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Is Ron Paul a racist?

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(Submitted as a letter to the editor. Feel free to use this letter in your own local paper. Be sure to give the paper you name, address, and phone number when you send it, as they may not publish the letter without this means of identification.)

Questions of Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul’s opinion of minorities, especially blacks and homosexuals, has come into question. Chiefly, these questions have arisen out of newsletters that were published under the congressman’s letterhead, some twenty years ago.

The newsletter was one of many, and part of a publishing company Ron Paul helped form in 1984 called the Ron Paul & Associates corporation. All of the published newsletters used “Ron Paul” in their title: including Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report, the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter.

Ron Paul has stated he did not write the newsletters, and did not know who was responsible for the statements. Lew Rockwell, a contributing editor to the newsletters, was also uncertain who was to blame. Rockwell told The New Republic that the publishing outfit employed 7 or 8 freelance writers during his tenure.

“Everybody in my district knows I didn’t write them, and I don’t speak like that.” said Paul to CNN in January of 2008, “Nobody has ever heard me say anything like that.”

Paul left the company largely to its own devices in order to focus on his medical practice. He takes responsibility for the error of oversight, and regrets what amounts to be about eight sentences within the entire body of literature published.

Ron Paul has cited Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks as his personal heroes. Moreover, Paul credits his stance to abolish drug laws, which have been statistically shown to target blacks and other minorities before whites, as being the most important anti-racism measure that can be taken today.

Nearly thirty years after the infamous newsletters, freelance writers with marginalized opinions are still drawn to Ron Paul, like moths to a flame. During Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, Paul caught flack for support among the “911 truthers” movement – a group convinced 911 was an “inside job” and that president Bush knew about the impending attacks. Paul denounced such conclusions, calling them “complete nonsense” and “off-the-wall,” in an interview with ABC News.

Ron Paul symbolizes, for many, a strikingly different way of doing politics. His talk of ending the Federal Reserve, abolishing the income tax, and withdrawing troops from military bases around the world energizes many formerly apathetic voters — but unfortunately, also brings the crazies out of the woodwork.

 

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Written by Jonathan Mark

January 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

What would a Ron Paul presidency mean to private interest groups?

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In an earlier article, My Liberty NOW wrote about the storm of attacks the media are waging on Texas congressmen and presidential candidate Ron Paul. It seems odd that financial private interest groups, who were influential enough to get congress to pass the bailouts of 2008, would not want someone like Ron Paul for president. Instead, the congressman has to rely on 18-30 year olds to make YouTube videos to promote Paul’s cause. Financial private interests have been trying for years, and succeeding, in decreasing federal regulations and praising the “free market” and “capitalism,” to the masses. Paul stands for deregulation, and the capitalist free market, probably stronger than any other candidate. So what gives?

The flavor of “free market capitalism” exposed by banking and financial private interest is actually not “free market” at all. Free market capitalism exists by a “law of the jungle” mentality, that does not assume government bailouts or other government-subsidized externalities, such as using US tax money to build private, money making assets, or buy-out failing businesses like GM, or using US law to compel purchasing of private insurance, or using US troops to guard private assets in the Middle East, namely oil lines.

In the law of the jungle, the government has a “hands-off” policy in the business world – abstaining from both regulations and private safetynetting. Today, we live in a world where private interest groups have their cake and eat it too: deregulation is more pervasive each year, but so is private safetynetting, and therefore, not a real free market society. “Too Big To Fail” is not part of a real free market – and they know Ron Paul knows that.

Written by Jonathan Mark

January 6, 2012 at 8:30 am

Jon Huntsman: An moderate alternative to Ron Paul?

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Though Jon Huntsman has a weak start in the polls, and abandoned Iowa, Huntsman has been left virtually unscathed by the storm of attack ads the other candidates have waged against themselves. With Bachmann and Gingrich winding down their Iowa campaigns in a certain air of solemness, Huntsman has moved on to New Hampshire with some strong words for Mitt Romney, suggesting Huntsman is in it for at least one more round.

Who is Jon Huntsman? Ron Paul supporters should take note, as well as Blue Republicans and independents.

