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Ron Paul responds on CNN

Paul manages to most duck questions about how the hell he let this stuff come out under his name, saying only that he was too busy to read it.

He also makes the claim that he’s getting the most support from blacks. Even assuming he means only out of the Republican field, it’s still a suspect claim:

Paul wins the biggest chunk of the black vote, 22.2 percent, topping Mitt Romney’s 18.5 percent. One problem: There aren’t very many black New Hampshire Republicans. Only 27 were sampled in this poll, and Paul won six of them. Hey, he gets bragging rights.

(From Hit and Run).

Paul’s opposition to the drug war and the death penalty are commendable and he’s one of only 3 candidates (the other two are Kucinich and Gravel) to support those positions. Drug peace and abolition of the death penalty would vastly improve life in America for minorities. Looking at the rest of the Republican field you’ve got Giuliani’s racist campaigns, Huckabee consorting with Gary North (a former Ron Paul aide, btw), and a member of a church that wouldn’t allow black priests until 1978. It’s little wonder that Paul would attract comparable support to his competitors.

But it’s still hard to let Paul off the hook. Obviously, a guy who can’t deal with publishing an 8 page newsletter can’t handle running a country – no matter how commendable some of his ideals area. He also says the newsletters from the 1990s are “ancient history.” Here are a few things that aren’t ancient history:

In an interview on Meet the Press Ron Paul said he wouldn’t vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if it were introduced today (discussed on Technoccult here).

Paul voted against An amendment to the Voter’s Rights Act that would have served to reduce voter suppression tactics.

In a rare “yes” vote, Ron Paul voted for H.R.4844, dubbed “a 21st Century Poll Tax” by opponents.

These are specific, policy related positions Paul has taken recently. His rhetoric on immigration has also always bothered me, which is what made me start thinking he had a few race issues before I even found out about his newsletters.

To return briefly to the newsletters, Here’s Right Watch on the origin of the newsletters. Paul’s excuse that the he didn’t know about the content and doesn’t know who wrote them sounds less and less plausible, but until someone comes forward, it’s impossible to know.

Why are the newsletters important at all? The answer is that they contained more than just racially insensitive or politically incorrect rants. The author refers to black people as “animals” and talks about a coming race war. If you don’t understand why this is scary, read about The Turner Diaries and the beliefs of Charles Manson.

These also weren’t limited to personal opinions and paranoias – at least one policy prescription was made, and this was known before the TNR story: the author suggested that black youth, but not white youth, who commit violent crimes should be tried as adults.

TNR uncovers more of Ron Paul’s racist newsletters

typical ron paul supporter

Above: typical Ron Paul supporter.

TNR’s story here.

Scans of newsletters here.

Paul’s official response.

The Paultards are still in deep denial about all of this. Read Ron Paul racist newsletter FAQ for a swift debunking of the claims of Paul’s defenders. And that was written before TNR released their selection of newsletters came out.

I doubt this will hurt Paul much. If anything, it will only galvanize his supporters (who refuse to believe anything bad about him) and attract more racist supporters.

(Hat tip and apologies to Nick Pell for the picture and caption).

TNR uncovers more of Ron Paul’s racist newsletters (corrected)

The New Republic and Tucker Carlson are making themselves useful for a change. TNR has uncovered a number of Ron Paul’s old newsletters and they’re to be posted on their site on Friday tomorrow afternoon. Above, Carson interviews TNR’s Jamie Kirchick who says the newsletters refer to Martin Luthor King as a gay pedophile, calls black people “animals,” and encourages readers to stock up on guns and flee to the country to escape black people.

Previous Ron Paul coverage.

(via Hit and Run, where the general response is “media conspiracy!”).

Update: TNR posted Kirchick’s article, but their server crashed minutes later. I pasted the article into the comments. Still haven’t seen scans of the newsletter.

Late update: Newsletters are available here. Ron Paul responds to questions from Reason Magazine here. Reason’s editor-in-chief expresses disappointment.

Later update: Paul’s official response.

