Ron Paul’s Credibility: A Wrap-Up

In December 2011 or a little earlier, on the occasion of the Republican presidential primary debates, I began monitoring seriously Congressman Ron Paul’s statements. I did it because I am small-government Republican, someone who could be a libertarian, (but not easily.) For those who follow us from a foreign country: Mr Paul is a long-time Representative from Texas. He is running to be the Republican presidential candidate.He is favored by libertarian elements within the Republican Party and by many members of the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party does not seem to have a candidate of its own in this round of presidential election.

BY THE WAY, IF A DEMAND WERE EXPRESSED FOR EXPLANATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS, OR OF AMERICAN LIFE IN GENERAL BY NON-AMERICAN READERS LIVING ELSEWHERE THAN THE US, I WOULD BE GLAD TO RESPOND TO IT ONCE IN A WHILE. JUST SPEAK UP.

Following Paul’severy word, I soon discovered that there was almost (see below) no debate when Mr Paul didn’t make some strangely false declaration. I am not referring here to the usual politicians’ exaggerations or to spontaneous ridiculous answers to unexpected gotcha questions. I mean false information volunteered by Mr Paul that happened to support his quite consistent line of reasoning, his doctrine, in other words. I have reported periodically on some of Mr Paul’s misstatements. Paul followers have responded. My comments and the responses, all unedited, of course, are available on this blog, arranged by date. If you want to look for yourself you might also conduct a search of my postings using the key words “Ron Paul.” The comments are appended to each relevant essay. Below I review the Paul statements to which I took exceptions and I summarize what I think are the replies or explanations by Paul followers. Some responders/commentators will complain that I betray their thought. It’s all there for anyone to judge.

Here is a little political introduction: I generally agree with the congressman’s ideas regarding domestic policies. However, I think Dr Paul would be a foreign policy disaster on the scale of an President Obama or worse, if he ever became president. His isolationist ideas on foreign policy, I think, are based on false perceptions and tightly chained to adherence to a libertarian doctrine hardly troubled by simple facts. Incidentally, I know well that Dr Paul and mainstream libertarians object to being described as “isolationists.” I don’t mind that they mind. Let me admit, also incidentally, that I do not dispute the general libertarian analysis on the disastrous consequences that war has for the autonomy of civil society, for individual freedom from state oppression. However, this recognition does not require that I close my eyes and shut my ears to the nature of the world I which I live. Neither does this consciousness command suicide.

In brief, as I have said repeatedly, I believe Mr Paul listens to a different drummer. Or rather, he hears a whole bunch of drummers in his mind that no one else can hear. The mainstream press ignores his many failed grapplings with reality because it thinks (correctly) that Mr Paul will not be president, no matter what. Mr Paul’s followers don’t mind his missteps either. Some are too busy or too ill-informed to notice. Many, I suspect, don’t want to notice because the Paul group is largely (not completely) a cult. Some of his embarrassed rational followers cite his age (my age, as it happens) as an excuse for his missteps. That is, they argue implicitly that a man too old to avoid talking nonsense at debates is young enough to have his hand on the button. Congressman’s Paul’s followers are simply not inclined to look too closely into his pronouncements; I mean, the way I look into every single presidential candidates’ statements, for example, and no mercy given. After all, if I have my way, one of them will have his index finger on the same red button. Better I give each of them the middle finger first.

Dec 31st 2011

Below is a paraphrase, not an exact quote from Mr Paul. The number though is exact.

The Iraq war and the Afghanistan war are not only very wasteful, they are stupidly wasteful. So, for example, the US armed forces spend 20 billion dollars each year in those war theaters on air-conditioning alone.

The number if absurd on its face. One frequent critic of mine affirms that he proved right the figure or the statement in which it was embedded. I have no idea what he means. Someone else referenced a general that may well have been Paul’s source, if he had a source. Read the general and decide what he, the general, is up to. Ask yourself if you have ever heard of anyone doing cost accounting the way the general does.

January 8, 2012

Paul said that (American) minorities suffered more in war than whites. That’s not true. In current wars, since Vietnam, they die less, and they get wounded less often. Whatever else could “suffering” mean, lower pay raises?

In connection with Pres. Obama’s then-recent speech on cutting the US military budget, Paul also said clearly that those are cuts in increases to military expenditures, not absolute cuts. As one who has been reading the Wall Street Journal for the past thirty years and also for the past thirty days, I tell you that this is not true. I think it sounded good at the time so, the Congressman just said it, irresponsibly.

In rare form that day, Paul also said in New Hampshire that if the Straight of Hormuz were closed (by the Iranians or, presumably, by anyone), Eastern Europe would be “de-stabilized.” Makes no sense at all. Why Eastern Europe? He gives the impression that he knows something we don’t. Not in this case, for sure.

January 17th 2012

In the Republican presidential debate that took place January 17th or 16th in South Carolina, Ron Paul said, “We are still in Iraq.” Don’t bother to check, he said it, with exactly those words. Only one problem: “We” are not there unless you decide that contractors are “us.” Most people would think he meant “our military is still in Iraq.” It, the military, was already not in Iraq at the time the statement was made. This is at least a grossly misleading statement. misleading in a direction that happens to promote his isolationism.

January 2thd 2012

Ron Paul did it again at the Tampa debate on Monday night 1/23/12 or 1/22/12. I mean he spread some information that only he, Congressman Paul, is privy to. Mr Paul declared clearly, under his own power, with no prompting whatsoever, that this country, the United States of America, is presently conducting a blockade against Iran. He used the word four times at least, both as a noun and as a verb. And, no, he was not speaking prospectively ( “If we conduct a blockade, in the future ….”) but declaratively and in the present tense. There was no blockade, there is no blockade, except in Mr Paul’s mind.

