Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ron Paul and His Bizarre Attacks on AIDS Victims

Ron Paul and His Bizarre Attacks on AIDS Victims

A lot of the discussion regarding Ron Paul and his horrible newsletters has focused on the racist and anti-gay statements that were made. Those were certainly very ugly. Ron’s newsletter claimed that race riots would sweep America with welfare-addicted blacks attacking whites because they have come to believe they are entitled to other people’s property. His newsletter suggested buying guns because “the animals are coming.” Calling black folks “animals” is very ugly indeed. For the record, the prediction of massive race riots sweeping the country proved as unfounded as Paul’s bizarre theories of secret conspiracies.

One area that was often ignored was Paul’s disgusting views regarding AIDS and people infected with HIV. First, in the fever swamp of Ron Paul’s imagination, AIDS is part of a government plot. It is basically a 9/11 truther kind of argument. In Paul’s January, 1988 newsletter a Dr. William C. Douglass is recommended reading for his “fascinating analysis” of AIDS. The newsletter wrote:

Dr. Douglass believes that AIDS is a deliberately engineered hybrid of these two animal viruses cultured in human tissue, and he blames the World Health Organization experimentation at Ft. Detrick, Maryland.

“Ft. Detrict is one of the centers of biological warfare research where federal scientists are engaged in deliberately manufacturing deadly diseases for World War III. Could they have produced AIDS? Could the government have experimented with it in the civilian population, as it did in the 1950s with LSD, and had things get (sic.) out control?

What makes Dr. Douglass an expert on these topics? Who is he? He is another resident of the fever swamp, of course. Douglass has long be associated with the extreme Right fringe groups. He was active in the extreme Right “Constitution Party of Florida” for instance. A report from the St. Petersburg Times, Oct. 14, 1966 refers to the party as “ultra-conservative” and said that William. C. Douglass, was the “party’s Florida chairman, a John Birch Society leader and founder the controversial “Let Freedom Ring” telephone messages.” The Let Freedom Ring campaign was a Birch Society project.

The January, 1994 issue said that gay men in San Francisco "don't really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners." As for the issue of AIDS, it said that gay men "enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick." In the Dec. 1989 issue he quoted Right-wing Bill Dannemeyer claim that "the average homosexual has 1,000 or more partners in a lifetime." That article refers to Dannemeyer as “my old colleague” which indicates that former Congressman wrote the comment. The only former Congressman on the staff of the Paul newsletter, was Paul himself.

In January, 1990 the newsletter ridiculed the "Silence=Death" campaign, on AIDS awareness, by suggesting it should be changed to "Sodomy=Death." In September, 1994 Paul assured his white, heterosexual readers that unless they engage in sodomy, have a blood transfusion, or swap needles they are "virtually assured of not getting AIDS unless they are deliberately infected by a malicious gay." Paul’s newsletter was never pleasant to gay people. In June, 1990 the newsletter called the gay rights movement “the organized forces of perversion.”

This is where he said. “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any coincidence that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came “out of the closet,” and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy? I don’t believe so, medically or morally.” The Paul newsletter claimed that the reason AIDS wasn’t named Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome was entirely due to “political pressure… to try to hide the origin of this plague.” Actually, medical evidence showed the disease originated in Africa with heterosexuals, not with gay people. And, worldwide, the majority of victims are heterosexual.

The Paul newsletter also said that blood banks in San Francisco caved in to political pressure to hold blood drives “in the gay Castro district, where the people give at three times the usual level.” This, in the newsletter at least, raises the question whether “they [gays] are trying to poison the blood supply.” This last part is on par with the claim that the only way straight people are infected is by a “malicious gay.”

In a subscription appeal letter of the time, which Paul sent out to various far Right mailing lists, including the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby of Willis Carto, he told potential subscribers: “I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helped me see through this one.” The Bohemian Grover-perverted, pagan playground of the powers. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress’s Mr. New Money. The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica.” Paul’s signature was attached to this letter that seems to explicitly endorse the crazed theories of Douglass regarding a “federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS.”

In a January 1990, piece called AIDSomania, the article is written entirely from Paul’s perspective. While it is widely known that Lew Rockwell often did ghost-writing for Paul, including writing some of the more offensive material in the newsletters, this piece seems to imply Paul wrote it directly. For instance, the author says, “I’m not Catholic.” Rockwell is Catholic, though more the Mel Gibson variety than mainstream Catholicism. And the article favorably quotes a “well-known libertarian editor just back from New York,” which would appear to be a reference to Rockwell. This was the source of the “Sodomy = Death” slogan. Next the author refers to “my former church, the Episcopal has just ordained its first openly gay priest.” Ron Paul was Episcopalian until he switched over to a rabidly anti-gay fundamentalist Baptist Church. The church Paul joined links to anti-gay extremists on its web page. So, according to the article the author is not Catholic, is a former Episcopalian and seems to refer to Rockwell. Of course, Rockwell could have written it on Paul’s behalf, but the entire newsletter is written in Paul’s name, in the first person.

