Day-to-day thoughts, technical information, a random grab-bag of thoughts, discoveries, and interesting little tidbits.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ron Paul's Newsletters and Response

I am a supporter of Ron Paul.  I do enjoy his current position, and I do see him going further as time goes on.

However, I have seen, both in this presidential run, and the last one, comments regarding a set of newsletters.  These newsletters contained articles that had racist, anti-semitic, and other really nasty things.  A popular example used is the following quote:

"Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began"
Now, this sort of thing should have been caught.  Ron Paul has acknowledged the issue, and has both apologized for the oversight, and disavowed the statements. Certainly, no new articles have appeared to demonstrate that he has let the issue continue.

But there are those who won't stop asking about them.  They argue that he knew these comments were in the articles, because he knew details about the newsletters' content when he advertised them.  They claim that these prove that the congressman is a bigot and an anti-Semite.

First of all, the advertising clip demonstrated he knew the general content of the newsletters.  He did come up with them in the first place as a means to educate the public.  Second, it is well-known that many of the articles were ghost-written.  Third, he was busy operating his medical practice at the time.  Fourth, he has not located and outed the guilty party.

When talking about the advertisement, keep in mind, that he did not give the hint of bigoted talk you would hear from a typical racist; he extolled the virtues of the free market, and talked about the faulty policies he did not believe in.  In fact, in absolutely none of the videos I've seen with him talking has he ever taken such a stance on race, or even quipped wise against specific races.  In fact, even attempts at wisecracks (such as the one regarding Bachmann) don't seem to slip very easily from his mouth.

I don't care how well-schooled you are, or how much self-control you possess, sooner or later, comments will slip.  And considering how hesitant and sputtering his speech can be at times, I can't really believe he's THAT good at public speaking.

There are two reasons why he would withhold the name of the ghost writer.  First is the possibility that such a person is a friend; in fact, some have stated a likelihood that the guilty party is Lew Rockwell.  Yes, such friends can be bad for you, but at the same time, we all have at least one friend we would vehemently disagree with, but would still help in hard times.  That's just human nature.  And you don't throw friends under the bus because it suits you.

The only other reason I can think of is that he really doesn't know.  This is a less likely scenario, I'll grant you, but these letters are at least 2 decades old.  If there was a guilty party, they may be harder to track at this point.

As for the negligence, how many stockholders owned stock in Enron or Haliburton?  How many of them take a personal interest in these projects?  At the time of these newsletters, Ron was a doctor, not a politician; he was not thinking about political office, and likely trusted the people who were maintaining the articles, and besides, they didn't say (theoretically) anything he didn't already understand.  In this case, we know what happens when you assume.

This is a lot of rambling, but here's the point:  I hear a lot of "he has to answer for these newsletters," but apparently, the answers he gave for them are apparently not satisfactory.  So I pose to you, media and questioners: what exact questions are you asking?  What specific information will you accept as sufficient from him?  Or are you unwilling to accept anything other than confirmation that he is a horrid, bitter man with bigoted stands toward his fellow man?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Before-Death Experience

The Hitchhiker's Guide has this to say about the before-death experience:

It is said that before you die, your life passes before your eyes. This is, in fact, true; the process is known as "living."  This is a horribly tedious process, sometimes pleasant, such as times when one is enjoying tea and fairycake, and other times, less so, such as when attempting to explain to the Vogons just why their planet should not be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.  And less so when listening to the reaction on the part of the Vogon who, in a fit of inspiration, decides to share a poem about the types of muck found between their toes one midwinter night.

Some people will seek to shorten this process, especially when listening to said poetry, in order to be on time for tea in the afterlife; fairycakes optional. Others, unwilling to experience the unpleasantness of "dying," particularly those who have not yet heard a Vogon reading poetry, will do everything in their power to extend the period, only to discover just how tedious the whole "living" process really is, until they can no longer stand it, and die anyway, usually in the middle of a dream of tea in the afterlife.  Of course, these people tend to become confused as to whether they will ever wake up on time to have their morning tea, and then decide that it's not important, as there's a perfectly good cup in front of them.