Thursday, December 27, 2007

Congressional Quarterly: No U-Turn Likely with Mainstream Candidates

This week's cover story in the Congressional Quarterly offers a very good analysis of the likelihood that Bush's executive power overreach will remain in place should any of the leading frontrunners from either party win the White House in 2008.

For the past seven years, George W. Bush has expanded presidential power in ways that no one could have predicted when he took office.

[...]

However, the records and statements of the eight major candidates — the three Democrats and five Republicans who have had double-digit support in the most recent national polls — show that the 2008 presidential election is not likely to start a huge shift in the balance of power away from the White House.

That doesn’t mean the top candidates would continue all of the Bush administration’s practices, and most aren’t likely to take the same kind of deliberately confrontational approach to Congress. Also, an upset victory could still go to one of the few candidates whose victory would represent a clear rejection of Bush’s overall policies. But there is enough evidence of a preference for strong executive power in the backgrounds of most of the field to suggest that, more likely than not, there will be no U-turn under the next president.


And that in an oversimplified nutshell is why Ron Paul has so much support, in spite of some of his more "radical" positions.

Fracturing the Democratic Base
It also helps shed some light on why many rank-and-file Democrats feel so threatened by Paul that they've started swiftboating him at some of the more respectable Democratic internet haunts.

Democratic bloggers across the board have spent the last 7 years attacking Bush's Imperial Presidency and "unitary executive" overreach as unlawful and unconstitutional. But now that Bush's time in office is up, the Democratic establishment candidates have presented no plans to bring the Executive Branch back in line as one of the three co-equal branches of government.

There is a segment of the rank-and-file Democrats who continue to believe, based on those years of demanding it, that the Executive Branch should be scaled back on principled, constitutional grounds, without respect for whomever is president. But there is another segment of the Democratic base who have chosen to embrace this expansion of power because they fundamentally believe that all government is good, if only the right people are in office to manage it properly. And this segment of the base, whether truly indicative of the majority or not, in tandem with those Democrats who are salivating over the prospects of obtaining such overwhelming power, currently holds the louder megaphone and has started using it forcefully against anyone who tries to advocate a reduction in any government power.

These assaults on the constitutional principles of the Democratic base, on which rested the arguments against Bush's power grab for 7 long years, are driving these principled voters toward the only candidate who openly argues for reducing the power of the executive branch to within constitutional limits, and as a bonus comes with a documented history of voting against any expansions of its authority.

This shift of a portion of the Democratic base toward Paul's candidacy, being the result of the now-obvious blatantly gratuitous exploitation of heartfelt principles, is one of the main reasons the establishment Democratic bloggers are attacking Ron Paul so vehemently. In all actuality, these abusive displays strengthen the veracity of the phrase "there's not a whit of difference between the two parties."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas ain't what it seems

Completely unsanctioned by the Bible, it's full of pagan traditions and the ultimate culmination of a year's worth of coveting. Link.

See previous Christmas critique calling out the AFA here.

--

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bring them all home now?

After reading this disturbing account of a gang-rape incident with an American contractor in Iraq, combined with other accounts of brutal lawlessness committed with impunity by these Americans under contract, I'm of the opinion that there are some Americans in Iraq who shouldn't be brought home at all. When we demand to Bring the troops home Now, are we talking about these hired guns also?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Drug Addict" - Our economy on the Fed

Our economy, under the management and supervision of the Federal Reserve, has become a "drug addict."

According to GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, on watching the Fed try to salvage the current credit bust:
You're right, but it's sort of like a drug addict. The drug addict demands more or he's going to have convulsions. The economy would have a convulsion if the Fed didn't inject more credit. But if you continue to do that, the problem gets worse. You can't solve the problem of monetary inflation with monetary inflation. These circumstances have all been created by our government and the Fed. Link.

Police take down pregnant woman, then use taser on her

Police Taser Pregnant Woman outside police department doors. Notice the woman had already been needlessly tackled to the ground, face down, when the officer then deployed his instrument of torture. Link, with video

UPDATE
From the Winnipeg Sun:
The woman went to the police department on Nov. 18 to ask officers to take custody of her one-year-old son, said Michael Etter, Trotwood’s public safety director.

The woman told the officer she was “tired of playing games” with the baby’s father, Etter said.

The woman refused to answer questions, became frustrated and tried to leave with the child, Etter said. The officer feared allowing her to leave could jeopardize the child and he decided to detain her to get more information.

He said the officer grabbed the woman, got the child away from her and forced her to the ground. When she resisted being handcuffed and tried to get away, the officer used the stun gun on her, Etter said.


2nd UPDATE:

Video from brietbart.tv, an interview with the tasered woman.

--

It's Big, Really Big



Ron Paul Youtube ad that aired on CNN during Wednesday's debate.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ron Paul Blimb from the grassroots



I pledged $25 toward the $350,000 needed. How about you?

10 Most Dangerous Professions

Here are the 10 most dangerous jobs in America steeped in exceptional commentary, and no, Law Enforcement is not among them, not even close.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Is the left intentionally blind?

These two diaries posted at the center of the leftist blogosphere prompts this post as a response to some of the ill-informed commenters there.

The first diary addresses with envy the grassroots success of Ron Paul's presidential campaign, emphasizing their enormously successful fundraising efforts. Analysts and consultants across the board are trying to concoct the perfect formula to duplicate for other candidates the passion and fervor being pumped into Paul's campaign by his volunteers. As one commenter noted, his volunteers are not your typical political activists who are trained as such by the establishment; many of them are inspired for some reason to actively participate in the electoral process for the first time in their lives. What none of them understand is that Paul's campaign isn't in charge, the people are. There is still enough freedom in this country for the rest of you to grab your candidate's message and shout from the rooftops, but you haven't. Ask yourselves why not and you will find the formula you need for a successful grassroots phenomenon to challenge Ron Paul's.

Those reasons people are jumping into Paul's grassroots base are just as diverse as Paul's supporters themselves, who hail from both ends of the political spectrum. Some have latched onto his rigid anti-war position as their dealmaker, others consider his integrity, built over 30 years of a voting record consistently matching his rhetoric, to be the perfect lure, others still consider his established, unwavering devotion to constitutional principles as the most important aspect of their candidate.

Several dkos commenters claim that your average Paul supporter has latched onto his attractive anti-war position without understanding all his other positions. Because surely when they understand his take on abortion or gays or race or the environment (insert other issue here), they will find him to be opposed to all the things good little progressives want out of their government, and would no longer support him simply for his signature position alone. Well thank you for putting words into my mouth, but as a liberal voter who naively trusted the Democratic rhetoric about ending the war and restoring civil liberties in 2006, I can assure you that the majority of Paul's supporters are fully aware of his positions on most issues of the day and we have concluded that some of them are no longer that important.

The Democrats, thank you very much

But before we start explaining this shift in our fundamental priorities, the progressive anti-war left who are still clinging to the hope that the Democrats are their answer to end our aggressive war policies and restore our civil liberties need to understand the history of foreign policy under Democratic leadership. Traditionally Democrats were the ones who pushed military aggression across the globe, from President Wilson's "making the world safe for democracy" through the wars in Korea and into Vietnam under Democratic presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, to Clinton's Kosovo and indiscriminate bombing of Iraq and the Middle East (whose 500,000 resultant civilian deaths were a small price to pay for cheaper oil).

Why now would you expect the Democrats to suddenly change their entrenched foreign policy views just because we're in another protracted quagmire that just happened to be started by a RINO? Bush's foreign policy more closely resembles the historical Democratic position than anything ever proposed by a genuine conservative.

Expecting Democrats to restore civil liberties and lighten up on the devastating drug war, and especially looking to another Clinton to do so, reveals total ignorance of the expansion of police state powers during the Clinton I administration. Were you too busy defending him from the vast right wing conspiracy to pay attention to such programs as Echelon and Carnivore?
'ECHELON is also being used for purposes well outside its original mission. The regular discovery of domestic surveillance targeted at American civilians for reasons of 'unpopular' political affiliation or for no probable cause at all... What was once designed to target a select list of communist countries and terrorist states is now indiscriminately directed against virtually every citizen in the world,' Poole concluded.

Did you somehow miss the unconstitutional anti-terror laws he signed into place following the OKCity bombing? And weren't you the ones cheering his move to put 100,000 new cops on the streets to beef up our nation's war on inner city drug users?

How about all the copyright protections shredding your fair use rights to published material and invading your computer for extortion rights that prop up players in the entertainment industry like RIAA? Yeah, that was Clinton too.

And let's not conveniently forget the fact that our monstrous Department of Homeland Security was championed by Democrats, and was initially resisted by President Bush.

So as the progressive left comes to terms with how the Democratic Leadership typically advances war and routinely tramples our civil liberties, their continued hopeless support for these Democrats (and their successors) will be one clever series of twisted intellectual acrobatics. These liberals keep demanding that the Democratic candidates return to their principles so they can vote for these candidates with pride. A return to their principles is a restoration of their military aggression abroad and diminished civil liberties at home. Stop projecting your expectations onto a party who shares no such values.

Shifting Liberal Priorities
The explanation for the shift in priorities that liberals have made in order to support Paul may seem very complicated but in general terms it's really quite simple. There are two ways to explain it.

One is the realization by younger liberal voters that the Democrats are no friend to civil liberties or less aggressive foreign policy stances as outlined above. They're looking to Ron Paul as the only candidate capable of filling that void, because he comes from the original positions of anti-police state, pro-civil liberties, anti-foreign adventurism from the paleo conservative right. The democrats are not going to give us these things, it's not in their history. Just because they now exist as the opposition party to the current violators of our rights does not mean they are the antithesis of these incursions. History suggests that the Democrats, and especially Hillary, will fully support this encroachment, and build on it.

Another way to explain this shift in simple terms is that we (81% of the population) feel the country is moving very rapidly in the wrong direction. Into uncharted territory that requires us to trust our government to lead us there blindly without the rule of law, while trying to reconcile the dissonance that comes from understanding that the government messes things up worse than it fixes.

We've been solving the poverty problem for over 40 years, and it's only gotten worse. We've been slaying the illegal drug demons for about 30 years and our drug problems have only gotten worse. We suddenly have leaders on the national stage defending torture while a militarized, federalized police state grows up around us like kudzu. The war on terror, which was launched quietly under Clinton I, and the war on drugs have eviscerated our innocent until proven guilty notions of justice.

Our manufacturing base and technological superiority have begun shifting to other countries, thanks in great measure to our government's trade policies. College degrees are no longer the promised road to success when they cost you more than you'll earn in any of our rapidly changing industries. Common sense should dictate that you don't commit to $50,000 in education debt if your only career prospects are found in India or China with salaries in the $5-10,000 range.

Meanwhile, the enormous debt racked up by our government is causing economic tremors across the globe. For the past two decades a sense of urgency has taken hold in the public consciousness to make as much money as you can as fast as you can before the opportunity vanishes, because working steadily and saving for retirement over the course of one's life is no longer sufficient as the value of the dollar evaporates before you get the opportunity to spend it, and you come to realize our government's monetary policies have created this problem.

Yes I'd agree with that 81% of the population that we're moving in the wrong direction, and quite rapidly, in large part because of our government's policies. So not too many of us who've been paying attention would be inclined to blindly trust the government to get us wherever we're going in one piece with what's left of our rights intact. In a single broad brush you could simply say our great empire is in decline, and people are coming to realize it.

Staring in the face of virtually imminent totalitarian rule, being one terror attack away from martial law, one financial crisis away from total economic collapse, we realize that when the collapse comes and the dust settles, we'd rather be standing firmly on our established constitutional roots than wake up in a police state under a dictator. In a sense, by supporting Ron Paul, we're coming home to our familiar Constitutional underpinning in preparation for the consequences of the empire's inevitable collapse. The alternative is both foreign and unimaginable to us as an historically free people.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Authoritah at the traffic stop

This piece is by far the best commentary on the traffic ticket tasering incident currently making the rounds at youtube.

It is not a crime for a citizen to demand that a police officer justify a traffic stop. Massey, who admitted to driving 68 mph in what he apparently thought was a 65 mph zone, was reasonably cooperative and genuinely puzzled by Gardner's claim that the driver had missed a sign posting a 40 mph construction zone.

Gardner assumed a hostile posture when Massey made his further cooperation contingent on being shown that he had violated the speed limit. Which is to say that Gardner immediately sized up the motorist as an enemy combatant (no other term is adequate) because Massey refused to behave as a cringing, docile serf.


Read the whole thing, and bookmark Grigg's site in your daily reading list.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Georgia Ron Paul Donations - 11-22-07

Using data from ronpaulgraphs.com, here's a graphic of the locations of the 17 Georgia donors whose information was captured in the ronpaulgraphs.com sampling for Nov. 22, 2007 (Thanksgiving day).

Atlanta,Augusta,Bainbridge,Canton,Cleveland,Dalton,East Point,Kennesaw,Locus Grove,Macon,Madison,Mcintyre,Murrayville,Norcross,Thomaston,White,Evans

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Police State Upon Us: Targetting Innocent Citizens with Impunity

Small town SWAT Team raids, and destroys, the wrong home (CNN video). Police Dept. simply says, "sorry." Are you next?

Georgia Ron Paul Donations - Nov 21, 2007

From ronpaulgraphs.com, donor information was captured from 33 Georgians who donated to the Ron Paul campaign on Nov. 21, 2007.

Acworth,Alpharetta,Atlanta (2),Augusta (2),Canton,Chatsworth,Columbus,Dacula (2),Dallas,Decatur (2),Douglasville,Duluth,Fayetteville,Griffin (2),Guyton,Hephzibah,Lilburn,Lyons,McDonough,Rising Fawn,Roswell,Savannah,Smyrna,Stone Mountain,Tybee Island,Unadilla,Valdosta,Woodstock

USNews Blog: Full page RP ad in USA Today

USNews.com's news desk blog reports another amazing grassroots accomplishment for Ron Paul's presidential campaign. Worth the read.



--

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When Ron Paul says jump, supporters say "how high?"

It's no secret that an extra special money bomb is being planned for Ron Paul's campaign to occur on December 16th in memory of the brave patriots who launched tons of tea into Boston Harbor in protest (notice the big Liberty graphic on the top right of this blog). However, as a result the regular donations to Paul's campaign have slowed to a trickle as people save their money in order to have a greater impact during that fundraiser. While the money bomb will have a significant impact on the success of the campaign in terms of free media coverage, this current trickle is not helping the campaign fund all its critical advertising efforts in the early primary states.

