Monday, June 02, 2008

A Ron Paul time capsule.

I was recently given something I didn’t expect -- a whole chunk of my past. I knew that a couple boxes of things I had put in storage were still in someone’s basement. What I didn’t know is that later some friends added about 200 tons of material to what was in storage. Okay, I exaggerate a bit but it seemed like 200 tons when we had to lug the stuff to the SUV.

It included items I had long ago forgotten about, photos I didn’t realize I had and other such things which bring a smile to my face when I see them. And it includes items which were in my files from Ron Paul’s previous run for president and earlier.

You may remember the hullabaloo about Ron’s newsletter which included some racist and homophobic remarks. Ron’s supporters wanted to pretend it was a limited problem covering a short period. Unfortunately the newsletters showed it covered a period of years. And while I am not one to say Ron is a racist I do think he allowed the items to be published for a long period of time. But apparently some of these issues went back prior to his run for president in 1988.

The copy of The Ron Paul Investment Letter I found was from March 1987 and it announces Ron’s run for president at the top of first page. I cringe when I see remarks about how he is running against “a Trilateral-CFR foreign policy”. I’m not against a non-interventionist foreign policy but that “Trilateral-CFR” stuff was just pandering to the lunatic Right.

But underneath it was one of these absurd diatribes that Ron printed about AIDS. It was pure hysteria of the worst kind. And now that 21 years have passed we can appraise exactly how absurd and hysterical Ron Paul was in that issue.

He starts out with a discussion of the Black Death “which carried-off one-third of Europe’s population during the Middle Ages.” That’s to get you in the mood. Then he claims to have spoken to a “prominent San Francisco physician” who is pseudonymously referred to as “Dr. Arnold.” This unknown, unnamed individual is then cited for this prediction: “AIDS will surpass the Black Death to become the worst epidemic in human history.”

So Paul was writing that AIDS would kill more than one-third of the American population. I think it safe to say this prognosis was not even in the ballpark.

Paul actually got worse. He reported that this unnamed physician said “government is lying about AIDS, and that researchers are forbidden to publishing the chilling results of their studies.” Assume that were true for a second and you’d see it wouldn’t make any difference. If AIDS were going to kill over one-third of the population we would notice it no matter whether these studies were published or not.

And then Paul goes even lower. He again cites an unnamed source that “it looks as though AIDS can be transmitted through means other than sexual intercourse and blood transfusion, specifically saliva, tears, sweat, feces, and urine.” Apparently just having a person with HIV cry can infect you according to that Ron Paul report.

He also said that AIDS “is permanent.” Hmm, one friend of mine test HIV positive almost 20 years ago. He’s still alive and relatively healthy. He is still on an anti-viral cocktail but from what I understand recent tests show that HIV is undetectable in his body. They can’t find any trace of it.

Paul got even more hysterical, as hard as that is to believe. He wrote “that everyone with the virus will die.” Technically that is true just as everyone without the virus will also die. But it appears he meant that anyone with the HIV will die from AIDS. And he said that “that many, and perhaps all, of the people with the antibodies will develop the virus.” So according to Dr. Paul everyone with antibodies to HIV will develop AIDS and everyone who develops AIDS will die from it. Ooops, wrong again.

Of course the article wouldn’t be complete with some bashing of gay men in San Francisco. Dr. Paul claimed “that 85% of the gay male population of San Francisco have the antibodies or the virus.” Apparently in the last few years that would mean 85% of the gay men in San Francisco have died. Shame that no one noticed that.

Paul invoked his status as a physician and as father and grandfather to advise his readers to refuse blood transfusions unless it is their own blood or from someone they know. (Apparently Dr. Paul’s readers wouldn’t have family member or friends who might be HIV positive.) And he was against sex education on the matter calling it an “assault on the family.”

He also thought the public schools should be free to expel “students known to carry a fatal, communicable disease.” Gee, that’s nice. Some young person contracts HIV via a blood transfusion, as did happen at the time, and Paul wants the schools to throw the child out and make him a pariah.

I am sure Dr. Paul will have memory loses concerning this article. Or perhaps another unknown aide penned the article in Dr. Paul’s name and published it without Dr. Paul ever noticing. It is a little hard to believe that since the issue included his announcement that he was running for president. I would have thought he would have see that issue but his prior statements imply he never read his own newsletters.

Also in the file was a newspaper article from September 17, 1988 on Ron Paul. It is interesting because it contrasts the Ron Paul of 1988 to the Ron Paul of 2008. Contrary to his claim that he hasn’t changed his views on things it is clear he has. This year he was playing up the Reagan legacy and how he is true heir to Reagan. Paul made a lot of noise about being one of the first Republican congressmen to endorse Reagan. The 1988 story mentions that as well. But then it diverges from the Ron Paul of today.

Today that endorsement was used to show Paul as Reagan’s heir. In 1988 he instead repudiated Reagan. The article says Paul “quickly became disillusioned” with the “political back scratching” that he says Reagan was involved in. And, instead of being a hero, as Paul portrays Reagan today, he said “Ronald Reagan is the greatest detriment to the movement. He literally destroyed it.” Perhaps the press interviewed that unknown aide by mistake.