On February 07 2012, I challenged the Ron Paul website by email to give the source of declaration of Dr Paul’s about the Mossad, the Israeli CIA. Dr Paul had stated that the head of the Mossad had declared that an Iranian nuclear bomb would pose no “existential threat” to Israel. I received no answer from his campaign. Instead, a reader guided me to an interview by the same head of Mossad.

The head of the Mossad did say what Congressman Paul had reported he said. I was wrong to doubt it. I WAS WRONG. It was all my fault. I did not think long enough about the word: existential threat. See my mea culpa and explanation following on Feb 14th.

February 16th, 2012

A quaint statement issued by the candidate himself that he, Ron Paul, received more money contributions from the military than other Rep. candidates lead to a striking demonstration of the absurdity of the figures on which the claim is based. It highlighted the shocking lack of criticality of his shock troops. No one is watching; the candidate is allowed to run wild, quite wild if in his quiet way.

February 22nd 2012

Dr Paul pointed out that Iran was “surrounded” by “forty-five bases.” I assume he meant American military bases. This “surrounding,” I understood the Congressman to argue, would justify Iran’s nervousness and therefore its apparent bellicosity. I protested that the encirclement statement was pure invention.

In response, Paul supporters produced, first and second, a map showing patently false information. Of course, this fact in itself, re-enforces my impression that Paul supporters are not serious about facts. It’s not difficult to eye-check a map, after all. Following this false start, there was much back and forth. And then, I agreed that the Paul statement was not false and not an invention if you only stretched the meaning of the word “base,” of the word “military, “and, especially, of the word “surrounded.” (There was no need to stretch the meaning of the word “American,” fortunately.)

Looking back on the exchange, I am inclined to take back my admission. There is a kind of Bermuda triangle logical problem involved: How far does the alleged triangle extend? How far can you go and still declare that a base contributes to “surrounding” Iran? One Paul supporter included Djibouti. Why not the much more significant military bases in Germany, I ask? And how about military installations in New Jersey?

I will agree though that the Paul “surrounded” statement is probably more true than I thought it was at first. This discovery makes me more optimistic about the future, from a military standpoint, than I used to be.

On Feb 29th 2012 in the Michigan primary. Paul said two memorable things :

1 The wars we have had for ten years, he said (I assume he means Iraq and Afghanistan), have added four trillion dollars to the US national debt ($4,000,000,000,000). The statement surprised me only moderately. (It amounts to about $13,000 per American. )My problem is that again, I have no idea where the information comes from. I even doubt the contribution of the wars to the national debt can be calculated. Yet, I would be happy if this figure were merely a pretty good approximation. I would say it’s fine even if the order of magnitude were right. How demanding is this? At any rate, I sure hope this large amount included the 20 billion dollars per year just air-conditioning American forces in the two relevant countries Paul said it cost. (See above!)

2 The congressman announced that there was a “transfer of wealth from the middle class” to the rich. That’s not a surprising statement since it’s also the basis of the Obama class war. What is surprising is the way this transfer takes place, according to the congressman. It is through the erosion of the currency, the US dollar’s value, says Dr Paul. I don’t know how this could be. I have no quarrel with the idea that the US dollar has lost much value in say, 20 years, relative to something, to gold in particular. What I don’t know is how what is lost by the “middle-class” through loss of value of the currency (whatever that is) comes to accrue to the benefit of “the rich.” Here again, I am open-minded. Please, help.

There was no response to my second question, the question regarding the transfer of wealth. Another Paul dream, I guess, a nightmare, in this case.

Libertarian economist Fred Folvary of NotesOnLiberty suggested an interesting answer to my question regarding the origin of the Paul figure about the cost of the wars. He referred me to Paul Stiglitz, Nobel winner and idol to the American Left. I have not read the Stiglitz book of reference and Prof. Stiglitz’s status with leftists does not make his calculations wrong. (I did read another one of his books which convinced me  never to read another one because it contained so much intellectual dishonesty. But that’s a subjective personal response, of course.) Why am not surprised that Mr Paul gets some of his information from left-wing sources? (Does not make the info false, again.)

I am fair: On January 27th 2012, I stated:

I am glad to report that during the second Florida Republican presidential debate, I did not hear Ron Paul make a single patently false, invented statement.

Maybe, by that time, I had got to him after all!

Now, of course, there remains the really important issue of whether Congressman Paul ever accused the Bush administration or parts thereof of being complicit in 9/11. I keep dismissing this allegation in my mind and forgetting it but it keeps coming up and don’t mean coming up through liberals or “progressives.” A couple of weeks ago, a local talk-show host in my area of Santa Cruz, California ,brought it up again. I have listened at least to 500 hours of this man’s show and I have never found him in significant error about anything important. He is a small-government conservative I know to be scrupulous with facts.

The apparent origin of this suspicion is that one of Congressman’s Paul’s former staffers accused him squarely of having been a “truther.” Dr Paul denied the whole things just as squarely:

That’s complete nonsense … I never bought into that stuff and I never talked about it,” Paul said of the accusation made by former staffer Eric Dondero, who wrote in a blog post last week that Paul “engaged in conspiracy theories” surrounding the 9/11 attacks.

From Post Politics retrieved 03/29/12, here is part of the post:

Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11.

