Respectful Insolence

In one on my rare forays into political blogging (albeit with an emphasis on “alternative” non-evidence-based and non-science-based medicine), I discussed Ron Paul’s record of supporting quack-friendly legislation and in not accepting evolution. Because of my interest in Holocaust denial, it also interested me that Hutton Gibson, a notorious Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist, would endorse Paul for President. Whenever anyone criticizes Ron Paul for being associated with white nationalists (whom I like to refer to as “white power rangers” or, when I’m feeling really snarky, “mighty white power rangers”), inevitably the complaint is that it’s not his fault, that he’s not a racist, that the vision limited government and of states’ rights from before the Civil War just overlap with the somewhat less loony parts of the belief system of white supremacists. We’re told that we should pay no attention to that. Really.

Now I know why the mighty white power ranger contingent loves Ron Paul so much. Yes, The New Republic has found and reproduced a number of copies of Ron Paul’s old newsletters, such as Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report, and The Ron Paul Investment Letter, which had been pretty scarce and which Ron Paul (now understandably) would not release to the media. For one thing, much of the complete text of the infamous A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism about the 1992 L.A. riots is reproduced, in which Paul or someone working for Paul wrote:

Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.

And:

What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided.

There’s even more.

In November 1990, Ron Paul praised David Duke:

Duke lost the election, but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment. If the official Republican hadn’t been ordered to drop out, he might have won…Duke carried baggage from his past, but voters were willing to overlook that. And if he had been afforded the forgiveness that an ex-Communist gets, he might have won.

No wonder David Duke likes Paul so much!

Paul also had a rather special contempt for Martin Luther King, Jr. and other African-American activists and this showed up in his newsletters. For example, at various times his report referred to MLK Jr. as “a world-class adulterer” who “seduced underage girls and boys” and “replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration”; “world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and a “flagrant plagiarist with a phony doctorate”; and X-rated. Another newsletter, he ridicules black activists, led by Al Sharpton, for demonstrating at the Statue of Liberty in favor of renaming New York City after Martin Luther King. I will admit that this concept, if it was really pushed by Sharpton et al, is worthy of ridicule, but not of the sort that Paul’s newsletter engaged in, which was downright racist. The newsletter suggested that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” would be better alternatives–and says, “Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house.”

And I didn’t even mention the homophobia expressed in several newsletters or conspiracy theories about the Trilateral Commission! Or, best of all for all those Jew-hating white power rangers, there’s the part where Paul’s newsletter characterizes Israel as an “aggressive, national socialist state” (yes, it called Israel a Nazi state!) that apparently has unrivaled power to muzzle its lapdog media in the U.S., where it mentions “tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to work for the Mossad in their area of expertise,” or where he compares Salman Rushdie to Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, in which he asks:

How much of the whole media brouhaha is fed by people who are antireligious and want to paint anyone who takes takes religion seriously as an Ayatollah-like zealot?

And Paul’s denial that he had anything to do with the newsletter published in his name is truly laughable:

The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person’s character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’

This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.

So let’s see. There’s no two ways about it: Either Paul is lying, or he’s just admitted that he’s the sort of person who should never be elected President. After all, he just admitted in a press release that he’s so careless that he didn’t bother to read the newsletter printed in his name for two decades. Even if Paul is not a racist homophobe and militia nut, at the very least he is guilty of hiring racist homophobes and militia nuts to write his newsletters and then failing to supervise them, and then not disavowing what was said in them for years until, of course, he decided to run for President. How convenient. These are not qualities I’m looking for in a President. It’s also particularly telling that Paul has refused to release these newsletters to the press; after all, James Kirchick had to track them down in the libraries of the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society. As Kirchick says:

…Paul’s campaign wants to depict its candidate as a naïve, absentee overseer, with minimal knowledge of what his underlings were doing on his behalf. This portrayal might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically–or if the newsletters had just been published for a short time. But it is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views. In that respect, whether or not Paul personally wrote the most offensive passages is almost beside the point. If he disagreed with what was being written under his name, you would think that at some point–over the course of decades–he would have done something about it.

All I can say is that I’m very grateful that the phenomenon that was Ron Paul’s campaign is now, as we say in the medical biz, “circling the drain” in the wake of Iowa and New Hampshire, the excuses of his apologists notwithstanding. My concern about Ron Paul’s quackery-friendly policies is the least of my concerns about him. In fact, it’s rather depressing to see such a crackpot in national office of any kind. Of course, when I look at the rest of this year’s depressingly uninspiring Presidential field, not a single one of whom gives me any good reason to vote for them, I become even more morose. 2008 is going to be a long year.

Comments

  1. #1 Teresa
    January 9, 2008

    Well, the next Candidate you need to tear down would be Obama. He is a memeber of a church that if you are not black then you can not be a member. I will be watching for it.
    Thanks!

  2. #2 viggen
    January 9, 2008

    Of course, when I look at the rest of this year’s depressingly uninspiring Presidential field, not a single one of whom gives me any good reason to vote for them, I become even more morose. 2008 is going to be a long year.

    I singularly agree! Not one of the contenders seems like they are capable of being what this country needs.

  3. #3 This is Common Sense
    January 9, 2008

    Yes Orac, this evidence certainly shows RP was closer than we thought to the white power brigade. Good riddance to him.

    But Teresa, is there any evidence for your claim about Obama?

  4. #4 J-Dog
    January 9, 2008

    Terese, – You’re in luck! We’re all descended form black Africans, so you COULD join Obama’s church if you wanted to!

    Wow, are YOU lucky! (Although, judging from the tone of your post, I don’t think dumb crackers are allowed, so maybe that’s not so good for you.)

  5. #5 Peter
    January 9, 2008

    Great post. I’ve been following this bit by bit and found this informative.

  6. #6 uknesvuinng
    January 9, 2008

    I have little doubt Ron Paul will continue his run as a third-party/independent. And while I’m (happily) sure he doesn’t stand a chance of winning, I do look forward to it producing an interesting race.

    Sadly, whoever our two other choices are, it doesn’t seem to be particularly inspiring of hope for the future.

  7. #7 Luke
    January 9, 2008

    Teresa, I think snopes addresses that point very succinctly:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/church.asp

  8. #8 jre
    January 9, 2008

    Good links and discussion re/ Ron Paul’s, shall we say, checkered history. To my knowledge, the best post on Paul’s congressional record is this one in Orcinus.

    Will anyone be surprised to learn that Teresa’s statement about Obama is a steaming crock?

  9. #9 Dangerous Bacon
    January 9, 2008

    One can only conclude:

    Doo doo Ron Ron.

    Orac had better beware, though, if he keeps taking on Ron Paul. Lots of his supporters are even more deluded and frenzied than those of Don Imus.

  10. #10 simon lefaux
    January 9, 2008

    I’ve been more of a Ron Paul defender than a supporter, I think this latest revelation makes it harder to defend the man, but I still will.

    Other libertarian blogs have gone into greater details about the newsletters, their ghost writers, and Paul’s explanations, and I would linked to them, but most people have already made up their minds, so what use to they have for any more facts.

    I will say this about Paul and race, the pandering in the newsletters reek of mid-Nineties talk radio rhetoric, rhetoric Paul has never used in his speeches or in the articles with his name in the by-line, and they are despicable for sinking that low. With that said, what are Paul’s current policies and how will they affect African Americans and Latinos if elected?

    He wants to end the war, and since African-Americans and Latinos are over-represented in the U.S. Military, you have to see this as saving lives of the people his alleged to hate. People who those who claim to be more enlightened have no problem using as cannon fodder.

    He wants to end the drug war, and has explicitly stated that the drug war is devastating the African-American community.

