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Is there a (really obvious) media conspiracy to silence Ron Paul?
05.07.2012
11:43 am

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Politics

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Congressman Ron Paul


 
It’s been fascinating for me to watch the near complete media blackout that Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign’s been getting of late. He’s gotten short shrift this entire primary season, of course, but in recent weeks, it’s becoming more and more egregiously obvious just how far out of their way the media is going to ignore him. You’d be forgiven if you thought that, like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, Ron Paul had already dropped out of the race. He hasn’t, but even before the other two actually did drop out, in a telling move, CNN had already bumped Congressman Paul from its Election Tracker.

Did you hear that he won both the Maine and Nevada GOP conventions this past weekend? No? Not to worry, no one else did either. Unless you checked reddit politics, or are a Paulbot yourself, it’s unlikely that you heard much of anything about it. CNN didn’t even mention it—not a peep!—until this morning.

All of this reminds me of what happened in 1991 when I was working on Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign in New York. Brown was running an insurrectionary populist campaign to secure the Democratic nomination and had improbably come from behind to kick Bill Clinton’s ass in the previous primary, held in Connecticut. The Brown campaign went from a few people—like ten—to a few hundred to a few thousand people in Manhattan within the space of a single week.

There was the feel of a “movement” happening for Brown’s candidacy in New York, but if you went to the Clinton headquarters, you were greeted by two nicely dressed yuppies, a male and a female who smiled, handed you some campaign literature and hit you up for a donation. Brown’s headquarters, by comparison was BUZZING with activity with hundreds of people coming in and out all day long grabbing stacks of flyers and then coming back when they had exhausted them. People from all walks of life. I recall painter Brice Marden working the phone bank with me and several members of the hospital worker’s union.

Nevertheless, as is happening with Ron Paul today, Jerry Brown was written off as a “fringe” candidate and largely ignored by the local media. It was frankly astonishing what I was seeing printed in the five major daily papers for sale in New York City at that (pre-Internet) time. Rallies where I’d see Broadway and 72nd Street CLOSED from overflow crowds of 10,000 people easily, got reported as a “small crowd” or as a fraction of how many people I’d seen with my own eyes. In the pages of the NY Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The NY Times and the WSJ 10,000 people at the corner of 72nd and Broadway wouldn’t even merit a mention. Let alone a TV news crew (who were never around) being assigned to cover it. When they would write about Brown, the reports would always contradict not only each other, but what I’d witnessed myself.

Brown was a non-presence at the Democratic convention that nominated Bill Clinton, but don’t expect Ron Paul to go away so quietly. My friend Dr. Timothy Stanley, an Oxford University historian and author of the new book The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan wrote in a CNN opinion piece last week that:

Paul’s campaign represents a message that is bigger and perhaps more popular than the candidate himself. As it continues to collect small numbers of delegates and capture control of local GOPs, Paulism is proving itself to be in rude health. Long after Mitt Romney is nominated, feted at the convention, beaten by Obama and recycled as a question on Jeopardy (“In 2012, he lost every state but Utah.” “Who is ... Britt Gormley?”), Paul’s philosophy will still be a factor in national politics—something to be feared and courted in equal measure.

Team Paul has certainly made some big errors this year, such as exclusively focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire. Although he did well in both, only a first in either would have really justified the expense. Thereafter, the campaign unwisely ignored South Carolina and Florida, reasoning that their expensive media markets weren’t worth the effort. As a consequence, Paul was ignored for weeks until Nevada. I am informed by Paul sources that their campaign was counting on Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to drop out after they realized they couldn’t win, which would have allowed Ron Paul to emerge as the only conservative challenger to Romney.

All weekend, the right-wing “news” machine harped over and over about how Obama failed to fill an auditorium in Ohio as he kicked off his campaign, but reports say that the President saw 14,000 people turn out in a 17,000 seat auditorium. Apparently Ron Paul has been getting well over 10,000 people showing up at his rallies all year long. Hell, Ron Paul drew 7000 people out to hear him speak in the liberal stronghold of Los Angeles and I live here and I heard nothing about this. And for a little perspective, Romney’s barely been able to draw 1000 people during his campaign stops (usually more like 100 people). Look at where the heat is. It’s not on Romney on a grassroots level. It’s just NOT. The momentum is still with Ron Paul, in many respects.

