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Racist or empire foe (or both?); KPFA vets the Ron Paul question

Berkeley, California based listener supported station KPFA did an interesting and informative program on the candidacy of libertarian Republican Ron Paul on Tuesday. KFPA talk show host, Mitch Jeserich, hosted the discussion on his Letters and Politics show as Republicans (including Paul) compete for favor in the Iowa Caucuses. [UPDATE 10:41 PM CST: Paul comes in close third in Iowa race].

The program began with Nation magazine correspondent John Nichols, who characterized the Iowa event as “a sort of Kabuki theater, where most of the people who go don’t actually participate in the delegate selection process, they just go to participate in a glorified straw poll.” But that poll result, “doesn’t have anything to do with delegate selection. So while it is said that this is the beginning of the [Republican] nominating process, it’s really sort of a false construct.”

The real beginning of the process comes next week in New Hampshire, Nichols noted, where a more traditional primary will take place. And Nichols doubted that the Republican “party bosses” will let Paul get very far.

Nonetheless, much of the progressive blogosophere has been engaged in a fierce debate over Paul, who insists that he did not author various racist statements famously identified in his Reagan/Clinton era newsletter. Despite this, and Paul’s opposition to right of women to choose, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, and other 20th-century reforms, bloggers who offer qualified defenses of his campaign note his opposition to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war on drugs, the Patriot Act, and Federal implementation of the death penalty.

“Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either party advocating crucial views on vital issues that need to be heard, and so his candidacy generates important benefits,” contends Salon writer Glen Greenwald. Ditto says Robert Scheer in The Nation, given Paul’s “devastating critique of crony capitalism and his equally trenchant challenge to imperial wars and the assault on our civil liberties that they engender.”

Other writers, such as Bill Weinberg of the World War 4 Report, don’t see it this way. “If we ever see a President Paul, he’ll be bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, all right,” Weinberg warns “—to wage a race war in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Houston.”

Nichols told Jeserich that he thinks the Paul cause is “a very dangerous game.”

“I understand that there are people who are passionate supporters of civil rights, Medicare, and Medicaid, who simply want to send a message and this is a way to do it,” Nichols explained. “But Ron Paul is a pretty complex player, and he has a lot of history on these issues that is pretty unsettling—in some cases repulsive.”

The conversation then went to Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report, who was asked for his opinion of Paul.

“I hope he does well,” Ford began. “I don’t like him, but it’s really a reflection on what’s happening in the Democratic Party, that the only conversation that the corporate media finds compelled to cover that has anything to do with empire . . . is coming from the Republican Party or from this libertarian within the Republican Party. So for those of us who would like to hear the term ’empire’ uttered, Ron Paul is the only show among the two parties. He’s the only game in town.”

Jeserich asked Ford about the more controversial comments coming out of Paul’s newsletter.

“Paul comes from a cultural, political milieu that is totally saturated with racism,” Ford observed. “He is a hyper-American nationalist. And many people say how could that be, he is talking about the end of American empire; that’s not what we associate with hyper-American nationalists. But there has always been an American nationalism that was isolationist.”

Ford noted that isolationists have for a century opposed the integration of forcibly acquired nations like the Philippines and Cuba on racial grounds, citing fears of “mongrelization.”

“These strains have always been among us, and I think that Ron Paul actually is part of that older strain, very strong, that just doesn’t get talked about in the American political conversation.”

Jeserich asked Ford what he thought about progressives who see Paul as someone who could potentially make President Obama address issues that otherwise won’t be raised?

“Obviously they’re looking for the magic wand and some kind of way to oppose these corporatist policies of Obama that he shares, in fact, with the Republicans,” Ford replied. “They’d like a magic wand; some kind of button to push in the electoral arena, that would allow them to avoid the hard, hard work of grassroots movement building that is necessary.”

An interesting show, definitely worth podcasting or downloading.


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9 Responses to Racist or empire foe (or both?); KPFA vets the Ron Paul question

  1. Tomas January 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Great article asking African Americans to vote for Ron Paul. He wants to end the war on drugs, pardon non violent drug offenses, and end the welfare state…all things which unfairly target African Americans to a large degree. Ron Paul doesn’t see the rights of a particular race over another, but rather all of us as equal individuals with equal rights.

    Plus we have to end these wars…Obama and Israel are already beating the war drums on Iran.

  2. C4LCNCPLS January 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Mr. Ford sounds like a true conspiracy nut.

    Maybe he needs to have a talk with the head of the Austin Tx NAACP.

    He might learn something about the real Ron Paul.

  3. Louis Nardozi January 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    I’m sorry but here’s what it sounds like to me:

    Ron Paul is demonstrably the only candidate who has stated with certainty he will stop our military presence overseas and not deploy our military unless an invasion is imminent or Congress declares war.

    So what you’re saying is, MURDERING people is just fine by you, but if you happen to have owned a paper where less than .01% of its content has been judged to have been racist, but which he did not write and has repudiated, it’s far better to vote for the guy that supports murdering innocent women and children?

    Do you even know what hate speech IS?!?!? What could possibly be more hateful than the position I have just outlined? Paul WILL STOP THE WARS. But maybe the wars are just fine with you, as long as brown people are getting killed.

    Paul is the only candidate who has advocated a halt in the Drug War, which disproportionately affects nonwhites. You could vote for him, or for any of the other candidates – who apparently don’t care HOW MANY people of color are imprisoned, serving prison terms 17 times greater than white people that commit the same crime. Now who’s the hateful one?

    Frankly, everyone knows this and I’m certain you know it too. What then might your motive be?

    We all wonder.

  4. GeorgeBarnes January 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

  5. Rich Shapero January 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    In the 60s, as a high school kid, I did volunteer work for KPFK, KPFA’s Los Angeles sister station, in order to cover Wayne Morse, the brave Senator from Oregon who was one of the two Senators who opposed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that plunged America into the Vietnam War. Forty years later, it’s obvious that Morse was right and everyone else was wrong. Morse was a hero of mine. He was the spitting image of Ron Paul–full of convictions, many of which you couldn’t agree with. But he had the vision to see that America was on the wrong road, and he had the courage to voice his opposition even if it meant standing alone. He was the real deal, and so is Paul. This election is a test–not for Paul, but for America.

  6. this is crazy... January 4, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    Handbook of Human Ownership:

  7. Malcolm Kyle January 4, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    Thanks to Prohibition we now have far more people locked in cages than would normally be the case. Apart from the fact that these extra prisoners are not contributing economically to society, it also costs 50,000 dollars per annum to incarcerate them. Additionally their families often go on government assistance, and it’s again the average tax payer who has to pick up the bill. Their kids may be taken into care or raised by foster parents, again with tax payer money. Now add to all this the court costs, jail costs, and the salaries of all those people that have to deal with the enforcement of prohibition, like police officers, judges and public defenders and you’ll start to get a fair idea of why “Black Thursday”, October 24, 1929 happened during the period of another of our great experiments – Alcohol Prohibition.

    * The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

    * 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population at year-end 2009.

    * 2,292,133 adults were incarcerated federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2009, that’s approx. 1% of US adults.

    * Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at year-end 2009 were on probation or parole.

    * In total, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation,parole, or incarcerated) in 2009 — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population.

    Prohibition has helped fill our Prisons and Jails to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for so called ‘drug offenders’. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. Prohibition takes violent criminals and turns them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries, including our own. Our drug laws are also funding the Taliban and al-Qaeda whose illegal opium profits allow them to buy weapons and pay it’s fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

    Maybe many of the early Prohibitionists did not really intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide, or put 1 in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system. But similar to our “Great Experiment” of the 1920s, the prohibition of various other drugs has once again spawned rampant off-the-scale criminality & corruption, a bust economy, mass unemployment, a mind-boggling incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan and an even higher rate of drug-use (both legal & illegal) than in all other countries that have far more sensible policies.

  8. Hey! Pull My Finger! January 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Apparently not a subject of the discussion on KPFA’s program, Paul’s stance on the economy bears a great deal of attention. America is bankrupt at every strata of government with the vast majority of citizens bankrupt, deeply in debt, or living paycheck to unemployment check as well. The overleveraged global banking system, fighting debt fires everywhere, is one adverse event away from a generalized worldwide financial holocaust. This in itself should be enough for the American people to demand an immediate end to our deeply immoral wars of resource sequestration as it is the ruinous policies of our Federal Reserve which is funding conflict and burdening unborn generations with trillions in unpayable debt. If we don’t get a grip on spending all the social goods we take for granted will go ‘poof’. Paul, for all his manifest faults, is the only candidate raising the most vital issues of our time.

  9. Barzilai February 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    So because Ron Paul “wants the troops home” along with bosom-supporter and fellow white supremacist Cindy Sheehan, I’m supposed to overlook his nazi support groups? Sounds like a “sleeper” to me, a very loudly snoring one. Oh for the days that Anti-Racist Rockers kicked this scum out of the Upper and Lower Haight! Check out Motley.News.Net., whose heading is “Anonymous Hacks White Supremacist Site–Ron Paul mentioned 605 times.” Apparently Anonymous hacked into the American Turd, sorry,Third Position (AP3) files [who] “who try hard to hide their vile racism [but] air their dirty laundry all over the net”. It goes on to say that Ron Paul has met with many AP3 members and has engaged in conference calls with their board of directors. Ron Paul racist policies are well-known, being viciously anti-immigrant (read anti-Mexican, he IS one of THOSE Texans), anti-abortion, and against gay marriage. Motley News goes on to say that he receives financial support from white power groups [and] is pictured with Don Black of I see a lot of pro-Paul ass-butts posting here, they like to mob the websites, for sure, I encountered a lot of this on Google+ by Tea Buggers, and when I kicked ones butt verbally, and had fun ridiculing them (I publish anti-hate crime parody), another tried to take his place attacking me, just as nazi cowards assault people in gangs. There is more, check out the site, or Google: Anonymous shuts down racist sites. Saludos.

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