Tax Reform

Jon Huntsman reports on his website, that he is for simplifying the tax code substantially, making it, “flatter, fairer, simpler and more conducive to growth.” Huntsman is particularly interested in tax reform to help small business owners by eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax. He also wants to eliminate Capital Gains tax, and all tax on dividends, to encourage more people to invest.

Deregulation

Huntsman wishes to “roll back” Obamacare, “rein in” regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency, and “improve the discipline” of existing regulatory entities like the National Labor Relations Board.

Demilitarization

Huntsman calls for Afghanistan withdraw, though does suggest “small, nimble” special forces remain in Afghanistan to prevent it from becoming “a base for Al-Qaeda.” Huntsman supports continuing to train the Afghan military and “rebuild” the Afghan government. As for Pakistan, Huntsman stands for a quid pro quo for future American assistance, provided that the Pakistanis take proactive counter-terrorism measures.

Economic Reform

Huntsman wants to end To-Big-To-Fail, to stop future bailouts. He wants to increase transparency in the derivatives market, and end Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac. Ron Paul fans take note: Though Huntsman does not stand for ending the FED, he does wish to appoint Federal Reserve Board Governors and a Chairman who believe in “sound money.”

Is Jon Huntsman “Ron Paul Lite?” Key differences seem to be Huntsman’s stance to not end the FED and to not order a withdraw from military bases around the world. At the same time, Huntsman probably doesn’t have to worry about coming under fire for issues that Ron Paul has: such as questioning the legitimacy of the Civil Rights Act. In fact, little controversy has surfaced at all surrounding Huntsman, which may help if he can continue to survive on a shoe-string campaign budget. Even better for Huntsman, if the establishment successfully tears down public opinion of Paul and his supporters, Huntsman might be the candidate to fill the gap and recapture libertarian-leaning voters. Uniquely, Jon Huntsman might be a step for what Libertarian-leaning voters are clamoring for, and what moderates could stomach.

A full list of Huntsman’s stances can be found on his Campaign Website.

UPDATE 1/7/12: Huntsman endorses National Defense Authorization Act

Written by Jonathan Mark

January 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Fighting Crony Corporatism: Alternatives to More Regulations

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Besides inhibiting markets from making intelligent decisions, regulations are easily avoided when corporations have influence over government and its agencies. Regulations are laws, and corporations have been shown, time and again, that so long as profits outpace the cost of illegal activity, they will ignore regulations and legal repercussions.

The alternative to more regulations is a systemic change of the legal environment.

Presently, most corporations take the form of a “Limited Liability Company,” which encompass all the liability-insulating advantages of the corporate structure, with added tax benefits.

A real blow to Crony Corporatism is not to give more power to agencies like the FDA, but to change the legal environment to make mal-investment more devastating to the people in charge.

Strip corporations of protections from personal liability. As it stands a “corporation” is recognized as a legal person, with rights, and that holds most of the liability. A rock is not liable if it falls on your head: I am liable for throwing it. But if that rock is my corporation, you would have to sue the rock for liability: you would take the rock to court. The Jury would find the rock liable, and levy the cost of damages against the rock, and the rock would pay the damages. This is absurd.

Reform intellectual property law. Inventions are insights into a shared world, whether it is clean energy technology patents gobbled up by big energy, or the genetic makeup of humanity patented by private companies since the human genome project, such insights should not be owned privately, but made forfeit to the public.

Lower taxes for self-employed individuals and small businesses. Create a better incentive to start new business models to run their course in the laboratory of the marketplace.

Laws and regulations can be side-stepped. Make business more risky for those making the decisions. Make scientific insights public property. Give small businesses tax breaks to encourage market competition.

That is my prescription for the war against Crony Corporatism.

Written by Jonathan Mark

January 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm

The Peril of Privatization

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As a Ron Paul supporter, I am going to do something very risky, if not ideologically suicidal. I am going to paint for you a picture that you may not want to see, and may not want to believe.

Imagine a world where everything is owned: the land, the water, and the air.

