One Question About Paul Answered But Many Ties to Conspiracy Theories Remain

Recently I reported on both a contribution from 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to Ron Paul and a payment from the Paul campaign to Jones. This raised questions as to why the Paul campaign would be paying money to Jones. The Corner reports that the $1300 payment was a partial refund of Jones’s $2,300 contribution to the Paul campaign. There is no indication as to why this partial refund was paid. This does satisfy resolve the question as to why there would be a payment to Jones, but the questions regarding the connections between Jones and Paul persist. The Corner also reports:

I fear that Paul isn’t about to denounce Jones, and it’s a shame. When Paul made his most recent appearance on Jones’s radio show, I asked the candidate’s spokesman why he continues to associate with Jones. I detected some quiet frustration in his answer that Paul had promised the interview and that he keeps his word in such matters. Considering that Jones’s entire operation exploits gullible people willing to believe anything about 9/11, he might want to consider making fewer such promises in the future.

I don’t find the contribution from Jones to be as bad as the contribution from white supremacist Stormfront founder Don Black, but the number of ties between Paul’s supporters and conspiracy theorists remains a concern and ultimately discredits Paul. While Paul has at times denied personal belief in the 9/11 conspiracy theories, his repeated appearances on Jones’ radio show, along with the contribution, makes his comments sound less than sincere.

The ties between Paul supporters and 9/11 conspiracy theories are not the only conspiracy theories being promoted. Comments to previous posts here showed the belief by Paul supporters in conspiracies involving the Council on Foreign Relations and the United Nations, with some believing that the UN is conspiring to both create world government and take away Americans’ guns. Paul’s apparent belief in such conspiracy theories is also seen in the letter sent to contributors:

I don’t need to tell you that our American way of life is under attack. We see it all around us — every day — and it is up to us to save it.

The world’s elites are busy forming a North American Union. If they are successful, as they were in forming the European Union, the good ‘ol USA will only be a memory. We can’t let that happen.

The UN also wants to confiscate our firearms and impose a global tax. The UN elites want to control the world’s oceans with the Law of the Sea Treaty. And they want to use our military to police the world.

Jason Steck has written about yet another conspiracy from the “Ron Paul web site, which tacitly encourages conspiracy mongering.”

Today, we face a new threat of widespread eminent domain actions as a result of powerful interests who want to build a NAFTA superhighway through the United States from Mexico to Canada

As I’ve suggested many times before, those who want to have libertarian ideas taken seriously need to distance themselves from Paul and his nuttier supporters.

Anti-Spam Researchers Find Paul Supporters Violating Spam Law

Spam from supporters of Ron Paul has become an annoyance in the blogosphere to the point where his supporters might be alienating more people than they are attracting. The problem includes spam email as well as spamming blogs with comments. Anti-spam researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) now report possible violations of laws intended to reduce the problem of spam.

Anti-spam researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) noted a new trend following Sunday’s Republican Candidates Presidential debate. Supporters of Ron Paul launched a spam campaign dedicated to proclaiming him victorious in the debate and extolling his virtues as the future president.

According to the CAN-SPAM Act, the primary law under which unwanted email can be prosecuted in the US, one of the factors that makes a message spam is deceptive sending practices. In the messages reviewed at UAB, emails were received from Brazil, El Salvador, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Nigeria already this morning. In each case it was clear that the computer sending the message did not belong to the person who was listed in the “From” address. Such as a Houston resident, whose email was sent from a computer in Italy, or a Silicon Valley computer worker, whose email was sent from Korea.

Gary Warner, UAB Director of Research in Computer Forensics, says “We’ve seen many previous emails reported as spam from other campaigns or parties, but when we’ve investigated them, they all were sent from the legitimate parties.” The important distinction between the new emails and previous emails, Warner says, is the fraudulent nature of the message. Legitimate messages tell who they are from, and provide a means of “unsubscribing” from future messages from the same source. The spam has not been tied directly to Paul’s campaign.

The spam email included titles such as:

The messages have headlines such as:
Ron Paul Wins GOP Debate!
Ron Paul Eliminates the IRS!
Ron Paul Stops Iraq War!
Vote Ron Paul 2008!
Iraq Scam Exposed, Ron Paul
Government Wasteful Spending Eliminated By Ron Paul

Update: True to form, the Paul cultists flock in to either deny what has been documented or claim it is a conspiracy against them. The Paul cultists sure love their conspiracy theories.

Update II: The responses from Paul supporters highlighs the absurdity of the Paul supporters as well as the campaign. It is well known that some Paul supporters are using abusive techniques on the internet, including sending put spam.

The reaction of some Paul supporters is to deny everything and attack those who report anything which might be negative about Paul. In this case it isn’t even a criticism of Paul himself as this is assumed to be the work of Paul supporters as opposed to the campaign itself. It would be far smarter to admit that some Paul supporters are abusive. Of course the problem here is that many Paul supporters who post on blogs do not even understand that their activities are abusive and reflect badly on the campaign.

It would be smarter for the Paul supporters to attempt to police their own and for the Paul campaign to attempt to get his supporters to cease abusive activity. In 2003 we had similar problems from some of the Dean supporters. While the more responsible supporters and the campaign cannot put an end to all such activity, they can make an effort. When Joe Trippi and the more responsible Dean supporters made an effort to reduce abusive on line activities from their supporters it did reduce the problem.