There’s virtually zero chance, of course, that Ron Paul will grab that golden ring that Mitt Romney has sought for so long, but expect his delegates to be rowdy and disruptive when the cameras are on them at this summer’s GOP convention. On Sunday, Ron Paul told thousands of supporters in his home state of Texas that they “have infiltrated the Republican Party” in the name of liberty. His supporters have a right to be angry, they’ve seen the GOP establishment try to thwart their man at every turn—just last week the RNC’s chief legal counsel, Michael McDonald, said if Ron Paul delegates in Nevada are allowed to take too many slots for the national convention, that the state’s entire contingent may not be seated at the Tampa national Republican convention. From The Hill:

The RNC is concerned that the Paul campaign will game the state-level convention this weekend that selects delegates to the national convention. While Mitt Romney should be awarded 20 of the state’s 28 delegates, based on his dominating win in the state’s primary, it’s possible that Paul supporters could exploit their strength in the Nevada GOP to get named to some of those delegate slots.

The national party is apparently concerned those delegates would then ignore party rules that would bind them to vote for Romney on the first round of balloting.

“If a prospective delegate’s name is certified to the RNC but has not been approved by an authorized representative of the candidate he or she professes to support, grounds for a contest may exist,” Phillippe wrote. “In any case, to the extent a prospective delegate is purportedly elected in excess of the number of slots allocated to his or her preferred candidate, such delegate will be bound to vote at the national convention for the candidate to whom that delegate was allocated.”

The national Republican organization is increasingly anxious over the ability of the Paul campaign to take over state-level organizations, especially in states like Iowa and Nevada that have outsized importance on the nominating process. National Republicans worry that if grassroots party loyalists aren’t supporting the presumptive nominee, the party could struggle against President Obama’s fundraising and organizational efforts. But Paul supporters say they should be credited for their ability to organize and win all-important delegates.

The congressman himself said Monday that his campaign was “doing very, very well” by exploiting some of the party’s more obscure delegate selection rules.

True, Paul’s strategy does seem to be to exploit certain idiosyncrasies in the nominating process for his own purposes, but nevertheless, rules are rules. It will be interesting to see what kind of infighting and dust-ups might occur in Tampa this year and why not? Romney’s going to lose anyway.

See several scenes of Ron Paul speaking in front of vast crowds between February and April, 2012 at Hang the Bankers.

Below, a local Nevada news report discusses some of the shenanigans of this weekend’s conclave:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Noam Chomsky on Ron Paul: ‘Ron Paul is a nice guy, but…’
01.16.2012
12:56 pm

Topics:
Politics

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Noam Chomsky
Congressman Ron Paul


 
Videotaped during the Q&A portion of a Chomsky speech at Kutztown University on November 21, 2011

CHOMSKY: Ron Paul’s a nice guy. If I had to have dinner with one of the Republican candidates, I’d prefer to have it with him—but, his policies are off the wall.

I mean, sometimes I agree with him. I think we have to end the war in Afghanistan. But, if you look at the other policies, I mean, it’s kind of shocking and principles that lie behind them (shakes head)....I don’t know what to say about them.

In the Republican debates, at one point—and this kind of brought out who he is—- he is agains Federal involvement in health, in anything. He was aked something like, “Well, what if some guy’s in a comma, and…uh…he’s going to die and he never took out insurance. What shouldhappen?”

Well, his first answer was something like, “It’s a tribute to our liberty.”

So, if he dies, that’s a tribute to how free we are?

He kinda backed off from that, actually. There was a huge applause for when he said that. But later, reactions were eleswhere. He backed up and said, “Well, the church will take care of him…or charities or something or other….so, it’s not a problem.”

I mean, this is just savagery.

