Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

It would have been helpful had Mr. von Hoffman studied our Constitution thoroughly before writing his "faint praise" column about Ron Paul. Had he done so and then thought about it with serious intentions, he would have found that Dr. Paul's ideas and desires for reform, unlike all of the Democratic and Republican candidates' positions and utopian plans, come straight from the Constitution. In addition, had he opened a nonpartisan history book or read documents from the time of our Revolution, he would have found that Dr. Paul's positions are more than just similar to those of our founding fathers, but are identical to those of such men as Washington, Jefferson, Paine, Adams and many more.

If a columnist is to be taken seriously, he must do more than promote his own ideas; he must be a true student of history, law and economics. Were Mr. von Hoffman to study the Austrian School of Economics in attempt to learn and broaden his perspective, his eyes would open in astonishment about how wrong liberals have been all these years about how best to help our economy and those who suffer most from the wrong-headed policies of liberals and liberal-leaning neocons.

Unfortunately, it is most likely that Mr. von Hoffman, like most others who would rather be blinded by ideology than face reality, will do none of these things in an open-minded manner. Our country and its people are the losers.

Sheldon Stone

San Francisco, CA

Feb 1 2008 - 1:52pm

Web Letter

Nicholas von Hoffman egregiously describes Ron Paul as "the little man who wasn't there" and "the short-of-stature libertarian physician." Nick, Nick, Nick! Take a good look at some YouTube debate videos, where you can see all the GOP candidates together on their hind legs. It is plainly Senator John McCain who is the vertically challenged contender. Paul is shorter than Romney and Fred Thompson, but he is about on a par with Huck, Rudy, and Hunter, and clearly taller than Tancredo and McCain. So lay off with the belittling distortions, okay?

Nice investigative work on just how dismissive the moderators (and other media) have been of the sole non-CFR candidate! You da sleuth!

Not content to merely ignore his answers, Fox actually excised from rerun versions of the South Carolina debate Paul's body-slam reply to Carl Cameron's brightly scoffing question as to his credibility as a candidate, along with the wild eruption of applause it precipitated. They even leaned on YouTube to remove the segment. The plan had obviously been for Paul to die of humiliation right there on the dias so they could drag his body off and be done with him. Instead, it was the entire neocon premise that lay there twitching, bleeding, and Fox was to blame. Gads, how embarassing for the "Fair and Balanced" folks. As it must say in the Murdoch Bible, "Suffer not a glitch to live."

Otherwise a good article. I truly enjoyed it.

Jim McClarin

Nashua, NH

Feb 1 2008 - 1:49pm

Web Letter

To correct the facts, I must rain on your hate parade. Ron Paul is average height for a man. That means Ron Paul is taller than John McCain, Rudy Giuliani Tom Tancredo, and Mike Huckabee. Or putting it another way, Mitt Romney is the only candidate currently in the race that is taller than Ron Paul.

To repair the karmic imbalance that comes from Paul-hating, you are required to visit Wikipedia, observe the fact that fiat money has destabilized the dollar, and try to explain to me (and the general public) why this has happened, instead of calling Paul a "kook" for stating what should be the obvious!

Mark Dranias

Boston , MA

Feb 1 2008 - 11:52am

Web Letter

This reminds me of the story I told my particularly crazy friend a few years back. What it was going to come down to is this: we will be forced either willingly or unwillingly to sell Florida back to Spain for as many trillions of "hard currency," in this case, euros, we can get for it. In this scenario, the "capital of the [Latin] Americas" falls back into a Spanish-speaking country's hands, peace is made with Cuba (the Spanish already have formal relations with Cuba), which obviously would take better care of the local populace. The citizens can be given some kind of grandfathered dual-citizenship to last a couple generations. Meanwhile, the good ol' spiraling-into-depression US of A will have some much- needed global capital to play with, can stabilize its local currency markets and maybe a falling region or three, and possibly have some leftover barter to build a bridge. Meanwhile, the good citizens of Washington, Burr & Jefferson can go about the business of making Puerto Rico its fiftieth state--a much more lucrative prospect in the long run, with fewer hurricanes and even more beautiful beaches to boot. Under this scenario, we would have to stablize the rum-drinking part of the population, but I suspect in the end they'd go in with the plan. My only question was this: can the other forty-nine states sell, ahem, "vote" them out? Or does it take some kind of amendment to the Constitution?

I mean, if we're going to have a debate, let's have a debate.

S. Debs

San Diego, CA

Feb 1 2008 - 1:29am

Web Letter

Unfortunately, Nicholas von Hoffman misses the true scope of Ron Paul's position on the privately owned and operated Federal Reserve. To characterize Paul's whole position on the Fed as being tough on interest rates ergo inflation is to miss the elephant in the living room. He wants to abolish it. A position that I, as a liberal, share.

And why? you ask.

There are two reasons. First: the Federal Reserve is a private corporation whose shareholders are the member banks they regulate. That in itself is a fatal conflict of interest. Second: the use of debt-based fractional banking to create money.

Indeed, looking back over the Fed's history since its inception in 1913, we see our nation's money supply being used to promote the member banks' interest over the public interest time after time. The Panic of 1921, the Great Depression and most of the subsequent recessions can be laid right at the Fed's doorstep.

The previous Chairman Alan Greenspan led this country into bubble after bubble, all the while promoting more and more deregulation and non-regulation to enrich the Fed's member banks. We are now in the grips of another Greeenspan bubble, the subprime crisis that has already thrown hundreds of thousands out of their homes with the prospect of more than a million more foreclosures. This crisis has already spread into every aspect of our financial industry.

What is debt-based fractional banking? To sum it up, it means that in order to increase the money supply, more debt must be incurred. The problem? Since interest must be paid on the old debt, new debt must be created to increase the money supply to pay this interest, and so on and so on. Is there an end to this geometric accumulation of debt? Theoretically, no ! And therein lies the problem. Consumption must always increase to satisfy the geometrically increasing debt, or the economy goes broke due to lack of money!

Where I differ from Ron Paul is the solution to this unregulated monopoly of our monetary system.

My suggestion would be a Public Central Bank based on credit-based money--that is, money created by constitutional mandate, not money borrowed from the Fed. Why for heaven's sake should we pay interest on our own money? Of course, prudence will always be needed. But credit-based money won't cause the recessions and depressions that debt money inevitably leads us to. And credit money can be guided through interest rate differentials to socially beneficial output, not auctioned to the highest bidder for conspicuous consumption which initiates rapacious environmental degradation.

Dear people, it is time, past time for those of us on the left to engage in a discussion of the real consequences of the role of the private Federal Reserve and the use of debt-based money on our economy, our country and our lives.

Michael McKinlay

Hercules, CA

Jan 31 2008 - 5:23pm