If Paul supporters are going to resort to denials they should at least be smart enough to get their stories straight. So far here, and on some pro-Paul blogs, there have been a wide variety of denials, some of which are mutually exclusive. Denials include:

This never occurred
This occurred but there was nothing wrong with it
It occurred but was done by opponents of Paul to discredit him.

Are Conservatives Really This Confused About Health Care Plans?

The Daily Mail has an article on problems in the British health care system–a system I’ve also been critical of. It came as no surprise to review the conservative blogs and see them attempt to use this as evidence against Democratic health care plans. Some call this evidence against a single payer plan, but a single payer plan and a government run plan are two separate things. A government run plan is one form of a single payer plan, but is quite different from the plans advocated by most proponents of single payer plans in this country who advocate plans such as extending Medicare where health care is still provided by private doctors and hospitals.

Of the Democratic candidates running this year, only Dennis Kucinich has been pushing a single payer plan, and this plan is nothing like the British government-run plan. Assuming Kucinich has no chance at winning, a single payer plan isn’t even on the table. Right Wing News tries to confuse the British system with Hillary Clinton’s plans. While I’ve had disagreements with Clinton over health care, her plan is neither government-run or even a single payer plan.

While comparison of the British plan to the plans advocated by Democratic candidates is erroneous, it is valid to use this as arguments against the views of Michael Moore. I previously noted that a failing of Sicko was that, while it was of value in demonstrating health care problems in this country, it white washed the problems in other countries. It is worth noting that Moore, who advocate a government run plan, has opposed the plans of all the Democratic candidates, believing that Kucinich comes the closest but does not go far enough.

Conservatives regularly try to scare people from considering any reforms to the health care system by screaming “socialized medicine.” When they draw false comparisons between the British system and the plans advocated by Democratic candidates, I wonder if they are knowingly resorting to scare tactics or if they really have this little understanding of different forms of health care delivery. Either way, the views of those who regularly confuse these systems are hardly worth considering.

Polls Continue To Show Drop in Support for Edwards in Iowa

National polls at this stage mean very little, and even polls in the early states can change considerably between now and when people turn out to vote. Still, considering how heavily John Edwards has concentrated on Iowa it is significant that he continues to fall in the polls. For example, the last Strategic Vision poll showed Edwards in third place at 20%, trailing Clinton at 28% and Obama at 23%.

Considering how Kerry came back in 2004 I am reluctant to totally write anyone off, but at present the race looks like it is coming down to a battle between Clinton and Obama. Richardson had showed signs earlier in the year of breaking into the top tier, but his support has fallen to 9%. Dodd continues to be unable to attract attention beyond the blogosphere and remains stuck at 1%, while Biden has 6%.

A new University of Iowa poll released today has similar findings. Clinton leads the poll with 28.9% while Obama is at 26.6%.
Edwards has fallen six points from the last poll in August to 20%. Richardson declined from 9.4 % in August to 7.2% The poll is particularly damaging to Edwards:

For Edwards, who has basically been living in Iowa (and who parlayed a second place finish there in 2004 into a spot on the Democratic ticket), the results have to be disconcerting. Unlike Obama and Clinton, he has few other strongholds, and a poor showing in Iowa could place his candidacy in serious jeopardy.

Edwards does do better when the poll attempts to separate out those who are likely to vote, and therefore does continue to have a chance at winning, but even if his does allow him to get by with a narrow win it is doubtful it would be enough to give him a bounce elsewhere.
If the race remains as it is, Iowa’s rules might work to Obama’s advantage A candidate must have the support of 15% of those attending a caucus to be considered viable. As Obama is the second choice of the supporters of other candidates more often than Clinton he could move ahead of Clinton in the caucus vote even if Clinton starts out the day as the first choice of more voters.

Nader Supporters Finally Realizing They Were Wrong?

In 2000 the Nader supporters defended Ralph Nader’s absurd claim that there was no difference between Gore and Bush. Regardless of how obvious it became that there were significant differences, Nader continued to repeat this line. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, there were signs that Nader finally realized that there was a difference. Now we learn from The New York Daily News that Nader supporters are turning to the guy they rejected in 2000.

Right or wrong, people who voted for Ralph Nader get blamed for costing Al Gore the 2000 election.

Now, some of those very same voters are throwing themselves into a new – and nonexistent – campaign: Gore 2008.

And they say there’s no irony at all.

“In 2000, Nader was the most progressive candidate, and in 2008, Al Gore would be the most progressive candidate. There’s no dissonance at all, I would say,” argues Bud Plautz, the New York head of the movement to draft the former vice president.

That’s not just irony, that’s totally illogical. Sure, Nader was the more progressive candidate in 2000, but that’s not the point. Nader was a third party candidate with zero chance of winning. For all practical purposes, a vote for Nader was a vote to make George Bush, and not Al Gore president. It is not possible to logically argue that Al Gore was no different from George Bush in 2000 but is the best possible candidate now. Gore’s style might have changed a bit, but otherwise he is not that different now than he was in 2000.