “Boom & Bust Cycle” every five years. More fiscal cluelessness from the 76 year old grandfather.
Dr. Paul appeared on The Tonight Show last Friday night, giving some of the most direct answers I’ve heard to date on just what he wants to do. Eliminate the IRS and implement a (roughly) “15% sales tax on companies that do business overseas”. This is different from his “excise tax” mentioned above, and he was not firm on the “15%” number. “Maybe higher, maybe lower. Can’t say for sure.”
Like Rick Perry, Paul said he would scrap “all foreign aid”. Republicans seem to think we’re spending between 10%-15% of our budget on “foreign aid to countries that hate us.” Nonsense. Eliminating foreign aid is a popular idea until you realize it’s barely 1.2% of our Federal Budget, and pays for things like fighting the spread of AIDS in Africa, humanitarian aid in disaster zones like Haiti, and securing loose nukes in the Ukraine. Foreign aid buys “loyalty” (as with keeping Egypt from threatening military action against Israel) and buys us some good will in countries that might otherwise seek to do us harm. I think we get a lot of bang for our buck with that 1.2%. Eliminating ALL foreign aid would do a lot of harm simply to save us very little money.
Paul on “Legalizing” Drugs
Another policy position that makes Paul very attractive to both Liberals like myself and Libertarians, is his call to “legalize” marijuana and all recreational drugs, an idea “Family Values” Republicans are truly aghast at. Most “young” people (younger than the “Baby-Boomers”) have seen the ridiculous waste of lives and money spent fighting a “War on Drugs” that we’re no closer to winning today than we were when Richard Nixon coined the term in 1971. The Drug War has filled our jails and turned our streets into warzones, all because Moral Crusaders seeking to endear themselves to “Values Voters” know they can’t win if they appear to be “soft on crime”. This country learned what an abysmal failure “Prohibition” was in the 1920′s/30′s. Not only did people not stop drinking, but alcohol-related crime created a Rogues-Gallery of famous crime bosses whose names will still know today (Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, “Bugsy” Segal, et al.)
Paul created quite a Media stir in the first GOP debate last May when he drew applause for his call to “legalize heroin”, remarking that “we don’t need the government to tell us not to do heroin.” Uh, actually, we kinda DO. It was the skyrocketing use of heroin in the 1970′s that gave birth to the “War on Drugs”. But here is where the doctor and I part ways. More than a concern with “Big Nanny”©, there’s a BIG… HUGE in fact… difference between “legalizing” something like heroine (a Schedule-1, Class-A narcotic) and “decriminalizing” it; and it’s a subtlety I don’t think Paul gets. If you “decriminalize” a drug, it’s still illegal, but you don’t go to jail if you’re caught using it. But if you “legalize” it, companies can legally make it an ingredient in other products (like Coca-Cola), or sell “new & improved” versions, increasing the addictiveness of their product. And in Paul’s Deregulated Utopia, who’s around to stop them?
“Decriminalize” growing your own marijuana for personal use inside the home, thus depriving drug dealers of a market, but the last thing you want is the wholesale “legalization” of “all” drugs… unless you like the idea of “Coco Puffs… Now with Real Coca!” in your child’s breakfast cereal.
Which brings me to the one single biggest factor as to why a Paul presidency wouldn’t work: The president isn’t a king, and Congress makes the laws. If Paul thinks for one moment that Congress is going to abolish the FDA, DEA and IRS simply on his say-so, he has a big dose of reality coming. How would the 77 year old “President Paul” handle a Congress that refuses to give him everything he wants? Not well, I’d bet.
Ron Paul’s History of Racist Remarks.
Ron Paul is also known for one other thing: a long history of racist statements. You’ve heard his moron son Senator “Rand” Paul (named after Libertarian hero, author Ayn Rand) and his idiotic statement that… while he agreed with the move to end segregation in the public sector, he wouldn’t have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the grounds that government has no business telling private industry who they must serve or how. Well Rand’s racial insensitivity didn’t come from nowhere. Daddy said the same thing himself in 2004. The 76 year old elder Paul still carries around the “subtle racism” left over from growing up in a segregated society and decades upon decades of stereotype-conditioning during his formative years that blacks are somehow “physically & intellectually different” from “the rest of us”.
