Monday, July 25, 2011

Paul gets big endorsement ahead of crucial Iowa contest

By Shannon Travis
Monday July 25th 2011

Ames, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has fresh bragging rights after picking up what is surely a coveted endorsement on Monday.

Cory Adams - the Republican chairman of Story County in Iowa – endorsed the Texas congressman's presidential bid at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa.

That's significant for a few reasons. Ames is the largest city in Story County, home to over 50,000 residents. And it is in this city that a widely-watched showdown between the GOP presidential candidates will play out on August 13. The Ames Straw Poll will test the candidates' popularity and could be a sign of their electability.

Having the endorsement of such an influential political figure in and around Ames will surely give Paul's campaign something to boast about as it aims for a strong showing in that contest.

Adams explained to CNN the rationale behind his endorsement of Paul.

"I try to go for the candidates that line up mostly with the values, the principles of the [nation's] founders," Adams said. "Out of all the candidates in this cycle, I found Ron Paul to be the one with the longest, most consistent voting record to back up those principles and concepts."

How might Adams' endorsement help Paul with voters?

Adams explained: "Back in 2008 there were a lot of people within the Republican Party that kind of disregarded Congressman Paul. And basically didn't just count him in and/or wouldn't even mention him. So when you can have a county chair who is part of the Republican Party, part of the establishment and support him, it gives him more credibility within the party and brings him back from the fringe."

Adams explained that some voters previously labeled Paul "a whack job, fringe candidate" – and that his and other endorsements from mainstream Iowa Republicans could help change that.

At the same event, Iowa State Rep. Jason Schultz also spoke about his support for Paul.

Though the endorsements are positive for Paul's campaign, it's unclear just how far they'll go. Despite a passionate and loyal group of supporters – often very visible and vocal at Paul campaign stops - the candidate has trailed fellow GOP contenders Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and at times others, in some Iowa polls.

During his speech, the candidate talked about his chances in the Ames contest.

Citing growing enthusiasm for his message, Paul said: "There's more enthusiasm with the people that are true believers. And like I said…Ames lends itself to that. I wish I could say that I am the frontrunner and nobody is ahead of me and it's a shoe-in. But the truth is, we can do it and will do very, very well and hopefully come in first."

"But I'll tell you what – I'll challenge any other candidate for the enthusiasm of our supporters."

Ron Paul Poised to Shake Up Republican Primaries

Gather Politics
By Bill Turner
Sunday July 24th 2011

Ron Paul and his supporters are poised to do what they couldn't do in the last primaries: get the Republican Party to treat him with respect. Some Republicans dismiss him as an unserious candidate. Others view him as a troublesome outsider who is derailing the party's main policies. But he owns political clout in this election cycle.

According to the latest Rasmussen Poll issued Friday, Paul trails President Obama by four percentage points. The same poll places Mitt Romney one percentage point ahead of the president. Romney supporters must use that as ammunition to dismiss all other Republican rivals and insist that their man is the best fit for Republicans.

Seasoned observers know that caution is the best course with expectations this early in a race. It's too early to determine outcomes, much less one many months away. And nobody knows when a scandal or misstep will occur. What is certain is that to expect Ron Paul to fade away is not only unrealistic, it is perilous, especially for the Romney camp.

Assuming that the primaries continue to line up as they are now, Michele Bachman or Tim Pawlenty figure to secure a win in Iowa. That's not only a story of how Iowa will vote itself into insignificance in this cycle by choosing a candidate not seen as widely viable, but it also allows for the vote in New Hampshire to be the real beginning of the primary season.

From that point of view, New Hampshire is an important win for Romney or Paul. Romney will count on his time as governor of Massachusetts and local familiarity to propel his effort. He will also likely have his organization in place much like he did in Iowa last year, and it will be well prepared with money and staff to execute an election day plan. Paul's organization, while less professional and more organic, is just as powerful and perhaps more persuasive.

Paul counts on his firm message of personal liberty, humble foreign policy and fiscal conservatism to bring out his voters. Like Rick Perry, Romney has to overcome his checkered conservative credentials, including a healthcare plan he forwarded which many view as the precursor to Obamacare. Romney has a steep hill to climb to get Republicans to trust him.
Once the campaign heads to the South, Romney will face Republicans who are skeptical of his conservative leanings, and a large group of social conservatives who will hold his Mormon beliefs against him, fair or not. None of this factors in that other more traditional conservatives are popular in the region. Sarah Palin or Herman Cain could tilt elections, but these candidates will not be pulling votes from the Ron Paul libertarian base.

Paul's message is clear. He has the funds to mount a serious campaign. He has enough followers to prevent the party from dismissing him as a candidate. The only thing that remains to be seen is if "old guard" Republicans can leave the tent flap open long enough for a horde of new libertarian members.

One of the leaders of the "old guard" punditry, Hugh Hewitt, is fond of saying that Paul has no chance of winning. Will these new numbers alter his thinking, or will he disregard them entirely and continue with his delusions of an old party? Time will tell, but the time of dismissing Ron Paul with no electoral ramifications to the party is over. It couldn't have come soon enough.

