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Saturday, January 28, 2012

You Don't Say!

It turns out Ron Paul personally proofread those naughty newsletters. Duh.

Back in 2007, a time when I donated a couple of hudred dollars to Paul's campaign, I had no doubt whatsoever that Paul's story about not knowing that racist content was coming out under his name was rubbish. You don't get Murray Rothbard to write a newsletter for you, then not bother reading it. I donated anyway, even though I didn't like the lie, because I thought:

1) I understand why he is lying: he doesn't want Rothbard's name dragged through the mud, especially since he is dead. While that doesn't excuse him, it does make it a less serious sin.
2) He (and Rockwell) truly seem to regret having been lured into this terrible plan. (I was sure it was Rothbard's idea.)
3) All things considered, I thought he was still the best candidate.

The point being, even when I was a very active Paul supporter, I knew Paul was lying. Are there really people who doubted that?

20 comments:

  1. I still believe Paul.

    He didn't write or read (until much later) the specific quotes he was asked about.

    You think Rothbard wrote it all?

    Didn't he have other projects?

    Why not someone else?

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  2. My latest musing on the identity thing, and Paul's unwillingness to name names, is, it makes perfect sense if his son Rand did some of the writing for it.

    Rothbard may have been the primary author, but the newsletter was a family business, and Rand was a young adult for the bulk of the newsletter years. Rand may not have even written any of the really bad stuff, but if he can be tied directly to the newsletters he enters too complicated to explain territory.

    And other people who worked on the newsletters would be in a position to name Rand if Ron named them.

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  3. @Mayor Bill: "I still believe Paul."

    Some people still believe in Santa Claus.

    "You think Rothbard wrote it all?"

    Of course he didn't write all of every newsletter. But the juicy quotes that circulate have Rothbard stamped all over them. Even Bob Murphy has pegged Rothbard as hte author here.

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  4. Or think of it this way, Mayor Bill: if what you say is true, then Ron Paul is a drooling moron. If I ever publish the "Gene Callahan Newsletter," I'm going to make damned sure I know what is in it!

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  5. re: "If I ever publish the "Gene Callahan Newsletter," I'm going to make damned sure I know what is in it!"

    Particularly since this was not a fluke. It happened year after year, and it did not go without notice. If it was one instance you might be able to argue he didn't read that close - but after that happens one time you're going to pay more attention after that.

    I also find it hard to believe he wasn't aware of them since he was repeating a lot of the statements from the newsletters in 1996.

    If he actually disapproved of them, and just didn't know about it until after the fact don't you think we'd say a retraction in the record, rather than an endorsement by Paul during an interview?

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  6. I believe Rockwell was actually in charge of the Newsletters.

    Paul trusted Rockwell.

    I also believe Rockwell when he denies writing the specific statements in the 2008 New Republic.

    My view is that the actual ghost writer (s) were writing on subjects and in a style that Rockwell and Rothbard approved.

    That is, "John Doe," the actual writer, might have a letter from Rockwell, "great article John, Barbara Morondon... really funny."

    That Rockwell goes for that sort of thing is evident from his current website. That Rockwell knows other writers who think that sort of thing clever is also apparent. While I read a good bit of Rothbard over the years, I don't remember that sort of thing out of him. But maybe I forgot.

    If you read what Paul has said, he just didn't write or read a few specific statements.

    As other things come out, say, dentists should be able to refuse to take care of people with AIDS, or worries that maybe Oklahoma City bombing might be an inside job... well, it would be necessary to ask Paul if he knew about each and every item. Did you write that? Did you read that one before it went out.

    How did Rothbard and Rockwell pitch this to Paul? Was the focus on how much money he could make personally? Was it about converting these people to libertarianism? Was it about raising money for the Mises Institute?

    Or did he come up with it? Or did he tell them to come up with a way to make more money?

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  7. I will say that I will give qualified agreement to the statement that Rothbard wrote many of the offending articles. I've read plenty of Rothbard's work, and it does match his style, his sense of humor, as well as his somewhat sharp tone (on certain matters). Plus, I think that he was willing to go to great lengths to get a certain message to spread, even if that meant bringing in some of the less desirable people into the fold or sinking to their level (in written form, anyhow). However, the fact remains that I don't know for sure.

    I do think that Paul's not listing Rothbard as the author is more than just avoiding dragging his name in the mud, it also has to do with the fact that the man is dead and cannot defend his actions-- especially a close friend.