And it goes across the board. In fact, it goes through the whole so-called Libertarian ideology. It may sound nice on the surface but if you think it through, it’s just a call for corporate tyranny. It takes away any barrier to corporate tyranny.

But, it’s all academic. The business world would never permit it to happen because it would destroy the economy. They can’t live without a powerful state, and they know it.

 

 
Via Information Clearing House via reddit

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ron Paul copper commemorative coins
01.10.2012
02:09 pm

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
Congressman Ron Paul


 
The things you find when you follow a random Google ad like I just did… Ron Paul commemorative coins!

Apparently this company called Provident Metals want to “celebrate peace, freedom and prosperity” with a special Ron Paul coin that you can buy from them. Maybe you can spend them in Galt’s Gulch? Who knows?

Our latest copper rounds commemorate Dr. Ron Paul, a U.S. Representative from Texas, presidential candidate and country OB doctor that’s delivered over 4000 babies. Each Ron Paul copper round contains 1-Avoirdupois (AVDP) ounce of .999 fine copper.

Besides their all-important metal content, Ron Paul copper rounds extol themes the congressman passionately argues for – namely peace, freedom and prosperity.

The front of Ron Paul copper rounds features a bust of the congressman in front of an American flag adoring his autograph. On the reverse side, the edge of the coin adorns three themes that succinctly describe the congressman’s philosophy – sound money, personal liberty and free markets. The coin’s weight along with www.ProvidentMetals.com is also pressed on the reverse side.

Nice of them to put their URL on the back of the coin! They do seem to know their target audience, though: Too paranoid to use your credit card over the Internet? You can call us!

Buy your collection of Ron Paul copper rounds today through our secure online ordering system. Or if you’d prefer to place your order by phone, call (877) 429-8790 and speak with one of our friendly representatives today.

Does Ron Paul even know about this? Something tells me the answer is “No.”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ron Paul’s ideas expose deep contradictions in American liberals’ worldview


 
There’s a fascinating essay at Naked Capitalism (great blog) that I highly recommend reading in full about the “problems” that Ron Paul’s candidacy poses for liberals, which is to say how the quixotic Texas Congressman exposes how the addiction to the perpetual war machine and “American empire”—very much at the core of the Democratic Party’s worldview—is COMPLETELY AT ODDS with progressive politics and aims.

What does the Democratic Party really offer progressives? It’s a question that needs to be addressed more often.

The piece was written by Matt Stoller, Alan Grayson’s former Senior Policy Advisor and a fellow at the progressive Roosevelt Institute, who begins by calling Paul, “the most perplexing character in Congress, ideologically speaking.” While working with Grayson, Zoller often interfaced with Paul’s office in a bipartisan spirit and what he has to say is worth pondering.

Ron Paul is a bit too much of a Libertarian ideologue for my tastes (“Libertarian” has always been a synonym for “asshole” in my book), but I can understand why and how his anti-militarist, anti-Federal Reserve and mostly “hands off” social policies and ideas have gathered a such a passionate following—even if Paul’s supporters are only too willing to completely disregard how “eccentric” the guy obviously is (I’m trying to be kind here, Paulbots, I really am!).

The matter of why they are so readily willing to give him a pass on the rest of the package, is a mystery to me… but that’s not the issue here, it’s Congressman Paul’s strengths. Not matter what you think of him, the man IS an improbably credible—if somewhat Chauncey Gardiner-esque—threat to the establishment, even if most of the punditry wrote him off long before the first vote has even been cast. Voters may feel differently. It’s been argued that there are as many disaffected Democrats as Republicans who are Ron Paul supporters and although I’ve seen no polling that would confirm that, it seems entirely plausible.

But before I block-quote from Zoller’s essay, I wanted to preface that with a chunk of what Robert Scheer—a classic American liberal, even if he (often) dissents from the party line—had to say about Ron Paul in a recent TruthDig column:

It is official now. The Ron Paul campaign, despite surging in the Iowa polls, is not worthy of serious consideration, according to a New York Times editorial; “Ron Paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishing the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, cutting a third of the federal budget and all foreign aid and opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

That last item, along with the decade-old racist comments in the newsletters Paul published, is certainly worthy of criticism. But not as an alternative to seriously engaging the substance of Paul’s current campaign—his devastating critique of crony capitalism and his equally trenchant challenge to imperial wars and the assault on our civil liberties that they engender.