A mild example of this a few years back was when Dr. Paul suggested young black purse-snatchers were “more likely to get away” than young white purse-snatchers because blacks are “naturally swifter” than whiles, pointing out that that is why there are so many of “them” in professional sports (most of the links I found for these quotes link to some rather offensive racists websites, so I’m not including them.) Note to all the racists supporting Ron Paul (and there do seem to be a lot of them): A stereotype doesn’t have to be “mean” to be racist.
Back in the early-to-mid 90′s, Dr. Paul wrote a slew of “newsletters” (caution, that’s one of those racist websites I warned you of) that pop-up every election year. In them, Paul protested the passage of “MLK Day” by Reagan, calling it “Hate Whitey Day”, and suggested alternative names for New York City: “Wellfaria, ZooVille, RapeTown, Dirtburgh, and LazyApolis” in response to MLK activists that wanted to rename the city after the Civil Rights Leader.
But Ron Paul’s stereotyping of blacks is nothing compared to his disdain for Israel and those of the Jewish faith. During his 2008 campaign, Paul refused to return a $500 campaign donation from a noted White Supremacist, with his campaign manager defending keeping the money on the grounds Paul “could not be influenced for just $500″. Paul had already set fundraising records at the time and hardly needed the money. He could of made a bigger statement by returning the money and disassociating himself with those who donated it, but he didn’t. Those “newsletters” mentioned above? Filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric, where Paul called the Israeli government “evil”, and even suggested the 1993 World Trade Center bombing may have been carried out by the Mossad (the Israeli CIA):
“tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise.” [...] “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”
I put people who think Israel was behind any attack upon the U.S. in the same category as conspiracy nuts that think 9/11 was an “inside job” perpetrated by Bush (aka: “The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight”.)
There is a lot of talk this week about Ron Paul moving up in Iowa. Could Paul win Iowa? Back during the 2004 Democratic Primary, second-place Dick Gephardt viciously attacked front-runner Howard Dean in an ad worthy of Karl Rove the week before the Iowa Caucus. Dean fired back with an attack ad of his own, severely weakening both candidates and allowing third-place John Kerry to shoot up the middle to win Iowa. Could it happen again as Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney slug it out for first place? You never know (follow-up: turns out it was Rick Santorum, not Ron Paul to profit off the infighting between Romney & Gingrich).
One thing I CAN say about Ron Paul is that his immense popularity proves this is a center “LEFT” nation, not center “Right” the way Conservatives repeatedly claim. Paul’s anti-war, anti-big bank platform is right in line with the Liberal LEFT. For any “Republican” to make such inroads into the GOP electorate on a platform like his proves there are more of us than there are of them.
Here is my “List” for Texas Rep. Dr. Ron Paul. Paul hasn’t been in the spotlight as much as the other candidates, which means I have fewer links for him than the other Top-Tier candidates, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less objectionable (as you can clearly see from my rant above).
- Paul’s 2008 Online Campaign Strategist Died Broke from lack of insurance, Friends Couldn’t Raise Enough in Donations to save his life.
- Consider this in light of Paul’s “personal responsibility” response to a debate question on whether to allow a willfully-uninsured person to die. Paul’s answer: “Let the churches take care of him.”
- Ron Paul: ‘Why Not’ Abolish FEMA?, Government Should Not ‘Take Care Of Us When We Do Dumb Things’
- In case he wasn’t clear, As Irene Devastates, Ron Paul Says We Need To ‘Come To Our Senses’ And Abolish FEMA
- Ron Paul On Hurricane Irene: Response Should Be Like It Was In 1900
- Ron Paul Feeds Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory That Government Could Turn U.S. Into A Concentration Camp
- Ron Paul Suggests We’d Be ‘Better Off’ Without The Civil Rights Act
- Ron Paul Calls Social Security and Medicare Unconstitutional, Compares Them to ‘Slavery’
- Son Rand also compared ObamaCare to “slavery”… for doctors.
- Ron Paul: A Long History of Racism and Anti-Semitism – International Business Times
- Ron Paul: Africa Has Famines Because They Aren't Capitalists
- Ron Paul and Mitt Romney's Nuclear Waste Disposal Plan: Free Markets!!!
- Ron Paul: 'It Wasn't Lack of Regulation That Caused the Enron Scandal'
- Ron Paul Blames 9/11 On Government Prohibiting Guns On Airplanes
- If only the passengers of had guns. But then of course, the terrorists would of had guns too. Gunfight in a metal tube @ 30,000 feet?