    Whatever the real answer is, what I ask myself is this: Do I think that Paul is racist and/or that he would personally support/defend the offending statements? No, I do not. Also, if Paul was aware of the statements at the time, I think that he earnestly regrets their printing (and had reservations about doing so).

    It really is quite a tough situation, that's for sure. If it were me, I certainly wouldn't out a friend that I highly respect and cannot speak for themselves, but I would admit to my own faults in allowing it to happen. However, once again, I don't know what the really happened, I can only speculate.

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  8. I think your three reasons still hold. He's still certainly the best candidate even if he currently believes the nasty things in those newsletters.

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  9. I decided to check out some old Rothbard newsletters. They started off as I remembered. Then he starts talking about the Kochtopus--OK, I'm used to that. Then it is the Craniacs... hmmm... By the time I got to gossip about Jule "the tool" and Roychick, I didn't need to read further.

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  10. Gene, I never said that. You inferred it from what I wrote. So please don't casually tell people whom I pegged as the author. The one thing I was saying for sure was that I didn't think it was Rockwell.

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  11. Sorry, Bob, I misremembered.

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  12. This site suggests that the (an)author was Jim Powell: http://current.com/community/93606834_ron-paul-racist-newsletter-author-revealed.htm

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    Replies
    1. Well, Greego, I must say, I am baffled. The site you links to says the "racist newsletters" have been "debunked," because Paul was practicing medicine at the time they were written. OK, what?! How does that "debunk" anything? And the attribution of authorship to Powell seems to have no evidence backing it. But if it did, so what? The question on the table is not whether Paul wrote them -- I haven't seen anyone who says he did -- but whether he knew of the contents and approved them.

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  13. Maybe Paul and Barbara Jordan wrote them together: for the lulz.

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  14. "And the attribution of authorship to Powell seems to have no evidence backing it."

    I assume that you missed the big picture of a newsletter in the middle of the page. The newsletter's byline reads, 'by James B. Powell'.

    "The question on the table is not whether Paul wrote them"

    I was responding to the claim in your post that Rothbard wrote them. Do you have evidence for that other than that the writing style is similar?

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  15. "I assume that you missed the big picture of a newsletter in the middle of the page. The newsletter's byline reads, 'by James B. Powell'."

    Well, yes, I did miss it, because I never thought to look on the newsletter. And the reason I didn't think to do that is the reason that, now that I've seen it, I don't believe it: do you really think everyone has been wondering and speculating about "Jeez, who wrote those racist newsletters?" when the guys name was write on them, saying "by Jim Powell"!

    That's absurd. Have you heard of Photoshop, Greego?

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  16. Callahan:

    It is almost certain that James B. Powell did write that one newsletter. None of the quotes in the New Republic in 2008 came from the newsletter. While the topic was about protecting yourself from race riots, the style was unoffensive.

    P.S. Photo shop? That is as bad as Paul's blind followers.

    It is very likely that the newsletters with the "clever" invective were not written by Powell. In my view, those who seek to blame Powell are doing him an injustice.

    In 1993 or 1994, Rothbard wrote an essay about the Bell Curve. While my memory is that it was slammed in the liberal press, Rothbard took a NYT review to mean that even liberals were sick of the Civil Rights movement. Oh, and Rothbard certainly agreed to the content of the Bell Curve.

    As I mentioned in another comment, looking at Rothbard's own newsletter from before, making up insulting names was par for the course. "Clever" (or sophomoric) invective was his style.

    Of course, it could have been some young Rothbardian aping his style.

    But I do think it is almost certain that James B. Powell wrote the special report, but that none of the "famous" quotes came from him.

    That is why Powell's name was not mentioned.

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  17. Of course it might be fake. But it's more evidence than I've seen from anyone else who has made claims regarding authorship.

    As for it being obvious to check the byline, I've read somewhere that most issues/versions of the newsletters didn't carry bylines.

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  18. "It is almost certain that James B. Powell did write that one newsletter. None of the quotes in the New Republic in 2008 came from the newsletter."

    OK, Greego, well that explains why no one checked the byline: it's not one of the relevant newsletters.

    Bill, people fake things with photoshop all the time. I had assumed, since someone presented this as evidence that Powell wrote the racists newsletters, that this was one of those newsletters. In which case it would be fantastic to think the author's byline was on the article, and yet no one could discover who he was. And then a photoshopped fake would, indeed, be a very good explanation.

    But, it turns out, this site lied, but just in a different way: it presented evidence as to who authored a totally different issue as bearing on who wrote the relevant issues.

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  19. Well there you go. I'd assumed that the newsletter on that page was one of the 'bad' ones. Mea culpa.

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