Paul is being denigrated as a presidential contender even though on the vital issues of the economy, war and peace, and civil liberties, he has made the most sense of the Republican candidates. And by what standard of logic is it “claptrap” for Paul to attempt to hold the Fed accountable for its destructive policies? That’s the giveaway reference to the raw nerve that his favorable prospects in the Iowa caucuses have exposed. Too much anti–Wall Street populism in the heartland can be a truly scary thing to the intellectual parasites residing in the belly of the beast that controls American capitalism.

And now over to Matt Zoller at Naked Capitalism, excerpting from “Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals”:

Modern liberalism is a mixture of two elements. One is a support of Federal power – what came out of the late 1930s, World War II, and the civil rights era where a social safety net and warfare were financed by Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the RFC, and human rights were enforced by a Federal government, unions, and a cadre of corporate, journalistic and technocratic experts (and cheap oil made the whole system run.) America mobilized militarily for national priorities, be they war-like or social in nature. And two, it originates from the anti-war sentiment of the Vietnam era, with its distrust of centralized authority mobilizing national resources for what were perceived to be immoral priorities. When you throw in the recent financial crisis, the corruption of big finance, the increasing militarization of society, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the collapse of the moral authority of the technocrats, you have a big problem. Liberalism doesn’t really exist much within the Democratic Party so much anymore, but it also has a profound challenge insofar as the rudiments of liberalism going back to the 1930s don’t work.

This is why Ron Paul can critique the Federal Reserve and American empire, and why liberals have essentially no answer to his ideas, arguing instead over Paul having character defects. Ron Paul’s stance should be seen as a challenge to better create a coherent structural critique of the American political order. It’s quite obvious that there isn’t one coming from the left, otherwise the figure challenging the war on drugs and American empire wouldn’t be in the Republican primary as the libertarian candidate. To get there, liberals must grapple with big finance and war, two topics that are difficult to handle in any but a glib manner that separates us from our actual traditional and problematic affinity for both. War financing has a specific tradition in American culture, but there is no guarantee war financing must continue the way it has. And there’s no reason to assume that centralized power will act in a more just manner these days, that we will see continuity with the historical experience of the New Deal and Civil Rights Era. The liberal alliance with the mechanics of mass mobilizing warfare, which should be pretty obvious when seen in this light, is deep-rooted.

What we’re seeing on the left is this conflict played out, whether it is big slow centralized unions supporting problematic policies, protest movements that cannot be institutionalized in any useful structure, or a completely hollow liberal intellectual apparatus arguing for increasing the power of corporations through the Federal government to enact their agenda. Now of course, Ron Paul pandered to racists, and there is no doubt that this is a legitimate political issue in the Presidential race. But the intellectual challenge that Ron Paul presents ultimately has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with contradictions within modern liberalism.

Nicely put.

A friend of mine, playing devil’s advocate, suggested that if Ron Paul somehow—against the odds—beat Obama and won the Presidency, it would be like throwing a hand grenade into Washington, DC. To the anarchist in me, this DOES seem like, an attractive idea, I admit, but it could sow, uh, “creative chaos” leading to outcomes both much, much better, and far, far worse.

I could never—and will never—cast a vote for someone who admires Ayn Rand or thinks that unfettered free-market capitalism is anything other that a fucking terrible idea, but an immediate end to the drug war, disemboweling the war machine and the Federal Reserve?

Bring it on.

How many candidates on the GOP side are asking the question out loud: “Why are we still protecting Germany from Russia with our tax dollars?”

That’s not a trick question. On the left, only Alan Grayson and Dennis Kucinich have voiced it.

Here’s the quandary for American Liberals: Do you really, honestly believe Obama is going to address ANY of these issues in the next four years?