Ron Paul: Quackery enabler

OK I swear I’m going to lay off RP after this one last post:

Yes, Ron Paul is very popular among the quack-friendly set, particularly those tending to see a conspiracy between the FDA, FTC, and big pharma to keep them from selling their favorite nostrums. There’s good reason for that, given how staunch a supporter of “health freedom” he’s been over the years. What a wonderfully Orwellian term! After all, who could be against “health freedom”? If you are, you’re against freedom! It’s like being against free speech, mom, the flag, and apple pie. In actuality, “health freedom” is nothing more than a clever catch phrase that in effect describes measures that allow quacks the freedom to hawk their wares unfettered by pesky interference from the FDA or FTC.

[…]

The distribution of scientific articles is not prohibited. What is prohibited is cherry picking the literature for articles to use in advertisements to support unfounded claims that supplements can cure or prevent disease. But, his apparently dull facade notwithstanding, Dr. Paul is a master of spin, if nothing else. He’s quick to wrap his support for quackery in the mantle of the First Amendmen.

[…]

Right. Because the FTC and FDA are so effective in prosecuting manufacturers and supplement sellers for making exaggerated claims. That must be why Kevin Trudeau, after having been convicted of just such behavior, is now out there, happy as a pig in mud, hauling in money hand over fist selling books that make all sorts of exaggerated or false claims for dietary supplements and various “alternative” therapies. It’s probably why woo-meisters like Dr. Mercola and Mike Adams run popular and profitable websites hawking supplements and various other unscientific remedies with apparently no interference from the FDA.

Now, I support any adults freedom to eat whatever herbs, chemicals, or whatever they choose. And I support their right to sell whatever supplements, drugs, etc. they want. But I don’t think they should be able to make untrue claims – this isn’t “free speech” issue any more than telling someone you’ll sell them a working car and then selling them a car that won’t start is a “free speech” issue. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a fine print “gotcha” (“these claims not supported by the FDA”), which is the status quo.

Full Story: Respectful Insolence.

Ron Paul says he rejects the theory of evolution

Via Wendy McElroy, who also passes along some info regarding Paul’s flip flops on immigration.

Ron Paul says he rejects the theory of evolution

Via Wendy McElroy, who also passes along some info regarding Paul’s flip flops on immigration.

Ron Paul still courting racist right?

After leaving Paul alone for a month or two, I’ve got another post at my personal blog ripping on him for his astoundingly bad positions on racial issues.

Despite the fact that the CRA’s benefits have far outweighed any negative consequences, Paul would still vote against it. Why? Because, apparently, white people’s property rights are more important than black people’s individual liberties.

Over at the comments thread on Hit and Run amidst the pissing and moaning by Paultards that Russert actually took their candidate seriously enough to ask some grown-up questions, commenter Joe is addressing the issue well:

“Even if you don’t like the sections of the Civil Rights Act that banned discrimination in places of public accommodation, you need to acknowledge that adopting racial equality as the law of the land was a great step forward for freedom and justice. […] All sorts of institutionalized policies intended to maintain segregation and the racial caste system were in place before the 1964 Act. […] The racists who objected to black people sitting at lunch counters most certainly did solicit the government to help them oppress their neighbors. They supported all sorts of oppressive laws at the state and federal level, which the CRA repealed.”

Joe also got in a great one liner in response to someone who said the CRA had devastating effects: “Yeah, think of all those white people who didn’t get to have their own water fountains and schools.”

Full Story: Klintron’s Brain.

Ron Paul still courting racist right?

I’ve suspected for a long time that Ron Paul was deliberately courting the racist right, whether or not he himself is racist. For an “outsider” candidate like Paul, he can use all the votes he can get – including ones from avowed racists. For a little bit of background, read my open letter to Ron Paul (which I still haven’t received any response to).

His recent appearance on Meet the Press served only to re-enforce this idea, just as I was finally started to change my mind about Paul. I had decided that the areas where Paul is weak (immigration, abortion, racial issues) a Democratic congress would make up for, while the areas Paul is strong (foreign policy, privacy, the drug war, the death penalty) would really shine.

But this interview convinced me that Paul really is unforgivably bad on racial issues. It starts off great, with him explaining his plans to reduce federal spending and his foreign policy ideas. But when Russert starts asking questions about race issues, Paul crashes and burns. Here’s the relevant passage:

MR. RUSSERT: You would vote against the Civil Rights Act if, if it was today?