    He is in favor of banning the death penalty because, and one of the reasons he has given is how it is disproportionately used on African-Americans and Latinos.

    If elected, I believe he would do all three, and if not, at least he is highlighting the disastrous effects of the drug war and the death penalty.

    Maybe he’s pandering now, much like Kucinich was Pro-Life up until 2003, and all of this is to cover some other evil plot.

    As for his anti-gay writing, if they were indeed by him, I would be concerned about how his Presidency would impact the gay population. He has introduced some bills that would allow idividual States to prohibit gay marriage, but then again he is all for “States Rights”. He has come out against Sodomy Laws, but I don’t know if that is enough.

    And then there his attacks on Israel and claims of antisemitism. The only thing that he might defend himself with is that he is for cutting fiscal support to all countries, not just Israel. But because of his connection to the fringes of the anti-Fed movement, and his rhetoric, any anti-Israel sentiments will be seen as antisemitic, maybe that is accurate, maybe it’s an overstatement.

    But in the end it doesn’t matter, appearance and perception is reality, especially in politics. So those who already had a problem with Paul and his political philosophy the TNR piece is confirmation bias. For those who were one the fence, he has been labeled a racists, and it would be an uphill battle to remove the tag.

    Since I’m someone who does lean towards the libertarian view point, what is most disappointing is how all those who already hate that political philosophy will use this TNR article as a broad brush to paint all libertarian ideas with.

    So it goes.

  11. #11 Jim
    January 9, 2008

    http://infowars.com/articles/us/ron_paul_hit_piece_scrapes_barrel_yellow_journalism.htm

    http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=41822

    Ron Paul clearly had some issues at the time regarding the need to better oversee the content of publications going out under his name. But his record clearly demonstrates that he is not a racist, and this incident was damn-near 20 years ago. He believes in the principles of federalism and the free market and you may not agree with that, but is that worse than Romney and Giuliani arguing over who could expand the Guantanamo operations faster?

    You’re obviously not a libertarian, obviously most people aren’t, or a Republican, but it’s pretty disingenuous to trot out Paul being pro-life or pro-creationism (neither of which I support) when even casual research of Paul’s positions would tell you that he is not about using the federal government to push his views onto other people. I personally can’t stand most Republicans who have jumped on the Federal Government Power bandwagon to try to use federal power to enforce their morality. Sure, it is fine and good for Democratic causes for there to be lots of power at the federal level . . . when Democrats are in charge. But when they are not, all that is left is to howl and scream when Bush starts religious initiatives at the federal level (one of the many, many things that have outraged me about the Bush administration). Better in my mind to remove that power from the federal government altogether.

    I don’t agree with every position Paul takes–in particular I’m not a big fan of his position on immigration–but I certainly wouldn’t mind someone coming into office with a stricter view of the Constitution.

    Take, for example, the terribly weak Constitutional interpretations that allows the federal government to regulate so many aspects of our lives. If it is that important for the Federal Government to have the Department of Education, then let’s honor the process set up by the Founding Fathers and make and pass a Constitutional Amendment that provides a solid Constitutional basis for authorizing such a Department to, for example, regulate educational standards at a national level. Or administer federal student loan programs. It doesn’t have to be a Constitutional Amendment specific to a Department of Education, just something that more explicitly authorizes Congress to take such power from the People and the States.

    I just think that the S.Ct. has joined the Presidency and Congress in the accumulation of power and arrogance that tends to create as to the wisdom of their own views–there is very little at this point that the S.Ct. does to restrict the power of the federal government and remain true to the language of the Constitution. In my mind it has taken decision-making away from The People into that branch of government most insulated from the democratic process.

    Back to Ron Paul–I find this whole newsletter business terribly thin and old. His voting record and public statements, confirmed to have been made by him personally, stand for themselves. If Paul were the Republican candidate (he won’t be), it would be the first time ever that I would vote for a Republican for President, having previously voted Libertarian in 2004 , Gore in 2000, and Clinton prior to that. That’s how strongly I believe the Federal Government needs to be reigned in.

  12. #12 Dangerous Bacon
    January 9, 2008

    So, Ron Paul, Defender of Black People?

    You don’t need to go back to 20-year-old newsletters to glean interesting insights from Paul. As recently as 2004, he was denouncing “forced integration” under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and justified his views in these terms:

    “Q: You would vote against the Civil Rights Act, if it was today?

    A: If it were written the same way, where the federal government’s taken over property–it has nothing to do with race relations. It has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights.”

    http://www.issues2000.org/2008/Ron_Paul_Civil_Rights.htm

    Uh-huh. Seems as if his views aren’t all that different from the more “colorful” ones expressed in his newsletters and which he’s anxious to disavow now that he’s got some support as a Presidential candidate.

    “If Paul were the Republican candidate (he won’t be), it would be the first time ever that I would vote for a Republican for President, having previously voted Libertarian in 2004 , Gore in 2000, and Clinton prior to that. That’s how strongly I believe the Federal Government needs to be reigned in.”

    This is a good example of how Paul supporters wear blinders to cover up his more embarassing and disreputable positions. He seems to offer something they want badly enough to overlook his negatives. The “health freedom” and antivax advocates could care less about his positions that threaten civil rights and legalized abortion, for example.

    “I’m going to get mine” could well be their rallying cry.

  13. #13 SLC
    January 9, 2008

    I have commented on a number of blogs and provided links to Dr. Oracs’ previous thread relative to Representative Pauls’ dalliance with medical quacks and cranks, particularly disturbing since he is a physician. What concerns me is the lack of comment from commentators on this thread and threads on other blogs relative to this dalliance. I can only conclude that Representative Pauls’ supporters either don’t give a damn about these dalliances or they are embarrassed by them and just pretend they don’t exist.

  14. #14 Adamantane
    January 9, 2008

    One of the Roman orators, I believe, coined the phrase that translated means “Some of the s*** sticks.” because the propagation of this kind of malicious gorp worked like a charm then as now.

    Suspicious ‘praising with faint damns’ is always an added possibility, too. Bashers on stock market bulletin boards have it down to fine art. They would feel at home with the spiritual cousins of Karl Rove on either the right or the left.

    As for Ron Paul’s character, John McCain, during the era when this smear was actually current, referred to Ron Paul as the most honest man in Congress in describing the Congressman to the man who later became Paul’s campaign manager.

    A bright eighth-grader can read this language attributed to Ron Paul and ascertain that, absurd content apart, in terms of both style and tone it is strikingly at odds with everything Ron Paul has said or written that anyone whose followed the man’s career ever has seen. It certainly isn’t necessary to subject it to sophisticated analytical algorithms such as those used in an effort to see whether Oxford or someone else wrote what is attributed to Will Shakespeare. Anyone of good will with critical thinking abilities will see it.

    But of course, nodding here to the ancient Romans, not everyone is of good will or possesses critical thinking ability, which evidently is the whole point of this particular turdblossoming.

    I for one would not wish to become known a shill for the slime-mongers, but to each his own I guess. Somebody has to be the cat’s paw.

    What I don’t understand is why the Left is so terrified of Ron Paul.

  15. #15 CT
    January 9, 2008

    Orac, I’m a medical student and a big supporter of Dr. Paul or, perhaps more accurately, his message on the role of government.

    I’ll stay away from all the hyperbolic comments you’ll likely be wading through if the RP community ever gets ahold of this link (or maybe you already are).

    I personally don’t agree with your interpretation of how these newsletters paint Ron Paul’s character. My argument though is much narrower: at the least Dr. Paul is the best of what may be a miserable field on the Republican side.

