Connect with us

What About The Other Ron Paul?

Published

on

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.

News

AOC Slams Anti-Biden Efforts: ‘My Community Does Not Have the Option to Lose’

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most-powerful voices in the House Democratic caucus, re-asserted her support for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as some congressional Democrats along with pundits, pollsters, and strategists have called on the President to quit his campaign.

The 34-year-old progressive New York Democrat in a nearly hour-long live video recorded after midnight declared her opposition to those proposing an “open convention,” where the Democratic nominee fro president would be decided, despite the 2024 primaries which Biden and Harris won. She blasted the numerous Democrats anonymously calling for Biden to end his campaign, and slammed those who have little to lose who appear to be behind the movement to oust the President, and those who have already concluded the Democrats cannot win.

“I will say, what upsets me is people saying, ‘we will lose.’ ”

“For me,” she continued, before taking a long, thoughtful pause, “I don’t care who – to a certain extent – I don’t care what name is on there. We are not losing.”

READ MORE: House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

“I’m about you, but my community does not have the option to lose. My community does not have the luxury of accepting loss in July,” she said before stressing, “of an election year.”

“Like, my people are the first ones deported. They’re the first ones put in Rikers,” she continued, referring to the infamous New York City jail. “They’re the first ones whose families are killed by war. And this is horrific. I’m not here to like say everything is amazing. Okay, I’m not here to say that like, oh, you know, to lie to people. What I am here to say is that we need to live, we need to make decisions in the conditions that we have before us.”

“Most of the Ocasio-Cortez’s nearly hour-long Live session focused on the risks of forcing Biden to step aside, including potential legal challenges from Republicans and ballot access deadlines in various states. ‘I have not seen a scenario, an alternative scenario, that I feel does not set us up for enormous peril,’ she said,” Business Insider reported.

“If you’re falling out of a coconut tree, God bless you,” she said. “If you’re riding with the President, God bless. I’m not an open-convention person. I think that is crazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also made headlines by pointing out that she believes if President Biden were to step aside, Vice President Kamala Harris would also be targeted by some of the same Democrats trying to oust the President.

“I’m just going to say it: If you think that there is consensus among the people who want Joe Biden to leave… that they will support Kamala, Vice President Harris, you would be mistaken,” she added. “They are interested in removing the whole ticket.”

To those Democrats leaking opinions or being quoted anonymously, she had a few strong words.

“That’s b*llsh*t. If you have an opinion, say it with your chest and say it in public,” she said. “That’s a bunch of horsesh*t.”

Her Instagram Live remarks have over 80,000 likes and 6000 comments.

What her full video and the short clip above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

Continue Reading

News

House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

Published

on

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in line to become Speaker if Democrats retake the House in November, Friday morning told reporters the presidential ticket has not changed and he believes President Joe Biden is capable of doing the job and winning re-election.

Jeffries’ remarks come amid calls for President Biden to exit the re-election campaign, largely from the “Democratic machine,” including pundits, strategists, and pollsters, along with some Democratic members of the House and Senate.

“President Biden, as I’ve said repeatedly, is our nominee,” Leader Jeffries said in Brooklyn Friday morning, according to video (below) posted by WNBC-TV managing editor Steven Bognar. “He has a tremendous track record of success. He’s one of the most accomplished American presidents in our history. And, he has the vision, I believe the ability, the capacity and the track record to make a case to the American people that will result in us being successful in November.”

“I’ve answered that question repeatedly over the last three weeks,” Jeffries also told reporters, as NBC 4 reported. “I’ve answered that question repeatedly, my answer has not changed.”

Also Friday morning the congressional arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced its endorsement of the President’s re-election bid.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

“The fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Bold PAC, has endorsed President Joe Biden for re-election, the Biden campaign said in a statement on Friday,” Reuters reports.

Forbes reported last week, “Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chair of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, expressed support for President Joe Biden, bolstering Biden’s argument that his base is still behind him amid calls for him to step aside in the race.”

Also last week, The Washington Post reported, “Black House Democrats embrace Biden at another critical juncture.”

“The importance of the roughly 60-member Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — which includes [Rep. James] Clyburn and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — was on display Monday night as Biden met with the bloc in a Zoom call, the first with a group of elected lawmakers. The message that many Black Democrats planned to convey to Biden, according to the people familiar with the CBC’s thinking: We will stick by you as we always have.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congressman Clyburn, who was instrumental in Biden winning the Democratic nomination in 2020, and the election, “has said publicly that he is firmly behind Biden but open to embracing Vice President Harris filling the role if Biden steps aside,” The Post reported.