He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for “invading” Iraq. He engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions, or openly asserting pro-military statements in support of the Bush administration.”

Paul also denied the same assertion unambiguously in Wikipedia.

Real Clear Politics of December 27th 2011 describes how incomplete and unsatisfactory the Paul denials are on this matter.

Me, I understand the idea of a “disgruntled employee” trying to do harm and it’s not absurd, not by a long shot. But an evil little voice keeps whispering in a corner of my suspicious mind: Why did the disgruntled employee attack Paul on this issue rather than on the many others probably available to him as a former aide?

Why is my mind “suspicious” about this almost certainly good man? Several reasons. Here is one, a concrete and tangible reason. It’s something undebatably authored by Congressman Paul, not a rumor, not an indirect report, not spur-of- the- moment fallible ejaculation.

Shortly after 9/11, Congressman Paul introduced a piece of legislation he called: the “Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001.” Look it up; read a few lines of it. Reflect on the concept of a “letter of marque” applied to 21st century conditions. You are not going to believe what you read. Then, wonder why Paul’s followers did not call him on it. As I said, no one is watching the Paul farm. And why would that be?

And, if you believe the “Act” is a serious defense proposal, please write me a note. I am willing to learn but it’s not going to be easy.

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About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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42 Responses to Ron Paul’s Credibility: A Wrap-Up

  1. paulsnx2 says:

    I have replies to many of your points, but I will stick to one: ” The congressman announced that there was a “transfer of wealth from the middle class” to the rich. That’s not a surprising statement since it’s also the basis of the Obama class war. What is surprising is the way this transfer takes place, according to the congressman. It is through the erosion of the currency, the US dollar’s value, says Dr Paul. I don’t know how this could be.”

    This is pretty simple. Who wins and who loses when money is eroded?

    Losers: Fixed incomes, wages that do not keep up with inflation, savings, and money outside financial institutions. Taxes are also impacted (since returns look like profit, when the actual value has been lost).

    Winners: Corporations and People who own property. Devaluations of the currency do not effect property (whose values remain relatively constant, like land, gold, silver). Financial institutions as they get direct access to funds from the Federal Reserve, and can charge fees for managing money. They cannot be avoided for the most part, as without their processes, money loses value. Wall Street which gets access to low cost credit, and pays back in lower valued currency.

    On the face of it, why do you think the Federal Reserve (run by bankers, Wall Street and the rich) would do anything but run a policy that favors their own interests?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Brandon: I don’t know why but no one more like you has the ability to make me sound patronizing. I regret it because it’s not my natural bent of mine. Yet, we all have to do what we have to do. So here we go:

      You don’t seem to know what’s a corporation and who or what profits by it.

      Hardly anyone at all is on fixed income.

      “Stagnant wages” is a wonderful liberal invention. It corresponds to such a superficial reality it’s hard to believe it has traction (yet it does).

      I think you confessed that you were once a leftist (as was I). You have to take care that leftism sticks like a scab on a sun-exposed summer camper’s upper-lip! Or, mixing metaphors, I know, you have to go to de-tox.

      • paulsnx2 says:

        I don’t know who Brandon is, nor could I follow your response. But a few observations:

        “You don’t seem to know what’s a corporation and who or what profits by it.” I didn’t discuss what a corporation was, but I did note that property (factories, buildings, mines, fields, vehicles, etc. etc.) are not diminished by falling currency values. Furthermore, where such things are financed, they repay loans with money that is worth less than the money they borrowed. Looking at the 99 percent, they own less of the stuff around us that has value. The middle class pays more rent than owning property. Certainly the poor does.

        “Hardly anyone is on fixed income”. All Social Security, retirement. Effectively everyone that doesn’t get pay raises that exceed inflation. Falling currency means there is a built in pay cut each year.

        I hope this helps.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Paul. First, I am very sorry, very sorry! If I had noticed you were not annoying Brandon -who is ever present on this blog- I would have adopted a more amenable tone. I apologize and I will slap myself silly for it if I can manage the mirror.

        I am getting Social Security, I assure you it’s indexed to inflation (which I enjoy as a retiree but object to as a citizen and taxpayer.) Most union members have pay adjustments. Everyone on minimum wages gets adjustments. Raises in minimum wages push up other low incomes. And so forth. You are mixing “fixed income” with income that is not exactly indexed to inflation. In fact, a movie theater usher, a locksmith and a university professor enjoy much higher real income than they did twenty years ago. It’s a complex matter but the over-all picture is clear enough. I wish I knew how old you are. If you are over forty look up left-over price-tags on durables you bought fifteen years ago if you can find one. You will be shocked. (Try the TV in your garage. ) If you are young, ask your parent specifically questions about the costs of specifics items then.

        Though you are not Brandon (and you can thank your star for this!) I suspect you are not familiar with what a corporation is. Straight question: When the value of a corporation goes up, who benefits?

        It’s not the case that falling value of a currency against other currencies is a pay cut. It depends and it’s complicated. The falling value of currencies against price of goods is simply inflation. See above.

        Ron Paul did make a mysterious statement the accuracy of which could not be assessed by 99.99% of Americans. Why would he do this?

        addition next day: I am sorry Paul did not come back. My fault. He does not seem (seem) to know what anyone can own a corporation and that anyone can profit by the success of a corporation by being an owner of it. I wonder how many Paul followers also don’t understand what a corporation is. I suspect they learn what they know from leftists who themselves don’t know what a corporation is. Please, correct me.

      • How rude!