REP. PAUL: If it were written the same way, where the federal government’s taken over property–has nothing to do with race relations. It just happens, Tim, that I get more support from black people today than any other Republican candidate, according to some statistics. And I have a great appeal to people who care about personal liberties and to those individuals who would like to get us out of wars. So it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights.

In other words: despite the fact that the CRA’s benefits have far outweighed any negative consequences, Paul would still vote against it. Why? Because, apparently, white people’s property rights are more important than black people’s individual liberties.

Over at the comments thread on Hit and Run amidst the pissing and moaning by Paultards that Russert actually took their candidate seriously enough to ask some grown-up questions, commenter Joe is addressing the issue well:

Even if you don’t like the sections of the Civil Rights Act that banned discrimination in places of public accommodation, you need to acknowledge that adopting racial equality as the law of the land was a great step forward for freedom and justice. […] All sorts of institutionalized policies intended to maintain segregation and the racial caste system were in place before the 1964 Act. […] The racists who objected to black people sitting at lunch counters most certainly did solicit the government to help them oppress their neighbors. They supported all sorts of oppressive laws at the state and federal level, which the CRA repealed.

Joe also got in a great one liner in response to someone who said the CRA had devastating effects: “Yeah, think of all those white people who didn’t get to have their own water fountains and schools.”

This fits a pretty consistent pattern of Ron Paul claiming not to be racist, but supporting racist causes.

Folks on the neo-nazi discussion board Stormfront believe Paul speaks their language. It’s worth noting that Tom Metzger has advocated “covert” racism as a means to advance the neo-nazi cause, which might be part of why neo-nazis believe Paul is on their side despite his claims not to be a racist.

How have other politicians who have attracted unsavory supporters reacted? Mike Gravel once gave a speech on direct democracy to a holocaust-deniers group. Asked about it later, Gravel said:

They gave me a free subscription to American Free Press — they still send it to me today — and I flip through it sometimes. It has some extreme views — and a lot of the ads in it are even more extreme and make me want to upchuck.

[…]

You better believe I know that six million Jews were killed. I’ve been to the Holocaust Museum. I’ve seen the footage of General Eisenhower touring one of the camps … They’re nutty as loons if they [Carto’s group] don’t think it happened … Anyone who denies the Holocaust is patently off their rocker — it’s a ridiculous position … and the idea that the [documentary] films were a hoax is just bullshit,” insisted Gravel. He said he never renounced the group after he learned of what it stood for simply because “I’m not in the business of denouncing anyone. I’m in the business of promoting the National Initiative.” However, he quickly added that if he had to do it again, he doesn’t know whether he would skip the event or attend and “speak on the National Initiative and how they’re dead wrong on the Holocaust. Their views are just lunacy. But I don’t think I’d bother to go.

Not a lot of ambiguity there.

Cythnia McKinney seems unable to shake the specter of antisemitism, since her anti-Israel positions have attracted a number of openly anti-semitic supporters, and her own father made a pretty racist statement. But McKinney issued the following statement:

The people who made those remarks were not associated with my campaign in any formal way, and I want to make clear from this hour that any informal ties between me and my campaign and anyone holding or espousing such views are cut and renounced. The fact that the remarks occurred after some verbal and other provocation initiated either by members of the press or so-called security people attached to members of the press is no excuse for the content of the remarks themselves.

Denunciations of entire religious or racial groups, statements ascribing this or that behavior or motivation to “the white man” or “the Jew” have never been part of my lexicon, my public or even my private dialogue. Anyone who makes blanket denunciations of Jews or “the Jew” is certainly not a supporter of mine, not a staff member, not a consultant to, nor is welcome to be a volunteer in my campaign. Such people are in fact not living in the real world.

She goes on here. Again, not much ambiguity.

What has Ron Paul said about his racist supporters? According to the Austin Chronicle “As to why the neo-Nazi group was drawn to his newsletter in the first place, he credits his strong and consistent support of individual liberties.”

Huh?

He was also asked about it in the New York Times Magazine this year, and dodged the question.

Paul is willing to stick fanatically to his principles when it comes to the Civil Rights Act, but as I pointed out in my open letter, is willing to deviate from his principals when it comes to abortion. Not to mention the fact that he was willing to stick by the racist statements in his newsletter for years because he thought it was politically advantageous to do so.

Paul’s strategy seems to be this: repeatedly say that he’s not racist to try to set his non-racist supporters at ease, while still quietly courting his racist supporters. Reason’s Dave Wiegel hits the nail on the head when he says that Paul is being “esoteric” on civil rights (but unlike Wiegel, I’m not ok with it).

Another example is his irrational position on immigration. In the meet the press interview, Russtert points out that Paul actually used to support open borders. Why has Paul changed his mind? He says “We’re in worse shape now because we subsidize immigration. We give food stamps, Social Security, free medical care, free education and amnesty.” This is very interesting, because when he wrote about immigration in his creepily titled essay “The Immigration Question” he took a more cultural position on immigration, saying the US was being Balkanized by “widespread illegal immigration” and is “filled with millions of people who don’t speak English or participate fully in American life.”

I’ve been over before why most anti-immigration rhetoric is bullshit. What interests me is that Paul seems to have abandoned the more cultural critique of immigration (which appeals more to the racist right) and taken up a more economic argument. Here he can assure people he’s not racist, that he’s just looking after practical concerns, while still courting his racist supporters. Both the cultural and economic argument are utter bullshit, and Paul knows better, he’s just pandering to a certain vote.

Also, I was sad to see Paul backtracking from his quote about Huckabee. When Paul said “when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross” I thought it might be evidence that Paul wasn’t as theocratic and nationalist as his essays had suggested. His distancing himself from his own statement makes me think that he personally isn’t, but he is still courting the Christian nationalist vote all the same.

An open letter to Dr. Ron Paul

The following is an open letter that I have just sent to Dr. Ron Paul. I have added hyperlinks throughout for reference.

Dear Dr. Ron Paul,

My name is Klint Finley, and I’m a blogger and freelance writer. I’ve been following your campaign for some time now, and commend you on many issues such as: your unequivocal call to end the war on drugs; your condemnation of the death penalty; your call to repeal acts such as the National Security Act of 1947 and the Patriot act; and your condemnation of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. I believe you are the only presidential candidate from either major party to specifically address the National Security Act of 1947 and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

However, I can’t help but be disturbed by some of your statements and positions and have written various blog entries saying so. I’m writing because I believe I should offer you the chance to clarify some of these remarks. I apologize in advance that some of these questions are hostile, and in some cases read more like attacks than questions. Many of these issues are emotional to me, and frankly some of these positions look bad. I understand that you are probably too busy to respond to me yourself, and will be just as happy to receive a reply from someone on your staff.

1. You advocate the use of letters of marque and reprisal to deal with foreign terrorist threats, and in an interview with Hugh Hewitt say that “certain companies” could be hired to attack our enemies for us. Is Blackwater one of those companies? How would these companies be held accountable for their actions? If they are “deputized” as you said to Hewitt, does that many their actions on behalf of the United States reflect the United State?

2. In 1996 the Dallas Morning News and the Austin Chronicle exposed several racist remarks printed in your newsletter, the Ron Paul Survival Report. At the time, you defended the remarks saying they were based on “current events and statistical reports of the time.”

In 2001, in an interview in Texas Monthly, you backtracked saying “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around… They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them . . . I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn’t come from me directly, but they campaign aides said that’s too confusing. ‘It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.”

Why did you feel that it was more important to defend racism for political gain than to speak your mind?

3. Why did it take you 5 years to denounce the statements made by a rogue staffer in your newsletter? Couldn’t you have revealed this right after the election?

4. Why were the remarks not simply renounced after they were published in 1992? Did you not read your own newsletter? If not, why did you think it was a good idea to have a newsletter published in your name that you did not even read?

5. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “The War on Religion” you state “Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.”

Are you aware that “God” is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution?

6. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “The Immigration Question” you describe the United States as being Balkanized and state that there are millions of immigrants in the United States who do not speak English and do not “participate fully in American life.”

Yet a PBS report on immigration states that “About half of recent immigrants report speaking English ‘very well’ or ‘well,’ despite the fact that some may not speak English in the home.”

What sources do you have that say that English is not being adopted by immigrants, and what are your criteria for “participating fully in American life”?

7. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “Rethinking Birthright Citizenship” you stated that you want to amend the Constitution to repeal birthright citizenship, guaranteed under the 14th amendment. Are there any other parts of the Constitution that you would like to repeal?

8. In an article appearing on ronpaul2008.com titled “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban” you state that “Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age” but that though you intended to vote for H.R. 760 (as you subsequently did) you believed it to be “constitutionally flawed.” This appears to be in direct conflict with the statement on ronpaul2008.com that “Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.” How do you reconcile your vote for the partial birth abortion ban with your constitutionalist approach, and is there any other legislation that you would vote for despite its not being constitutional?

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to your, or your staff’s, response.

Sincerely,
Klint Finley
http://www.klintron.com

An open letter to Dr. Ron Paul

The following is an open letter that I have just sent to Dr. Ron Paul. I have added hyperlinks throughout for reference.

Dear Dr. Ron Paul,

My name is Klint Finley, and I’m a blogger and freelance writer. I’ve been following your campaign for some time now, and commend you on many issues such as: your unequivocal call to end the war on drugs; your condemnation of the death penalty; your call to repeal acts such as the National Security Act of 1947 and the Patriot act; and your condemnation of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. I believe you are the only presidential candidate from either major party to specifically address the National Security Act of 1947 and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

However, I can’t help but be disturbed by some of your statements and positions and have written various blog entries saying so. I’m writing because I believe I should offer you the chance to clarify some of these remarks. I apologize in advance that some of these questions are hostile, and in some cases read more like attacks than questions. Many of these issues are emotional to me, and frankly some of these positions look bad. I understand that you are probably too busy to respond to me yourself, and will be just as happy to receive a reply from someone on your staff.

1. You advocate the use of letters of marque and reprisal to deal with foreign terrorist threats, and in an interview with Hugh Hewitt say that “certain companies” could be hired to attack our enemies for us. Is Blackwater one of those companies? How would these companies be held accountable for their actions? If they are “deputized” as you said to Hewitt, does that many their actions on behalf of the United States reflect the United State?

2. In 1996 the Dallas Morning News and the Austin Chronicle exposed several racist remarks printed in your newsletter, the Ron Paul Survival Report. At the time, you defended the remarks saying they were based on “current events and statistical reports of the time.”

In 2001, in an interview in Texas Monthly, you backtracked saying “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around… They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them . . . I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn’t come from me directly, but they campaign aides said that’s too confusing. ‘It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.”

Why did you feel that it was more important to defend racism for political gain than to speak your mind?

3. Why did it take you 5 years to denounce the statements made by a rogue staffer in your newsletter? Couldn’t you have revealed this right after the election?

4. Why were the remarks not simply renounced after they were published in 1992? Did you not read your own newsletter? If not, why did you think it was a good idea to have a newsletter published in your name that you did not even read?

5. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “The War on Religion” you state “Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.”

Are you aware that “God” is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution?

6. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “The Immigration Question” you describe the United States as being Balkanized and state that there are millions of immigrants in the United States who do not speak English and do not “participate fully in American life.”

Yet a PBS report on immigration states that “About half of recent immigrants report speaking English ‘very well’ or ‘well,’ despite the fact that some may not speak English in the home.”

What sources do you have that say that English is not being adopted by immigrants, and what are your criteria for “participating fully in American life”?

7. In an article appearing on lewrockwell.com titled “Rethinking Birthright Citizenship” you stated that you want to amend the Constitution to repeal birthright citizenship, guaranteed under the 14th amendment. Are there any other parts of the Constitution that you would like to repeal?

8. In an article appearing on ronpaul2008.com titled “The Partial Birth Abortion Ban” you state that “Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age” but that though you intended to vote for H.R. 760 (as you subsequently did) you believed it to be “constitutionally flawed.” This appears to be in direct conflict with the statement on ronpaul2008.com that “Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.” How do you reconcile your vote for the partial birth abortion ban with your constitutionalist approach, and is there any other legislation that you would vote for despite its not being constitutional?

Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to your, or your staff’s, response.

Sincerely,
Klint Finley
http://www.klintron.com

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