As you can tell from this worst-days box on Ronpaulgraphs.com, the last three days (Nov 17, 18 and 19) are at the top (bottom) of the worst days in terms of 4th quarter campaign fundraising, barely raising $20,000 per day. And today, Nov 20, was on track to be the 4th consecutive worst day so far this quarter.

Then all of a sudden the campaign sends out an email at precisely 1:58pm this afternoon explaining that they need money for advertising now, and suddenly the dollars start flooding in. Nearly a quarter of a million in fact, in less than 12 hours.

Looking at the graph below, which charts the fundraising activity comparatively over the last three days, it's startlingly obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with his phenomenal grassroots support that when Ron Paul snaps his fingers, we jump.



--

US Prisons a costly, harmful failure

Here's something America ranks #1 in: Incarceration rates.

Reuters article.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of people in U.S. prisons has risen eight-fold since 1970, with little impact on crime but at great cost to taxpayers and society, researchers said in a report calling for a major justice-system overhaul.

The report on Monday cites examples ranging from former vice-presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby to a Florida woman's two-year sentence for throwing a cup of coffee to make its case for reducing the U.S. prison population of 2.2 million -- nearly one-fourth of the world's total.

[snip]

More than 1.5 million people are now in U.S. state and federal prisons, up from 196,429 in 1970, the report said. Another 750,000 people are in local jails. The U.S. incarceration rate is the world's highest, followed by Russia, according to 2006 figures compiled by Kings College in London.


--

Police State Coming: Slippery slope down a razorblade

Monday's Cafferty file.

LA Times Blog: Ron Paul keeps rolling

This objective entry in the LA Times Blog is worth the read:
Certain numbers keep calling attention to the phenomenon that is Ron Paul.

The most obvious one, of course, was the more than $4.2 million that his campaign reported raising in a single day via the Internet earlier this month. This week, other figures stand out: He attracted a crowd of more than 1,000 people in Nevada, and a new poll showed him doubling his support in New Hampshire.


--

Georgia support for Ron Paul

I've been watching the support for Ron Paul grow in Georgia and am curious to see where his support is concentrated, partly to understand where more attention needs to be put to help build his support to a necessary 23-25% among GOP primary voters. Since most of the GOP voting block resides in rural areas of the state I suspect those are the areas needing the most attention.

Since campaign contribution reports are one of the two most revealing sources to examine Paul's support across the state (local straw polls being the other), I periodically check the donor information collected at ronpaulgraphs.com here.

While the information at ronpaulgraphs.com is not nearly as authoritative as the official FEC reports released quarterly because it only captures a representative sample of less than half the actual current donors, ronpaulgraphs.com is more immediate and captures some of the under-$200 donors whose information is not included in the official reports. (You can see my Georgia donor maps created from quarterly FEC reports here and here).

The event that inspired this post is the astounding impact the campaign's recent fundraising email has had on Georgia's support. At approximately 1pm I glanced at the ronpaulgraphs.com donors to see that only 83 donors were reflected in the site's captured demographics, with only 1 of those being from Georgia (a donor from Atlanta). At 1:58 pm, the campaign sent out an official fundraising email request. At 3pm, the total number of donors' names collected at the site had jumped from 83 to 255.

And in just a little over an hour, the number of Georgians reflected in that data grew from 1 to 13, scattered across the state as follows:

Atlanta (2 different donors)
Norman Park
Rockmart
Savannah
Jonesboro
Kennesaw
Warner Robins
Bogart
Marietta
Roswell
Bonaire
Valdosta

Since ronpaulgraphs.com only collects a sampling of donors, this information reflects only about half of the actual donor activity taking place at the campaign site. We can reasonably assume that these 13 donors are accompanied by 13 others whose information wasn't collected, for a total of about 25-26 supporter responses in under an hour.

That is an impressive immediate response to an official campaign communication from Georgia's Ron Paul supporters from rural as well as the big population centers, and I just wanted to share it since I stumbled onto it accidentially. I'll check back in later this evening to see how much larger this response becomes.

--
Updated 4:30pm: We're now up to 394 donors captured, 28 of those from Georgia.
Atlanta (4 different donors)
Norman Park
Rockmart
Savannah
Jonesboro
Kennesaw (2)
Warner Robins
Bogart
Marietta (3)
Roswell
Bonaire
Valdosta
Fayetteville
Austell
Douglasville
McDonough
Hogansville
Cleveland
Alpharetta (2)
Ellijay
Mineral Bluff

Monday, November 19, 2007

Paul wins nationwide Zogby blind poll

Candidate A (Ron Paul) wins.
A new nationwide Zogby telephone poll reveals that a sizeable majority of Americans are looking to vote for a candidate who protects liberty, wants to shrink government and immediately withdraw troops from Iraq - all traits common to Texas Congressman Ron Paul.


Candidate A is identified as:
... a 10-term US Congressman from a large Southern state who is an advocate for a smaller government and individual liberty. This candidate believes in strictly following the Constitution and has never voted to raise taxes. He has never voted in favor of the war in Iraq or the Patriot Act, and wants to bring troops home as soon as possible. As a former doctor, this candidate has delivered more than 4,000 babies. One of this candidate's goals is to return America to the gold standard, and he believes that the current monetary policy needs to be drastically overhauled because of the dollar's decline.

Tasers = torture.

Time magazine attempts to address the uncontrolled increase in the use of Tasers by law enforcement for reasons other than self-defense.

Early concerns about Tasers centered on the issue of safety, but the controversy has recently taken a new twist, focusing on the conflict between civil rights and police procedure. Though the device was initially developed as an alternative to lethal force, it has become a go-to weapon in situations of noncompliance even when the use of firearms would not be considered — like the incident with Meyer, who agreed to 18 months of probation on Tuesday in order to avoid criminal charges of resisting arrest. "I think because it's electricity, and because of past use of electricity in torture across the world, there's a thought that law enforcement could use [the Taser] to the same end," says Lt. Dave Kelly of the Phoenix Police Department. "In other words, not to use it to gain control over somebody but to punish somebody, to create pain for someone."


Because these devices are being deployed more frequently in situations where the officer is attempting to force compliance with unexplained orders, it is necessary to consider the ramifications if parents or teachers were to start using them on their children to make them behave. If you have a problem with parents zapping their kids with 50,000 volts every time the kid opens his mouth out of turn, then you have a problem with law enforcement using these weapons in the same manner. So stand up and let them know you.don't.approve. of these uses.

Unfortunately, the only way law enforcement can be reigned in is for Tasers to become commonplace in citizen's hands on the street, and let society and particularly law enforcement experience their indiscriminate use. THEN you will see some municipal action to reign in these instruments of torture.

US Empire in decline

This sums it up pretty well:
All great empires and nations decay from within. By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible.

Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions. They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless mechanisms of control. They lose the capacity for empathy, which allows them to see themselves through the eyes of others, to create a world of accommodation rather than strife. The creeds and noble ideals of the nation become empty cliches, used to justify acts of greater plunder, corruption and violence. By the end, there is only a raw lust for power and few willing to confront it.