If one has to deal with AIDS patients, Paul’s newsletter offered the following hysterical advice. (I don’t mean hysterical as in funny, but as in crazy.)

  1. "Wear rubber gloves when handling the clothes, dishes, etc. of the patient. Wear a surgical mask if he is coughing and wheezing."
  2. "Use paper plates and cups and burn them afterwards."
  3. "Boil all his laundry for at least 15 minutes".
  4. "Pour half a cup of Clorox in his bath water before draining it."
  5. "Always wipe the toilet seat with a soapy paper towel."
  6. "No kissing, since AIDS can be transmitted by saliva."
  7. "No sexual relations, since condoms are far from foolproof."
  8. "Don’t allow the patient to eat in a restaurant."
  9. "Do not allow the patient to drive or operate machinery due to mental impairment."

Paul’s newsletter called these unnecessary and extreme measures “commonsense precautions” and they show “how we should actually proceed, instead of having tax-funded programs to promote the conduct that causes AIDS.” Conduct doesn’t “cause” AIDS, it may help it spread, but it doesn’t cause it, a virus causes it. In addition, when this was published in October, 1990 the causes of AIDS and the precautions actually are needed were well known. What Paul’s publication called “commonsense” was considered extreme, fear-mongering by experts in the disease and that fact was well known when Paul published this.

In March, 1990 (Vol IV, Number 3) of the Paul newsletter there is a lead article regarding the often crude Andy Rooney. Rooney made a comment about gay sex causing AIDS. Paul’s newsletter reported, “The ‘gay community’ went berserk at the suggestion that sodomy might cause AIDS, or that its practitioners might be in some way responsible for the consequences of their conduct.” Rooney made an equally silly reply, which the Paul letter called “hilarious.” Rooney “said he was no more biased against gays than against smokers, he just didn’t ‘want to be in a small room with either one.’” Yep, hilarious Ron, really hilarious. When CBS told Rooney to apologize the Paul newsletter said it was because “you’re not supposed to express such sentiments about Official Victims.” When a gay reporter interviewed Rooney Paul’s publication wrote that he “certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.” More of Ron Paul’s charming opinions.

At this point Ron’s newsletter went into an extended commentary:

“The liberals promised us release from guilt, points out Murray N. Rothbard of the Ludwig von Mises Institute [a group run by Paul’s co-editor Lew Rockwell, which Rockwell started using Paul’s mailing list], and they did abolish sexual guilt (and gave us widespread sodomy, AIDS, promiscuity, illegitimacy, and abortion in the bargain). But speciesism, ageism and homophobia (the dread belief that normal sexual conduct is superior to abnormal).

Earlier, we quoted Paul’s newsletter referencing Murray Rothbard, a close associate of both Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell. Rothbard, who got his political start promoting the 1948 racist campaign of Strom Thurmond’s so-called Dixiecrat ticket. The party explicitly endorsed racial segregation, Jim Crow laws and white supremacy. Rothbard was widely considered to be, along with Rockwell, one of Paul’s primary ghost-writers. Rothbard regularly feed ideas to Paul which the Congressman they regurgitated as his own.

In 1992, during the newsletter era, Rothbard wrote a piece praising the Klansman and anti-Semite, David Duke. Rothbard claimed that only “a massive campaign of hysteria, of fear and hated, orchestrated by all wings o the Ruling Elite” prevented Duke from winning the Gubernatorial race in Louisiana. He referred to “the old bogey images of the Klan,” ignoring the fact that Duke was Klan leader and these were not “bogey images” but facts. To this day Duke publicly endorses white supremacy, segregation, and Jew hating. Duke got started in the racist National Alliance, and then joined the Klan in 1967. In 1980 he formed the National Association for the Advancement of White People, and in the 1990s turned his attention to attacking Jews. His 1998 book, My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding made reaffirmed his support for segregation and racial separatism. He then followed that book with Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question.

At no point in time did Duke make an attempt to tone down his bigoted views. He was a white supremacist from the start and remains one to this day. Rothbard’s apparent support for Duke is a very large dark spot on his life. Just as Rothbard, Paul’s close friend, supported Duke, the Klanner, in return, supports Ron Paul. He wrote: “I like Ron Paul’s campaign, and I think it is good for America and the political process.” Duke, who says the Jews run the Federal Reserve, thought Paul’s problem is that “Jewish extremists are the political fundraisers and power brokers and they also dominate the mass media, the single greatest influence in politics.” It should be noted that Duke referred to “the positive things that Paul wrote about me and my campaign issues.” Apparently David Duke saw Ron Paul as being supportive of him.