    You say that,
    “Either Paul is lying, or he’s just admitted that he’s the sort of person who should never be elected President. After all, he just admitted in a press release that he’s so careless that he didn’t bother to read the newsletter printed in his name for two decades. Even if Paul is not a racist homophobe and militia nut, at the very least he is guilty of hiring racist homophobes and militia nuts to write his newsletters and then failing to supervise them, and then not disavowing what was said in them for years until, of course, he decided to run for President.”

    To be sure some of this statement is factually false. The newsletters first came to light during his 1996 congressional run. He’s steadfastly apologized for these publications. So these aren’t new to his Presidential campaign.

    There is almost no doubt that Dr. Paul is merely guilty of the latter in your criticism – not supervising what was said under his name. As the NYT Magazine notes Dr. Ron Paul has certainly never come close to making comments such as these in public and even at a casual glance it is easy to see that the rhetorical style is far from Dr. Paul’s own in other publications. Also see Texas Monthly’s relative defense of him.

    Do you really, truly believe that sort of gaffe and lack of oversight is more disqualifying of the highest office than Senator McCain’s huge ethical missteps or Huckabee trying to cover up his son’s crime or Romney’s innumerous scandals?

    There are many reasons not to vote for Ron Paul (or any candidate) but to believe that his particular scandal disqualifies him more than the other Republican candidates? I don’t see how anyone who does any amount of research at all comes to that conclusion.

    Ron Paul isn’t going to win; I didn’t volunteer on his campaign holding that goal as a reality but his message on limited government is important. The incredible support (for a fringe candidate) that Ron Paul has gotten is for his message and I think it’s inappropriate to think that this scandal somehow dilutes that.

  16. #16 Julie Stahlhut
    January 9, 2008

    Teresa wrote:
    Well, the next Candidate you need to tear down would be Obama. He is a memeber of a church that if you are not black then you can not be a member.

    That’s completely false. Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, perhaps the most inclusive Christian denomination in existence.

    Please don’t pass around lies and malicious gossip on random websites. It’s crude and immature.

  17. #17 Rjaye
    January 9, 2008

    All right, I tried to post and ended up getting sent to a joke site (I hope) called “Jesus General” and part of the tag was in Arabic?

    Something weird is going on.

  18. #18 Robster, FCD
    January 9, 2008

    Jim, Infowars? Surely you could find a better source than an Alex Jones site? Jones is probably best known for being a leader of the 911 “truth” movement, and a disperser of a wide variety of conspiracy theories, many quite racist themselves. Jones has endorsed Paul, adding yet another nut to the list of devoted Paultards.

    Also, the constitution stance is just another scam from a corrupt republican. Paul doesn’t like the 14th or 16th amendment, most of the 1st article and would do away with the section granting birthright citizenship.

    More to the point that Orac and others have made, either Paul is a racist, or is too clueless to keep his name clean of hate speech.

    ——————

    Adamantane, the left isn’t afraid of Paul. It’s just pointing out his (many) faults, in light of a handful of a couple of good positions. Sure, he’s antiwar and pro free speech, but that isn’t enough to make a person a good candidate.

    Corporations would have the right to pollute, as the EPA would be unconstitutional, and pollution isn’t a problem in a “free market.”

    Medical research would cease to be in a Ron Paul US, except where funded by corporations. And forget public health programs, that encroaches on “personal” liberty and the right to be sick and make others sick.

    Would you like for the US to be energy independent? Paul doesn’t. He has a long history of opposing alternative energy research.

    His creationist position is a concern. He may claim to not want to impose his views on the rest of us, but his positions demonstrate this to be another lie. Who would pick up the slack if the Dept of Education was eliminated? Perhaps the same groups that would benefit from the school voucher program that he supports. His goal is increasing the number of children indoctrinated (but not educated) by religious schools, which would not be held accountable via testing.

    He can claim that he wouldn’t want to impose his prolife stance on Americans, but would put the question to the states in a manner that would allow abortion to be outlawed throughout many a state.

    In a free market, everything is for sale if you have the money. Most of us don’t have the kind of money that would let us afford clean water or air. Most of can’t afford to buy a vote of a congressman (Ron Paul sold a vote relaxing ethics laws for a $6000 donation from Tom Delay’s ARMPAC.)

    For these reasons and so many more, Paul is wrong for America.

  19. #19 Orac
    January 9, 2008

    Do you really, truly believe that sort of gaffe and lack of oversight is more disqualifying of the highest office than Senator McCain’s huge ethical missteps or Huckabee trying to cover up his son’s crime or Romney’s innumerous scandals?

    Spare me the straw man argument. I didn’t compare Paul’s screwup to that of any of the other Presidential candidates or say whether it is more serious than any other candidates’ scandal. I did say that his lack of attention to what was published in his name for a long time does in my mind disqualify him for the Presidency. It tells me he’s an inattentive manager, and, as has been pointed out before, if he couldn’t be bothered to exercise minimal supervision of the crew putting out his newsletter, imagine how an inattentive manager like him could allow his underlings to run wild in the White House. Also, we’re not taking about the occasional racist, homophobic, or nutty statement being made in his name. His newsletters were published over many years and consistently put out a steady stream of such statements. Moreover, his association with the Patriot movement, when coupled with his newsletter, causes me grave concern about him.

    As for whether the newsletter came to light or not in 1996, I don’t really care. It sounds as though Paul gave the same sorts of lame-ass excuses back then as he’s giving now.

  20. #20 CT
    January 9, 2008

    My apologies, the comment shouldn’t have been addressed to you personally because as such it did put on a straw man and put an argument in your mouth.

    That said, the consideration of Paul’s ‘screw up’ in a comparative light remains a reasonable one for any readers.

    Finally, I merely bring up the time line of this scandal (how it broke in 1996) as a matter of demonstration. To look at the evidence, even something terribly offensive, and not even consider mitigation, and not even seek out the completion of the picture seems…wrong. While considering the other side we may not find anything to change our minds but I think before heated and poignant critiques it is certainly worth having all the major comments, all the major positions and the facts in order.

    That isn’t meant as a malicious criticism, seeing as a violate my own principle often and I certainly admire the positions you lay out in most of your posts.

    I’ll bow out. Political debates get…messy.

  21. #21 The Crack Emcee
    January 9, 2008

    Christopher Hitchens deals with Obama’s church here.

    Make no mistake: It’s racist. I’ve heard the “pastor” speak and he’s a loony.

    Ron Paul’s a loony too. His support for quackery was just the tip of the iceberg, Orac.

    I love politics – especially in election years:

    The smoke and mirrors get blown away and broken, so the demons can, finally, fly free, for all to see,….watch yer heads!!!

  22. #22 Jim
    January 9, 2008

    Robster, you really haven’t made any attempt to understand the libertarian message, or what enforcement mechanisms might exist under a federalist/libertarian approach. We can disagree over whether that approach would work, but to say things like:

    “Would you like for the US to be energy independent? Paul doesn’t. He has a long history of opposing alternative energy research.”

    Paul believes that the federal government should not be involved in funding alternative energy research. Don’t you decry federal government subsidies of big oil? It is only through government subsidies and benefits that oil has remained so cheap in the U.S. for so long. Without those props, private development of alternative energy would have gathered steam a long time ago. Paul’s stance is not anti-alternative energy, it is that the federal government should not be involved in trying to pick and choose winners and losers in the energy game. Now the federal government is all about biofuels . . . are they going to be the next big oil? There are other alternatives to biofuels, how much funding do each of them get? With the oil lobby now so entrenched, aren’t you ready to replace it with a new, even more entrenched, biofuel lobby that has the advantage of starting the race already across the finish line since they are an outgrowth of the already entrenched agricultural lobby? No danger of corruption there.

    So you have taken a result–that Paul would vote against alternative energy funding–and turned it into something it is not, specifically that Paul is anti-alternative energy. Sorry, the logic doesn’t crawl backwards that way.

    “Corporations would have the right to pollute, as the EPA would be unconstitutional, and pollution isn’t a problem in a “free market.”"

    This demonstrates a lack of research into how a free market proponent would propose dealing with the problem of pollution. We can disagree with whether the solution would be successful (seeing as how awesomely efficient the EPA is), but to just say that pollution isn’t a problem in a free market/libertarian framework is just ignorant.

    As for my sources, it’s nice that Orac gets to quote the TNR hit piece but Infowars is automatically disqualified, regardless of the content of the piece itself. I’m not 9/11 conspiracy theorist, but does that mean this statement from the article:

    “If Kirchick had bothered to actually check Ron Paul’s voting record (real research doesn’t seem to be his forte) he would have learned that on one of the very rare occasions when the Congressman has voted for something that is not explicitly authorized in the Constitution, it was for America to recognize Martin Luther King day as a public holiday.

    “In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he voted to authorize the continuing operation of NASA and to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on the third Monday in January,” writes Politifact.com .”

    is therefore false?

    I also notices Orac’s first responsive post in the earlier post he made about Ron Paul was in response to someone named “Elver” as follows:

    “One can’t help but wonder: If you “don’t give a shit” and are “not a fan of Ron Paul,” why did you write such a long comment defending him?”

    Elver wrote 7 paragraphs, a fair percentage of it substantive, and the best Orac could come up with is more or less the same thing you did–attack either the source or the messenger and ignore the content itself.

    There are obviously arguments that can be made regarding whether Paul’s *actual* stances would be beneficial or harmful, but it’s hard to get there what you misrepresent his policies and go after irrelevancies rather than discuss what should be discussed.

  23. #23 NJ
    January 9, 2008
  24. #24 Stinky Wizzleteats
    January 9, 2008

    Paul believes that the federal government should not be involved in funding alternative energy research.

    Right, only funding Texas shrimpers’ marketing campaigns.

    I’m really baffled how this myth of the principled libertarian Paul keeps going when his legislative record and policy statements show him to be a populist reactionary (“partial-birth abortion” bans, flag burning amendments, repeal of the 14th Amendment, repealing anti-discrimination rules for government-funded religious charities but not repealing their funding, stripping courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to the constitutionality of government actions, &c&c&c.)

  25. #25 James
    January 9, 2008

    I’ve got to say that as I’ve been watching more information about Ron Paul come come out, the less appealing I find him. His views on immigariton, trade agreements, evolution, monetary policy are black marks in my book, and now there’s this. Personally I don’t care whether he knew about the contents of these newsletters or not, having signed his name to it he is deemed to have known. That’s what a signature means.

    Having said that, were I a US citizen, I suspect I would still vote for him. Because I think that little of the competiton. The only other candiate that seems even tolerable to me is Thompson, and that’s only because I think he would be too lethargic to actually do anything.

    Most of Paul’s agenda would be blocked by Congress anyway, and that would mean that the legislature would get into the habit of opposing the executive, which would be good. The two things he could do easily would be 1) withdraw your troops from Iraq, 2) Not treat the presidency as if it conferred god-king status. Surely these are the less nutty parts of his agenda?

    I am somewhat ambivalent about the FDA (I believe that while it does have a positive effect, it also hinders innovation, and this effect needs to be balanced against the good it does), but I think Paul is right that the existence of the FDA is unconstituional. The constitution says nothing about the federal government regulating medicine, so it can’t. If the FDA or EPA or whatever is a good idea, change the constitution. When a president ignores the constitution it becomes easier for later presidents to get away with it, why before you know it you could have a president who searches peoples’ communications without a warrant.

  26. #26 m
    January 10, 2008

    I have to disagree with the poster above who chided Orac for linking to Alex Jones’ site… yes, Alex Jones is a huge fan, but the feeling appears to be mutual, as Ron Paul has appeared on his show many, many times. Go to youtube, search their names together, and hours of crazy are yours to enjoy!

  27. #27 TT
    January 10, 2008

    “Having said that, were I a US citizen, I suspect I would still vote for him. Because I think that little of the competiton. The only other candiate that seems even tolerable to me is Thompson, and that’s only because I think he would be too lethargic to actually do anything.”

    That’s more or less the state of affairs in America today. I’d also add the national security state being built up here as well. The other Republicans are practically creaming in their pants for new tools of surveillance and suppression. The Democrats are softer spoken about, but not opposed to it by any means.

    Most likely, one of the Democrats will win anyway. At best, the national security state will grow slower than now, but even that’s very optimistic.

    Quackery, pseudoscience, and pseudo history may be least of our concerns sooner than you think.

  28. #28 Viscount
    January 10, 2008

    James: By that logic the Air Force would have to be disbanded as well, as the Constitution only allows funding for an Army and Navy.

    See also General Welfare clause.

  29. #29 Mark
    January 10, 2008

    “Even if Paul is not a racist homophobe and militia nut, at the very least he is guilty of hiring racist homophobes and militia nuts to write his newsletters and then failing to supervise them, and then not disavowing what was said in them for years until, of course, he decided to run for President.”

    It’s even worse than that: His newsletters sold for an annual subscription fee of $50. If we accept that he didn’t write this crap we’re still left with the fact that he personally profited from selling hate. In some ways, it’s almost worse if he didn’t believe this abhorrent garbage. Profiting off of racist and seditious rhetoric is bad enough, but profiting off of racist sedition you don’t even believe in? It takes a sickening combination of massive greed plus miniscule conscience to turn a buck that way.

    Ron Paul’s defenders need to ask themselves if they can really stomach supporting anyone who funded and prospered from such craven hate regardless of whether that hate found voice through sincerity, hypocrisy or negligence.

  30. #30 NH
    January 10, 2008

    I have never seen such unsubstantiated bullshit in my life.
    Everyone knows Dr. Paul is no racist.
    He delivered many minority babies for free.
    He denounced those who said they would not vote for a candidate based on his religion.

    Hillary and Obama openly support racism. Here is proof. They both pander to this organization. A Hillary or Obama presidency would mean more of your tax dollars going to — racism!

    Hillary Picks La Raza Leader As Campaign Co Chair
    Thu, 04/12/2007
    The former president of an extremist group that organized many of the country’s disruptive pro illegal immigration marches and advocates the return of the American Southwest to Mexico will co-chair Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
    Best known for his radical pro Chicano work during 30 years as president of the National Council of La Raza, Raul Yzaguirre is being promoted by the Clinton campaign as a prominent Hispanic activist who will lead the New York senator’s outreach to Hispanic voters.
    The reality is that Yzaguirre alienates many American citizens of Hispanic descent (in other words, those qualified to vote) with his so-called La Raza rhetoric, which has been repeatedly labeled racist.
    The National Council of La Raza describes itself as the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, but it caters to the radical Chicano movement that says California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas belong to Aztlan.
    The takeover plan is referred to as the “reconquista” of the Western U.S. and it features ethnic cleansing of Americans, Europeans, Africans and Asians once the area is taken back and converted to Aztlan.
    While this may all sound a bit crazy, this organization is quite powerful (thanks to Hillary’s new campaign co-chair) and annually receives millions of dollars in federal grants. Its leaders also managed to get included in congressional hearings regarding immigration. Last year alone, the National Council of La Raza received $15.2 million in federal grants and one senator gave the group an extra $4 million in earmarked American taxpayer dollars.
    The organization uses the money to support projects like a Southern California elementary school with a curriculum that specializes in bashing America and promoting the Chicano movement. The school’s founder and principal, a Calexico-educated activist named Marcos Aguilar, opposes racial integration and says Mexicans in the U.S. don’t want to go to white schools or drink from white water fountains.

  31. #31 Azkyroth
    January 10, 2008

    m really baffled how this myth of the principled libertarian Paul keeps going when his legislative record and policy statements show him to be a populist reactionary

    I suppose the same way the myth of the “liberal media” keeps going.

  32. #32 Peter Barber
    January 10, 2008

    Jim,

    Without those props [i.e. subsidies], private development of alternative energy would have gathered steam a long time ago.

    How does libertarianism internalise future environmental costs of our decisions in the here and now? If it can’t, then alternative energy sources would remain economically unviable until we’re well over Hubbert’s Peak.

    And since we have to start from where we are, how would alternative energy start-ups compete with petroleum and coal interests’ huge financial assets and multinational structure? Neither windfall nor pollution taxes are consistent with libertarian philosophy, and if big government cannot prevent companies moving abroad to avoid such penalties then minimal, laissez-faire government certainly cannot.

  33. #33 Deech56
    January 10, 2008

    Unless the articles had some kind of disclaimer, it appears that Paul’s epistles are pretty damning. Even if we take his explanation at face value, this is major-league inattentiveness. In researching another topic, I came across David Duke’s site and it’s all about getting Dr. Paul elected. Sorry, but I cannot buy the line that’s all about libertarianism.

  34. #34 SLC
    January 10, 2008

    Re James

    Like all libertarian ideologues, Mr. James conveniently ignores the right of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce and promote the general welfare. That is why his moronic claims that the EPA and the FDA are unconstitutional are total nonsense.

  35. #35 David Marjanović
    January 10, 2008

    As for Ron Paul’s character, John McCain, during the era when this smear was actually current, referred to Ron Paul as the most honest man in Congress in describing the Congressman to the man who later became Paul’s campaign manager.

    You’ve overlooked the fact that McCain is far from being the most honest man in Congress himself…

    A bright eighth-grader can read this language attributed to Ron Paul and ascertain that, absurd content apart, in terms of both style and tone it is strikingly at odds with everything Ron Paul has said or written that anyone whose followed the man’s career ever has seen. It certainly isn’t necessary to subject it to sophisticated analytical algorithms such as those used in an effort to see whether Oxford or someone else wrote what is attributed to Will Shakespeare. Anyone of good will with critical thinking abilities will see it.

    So, instead of being a liar, Paul is too incompetent to be president? That’s what you want to say, right?

    What I don’t understand is why the Left is so terrified of Ron Paul.

    “Terrified” is not the right word. It’s disgust at the fact that Paul wants the government to ignore its duties.

    That said, the consideration of Paul’s ‘screw up’ in a comparative light remains a reasonable one for any readers.

    Why? All Republican candidates are unelectable this time. Not just Paul.

    Paul believes that the federal government should not be involved in funding alternative energy research. Don’t you decry federal government subsidies of big oil? It is only through government subsidies and benefits that oil has remained so cheap in the U.S. for so long. Without those props, private development of alternative energy would have gathered steam a long time ago. Paul’s stance is not anti-alternative energy, it is that the federal government should not be involved in trying to pick and choose winners and losers in the energy game.

    Why doesn’t he want to actively fund research? Doesn’t he see research for the investment it is? If so, he’s too stupid to be president.

    but to just say that pollution isn’t a problem in a free market/libertarian framework is just ignorant.

    Then what do you propose to do about the tragedy of the commons?

    While this may all sound a bit crazy

    Not to mention so obviously unfeasible that it’s ridiculous to be worried about it.

  36. #36 Jim
    January 10, 2008

    SLC/Viscount: If the general welfare and commerce clauses allow unlimited federal government power, what was the point of inserting anything about all powers not specifically set forth in the Constitution are reserved for the States or The People? What could possibly be excluded from the categories of “general welfare” and “commerce”?

    Viscount: “James: By that logic the Air Force would have to be disbanded as well, as the Constitution only allows funding for an Army and Navy.”

    Absolutely true. Do you think it would be/have been difficult to get a Constitutional Amendment passed authorizing the creation and funding of additional branches of armed services?

    It’s pretty plain that all the bashers here and at Pharyngula were never libertarian-minded to begin with. So why not take 20-year-old newsletters and an issue over ten years old and dredge it up on the eve of the NH primary and ignore (or sweepingly brush aside) Paul’s voting record and public statements? It all just seems pretty cheap to me.

  37. #37 Dangerous Bacon
    January 10, 2008

    “Everyone knows Dr. Paul is no racist.”

    Yeah! It’s like Groucho Marx once said, “Who are you going to believe – me or your own eyes?” ;)

    “(Paul) delivered many minority babies for free.”

    This isn’t quite as devastating a rejoinder as you might believe. There was an Atlanta physician in the 1940s who made a similar claim to show how benevolent he was toward blacks. His name was Samuel Green, and he was the Grand Dragon of a revived southern Ku Klux Klan.

  38. #38 Jim
    January 10, 2008

    “Why doesn’t he want to actively fund research?”

    Because the Constitution doesn’t allow the federal government to do so.

    Because competition in the free market will do a better job at allocating resources towards promising alternative energy technologies than the federal government’s lobby-shackled decision-making–if you also take away the generous, lobby-created subsidies for oil (for starters).

    Allowing for a court system that vigorously protects private property interests does more than one would think regarding environmental protection. Private land trusts, for example, can protect valuable wilderness areas, and the federal government. There is reading and research that one could do about libertarian approaches to pollution:

    http://www.la-articles.org.uk/FL-3-4-6.pdf

  39. #39 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 10, 2008

    NH at what point did you think this conversation was about Hillary? Please try and stay on target here.

    I have never seen such unsubstantiated bullshit in my life.
    Everyone knows Dr. Paul is no racist.
    He delivered many minority babies for free.

    Oh well hell. I’m sold

    /eyeroll

  40. #40 David Marjanović
    January 10, 2008

    “Why doesn’t he want to actively fund research?”

    Because the Constitution doesn’t allow the federal government to do so.

    Then why doesn’t he propose an amendment like he does on several other points?

    Because competition in the free market will do a better job at allocating resources towards promising alternative energy technologies than the federal government’s lobby-shackled decision-making–

    Basic research is not competitive. Only applied research is. To find out which alternative energy technologies are promising, we need to do basic research first. That means spending megabucks upon megabucks on scientists’ hobbies where nobody can predict if anything useful will ever come out of it. This is what universities exist for.

    What have I missed?

    if you also take away the generous, lobby-created subsidies for oil (for starters).

    I agree that these subsidies are not a good idea, and that the US lobby system is horrible.

  41. #41 Jesse
    January 10, 2008

    I genuinely fear Ron Paul.

    Orac has nicely touched on a very strong undercurrent that runs strong in the Paul ship: Ignorance.

    Libertarians love him because of his ‘views’ on the constitution (Given that he is an MD and not a JD or legal expert, I- and I think most people should- take his views on the constitution the same way I take my car mechanic’s views on astronomy) but seem to spend 99% of their time trying to prove that he’s not crazy. Just looking at some of his views, I can’t see how people so adamantly support him:
    -Does not believe in Evolution
    -Believes ‘Life begins at conception’
    -Will Defund Planned Parenthood
    -Thinks intelligent design should be taught in the clasroom.

    This is all in addition to the litany of conspiracy mongerers, hate groups, and pseudoscience proponents that he has become the best friend of. Make no mistake: Paul is not the candidate of ‘freedom’, he is the candidate of ignorance.

  42. #42 Robster, FCD
    January 10, 2008

    Jim, you are correct in that I don’t understand how a libertarian / free market system would work, because it is a fairy tale.

    A magical place where with no oversight and regulation, multinational corporations will all act as perfectly polite and conscientious corporate citizens, where up to this point they have shown no interest in doing so.

    A mythical land where everything is perfect because honorable men and women in congress look out for the little guy, while never taking money from corporate interests in exchange for looking the other way. Oh no, in a free market, where everything is for sale including votes, we should believe that all will be peachy because the market will take care of itself. Laissez faire didn’t work before, and rebranding it won’t make it work for a second try.

    Libertarian free marketism is as unworkable as communism outside of a village setting, because both assume that greed can be taken out of the economic picture.

    Furthermore, if the US government does not help fund the expenses of alternative energy research, other nations with more forward looking will reap the benefits, leaving the US to dig itself further into the trade deficit hole.

    If it weren’t for government funded medical research, we would have little more than boner pills and acid reflux treatments. Forget uncommon cancers, behavioral therapies for diabetes, or maladies with little room for future profit.

    Back to the topic of his newsletter, if you let someone use your name, you are endorsing those words. Paul is either a racist liar or an idiot. There is no other reasonable position to take. Claiming it is old news is a dodge. It is a valid and clear example of Ron Paul’s character.

  43. #43 SLC
    January 10, 2008

    Re Jim

    1. Is Mr. Jim now claiming that the FDA and the EPA are not involved in regulating interstate commerce? The question of how far they and other regulatory agencies can go in this regard is a matter left up to the Supreme Court to decide (although, a true libertarian might argue that John Marshall exceeded his mandate by claiming the power to declare acts of state and federal legislatures unconstitutional). Thus far, the Supreme Court has declined to declare the regulatory agencies unconstitutional so Mr. Jims assertions are an academic exercise.

    2. Just as a matter of personal interest, what is Mr. Jims’ position relative to the Second Amendment. For instance, does a strict construction of it preclude the federal government form banning a citizen from storing a hydrogen bomb in his/her basement? After all, a hydrogen bomb is an arm, isn’t it.

  44. #44 Paulism at any price
    January 10, 2008

    When will people understand. If Ron Paul’s disavowal of these writings is to be believed, he is an even stronger Libertarian than we knew. Apparently, laissez faire applies not just to government, but to people he employs. To hire someone to help carry out his goals, and then smile and wag his head while said person pursues an alternate and destructive agenda, is in fact the highest expression of liberty. Racism? Nay, Ron Paul’s old newsletters show us what a principled man he really is.

  45. #45 TT
    January 10, 2008

    SLC, the interstate commerce clause could be used to argue for almost anything. While the FDA’s regulation of drugs and requirements for testing has helped ensure that drugs are scientifically shown to be effective, their policies have helped ensure that only large pharmaceutical companies are the only entities viable for creating new drugs. This has helped the lead to the oligopoly we have today with the pharmaceutical companies.

    I’m not answering for Jim, I just wanted to bring that up. How do we keep our drugs and food safe without having just a few or even just one company making the drugs and controlling the prices?

  46. #46 The Crack Emcee
    January 10, 2008

    David Marjanović ,

    “All Republican candidates are unelectable this time.”

    This must be your first election, right?

  47. #47 Jim
    January 10, 2008

    “Is Mr. Jim now claiming that the FDA and the EPA are not involved in regulating interstate commerce?”

    Certainly now as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, no. It doesn’t take much historical knowledge to understand that, so I’m not sure why you even have to ask this question. On what basis would you argue that those powers would have been authorized prior to, at the very earliest, Swift v. United States in 1905? Maybe some small part of their overall function would have been captured in 18th and 19th century meanings, but an insignificantly small percentage.

    “For instance, does a strict construction of it preclude the federal government form banning a citizen from storing a hydrogen bomb in his/her basement? After all, a hydrogen bomb is an arm, isn’t it.”

    It is well known that some of the Founding Fathers believed that periodic revolution was the only way to keep away the shackles of tyranny. Wouldn’t we all have been better off if, instead of relying on S.Ct. interpretation, back in the day someone would have said “Hey, this Amendment makes no f-ing sense now that we don’t really have militias anymore, maybe we should put together a Constitutional Amendment so that, you know, it makes actual sense to people who read it now.”

    Instead, we rely solely on the S.Ct. to make these ridiculous and strained interpretations when what they would say if they had any balls is: You know what, this Amendment is BROKEN. It has been for a long time. You people go fix it, and don’t bring it back to us until it makes sense in today’s English! Of course, that would mean moving some power back to the People. Can’t have that, can we.

    What baffles me is that no one seems interested in actually discussing these things, as if I, and those of similar opinion, have nothing to offer. I participated rather extensively in the most recent Ron Paul thread on Pharyngula, and the trend was mostly the same there until near the end. All y’all have already made up your minds so rather than raising issues for discussion it’s like you are throwing little darts and barbs out meant to bolster your collective view that federalists and libertarians are just crazy nuts. It’s really a shame, because politics and economics aren’t rigid sciences, much to the consternation of political science and economics majors everywhere. Free markets vs. government control isn’t vaccination vs. anti-vaccination, or evolution vs. creationism. There are ideas to be exchanged, and things to be learned on all sides, but you don’t act like it.

  48. #48 James
    January 11, 2008

    SLC: I’m only about half-libertarian really. I, for instance have no problem with the welfare state (though I would prefer it to be structured more along EITC lines) and prefer more regulation than most libertarians are compfortable with.

    While I have reservations about the FDA, I would not want to see a total deregulation. Friedman’s ideas on underwriters laboritories would be worth a look though. I actually believe that some form of environmental regulation (preferably externality taxes) is important, externalities are real and need to be addressed. As far as the USAF goes, until 1947 it was caled the USAAF and was a part of the army.

    I don’t mean to suggest that all these things are bad ideas, but they should either be handled by the States (my country has a population of 4 million and we manage our own policy just fine), or if the federal government is the best place for it (I’m an agnostic on the federalism issue) ammend the constitution. The law is the law, if it is wrong, then change it. Ammend to include welfare, ammend to add an EPA, and an Airforce and other agencies.

    The “general welfare clause” can’t be as broad as you say, because if it were it would contradict the concept of a federal government with strictly ennumerated powers, since “promote the general welfare” can mean anything. I suspect “promote the general welfare” is meant as the justification for federal powers, not a power per se.

    My basic point is that when politicians cultivate an attitude that the constitution is a dusty old document that should be sidestepped when it proves inconveneient, well eventually a politician comes along who considers the bits you like to be inconvenient as well.

    Robster: I agree that a minarchist or anarchist state would be fairly unpleasant, but I fail to see how your amusing comment justifies the current size of government,as opposed to one that was (say) 30-50% smaller. I also fail to see how increasing the power of politicians will solve or even mitigate the problem of political corruption. Surely stripping politicians of their power to do so much meddling would be more productive?

  49. #49 Andrew Dodds
    January 11, 2008

    James -

    The idea that you can strip politicians of their power by any means seems a bit strange – ultimately, politicians have all the political power in the country, and can technically do anything regardless of the constitution. Even in the US, if both houses and the president decide they really want to form a dictatorship, they can; it’s just a question of numbers. The same goes for ANY government..

    The glaring problem that the US has is the fantastic cost of elections – the candidates in the primaries spend far more in a few states than is spent in a UK general election, never mind the presidential election itself, and house/senate/governership elections are also very, very expensive.

    This means that in order to get elected to any position of significance in the US, you need access to cash. In turn, that means you are basically bought by your doners.

    Ultimately, the US needs serious reform of the entire campaign finance system, and limits to what campaigns can do. This raises serious free speech issues, but there again the current system puts strong limits on what can be said pretty much by default.

  50. #50 SLC
    January 11, 2008

    Re Jim

    1. Mr. Jim states that agencies like the FDA and the EPA were not envisioned by the founding fathers. The difficulty with such a statement is that the problems that the regulatory agencies address did not exist at the time the Constitution was written and therefore the writers of that document could not possibly anticipate the need for such agencies. The notion that every time a problem arises that could not possibly be anticipated by the founding fathers a constitutional amendment is required to set up a federal government agency to address it is patently absurd. Issues such as pollution, dangerous drugs, etc. would never be addressed under such a stricture.

    2. I notice that Mr. Jim avoided addressing my query relative to the scope of the 2nd amendment. The reason he did so is quite obvious. If he admits that the federal government has the power to prevent private ownership of nuclear weapons, he then has to draw a line as to which weapons the government can regulate and which weapons it cannot regulate. If he denies that the federal government has the power to prevent private ownership of nuclear weapons, he demonstrates the absurdity of his strict constructionist position.

  51. #51 Jim
    January 11, 2008

    1. Do you mean that neither drugs nor pollution existed in 1787? Surely not, as in particular the country we revolted from had, at that point, at least 100 years of history trying to battle pollution in London (http://www.eih.uh.edu/outreach/tfors/history.htm). And drugs have been used to cure patients (or kill them in the process) for much longer than that.

    Beyond that, your imagination regarding the potential flexibility in drafting a Constitutional Amendment leaves much to be desired. I suppose that rather we should continue to stretch the static and historical words of the Constitution to match all new possibilities. That sounds suspiciously like someone defending applying Biblical passages to solve today’s complex moral issues.

    2. There is no absurdity in a strict construtionist position–the Amendment, as written, offers no restriction on the type of arms. Would it have been, or be, so terribly difficult to amend the Second Amendment to say something like “The right of individuals to bear arms for the purpose of self defense shall not be infringed, subject to reasonable regulation by the federal government.” Here you have swept away the problematic issue of militias, and made the language conditional in such a way that Supreme Court justices have a standard by which to measure arms regulation.

    Instead, we rely on strained interpretations of 200-year-old language. The same goes for most of the rights in the Bill of Rights. If you want them changed, fine, there is a process for that. Better that than to entrust ever-more-thin interpretations of language hundreds of years old by that branch of the federal government most insulated from the democratic process.

    I continuously struggle with understanding how it is The People of the United States have lost their healthy distrust of government power, in all its various forms.

  52. #52 SLC
    January 11, 2008

    Re Jim

    1. “There is no absurdity in a strict construtionist position–the Amendment, as written, offers no restriction on the type of arms.”

    Therefore, it is Mr. Jims’ position that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to forbid citizens to store a hydrogen bomb in their basements. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Jim is seriously deranged. Anybody who claims that private citizens are entitled to own hydrogen bombs is a whackjob of monumental proportions.

    2. “Do you mean that neither drugs nor pollution existed in 1787? Surely not, as in particular the country we revolted from had, at that point, at least 100 years of history trying to battle pollution in London.

    The answer is that industrial pollution did not exist because the industrial revolution had not yet started when the Constitution was drafted. Furthermore, there was no such thing as evidence based medicine so that the notion of regulating drugs was totally unknown. I am afraid that Mr. Jim is grasping at straws. In addition to which, most of the drugs currently in the medical inventory were unknown in 1789.

    3. “I suppose that rather we should continue to stretch the static and historical words of the Constitution to match all new possibilities. That sounds suspiciously like someone defending applying Biblical passages to solve today’s complex moral issues.”

    I am afraid that Mr. Jim has it backwards. He is the one whose views parallel the Christian Dominionists like the late and unlamented Mr. Rushdooney. Strict interpretation of the Constitution is equivalent to strict interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.

    As an aside, the Southerners who complain the loudest about the power of the federal government have only themselves to blame. Their treasonous actions in 1861 and the response of the government to those actions are what led to a strong central government.

  53. #53 Jim
    January 11, 2008

    “The period of time covered by the Industrial Revolution varies with different historians. Eric Hobsbawm held that it ‘broke out’ in the 1780s and was not fully felt until the 1830s or 1840s,[4] while T. S. Ashton held that it occurred roughly between 1760 and 1830.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution

    Also, London was not some miracle paradise of non-pollution prior to the industrial revolution. It’s called history, and it’s not that hard to find some.

    What does it matter whether drugs were in the medical inventory or not?? That’s a ridiculous thing to say. There were substantially more purity and efficacy issues in 1789 than there are today.

    “Therefore, it is Mr. Jims’ position that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to forbid citizens to store a hydrogen bomb in their basements.”

    Exactly which part of the Second Amendment prohibits it? Is it ok if someone is part of a militia, but not as an individual? Or is it just a total relic that must be discarded and therefore individuals have no right to gun ownership at all? Go ahead, you have assailed my position, now state and defend yours. Unless you are an absolutist that there is no right of the individual to bear arms, or that the entire Amendment has no meaning because there is no militia as was in that time period (still revoking everyone’s individual right to own firearms), do Americans have any right to own guns at all under the Second Amendment? Let’s hear it, from the words of the Amendment.

    “Strict interpretation of the Constitution is equivalent to strict interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.”

    No, I am saying that the Constitution was designed with a process for change, unlike Biblical literalists. You are the one saying that the words of the Constitution, written over 200 years ago, have these new and miraculous meanings and applications never envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Significant difference, I’m not surprised it is totally beyond you.

    Mr. SLC. Ha.

  54. #54 James
    January 12, 2008

    Andrew: You’re right that there is a limit to how much you can restrict the power of politicians, but it would be worth trying a bit of ocnstituinoal restraint. A Supreme Court that was willing to stand up to the legislature more wouldn’t hurt.

    But I agree there are no simple answers. Having said that, i think money matters less than most people realise. After all, Ron Paul should actually be doing quite well right now if fundraising meant success.

  55. #55 Jim
    January 12, 2008

    “whether drugs” = “whether current/contemporary/modern drugs”

  56. #56 SLC
    January 12, 2008

    Re Jim

    1. Mr. Jim continues to dance around the question as to whether it is unconstitutional for the federal government to prohibit the private ownership of hydrogen bombs. The reason why he dances around the question is that he is well aware that if he definitively answers in the affirmative, he will be labeled as a nutcase by the readers of this thread. Therefore, I issue the following challenge Mr. Jim, answer the question yes or no.

    2. The industrial revolution started with the invention of the steam engine. Before that time, nascent industries were set up near running water and were powered by water wheels, a non-polluting source of power. Mr. Jim points to air pollution in London. The pollution therein was caused by the residents burning coal as a source of heat and had nothing to do with industry.

    3. Medical science in 1789 was in its infancy. There was virtually no treatment for any of the diseases which today are readily amenable to treatment. The proof of that is that more soldiers died of disease in camp during the American Revolution then died of wounds suffered in battle. The germ theory of disease did not exist nor was such a thing as viruses known. For Mr. Jim to make a claim that the framers of the Constitution could have anticipated the advances of medical science is as absurd as his claim that private citizens have the right to own hydrogen bombs.

  57. #57 LW
    January 12, 2008

    “As an aside, the Southerners who complain the loudest about the power of the federal government have only themselves to blame. Their treasonous actions in 1861 and the response of the government to those actions are what led to a strong central government.”

    Um, no. The Southerners who complain do not have themselves to blame and did not commit treasonous actions in 1861. The Southerners who complain were not alive in 1861. Other people who lived in the same area and may or may not be ancestors of the Southerners who complain, acted in a way that led to a strong central government. Those other people are all long dead and it is highly likely that no “Southerners who complain” ever even met any of them.

    It annoys me greatly when people casually assume that people today are actually the exact same people who engaged in bad acts more than a century before their births, and that specific people today are morally responsible for those actions. Not just here but with respect to the Crusades and any other acts in the past, as well.

  58. #58 TT
    January 12, 2008

    SLC, what’s with your hydrogen bomb fetish? The framers couldn’t have foreseen the development of nuclear warheads any more than the advancements of modern medicine. As for whether the having hydrogen bombs is unconstitutional, no. The constitution does not prohibit that or make provisions for regulation. In fact, until after the Civil War, owning slaves was not unconstitutional either. Just because the constitution allows or does not allow for certain things does not indicate that they are good or bad. The constitution is not the arbiter of American morality, it’s a political document that lays out how the government can run and legislate.
    If you believe that amending the constitution is not the most prudent or wise way deal with new issues, then argue for another method or even a new constitution. However, using a loose interpretation of the constitution can lead to a government doing whatever those in power wish to have done with only pretexts offered as justification.

  59. #59 TT
    January 12, 2008

    LW, are you saying most Southerners aren’t over 150 years old? What about this:
    http://www.victorianvilla.com/sims-mitchell/local/vis/suttonp/01-image.jpg

    But seriously, it sounds like he’s trying to say that most Southerners are sympathetic to the Confederate cause.

  60. #60 Robster, FCD
    January 12, 2008

    LW, you are correct, but the neoconfederates supporting Paul (and to whom Paul has delivered speeches) do support both secession then and secession now, as well as hold highly racist positions.

  61. #61 SLC
    January 12, 2008

    Re TT

    Mr. TT claims that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to proscribe private ownership of nuclear weapons, based on a strict interpretation of the 2nd amendment and that a constitutional amendment is required to invoke such a limitation. This is, of course totally nuts and I suspect that if a neighbor of Mr. TT or Mr. Jim happened to acquire such a weapon, they would be the first to demand action from law enforcement. Mr. TT is quite right, the framers of the constitution could not have anticipated the development of such weapons, or in fact any weapons other then muzzle loading smoothbore or rifled muskets and artillery, and single shot pistols. Thats why they included the provision in the constitution giving the federal government the power to promote the general welfare. They were smart enough to realize that not every contingency could be anticipated and that a certain flexibility was necessary. Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin, etc. would be appalled at a claim that private ownership of nuclear weapons is a constitutional right.

  62. #62 SLC
    January 12, 2008

    Re LW

    Mr. LW makes a good point relative to the fact that obviously the Southerners alive today were not around at the time of the Civil War. Perhaps, it would be better stated that the Southerners who complain the loudest about the federal government have only their antecedents who founded the Confederacy to blame.

  63. #63 LW
    January 12, 2008

    Robster, true, but the neoconfederates still do not have themselves, personally, to blame and did not themselves, personally, commit treasonous acts in 1861. I get annoyed at the assignment of moral culpability for acts to people who plainly did not commit the acts and plainly could not have prevented them, and I wish people would not use that kind of argument.

    SLC, I don’t see why you single out Southerners — so far as I know there are opponents of big government all over the country, and they all have the Confederacy to blame.

  64. #64 TT
    January 12, 2008

    “This is, of course totally nuts and I suspect that if a neighbor of Mr. TT or Mr. Jim happened to acquire such a weapon, they would be the first to demand action from law enforcement.”
    SLC, the constitution set specific guidelines on what the federal government could do and restricted it from doing anything else. Amendments are for adding more rules that the government can perform or you could just use the general welfare cause to justify prohibiting civilian nuclear non-proliferation and any other piece of legislation someone wishes to pass.
    The point I was getting at is that constitution is not an imperfect document and lack of constitutionality does not make an idea inherently good or bad. The general welfare and commerce clause are the most easily abused parts of the constitution because they are so vague. Frankly I agree with Thomas Jefferson that there should be a revolution “at least once every 20 years,” so such issues could be addressed.
    Bottom line: The argument doesn’t matter, politicians will pass legislation to protects us from dangers real (H-bombs) or imagined, using whatever platitudes they need to make it sound constitutional. This country hasn’t followed the constitution very well for a long time so you won’t need worry about constitutionality preventing civilian nuclear non-proliferation legislation from being passed.
    Still, what is you fetish with nuclear weapons?

  65. #65 TT
    January 12, 2008

    “Amendments are for adding more rules that the government can perform or you could just use the general welfare cause to justify prohibiting civilian nuclear non-proliferation and any other piece of legislation someone wishes to pass.”
    Should be:
    “Amendments are for adding more duties that the government can perform. Or you could just use the general welfare cause to justify prohibiting civilian nuclear non-proliferation and any other piece of legislation someone wishes to pass.”
    Missed that one.

  66. #66 Jim
    January 13, 2008

    “Mr. Jim continues to dance around the question as to whether it is unconstitutional for the federal government to prohibit the private ownership of hydrogen bombs.”

    I did answer. Apparently you can’t read. Not only did you not read my response, but conveniently declined to answer my question posed to you. Par for the course.

    “Mr. Jim points to air pollution in London. The pollution therein was caused by the residents burning coal as a source of heat and had nothing to do with industry.”

    So what? Pollution is pollution. WHy does it have to be industrial pollution for there to be an EPA-like entity? What about pollution in the rivers and water sources? That existed back then. Fact: Pollution existed in the 1780s, in some places affecting the quality of life to the degree that major plans had been advanced to help deal with the problems in London. Saying it wasn’t the right type of pollution is a laughable dodge (another one).

    “For Mr. Jim to make a claim that the framers of the Constitution could have anticipated the advances of medical science is as absurd as his claim that private citizens have the right to own hydrogen bombs.”

    You are flipping this on its head, and it borders on the trollish. You must intentionally be misrepresenting my position.

    My position *is* that the framers couldn’t *not* have anticipated these issues–*AND THEY DID NOT*. That’s why the Constitution *does not authorize* the creation of these entities. *You* (and the S.Ct., by the way) are the one who wants to say that the original language gives all these miraculous authorizations when it is clear from the language and their intent that such does not exist.

    *But that is why the Founding Fathers build the Amendment process into the Constitution.* To deal with issues that they could not have anticipated.

    For the love of the FSM, you are one thick individual. Until you start displaying better reading comprehension and stop dodging, I’m done here.

  67. #67 Kai
    February 5, 2008

    To be sure there are many disagreeable things that Ron Paul believes in. His lack of belief in evolution, his skepticism of global warming, his rejection of amnesty for illegal aliens. There are also things that are debatable such as whether or not some things are too important to leave up to the states such as women’s rights to choose and gay marriage. There are legitimate questions of whether a free market and personal charity can truly provide better than government welfare programs.

    However, do I know what I will vote for. To return all the troops and end the war. To be against preemptive strike. To have transparency in government. To abolish the patriot act. To end the war on drugs. To stop the death penalty. To return civil liberties. To return power to the people rather than to increase the power of the government. To have all people be treated as individuals rather than be defined as a group. To balance the budget. To fight inflation. To reject corporate entitlements, which is simply welfare for the rich. To support free speech especially of those that disagree with me. To support individual liberty to do as they please with their own bodies as long as it harms nobody else. To support the idea that government cannot enforce virtue… either at home or abroad. To warn that when fascism comes it will be wrapped in the displays of patriotism and religious fervor.

    If anyone knows of such a candidate, let me know.

    “When the people fear the Government there is Tyranny;
    when the Government fears its people there is Liberty.”