        I haven’t responded to this essay yet (and I’m not sure that I will since we’ve already gone the rounds over most of your critiques), but I have kept up the dialogue on your thought-provoking and facetious post Colonialism and Democracy. Hope to see you there!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Relax. No response expected. No rudeness involved except mine, toward this poor guy I thought briefly was you. God forbid!

  2. jacquesdelacroix says:

    Through Facebook:
    James Kress: ‎Jacques Delacroix You make a number of assertions in your post but do not provide any references to the source of your data. Would you please provide some links for my (and you other reader’s) edification?

    One example:

    Paul said that (American) minorities suffered more in war than whites. That’s not true. In current wars, since Vietnam, they die less, and they get wounded less often.

    Thanks.

    My response, also through Facebook:

    James:I heard Paul make the assertion with my own ears in a debate. I suppose it’s my counter- assertion that you don’t accept. I would like more clarity: Do you believe what Paul said and if you do, why? I don’t refuse to look up the references of my assertions but it’s very onerous for a man alone. So, I need to know why I am doing it. If you hold me, who is not trying to get elected to anything, who does not have a dog in this fight, to a different standard than Ron Paul, please explain why. Incidentally, my general credibility is backed by my lifetime as a scholar. (vita link on my blog.) I don’t know what backs up Paul’s credibility except his followers’ faith. My overalll credibility does not excludes mistakes, of course including big mistakes.

    James Kress: It’s the counter-assertions I’d like to see documented. For example, in this case,:

    “That’s not true. In current wars, since Vietnam, they die less, and they get wounded less often. ”

    Delacroix’s response: I undestand what you want. It requires some work on my part. I, on the other hand would like to know why you believe the assertion in the first place.

  3. RonPaulKicksAss says:

    I guess you enjoy fighting wars for the Project for the New American Century and the Foreign Policy Initiative, the think-tank which promotes: diplomatic, economic, and military engagement IN THE WORLD. Iraq was ALL lies, Iran is more lies, and KONY was just a big pile of war propaganda. The media has a war to sell you, are you buying it? ANYONE who supports war, supports PNAC! Mitt Romney even named his foreign policy plan a new American Century…how original! I am voting for Ron Paul! End the wars!

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  5. BuelahMan says:

    Leftists… small government Republican… Obama sucks and (I suppose) virtually any republican would be better.

    Jesus Christ and a whole bunch of by-Gods, get out of that mindset, you old coot.

    The entire shebang is corrupt to the core and none of these differences you elude to really exist any more except in the minds of the brainwashed.

    Ron Paul is a liar (search “Paulsterity”) who is trying to save the Republican Party. Better get on board before she is gone forever. I can only wish that she (the reTHUGlicans) and her tainted sister (the demoRATs) would die a quick painful death.

    It is the poor (me and virtually everyone I know, which includes many SSI beneficiaries) against the mega wealthy (Corps and their owned sycophants, the pols of both parties). Understand that and you will be much better off.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Buelah: Your witty rejoinder hurts like hell!

      • BuelahMan says:

        If it was the old coot thing, so am I. I meant it like that is old school thinking, now gone by the way of the dinosaur. Fascism doesn’t care which of the two parties one chooses. They play us all for fools and unless we stop playing their stupid ping pong game, nothing will ever change. Never an R or D again is my motto.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Buelah: “Old coot” is not a problem for me. (I am a married man; there is nothing you can do to me!) It’s a problem for you, I think. It says something about you.

        There is no “they.”

        You use the word “fascism” lightly like my children used to do when I would ground them. Words matter to organized thought.

      • BuelahMan says:

        Lightly? I meant it as it is properly described by one that basically coined the phrase.

        Will you argue that the corporations have taken over our government? Would you argue that the two political parties are not owned by the same entities?

        Or are you using the description of Fascism that the MSM wants us to believe? Or the one the criminal pols want us to believe?

        Are you one of those “Socialism is bad” folks and what we have here is SO MUCH BETTER? Do you equate socialism with fascism and use the words interchangeably?

        Are you a dinosaur (in your thinking)?

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Yes, Buelah. I am a dinosaur.

        I put up a long essay on fascism on my blog so, I am not tempted to repeat myself in a “Comment.”
        I am sorry, not blowing you off. It’s just true that repeating myself holds no charm for me.

        I am just curious about what you do for a living. You might tell me by email if you feel like it: jdelacroixliberty@gmail.com

        Thanks.

  6. Jacques,

    I still owe you an essay or two. I have my excuses.

    For now, time-permitting I only want to question one thing you wrote.

    You asked why Eric Dondero chose to use the 9/11 truth, Iraq, Bush/Cheney, etc. route to discredit Ron Paul rather than some other way. Assuming that he is just a disgruntled employee making things up, that is.

    Eric Dondero specifically did it that way, in my opinion, because he is a typical Pro-Israel, lets-throw-some-more-money-at-the-Pentagon conservative that knows that Ron Paul’s weak spot with many GOP voters is the whole foreign policy thing.

    And he is more than a disgruntled former employee. He is an opportunist and a troll. I wonder why he timed his attacks for when he planned on assailing Paul’s house seat in 2008? I wonder why he can’t get any respect (many hate his guts or don’t take him seriously) from those whom he has had discussions with, in very broad Libertarian and Conservative media circles?

    Hank

  7. My bad. I didn’t want to ‘question’ you. I wanted to ‘answer’ you. You put me on the offensive already.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      keimh: Instruct me again, I have no recollection of having questioned anyone’s right to question me. I am confused again. Or is this subtle maneuver to shift the mantle of gratuitous self-serving affirmation from Ron Paul’s to my own frail shoulders?

      Is there has there been a blockade on Iran today, antime in the past six months?

      • I simply meant that in the comment above, that by using the word ‘question’, that it seemed I was attacking you (I have been tempted). A better word is ‘answer’, as I was attempting to answer a question you had asked about Eric Dondero.

        And no, no blockade. Sanctions, but no blockade. IMO a sanction/embargo is to a blockade what ‘authorization of military force’ is to a formal declaration of war. In other words, a sanction is a way to have a blockade, no need for a physical barrier. You can do something to your enemy while calling it diplomacy. And just like a blockade on one port can be run, and/or circumvented with other ports/ trade routes, so too can a sanction be of little effect if some nations (India, China, Russia, Brazil, for example) choose not to get on board.

        I realize this will not satisfy you, as your criticism has nothing to do with what a sanction is or can be, but what Ron Paul said, which according to you, and I feel comfortable taking your word for it, was ‘blockade’.

  8. jacquesdelacroix says:

    Ron Paul, has said many things that don’t correspond to reality, not like a politician, like an ideologue, unprovoked, under hos own power. I only dealt with a small number on this blog because of my old eyes, old fingers (except the middle one) and because of my low testosterone level. There are many more if you pay attention, His followers are not paying attention. That;s why I say, “cult.”

    Yes, you should feel comfortable that he said “blockade” and said it several times. Hundreds have looked at the relevant postings by now and there are videos on-line of all the debates. No one has contradicted me. If someone did, I would ask him tp put his money where is mouth is.

  9. “Blockade.” “Sanction.” Same thing when you’re seventy-five years old!

    But seriously, this reminds me of the hit pieces put out by hawkish, left-wing publications like the New Yorker and the the New Republic. You’re starting to show your true colors Dr. J!

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      He is too old to know the difference but not too old to have his finger on the button?
      You insist on strengthening my thesis with your own words.
      And, by the way, he is 77. Isn’t this a little long in the tooth irrespective of the clarity of his mind. Are you glad there is zero chance he can become president?

    • Button? What button? I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but the Soviet Union collapsed two decades ago Dr. J.

      There isn’t zero chance he’ll win, but it is slighter. Personally, I am just glad he has enough money to go all the way. It’ll be great to see what kind of concessions he can force, and what kind of speech he gives at the convention. I hope he embarrasses the GOP and calls it out for its hypocrisy!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        What, the Soviet Union is gone an no one told me? Rats!

        Of course, I know that you know that Ron Paul is not going to be president. I think he knows it too. Let’s not be silly together. You go it alone.

  10. Opsrsrchr says:

    Sir,
    I am a Scientist for the gov’t and research data and trends on a daily basis. I will not get into details (and I agree that Ron Paul has some misstatements, as do I), but most of the statements you made about cost of war, A/C, troops in Iraq, blockades, etc. are opinions that lack any credible evidence. When was the last time you analyzed a Defense Budget, was privy to classified intel, or analyzed gov’t contracts or acquisitions? I didn’t think so… It would be more appropriate for you to start each sentence with “in my opinion”. Your opinion of Paul followers as an ill-informed cult is naive. In my opinion, you are ill informed.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Ops: Readers will think I made you up! I have to be able to analyze a defense budget to know the meaning of the word “blockade”? Wouldn’t the ability to open an old-fashioned dictionary be enough?

      And thank you for your writing advice but since you are in the thick of things military accounting-wise, you might have corrected me and told me and my readers how much the US really spent each year in air conditioning between Iraq and Afghanistan. Was it twenty billions, or forty billions, or more? Is this classified intel?

      Being a retired teacher, I pay attention to form. This brings up some questions about your comment: How come you are a “Scientist” and not simply a “scientist”? Why do you analyze a “Defense Budget” and just not a “defense budget”? And I thought there was only one “Defense Budget” each year?

      To answer your question: The last time I was “privy to classified intel” was nearly fifty years ago. Still, it made a strong impression on me although I couldn’t tell you what it was about.

      I posted the essay of reference several weeks ago. It’s amazing that I did not receive a single comment regarding Ron Paul and who did 9/11 and who knew about 9/11 in advance. Being a Government Scientist and all, do you know whether there was a time when Ron Paul thought Pres. Bush had done it?

      DON’T RUN AWAY!

  11. Opsrsrchr says:

    Blockade??? Do you know where the U.S. Navy is? You trust the media too much. Do you not here the reports of U.S. Navy ships picking up distressed Iranians. What do you think the Navy is doing over there? In May 2008, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives (H.CON. RES 362) that called for the enforcement of an all out economic blockade, including the encroachment of trade and the freeze of monetary transactions with the Islamic Republic. Of course this did not pass because it is tantamount to a declaration of war, but that does not mean that we are not enforcing sanctions (a limited blockade). If you or any other reader does not believe the 20 Billion a year figure for A/C, you have a blind fold on and are letting the government rob you blind. The figure is the total cost (includes procurement, transport, security, etc.). Do you know how everything gets to Afghanistan (AfPak route, Northern Distribution Network)? Do you know that Afghanistan is a landlocked country and agreements had to be put in place to get things there? What do you think the cost to negotiate these agreements were? Do a little research! I worked for the U.S. Transportation Command and had responsibility for transporting equipment to Iraq (I know the cost and it is not free). Being a retired teacher you would know that a title is capitalized (Scientist rather than scientist or Defense Budget rather than defense budget or Doctor rather than doctor). I’m also sure you evaluate the HASC and SASC budget proposals regularly… Do you even know what HASC and SASC stand for. Your blog was about Ron Paul’s credibility… but in your own blog you mention you were wrong or there was evidence to support many of Ron Paul’s statements. I will not comment on conspiracy theories no matter the source.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Ops: Government Scientist is capitalized? No wonder my taxes are so high! It must cost money to pay people who deserve capitalization every step of the way. I had not thought that it was an actual title. N. S.! Does it say that on your business card?