My mother believes we're on the verge of a dictatorship, being orchestrated by the left in an attempt to rewrite the Constitution to eliminate God from public life. Her summation is simply people everywhere are so much meaner than they used to be.

--

Who is Ron Paul cannabalizing?

From ABC's roundtable 11/18/07: In NH, Paul is expected to finish ahead of "two or three national candidates" so the question is "who is he cannabalizing?"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Protest Candidate, backed by Gold

This piece by Marc Gutttman does a good job of explaining Ron Paul's positions and makes a strong argument in favor of Paul's role as a protest candidate.

Pundits are speculating about the reasons behind the vast support for Ron Paul's campaign for the U.S. presidency. Deductions I've read about the campaign's impressive $4.3 million dollar online fundraising by donations from 38,000 Americans in a 24-hour period, seem to miss the obvious point. It's more than just widespread disapproval of our current government and the Iraq War. There have been “protest candidates” before, but few have had Paul's success. It's the man and his message. And many who have heard it are convinced.


Let me add that unlike other protest candidates in the past, Paul is the protest candidate with whom you can't go wrong because he's as good as gold not only in the figurative sense embodying the utmost integrity, but in his economic policies as well. Additionally, he is the one protest candidate standing firmly on the US Constitution, the fundamental basis for what it means for each of us to be Americans. No matter this particular protest candidate's perceived flaws, the US Constitution will guide this great country home.

Bargains for taxes

The author of this opinion piece attempts to itemize the private sector costs for all the goods and services provided by his local and state government and concludes that the services he receives from the government are a bargain at the prices he's paying through taxes.

Several commenters to that piece pointed out various fallacies in his arguments, including his false belief that his total tax bill is only $9,000. He failed to calculate his true tax burden comprised of hidden taxes and fees tacked onto just about in every aspect of his life, ie. fuel taxes, tolls, license, franchise, travel and accommodation fees, etc.

But one of the biggest flaws in his argument is the comparison of services provided by the government vs. those available through the private sector. For instance, he estimates that a private security guard would cost him the guard's full wages for 24/7 protection, without acknowledging that he doesn't have 24/7 protection, nor a 1:1 officer-citizen ratio now under his tax-funded sheriff's department.

Furthermore, since the vast majority of the public summon law enforcement for assistance after incidents have occurred, whether it's a burglary or an auto accident, their "protection" against these incidents is non-existent. These law enforcement first responders on the scene primarily serve to establish an official record of the incident to be used by others (insurance companies, traffic court, investigative units of the police department, etc).

You could achieve very much the same response from a private security company who would be notified immediately via whatever electronic security system you've contracted to have with them. Now what happens when you decide that these private security personnel serve your needs perfectly with superior response times, cordial treatment throughout any ordeal, and full cooperation from them when your time in court rolls around? You're essentially closer to having your own personal body guard with only your interests in mind with a private security firm than you are with a stranger dispatched from your sheriff's department who hasn't the faintest idea what kind of life you live or any other background on the situation to which he's called to respond.

And you are still required by law to fund this public sector security system with your taxes even if you choose never to use them. Why should you be forced to fund an inferior system while also paying for the quality service you've chosen to contract with?

Suppose the author lives in a gated community with its own security personnel. His security costs are incorporated into his mortgage, home owners association fees or his rent, but he still pays taxes for public security while receiving no services from them at all. This is ludicrous.

I'm not an advocate of "privatization" in the sense that people still pay taxes to the government and the government contracts with individual private firms to provide services exclusively. That kind of system is more fascist than anything. I do strongly advocate free market choices, provided the choices to opt out of one service in lieu of another are maintained across the board.

Let's say a new company moves in that has an innovative way to process household garbage such that landfills are not necessary, and begins offering pickup services at reasonable rates. When comparing these rates to the available public sector service, it is important to take into account secondary costs such as landfill management and runoff control. Would you then choose to pay $200 a year freely to this company if indeed their rates were much lower taking into account the secondary costs of standard public waste services? Would you pay it while still paying taxes for the public waste services? If you choose to use the innovative company, or another one who has an even better way to manage trash, why should you be forced to pay for both by virtue of forced taxation?

In a free market approach with a truly competitive environment, private companies have to earn your trust, and then keep it by providing exceptional services or risk losing your business to the competition. This is the ultimate efficiency mechanism that keeps service quality high and prices low. Contrast that with public sector service personnel who get paid regardless of job performance. Where is their incentive to treat you with respect by providing prompt friendly service while keeping your costs low? There is none. Zero. Zilch. In fact governments have more incentives to fail because it is government's nature to throw more tax money into problems that never seem to go away. Take the war on poverty for example. We're the wealthiest nation in the world with untold billions of dollars at our government's disposal and yet poverty continues to grow. It's a vicious cycle that constantly repeats: we have more people in poverty so we need more government money to address it. Failure is almost always rewarded with more funding. There is absolutely no incentive for government to actually succeed in eliminating any problem in society.

Cops like Ron Paul

Over the last decade I've witnessed disturbing trends in the growing militarization and aggressiveness of our local law enforcement agencies, and am especially troubled by the lack of accountability when cops commit sometimes heinous crimes in the course of their "duties."

If you follow the daily writings of Will Grigg, you would come to believe that our local law enforcement agencies operate in very similar ways to the mercenary firms Blackwater and DynCorp in Iraq, exerting their own totalitarian agendas with near total impunity. Reading more and more about the extraordinarily cavalier use of tasers, not as less-lethal alternatives to guns in self-defense but in order to force compliance with arbitrary orders, and seeing how this tortuous extrajudicial corporal punishment is actually condoned by police departments everywhere makes me fear that the dreaded police state is upon us already.

It's easy to assume that law enforcement personnel enjoy their freedom to abuse their power and would eagerly embrace an even more authoritarian government under the likes of Guiliani. It seems they would be the least likely group to support someone (Ron Paul) who believes that government's primary role is to protect citizens' rights.

However, in the two months I've been out on the streets daily campaigning for Paul, there have been several police officers drive by and beep, wave, and nod approvingly at my big Ron Paul sign. One officer pulled up to tell me I was violating an anti-pedestrian rule near a major highway, and he began his admonishment with "I support what you're doing and I'm glad you're out here doing it. But... yada yada yada." That was a shocker considering the stories I'd read about others engaged in similar behavior being arrested for disorderly conduct and the like.

In the Ron Paul message boards, I've seen a few others report that they were pulled over for minor infractions and were let off with just a warning specifically due to the Ron Paul bumper sticker or sign on their vehicles. This doesn't mean they all support Paul because I've seen many officers go by without reacting at all. But learning first hand that at least a few cops will openly acknowledge their support gives me hope that whatever police state has emerged can be rolled back and it's not entirely a foregone inevitability.

So I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this article asserting that policemen across the country support many of Ron Paul's positions, especially his strong pro-second amendment stance.
According to a poll conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, more than 75% of the nation's police officers agree with Rep. Paul's stance on gun ownership including private citizens carrying concealed weapons for personal protection.

[snip]

AFP president Dennis Wise agrees with Rep. Paul's stance on gun control. "When our founding fathers assembled to write one of the greatest papers ever written -- our Constitution -- they put down the amendments ... in the order of their importance," said Wise.


--

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Long way to the grocery store

There used to be a grocery store two blocks from here that I enjoyed walking to when I needed a loaf of bread or an extra can of soup, but it relocated about a year ago while several larger chains moved into new shopping center developments a couple miles away in opposite directions. Before it relocated I noticed several changes taking place in the store's inventory. It was a small store to begin with, only 8 aisles counting the produce on one side and frozen foods/dairy aisle on the other. So when little cheap dollar-store items started to occupy two whole aisles, I wondered what was going on with the store's business model. A few months after this inventory change, the store closed down to relocate to a vacant spot in a shopping strip near the mall. The grocery store seemed to be doing solid business as there were always a dozen or more cars out front in what you'd consider slow traffic times. And when it was busy, it was VERY busy. And it was right on the busline. This is an older section of town, heavily populated with lower middle income families who benefited greatly I'm sure from the close proximity of this supermarket.

There are a couple Family Dollar stores nearby, including one in the same parking lot as the vacated grocery store who seemed to coexist just fine, and there are three or four convenience stores within walking distance, all of which sell basics like bread and soup and milk. But none of them sell fresh meat or vegetables, which are clearly necessities.

The building that housed the grocery store is still vacant. I've been toying with the idea of drawing up a plan to re-open a grocery store in that location, and have a cousin in grocery store management that would be a big help to pull it all together. But because this is a lower middle class/upper poverty class neighborhood I'm concerned about crime and don't want security costs to eat up all the budget and potential profits. So I was thinking about trying to round up people in the neighborhood to come together to make it a community-owned store, thinking that having ownership interests would inspire people to exert a little extra effort to both respect and protect their interests. I'd also designate part of the parking lot for a farmer's market/flea market setup, since we have alot of that kind of activity on street corners around here. This would give them a safer place to set up, and more freedom of movement and parking for their customers. I'd try to establish a little sandwich/coffee shop in one corner of the store, in maybe a bar-type seating arrangement. What do you think?

Like I said, I'm just playing around with the idea, because I personally want a grocery store within walking distance again, and I prefer locally owned businesses to big box cookie cutter chainstores. I don't have the money to actually do it, but with a little encouragement I could draw up a helluva plan for it.

Here's an interesting article discussing the lack of grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods.

Constitutions on the way to the White House

The Center for Constitutional Rights is planning to flood the White House with copies of the US Constitution. You can join in and add your signature to the nifty little cards accompanying them, here.

Here's an excerpt of the personalized note you're invited to submit:
Enclosed please find a copy of the U.S. Constitution. I wish you'd make some time in your busy schedule to read it.

I would have hoped that you'd be pretty familiar with it already, because you have at least three times in your life taken a solemn oath to uphold, protect and defend it, but all the signs indicate that you either don't know what's in it, or you don't care.

Ron Paul the pragmatic choice for everyone

I figure this article is directed toward liberals, but makes a well written valid argument for anyone seeking advice on how to consider Ron Paul. He argues that electing one of the Democratic frontrunners won't accomplish any social policy changes that liberals want because of the budgetary deference to foreign policy concerns (read: empire building) as we head into an increasingly dire economic catastrophe at home.

--

Liberty Dollar raid

Update: This piece on the front page of the Washington Post is the best article to date on the Liberty Dollar Raid. Very objective in dealing with this issue.

------------ Previously:
Here's one of the better articles regarding Thursday's raid on the makers of the Liberty Dollar.
Authorities have attacked such alternatives as counterfeiting, while supporters of such bartering tool attack the Federal Reserve Notes as fakes.

That opinion was shared by Lance Haverkamp, who joined in a forum at the Courier-Press newspaper on the issue.

"Do you realize how stupid it is to say the green stuff is 'real' and the gold & silver is 'fake'… You must work for the government!" he wrote.

The organization explained its position like this:

"It's incredible how few people know the facts about the Federal Reserve. The organization chaired by Ben Bernanke is not 'Federal' – it is instead a cabal of private and international banks that does not answer to the United States government. And while there is some precious metal stored in Fort Knox, it doesn't back the debt based 'fiat' U.S. dollar that they issue, because nothing backs it except your trust in the system! Even a casual look at the Fed's history leads one to wonder how an institution that profits mightily from its own policies of victimizing Americans has maintained control over the money of the wealthiest nation on Earth. For those who have made a serious inquiry, the Federal Reserve is shadowed in deceptive origins and fraudulent policies."

Its alternative is a series of coins made of precious metals that can be exchanged for an assigned dollar amount. Over its history, the company has produced the California Bear, Chambersburg Dollar, Evansville Dollar, Hawaii Dala, Peace Dollar and the new Ron Paul Dollar, among others.


--

The Hit parade

Here comes another in a long stream of "Ron Paul Experts" trying to radicalize his limited government views in order to scare off potential supporters. The opening arrogance is so thick you may not make it past the first paragraph, but for those willing to try, the comments rebutting this expert distortionist make me proud to be a Ron Paul supporter.

--

Just walk into any supermarket

I'm pretty pissed that my coffee is now up to $7 for a 3lb can containing 2 lbs. 7 oz. of product. And that my generic store brand cat food is up from $1.79 a bag to $3.29, without the slightest "new and improved" excuse weaving around the package's bland artwork. And that a 5 lb bag of std all purpose flour has doubled in price from a year ago while a 5lb bag of sugar has been shrunk to 4lbs in the last year or two. No wonder people are mad and getting madder every time the government comes out with a cheery new booming economy "low inflation" announcement.

Over at lewrockwell's site, Andrew Fischer has a good post that peers into the government's finagling regarding their bogus inflation numbers.

Does anyone have grocery store receipts from a year or two ago that you can scan in and share so we can compare them with current prices and product quantities? Post a link in the comments.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ron Paul's $500 problem

Some elements of the blogosphere, primarily on the left, are trying to pressure the Ron Paul campaign into returning a $500 donation that was made by an allegedly renowned racist by the name of Don Black. I say allegedly renowned, because I personally have never heard of him until these folks started making an issue of it.

Admirably, the Paul campaign has decided not to return the donation thusly:
Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and the protection of inalienable individual rights for every American. All of our campaigns energy is dedicated to spreading the message of liberty and limited government, and we do not spend time screening donors or blocking websites. We don’t know who Don Black is, and pay him no attention. If a small number individuals who hold racist beliefs want to waste their money by giving to Dr. Paul, a man who stands firmly against their small minded ideologies, then the campaign will simply use those funds to protect freedom, peace and civil liberties across our Nation.


My reply to most recent post on the mojo blog:
Well somebody needs to tell Mr. Black that a whole bunch of African Americans are supporting Ron Paul, and if he's as racist as he's made out to be, he wouldn't go anywhere near him after learning that news. God forbid this country become a melting pot of vastly different viewpoints coexisting peacefully, shopping at the same stores, breathing the same air, eating the same food, and supporting the same presidential candidate. That would be the end of the republic as we know it. I for one support the campaign's decision to deliberately not exclude anybody in this country.


I've seen some commendable replies to the absurd demand that the campaign return the funds of a citizen of this country that were donated legally based on perceived flaws in that person's character. A few were posted at lewrockwell.com here and here.

