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.

--