It’s preposterous to even fantasize about it, isn’t it? You could safely wager your left hand on it NOT HAPPENING on his watch! We’ve already had plenty of time to observe Obama in action. There is nothing—not a goddamn thing—in his record that indicates he’s seriously ready to address—or even really tinker—in these areas.

Ron Paul’s ideas make both the Right and the Left uncomfortable for different reasons, but mainly because he’s the ONLY candidate running on IDEAS and PRINCIPLES in the race. Whether you agree with these things or not, you can DEBATE them and discuss them rationally.

If the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney, it’s a redux of Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, John McCain, John Kerry etc, and every other past sacrificial DOA presidential nominee who was simply the best candidate that they could come up with. Against Obama, Romney’s got “loser” stamped squarely on his forehead. The rest of the GOP field is equally, if not considerably more, difficult to take seriously. Ron Paul, for all of his faults, is the only true wild card in the pack. His candidacy could still catch fire in some unexpected way, something I do not think can be said for the rest of them. In the admittedly somewhat unlikely event that this did occur and Paul has more delegates than Mittens come convention time, the GOP establishment would have no recourse other than rally behind him.

Four more years of Obama is hardly something I can feel positive about. Although I like him and think he’s an extremely intelligent man, he’s basically Bush-lite. Four more years of his half-measure, center-right policies and the shit like NDAA, I could very easily live without.

I might not want to see Ron Paul as President, and as I said above, I would not personally vote for him, no, BUT if he did manage to become the President—I think ALL bets are off for 2012, I really do, expect the unexpected is my motto for this year—I don’t think it’s the worst thing that could happen.

It would at least be interesting to see his ideas—good and bad—debated for as long as possible during this primary season.

And Ron Paul debating Obama? Well, that would be the best television of the year, wouldn’t it?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ron Paul in paranoid John Birch Society doc on UN Plot to take over America
12.28.2011
04:53 pm

Topics:
Kooks
Politics

Tags:
Congressman Ron Paul
John Birch Society


 
Via Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs:

Andrew Kaczynski has dug up yet another buried video, a 1998 John Birch Society documentary starring none other than Ron Paul — a classic example of far right paranoia and conspiracy theorizing, as Dr. Paul calmly explains that the United Nations is plotting to take over America, create a New World Order, confiscate every red-blooded patriot’s guns, abolish all churches, and replace the US Constitution with the UN Charter.

If you haven’t seen the scans of The Ron Paul Newsletters yet at Et tu, Mr. Destructo? they’re worth a look (someone has even set up a Ron Paul Newsletter Twitter feed, breaking off 140 character bites for your reading pleasure).

Even better is the former staffer who tried to defend Ron Paul against accusations of homophobia and racism and comically ended up doing something else entirely…

Cue the Paulbots to defend their wacky hero!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ron Paul has won more straw polls—by far—than any other GOP candidate
12.05.2011
10:16 am

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
Congressman Ron Paul


 
Lost in the dust of Herman Cain’s comically hubristic self-immolation and Rick Perry’s definitive demonstration that he’s just not very bright, is one of the more under-reported stories of the Republican pre-primary season: Texas Congressman Ron Paul has won more straw polls than any other GOP candidate.

In fact, Paul has won more straw polls than Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann combined.

Below, Ron Paul on military spending during a House speech:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rube Paul: Extremely ill-advised Ron Paul TV appearance, 1988


 
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that I added a tag for “Congressman Ron Paul” to the post about the nearly completely unknown, but nevertheless quite amazing occult rock group Kongress. This may have seemed like a mistake. It wasn’t.

So what’s the connection between the Republican Texas congressman currently making his third for president and an insane rock group that made the New York Dolls look like pikers, you ask? That would be Dangerous Minds pal Otto von Ruggins, the group’s keyboard player, who appeared several times on The Morton Downey Jr. Show, a pre-Jerry Springer, late 80s syndicated “talkshow.”  One time he was on the program, his fellow guest was then former US Congressman Ron Paul. The discussion was the war on drugs.