Do you support letting all the candidates in the Republican primary take part in the debates?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ron Paul's environmental record

Mother Nature Network
By Andrew Schenkel
Thursday July 14th 2011

Ron Paul has been a vocal figure in American politics since 1977, and he has developed a lengthy record on energy and environmental policy.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will not be returning to the U.S. House in 2012, but he will be returning to the presidential campaign trail. The Texas Libertarian is in it to win it, and if he pulls it off, he will bring to the White House one of the most interesting energy platforms in recent memory.

True to Libertarian form, Paul generally wants the government to take a hands-off approach to energy and environmental issues. Paul has had a lukewarm relationship with the oil industry; he remains unconvinced that climate change is an issue that demands government attention, but he does think “something is afoot” with the planet. He has consistently sponsored legislation to incentivize greener behavior through tax credits, but he generally values energy independence over environmental concerns.

Ron Paul is his own man, and President Paul’s energy and environmental policies would be unique as well. Here’s where Paul has stood on the issues throughout his career:

Opposition to all energy subsidies — sort of

Anyone who has read Paul’s books knows that he doesn’t like it when the government interferes with free markets. This is a defining principle behind his opposition to government subsidies for the energy sector. But while Paul is known for his straight talk — which often gets him in trouble with the Republican establishment — he has drawn a distinction between a government subsidy and a tax break.

In a 2008 Freakomics interview, Paul was pretty darn clear. “We should start by ending subsidies for oil companies. And we should never, ever go to war to protect our perceived oil interests. If oil were allowed to rise to its natural price, there would be tremendous market incentives to find alternate sources of energy,” Paul said. We will revisit that statement about alternative energy in a moment, but for now, let’s stick with this business about oil subsidies, because Paul has changed his tune a bit.

Speaking to an audience in New Hampshire in June, Paul explained what he says is the difference between a tax credit and a subsidy:

“With tax credits and deductions, industries, business, and individuals simply get to keep more of the money they have earned. Ideally, the tax code should not be used for social engineering, but, until we have true tax reform, I will always support tax credits and deductions that keep more dollars in the private sector where they are spent, saved, or invested,” said Paul. This new definition has allowed Paul to justify his strong and consistent opposition to ethanol subsidies, while supporting the NAT Gas Act, which would give tax breaks to companies that transform cars and trucks to drive on natural gas. Interestingly enough, Paul didn’t mention the “oil subsidies” he was so against in 2008. In fact, Paul’s congressional website has removed the page that stated Paul was against continuing the government subsidies to Big Oil. That link was used in a Grist story, which outlined his old platform in 2007.

Against the 2005 Energy Policy Act

For environmentally minded voters, the 2005 Energy Policy Act is one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation in recent memory. Ron Paul felt the same way. Paul voted against the final version of the bill, which among other things, gave about $22 billion to polluting energy sources, granted royalty exemptions for onshore and offshore gas development, shielded polluters from lawsuits and granted just 6 percent of its tax breaks to clean energy sources. The bill also exempted hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Clean Water Act. At the time, the bill included broad support in the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Ron Paul was one of the few Republicans in the House of Representatives voting against the bill. On the Senate side, then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for the measure.

Drilling in Alaska and bolstering domestic oil production

Ron Paul is in favor of developing oil resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). During debates in New Hampshire earlier this year, Paul reiterated his feeling that the more energy we produce domestically the more we save by not having to deal with the Middle East. This has been Paul’s justification for his desire to streamline the process for building more oil refineries. Paul’s Refinery Streamlined Permitting Act of 2007 called for, “the Secretary of Energy to offer assistance to enable states to assign responsibilities delegated to them regarding construction or expansion of a petroleum refining facility in a coordinated and expeditious manner.”

While that bill never became law, Paul has continued to push for similar measures. In 2007, Paul sponsored the Affordable Gas Price Act, which also called opening up ANWR to oil and gas production. Paul’s congressional district lies on the coastline between Houston and Rockport, Texas, which made him a powerful voice against President Obama’s offshore drilling ban in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Paul has consistently pushed for more development offshore, citing energy independence as the main justification.

Alternative energy and hemp

That desire to make the United States more energy independent has also led to his support of domestic green energy sources. In the 110th Congress, Paul was the co-sponsor of HR 198, which would have extended tax breaks for clean electricity facilities through 2013. He also sponsored HR 550, which would have extended the investment tax credit with respect to solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, and HR 1772, which would have provided a credit for residential biomass fuel property expenditures. While none of Paul’s bills made it to President Bush’s desk for signage into law, many of these tax breaks came to be — in one form or another — through president Obama’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which he signed into law shortly after taking office.

Paul was also the man behind the Industrial Hemp Farming Acts of 2007 and 2009, which would have removed industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. This would have allowed for the production of domestic hemp oil. In a somewhat related note, Paul has recently teamed up with liberal Rep. Barney Frank (D- Mass.) to introduce a bill that would legalize marijuana and provide a mechanism to tax it.

Tax cuts for green behavior

Ron Paul loves saying it is rare for him to find a tax credit he doesn’t like, and he especially loves credits for green behavior. He has supported bills that would make bicycle commuters eligible for the transportation fringe-benefit tax credit. He also supports a tax deduction for those who pay to use public transportation. If you want to move your business into an energy-efficient building, Paul has a tax credit for you. But when it comes to the government mandating a national standard for increasing fuel efficiency, Paul says that goes too far. Going back to 2001, Paul has consistently voted against increasing U.S. fuel-economy standards.

In all, Ron Paul has one of the lengthiest records on energy policy in Congress. You’ll get that when you serve for the better part of the last 40 years and run for president a few times. During those years, he has earned about a 25 percent voting score from the League of Conservation Voters. It’s the Republican primary voters who he will have to convince now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beware Ron Paul

The Daily Beast
By Mark McKinnon
Wednesday July 13th 2011

The longtime House member, whose fiscal discipline and passionate fans are nearly unmatched, is resigning to focus on 2012. Mark McKinnon on why the GOP would be foolish to count him out.             

“I have decided not to seek re-election for my House seat in 2012 and will focus all of my energy winning the Presidency.” With that one proclamation Tuesday, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas may have changed the game plan for the GOP presidential-primary process.

He’s like a Texas fire ant—a tough little guy with a mighty big sting and an itch that just doesn’t go away. This is Paul’s third run for the White House. He ran as a Republican in 2008 and a Libertarian in 1988.

In his 12th term in Congress, Ron Paul said in his earlier presidential announcement: "Time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I've been saying for 30 years, so I think the time is right."

Now chair of the House subcommittee with oversight for the Federal Reserve, his favorite target for criticism, Paul has been the most principled fiscal conservative and most consistent of any politician. He has never voted to raise taxes; he has never voted to approve an unbalanced budget. He does not participate in the congressional pension program; he returns a portion of his budget to the U.S. Treasury every year. And he is often the only representative to cast a "no" vote.

Ron Paul during a campaign stop in Freedom, New Hampshire, on July 1, Brian Synder, Reuters / Landov

Though his hardline libertarian streak sometimes conflicts with core GOP values, Paul was reelected by his conservative district in 2010 with a whopping 76 percent of the vote. His decision to not seek reelection in the House may have been influenced by the redrawing of his district’s boundaries to accommodate the four House seats gained by Texas, but the opportunity to focus only on his presidential bid is a blessing (for him) and a challenge (for the GOP).

Dismiss them at your peril; his strong libertarian followers—call them Pauliacs or Roniacs—are masters at magnifying their might. In 2008, Paul captured a surprising 10 percent of the caucus vote in Iowa, a third-place finish but just 3 points behind the party’s eventual nominee, Sen. John McCain. And at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February of this year, he won the straw poll vote for the second consecutive year, capturing 30 percent of the vote, 7 points ahead of Mitt Romney. 

His grassroots support is not big, but it is intensely loyal. Faded Ron Paul bumper stickers still appear on the highways across the country, along with hand-stenciled “Ron Paul Revolution” posters. Though their runaway enthusiasm borders on boorish, they are masters of the machinations behind the caucus and convention process.

At the Nevada state GOP convention in 2008, Ron Paul supporters drove through a rules change that halted the approval of a preapproved slate of convention delegates in an attempt to substitute their own supporters to travel to the national convention and boost Paul's delegate totals.
A more focused Paul for President campaign could create real havoc at the 2012 convention, invited or not.
Not offered a speaking slot at the Republican convention in 2008, Paul and his Campaign for Liberty hosted a parallel Rally for the Republic convention. Some 10,000 tickets were sold, and the event was broadcast on C-Span.  A more focused Paul for President campaign could create real havoc at the 2012 convention, invited or not.

And his repeat wins at CPAC point more to his ability to organize supporters than his appeal to the broader GOP electorate as he lags behind Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Herman Cain in the polls. 

But with a more focused Paul, GOP beware. The more you scratch a fire-ant bite, the more the darn thing itches.

McKinnon Electability Index: Rep. Ron Paul  

1.    Rationale for running: He is the champion of a “limited, constitutional government, low taxes, free markets and a return to sound monetary policies.” * * * *
2.    Emotional connection: His followers’ passion is matched only by his detractors’ derision. * *
3.    Resonance/relevancy of message: The country is just catching up to his thinking on the economy, but his isolationism and absolute libertarian positions do not resonate with a conservative base. * *
4.    Message discipline: When he latches on to a topic, he is unstoppable, but he sometimes wanders too far. * *
5.    Candidate preparation: An encyclopedia on the economy. * * *
6.    Life experience: U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, OB/GYN in private practice.  * * * *
7.    Political/government experience: More than 20 years in the U.S. House. * * *
8.    Fundraising strength: $4.5 million in second quarter, ahead of Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, and Herman Cain. He raised $1 million in one day with an online “money bomb.” * * *
9.    Base: Devoted and very vocal libertarian base belies its limited size. But a master of the caucus and convention process. *
10.  General-election appeal: Limited. His bitter medicine does not attract crossover support. *

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ron Paul's Statement of Faith

The Humble Libertarian
Reported By Wes Messamore
Monday July 11th 2011

The following Ron Paul Statement of Faith was sent to me by the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign to shed some light on Ron Paul's Christian faith. Ron Paul does not often speak of his religious beliefs because he does not want to appear to exploit Christianity for political gain, something that many other candidates shamelessly do, which should actually insult Christians instead of rallying their support.

But it is important for many Christian voters to know that the person they are voting for is guided by a belief in our Creator and shares their Judeo-Christian values. It is for this reason that I am publishing the following testimony by Ron Paul of his personal faith in Jesus Christ. Please help me spread this far and wide, because Ron Paul is too humble and shy to share this himself, and American Christians need to know that Ron Paul's compassionate, reasoned, humble approach to government is strongly influenced by his personal faith:

Ron Paul's Statement of Faith

"I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate."

-Ron Paul

My faith is a deeply private issue to me, and I don’t speak on it in great detail during my speeches because I want to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain. Let me be very clear here: I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.

It is God Who gave us life. As He is free, so are those He created in His image. Our rights to life and liberty are inalienable.

I’m running for President of the United States because I believe that our traditions and way of life are under attack from an out-of-control federal government and reckless politicians who show no regard for what our Founders entrusted to our protection.

America became the greatest nation in human history because a dedicated band of Patriots believed their God-given rights were worth fighting for, even if it meant challenging the world’s most powerful nation in what many deemed a “hopeless” cause.

Being free meant so much to our forefathers that they put everything on the line – and thousands sacrificed their lives – to give the promise of liberty to not only their children and grandchildren, but to generations they knew they would never even meet.

Their courage and determination guaranteed they would defy the odds and achieve victory.

In this critical election, you and I must decide if the principles of limited government and personal freedom are worth fighting for once again.

Since I’m asking for your vote and your trust to lead this nation, let me tell you a little bit about my background and beliefs.

My parents raised my four brothers and me on a dairy near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they set clear examples for each of us about faith, honest living, and individual responsibility. Their Christian values helped inspire two of my brothers to eventually enter the ministry, and provided me with the foundation I needed to practice medicine and one day become a U.S. Representative.

In addition to my time in Congress, I am proud to have delivered over 4,000 babies as a country doctor in Texas. As I trained to practice medicine, I became convinced without a doubt that life begins at the moment of conception. I never performed an abortion, and I never once found an abortion necessary to save the life of the mother. In fact, I successfully helped women struggling with their pregnancies to seek other options, including adoption.

I am running to Restore America Now, and by that I mean that it’s time to protect and promote the basic God-given rights inherent in the promise of America.

We must pass on our heritage of liberty to the next generation – not tens of trillions of dollars in debt and liabilities.

We must stand for life – not allow millions of innocent children to continue to be slaughtered with the government’s approval.

We must follow the Biblical mandate of using honest weights and measures – not printing money out of thin air in almost complete secrecy and then handing it over to oppressive dictators.

We must only send our men and women to fight for our country when the mission is clear, every necessary tool needed to win is provided, and we respect the Constitution by declaring war.

Once war is declared, it must be waged according to Just War principles. We should only fight when it’s in our national security interest, and we should no longer do the corrupt United Nation’s bidding by policing the world.

In Congress, I never vote for any piece of legislation that violates the Constitution’s strict limits on government power. I also do not participate in the congressional pension system.

As President, I give you my word that I will only exercise my authority within the confines of the Constitution, and I will work every day to rein in a runaway federal government by binding it with the chains of that document.

For my stands and beliefs, I am told that my efforts are “hopeless.” Like those who were proud to stand up for what they knew was right to create our nation, however, I firmly believe that now is a better time than ever before to reclaim our liberties. No situation is hopeless for those who receive their strength from their faith, family, and freedom.

And like those Patriots, I have no doubt that liberty will prevail.

I invite you to join me and millions of other Americans in taking our stand to honor our forefathers’ sacrifices and Restore America Now.

For Liberty,
Ron Paul

5 Reasons Progressives Should Join the Ron Paul Revolution

Activist Post
By Eric Blair
Saturday July 9th 2011

There aren't many people still calling Ron Paul's ideas radical.  In fact, his credibility in the eyes of many has only been fortified since his 2008 candidacy due to his consistently accurate analysis. His 2012 presidential campaign is in full swing, armed with a formidable war chest, impressive straw poll victories, and the same resonating message of peace and liberty. Yet, he has been completely ignored by the progressive media.

It almost seems as though the progressive media chooses the Republican challenger by simply reporting on the people they love to hate. They exhaustively write about Romney and Bachmann, clearly casting them as the prime targets. They use their precious news space to endlessly speculate about Sarah Palin and Rick Perry who aren't even in the race yet. And, once again, they seem to be distracting their readers with mundane mind-numbing drivel and typical wedge issues instead of real issues. But they don't have enough ink to cover Ron Paul?

Perhaps the reason they avoid discussing Ron Paul is that many progressives may find his message appealing, and you can't have that from a guy with an "R" after his name.  If progressives were principled enough to cast aside labels, they would likely find Paul to be the candidate most suited to fulfill their concerns.

Here are five reasons progressives should support Ron Paul for president in 2012:

1. Peace: If you're a progressive whose main issue is ending our imperial wars, there is simply only one candidate to support, and that's Ron Paul. Indeed, Paul has gained much respect from anti-war liberals for his consistent stance against preemptive wars, permanent occupations, and torture. Certainly no other Republican candidate can claim credibility should they come out against foreign military action. And if progressives can't tell by now that the Nobel Peace-wielding president with a "D" after his name is a fraud in terms of ending the illegal and immoral wars, detention, and torture, then the audacity of hypocrisy will surely win the day.

Obama's unconstitutional, preemptive resource war in Libya is no different (and maybe worse) than Bush's conquests.  It causes a principled observer to vomit at the sight of progressives supporting Obama's Libya assault, not to mention the five other sovereign nations where he continues to murder and displace civilians.  The consequences of the perpetual war state that Paul warned about over a decade ago are just beginning to surface and will eventually be obvious to all. Ron Paul is the only candidate who has properly assessed the wars from the beginning and who is committed to ending them, as well as foreign military aid.  Therefore, he is the only logical choice for anti-war voters.

2. Civil Liberties: Despite Obama's intoxicating rhetoric during the 2008 campaign about curbing the war on drugs, he not only continues to crack down on lawful medical marijuana patients, but even secretly arms Mexican drug gangs -- as if to feed an immortal monster that must continuously be slayed.  Additionally, Obama's regime, in a direct assault to health-conscious citizens, has expanded the drug war to other natural products like raw milk and vitamins and supplements. In fact, armed federal agents and SWAT teams have been used in tyrannical raids of peaceful farmers and private food cooperatives.

Furthermore, Obama's administration has unabashedly expanded the unconstitutional surveillance state that he railed against in his first presidential campaign.  The Fourth Amendment right to privacy is all but dead and many progressives readily admit that America is becoming a police state. Yet, the PATRIOT Act, once deplored by the left, was extended for four more years via Obama's virtual signature with no new privacy protections or meaningful debate.  All while most progressives and all establishment Democrats remained silent. Ron Paul has introduced legislation to end federal prohibition of marijuana, to end the abuses of the TSA, and to decriminalize raw milk. It couldn't be more clear which candidate will fight for your liberties.

3. Economy: The real political debate about the economy is not about unions, taxes, or the budget cuts; it's about a living wage. When progressives support unions, they support them because workers are paid a living wage with humane benefits. And opponents of public unions are typically bitter because taxes are extracted from their modest living wages to pay for public workers benefits, while they are now forced by law to purchase impossibly-expensive private health insurance. If the debate was focused on what the primary threat to a living wage is, then Ron Paul would be the clear choice for economy voters. Inflation, which Paul has been warning about for decades, is the biggest enemy to the middle class and the poor.  It's also the main reason companies can't afford to give raises or hire new people.

It was reported this week that food is up 39% this year, while gas prices are up nearly 20%. Whose middle-class income has increased by that much this year? Crucially, every single dollar of deficit spending, even if to help the poor, affects each and every person directly through cost-of-living increases across the board. That is vital to understand for progressives that care about the poor, who are clearly hit the hardest when the price of essentials rise. And deficit spending has a limit, eventually.  When the day of reckoning comes, we'll likely pine for the days of food increasing by only forty-percent every six months. Monetary policy is the culprit to economic imbalance; everything else is a distraction.  In other words, the economy will never be fixed until monetary policy is addressed no matter how many adjustments are made.  Ron Paul, Chairman of the House Committee on Domestic Monetary Policy, is by far the most qualified candidate to transition to a new, sound monetary system.

4. Healthcare:  This is probably the biggest hurdle for Ron Paul to win over progressives.  Liberals who support single-payer government healthcare were brazenly betrayed by Obama during healthcare reform.  The massive new bill did absolutely nothing to expand affordable coverage and only served to bolster the private insurance-big pharma cartel that progressives love to hate. Admittedly, Ron Paul doesn't support a single-payer healthcare, mainly because he believes that would just swap out a private cartel for a public monopoly -- both of which will naturally limit patients' options for medications, treatments and costs. Significantly, Dr. Paul does have some direct experience in the medical field, and Paul does not necessarily oppose public health programs at the state or local level, as the Constitution permits them to make those decisions.

Dr. Paul believes that by increasing genuine competition by reducing the barriers to entry for private clinics or natural health practitioners, more than enough affordable options will be made available. Imagine if a naturopathic physician was permitted to open a free clinic without cumbersome restrictions dictated by central planners (i.e. large insurance companies and the government).  If they were effective, patients would likely flood them with gratitude and sufficient donations to operate. Now imagine millions of those types of clinics competing to service communities. How can anyone oppose competitive health options? Apparently, those who now run the entire health system are the only ones opposed to such competition -- especially from natural health professionals. The point is, there are options outside the private insurers-vs-universal care debate that can be very beneficial.  The healthcare system will not be fixed overnight, but it starts with opening competition, which Ron Paul desires to usher in.

5. Wedge Issues: Since wedge issues seem to be the only thing the progressive media wants to discuss about mainstream candidates, we'd be remiss not to mention Ron Paul's stance on them. In regards to abortion and gay marriage, Paul's first response is that it's none of the federal government's business to dictate those decisions. Although Paul opposes abortion philosophically, he is adamantly against forcing his personal beliefs on others. He supports the states' right to determine their own laws. Pro-choice progressives who demand a federal abortion policy seem no better than zealot pro-lifers who wish to forcefully impose their beliefs. Ron Paul doesn't solve this divide, but proposes the only sensible middle ground.

Same-sex marriage is slightly more complex. Ron Paul said he supports the right of gay couples to marry because he supports all voluntary associations. However, in terms of tax benefits, since he opposes the income tax from the outset, he tends to oppose all the special credits granted for certain behavior, like marriage. That said, he supports decisions to be made at the state level and not by federal decree. Again, it's the only fair and Constitutional compromise any candidate has proposed.

Some believe that Ron Paul is unelectable, therefore why bother?  Or even if he does become president, he won't be able to move the heavy machinery to make effective changes. Well, don't we have to start somewhere?  Even if Paul doesn't win the nomination, the longer he has the stage to promote the message of peace, liberty, and economic sanity, the better off America will become. The more educated they will be about the Federal Reserve System, the better for when real monetary solutions become necessary.  The more he speaks truth to power, the more he exposes the false political paradigm where there are very few meaningful differences between establishment candidates despite their labels.  Progressives should join Ron Paul's peaceful revolution now if they expect any real change.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

If You Love Peace, Become a "Blue Republican" (Just for a Year)

Huffpost Politics
By Robin Koerner
Thursday July 7th 2011

The world lost its goodwill toward the USA when Americans voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

I don't endorse the idea that American politics should be dictated by foreign opinions but a reading of the foreign press over the last six years reveals that the first election of President Bush Jr. was largely excused around the world since no one could have known what this new president was going to do.
Moreover, America arguably didn't vote for him anyway in 2000.

However, the second election President Bush was not excused, because by 2004, the modus operandi of the Bush administration was clear. He wanted to 1) conduct wars against countries that did not threaten us (e.g. Iraq), 2) oversee large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Halliburton), 3) establish a legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) establish a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc... )

The more-or-less global delight upon Obama's election in 2008 followed largely from the hope that Americans had realized what a mistake they had made with Bush's second term and were therefore voting against the egregious actions of the then Republican establishment.

When most Americans voted for "Hope" and "Change," the above four objectives were at the top of their list of what they "hoped" would be "changed."

After two years, however, we now see that Obama 1) conducts wars against countries that do not threaten us (e.g. Libya, Yemen etc.), 2) oversees large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Goldman Sachs), 3) supports the legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) is growing a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc.. )

Put another way, when it comes to such things as the killing of innocent people, taking from the common man to support cronies, and the elimination of the basic values that make our lives worth living, we had the hope, but we haven't had the change.

Just as in 2000, Bush hadn't shown his true colors, in 2008, Obama had not either. A vote for either in those years was fair enough. But in 2012, if you vote for the Democratic nominee for president, you better have a moral justification that is SO good that it is a) worth killing innocent people who don't threaten you, b) transferring wealth to the rich and well connected, and c) the complete suspension of your right to privacy and such basic rights as protecting your child from being touched by a government official with the full force of the law behind him as he just follows his orders.

Do I labor the point? Good.

I don't believe that such a justification exists. I'm having difficulty seeing how a Democrat who voted for Obama (whom I supported) for the right reasons in 2008 can in good conscience do so again given that there is another candidate who has been consistent in his opposition to all of these things -- not just in words but in deeds.

If you've read my other pieces, you already know who he is. But if not, you should also know that Ron Paul has voted to let states make their own laws on abortion, gay marriage etc. and to let individuals follow their own social conscience -- even when he disagrees with them (as I disagree with him on some of these issues). In other words, he is consistent in his beliefs in civil liberty.

If you are a Democrat, and you sit tight and vote Democrat again "because you've always been a Democrat" or because you think that some group with which you identity will benefit more from Democrat programs than a Republican one, then that is up to you, and I wish you well. But don't you dare pretend that you are motivated primarily by peace, civil rights or a government that treats people equally.

That Ron Paul, who has been standing up for these principles quietly for half a lifetime, happens to be a member of the Republican party is a lot less important than the principles that we should be voting on. The fact that he is not a party guy should be obvious from his extensive differences in policy from his party and the fact that many think, given his views, he should not run as a Republican at all.

As Dr. Paul often points out, however, we live in a country with a corrupt political party duopoly... and the system is stacked against anyone who would run outside the two party system. So he's doing what he has to do. And so should we as Americans who love piece and freedom. It really isn't complicated.

Now, I know that the Republican party stinks to many Democrats and Independents who care about social justice and civil rights, but we all need to be smart and play the system to get the political outcomes we seek: you don't have to like a party or even identify with it to sign up as a Republican for a year to help make sure that the Republican primaries are won by the one representative who has always been for peace, has always voted against bailouts, and has always opposed the reach of government into your bedroom, your relationships and your person.

And if you are a Democrat or socially progressive Independent, you can't tell me you weren't hoping for all that from Obama.

Perhaps you see too much small-mindedness, or mean spirit or religious craziness in the Republican party. Sure you do. You can find all of them in spades. But since you can't change the Democrat ticket for 2012, why not act where you can make a positive change -- by telling the Republican party where you really want it to go... in the direction of peace and civil liberty (both of which, if you go back just a little way, can be found in the traditions of republicanism).

Just in case you need to make it absolutely clear for your friends at work that you have not gone to the dark side, I offer you a special moniker to set yourselves apart and give yourself a way back once you've done what needs to be done -- the "Blue Republican" -- to signify, of course, your liberal sensibilities and perhaps even your history as a Democratic voter. (Or why not just tell your friends that Bill Maher and Jon Stewart seem to have already gotten the message?)

I am aware that the main objection to Ron Paul from the left concerns his belief that private charities and individuals are more effective in maintaining social welfare than the government. To this I ask one question. Do you believe so much in the effectiveness of our current centralized delivery of social welfare that it is worth the war making and the abrogation of civil rights supported by both Bush and Obama's administrations? Moreover, while Ron Paul would look to transition out of the huge federally run welfare programs in the long-run, that's not where he wants to start: his immediate fight would be to bring our forces back to the USA and to re-implement the Bill of Rights.

Ron Paul's electoral weakness is not a difficulty in winning a presidential election. It is in winning a primary in a party with a Conservative constituency that includes the religious right and neo-cons. An influx of peace and freedom-loving independents and Democrats would change the math on the Republican side and potentially the future of America by setting up a presidential contest with a pro peace, pro-civil rights candidate (who could outflank Obama on those issues, at least, from the left).

Again, this isn't an endorsement of the Republican party or a claim that the Republican record is better than the Democrat on any of the issues discussed in this article. (It isn't.) It is not even a statement that Dr. Paul is some kind of panacea of American politics. Rather, it is to recognize simply that the one potential Presidential candidate who wishes to stop killing innocent people in foreign wars and stop transferring the wealth of poor and working Americans to the corporate elites happens to be -- this time around -- a Republican.

It is also to recognize that any other political choice is for a status quo in which all the issues that really matter (war and peace, civil rights) are settled for the military industrial complex and the interests of the State over the individual.

So what'll it be -- same old team allegiance or new, Blue Republicans?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 Paul advocates ending free birth control, non-intervention not war

By Hannah Hess
Wednesday July 6th 2011

MARSHALLTOWN — Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul vowed Wednesday to cut funding for free contraceptives if elected president, affirming his stance as an anti-abortion candidate and personal responsibility advocate to supporters here.

"Whether it's buying a loaf of bread or getting a birth control pill, in a free country, that's your responsibility," said Paul, in response to a question about how to provide reproductive health care for uninsured Americans under his plan to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions and a leading pro-abortion rights advocate.

Paul's answer prompted applause from the nearly 80 supporters in the Fisher Community Center for an hour-long event that focused on Paul's "cause of liberty" in advocating for personal freedoms and less government involvement.

The tea party candidate, who also ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and a Libertarian in 1988, is one of five Republicans who signed the Susan B. Anthony List's anti-abortion pledge, as a promise to select anti-abortion cabinet members, stop taxpayer funding of abortions and support a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Fellow tea party candidate and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann also signed the pledge, but Paul told after the speech that despite being "very close" on the issue of abortion and having a friendly relationship in the U.S. House, the two differ on foreign policy and economic issues.

"I think there's some overlap, obviously," he said. "But I think my emphasis on the war and the Patriot Act and the Federal Reserve sort of separates us a little bit."

Though Paul voted to use military force against those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, spiraling spending has since convinced him that a drawdown of troops is needed. Paul said Wednesday that the war has been draining the economy, and he advocated for non-intervention, bringing U.S. troops home and protecting U.S. borders.

"A lot of people say, and we've been taught this in our schools, that war ended our Depression," he said. "War reduced the unemployment, but a million, 2 million people are over there getting shot at and a bunch of them — hundreds of thousands of them — are getting killed. That's a heck of a way to end unemployment."

The 20-year veteran of Congress also criticized current borrowing practices and said he would vote against raising the debt ceiling, calling the United States the "biggest debtor nation in the history of the world."

Cory Adams, 34, of Ames, who considers himself a tea party supporter, agreed with Paul's stance on the economy and social issues.

"I have to live within my means and Congress needs to as well, and his maximum freedom, limited government approach," Adams said.

Adams then said he had not committed his vote to Paul and still considered Bachmann "on the radar."

The Texas congressman didn't venture a guess on whether he would beat Bachmann at the Aug. 13 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames. His campaign has invested heavily in the event, paying $31,000 and winning the spot held in 2007 by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.

"I have no idea," Paul said about beating Bachmann. "Depends on who comes out."

The Paul campaign announced Wednesday that it is offering discount tickets to the straw poll, selling them for $10 instead of the full price of $30.

See photos from the Ron Paul event in Marshalltown:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ron Paul’s Surprisingly Lucid Solution to the Debt Ceiling Impasse

The New Republic
By Dean Baker
Saturday July 2nd 2011

Representative Ron Paul has hit upon a remarkably creative way to deal with the impasse over the debt ceiling: have the Federal Reserve Board destroy the $1.6 trillion in government bonds it now holds. While at first blush this idea may seem crazy, on more careful thought it is actually a very reasonable way to deal with the crisis. Furthermore, it provides a way to have lasting savings to the budget.

The basic story is that the Fed has bought roughly $1.6 trillion in government bonds through its various quantitative easing programs over the last two and a half years. This money is part of the $14.3 trillion debt that is subject to the debt ceiling. However, the Fed is an agency of the government. Its assets are in fact assets of the government. Each year, the Fed refunds the interest earned on its assets in excess of the money needed to cover its operating expenses. Last year the Fed refunded almost $80 billion to the Treasury. In this sense, the bonds held by the Fed are literally money that the government owes to itself.

Unlike the debt held by Social Security, the debt held by the Fed is not tied to any specific obligations. The bonds held by the Fed are assets of the Fed. It has no obligations that it must use these assets to meet. There is no one who loses their retirement income if the Fed doesn’t have its bonds. In fact, there is no direct loss of income to anyone associated with the Fed’s destruction of its bonds. This means that if Congress told the Fed to burn the bonds, it would in effect just be destroying a liability that the government had to itself, but it would still reduce the debt subject to the debt ceiling by $1.6 trillion. This would buy the country considerable breathing room before the debt ceiling had to be raised again. President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership could have close to two years to talk about potential spending cuts or tax increases. Maybe they could even talk a little about jobs.

In addition, there’s a second reason why Representative Paul’s plan is such a good idea. As it stands now, the Fed plans to sell off its bond holdings over the next few years. This means that the interest paid on these bonds would go to banks, corporations, pension funds, and individual investors who purchase them from the Fed. In this case, the interest payments would be a burden to the Treasury since the Fed would no longer be collecting (and refunding) the interest.

To be sure, there would be consequences to the Fed destroying these bonds. The Fed had planned to sell off the bonds to absorb reserves that it had pumped into the banking system when it originally purchased the bonds. These reserves can be created by the Fed when it has need to do so, as was the case with the quantitative easing policy. Creating reserves is in effect a way of “printing money.” During a period of high unemployment, this can boost the economy with little fear of inflation, since there are many unemployed workers and excess capacity to keep downward pressure on wages and prices. However, at some point the economy will presumably recover and inflation will be a risk. This is why the Fed intends to sell off its bonds in future years. Doing so would reduce the reserves of the banking system, thereby limiting lending and preventing inflation. If the Fed doesn’t have the bonds, however, then it can’t sell them off to soak up reserves.

But as it turns out, there are other mechanisms for restricting lending, most obviously raising the reserve requirements for banks. If banks are forced to keep a larger share of their deposits on reserve (rather than lend them out), it has the same effect as reducing the amount of reserves. To take a simple arithmetic example, if the reserve requirement is 10 percent and banks have $1 trillion in reserves, the system will support the same amount of lending as when the reserve requirement is 20 percent and the banks have $2 trillion in reserves. In principle, the Fed can reach any target for lending limits by raising reserve requirements rather than reducing reserves.

As a practical matter, the Fed has rarely used changes in the reserve requirement as an instrument for adjusting the amount of lending in the system. Its main tool has been changing the amount of reserves in the system. However, these are not ordinary times. The Fed does not typically buy mortgage backed securities or long-term government bonds either. It has been doing both over the last two years precisely because this downturn is so extraordinary. And in extraordinary times, it is appropriate to take extraordinary measures—like the Fed destroying its $1.6 trillion in government bonds and using increases in reserve requirements to limit lending and prevent inflation.

In short, Representative Paul has produced a very creative plan that has two enormously helpful outcomes. The first one is that the destruction of the Fed’s $1.6 trillion in bond holdings immediately gives us plenty of borrowing capacity under the current debt ceiling. The second benefit is that it will substantially reduce the government’s interest burden over the coming decades. This is a proposal that deserves serious consideration, even from people who may not like its source.