The other comments at the mojo blog are pretty good too, especially this one:
Perhaps you should do some research into MoJo subscribers, revoke subscriptions of those that hold views that you find offensive and refund their money.. or give it to charity. But don't let them fund your company. I suggest all business people do the same. If we all did the same we could bleed all racism and hate from our society. (continued)


--

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blackwater Google Purge

While composing the previous post, I performed a search at google for "blackwater drug war" because I was going to include mention of Blackwater's newest billion-dollar contract with the Pentagon focused on the War on Drugs.

The search results turned up in the very first spot a grouping of several hundred news articles on this precise topic, as shown in the first screen grab below. The reason I didn't include it in my previous post, is because when I clicked the 324 related articles link, the resulting page said no articles were found matching that description.



Hmm, rather odd results. So I scanned down the original results page to see a similar article posted at Alternet here. Since this is generally a source of investigative news that I trust, I went with it. When I clicked on the link this is what happens.



Whoa, I thought, what kind of purge is this?

So I closed my post and set about recreating the experience to collect a series of screen grabs. However, it appears that now when you click the 324 related articles link, you get a list of about 16 articles, the majority of which are dealing with the recent killing of the Baghdad taxi driver by a dyn corp mercenary. See screen grab below.



I was unable to pull up the first click result that said there were no results in order to take a screen grab, so this will have to do. 324 news articles come back for "blackwater drug war," yielding 16 articles about DynCorp's murder of another Iraqi.

Somebody's exerting influence somewhere to keep these Blackwater articles on a seriously low profile.

Collective Code of Conduct

The burning question I've had for some time is, what oath do these armed commercial peacekeeping agents take before securing contracts with our government? Our professional military is comprised of men and women who have sworn to protect and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. With that oath I feel safe and secure that these highly trained sophisticated armies will not turn their weapons on the citizens of this country lightly. Can the same be said for those contracted from commercial interests who have sworn no such oath as a condition of their service? Hired guns historically work for the entity offering the most money, regardless of the cause.

This question came up on another blog, to which Blackwater's "Core Values" were presented as the foundation of their service.

Blackwater ‘Core Values’:

Core Values

Excellence: We strive to do not only our best, but to do the best that can be done in all situations and under all circumstances to protect the defenseless and provide a safe environment for all.

Efficiency: We will create the most value using the least amount of resources to achieve the greatest success.

Execution: The foundation of our success. We plan to execute, and execute our plan. Using innovation, flexibility, speed and agility, we will perform with moral courage and conviction and we will do so against all odds.

Teamwork: That which holds everything together. We pool our collective talents to find the optimal solution for our customers and for ourselves. One person can make a difference, but a lot of people make a lot of difference. We will harness the collective energy of Blackwater and direct it toward realizing our vision.

ETHICS
Blackwater supports accountability and transparency in the professional military, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations industry. We conduct ourselves and our business with honor and integrity. As members of and partners with the International Peace Operators Association, we accept and daily abide by our collective Code of Conduct.


Ignoring for the moment that these values were scripted with as much original sophistry as a Jerry Seinfeld cliche ("one person can make a difference, but a lot of people can make a lot of difference"), does this mean Blackwater and other defense contractor personnel are sworn to uphold vaguely-defined standards developed by an international association of unelected, profit-motivated, aggressive shoot-first ("We plan to execute") peacekeepers, rather than rules of law and the US Constitution?

What exactly is a "collective Code of Conduct" by which these men agree to abide, and under whose authority and jurisdictions are these Codes not only established, but more importantly, enforced?

With no sworn loyalty to our Constitution, or to any rule of enforceable law, or even to our way of life, do we really want our tax dollars funding these extrajudicial forces?

This to me is another very troubling indication of how far our "representative government" is slipping from our grasp.

--

Power of the people

Over the past few weeks thousands of Russian bloggers have united to combat a pharmaceutical scam that tried to persuade Russian pensioners to spend around half of their annual pension on a course of Gravikol 21 - ‘anti-arthritis’ drugs that were actually little more than vitamin pills.

In the course of their campaign, Russia’s bloggers have not only publicised the scam nationwide, they’ve forced the notoriously unresponsive Russian government to act.
(more at link)


--

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Imagine Ron Paul" 30-second ad

From the grassroots.



Link.

--

What exactly is Christmas?


The latest AFA alert arrived in my inbox this evening lamenting the fact that Lowe's is calling their Christmas trees "Family Trees" in their Holiday 2007 catalog.

You may recognize the AFA (American Family Association) as the loudest group out there protesting America's alleged assault on Christmas. And they leave no stone unturned in their relentless pursuit of evidence to support their cries, as you can tell from this latest emergency alert.

In an effort to avoid the use of the term "Christmas tree," Lowe's has renamed their Christmas trees and are now calling them "Family trees."

In their Holiday 2007 catalog, containing 56 pages of Christmas gifts, Lowe's advertises hundreds of gift items, including scores of "Family trees." In fact, the word "Christmas" only appears two times in the entire holiday catalog. The ads mentioning "Christmas cover only 12 square inches of the 5236 square inches available.

Lowe's even has one of their Family trees turned upside down on a stand. We are not sure what the significance of that is.

Lowe's evidently did not want to offend any non-Christians, therefore they replaced "Christmas tree" with "Family tree." Of course, if Christians are offended that is evidently ok.


In what may be an attempt to sound fair, the alert goes on to list all the times the word Christmas turns up on products using the Lowe's online catalog search (174 products). However, AFA attributes the inclusion of the word Christmas in the product descriptions not to Lowe's marketing staff, but to the manufacturers who provide ready-made descriptions for them.

This overt mindreading on the part of AFA makes me question how many Christians are genuinely offended by the marketing decisions of Lowe's and others like them, and how many are convinced at AFA's command to be offended after reading this alert.

Several years ago I read up a little about the history of Christmas in this country, and seem to recall at one time shortly after the colonies were established, it was the Christians who wanted Christmas banned, to protect the integrity and sanctity of the historical event which was to be celebrated only in spirit. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

I tend to believe that modern day American Christmas in all its fully commercialized marketing exploitations is a gross perversion of the anniversary of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I'm left wondering why the AFA would not be celebrating any and all evidence of the separation of Christmas from the covetous orgy of consumerism it's become. Is it their intention to consciously maintain a society whose entire economy is based on the act of coveting?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Upcoming Ron Paul moneybombs

Most of you have heard about the surprising success of the recent Nov. 5 Ron Paul moneybomb, which was a fundraising event originating from and coordinated entirely by the grassroots with no direct relationship with the official campaign. Conceived in late October and rushed through all the grassroots networking sites in just 10 short days, this Remember, Remember, the 5th of November pop-culture stunt resulted in a record-smashing single-day fundraising total of $4.3 million.

Around the same time the Nov. 5th plan was being conjured up, an equally passionate segment of the grassroots established Nov. 11 - Veterans Day - as their date of detonation for this fundraising moneybomb, in honor of the blood spilled for our sakes and our freedoms' sake. It's not too late to join in on the November 11th moneybomb, sign up here with your pledge to donate $100 or more to Ron Paul's campaign, and on the 11th, donate, donate, donate.

And now the grassroots movement has established another target date for what I predict will be the mother of all moneybombs: Dec. 16, 2007. On this day with our donations to Ron Paul's campaign, we will be celebrating the spirit and resolve of the young patriots who dumped thousands of pounds of His Majesty's tea into the Boston Harbor in protest over the unjust taxes levied on the colonies by the British Crown.

December 16th marks the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. In 2007, this date will be remembered for the extraordinary grassroots efforts to push the single-day fundraising record so far out of reach from any other candidates that our voices for liberty and prosperity are no longer ignored by the establishment. Sign up at teaparty07.com, and spread this link far and wide.

--

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ron Paul support is everywhere!

Spotted during the MSNBC Democratic Debate:


End of America lecture by Naomi Wolf (video)



Video Link

Read the book, The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf

Next step: Take it to the Streets - coordinated action to restore the Constitution.

And vote for Ron Paul in your state's primary, the only candidate who respects the founding ideals of America and lives true to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

--

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Definitely time for a Reboot.

So says the Father of Podcasting, Adam Curry, after falling under the spell of liberty cast by Presidential Candidate Ron Paul.

Listen here, sprinkled throughout the podcast.
warning: podcast contains profanity.



--

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

eh, About those media "polls"

There's been a lot of discussion on why Ron Paul, with all of his obvious Internet popularity, is only polling in the single digits nationwide. Various theories have been presented, such as "pollsters don't call cell phones, and Ron Paul's followers don't use landlines," and "much of Ron Paul's support comes from first-time voters."

The mainstream uses the single-digit poll results to support their claim that "Ron Paul doesn't stand a chance," and use them as ammunition for excluding him from debates or coverage. But just how "scientific" are those polling methods?

...

..[these] polls use only "Republicans who voted in the last Presidential Primary." (link)

Well, how about that. How many republicans do you know who went and voted in the 2004 GOP presidential primaries, since the only candidate running for the GOP nomination was incumbent President Bush? Hmmmm? According to USAToday, Republican turnout in the 2004 primary was a whopping 6.6%! These scientific, professional media polls are based on a sampling of people taken from only 6.6% of the registered republicans from 2004!

As the original author says,
Think about that. The mainstream press is using this handful of people who voted for George W. Bush--when he was running unopposed!--as their "statistically significant" sample of concerned American voters. The political analysts are basing their election predictions, and their professional careers, on a random and biased telephone survey of a few hundred people who bothered to show up when their "fearless leader" wasn't being challenged by anyone.

Ron Paul Donations in Georgia, Q3 2007


Here is a graphic illustrating the areas of the state from which Georgia's Ron Paul campaign contributions originated for Third Quarter, 2007. To compare this with Georgia's Q2 donations, see my previous post.

Below is a breakdown of totals by county (based on zip codes per FEC filings). New zip codes since Q2 are located in the counties shown in orange font, bringing in $36,432.54 from these new areas, nearly as much as all of Georgia in the 2nd quarter ($36,843).

Barrow 1,250
Bartow 7,800
Bibb 4,727
Carroll 500
Chattahoochee 250
Cherokee 3,100
Clarke 1,400
Cobb 6,411.76
Colquitt 800
Coweta 1,300
Dekalb 7,320
Dougherty 1,000
Douglas 2,500
Fayette 1,000
Floyd 100
Forsyth 2,300
Fulton 11,780
Glynn 1,000
Gwinnet 3,626
Hall 200
Henry 2,540
Houston 490
Jackson 1,600
Lamar 100
Laurens 500
Lowndes 250
Monroe 100
Morgan 1,301.26
Muscogee 100
Peach 2,200
Pickens 200
Richmond 2,050
Spalding 500
Tift 300
Troup 1,147.52
White 500
Whitfield 500

Total from Georgia for Ron Paul, Q3 2007: $72,743.54. Good Job, Georgia!

An important note to make about all of these grassroots donations: donations under $200 are not included in the FEC reports, and thus the numbers represented above do not capture the entire picture. Many of us only gave $25-100 in the third quarter, and our donations are not included in the totals above. Once our donations reach $200 each for this campaign cycle, the numbers will show up in the total reports.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

$150,000 per day!

Yesterday morning, Sept. 24, Ron Paul's campaign launched a $500,000 end-of-quarter online fundraising push and put up this real-time updating widget on his website to let the world see the money flowing into his campaign. No one would believe that he would raise over $300,000 in TWO DAYS. At this rate, combined with an upcoming debate appearance on Thursday and a Friday payday included in this project, this particular effort could easily break the million dollar mark, in online contributions alone. And this is coming smack off the heels of last week's project to acquire 1,787 contributions during Constitution week.

Do your part and give all you can to help us blow the minds of the media pundits who continue to think he's irrelevant.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Only One

Extremely powerful Ron Paul video.

The song is "The Only One" (lyrics), on the album The Open Door by Evanescence.

--

Sunday, September 16, 2007

GOP Candidates YouTube Stats - 9/15/07

I started to think these updates were pointless, since Paul trounces them all every single time, so I slacked off a little. But I got curious myself to see how things were going so here's another update in spite of myself.

Note: the growth charts have Fred Thompson's old Youtube profile numbers. His new profile as an official candidate is only a week old, and will be used in the next update to replace the original numbers in the growth charts below.

Cumulatives:





Averages:





Here are the progress graphs showing actual growth in various user activities for each GOP candidate since May 22.
Channel ViewsCumulative RatingsCumulative Comments
Cumulative ViewsSubscribersRatings Averages
Comments AveragesViews Averages



Previous entries:
Aug 10, 2007: GOP Candidates YouTube Stats - 08/10/07 - Dem Comparison
Aug 2, 2007: GOP Candidates YouTube Stats - 07/29/07 - Launch Pad Edition
July 15, 2007: GOP Candidates YouTube Stats - 07/15/07
July 1, 2007: GOP Candidates YouTube Stats - 07/01/07
June 21, 2007: GOP Candidates YouTube Stats - 06/21/07
June 11, 2007: GOP Candidate YouTube Stats - 06/11/07
June 2, 2007: GOP Candidate YouTube Stats, Charts (Followup)
May 22, 2007: About those Youtube Stats...
--

Monday, September 10, 2007

GOP candidates enjoy the surge

Here are some screenshots from Google Trends showing the volume of internet users who are searching for information about the leading GOP candidates. The first shows the trends across all of 2007 for candidates Ron Paul, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. (These images were captured Sept. 10, and it takes Google several days to feed new data into the system so these graphs are a few days behind the actual trends).

The upper graph shows the density of searches for each candidate, while the lower graph in the above image shows the density of news coverage corresponding to each candidate. Huckabee and Paul are the least discussed candidates in news coverage, but Paul enjoys fairly high levels of search interest across the internet. Notice that pre-ordained frontrunners Romney and Giuliani have the most news coverage, while their search trends float along the bottom of the charts. It begs the question: If Paul's campaign were covered more frequently in the media, would people be searching for more information about him? This graph clearly shows the level of demand he inspires on the internet.

This graphic below shows the search trends for just September alone. Two significant events occurred simultaneously resulting in the surge you see reflected on this graph: the FoxNews debate and Fred Thompson's candidacy announcement on Leno.

The drop-off you see for both Paul and Thompson can largely be attributed to lower internet traffic that's typical on weekends. It will be interesting to see how their demand levels off as we go into this next week. Stay tuned for that.
UPDATE: Here is the screenshot for both candidates a week later - notice how the earlier peak rapidly settles out for both:



--

Friday, September 07, 2007

Two nasties, a slobbering drunk and lots of thumbs up

It was an interesting night, standing on a street corner holding two Ron Paul signs and a cache of slimjims in the middle of this month's street party event. This particular event was larger than normal due to a Harley motorcycle group who was touring the area, complete with a downtown parade and group-sponsored blood drive. It was an excellent opportunity for alot of face time in heavy but casual foot traffic.

I hooked up with David, a fellow Paul devotee and write-in candidate for a city council seat who was tagging along to advance his own campaign, around 6:30pm and we wandered up the block a ways to settle on the most heavily traveled corner at Third and Cherry, right there at the hub of the busiest intersection in the multi-block street party.

The crowd was very diverse, lots of colorful leathery biker types, whole families from kids in strollers to seniors navigating the crowded sidewalks surprisingly well for their apparent ages, blacks and whites alike all enjoying the atmosphere in and around the numerous sidewalk-seated eateries lining this particular street. The weather this evening was perfect after the month-long scorching heatwave we just had, with a nice steady breeze that kept the air from stagnating in the slowly-milling throngs.

I much prefer this environment for politicking as opposed to a busy intersection in rush hour traffic. This particular scenario allows plenty of opportunity to engage the curious, inspire the oblivious, and close the deal with multiple fence sitters. I probably fielded about two dozen "who is Ron Paul" inquiries, graciously accepted about the same number of thumbs-up kudos, and put a slimjim directly into the hands of over 100 people who showed even the most subtle interest in comprehending my purpose for being there. The majority of the crowd however simply smiled as they meandered past with not a care in the world.

And of course, we had a few interesting and shall we say unsupportive encounters. About an hour into it, a man whose attire announced his unquestionable affiliation with the biker group, stepped away from his party and approached me, looking me dead in the eye as he slowly withdrew his hand from his front jeans pocket. Stopping about 10 feet away and suddenly leaning toward me, he flipped a quarter at my feet and avowed, "Not a Chance." Not immediately grasping the entirety of his intention, I continued to smile at him as he stomped back into his own party of friends, turning only once to scowl at me as if I'd somehow just insulted his dog. Ahh, ok, I get it now. I broadened my smile and nodded to bestow my best blessings on the poor lost coward of a man who has probably never even read the first Ron Paul writing, let alone knew anything of his actual positions on the issues.

Next up, about a half hour later, a chubby white haired man attired to exude a certain affluence stared intently at the sign I was holding, racking his brain to recognize the familiar name in front of him. Just as I slid the slimjim from my stack toward his semi-outstretched hand, his look of pained concentration immediately leveled into disgusted contempt as he felt it necessary to utter, "I'm a republican.." while snapping his hand into his ribs to keep my offering from even making contact with his ascribed personal body space. Unaware of the cusses emanating from this man's body language, my friend David took this utterance as his cue to engage the man on the more proximate issue of asking for his vote in the upcoming city elections. The man would have none of it, nearly issuing his own fatwas as if to purge the streets of myself, David, Ron Paul and every other freedom-loving soul inhabiting his planet earth.

Not too long after that David needed to seek out the source of a particularly appetizing aroma that had pervaded the breeze for almost the entire time we'd been there, since he hadn't stopped to eat beforehand. We quickly finalized our plans for more campaigning the next day and we bid our adieus for the night. As it was nearly dark at this point I resolved to stay in this nice visible spot as long as the people remained amicably sober.

Along comes a man very intent on having a conversation with me by first indulging my desires to discuss what I find so appealing about Ron Paul. He listened attentively throughout my explanation, and merely offered his affection for Huckabee, albeit somewhat uncommitted. When I acknowledged that I too liked Huckabee, he began to explain the basis of his appeal, being the Huckster's alleged moral compass that will essentially put God back into everything we do. My smile remained steady, fueled by the comedy of my mind's presentation of eyes rolling at the dreaded church/state argument I was convinced was about to ensue. But at the first mention of the ten commandments, this man abruptly stopped to ask if I could name them. I'm sure I can, I thought, having discussed this issue hundreds of times recently. But, being caught off guard at the man's inquisitiveness, I suddenly drew a blank, succeeding in naming only 4 (honor parents, no lying, stealing or coveting) while struggling to find the rest of them hiding away in inaccessible retreats of the mind.

At this point the man had fully embarked on his well-rehearsed spiel in an attempt to save my soul from damnation. If you've worked in any capacity involving crowds of strangers over the last few years, I'm sure you've encountered similar which always starts off with the stranger offering you something you believe to be of value, such as a (fake) $1 million dollar bill or (fake) golden chain. The purpose of this ploy is to lead you into temptation then guilt you into holy repentance. The first time it was tried on me, a man offered me a million dollar bill. I immediately told him there's no such thing so I didn't care for it, thus undercutting his approach and throwing him off balance. Well in tonight's challenge to list the ten commandments, he offered me the ten commandments engraved on a penny as if it were a highly prized valuable keepsake.

Overall we had a nice conversation that lasted about 20 minutes, but I want to believe that I managed to sway him from his Huckabee attraction, using his own "God needs to bless America again" logic. I told him I did not agree with Huck's position that we remain united even to the point of the entire nation going over a cliff. I tried to explain that God will never bless this country as long as corruption permeates all levels of government, our entire economy is based on the successful inducement of covetous behavior, and trickery and deceit are employed to justify our aims at conquering the world by force. In light of the current state of affairs in this country, there's no way any one of God's children in our right minds should drop our principles and morals and remain silent and subservient to a horribly lost and broken government just to keep the country united. Where is the honor in that?

I could have talked longer because I really enjoy that level of intensity in civil conversation, but I felt I was neglecting the first priority of introducing people to Ron Paul so I stopped rebutting his remarks and allowed him to wind down to his conclusion so he would leave and let me get back to it.

No sooner had I recomposed myself to embrace the crowd when a slovenly fat drunken man put his putrid breath about 6 inches from my nose and insisted that I stop this nonsense and vote for Hillary. Ignoring all internal alarms shooting danger signals so strongly into my frontal lobes that my jaws tensed rigid immediately, I foolishly asked the man "why do you want Hillary?" "Because we need (hic) change. We need a change," he said. Still ignoring my inner guidance I replied, "yes we do need change. Drastic change. And this man's going to do it by putting this country back in touch with its constitution." Coming off such a satisfying conversation with Mr. Salvation, I was stupidly unwilling to shut down on the next conversation that arose. When this creature got 2 inches from my face and told me, "you're a woman. Give Hillary a chance. Vote for a woman so we can have a change," I nearly puked in disgust at the man's obnoxiously drunken sexism. FINALLY, my body shut down and ceased all voluntary responses to this vile stimuli invading the deepest levels of my personal space. This paralysis apparently worked to motivate the man to back off and go on about his night, but one more wreaking molecule of this man's toxic emissions penetrating my olfactory membrane was going to cause a scene to which the dozens of officers onhand would have gladly responded to justify their presence at this heretofore uneventful night.

And with that, at 9:18pm I dropped the signs to my side and left without so much as a nod to the next mass of cheerfully approaching revelers. What a terribly sour note to end an otherwise amazingly fulfilling evening on the streets for Ron Paul.

--