But while last week the paper noted, “not a single Black House Democrat has defected,” Friday morning one member of the CBC did. U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) became the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to break ranks, as Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen reported.

MSNBC reports on Friday a total of six members of the U.S. House and one U.S. Senator called on President Biden to exit the race.

Watch video of Democratic Leader Jeffries from Friday below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

 

Continue Reading

OPINION

‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Published

on

The fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Thursday is being panned by pundits, political strategists, grassroots voters, and even some in the press, as many express shock and condemnation over Donald Trump’s presidential nomination acceptance speech, or, as one critic put it, the “clinically-insane Trump speech.”

Chris Wallace, the former long-time Fox News anchor turned CNN commentator declared he was “disappointed,” and suggested Trump’s 90+ minute speech (transcript) helped President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.

Trump’s speech got off to a good start, Wallace said, but after awhile the GOP nominee, “couldn’t keep up the act, and so we started hearing about ‘crazy Nancy Pelosi,’ and cheating on elections, and talking about Biden. Frankly, it was a long speech, it was a rambling speech, it was a speech by an older man and I couldn’t help but think that the people who are going to be happiest tonight are not the people at Trump headquarters, but the Democrats, maybe at Biden headquarters, maybe at the headquarters of the people who think they are going to replace Joe Biden, but Jake, we have ourselves a presidential campaign again.”

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale reported Trump delivered at least 22 “falsehoods” during his remarks, including that when he left office, “the world was at peace.”


Even The New York Times, which critics say has often ignored or whitewashed Trump’s worst remarks and weaknesses while focusing on President Biden’s – to the point of calling for Biden’s exit but not Trump’s – ran this headline overnight, invoking the ex-president’s 2017 inauguration speech: “Trump Struggles to Turn the Page on ‘American Carnage’.”

“On the last night of the G.O.P. convention on Thursday, Donald J. Trump promised to bridge political divides, and then returned to delighting in deepening them,” the paper of record reported.

Meanwhile, conservatives – former Republicans and current, Never-Trump Republicans – led the criticism on social media Thursday night and into Friday morning.

The Lincoln Project’s Stuart Stevens, a top political strategist and former Republican, panned Thursday night’s GOP convention: “A man who beat his wife introduced a Republican nominee found liable of sexual assault the judge called rape. And the Republican Party thinks it’s great.”

“I’ve watched thousands of political speeches in thirty years in the business. This was by far the worst,” observed Mike Madrid, the Latino GOP political consultant and Lincoln Project co-founder, calling it “an unmitigated disaster.”

“Is anyone else seeing this with their own eyes?” Madrid asked on social media, referring to Trump’s speech. “Maybe, just maybe, this is what independent voters saw at the debate.”

“The [media’s] gonna call for his withdrawal after witnessing this obvious cognitive decline right?” Madrid also asked.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

He summed it up in one word: “Fiasco.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Denver Riggleman declared: “Media should demand Trump step down based on mental issues and incoherence.”

Fred Wellman, the former Lincoln Project executive director had a few words for top Democratic donors dissatisfied with President Joe Biden: “Hey Democratic big donors! Shut up and get back to work. Jesus. We are going to beat this loser like a drum.”

“The View” co-host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a Republican who opposes Donald Trump wrote: “If this clinically-insane Trump speech does not get Democrats out of their defeatist doldrums, and focused and energized around electing their nominee -instead of tearing him down- I don’t know what will.”

She added, “And you all are screaming that Biden has dementia….?”

Former Republican Rick Wilson, an award-winning political TV ad expert and Lincoln Project co-founder decimated Trump’s speech and invoked the nominee’s top campaign chiefs:

“Trump’s speech was, objectively, the single worst convention acceptance speech in modern history. It was a ramblefuck disaster from start to its long-delayed finish, and nothing is going to make it better. You know. I know it. LaCivita and Wiles know it. Utter disaster.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh added, “And one more thing: I don’t want to hear anyone in the media talk about Biden’s cognitive decline without also talking about Trump’s cognitive decline. Thanks.”

Republican Sarah Longwell, a political strategist and publisher of the conservative news and opinion site The Bulwark, commented throughout Trump’s speech.

“What would [you] say this speech is about?” she asked toward the end. Minutes earlier she remarked, “Rambling man.” And: “I dunno, this weirdo seems pretty beatable.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Have to Stop This Psychopath’: Conway Launches PAC Focused on Trump ‘Mental Instability’

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.