Imagine what the people look like who comment on the Fox Nation website and then picture a group of such unhinged yoo-hoos as a talkshow audience. Downey Jr. loved to pit his guests against each other and the Cro-Magnon audience members, who were dubbed “Loudmouths.” Downey Jr and his guests and audience screamed at each other with seething hatred and low IQs. The Morton Downey Jr. Show was the original “trash teevee” show. Just about the only advertisers were local bail bondsmen.

Judging from the evidence that he actually agreed to go on The Morton Downey Jr. Show, I think it’s safe to assume that Ron Paul, who was then running as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President, never, ever thought he was going to get anywhere near the White House and was probably just trying to do what he could to spread the word about Libertarianism. Still, it was pretty ill-advised to go on a show like this.

I’m sure Ron Paul would like to forget he was ever on The Morton Downey Jr. Show. Too bad! Here is Otto’s recollection of the taping:

I remember the first time I was called to be on The Morton Downey, Jr. Show.  He was there in NYC’s Channel 9 Secaucus, NJ studio before Jerry Springer took occupancy.  I had written a letter to his producer suggesting they do a show about the legalization of drugs.  I even recommended some guests for them - Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, the Life Extension authors and MIT graduate research scientists.  I was told they had no budget to fly people in, but they wanted me to come on the show.

Ten minutes into the show, I was at home base, on stage with Mort, telling him, “I’ve come to slay Dracula!” I made a positive showing, but 45 minutes into the show, my supervisor in the Post Office got a call from the Post Mistress telling him his employee was on the show talking about giving away free drugs and what was he going to do about it?  He calmly told her I was a professional, one of his best workers and what I did on my own time was my business.  Eventually, I told her I was going on again, displaying to her the Time Magazine cover story on the subject.

My best appearance (I was on six times, they loved me so much) was a July 4th aired show in 1988 where I wore a black and white checkered shirt under a black Teddy Boy jacket with red velvet collar and cuffs.  Colonel Bo Gritz, a most decorated Viet Nam vet was also on, telling how Uncle Sam was in the drug business, naming names like Richard Armitage and Frank Carlucci, who would later surface as Chairman of the Carlyle Group with Bush connections, after his stint in the Reagan Administration.  I fended off Downey’s initial comment that if I had wheels, I’d look like a checkered cab by declaring that “As outrageous as the war on drugs is, that’s how outrageous I have to dress to give all you mad men out there who want to fight the war on drugs, a sobering dose of reality - and for all you women out there who want to fight the war on drugs, you’re mad men, too!”  Downey’s response was, “Sounds like if this was a whore house and you had a thousand dollars, you wouldn’t see any action.”  I quipped back, “I didn’t come to fuck around!”

The prime time national debut on that show was the appearance of then Libertarian Party candidate for President, Ron Paul who, when Downey accused me of looking like I just came from Emmett Kelly’s funeral, rose to my defense with -  “Stick to the issues, Mort, and don’t attack the way he’s dressed!”  Mort quickly ripped Ron Paul’s candidacy, “If I had a slime like you in the White House, I’d puke on you!”  It was that clip with me in my glorious outfit and Mort raising his arms over Paul that made it to ABC-TV’s New Year’s Eve highlights of the year in review with Sam Donaldson.

As I came off the stage at the end of the show, I was grabbed by the arm by what I thought was some Fed accosting me for trying to burn the Constitution earlier—Mort stopped me—but it was some representative from Nightline who wanted to know what it was like to be on The Morton Downey, Jr. Show. My response, which was not aired, was, “It’s like being high without drugs!”

Below, a boisterous excerpt from the July 4th, 1988 “War on Drugs” episode of The Morton Downey Jr. Show with Ron Paul, Otto von Ruggins and in the audience, then-Guardian Angel Lisa Sliwa, now known as Fox News correspondent, Lisa Evers.

At about the one minute mark, Downey Jr. tells Ron Paul what he’d like to do to him if he ever becomes president…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment