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Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Letter to the Editor in Daily Campus: "Santorum No Hero"

Yesterday, I had a letter published in UConn's newspaper, The Daily Campus. You can view it here or below. For reference, the original article I responded to is here

Santorum is No Hero
John Nitkowski claims Rick Santorum is "not really a bad guy" and claims evidence of his homophobia was "taken out of context." However, that is hardly the case. Nitkowski cites a quote from Santorum saying he "doesn't have a problem with homosexuality." Let's look at that quote in context. After all, Nitkowski can do that, so can we, right? "I have no problem with homosexuality, only with homosexual acts." So in other words, as long as gay people don't do anything gay, it's ok. Basically, Santorum believes in "Don't Ask, Don't Do." How is this not homophobic?
Additionally, Santorum has said at various points in his campaign that referring to gay unions as "marriage" is like referring to a napkin as a paper towel, calling a glass of water a glass of beer, calling a tree a car, or calling a cup of tree [sic - I wrote 'tea' and this got changed] a basketball. His argument is simply "it is what it is." This is a tautological argument merely designed to perpetrate homophobia.
Finally, yes, Santorum's "man on dog" comments were taken out of context. Santorum was attempting to claim that homosexuality would lead to polygamy or bestiality. However, he failed to present any logical argument for this. Furthermore, even if we do assume it to be true, there is nothing that would stop heterosexual marriage from eventually allowing those things. After all, if a man can marry one woman, what's going to prevent him from marrying five women? Or going "man on [female] dog?" Clearly, Santorum doesn't want you do think that way. But the fact is, there is no reason to believe acceptance of homosexuality will lead to acceptance of polygamy or bestiality. If those things ever become more socially accepted, then Santorum could take up a campaign against them. But if Nitkowski is correct and those are his only targets, it seems like he is creating a problem to search for a solution. None of the candidates in this election are arguing for legalization of polygamy or bestiality. So if that's all Santorum has a problem with, why is he here now?
However, while Santorum is a blatant homophobe, he does have one commendable stance on gay rights. During a debate, Santorum criticized Iran for "trampling on the rights of gays." Then again, maybe he wants to keep his monopoly.
– Gregory Koch

The DC generally publishes letters every Friday, although did not do so the first week of the semester. I suspect this is because it only included letters written Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as opposed to Friday-Thursday. The article in question was indeed from last week.

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Presidential Election Third Party Coverage - Tiffany Briscoe, Boston Tea Party (DROPPED FROM BALLOT)

Another segment of our continuing coverage of third party candidates features Boston Tea Party candidate Tiffany Briscoe. This does not constitute any endorsement or agreement by me of any kind unless otherwise stated.

Update March 10, 2012: It appears Ms. Briscoe misrepresented her qualifications to the Party. She has been dropped from the ballot and replaced by "none of the above". Her answers will be kept below.

Candidate name: Tiffany Briscoe
Vice President: Kimberly Johnson
Party: Boston Tea Party
Website: http://tiffanybriscoe2012.weebly.com/index.html

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is Ron Paul a Racist? Shocking Evidence!

Recently, I had a letter published in the Poughkeepsie Journal expressing support of Ron Paul for President. I shortly thereafter received an e-mail from a member of my synagogue saying she read some news in the Baltimore Sun regarding the Ron Paul racist newsletters. Her email read

I love seeing your letters in the Poughkeepsie Journal (and the ones you've written in CT too).  However, I was surprised to read the recent one endorsing Ron Paul.  While you may agree with some of his thinking, did you know he's published anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and homophobic diabtribes?  I read a column in the Baltimore Sun last week (when we were, duh, in Baltimore) quoting from some of these writings, which he now denies but came out under his name a few years ago.
However, while  I appreciate everyone’s concerns, Ron Paul is not a racist. Here is what I wrote in response:

I appreciate your concern regarding Ron Paul's newsletters. Ron Paul has denied those newsletters all along, but they just came to the forefront now. He has said he had a moral responsibility to read everything that was being published in his name, and failed to do so. But, he is not a racist at all. Aside from the fact that he didn't actually write the newsletters, he's spoken out against racism repeatedly. Look at this quote from Paul on Bill Moyers Journal on January 4th, 2008 ""Libertarianism is the enemy of all racism, because racism is a collectivist idea that you put people in categories. You say, well blacks belong here, and whites here, and women here and we don't see people in forms..or gays. You don't have rights because your gays, or women or minorities, you have rights because you’re an individual. So we see people strictly as individuals. We get these individuals in a natural way. So it's exactly opposite of all collectivism and it's absolutely anti-racism because we don't see it in those terms. "
Additionally, Paul has repeatedly opposed Constitutional Amendments to ban same-sex marriage, even when the Republican Party was pushing for them. As for Anti-Semitism, when Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant in the 1980s, Congress voted to condemn Israel for their actions. However, Congressman Paul stood alone and supported Israel's right to make its own decisions as a nation. Wouldn't an Anti-Semite seize on any opportunity to criticize a Jewish state? Other than Israel, I haven't really come across a situation where Paul strongly opposed Anti-Semitism specifically, but he certainly doesn't support it. 
In his 2008 Book "The Revolution", Ron Paul wrote the following (emphasis added by me):

“No form of political organization, therefore, is immune to cruel abuses like the Jim Crow laws, whereby government sets out to legislate on how groups of human beings are allowed to interact with one another.
Peaceful civil disobedience to unjust laws, which I support with every fiber of my being, can sometimes be necessary at any level of government. It falls upon the people, in the last resort, to stand against injustice no matter where it occurs.
In the long run, the only way racism can be overcome is through the philosophy of individualism, which I have promoted throughout my life. Our rights come to us not because we belong to some group, but our rights come to us as individuals. And it is as individuals that we should judge one another.
Racism is a particularly odious form of collectivism whereby individuals are treated not on their merits but on the basis of group identity. Nothing in my political philosophy, which is the exact opposite of the racial totalitarianism of the twentieth century, gives aid or comfort to such thinking. To the contrary, my philosophy of individualism is the most radical intellectual challenge to racism ever posed.
Government exacerbates racial thinking and undermines individualism because its very existence encourages people to organize along racial lines in order to lobby for benefits for their group. That lobbying, in turn, creates animosity and suspicion among all groups, each of which believes that it is getting less of its fair share than the others.
Instead, we should quit thinking in terms of race—yes, in 2008 it is still necessary to say that we should Stop thinking in terms of race—and recognize that freedom and prosperity benefit all Americans.”
When criticizing the War on Drugs, Dr. Paul has frequently pointed out the racist fact that while Blacks only make up 14% of drug users, they make up 36% of those arrested for drug use and 63% of those who eventually wind up in jail. Regardless of your opinion on drug legalization, this is obviously not the opinion of a racist.

In his 2002 article "What Really Divides Us", Ron Paul wrote "Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence, not skin color, gender, or ethnicity. In a free market, businesses that discriminate lose customers, goodwill, and valuable employees- while rational businesses flourish by choosing the most qualified employees and selling to all willing buyers. More importantly, in a free society every citizen gains a sense of himself as an individual, rather than developing a group or victim mentality."

Additionally, Ron Paul has adamantly opposed the racist "profiling" that occurs at airports across the country. "“We can think back no further than July of 1996, when a plane carrying several hundred people suddenly and mysteriously crashed off the coast of Long Island. Within days, Congress had passed emergency legislation calling for costly new security measures, including a controversial “screening” method which calls for airlines to arbitrarily detain passengers just because the person meets certain criteria which border on racist and xenophobic.”

Additionally, in November of 2008, shortly after Barack Obama was elected, Paul congratulated him, saying Martin Luther King would be proud. “With the election behind us, our country turns hopeful eyes to the future. I have a few hopes of my own. I congratulate our first African-American president-elect. Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly would be proud to see this day. We are stronger for embracing diversity, and I am hopeful that we can continue working through the tensions and wrongs of the past and become a more just and colorblind society. I hope this new administration will help bring us together, and not further divide us. I have always found that freedom is the best way to break down barriers. A free society emphasizes the importance of individuals, and not because they are part of a certain group. That’s the only way equal justice can be achieved.”

If you want a more expansive list of evidence that Ron Paul is not a racist, I invite you to visit http://www.dailypaul.com/195717/breaking-even-more-racially-charged-writings-by-ron-paul-uncovered or watch the Youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3EADdr-5AY  to see several more 
Yes, Ron Paul should have read everything that was written in the newsletters before they were published in his name. He has said so himself, and repeatedly apologized for his moral mistake. But making a mistake is not the same as being a racist. The fact is, many politicians don't read entire mailings that are published in their name. For that matter, I received a reply from the editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal prior to my letter being published saying "Please confirm that you sent this letter so we can publish it." There was an attachment called "letter". And this happens every time I send a letter in. And sometimes, I don't open the attachment. It's probably not a good idea, for the same reason it hurt Ron Paul. I generally send letters every thirty days, just as Paul's newsletters were published regularly. He'd just assumed it would be acceptable to him since it normally was. If 30 days from now, someone were to send a letter in my name, and I were to send a letter with my name and actual opinion, it's conceivable that the one I neither wrote nor agreed with would get published. Yes, I would share some of the blame, but that wouldn't make me agree with whatever I didn't say. It just means I would need to be more careful. And Ron Paul learned that he needs to be more careful. So he has been, and he will be.

I'm not sure if the question about what made me support Ron Paul specifically was only about why I supported him in spite of the racism, or if you want something more specific about him specifically. I've got to respond to other emails now, but if you want me to explain the latter in more detail, I will certainly do so. 

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Clearly, Ron Paul is not a racist. It really frustrates me when people don’t bother fact-checking before making claims. But that’s what’s going on with Ron Paul. Hopefully it doesn’t cost him the election. Tonight’s caucuses will be a big test.As for the email, I just received an email back saying that what I said makes sense, and she's glad to hear the Sun stuff isn't true. She does feel Paul never should have let this get in print, and I agree, but that doesn't mean he agrees with it. Anyway, less than 10 hours until the caucuses are called to order. Barely nine now. Let's go.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Letter to the Editor in Poughkeepsie Journal: Paul will Keep His Promises

On December 30th, I had a letter to the editor published in the Poughkeepsie Journal.