Ownership is the right of influence. When you own something you can do what you will with it. Nobody can tell you otherwise. If you save all your money and buy a Porsche, you can drive it off a cliff for all we care. It is yours, and being yours, it escapes our influence.

In a corporation, decisions are made through ownership percentage of the company. If you and I, together, own 51% of our company, we can institute any corporate policy or bylaws we want. But I ask you, how many of us own 51% of Exxon, or Merrill Lynch, or Monsanto? How many of us have ever sat in on a board meeting for Disney, or Microsoft, or K-Mart? Chances are, you have not, and as long as you don’t own enough of the company, you will never be invited. You will never have influence. That is ownership: right of influence.

Granted, the consumer has, at best, a secondary influence. Corporations require income and income requires customers. Yet even at this level, our amount of influence is dependent on a dollar amount. If a small group of angry consumers boycotts Fox News, while Fox News rakes in millions from their advertisers, who is more in control of what Fox News does? If a corporation puts into the market a product full of harmful materials, knowing that they are harmful, keeping such knowledge from the public, knowing that the legal structure of their corporation would insulate them from personal liability, what influence does the consumer have to stop from being exposed to the harmful material? Virtually none. They can only react after they are harmed. When they rise up against the evil company, investors have already been tipped-off to the scandal. They sell their shares and the price of the stock implodes — but the investors walk away with their returns, ready to invest in the next growth-based business scheme. The workers are out of a job, but they were mechanisms of profit, and profit was made.

Imagine a world where everything is owned: not by you, but by one of these companies. Imagine that the presiding authority over the water you drink, or the air you breathe is owned by somebody else, and its use had to be commercially negotiated: that you drink because you have permission to drink, or breathe air because you have permission to breathe it.

What else is a license than merely formal arrangements of permission? When you buy a $0.99 song on iTunes, its not merely the bandwidth you are paying for, or even the royalty to the artist. You are purchasing a license — you are purchasing permission from the owner of the music, the record company, to play and store the music on your computer and iPod.

Imagine a world where the central systems of society were privatized in this fashion: they are owned, not by you, and provided through private permission.

What else is Despotism than a society where everything that is done, is done with permission of the elite? What else is Despotism than the privatization of society?

I stand for many kinds of socialism. Democracy, civil rights and liberties are socialized permissions. To say, “I am an American, therefore I have rights!” is not because Micky Mouse gave you a good deal on them. Our inalienable rights are the opposite of privatization: our Bill of Rights recognizes that some things cannot be owned and should not be owned. The Bill of Rights and the blessings of liberty are a socialized permission: a commonwealth privilege: a public property in the purest sense of the term. That, in our Republic, you will always own the permission to influence policy through ballot boxes, it does not matter how you are born or how much money you have. That you do not need to climb a corporate structure, amass wealth, and purchase your influence over society: that you have it as birthright, and most importantly, that no man, woman or child has more right than any other before the equal protection of the law.

That is socialism that I stand for. When Ron Paul takes stance against the Civil Rights act, he does so through a principled approach that gives canned answers, not a critical approach. His libertarian leanings give him answers to questions that deserve more than canned responses. While I will stand by Ron Paul, I will not support his principled suggestion that we should leave it to privatization to create equality.

Freedom is achieved wherever ownership is erased.

Written by Jonathan Mark

January 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Old Dirt: Santorum included in “Most Corrupt Congressmen Report” of 2006

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Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was blacklisted in 2006 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.

Illegal tax-paid school for his children

Reasons for the blacklisting included evidence of Santorum enrolling his children in Pennsylvania State-paid online classes while the were actually registered in Virginia, a political slight-of-hand that cost Pennsylvania tax-payers over $70,000.

AccuWeather bill

Santorum received $2,000 from a private weather information service two days before introducing a bill that would bar the tax-paid National Weather Service from distributing its information directly to the public. Santorum’s bill would have the National Weather Service use tax money to collect weather data, like it does today, but then mandate that it route the information to various private weather information companies, which would then presumably sell the same information to the public.