      Thanks for letting me know that Afghanistan is a landlocked country.

      I am trying to be patient but you are not telling me which of my allegations in the posting of reference are false. Please, be clear. I am repeating my repetition:

      Does the US currently have a blockade against Iran? If it does not and if it did to-morrow would it make a small difference or a big difference in the larger picture?

      Incidentally, to answer one of your questio,: Some of the US Navy is in the Persian Golf trying to insure that your Islamo-fascist buddies do not strangle our economies or our many friends’. If someone threatened to cut off my water and the threat were credible, I would go after him much more swiftly that this country is doing before the current threat to cut off oil. It’s regrettable but oil is to us like water.

      Do the US armed forces spend 20 billion each year, or 200 billion, or 2 billion dollars, on air-conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan? If you garner somewhere the courage to try to answer, don’t worry your head about a few billion dollars here and there, I am not petty.

      You rant about collateral damage. Best excuse for cowards. I was born in Nazi-occupied France in 1942. If your grandfather had worried about collateral damage in 1944, I would have starved to death instead of spending my last years trying to teach the likes of you to think clearly (without much success, I must admit).

      Your claim that I trust the media too much implies that you have a better, superior source of information. If that’s the implication, it makes if difficult to continue conversing with you because you are probably insane. If there is no such implication, explain what you mean. Do you imply that my critical apparatus is somehow inferior. And if the answer is “yes” to this, don’t you say this of everyone with whom you disagree strongly?

      I congratulate you for staying away from my last question about Ron Paul’s beliefs (past or current) about the perpetrators of the 9/11 massacre. Your lack of response shows prudence. That’s an admirable quality in a Government Scientist.

  12. Opsrsrchr says:

    Sorry, I don’t have a business card so I don’t have any titles on it. Business cards cost the tax payer too much money.
    Yes, 20 Billion a year for A/C is an accurate estimate of cost. I was in Iraq in 1990 and we did not have A/C because of the short duration of the war. This last iteration expanded out to 10 years and required A/C, not only for the soldiers but for the computers, etc. The 20 Billion is based on the cost to procure fuel, generators, A/C units, fuel vehicles, ship them by sea, then by train through the Caucases. This takes several months, then when the convoys drive through Afghanistan to get the fuel to the bases, they need protection. Contracts are usually put in place to procure things within the region, but that takes time and money. I’m not sure you are aware but we follow a rule of law. We are not privateers, therefore there is a cost of doing business.
    I don’t recall saying anything about collateral damage… in fact I’m against it. I am almost certain you don’t recall much about Nazi occupied France since you were born in 1942. I know people born in Nazi occupied Germany… and I had grandfather’s that fought in both WWI and WWII to free occupied France. But again, I don’t recall saying anything about collateral damage and that is an entirely different subject.
    Your sources listed by you (for Middle East Information): Wall Street Journal (six days a week) with special attention to the occasional contribution of Fouad Ajami, an American scholar born and reared in Lebanon, French-language news and commentary on TV5, the French centrist daily Le Figaro, occasionally, excerpts of Moroccan newspapers appearing on-line, and Al Jazeera English edition. I would never list any of these sources in any analysis that I perform. They offer opinions and allot of false information. My sources: STRATFOR, Strategic Defense Intelligence, Department of Defense Early Bird, Inegma, Global Security, and of course people that I know in or from the region. Your sources are mostly opinion or skewed news whereas mine is analysis.
    Again, I am not going to comment specifically on any other issue in this blog. I cannot confirm whether any U.S. troops remained in Iraq on January 16th. There were a few in early January and one missing in action, that was confirmed dead after January 16th. Because I cannot confirm this, I will not make a statement (opinion or otherwise). Ron Paul’s reference to “We are still in Iraq” can mean a lot of things (the large number of contractors still in Iraq, the large number of people manning the Embassy, the military on the Kuwait border that are there to respond quickly into Iraq). Who knows? I guess you do. The statement that minorities suffered more than whites can go either way. It depends on what numbers you use (as a proportion of a 2/3 white military, as a proportion of their race within the total U.S. population, economically as a racial group, or pre-post conflict). Minority casualties increased 9.6 percent after the fall of Baghdad, whereas whites decreased 10.6 percent. The U.S. Defense Budget cuts increases and are not absolute cuts. In fact, the base budget only decreases about 5 Billion in 2013 and then increases at a steady rate over the next decade. The majority of the defense cuts come from overseas contingency operations (OCO Funds) which have decreased because of the end of the war in Iraq and decrease in military in Afghanistan. I don’t consider a 5 Billion dollar base budget cut an absolute cut, because it previous increases since 1996 were far greater than 5 Billion.
    All of this information is out there and I won’t waste anymore time doing analysis for you. I do expect to inform your readers that, although entertaining, your blog is an opinion blog and not fact based as the name “facts matter” implies. It is apparent from the number of comments you receive, that you have a low readership.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      OPs: You seem to offer interesting analyses and then your over-reach, spoiling everything.

      First things first, my personal credibility in an area in which I have complete control: Of course, I remember next to nothing of Nazi-occupied France. Of course, I don’t claim I do. You need not remember to know that there were severe food deprivations and increasing in severity when the Allied landing took place. I can read!

      I am thankful to your grandfather. How about you? Do you condemn him for getting involved?

      Second: I just bought business cards from my daughter. It cost less than $12. You undermine your credibility on purpose, it seems. Do you still claim that there is an official federal public service title: “Government Scientist”? It’s a “yes” or ‘no” question on which much depends.

      Third: Finally, you provide what looks like serious analyses seemingly based on facts but you don’t give references. To be convincing with people who don’t share your viewpoint, I think you have to provide ways for them to check on what you assert. Past junior high-school, the practice of giving general sources is unacceptable. It does not help the reader check. You have to tie every controversial statement to a particular source down to page number or equivalent.

      It seems to me that it’s especially important to do so when you are a government employee addressing libertarians or people close to the libertarian mainstream. That’s because we tend to think that government sources are suspect sources. I don’t mean inanimate sources such as as Internet sites, I mean only spokespeople. (Think of any of Pres. Obama’s latest speeches allegedly using facts.) Your lack of awareness in this area makes me wonder from what corner of the political quadrant you speak.

      Fourth (really a part of Third above): Out of nowhere, you address the issue of military budget reductions/increases. Although, I don’t remember saying anything on the topic, your discussion is potentially interesting. I have heard something like what you assert before. Unfortunately, you do nothing to help me or readers to understand whether you are pointing to undeniable truths in a published budget or whether you are spinning figures (or even making them up; it’s been done before right on this blog). You appear to not have abandoned completely the temptation to rely for your credibility on your authority as a “Government Scientist.”

      Fifth: I am glad you gave an unambiguous response to my direct question about the cost of air conditioning. I deal with that kind of answer in a previous posting. Briefly: it’s mostly absurd. Briefly again: by this logic when assessing the cost of a pound of apples from Oregon delivered in New York City by truck in 2012, we should take into account the freeway investment of 1955.

      Incidentally, you might answer a question that’s been on my mind. It should be easy for you to answer given your line of work. 20 billion annually for AC is what percentage of the total cost of both wars in a normal year of your choosing? Of course, I hope you will take care not to use total war costs in contradiction with Mr Paul’s statements on the topic.

      Fifth: Again, you stay cautiously away from the question of what Ron Paul believed or used to believe about the origins of the 9/11 massacre. I have stated repeatedly on this blog that Ron Paul’s elevator does not go to the top-floor. I have asserted specifically that he is “cracked.” Thus the 9/11 question is important; its answer would say something about his mental condition. Of course, my trying to draw you into this issue is a trap.

      My general sources are what they are. Let the reader judge; that’s why I gave them in the first place, to give him a way to judge. I am certainly not going to enter into a contest alleging that “my source is bigger than your source.” I am always eager to learn. I am especially eager to explore sources that are new to me. Please, give complete references. (See above.)

      PS You made a geographic statement that piqued my curiosity: Air conditioning supplies to Afghanistan travel through the Caucasus (“Caucases”)? That would mean through Turkey, Georgia or Armenia, Azerbaijan, crossing the Caspian Sea, and then through Turkmenistan. No wonder they are so expensive at their destination! Beyond this, I assume that you are saying that the convoys carrying the precious AC supplies have to be guarded miltarily only within Afghanistan. Right? I ask because all the countries on the itinerary are friendly countries or bought.

      • *sigh* You’re lucky I am avoiding my reading assignment on Marxian class/gender/ethnic/environmental archaeological theory. No seriously.

        20 billion annually for AC is what percentage of the total cost of both wars in a normal year of your choosing?

        3-5% in 2010. We’ve already been over this

        Again, you stay cautiously away from the question of what Ron Paul believed or used to believe about the origins of the 9/11 massacre.

        RP has repeatedly and publicly stated that 9/11 was due in large part to the US military’s occupation of Saudi Arabia, a state ruled by rivals of the bin Laden family. Where have you been getting your information? A former (as in “fired”) aide from Texas?

        Seriously?

        The General’s accounting methodology is no worse than the Pentagon’s. In fact, I’d say it’s much more honest. The Pentagon’s bureaucratic class make a living off of killing and mass ignorance. You are trying too hard Dr. J.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Thank you for the percentage. I will think about it soon. I was asking another reader who presented himself as an expert. Isn’t it interesting that he disappeared without answering that simple question?

        I believe you speak about the general’s methodology without understanding what it is against the background of what and how it is usually done. I refer you to my apple example: It may be true that a pound of Washington apples in NY city ought to cost $32 but not the way we usually count. You can produce any number of startling effects that are also true in some sense if you switch to an unusual methodology without telling the unweary.

        The other issue from which the other guy fled was this:

        Is it true that at one point, Ron Paul said that President Bush aided the 9/11 attack or that he knew about it in advance? Simple.

      • I believe you speak about the general’s methodology without understanding what it is against the background of what and how it is usually done.

        I realize that the General has a vested interest in selling “energy-efficient” technology to the government these days. I still stand by my comment that I think his methodology is more honest than the Pentagon’s. The General may have a vested interest in getting a piece of the pie, but the Pentagon is the pie.

        Granted, I realize that being more honest than a government bureaucracy is not a high hurdle to jump, but still…

        Is it true that at one point, Ron Paul said that President Bush aided the 9/11 attack or that he knew about it in advance?

        No. Where did you get this silly idea from? A former (as in “fired”) aide from RP’s Texas office? Wow.