GOP candidate Ron Paul will keep his promises

During this Republican primary cycle, every candidate but one has climbed up in the public eye, then dramatically crashed when their flaws and inconsistencies were exposed.

The only candidate who has managed to slowly but steadily grow and keep his support is Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Dr. Paul has always stayed true to his vision for civil liberties and fiscal responsibility and has never flip-flopped on issues or lied to America.

He is the person we want as our president. Instead of worrying which candidates have broken their wedding vows and been unfaithful to their wives, we should worry about who will violate their campaign promises, breach their oath of office, and be unfaithful to the Constitution and to the American people.

Only Ron Paul will keep his promises to the people.

If you have friends or family in Iowa or New Hampshire, urge them to vote for Paul in the coming weeks.

Whether you know anyone there or not, be sure to vote for him on April 24.

Gregory Koch


Let's hope Paul can keep up the good numbers and win Iowa tomorrow. 

Presidential Candidates Make their Super Bowl Picks (Satire)

Well, in 2008, Super Bowl Sunday fell a mere two days before Super Tuesday. While there is nearly a month separating the two, one can't help but notice that as soon as the NFL regular season draws to a close, the Election Regular Season starts in Iowa. So, let's look at the following discussion we had with the seven Republicans and one Democrat who are running.

Obama: Calvin Johnson
has been an enormous stimulus
package for Detroit.
Barack Obama: Four years ago, the people of Detroit wanted more. Their football team was 0-16 and the city was in shambles. But then America wanted change. And we bailed out the city of Detroit. And with that, the Lions were bailed out too. The City of Detroit wants more change and they're going to get it!
Ron Paul: I hope you don't plan on calling Jim Schwartz to congratulate him if your prediction is correct.
Barack Obama: Why not?
Ron Paul: Well, where in the Constitution does it say you can?
Barack Obama: Where does it say I can't?
Ron Paul: The Tenth Amendment states that any powers not granted explicitly to the Federal Government are reserved to the states. So you'll just have to let Governor Snyder call.
Rick Perry: Well, the three teams I think have a chance are the Packers, the Ravens, and ... ahh.. um... oops?
Ron Paul: The Eagles?
Rick Perry: Uh... sure?
Moderator: Really? Because the Eagles aren't in the playoffs.
Rick Perry: No, it wasn't the Eagles.
Moderator: Mr. Romney?
Although Romney disagrees,
Santorm feels the Pats have no
chance without Randall Gay.
Mitt Romney: As an elected official by the State of Massachusetts, I feel compelled to carry out their will and predict the Patriots.
Rick Santorum: Well, I think that by passionately opposing abortion, Tim Tebow has won the favor of God, and as much as it pains my true Pittsburgh steel mill heart to say it, he will win the Super Bowl. And Mitt, the Patriots have no chance without their cornerback Randall Homosexual. Why do you think they lost in 2008?
If a woman were hypothetically raped by a quarterback on your favorite football team, should she be allowed to get an abortion?
Rick Santorum: No. Abortion is wrong in all cases. And nothing was ever proven with our quarterback.
Mitt Romney: No, it was consensual with all 39 of Brady's girlfriends. So it doesn't matter. Unlike Senator Santorum's QB, we don't have anything to prove.
Bachmann: Make Green Bay
a one-term champ.

Moderator: Let's get back on topic. Congresswoman Bachmann, your take?
Michele Bachmann: The Green Bay Packers will be a one-term Super Bowl Champion!
Moderator: And who will win?
Michele Bachmann: We will defeat the Green Bay Packers and make them a one-term Super Bowl Champion!
Moderator: We? You coach football?
Michele Bachmann: No! We as in America! America will make Green Bay a one-term Super Bowl Champion!
Moderator: Ok then... Speaker Gingrich?
Newt Gingrich: The Ravens are going to win the Super Bowl, defeating Atlanta 38-21. Absolutely.
Moderator: And finally, we turn to Jon Huntsman.
Jon Huntsman: I personally think the Falcons have the best shot.
Newt Gingrich: Are you crazy? It's going to be the 49ers over the Ravens. Atlanta isn't even getting past the Giants!
Ron Paul: Didn't you just say that the Ravens would beat Atlanta in the Super Bowl? Yet another example of hypocrisy and flip-flopping from Newt Gingrich. Is this really who you want leading the country?
And Gingrich flip-flops
Newt Gingrich: No. I never said that. You're putting words in my mouth and outrageously attacking me.

Ron Paul: We all heard you.
Michele Bachmann: Let's just make Green Bay a one-term Champion, OK? And then we can show the world how great America is!
Rick Perry: Aha! I remember the third team. The Saints!

*cut to shot of Gary Johnson*

Gary Johnson: Notice how during this entire debate, Jon Huntsman got only one line? And Ron Paul wasn't even allowed to make a prediction? Well, that's what the media has come to. Fixing elections like they should be able to pick the President. Well, this is why I'm running as a Libertarian. See you in May at the LP Convention. Vote Johnson 2012!