- Ron Paul: Greater Access To Birth Control Makes A ‘Mockery’ Of Christians
- Rep. Ron Paul Argues States Can Ignore Constitution By Nullifying Federal Laws
- This Blog is Not Ron Paul Friendly
- One simple paragraph doubles the number of links I’ve provided you here.
- Ron Paul newsletter: LA riots ended because blacks went “to pick up their welfare checks.”
- Ron Paul: People Call Me Racist Because My ‘Policies Are Winning’
- You might remember this was the same reason Herman Cain gave for all the accusations of sexual misconduct emerging once he entered the spotlight. So much for “the Party of personal responsibility.”
- Video of 1995 C-Span interview with Ron Paul discussing his “series of newsletters”.
- Paul says he didn’t write his own newsletter and doesn’t know who did. Bull.
- As DailyKOS reports: “Got AIDs? Your fault, says Ron Paul. Boss can’t keep his hands off you? Switch jobs, says Ron Paul.”
- Ron Paul: ‘Entitlements Are Not Rights’. – Actually includes “the Right to your money” as an example, yet your right to receive repayment of money you paid into an entitlement is NOT a “right”. These guys keep commenting on words they clearly don’t understand.
- The “Small-government” ultra-Libertarian Ron Paul that wants the government out of your personal life, thinks government-mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion in Texas is just peachy. (This issue has since gone National.)
- During one of the upteenth GOP debates (1/27), Paul answers an unemployed woman that asks what plan the candidates have to help people like her afford health insurance. Paul’s response is to blame Medicare (“government being involved in medicine since 1965″), but provides no answer (other than the lingering suggestion he would abolish programs like Medicare.) Paul likes to rant about what he perceives to be the problem on a host of issues, but rarely provides a coherent solution.
- While Paul is insisting he was not aware of what was being written in his name in his 1990s newsletters, associates say Paul signed off on everything written in his newsletters:
- “It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product… He would proof it,” said Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul’s company.
- Ron Paul: If It’s an ‘Honest Rape’ a Woman Should Go to the Emergency Room, ‘Get a Shot of Estrogen’. I won’t even bother going into the question of how one proves an “honest” rape. The former Ob/Gyn thinks there’s a rash of women in their third tri-mester falsely claiming rape simply to get an abortion.
- Ron Paul Calls For The Elimination Of Federal Public Lands. – Says dump them off on the states so they can (ab)use and exploit them as they see fit. How about a toxic waste dump on your state border? Don’t like it? Tough.
- This should help dispel the myth that Ron Paul is a South Texas cracker with racist views: Paul agrees to be guest speaker at extremist anti-tax pro-Gold Standard White Supremacist group “Sovereign Citizens”. The FBI declared “Sovereign Citizens” to be a Domestic Terrorism group following a string of threats to police officers and the murder of two Federal Agents.
- Once again, Paul calls for the elimination of FEMA following one of the worst tornado outbreaks in 37 years.
- Ron Paul Admits He Takes Social Security, Which He Once Likened To Slavery
Paul owes much of his success to staying out of the spotlight and not being seriously challenged on any of the issues. If there’s even the slightest chance Ron Paul might win his Party’s nomination (or win the presidency in a third-party three-way split), someone needs to start asking him the hard questions.
(8/21 UPDATE: Public outrage exploded over Congressman Todd Akin’s absurd comment that “legitimate rape rarely results in pregnancy” because women “secrete a substance” that prevents fertilization. But note #24 above where Ron Paul said the victim of an “honest rape” should be rushed to the ER for “a shot of estrogen”.)
Other “Lists” still available for review:
Sign my petition for GREEN JOBS TOMORROW fast & cheap. Use those $4 Billion in oil subsidies to put Solar Panels on the roofs of 40,000 government buildings, or order 100,000 hybrid mail-trucks. Not only would this INSTANTLY CREATE JOBS, it would spark ENTIRE INDUSTRIES with a future, reduce our dependency on oil, reduce greenhouse emissions, and quickly pay for itself (and cut future expenses) with the energy savings. We need 5,000 signatures by
December 20th(extended to January 20th).
|Please REGISTER to post COMMENTS and be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE7+ users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts!|