        RP has said that the US military occupation of Saudi Arabia led to the 9/11 attacks. I have yet to see anybody refute this simple fact (including you).

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Brandon. I got the silly idea about Ron Paul and 9/11 from a talk-show host I have listened to for several years and never, not once, found wanting. I will ask him. It’s important. I am just curious: If it were true, would it change anything in your mind? I am not saying that it is true. I am inclined to not dismiss the idea out of turn because I think Ron Paul is cracked for other reasons.

        On the general’s methodology: This time around and for the past two months or so, I did not say anything about vested interests. I said something just as simple: It’s easy to produce startling results if you use a new methodology and the other guy does not realize you did. That’s objectionable even if the new methodology is superior in every respect. In the same vein, I once read a startling article in on of the respected popular science journals about global warming. The study on which it reported, surveying four hundred years of records, switched from one method of measurement to another in the early 19th century. That is, the author switched to another device just when the curve began showing what they wanted it to show. Lovely coincidence. T o make matters worse, the switch was in a small footnote in very fine print. My reaction was that the study was worthless even though I might find the second measurement method an improvement over the first. I don’t know how to be more clear regarding my main objection to the AC statement.

        I have lost interest in the causality game over 9/11. Now that we have masses of information about the motivations of violent jihadists, the claim that that particular attack was owed to a residual American presence in Saudi Arabia is absurd on its face. I discussed this at length with you in the past. I have lost interest. I am quite willing to accept the credibility price of my dismissal. I repeat: Your explanation is absurd.

      • Obstinate ignorance…

        I got the silly idea about Ron Paul and 9/11 from a talk-show host I have listened to for several years […]

        Oh good.

        On the general’s methodology: This time around and for the past two months or so, I did not say anything about vested interests.

        Um, yes you have. Would like me to reproduce your own words for you? Why else would I bring up this argument?

        It’s easy to produce startling results if you use a new methodology and the other guy does not realize you did.

        Fair enough, but in every single popular media outlet that published the results of the General’s findings an outline of the methods used was included (as was as a response from the Pentagon). Every. Single. One. Speaking of accounting methods, how is it that the Pentagon and other government entities are always unable to produce honest results when it comes to their budget? They are always short of cash, it seems…

        I have lost interest in the causality game over 9/11.

        That’s because you are either out of your depth or you are being dishonest with yourself, much like the Government Scientist you so easily dispelled of. I think it’s the former of course. How else do explain the happy lumping together of every “violent jihadist” faction in the Middle East into one easy-to-digest group? You are embarrassing yourself, Dr. J.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Brandon: Of , my, my! I never stop embarrassing myself it seems. N. S. ! Is there any end to it?

        I did not talk about the general’s vested interest in the last round of discussions, the round with Government Scientist. I did not because it’s become boring . I was only interested in the point about methodologies that compare apples and oranges. You did not get that point either, it seems. Must be my fault. What you are saying about government agencies’ budgets does not make sense. Try to refer to the example I supplied regarding the measurement of global warming.

        I did not affirm anything about Ron Paul being a truthist. I raised the issue because I heard it from someone I have trusted for several years because I find him serious, honest, and always well informed. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this way of doing things. If I had to rely only on what I can verify myself, by my own feeble means, I would never have a car fixed, or a tooth for that matter, or buy a meal in a restaurant.

        I am inclined to believe the statement about 9/11 because I think Ron Paul’s belt does not go through all his loops but I am a aware of confirmation bias. That’s why I take the trouble to ask his disciples for disconfirmation or – you never know – confirmation.

        I ask again: If it turned tout to be true, would that change anything for you? Is this a difficult question?

      • To answer your question: yes, it would change things for me.

        Now, if you be so kind as to answer mine: do you think that the 9/11 attacks were unprovoked; that they stemmed from a hatred of the West and nothing more? Please. Don’t refer me to the Hamas Charter again!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        I am glad it would make a difference to you if Ron Paul had declared that Pres. Bush had a hand in 9/11. It makes it worth pursuing the matter further. I had to ask because so many Paul followers seem unhinged. I recommend to you the response made this very day to my old “Ron Paul’s 20 billion,,,,” by someone with the handle: “Your sistermother.” You are not responsible for him but it’s good to know who you are riding with, cowboy.

        The causes of 9/11 is a topic that has lost much of its interest for me. You had a your chance. You did not say anything that did more than make me pause for a short time. I am not interested in going over this many more times. Here nevertheless is my short answer to your question:

        Al Qaida was created out of hatred of what Islamist see as “the Christian world.” Following along Muslim intellectual tradition, they are more exercised against the close cousins that Christians are, “infidels,” than they are against pagan Hindus, for example. In their collective psychology, there is a sense of having been cheated by “Christians” specifically because Westerners (“Christians”) are more successful in every way than Muslims although the later follow God’s law and we don’t.

        The very small remaining American military presence in Saudi Arabia might just have been the proximate pretext for the 9/11 agression. It could easily have been another; it did not matter. Note that before 9/11, Al Qaida was actively waging war on other Muslims in Afghanistan – the Norther League – whom we did not help with American soldiers. The problem with those other Muslims was that they were not “Muslim” enough. They allowed little girls to go to school, for example.

        Historically, there have always been large groups who hated social progress of any kind. They fought it under different banners. The impulse is the same: Go back to the good old days when men were men, the religious authorities ran the show, women were submissive, and sex was at night only.

        The basic reason for Islamists’ (ISTS) hatred of the West is that we have topless bars.

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