Rothbard launched into a paranoid discourse on banking elites, conspirators and secret organizations ruling the world. And he called for a “Right-wing Populist” crusade that would merge Rothbard’s libertarian ideas with the racialist-populist ideas of the extremists. Among his suggestion was: “Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.” Yea, that liability thing would really make me feel more comfortable if the cops assaulted me. He said, “Unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares?” He argued that “the Fed is an organized cartel of banksters,” a theme that anti-Semites on the Right have pushed for years. [One of them is Eustace Mullins, who previously met with Paul as an adviser, according to some sources. A writer at Daily Paul saud Paul and Mullins “would do luncheons regularly. Ron Paul has a copy of Eustace’s book on the Fed.” Mullins decided Paul was part of the banking conspiracy because Ludwig von Mises was Jewish.]

Rothbard becomes important in Ron Paul’s fear-mongering concerning AIDS and gay people because Rothbard was the source of much of this. I have a memo that Rothbard wrote “Ron” on Sept, 26, 1987 that outline what Ron Paul’s view on AIDS should be. You will see that these are the positions that Paul’s newsletters took over the years. Rothbard tried to push these views into the Libertarian Party platform at their Seattle convention, but his platform was rejected by the delegates and replaced with a new one, that didn’t push the fear planks that Rothbard advocated.

Rothbard’s views was that Paul should push the idea that people ought to discriminate against people with HIV because every such person was a legitimate threat to others. “We should be emphatic and proclaim it through the land, on the right of doctors and nurses not to treat AIDS patients if they so choose. …Any doctor or nuse should have the right to save their own lives.” “Everyone should have the right to boycott AIDS victims, not associate with them, etc., if they so choose.”Rothbard told Paul “The dangers of homosexual sex have been widely and properly advertised.” And, he said that children with HIV infection should be banned from schools. “AIDS children should not be allowed to attend public schools, and a fortiori, parents should have the right to withdraw their kids if AIDS children are permitted.”Ron Paul took the advice and in 1988 his presidential campaign ran full page ad in the November 6 issue of the New York Times included a plank “Protect the Healthy From AIDS,” which repeated some of Rothbard’s suggestions, though not all. “Dr. Ron Paul, a physician, says that healthy Americans must be free not to associate with AIDS carriers,, and he urges prosecuting as a murderer any AIDS carrier who knowingly spreads the disease, and as a mass murderer any AIDS carrier who sells or donates blood while concealing his condition.” He also said employers have the “right to fire AIDS carriers,” another one of Rothbard’s suggestions.From the late 1980s to the mid 1990s Ron Paul continued to publish articles that consistently scapegoated gay people and individuals with HIV. These positions were not only in Rothbard’s memo to Ron Paul, but appeared in multiple issues of Ron’s newsletter. And he included some the same planks in his 1988 presidential bid. Is he going to argue that he didn’t know what his campaign ads said?

In closing, let me make clear that Ron was fully aware of the newsletters. When he was first asked about them he said he wrote them and said he stood by the words he wrote. In 1996 the Dallas Morning News reported: "Dr. Ron Paul, who is running in Texas' 14th Congressional District, defended his writing in an interview Tuesday. He said they were being taken out of context. ...Dr. Paul denied suggestions that he was a racist and said he was not evoking stereotypes when he wrote the columns. He said they should be read and quoted in their entirety to avoid misrepresentation." The May 23, 1996, Austin American-Statesman quoted a Paul spokesman claiming "Dr. Paul is being quoted out of context." The May 26, 1996 Washington Post said Ron Paul was claiming that his political opponent "was taking his 1992 writings out context." Ron Paul consistently said he wrote the newsletters and his only defense was he was being taken out context.

These 1996 interviews also disprove Ron Paul's lie to CNN recently. When asked about the newsletter Paul refused to answer, preferring to evade the issue by claiming he already addressed the issue elsewhere. He claimed he didn't even know about the content of the newsletters until 10 years after they were published. Most of the newsletters we quote here were written between 1990 and 1994. Paul was publicly claiming authorship of them in 1996. How would it be possible for him to only know about the controversy somewhere between the year 2000 (ten years after 1990) and 2004 (ten years after the 1994 articles) if he was already being asked about the same controversy in 1996?

Paul's new claims regarding him not knowing about this material is unfounded. The staff of the newsletter was small and included his friend and business partner Lew Rockwell, along with Ron’s wife and daughter. The idea that his closest friend, along with his wife and daughter, kept the content of Ron’s publication from him, for more than decade is almost as crazy as his banking conspiracies. It is even crazier to claim this when he was already being challenged about them in 1996.

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