Robert Scheer: Ron Paul has something to contribute

By Robert Scheer

TruthDig.com

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.

It is hypocritical that Paul is now depicted as the archenemy of non-white minorities when it was his nemesis, the Federal Reserve, that enabled the banking swindle that wiped out 53 percent of the median wealth of African-Americans and 66 percent for Latinos, according to the Pew Research Center.

The Fed sits at the center of the rot and bears the major responsibility for tolerating the runaway mortgage-backed securities scam that is at the core of our economic crisis. After the meltdown, it was the Fed that led ultra-secret machinations to bail out the banks while ignoring the plight of their exploited customers.

To his credit, Paul marshaled bipartisan support to pass a bill requiring the first-ever public audit of the Federal Reserve. That audit is how readers of the Times first learned of the Fed's trillions of dollars in secret loans and aid given to the banks as a reward for screwing over the public.

As for the Times' complaint that Paul seeks to unreasonably cut the federal budget by one-third, it should be noted that his is a rare voice in challenging irrationally high military spending. At a time when the president has signed off on a Cold War-level defense budget and his potential opponents in the Republican field want to waste even more on high-tech weapons to fight a sophisticated enemy that doesn't exist, Paul has emerged as the only serious peace candidate. As The Wall Street Journal reported, Paul last week warned an Iowa audience, "Watch out for the military-industrial complex — they always have an enemy. Nobody is going to invade us. We don't need any more (weapons systems)."

As another recent example of Paul's sanity on the national security issues that have led to a flight from reason on the part of politicians since the 9/11 attacks, I offer the Texan's recent criticism of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The act would allow the president to order indeterminate military imprisonment without trial of those accused of supporting terrorism, a policy that Obama signed into law and Paul opposes, as the congressman did George W. Bush's Patriot Act. Paul said:

"Little by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed. ... The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation of the 4th Amendment, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed (NDAA) continues that slip toward tyranny and in fact accelerates it significantly ...

"The Bill of Rights has no exemption for 'really bad people' or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. This is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system."

That was exactly the objection raised by The New York Times in its own excellent editorial challenging the constitutionality of the NDAA. It should not be difficult for those same editorial writers to treat Ron Paul as a profound and principled contributor to a much-needed national debate on the limits of federal power instead of attempting to marginalize his views beyond recognition.

Robert Scheer is editor of TruthDig.com

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Comments

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Ron Paul - less nutty..

He may have one or two good ideas and he may seem less nutty than the others running for President but he is still nutty IMHO. And yes, a dangerous crank.

There is no one running (and this includes Obismal) that I will vote for. I plan on writing in a vote for Bernie Sanders - Independent, VT.

Mike Miles's picture

David Duke Endorsed Ron Paul

You are known by who you hang out with. Ron Paul was endorsed by David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as by a whole range of right wing nutbag militia groups. When asked to disavow his followers in these camps, he refused. The man has some positions that make sense (like his isolationist views), but he is also a dnagerous crank.

Nathan Schultz's picture

Ron Paul a racist?

I would think someone like that would support Ron Paul because they like having the right to be a racist. Ron Paul does not support racists but like anyone who has sworn an oath to the constitution he will defend someones right to be one. Support of the constitution and not being a worldwide dictator does not make a presidential candidate a crank.
As far as his newsletters he did not write them and the whole history is well explained at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0hpiwfM2qo&feature=related

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Ron Paul

Tonight we will get an idea how Michelle and the 6 dwarfs are being received among the uninformed.
The one thing we can be assured of is that no Republican has a solution to our economic blight. Especially Ron Paul. As a libertarian with an economic philosophy based on Randian paranoia and delusional misrepresentations of our economic situation Paul presents an economic philosophy which has never been tried and when attempts are made in that direction their one fruit is economic collapse. The bring back gold standard (the last people to propose this organized a coup to overthrow President Roosevelt by violent means); eliminate a national bank (Jackson did that in 1836 caused the depression of 1837-1842), cut the national spending by 1/3 (a deflationary move that by itself will plug the economy into the worst depression of our history. We might never recover from a Paul presidency.

Nathan Schultz's picture

Cutting the federal budget is

Cutting the federal budget is not deflationary because it leaves the money in the hands of the market to be allocated more efficiently or we can just keep having $250,000 volts. Our economic growth has slowed on a long term perspective as we moved away from the gold standard since 1913 and because they did not require 100% backing they kept printing money. Then in 1970 when they couldnt print more because they couldnt meet the 40% minimum requirement Nixon removed the gold standard altogether. Gold as a currency has been around for thousands of years and this experiment of fiat currency does not have the same track record. The reason that The dollar became the currency others were tied to is due to the gold standard and removing it is why the dollar has lost its sway in international trade. The us dollar is worth 98% less than in 1913. What will the dollar be worth in 2113 will there still be any trust in it, will it still exist? In just 100 yrs we have gone from a redemable currency to something that is backed by absolutely nothing issued by a private organization that answers to who?

"Give me control over a nations currency, and I care not who makes its laws.”
Baron M.A. Rothschild

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Of course it is.

"Cutting the federal budget is not deflationary because it leaves the money in the hands of the market to be allocated more efficiently". Of course it is. This is one of the many myths of capitalist propaganda. "Self-correcting". "More efficient allocation of resources." "Invisibile hand." All based on illogical assumptions that completely distort economics; namely these ideas are based on the "long-term". That's equivalent to the engineer saying as we approach infinity we don't have to worry about the effects of these minor terms in the equation. No one lives to approach infinity. No one lives long enough for the economy to be self-correcting. The "private" economy if not generating sufficient demand in the short term will collapse into depression if a swift reduction in govenment demand is made. Proven by dozens of cases in the US economy.
Between 1913 and 1970 dozens of economic factors, wars, etc displaced worldwide economic growth. To assign all change to one factor like transitioning off the gold standard is also illogical.
"The reason that The dollar became the currency others were tied to is due to the gold standard". Wonderful conjecture, but no proof or truth to it. Gold standard reduced US economic growth. unprecedented US growth was due to extremely rapid growth in human capital (unprecedented immigration from 1840-1932), no domestic wars in industrial centers (1815- Today)and therefore no liquidation of capital assets, and unprecedented foreign demanded due to wars and economic dislocations.
See you don't agree with the US Constitution which required Congress to "regulate the value of money" .i.e have a national bank system and a standard of value other than gold (since the value of gold is determined by other factors outside our government.
Thanks for the comment.

Nathan Schultz's picture

If you think that the federal

If you think that the federal government is an efficient allocator of resources I do not know how to convince you otherwise the waste is there for all to see. I dont think you will find many economists that believe the government is more efficient than the market.
To dismiss the ever decreasing adherance to the standard as a factor is also illogical.
Our adherence to a gold standard allowed all of the other currencies to essentially work on the same standard by pegging them to the dollar.
Have you seen congress take any votes to change the value of your money? Then why has it changed? Because congress no longer regulates the value of money.
And thank you for the reply. Always enjoy an informed discussion.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Government waste

I don't think I said anything about the federal Government being an efficient allocator of resources - it's not. And I agree that I won't find many (any) economists who believe government is more efficient than the "market". but that's not the issue. The question was depression (deflation). I also don't I can find any economists who think that the market is more efficient than the government without some obviously invalid assumptions.
The Gold standard isn't a "standard" at least by any meaning of that word. Its not like a meter or a foot or any other standard. Its value has constantly changed over history except when government says it doesn't. Its a commodity like any other with a price set by supply/demand, irrationality, subjectivity, speculation, asymetric information.
Congress does regulate the value of money through the Fed, international agreements, treaties, etc. Just because it hasn't done anything lately doesn't mean it doesn't and doesn't mean it can't tomorrow.
Next thing you'll be telling me is that there is a "free-market. Another illogical non-existant over-generalization which ignores all the reality of economic exchange.

Nathan Schultz's picture

You are right there is no

You are right there is no longer a free market because with government subsidy and regulation it stomps out the unconnected from having opportunity.
The Fed is a private bank that prints our money without oversight. Congress used to dictate how many troy onces could be redeemed for a certain amount of money which would be truly regulating the value of money. The value of your money now is based on other peoples misplaced confidence in worthless paper.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

The principl is simple

Every action of every actor in a public role in a democracy must have checks and balances. This is the great principle of real conservative political science and the US Constitution. As soon as some interest says "I'm different" "I don't need checks and balances the invisible hand will protect society or every error I make is self-correcting" you know you are about to get gored. Regulated markets are markets with socially necessary checks and balances. None can be exempt.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Free Market

1. Nate8785. My nickname, family name is Nate.
2. Never was anything called a free market. Pre-capitalist we were a mercantile economy - markets set by edict of the monarch. Post-revolution, we moved toward less restrictive markets based on state legislatures actions. Post-civil war to WWI moved to government assisted corporations (government supplied labor, housing, land, market access, protection to monopolies) otherwise called fascism, Post-depression moved to government regulated markets with various degrees of government assistance.
You can't lose what you never had. Markets have always been and always are creatures of government.
Sorry Fed has oversight just far too little. Financial institutions exist within the freest, least regulated markets. They are therefore the most dangerous threat to economic stability as they proved 2001-2009.
The value of money is always based on consumer/investor confidence and little else. Including gold.

Nathan Schultz's picture

The market is not a creation of the government

A market exists whenever I have something that someone wants and they in turn have something I want. The only reason we have money is so that we dont have to barter because it would be very burdensome. When the money is attatched to absolutely nothing then it has no inherant value only the traders belief in its value gives it value. You seem very knowledgable about the monetary system and markets and am surprised you do not see the house of cards that our US and world economy is currently built on.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

When is an exchange not a market

Markets don't exist until they have a set of enforceable rules by which economic exchanges can proceed by mutual agreement. That requires government. Private property does not exist until you have government which can maintain your pseudo-exclusive use of some object. Even societies so simple as being just family units or extended family units have complex rules for the exchange of goods, services and the enforcement of exclusivity. Money is an attempt to objectify a subjective judgements - the utility of some object or set of objecs to the two folks involved in an exchange. To the degree that it works we have stable economic systems.
Think about no space. I don't mean empty space. I mean no space at all. Not a point with no dimensions because we always imagine a point has having dimensions. The human brain by the nature of its construction and evolution demands that all things have space. The house of cards is the same thing. People by the nature of their development need "rock solid" foundations which they can trust. But rocks are anything but solid. Just look at the problems of Frackling. Our minds demand safety, stability, soundness, cause and effect, even if there is none. Hell we invented God for just such a purpose. The house of cards is the gold standard and I am fully aware how unstable, risky, dangerous this world and current circumstances really are.
All rests solely on the rules we have agreed to; our continued understanding of those rules; and our ability to adapt them to new circumstances.
Have yourself a wonderful day. Its been a pleasure.

Nathan Schultz's picture

Thank you for the informative

Thank you for the informative discussion and you have a wonderful day as well.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Robert Scheer: Ron Paul has something to contribute

Bob ? 12.01.02 9 pm in Hawai'i
" I am all ears , " Ross Perot had something to contribute . " Unsafe at amy speed , " Ralph Nadar had something to contribute , too . Libertarian Harry Browne contributed
People see through Republicans like a glass of water
What the Republican party needs is backbone and not wishy - washy ƒish who simply go with the current . Don't get me wrong . i like fish . The flounder is my favorite fish . Why ? Because even a flounder can choose sides
HHAhahAHhahah ! /s, Steve Dosh

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