Connect with us

What About The Other Ron Paul?



It’s revealing that Sean Hannity, Commentary magazine and Pam Geller have been among those responsible for generating the latest round of consternation over Ron Paul’s old newsletters. Polls suggest he is favored to win the Iowa caucus, and this has (rightly) rattled “National Greatness” conservatives. Whether these critics would ever think to express such vociferous disapproval of policies that in practice are genuinely “racist,” however, is dubious.

So it was equally revealing that during an interview with CNN last week, after Ron Paul again disavowed the newsletters, he added, “Why don’t you look at my comments about the War On Drugs and about how racist the enforcement of drug laws are?” If drug policy indeed amounts to “The New Jim Crow,” as legal scholars increasingly maintain, Paul’s point is not trivial. “I think the minorities come up with a short hand in our court system,” he said in an October debate.

“The more progress I make in challenging the status quo,” Paul went on in the CNN interview, “challenge the bankers and challenging the bailouts, challenging this wicked foreign policy of war forever and the military industrial complex, the stronger they will emphasize picking this and ignoring the important issues of what freedom is all about and what civil liberty is all about and why.”

Without absolving him of moral culpability for the newsletters, it’s hard to deny that Paul’s broader argument here is valid. A number of his positions are, at minimum, impressively unorthodox by the standards of mainstream party politics — and perhaps even courageous. Yet amidst hysteria over the newsletters, they go on largely undiscussed.

For instance, in December 2010, Paul was virtually alone in defending Wikileaks and denouncing its “hysterical” detractors. “Despite what is claimed,” he said from the floor of the House, “the information that has been so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual — but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government.” Paul also ridiculed the Justice Department’s investigation of Julian Assange, warning that it could entail grave consequences for American press freedoms. “Losing our grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neoconservatives in charge,” he concluded.

The conservative advocacy group “Accuracy in Media” recently made a point to condemn Paul’s “support of accused Army traitor Bradley Manning,” whom he has suggested ought to be considered a “hero” and a “true patriot.” In January 2011, Paul read aloud a leaked cable on Iraq into the Congressional record; the organization recently hailed him via Twitter as a “Wikileaks defender.”

In April, Ron Paul defended the logic of heroin legalization before a debate audience filled with South Carolinian GOP activists. On the “Ground Zero Mosque,” he evinced a far more “progressive” view than both Harry Reid and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has consistently said the wars in Iraq and Vietnam were “based on lies,” disputed vapid conceptions of American exceptionalism, and called for abolishing the FBI, CIA, and Department of Homeland Security. In 2007, Paul told Tim Russert that rampant “corporatism” in the United States amounted to “soft fascism.” He opposed the extralegal assassinations of both Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki; for this, leading authoritarian commentator Joshua S. Treviño of the Texas Public Policy foundation has referred to Paul as “the America-loathing libertarian.”

“If it’s Barack Obama versus Ron Paul,” Treviño declared, “I’m voting for the guy who thought shooting Osama bin Laden in the face was a good idea.”

Some conservatives now allege that by virtue of his “extreme” views and devoted volunteers, a Ron Paul victory in Iowa would discredit the caucus itself. It is illuminating that these same people would presumably regard a Newt Gingrich victory, for example, as perfectly appropriate and normal — despite his proposals to execute drug dealers, increase preparedness for electromagnetic pulse attacks, and forcibly intercede to halt the construction of religious structures.

When candidates are ordinarily ensnared by a sudden controversy, the catalyst is some previously unrevealed bit of information. But Paul’s newsletters were widely reported on in 2008, and for months, political journalists never bothered to revisit the subject — even as Paul built a formidable campaign infrastructure. Instead, they opted to blow smoke about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s non-candidacy and chronicle every detail of the Herman Cain sex saga. Last May, when Ben Smith of Politico and Byron York of the Washington Examiner partook in a wide-ranging discussion on the GOP field, neither man uttered the words “Ron Paul” even once (though they did speculate about various hypothetical, rumored candidacies). At the time, Paul was polling in third nationally.

In the Weekly Standard, Jamie Kirchick has contended that Paul’s “lucrative and decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories” should disqualify him from serious consideration. To support this thesis, he quotes Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition; Paul was excluded from a recent RJC presidential forum, Brooks explained, on account of “his misguided and extreme views.”

It’s certainly true that Paul departs from the bipartisan consensus in favor of aggressive support for Israeli government policies. He would end all foreign assistance, Israel not excepted. “To me,” Paul has said, “foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries.” At a September debate, he suggested that America continues to be reviled around the world in part because U.S. administrations “do not give Palestinians fair treatment,” and he spoke about the folly of sending arms and finances for decades to Mubarak’s despotic regime in Egypt.

Ron Paul’s candor on the creeping American police state is unrivaled: he has identified the militarization of domestic police as a “dangerous trend,” and was one of the few members of Congress to decry the National Defense Re-Authorization Act with appropriate vigor. “This is a giant step,” Paul said. “This should be the biggest news going right now — literally legalizing martial law.”

Where other candidates heap scorn on Occupy Wall Street demonstrators at every opportunity — “Take a bath, then get a job,” Newt Gingrich scolded — Paul has consistently lauded them. “In many ways, it’s a very healthy movement,” he observed this month. “I’m not one to say, ‘Why don’t you get a bath and go get a job and quit crybabying.’ I don’t like that at all.”

“Some are liberals and some are conservatives and some are libertarians and some are strict constitutionalists,” Paul said of OWS in October. “I think that civil disobedience, if everybody knows exactly what they are doing, is a legitimate effort. It’s been done in this country for many grievances. Some people end up going to jail for this.”

But of course, it’s much easier for CNN reporters to quote from old newsletters than seriously explore the ways Paul has distinguished himself in today’s political environment.


Michael Tracey is a writer based in New York. You can read his work on his Website, email him, and follow him on Twitter. 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


‘This Is Insane’: Experts Blast McCarthy After He Approves George Santos Attending Classified Briefing on China



U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), under multiple state and federal investigations, and even a criminal fraud investigation in Brazil, recently stepped down from his committee assignments pending House ethics investigations, but on Thursday he will be allowed to attend a classified briefing by the Pentagon on threats from China.

Santos is facing numerous investigations, including ongoing, pending, or possible investigations from the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Nassau District Attorney, the Queens District Attorney, the New York State Attorney General, along with the House Ethics Committee.

CNN’s Manu Raju Wednesday afternoon reports: “Asked Speaker McCarthy if he’s OK with George Santos attending tomorrow’s classified briefing on China. ‘Yes,’ he told me.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene During House Hearing: It’s ‘Against the Law’ to Ban My Twitter Account

Experts are expressing outrage, and are calling allowing Santos to gain access to classified information a “threat to our national security.”

“George Santos should not be getting access to classified information,” the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) immediately responded.

Last month CREW published a report that states: “George Santos should not get intelligence information.”

READ MORE: Yes, the GOP Has Repeatedly Said It Wants to Gut Social Security and Medicare Before Calling Biden a ‘Liar’ – Here’s Proof

“Santos’s misrepresentations of large swaths of his background have proven his tendency to lie for power and personal gain. It is clear that he has not demonstrated the trustworthiness necessary to guard our country’s most closely guarded secrets,” it reads.

“Santos’s serial misrepresentations of the truth about a vast array of subjects have demonstrated an astonishing level of untrustworthiness,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder says in the report. “It would be a threat to our national security to allow him to serve on any committee where he would gain access to national intelligence.”

Retired U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols, an academic specialist on international affairs including Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs, tweeted: “This is insane.”

Just last month Speaker McCarthy banned two top House Democrats, Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, from returning to the Intelligence Committee. While he claimed it was for national security reasons, some believe it was retribution for their roles in prosecuting Donald Trump’s impeachments.

“I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more,” McCarthy wrote in a letter.





Continue Reading


Marjorie Taylor Greene During House Hearing: It’s ‘Against the Law’ to Ban My Twitter Account



Members of Congress have access to vast resources to conduct the people’s business, including on-staff attorneys and the ability to contract experts, yet on Wednesday U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared to shun those assets while appearing before the TV cameras while misrepresenting federal law. She falsely declared that Twitter banning her personal account was “against the law,” and a violation of her First Amendment rights as she made clear she will use her newly-restored committee assignments to spread falsehoods, misinformation, and disinformation.

Greene now sits on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. During its third hearing of the year, “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story,” Greene appeared determined to extract vengeance for her personal Twitter account being permanently “suspended” – banned –before Elon Musk purchased the company and restored accounts of countless extremists.

At the beginning of her remarks Greene mentioned the witnesses, including former Twitter executives, and said: “You can consider your speech canceled during my time because you permanently canceled mine.”

“You see, you permanently banned my personal Twitter account, and it was my campaign account also, so let’s talk about election interference, shall we?”

“Let’s explain 52 United States law 10101: ‘No person shall intimidate, threaten or coerce or attempt to stop any other person for the purpose of interfering with their rights to vote or to vote as you may choose,'” Greene said, reading inaccurately from 52 U.S.C. 10101.

READ MORE: Former GOP Congressman Calls for Marjorie Taylor Greene to Be Censured After Calling President Biden a ‘Liar’

For reasons unknown, Congresswoman Greene decided that federal voting rights law applies to Twitter. It does not.

“You didn’t shadow ban or permanently ban my Democrat opponent,” Greene charged. “No, you did that to me. And that was wrong and it was against the law.”

It is not against the law for Twitter to shadow ban or permanently ban anyone, even a Member of Congress and their personal Twitter account.

“You see, not only that, was it was it me, that you violated my First Amendment rights, you violated countless conservative Americans,” she said, which again is false. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

READ MORE: ‘Let’s Be Blunt’: Bannon Blasts Huckabee Sanders as ‘Not Intellectually Capable’ After ‘Insulting’ SOTU Response

Greene pushed forward.

“These were doctors that were trying to tell the truth about COVID,” she said, of people spreading false or misleading information and disinformation. “Doctors that were having success treating people with ivermectin that you all would not allow to be talked about.”

The FDA has made clear ivermectin is not a treatment for COVID-19: “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”

“These were parents complaining about their school boards, teaching gender lies in their schools, biological males entering their daughter’s bathrooms and sports,” she complained. “These were also people questioning the 2020 election. And guess what? That’s Americans’ First Amendment right. These were people talking about voting machines. You know what? Democrats did that in 2019 before the 2020 election,” she claimed.

Watch below or at this link.

Continue Reading


‘Let’s Be Blunt’: Bannon Blasts Huckabee Sanders as ‘Not Intellectually Capable’ After ‘Insulting’ SOTU Response



Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the Republican Party’s official response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address and was panned from all sides.

Many on the left were angered and outraged as she attacked LGBTQ and Black Americans in a lengthy speech that was tall on culture war rhetoric and extremism and short on policy or vision.

But even those on the right seems exasperated with her remarks.

READ MORE: Yes, the GOP Has Repeatedly Said It Wants to Gut Social Security and Medicare Before Calling Biden a ‘Liar’ – Here’s Proof

Lou Dobbs, the far-right-wing culture warrior and former Fox Business anchor, told former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon that Huckabee Sanders’ speech was “unacceptable,” and, “an insult to President Trump” for “not mentioning his name,” as Media Matters reports.

“Sarah Huckabee went to Iraq with the President,” Dobbs recalled, which the former White House press secretary spent an unusually large portion of her remarks discussing, “and the First Lady in the dark of night, for Christmas, with our troops.”

“To not mention is name, to talk about ‘new leadership’ – it looked like the Governor’s Association had written much of that speech, and aligned themselves with Ron DeSantis,” Dobbs lamented, calling it a “lack of respect to POTUS.”

READ MORE: Former GOP Congressman Calls for Marjorie Taylor Greene to Be Censured After Calling President Biden a ‘Liar’

Bannon, convicted on two federal criminal contempt charges, agreed that her remarks were “an insult to Trump.”

“She does not exist, politically, if it’s not for President Trump,” Bannon continued. “I thought the speech was terrible.”

“If you’re going to give a counter speech, you’ve got to talk about important issues. Don’t get me wrong, the wokeism is very important. But it’s not quite the heart of the matter right now, right? It’s not the heart of the matter. She is not — the reason is she’s just not — she’s not intellectually capable of going to the heart of the matter, right? Let’s be blunt.”

“This was like written by Ron DeSantis and the entire RGA,” Bannon said, referring to the Republican Governors’ Association.

Watch below or at this link.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.