To add insult to injury, Santorum accused the National Weather Service of poorly predicting Hurricane Katrina, using the disaster as fodder for his palm-greased weather bill.

US Tobacco bill

Santorum received $3,000 from U.S. Tobacco Corporation a day after he voted against an amendment to a bill that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the tobacco industry.

Beer companies

Santorum received $6,000 from the Miller Brewing Company six months after Santorum introduced a bill that would cut federal excise tax that large brewing companies have to pay on beer in half.

Puerto Rico

Santorum received $48,765 from donors in Puero Rico. $34,500 was from hospital executives, administrators, and healthcare industry workers. Months prior, Santorum introduced a Puerto Rico hospital bail-out bill to coincide with the reform package Congress enacted that same year.

In April of the same year, Santorum introduced the Puerto Rico Medicare Reimbursment Equality Act of 2005, and has since raked in $44,750 from Puerto Rico, $10,000 confirmed from healthcare executives and administrators.

Energy interests

Santorum received at least $16,400 for his campaign committee and at least $8,500 to his PAC “America’s Foundation” after crafting a provision in the National Energy Security Act of 2000 to federally subsidize construction of a $612-million coal-to-diesel plant in Pennsylvania.

The legal watch-dog group concluded their report of Santorum by stating,

Federal law prohibits public officials from directly or indirectly demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting, or agreeing to receive or accept anything of value in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act. It is well-settled that accepting a contribution to a political campaign can constitute a bribe if a quid pro quo can be demonstrated.

“Value conservative” indeed!

Watch-dog Report PDF

Written by Jonathan Mark

January 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Non-interventionism VS Isolationism and Iran’s Nuclear Potential

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Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has received criticism for “isolationism.” Paul denies that he is an isolationist by echoing the Thomas Jefferson line, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”

Only a position that endorses policies that deny such trade and honest friendship are more appropriately called, if nothing else, “isolationism.”

Paul’s principled approach to policy has lead him to support an number of issues outside the mainstream. His stance on Iran, for example, is particularly controversial. While the mainstream bangs war drums in an effort to deny Iran nuclear capabilities, Paul has voiced against military intervention.

The mainstream media and Republican Primary rivals have construed Paul’s stance to mean that Paul would “do nothing” in sight of the apparent threat to our national security.

Indeed, if all one uses is a hammer, then all the world appears a nail. Alternatively, Paul’s approach to national security is passive defense: that is, if we mind our own business, they will have no reason to attack us. If they do attack us, we respond accordingly, as we have in traditional American foreign policy — so long as we don’t start the war.

The issue of nuclear armament and “entangling alliances” is a special consideration. The Council on Foreign Relations had this to say about America’s precarious position in foreign alliances,

The United States leads a global network of alliances, a position that commits Washington to protecting countries all over the world. Many of its potential adversaries have acquired, or appear to be seeking, nuclear weapons. Unless the world’s major disputes are resolved — for example, on the Korean Peninsula, across the Taiwan Strait, and around the Persian Gulf — or the U.S. military pulls back from these regions, the United States will sooner or later find itself embroiled in conventional wars with nuclear-armed adversaries. (Citation).

Though Iran has threatened military action against the US, Barack Obama can be accused of the same when he said, “All options are on the table,” in regards to Iran.

It seems more likely that the excitable Iranian government is perusing nuclear capabilities to say, “Leave us alone,” than to actively initiate a military campaign against the US. Indeed, since the Bush administration, US military presence in the Middle East has increased, and though Obama has announced withdraw from Iraq, US forces still occupy Afghanistan, and the House of Representatives passed a bill this December that would secure Obama with the power to place sanctions on Iran, allowing the President to target any businesses dealing with Iran’s central bank. (Citation).

But the depth of the Iranian controversy is shallow to none in mainstream rhetoric, echoing variations of the Bush administration’s, “They attack us because we are free,” party line. Though the issue of the economy has topped many polls this last month, the issue of national security will continue to attract controversy during the Republican Primaries, while the pro-war solutions proposed by the mainstream, Republican or Democrat, are shadows of the same nonsense.

Written by Jonathan Mark

January 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm