Archives for the Month of February 2008 on Through the Magnifying Glass

US Dollar Index hits record low

See US Dollar Index Chart (courtesy of INO.com)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke visit to Capitol Hill yesterday did not give quite a lot of confidence about our economy.

With future interest rate cuts become more likely, the value of the dollar continues its downward spiral.

The Euro hit an all-time high of $1.5229 on Thursday. The British pound is at $1.9841. The dollar dipped to 104.07 Japanese yen. All are approaching three-year lows.

Our dollar index, a measure of the US unit's strength against a basket of foreign currencies, fell to a record low of 74.22.

U.S. v Turkey

Why does the United States act to discourage Turkey from carrying out raids against PKK terrorist strongholds in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region?

If it was true that Kurdish PKK guerrillas are conducting terrorist attacks on Turkish soil, does Turkey have the right to take military action to defend itself?

Iraq’s Kurds, America’s only ally in that strife-torn nation, discreetly back the PKK, and are working for fully a independent Kurdish state. The Kurdish mini-state in northern Iraq is already de facto independent, with its own government, finances, army, and flag.

The feeble US-installed regime in Baghdad has almost no influence over the Kurds, even though its president, Jalal Talabani, is also one of the two senior Kurdish leaders.

The U.S. does consider the PKK group as a terrorist organization but will not act against them.

Turkey insists it is fighting "terrorism" and has every right to strike into Iraq to protect its national security – one of President George Bush’s justifications for invading Iraq.

Can anyone explain the difference? So protecting our national security interests have some sort of higher argument than Turkey's?

Ron Paul at Bernanke Visit to Capitol Hill

Opening Statement

Paul's Question to Bernanke

Man Records Phishing Call

WSLS TV station reports about a fellow citizen receiving a phishing call claiming to be with the government.

The scammer claimed he was calling from the United States Banking Commission (which does not exist). The closest thing is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

He told Howard Beasley that they took $481 out of his checking account and they needed his account number so they can re-deposit the money.

Beasley recorded the 10-minute conversation.

* * * * *

This must be the dumbest phisher I have ever heard. Even though he has Mr. Beasley's home address and threatens him to come to his house, the husband remains unfazed.

I am surprised the guy just didn't just hang up. Why stay on the call for that long? Imagine if it was a phone sting operation, they would be able to trace that call and catch him.

Insufficent Patriotism

CNN Link

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama defended himself and his wife Sunday against suggestions that they are insufficiently patriotic.

Republicans and talk show hosts went nuts when Michelle Obama, wife of presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama was quoted recently as saying she felt really proud of the United States for the first time. Rush Limbaugh blasted her for slamming America. Even some liberal radio shows were surprised by her quote. Then there was a photo where Barack was just standing while Richardson, Clinton, and another person held their right hand over their heart during the "pledge of allegiance."

During a town hall meeting in Lorain, Ohio, about "an attempt by conservatives and Republicans to paint you as unpatriotic," a questioner cited the fact that Obama once failed to put his hand over his heart while singing the national anthem. The questioner also noted that the Illinois senator does not wear an American flag lapel pin, has met with former members of the radical anti-Vietnam War group, Weather Underground, and his wife's comments.

Obama said, "There's always some nonsense going on in general elections. Right? If it wasn't this, it would be something else. If you recall, first it was my name. Right? That was a problem. And then there was the Muslim e-mail thing and that hasn't worked out so well, and now it's the patriotism thing.

"The way I will respond to it is with the truth: that I owe everything I am to this country," he said. Obama said it was a speech about his love for this country that put him in the national spotlight. He shot down the idea that failing to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem makes him unpatriotic.

"If that were the case, that would disqualify about three-quarters of the people who have ever gone to a football game or baseball game."

* * * * *

Of course, Michelle Obama has clarified her comments saying she was proud of politics in America and how people are now participating and getting involved in the election process.

As for the photo of Obama not putting his hand over his heart. The national anthem was being played when the picture was taken, not during the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

During baseball games, when the national anthem is being played, most folks are standing, some with their hands at their sides, others had their hand over their heart, and those with caps/hats took them off and placed them over their heart. I seen folks asking other people to take off their hats, but never telling them that their hand must be placed over their heart.

Does it also make me feel more patriotic if I had an American flag lapel pin on my suit? Or if I fly the American flag off my car? Or if I hang the flag in the window of my house?

At work, most trading desks have a flag taped to the cubicle wall. If one desk did not have a flag, does that mean that person is not patriotic enough?

McCain's wife happily boasted that she is proud of being an American. Oh really, thanks for confirming that to us. C'mon, Sen. McCain, you say it too. Oh wait, let's everyone say it, because if we don't, that means we are un-American.

Why can I say I love America, but hate President Bush. Or I hate the limits on our civil liberties, but I still like being an American.

Are we going to solve real problems facing this country or are we going to spend wasteless hours on who is more patriotic?

Ralph Nader officially enters presidential race

Ralph Nader is entering the presidential race as an independent, he announced Sunday, saying it is time for a "Jeffersonian revolution."

"In the last few years, big money and the closing down of Washington against citizen groups prevent us from trying to improve our country. And I want everybody to have the right and opportunity to improve their country," he told reporters after an appearance announcing his candidacy on NBC's "Meet the Press."

CNN Link

Running as an independent may prove difficult. We all know that the Democrats and Republicans will do their best to discourage or even prevent third-party candidates from appearing on state ballots throughout the country. Even if Nader can get the signatures, the election appointees, most likely appointed by a sitting Democrat or Republican will do their best to disqualify enough signatures to stop him.

Now, if Nader throwing his hat in the ring, how soon before NYC Mayor Bloomberg does the same thing?

Ross Perot's Reform Party is a former shadow of itself. Ron Paul's Libertarian-style campaign may attract voters to the Libertarian Party. The Green Party won't have Nader this time.

Perhaps most of the well-known third-parties could back Bloomberg, he could get himself on the presidential debates?

Ridiculous: 134 pound cheeseburger

CNN video link - news link

134 pounds. yep. so Mallie's Sports Grill and Bar in Southgate got the distinction of having the world's largest cheeseburger.

who really gives a sh*t.

if you want to eat one of those heart-attack inducing meals, it will cost you $399.00 plus 24-hour notice.

now they have to wait for authentication by the Guinness Book of World Records. are you telling me you did not have any official rep there for the unveiling?????

now that monster is going to stink up the place.

who is going to eat a stale 134-pound burger after it gets verified? no one!!!

total waste of food. total waste of time. do you know how many starving kids you can feed with that sh*t???

link

GAO Comptroller General David Walker resigns

It is with sad news to announce that Comptroller General David Walker, our nation's top accountant and head of the GAO announced his resignation effective March 12, 2008. The agency's chief operating officer, Gene Dodaro, will serve as acting head. Walker was appointed to the position in 1998.

Quote:
"As Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, there are real limitations on what I can do and say in connection with key public policy issues, especially issues that directly relate to GAO's client -- the Congress."

But don't count him out.

He will make a move into the private sector by becoming President and CEO of the new Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Mr. Peterson, one of the billionaire founds of the Blackstone private equity empire is committing $1 billion dollars to the foundation for the purpose of drawing attention to what he stated as “...These problems have reached tidal proportions and festered for more than two decades due to political irresponsibility -- now is the time to put politics aside and put the country first, and begin to solve these problems with courage and clarity. This is the moment in our history when we do what is necessary to remain a first class country.”

Max Stier, head of the Partnership for Public Service:
"In a town that is too often focused on short-term crises, David Walker stands out in his ability to focus on big-picture issues facing our nation and has been promoting real solutions to our country's toughest challenges."

The creation of this new foundation has been criticized by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which fears that it could be a thinly veiled argument for the privitization of welfare.

John Rother, Director of Public Policy, AARP:
"He has a right to spend his money however he wants - there's a free marketplace of ideas. My fear is by characterizing the problem as entitlement it will focus only on the federal budget and will only shift costs onto families and individuals rather than getting costs down."

Well, of course our entitlement programs require reform. We are definitely heading towards a financial crisis down the road. The AARP will always voice opposition if there is any attempt to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Basically, I call it a thin argument to tax the American worker to death so they can keep their full benefits.

In any case, the steady appearance of Walker on Capitol Hill will be no more. He has long emphasized the detrimental effects of overspending and waste by agencies and departments. Though lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have praised him, Congress as a whole has shown no indication to address the major financial problems which threaten America.

During the last few years, Walker embarked on the "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour," which was organized by budget watchdog groups. He has traveled across the country using his show-and-tell powerpoint presentation to alert the American people to the federal government's fast-approaching fiscal disaster.

He even appeared on CBS 60 Minutes on March 4, 2007, and later updated in July 2007. Walker said, “You know the American people, I tell you, they are absolutely starved for two things: the truth, and leadership.”

But Congress is under denial. They know the impending financial doom, but they refuse the face it. Apparently, all they care is filling their own pockets and their special interests, then jumping ship when the sh*t hits the fan.

Walker hopes that by joining the Peterson Foundation, he can make something happen.

"My new position will provide me with the ability and resources to more aggressively address a range of current and emerging challenges facing our country."

We are no longer a creditor nation, but a debtor nation. Today, financial intermediaries hold about 37 percent of U.S. public debt; Japan and China, along with other countries, now hold about 30 percent. The proportion of U.S. debt owned directly by Americans has fallen to less than 10 percent.

Imagine trying to promote democracy if most of your debt are owned by foreigners.

We must do something people, before it's too late. Or maybe it is too late.

* * * * *

Conservative Voice - David (Walker) vs. Goliath

Reuters - Congressional watchdog Walker to resign

Guardian UK - Blackstone founder backs apocalyptic warning with $1bn

Baltimore Sun - Goverment's only fiscal truthteller to quit

The Rutherford Institute - A Crisis in Democracy: Are we going bankrupt?

Opednews - The Real Straight-Talk Express

Puppet Chris Peden influenced by Kathy Haigler

It is always interesting to find a person like Chris Peden who thought highly of Ron Paul, then decides to stab him in the back and preach neo-con nonsense.

“On January 12, 2007, a Texas city councilman named Chris Peden told the Galveston Daily News, ‘I have an immense amount of respect for Ron Paul. Politics has a way of forcing people to go against their core principles for political gain. That has never been the case for Ron Paul.’ In case you don’t know, Chris Peden is now Ron Paul’s congressional challenger in the Republican primary in Texas’ 14th District.”

Now Chris Peden is off boasting the usual establishment rhetoric:
“I think Islamo-Fascist terrorists were responsible for the 9/11 attacks; the incumbent thinks America’s Middle East policies were responsible for the attacks. The terrorists ‘wish to destroy our way of life because they abhor freedom, democracy, and liberty.’ We should continue to encourage democracy around the world ‘even if it takes the remainder of the century.’”

But the real story behind the story of Chris Peden is the influence of a high level Republican operative in Texas: Kathy Haigler. Again, the research comes from Thomas Woods of LewRockwell.com - Link

“There’s also an interesting story behind Kathy Haigler, the lady that Peden quotes all over his website. Peden has gone out of his way to make it appear like she’s some sort of a constituent or representative of the 14th District. She isn’t. Kathy actually lives in neighboring Congressional District 22, an entire county removed from Ron Paul’s district. Her representative is Democrat Nick Lampson, and she is currently the campaign manager for a Republican opponent of Lampson in the CD 22 primary named Robert Talton.

“Kathy has also had a personal agenda against the libertarian wing of the Republican Party for years, which explains her strong animosity to Paul. You probably read about the Tom DeLay fiasco in 2006, when the courts prevented the Republican Party from naming a successor. The court ruling basically barred the Republican Party from putting a new nominee on the ballot after DeLay resigned, leaving them with the option of either backing Libertarian Party nominee Bob Smither or launching a certain-to-fail write-in campaign.

“In the days that followed the court ruling there was a serious discussion among Republican Party insiders about endorsing Smither if he would agree to caucus with the GOP and vote for a Republican speaker… Smither was open to the plan and immediately agreed to caucus with the GOP if elected, and to cast his votes under the
guidance of our very own Ron Paul.

“Then enter Kathy Haigler. She caught wind of the effort to recruit Smither, and for whatever reason - her hatred of libertarianism, her wish to be a ‘player,’ her own overstated sense of self-importance - she began personally working the entire State Republican Executive Committee membership list to trash Smither. She accused him of being an anti-family values social liberal (ironic because Smither is a Christian homeschooler who heads up a missing children recovery charity), she implied that he was pro-abortion (he wasn’t), she accused his Republican backers (including Patterson) of deviating from the ‘party platform’ that she herself has apparently never read.

“Needless to say, Haigler’s smear campaign against Smither worked. Smither attempted to go to the meeting of the State Republican Party [but] was barred at the door largely at Haigler’s instigation. Haigler rallied the group behind a dingbat Houston City Councilwoman named Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, whose brief congressional career as the placeholder for the last month in Tom DeLay’s term was a spectacular embarrassment to the entire state of Texas.”

The end result of Haigler’s machinations was the loss of the District in the next election to a Democrat. Woods asks, “What happened to make Peden go from an admirer to an opponent — and not just an opponent, but one who is running a vicious and dishonest smear campaign against the very man he so recently praised? I have no idea.”

* * * * *

I would say that Kathy Haigler has a vendetta against Ron Paul.

Hence, her quote:

State Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Kathy Haigler:
"For far too long," she says, "[Congressional District] 14 Republicans have been denied the opportunity to be represented by someone who actually believes in and practices the Republican Party Platform, and now they have the opportunity to vote for a solid conservative who will go to Washington D.C. and vote Republican."

I really don't think the current Republican Party platform upholds the ideals of being a solid conservative.

So which is right? If I practiced the party platform, then I'll be a solid conservative. But if I practiced being a solid conservative, does that make me a Republican? Hmmm.

The constituents of the Texas 14th District should not follow the words of a political hack. Support Ron Paul by going to http://www.ronpaulforcongress.com to contribute.

Galveston County Daily newspaper endorses Ron Paul's primary opponent

The Galveston Daily News released an editorial endorsing Chris Peden for the Republican nomination in the Texas 14th Congressional distrcit over Ron Paul.

The newspaper chose to make its endorsement because there will be no opponent (i.e. Democrat) running against the Republican candidate in the November elections.

Strangely enough, it lists the good things about Ron Paul. They applauded his courage to oppose the war in Iraq as well as his strong defense on our civil liberties. They state his advocacy on smaller government, and his consistent views with the Libertarian Party. They say he is courageous and principled.

Yet the newspaper argues he is not an effective congressional representative.

They talk about his no votes on government spending, especially on earmarks going to Paul's district. Of course, other Congressional reps serving in neighboring districts are lavishing on their respective earmarks.

It cites that during the GOP majority in Congress, Paul was punished for saying no on earmarks. Even under the Democratic majority, Paul's district is still not getting any money.

Because of the need for federal money, the newspaper wants Peden to serve as representative of the Texas 14th District. They want someone to ask for earmark funds for the Galveston National Laboratory and NASA's mission to Mars.

* * * * * * * * * *

How can that argument make Peden a more effective representative?

As long as Peden brings more federal funds to the 14th District, the constituents should just be happy with that?

If Peden chooses to sacrifice his loyalties and principles to get more funds, are we fine with that?

If Peden supports pre-emptive war, but he gets more money for his district, should we be content with that?

If Peden wants bigger government and limits on our civil liberties, but he gets a chunk of pork funding for the laboratory, should we say nothing and stay quiet?

I don't think so.

US military strategy

I know. It just seems so ridiculous.

bombthemtohell.gif

Lift the Cuban Embargo

Fidel Castro, Cuba's President is finally stepping down after 50 long years.

Yet the United States will continue its long 46-year trade embargo.

Has it gone long enough?

We trade with China.

We trade with Vietnam.

But we don't with Cuba.

On the matter of China getting Permanent Normal Tarde Relations (PNTR) back in 1997, Alan Larson, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, stated that isolating China economically would only "strengthen the hand of those within the Chinese leadership who oppose reform. We support China's full integration into, and active participation in, the international community (and) we regard dialogue and engagement as the best way to manage our differences." Or, as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright explained during testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance on PNTR in July 1998, "It would be irresponsible for us not to have a multifaceted relationship with China at this point."

However for Cuba, our official policy "is to promote a peaceful transition to a stable, democratic form of government (by) maintaining pressure on the Cuban government for change through the embargo and the Libertad Act...We oppose consideration of Cuba's return to the Organization of American States or inclusion in the Summit of the Americas' process until there is a democratic government."

It is time to face reality. It is time for those Cuban exiles in Florida to face the truth. This trade embargo has gone long enough. Castro has survived through 10 American presidents.

A past statement by Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
"It's time for the U.S. to wake up to reality - unilateral sanctions don't work," he stated in October. "Instead of punishing our enemies, unilateral sanctions isolate America from its allies, provide ammunition to dictators to prop up their regimes, and shut out U.S. companies and their workers from markets around the world...We must remember that when we trade with other nations, we not only export our goods and services, we also export American ideals of freedom, democracy and free enterprise."

Ron Paul calls for a lifting of the embargo but of course he won't be President. The eventual Republican nominee, John McCain, would continue the same hard-line policy and would increase spending on Cuba democracy assistance programs and Radio and TV Marti, which are Florida-based Spanish-language broadcast services aimed at Cuba. Of course, surveys consistently show that Radio and TV Martí have minuscule audiences, but their federal funding continues to increase.

The possible Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, wants to lift restrictions on family visits and remittances to Cuba. American citizens without relatives in Cuba would have to wait until a democratic opening occurred. However, it may indicate that Obama would like to lift the trade embargo sooner rather than later.

Castro is growing old. So too are his foes on the mainland. Perhaps it is time to shake off and try something new.

Salon.com

Impact Press

38 former Duke lacrosse players to file lawsuit against university

The former players deserve justice, will they get it?

Newsday Link
Bloomberg Link

More than three dozen current and former Duke lacrosse players claim in a lawsuit they suffered emotional distress during the since-discredited rape case pursued against three of their teammates.

Attorneys planned to file a federal lawsuit Thursday in North Carolina that accuses Duke University, the City of Durham and several school and police officials of fraud, abuse, and breach of duty for supporting the prosecution of the case. Lead attorney Chuck Cooper said the private university turned its back on the players to protect the school's image.

"These young men want an acknowledgment that they were wronged by institutions and individuals that they trusted to treat them honestly," Cooper said in a statement. "They were victimized by a corrupt investigation that ignored or suppressed evidence that would have cleared them."

Statement from Duke University Attorney in Response to Lacrosse Lawsuit

Interesting analysis of Duke Lacrosse case

The Group of 88 names

Duke Lawsuit Web Site

Shopper knocked out over aisle space

Link to story and security camera video

A shopper trying to pay up at a corner deli and he gets laid out with a haymaker. The customer's nightmare unfolded innocently enough as he was standing at the counter paying for some items just after midnight on Jan. 6. The shopper, a white man wearing a white coat, suddenly gets walloped by a black man in a dark vest and gray hoodie. Thanks to the deli's security cameras, police now have a fairly clear picture of the assailant as the entire sordid affair was captured from several angles.

Apparently, it was all over aisle space. In one part of the deli, the aisle was quite narrow so only 1 or 2 people can get by.

The black assailant left the deli. The rest of his posse goes over to the man and takes his money.

Assholes.

Idiocracy

Remember Office Space, directed by Mike Judge? It's the comedy movie where workers who hate their jobs decide to rebel against their snooty boss. To this day, we still joke about "TPS reports", "Bob and Bob", and "What's Happening?"

Well, it seems Judge created another film called Idiocracy. It was supposed to premiere back in September but somehow it ended up on the blacklist and got a very limited release. It's now available on DVD.

An average Joe (quite literally in fact) played by Luke Wilson working as an Army Librarian is tapped for an experiment in human hibernation along with a prostitute played indelibly by Maya Rudolph, whose work on SNL has yet to vindicate her appearance in actual film. Because of the predictable incompetence of the Army, our hibernatees are left in their pods for 500 years, to wake up and find that the world has changed into a haven for stupidity, where natural selection has reversed and stupidity is rewarded evolutionarily due to mass breeding by the uneducated.

You can find trailers and clips throughout the internet, and of course a bootleg copy somewhere on YouTube.

You would love the beginning of the film when the narrator does an overview on how the human race was destroyed. The smart people had a low birth rate because they focus so much on career and financial status. The idiotic folks have a high birth rate because they just love to do it. The smart folks die off, and the idiots just get dumber and dumber.

It's funny to see how our world just gets stupid. Things like proper speech are forgotten. It's a biting satire that rips into the culture of laziness and stupidity that America has created.

Oh yea, and Costco & a sports drink take over the world.

New Math? A new inconvenience.

NYT: Purple States: Ron Paul Considered

Throughout the primary season, the Purple States team returned repeatedly to the topic of Ron Paul's unconventional candidacy.

Link

Romney to endorse McCain

Link

Romney's endorsement would probably mean that his control of 286 delegates will go to McCain, giving the Arizona senator a total of 1,113, almost clinching the Republican nomination.

The number needed to clinch is 1,191.

It is likely that McCain will surpass that needed number by the March 4th primaries.

Ron Paul to stay in presidential race

UPDATE: The Ron Paul campaign has confirmed that the congressional representative is still in the presidential race.

Link

At least that's good news for now.

* * * * *

The original entry was based on the FDH Lounge blog allegedly stating that Ron Paul will pull out of the race because of Peden's challenge to his congressional seat.

Here's the entry below:

According to the FDH Lounge blog, Congressman Ron Paul will be pulling out of the Republican presidential race in advance of his home state's March 4 primary. This is due to internal polls which show insurgent challenger Chris Peden having pulled ahead in the Texas 14th congressional district.

Peden's lead is extremely surprising given the vast disparity in resources between the campaigns, a divide that will only grow as Paul is able to divert funds contributed by his large base of small contributors to his presidential race back into the House of Representatives campaign.

It may prove to be an about-face when Ron Paul told supporters that he intends to stay in the presidential race past the March 4th primaries, but I guess that if the polls were correct, then he needs to defend his congressional seat so he can stay in Congress and protest against the overspending, the limitations being placed on our civil liberties, and preventing the transformation of our American Republic into an American Empire. Perhaps it's a ruse to confuse us.

By the way, who is Chris Peden, the challenger?
He is a Republican Galveston City Councilman. Supposedly he has raised more funds than Paul, but according to the latest disclosed financial records, most of his funds are coming from his family and close friends.

NOTE: I am not in support of Chris Peden. I did write an earlier blog on his fundraising where he boasted about having more money than Paul, but in actuality, most of the money came from his own family.

President Bush's notion of balancing the federal budget by 2012 is a sham

I really do not understand why fellow Republicans believe the President's words on his argument that his proposed 2009 federal budget will help bring it into balance by the year 2012. Of course, we have to understand that his proposal would not even pass Congress or even be considered since he is going out of office anyway by the end of this year.

The federal budget deficit is running at a pace that is more than double last year's imbalance through the first four months of the budget year.

Yes, you can point out that the deficit for 2007 was $162 billion, a five-year low, but the Bush administration is projecting a deficit of $410 billion for 2008, and around $400 billion for 2009. This pretty much guarantees that the next elected President will witness the U.S. national debt to surpass $10 TRILLION DOLLARS!

Of course, Bush fails to even include the supplemental spending bills on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in his budget.

Goldman Sachs economists have boosted their deficit forecast for 2008 to $425 billion and to $440 billion in 2009, reflecting the recently passed stimulus package.

How can we still agree that President Bush is a defender of fiscal discipline?

If his proposed 2009 budget was approved, it would show that U.S. governmental spending has increased by more than $1.2 trillion since President Bill Clinton left office; adjusted for inflation, that's a 35 percent increase. His budget will be the first $3 trillion plus federal budget which would raise overall spending by 6 percent over last year and 67 percent over 2001.

Republicans still say that these deficits remains small relative to the gross domestic product, but the national debt will amount to a whopping 36.7 percent of GDP in 2009.

How about including actual figures in the budget outlook? Why do these supplemental spending packages are not factored in the administration's equations? How can Bush go in front of the American people and tell them that the deficit is much lower than what it seems?

On this $3 trillion plus budget, over $2 trillion covers Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and the interest on the debt. That leaves about $987.6 billion. Then more than half - $515.4 billion - would go to the Pentagon, but KNOW THAT IT DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY WAR FUNDING!!! That is categorized as emergency funding, so Bush gets to hide it from the official deficit projections.

Bush can talk about getting rid of earmarks, but they are a small percentage of the federal budget. He hasn't even talked about cutting the red tape in the defense bureaucracy. Can we stop listening to these financial lies?

Oh yeah, if you look at Bush's 2009 budget outlook, he assumes the following:

1) The growth of Medicare and Medicaid will be trimmed by $195.7 billion over five years

2) The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is allowed to hit more taxpayers after the 2008 tax year.

3) That the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not funded beyond 2009.

How can he assume these things? It's doubtful on one. On two, it seems he wants that tax increase to hit the poor middle class. Three, it looks like there was a withdrawal plan for the troops.

Bush better drop his "fiscal discipline" legacy from his memoirs. Not true at all!

Link

Link

Link

Potomac Primary Results - 2/12/08

District of Columbia
Democratic: Obama (75%)
Republican: McCain (68%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 8%)

Maryland
Democratic: Obama (60%)
Republican: McCain (55%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 6%)

Virginia
Democratic: Obama (64%)
Republican: McCain (50%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 5%)

Next up:
February 19 - Hawaii (D), Washington, and Wisconsin

Murray Sabrin for U.S. Senate (NJ) - Endorsed by Ron Paul

Dr. Murray Sabrin is Professor of Finance in the Anisfield School of Business and Executive Director of the Center for Business and Public Policy, Ramapo College of New Jersey. He has a Ph.D. in economic geography from Rutgers University, an M.A. in social studies education from Lehman College and a B.A. in history, geography and social studies education. Sabrin has worked in commercial real estate sales and marketing, personal portfolio management, and economic research.

Sabrin is a nationally recognized spokesman for free enterprise and limited government. He has spoken before scores of civic, business and educational organizations, and has been interviewed on approximately 200 cable television programs and radio shows throughout the United States. He lectures frequently for the Foundation for Free Enterprise and has lectured for the Foundation for Economic Education. His major addresses are entitled, The Coming Collapse of the Welfare-Warfare State, and The Federal Reserve's 90-Year Legacy.

He is currently seeking the Republican nomination for New Jersey Senator. The other two opponents so far are Anne Evans Estabrook, a wealthy developer from Monomouth County, and State Sen. Joe Pennacchio, a dentist from Morris County.

The winner will likely face Democratic incumbent Frank Lautenberg.

Link

Philly.com - Sabrin gets back in the running

Police deputy dumps disabled man on the floor

When I saw this, I was like "WTF???"

See Video

The video itself is quite a shock. Basically, a Hillsborough County deputy dumped a quadriplegic inmate out of his wheelchair and onto the floor. Apparently, the deputy did not believe 32-year-old Brian Sterner was a paraplegic (corrected). Sterner broke his neck almost 14 years ago. He was in the station because he was arrested for a traffic violation.

After he fell down, the deputy and another officer proceeded to frisk him.

The video shows several people in the room at the time of the incident, and none of them came to Sterner's aide.

The sheriff in charge did not know about the incident until the local news station showed him his own security tapes of the event.

The news crew also reported that no written report was made because it was determined that it did not offend or worry any inmates at the jail. (another WTF?)

As the investigation continues, the deputy shown on the video dumping Sterner onto the floor has been suspended without pay. Two other officers were placed on administrative leave with pay.

* * * * *

From Fox News:

The deputy in question is Charlotte Marshall Jones. She has been part of the Hillsborough County police since 1986.

Chief Deputy Jose Docobo:
"The best I could do is offer him our apologies. There's no excuse. This is indefensible. To the extent that we can make it right for this gentleman, we'll attempt to do so."

Ron Paul: Going the Distance - 2/11/08

Wait for news for a march in Washington, D.C. Also, Ron Paul's congressional primary is on March 4. Donate to his congressional campaign!

So far he has raised over $285,000 this quarter.

Neocons trying to oust Ron Paul with faulty ad

Here's an ad running in Texas against Ron Paul

Link

1) I cannot believe folks think that America is blameless. How can you say that everything was done because of America's freedom and their democratic ideals, and it wasn't the CIA overthrow or the American military bases set up in their country? Why keep this one-sided argument and not face the real truth of looking at a combination of reasons?

2) & 3) are probably from bills that were attached as a rider to important legislation that Ron Paul voted against. Again, this is a political tactic used to get voters to feel angry. Just a cheapshot.

4) We have spent several hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq. How much should we spend? Over a trillion more? Somehow we are willing to sacrifice our own economy to help re-build another country.

Instead of "Blame America First" let's "Blame the Neocons First"

It's not the $54 million pants lawsuit, it's the $54 million laptop lawsuit

I thought it was pretty friviolous when former Judge Pearson filed a $54 million lawsuit against a local dry cleaner shop on a pair of pants.

A $54 million lawsuit by Raelyn Campbell on a laptop may also seem ridiculous, but if Best Buy is going to lie to you for nine straight months, then something like this may prove useful in getting this company to treat their customers better.

The woman's damaged laptop was at her local Best Buy for six months for repairs, then she was finally told that it was lost. Then it took three months trying to settle some sort of compensation, and finally she had to file that astronomical lawsuit.

Campbell bought her new laptop at Best Buy in 2006, and she pay an extra $300 for an extended warranty. Fortunately, this was good for her when a year later, the computer's on/off switch broke. She took the computer back to the store, and she was given a repair estimate of TWO TO SIX WEEKS!

If it were 2-6 weeks for a business user, then it is clearly not productive and shows there must be very lazy techs working there. Honestly, I can send a IBM laptop with a broken screen back to their repair depot and get it back in roughly 2 weeks.

Anyway, it was alright for Campbell since she had to go abroad for a couple of weeks. When she came back from Asia, she did not hear anything from Best Buy.

Her Aug. 24 complaint letter to the firm was filled with exasperation.

“On July 11, I contacted the (store’s) helpline and was instructed by ‘Agent David Goodfellow’ that it would be ‘ready within days,’” she wrote to the firm in a letter dated Aug. 24. “I called the service line again on July 19, and was told by a female agent that the computer appeared to be at the ‘Louisville Services Center since July 4.’ On July 25, I called again and spoke to Brenda, who transferred me to Daniel. Daniel confirmed that a ‘part had just been ordered. It should leave Louisville soon.’ …When I heard nothing further, I called yet again on Aug. 7 and spoke with Ashley. When she could not confirm any additional information, I asked to speak to a manager. I was told the manager, ‘Marsha,’ was in a meeting. I asked her to call ASAP. My call was not returned, so I called again on Aug. 9. I explained the whole situation yet again to ‘Cicero,’ who indicated that there seemed to be a problem.”

The problem was severe: “It never appears to have left the store,” she recounted Cicero as telling her. A few days later, he called back and admitted that the computer had been lost. The way she sees it, the other company clerks had been lying to her all along.

* * * * * *

Of course, the compensation part was even worse.

Campbell paid more than $1,100 for the computer and warranty.

Best Buy's first offer: $900 gift card

She wanted $2,100 in cash. She got family and friends to write to the store in protest. It did surprise her when the store's general manager, Robert Delissio, replied back to the letters.

His response, in a sort of condescending way:

"For every customer that has had an unpleasant experience I can show you hundreds who have had a great experience. I have been in retail for a long time and the one conclusion I have come to is that not every customer can be satisfied," he wrote in an e-mail supplied by Campbell. "Does my store have opportunities? Absolutely! What I can say is that we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive."

* * * * * *

A textbook answer. Of course we cannot satisfy everybody, but if your personnel lost a laptop and the person's financial and personal information, how can you treat it with less value? Your employees were totally at fault, not the customer. When you get that one isolated situation, why do you treat it with such disdain and ignorance? Imagine if you really took care of Campbell, it would have created a positive image for the company and its employees.

Best Buy did increased their offer, only after the Washington, D.C., attorney general called the store.

This time: $1,100 credit card refund plus $500 gift card

Then Campbell had a bigger problem than a lost computer - the potential for identity theft. She did have her personal information on the computer including her personal tax returns. So she had to enroll in a identity theft monitoring service. She also learned that Best Buy was in violation of the district's security breach notification law, which requires companies that have lost a consumer's data to tell them. To date, she has not received that notification.

Finally, she filed the $54 million lawsuit.

Best Buy increased their offer again: $1,100 refund, the $500 gift card, and $2,500 in cash. But she would have to withdraw her lawsuit and sign a confidentiality agreement.

* * * * * *

Why a secret agreement? To cover up their security lapse in the loss of a customer's laptop? To cover up the lies the customer service reps have made to Campbell?

Campbell knows she won't get the $54 million. All she really wants is a promise from the company that it will train employees on privacy issues and on procedures for preventing loss or theft of returned items.

= = = = = = =

I am sure we can all understand her situation. I have shopped at Best Buy quite often and pretty much got great service in return. Of course, I have not encountered a situation where I had to deal with Best Buy on returning a product for service or replacement. I guess it is always smooth sailing when buying something, but if you need something fixed or you need to return something for a replacement or refund, then Best Buy gets quite stingy.

Ahh, the Geeksquad... bunch of smartass techs. Perhaps even incompetent too.

Link

Campbell's Blog

The truth behind the rebate checks

That $300-500 rebate check, part of the so-called economic stimulus package passed by Congress, is not free money!!!

It is an advance off your 2008 tax credit.

Congress implemented a one-time tax cut for income earned in 2008. Rather than delay the benefit of that cut until you file your tax returns in 2009, Congress is giving you the money now.

If you don't qualify now (either your AGI is below $3,000 or above $87,000,) but do qualify next year, you can still claim the credit when you file your returns for 2008. If you qualify this year, but not next year, congratulations, you win, enjoy your free money.

The government wants you to immediately inject your rebate into the economy by buying all those delicious consumables we love to write about. Saving or paying back student loans is not what they have in mind.

However, recent surveys showed that about 25% of Americans would spend their rebate check. The rest would put that money towards their bills.

What is a Republican?

If we look at Wikipedia and ask for a definition, being a Republican would probably mean being a fiscal conservative, social conservative, and an economic libertarian.

We would generally support lower taxes and limited government.

Former President Ronald Reagan summed up his belief in government:
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

Republicans believe making law is in the province of the legislature and is against activist judges. They are also in favor of separation of powers to maintain equal power between the government branches. They believe in a robust version of federalism with greater limitations placed upon federal power and a larger role reserved for the States.

They are generally pro-life and pro-family, and would favor an amendment to define marriage exclusively between a man and a woman. They also favor a strong national defense and they tended to disapprove interventionist foreign policy actions.

So on and so forth...

* * * * * * * * * *

Of course, parts of the Republican platform has changed. It seems they now favor expanded government, the sacrifice of state rights to increase the power of the central government, a president making decisions based on the unitary executive theory where he or she can override or ignore laws passed by the legislature, limit civil liberties, unilateral military actions, and the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

Instead of supporting democratically elected government, we forge alliances with dictatorship-style governments in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.

Should the Republican Party rename itself the American Empire Party? The Always at War Party? The Executive Party?

How can we still consider ourselves conservatives based on all these changes?

Bush orders clampdown on flights to US

After having scored an agreement with European air carriers over the exchange of passenger information on flights heading to the U.S., the Bush administration is now demanding a new range of security measures for transatlantic travel, including allowing armed guards on ALL flights from Europe to America by US airlines.

EU officials described the new demands as "blackmail" and "troublesome" and the possibility that if an agreement is not worked out, Western Europeans and the UK would be required to have US visas before flying over.

There is also an additional demand by the Department of Homeland Security to require all European passengers to apply online for permission to enter the country before booking or buying a ticket, a procedure that will take several days.

Welcome to Fortress America. Expect passengers to add another 1-2 hours to get processed through check-in. Honeslty, the Europeans should return the favor and require U.S. citizens to get a visa. Let's get rid of visa-free travel. If you want to fly abroad, you must check-in at least 24 hours in advance!!!

Link

"Anonymous" protests against Scientology

Link

Protests in Boston, New York, Toronto, the U.K., Australia, and a dozen other locations.

Rock on!

Youth Vote in 2008 Likely to Disrupt Political Status Quo

See CNN video on the youth vote

The 2008 presidential election may mark the turning point where the youth will contribute strongly in shaping America's future for years to come. The political establishment has long viewed the youth as being apathetic and uninterested in politics. Turnout among young voters had been consistently low in past presidential and congressional elections.

This year, that view will change.

According to CNN exit polls and tabulations from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, young voters turned out in record numbers in more than 20 states. In practically every state holding a primary or caucus on Super Tuesday, youth turnout increased astronomically, doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling the turnout in the 2000 and 2004 electoral seasons.

CIRCLE Director Peter Levine
"Young Americans have been turning out to vote at remarkable rates in these primaries. This reflects their deep concern about the critical issues at stake and the impact of this election on our country's future. Since 2000, young people have been volunteering at high rates and are becoming more interested in news and public affairs. Now, they are ready to consider voting as a way of addressing major problems."

CBS News reported that Illinois Senator Barack Obama netted 59 percent of voters under 30 years old on Super Tuesday. Clinton only got about 38 percent. Young men supported Obama by a margin of 64 to 33 percent over Clinton, and young women supported Obama by 53 to 45 percent.

In Tennessee, young voters quadrupled their turnout from 35,000 in 2000 to nearly 140,000 on Super Tuesday. In Georgia, young voters tripled their turnout this year, with more than 280,000 individuals casting a ballot, compared to approximately 92,000 in 2000. When it came to California, more than 850,000 voters under 30 cast ballots, far surpassing 2000 and 2004 levels. Youth voter turnout tripled in Missouri. In Massachusetts, youth turnout doubled from 2000, with 231,000-plus hitting the polls this year. More than 187,000 voters under 30 participated in New Jersey's primary. New York was relatively unchanged from 2000. In Connecticut, the youth vote was doubled from 2000. In Utah, more than 66,300 youth voters voted. Oklahoma tripled their youth turnout.

While some may appreciate the involvement and participation of the youth vote in the electoral process, alarm bells are probably ringing throughout the rest of the political establishment. The youth vote can be quite unpredictable which may concern some political anaylsts. They tend to be cynical to the political process, not quite trusting the politicians in Washington, and hate being spoon-fed the same bullshit answers every year. They are also quite concerned with the war in Iraq, the economy, the bloated federal budget, jobs, social security, and their financial burden in the future.

Some analysts are still not worried and they point to low youth turnout in previous elections. Also from Super Tuesday, youth turnout in Arizona and Arkansas was 7 percent and 10 percent of eligible voters, respectively. Their over-30 counterparts chalked up rates of 23 percent in Arizona and 28 percent in Arkansas. In Massachusetts, young voters turned out a respectable 25 percent. But it was 40 percent for voters over 30.

Yes, youth numbers were low in past presidential elections, but 2008 could be different.

Director of Education at Rock the Vote, Kat Barr
"2008 is the year of the youth vote. The winner in November and the winners in these primary contests are going to be the people who reach out and successfully mobilize young people."

Presidential candidates such like Obama and Ron Paul have been getting a fair share of online buzz among young adults. They got the internet to distribute viral YouTube videos, utilizing the latest technology available, and finding ways to alert voters besides the usual mainstream media.

I would think that the young voters are getting sick of being on the sidelines and letting the middle-aged and elderly dictate policy for them. The 2008 election could mark the future direction of our country. Would they want to be part of a neverending war? Would they expect a draft? Would they face higher taxes because of our national debt? Would they face higher payroll taxes to fund a bankrupt Social Security system? Would they face limited civil liberties? Would they sacrifice freedom for security? How about job security? Social issues? Free Speech? Global warming? Pollution? Immigration?

It's time to disrupt the status quo.

MTV - Super Tuesday Sees Unprecedented Youth Vote

TIME - Why the World Needs the Youth Vote

February 9-10 Primary Elections

FEBRUARY 9

Kansas (R)
Huckabee (60%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 11%)

Louisiana
Republican: Huckabee (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
Democratic: Obama (57%)

Nebraska (D)
Obama (68%)

Washington
Republican: McCain (26%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 21%)
Democratic: Obama (68%)

FEBRUARY 10

Maine (D)
Obama (59%)

Whiny Pats Fans Sign Petition Against Super Bowl Loss

Over 6,500 signatures have been signed to a petition calling for the NFL to investigate the final 1:40 of Super Bowl XLII between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. The Pats were upset when they lost to the Giants by a score of 17-14.

See Petition here

They are complaining about the game clock being stopped after Jacobs attained a first down. That was the 4th and 1 play. The game officials were not sure if the first down was attained so they brought up the chains to confirm that the ball did pass it. This is where there is argument on whether the clock should have kept on counting down. The petition argues that based upon that and other plays in the final drive, the Giants would have ran out of time in order to beat the Pats.

Of course, no one would be definitely sure if the Pats would have kept their lead. If the petition said there should be 40 seconds less for the Giants, then it is also possible that Manning and his offensive line would still achieve the impossible and score a touchdown to win the championship.

I would rather think that it was destiny for the Giants to win. Overall, they wanted it more.

Drop the sore loser mentality and concentrate on next season. Did any Rams fans start whining about losing against the Patriots? About some sort of conspiracy? Sheesh.

Let's move on.

Ron Paul at Liberty U. - 2/8/08

Also, something to read:
US News & World Report - Ron Paul: Spoiler?

Intro

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Ron Paul at the CPAC Convention - 2/7/08

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


GOP sources: Romney to suspend presidential campaign

From CNN:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will suspend his Republican presidential campaign after a disappointing showing in this week's "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses, GOP sources said today. Romney is expected to announce his decision this afternoon at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, three Republican sources told CNN.

This basically leaves McCain, Huckabee, and Paul.

Link

Real ID - the so-called national ID card

real_id.gifOn May 11, about four months from now, millions of law-abiding Americans could face new hassles when traveling on commercial flights if they hold driver's licenses or ID cards issued by states that haven't agreed to comply with Real ID. Those same people will also face hassles when entering federal buildings such as the U.S. Capitol building or any federal courthouse.

Of course, everyone is asking why our lawmakers passed such a law in the first place. Well, our wonderful politicians knew that this legislation would be controversial so they decided to bypass the usual legislative process and inserted the legislation as a rider to the mammoth Iraq spending and Asian tsunami bill, the "Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005." No public hearings, no public discussion, no open debate was made.

For the full, unedited text of the relevant section of the law

In May, you may see additional lines at airport with signs "Real ID" and "non-Real ID." Of course, the government has not ruled on whether citizens with a non-compliant Real ID would be allowed to travel on an airplane or enter a federal building.

Currently, Americans living in Maine, South Carolina, Montana, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and up to 15 other states plus the District of Columbia that have rejected the Real ID regulations on privacy and cost grounds or have not agreed to comply will be affected.

This represents a potentially embarrassing political setback to the Bush administration, which has championed Real ID as a way to identify terrorists and criminals. But instead of what supporters hoped would be a seamless shift to a nationalized ID card, the requirements have created a confusing patchwork of state responses. In addition, the administration has been forced to scale back Real ID after an outcry from state motor vehicle administrators.

Airlines and travelers associations worry the May 11 deadline will herald chaos at airports unsurpassed by any other recent change to federal law. Travelers from non-Real ID states will have no choice but to undergo what Homeland Security delicately calls "delays" and "enhanced security screening" unless they happen to have a valid U.S. passport issued by the State Department.

"The DHS proposal that individuals who do not have a passport and happen to live in states that do not seek an extension to comply before May of this year will not be allowed to board a domestic flight is extremely concerning," said Kevin Maguire, president and CEO of the National Business Travel Association, which represents corporate travel managers and travel service providers.

Currently, less than 30 percent of Americans have U.S. passports, and it takes about 4-6 weeks for processing.

Expect a lot of political brinksmanship between the federal government and the states in the coming months. Recently, the nation's most populous states, including Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Georgia, have not agreed to comply with Real ID. On the other hand, California has publicly applauded Real ID. (What are they drinking over there?)

Link

FAQ

* * * * *

OHIO - The state has requested an extension and was approved. (link) - Initial deadline for compliance with Real ID is Dec 31, 2009.

NEW JERSEY - It has not decided whether to comply, reject it, or request an extension. The state government is unsure of the fiscal requirements due to their weak budget.

NEW YORK - It has already received an "unsolicited extension" from DHS as part of a recent agreement to change its driver's license policies.

Clarity Sought on Electronic Searches

The seizure of electronics at U.S. borders has prompted protests from travelers who say they now weigh the risk of traveling with sensitive or personal information on their laptops, cameras or cellphones. In some cases, companies have altered their policies to require employees to safeguard corporate secrets by clearing laptop hard drives before international travel.

Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups in San Francisco, are filing a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including which rules govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices. They also want to know the boundaries for asking travelers about their political views, religious practices and other activities potentially protected by the First Amendment. The question of whether border agents have a right to search electronic devices at all without suspicion of a crime is already under review in the federal courts.

The U.S. government has argued in a pending court case that its authority to protect the country's border extends to looking at information stored in electronic devices such as a laptop without any suspicion of a crime. In border searches, it regards a laptop the same as a suitcase.

If the government's position on searches of electronic files is upheld, new risks will confront anyone who crosses the border with a laptop or other device, warned Mark Rasch, a technology security expert with FTI Consulting and a former federal prosecutor. "Your kid can be arrested because they can't prove the songs they downloaded to their iPod were legally downloaded," he said. "Lawyers run the risk of exposing sensitive information about their client. Trade secrets can be exposed to customs agents with no limit on what they can do with it. Journalists can expose sources, all because they have the audacity to cross an invisible line."

* * * * * *

Imagine if they were to expand electronic searches to domestic travel?

Link


McCain misses economic stimulus vote

The weird part of this is that Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina was traveling with McCain, and the both of them arrived in Washington-Dulles Airport just before the proceedings opening on the Senate floor on whether to expand the economic stimulus plan to include 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans.

Senator Graham managed to get to the Senate to cast his vote against the expanded plan. McCain never made it.

The vote was 58-41 in favor, but the measure was rejected because the Democrats needed 60 votes to break the Republican filibuster. It was actually 59 votes, but Majority Leader Sen. Reid changed his vote to "no" so he can bring up the measure again in the near future.

99 votes, McCain was the lone senator who missed it. Altogether, McCain has missed all eight roll call votes since the beginning of this year.

Asked Wednesday morning to comment on the pending vote, McCain talked about the need to pass a stimulus measure quickly. Later, on his plane, he said he was not sure he would make the vote.

"I haven't had a chance to talk about it at all, have not had the opportunity to, even," McCain said. "We've just been too busy, focused on other stuff. I don't know if I'm doing that. We've got a couple of meetings scheduled."

* * * * *

McCain, you are the so-called Republican front-runner. You were supposed to woo other members of your party to support the expanded package or maybe your plan was to go against it in favor of the House-passed version. You were in a Catch-22. Vote "no" to not give Social Security recipients and disabled veterans rebate checks. Vote "yes" and you offend Bush, GOP leaders, and conservatives who are already suspicious of your political leanings. Of course, you missed the vote. I really don't know if it was just a plan to avoid being on record.

Regardless, it gives a bit of PR ammo to Clinton and Obama.

Link

Senate roll-call vote

Ron Paul campaign - National Delegate Count is 42 or more

With the results of many of the “Super Tuesday” primaries and caucuses now finalized, the Ron Paul campaign is now projecting that it has at least 42 delegates to the national convention secured.

According to campaign projections, a minimum of 24 delegates were won in yesterday’s contests. When added to projected delegates coming from strong showings in Iowa (4), Nevada (8), Louisiana (3) and Maine (3), that brings the total delegate count to 42 delegates or more.

Link

The Aftermath of Super Tuesday

I voted in the New Jersey Republican primary one hour before the polls closed and placed my checkmark next to Ron Paul. Getting home, I managed to persuade my parents to also go down to the polling station, but alas, they both voted for McCain.

In any case, McCain carried the state by a landslide (given Giuliani's endorsement) winning 55% of the vote and all 52 state delegates. Romney was 2nd with 28%, Huckabee with 8%, and Ron Paul with 5%. Giuliani's name was still on the ballot and still managed to get 3%.

Living in Morris County, McCain won with 55%, Romney got 31%, Huckabee 7%, Paul 4%, and Giuliani 3%.

In nearby New York, McCain won the state with 51%. Romney got 28%, Huckabee 11%, Paul 7%, and Giuliani 3%. It does feel strange that Paul did not do better. You would think New York would give Paul a greater turnout because of his anti-war position. Paul did hit double-digits in the Bronx, Fulton, Greene, and Hamilton counties.

As such, I would like to thank the corporate state media for their blackout of Ron Paul. I figured McCain got most of the anti-war vote in New York because many voters have never heard of Ron Paul's platform. Most folks do agree there is a mainstream bias against Paul. They certainly cannot ignore the fact that he raised the most cash in the last quarter of 2007. Of course, he started getting publicity when the Republican field was narrowing and especially with Thompson and Giuliani leaving the race. Still, we saw examples of major state newspapers ignoring Ron Paul. They would list McCain, Romney, and Huckabee and their platform, but nothing on Paul. In California, the Los Angeles Times made their tepid endorsement of John McCain, but discussed every remaining GOP candidate except for Paul.

Despite a huge presence on the Internet, voters still rely quite a lot on the mainstream media. It is with hope that this will change in the near future. Then candidates such like Ron Paul can defeat the media establishment.

If we looked at the plus side for Paul, he came in second in the Montana Republican caucuses right behind former governor Mitt Romney winning eleven counties outright. In North Dakota, Paul was third with 21%, behind Romney's 36% and McCain's 23%. In Alaska, he was also third with 17%, Romney got 44%, and Huckabee got 22%. By the end of the night, Paul has a total of 16 delegates to the Republican Convention. Add three more if you count the West Virginia deal with Huckabee.

Compared with the rest of the candidates, Paul has virtually lost the nomination. McCain is leading with 615 delegates, Romney 268, and Huckabee 169. Most folks knew it was a long shot anyway.

But will he drop out of the race? Probably not.

He still does have a substantial amount of cash left in his campaign.

On February 9th, Kansas, Louisiana and Washington (caucus) will vote. Note that in Louisiana, Paul has garnered a majority of alternate delegates to the state convention.

February 12th has District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

February 19th has Washington (primary) and Wisconsin.

March 4th is Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont.

March 11th has Mississippi.

April 22nd has Pennsylvania.

May 6th has Indiana and North Carolina.

May 13th is Nebraska.

May 18th is Hawaii.

May 20th has Kentucky and Oregon.

May 27th is Idaho.

June 3rd gives us New Mexico and South Dakota.

At this point, the Ron Paul campaign is looking to stay in the race until March 4th or perhaps way past it. It is possible that by that date, a Republican candidate would nearly clinch the nomination. Out of the remaining states, Paul could do well in Oregon and Idaho. Of course, it will not be enough. It is clear by now that Ron Paul is trying to get his message out to the Republican base and to all the voters.

But I don't think the media will let him. After Super Tuesday, the chances for him to get into future debates will be slim. If he won at least one state, there should be no problem. There is supposed to be a Republican debate on the 28th of February sponsored by MSNBC and Ron Paul was invited. Will he be dis-invited?

Super Tuesday results

Refresh to get latest results as they come in

Projected winners called by CNN

As of 6:15AM EST

Alabama
Democratic: Obama (56%)
Republican: Huckabee (41%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Alaska
Democratic: Obama (75%)
Republican: Romney (44%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 17%)
Arizona
Democratic: Clinton (51%)
Republican: McCain (48%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Arkansas
Democratic: Clinton (69%)
Republican: Huckabee (60%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
California
Democratic: Clinton (52%)
Republican: McCain (42%) (Ron Paul, 5th, 4%)
Colorado
Democratic: Obama (67%)
Republican: Romney (60%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 8%)
Connecticut
Democratic: Obama (51%)
Republican: McCain (52%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Delaware
Democratic: Obama (53%)
Republican: McCain (45%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Georgia
Democratic: Obama (67%)
Republican: Huckabee (34%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Idaho (D)
Democratic: Obama (79%)
Illinois
Democratic: Obama (65%)
Republican: McCain (47%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
Kansas (D)
Democratic: Obama (74%)
Maine (R)
Republican: Romney (52%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 19%)
Massachusetts
Democratic: Clinton (56%)
Republican: Romney (51%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Minnesota
Democratic: Obama (67%)
Republican: Romney (42$) (Ron Paul, 4th, 15%)
Missouri
Democratic: Obama (49%)
Republican: McCain (33%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 4%)
Montana (R)
Republican: Romney (38%) (Ron Paul, 2nd, 25%)
New Jersey
Democratic: Clinton (54%)
Republican: McCain (55%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 5%)
New Mexico (D)
Democratic: ? (Obama leading at this time - 92% reporting)
New York
Democratic: Clinton (57%)
Republican: McCain (51%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 7%)
North Dakota
Democratic: Obama (61%)
Republican: Romney (36%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 21%)
Oklahoma
Democratic: Clinton (55%)
Republican: McCain (37%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 3%)
Tennessee
Democratic: Clinton (54%)
Republican: Huckabee (34%) (Ron Paul, 4th, 6%)
Utah
Democratic: Obama (57%)
Republican: Romney (90%) (Ron Paul, 3rd, 3%)
West Virginia (R)
Republican: Huckabee (52%)

Huckabee / Ron Paul deal in WV

The media is reporting that Huckabee won all 18 delegates at the West Virginia state Republican convention, but...

After Ron Paul's 10% showing on the first convention ballot, his name was dropped out of the running for ballot #2. The Ron Paul people went to Huckabee and made a deal to get 3 of the 18 national delegates in exchange for throwing their votes to Huckabee. On the second ballot, Huckabee got 52%, and Ron Paul gets 3 of his national delegates. Not a bad trade for 10%.

Link

Fox News reports Huckabee wins West Virginia

Fox News reporting that Huckabee has won the poll at the West Virginia GOP convention.

In the first round, it was Romney 41%, Huckabee 33%, McCain 15%, and Ron Paul 10%. Paul was eliminated.

In the second round, Huckabee garnered a majority of the votes thereby winning the 18 delegates the state will send to the national convention.

Note: CNN also projects Huckabee win.

Ron Paul re-election battle

Apart from his presidential campaign, Ron Paul is also running for re-election for his Texas 14th congressional district seat.

But it looks like he has a Republican rival gunning for his seat.

Chris Peden is running on a pro-family, pro-life Christian conservative. He is attacking Ron Paul for being a libertarian, and not being a true conservative. Of course, he's for the constitution, abolishing the IRS, protecting life, but he is trying to get voters to see that Ron Paul is not really part of the party.

Help Support Ron Paul in defending his seat

* * * * *

Note that the Lone Star Times and the Chronicle reported that Peden has raised twice as much funds as Paul, but they failed to report that most of the money came from Peden's family.

Link

Ron Paul displayed on top of NY Ballot

Nice omen. Voters are seeing Ron Paul displayed at the top of the NY primary ballot. The next two spots below are blank, then Rudy is next.

Rumor: Romney/Paul ticket

That's what I have heard. Just think about it.

The Tennessean excludes Ron Paul from their Super Tuesday Election article

Link

Apparently, on their Election Voters Guide article on Super Tuesday, they listed the Democratic and Republican candidates still in the race. Of course, for the Republicans, they decided not to include Ron Paul. Only Huckabee, McCain, and Romney were listed.

On the next page, they listed all the major issues and the candidates' positions. Of course, Ron Paul was not listed.

The Editor refuses to put out a correction.

MTV Debate: Ron Paul Highlights


YouTube Part 1 - Link

YouTube Part 2 - Link

YouTube Part 3 - Link

* * * * *

Short Part 1 - Link

Short Part 2 - Link

Also, Boston Meet-Up groups took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe, pointing out that only Ron, of all the candidates, has opposed the monstrous Iraq War.

Montana Endorsements for Ron Paul

Yesterday, the Ron Paul campaign announced the endorsement by seven members of the Montana State Legislature.

State Senator Aubyn Curtiss of Fortine
State Senator Jerry O' Neil of Columbia Falls
State Representative Rick Jore of Ronan
State Representative Roger Koopman of Bozeman
State Representative Tom McGillvray of Billings
State Representative Diane Rice of Harrison
State Representative of Jack Wells of Bozeman

He was also endorsed by Montana Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar.

Ron Paul campaign collects more than $5 million in 1Q 2008

Despite calls from fellow Republicans to Ron Paul supporters to re-direct their support to either McCain or Romney, the Ron Paul campaign continues to receive financial support. As such, it succeeded in reaching $5 million in donations by Super Tuesday (Feb 5th). (Currently $5.22 million as of 8:11AM EST)

Most supporters understand the long-shot odds for Ron Paul to clinch the nomination, but how can we change our minds when the other Republican candidate do not agree with Ron Paul's position? He promises to bring back smaller government, reduce government spending, and pull out of Iraq. He will also work to protect the US dollar. He is consistent with his voting record based on his principles. He is not a "flip-flopper." He does not believe in pre-emptive war. All of these are well-thought ideas. Yet, folks say he is a lunatic.

Polls suggest that Ron Paul will do well in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Yet, he is still stuck in the single-digits in the big delegate states.

Of course, after Super Tuesday, the media will undoubtedly ask Paul if he will drop out since they preferred to see the Republican race drop down to two major contenders.

So then he ends up with a hefty campaign war chest that will help him get re-elected to Congress, but that long-shot idea of an independent run is still dangling there. Ron Paul still says he won't do it, but most of his supporters still want him to run.

Let's see what the results say tonight.

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If you are also interested, here is Ron Paul's speech on September 19, 1984 where he served in Congress for four terms and was not running for re-election.

A Survelliance Society?

The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists.

But it's an issue that raises major privacy concerns -- what one civil liberties expert says should concern all Americans.

The bureau is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information -- from palm prints to eye scans.

Read more

Military Donors Back Ron Paul & Obama

The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign cash, looks at the 2007 money-raising and finds the following:

In 2007, the 2008 presidential candidates raised $582.5 million and spent $481.2 million.

In the 4th quarter of 2007, individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services the No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, contributing industries, respectively. War opponent Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, received the most from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Another war opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, was second with about $94,000.

Soldiers love Ron and Barack, and lobbyists love Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the No. 1 recipient of lobbyist cash, receiving $823,000 in 2007 from the lobbying industry, which gave about $2.7 million overall.

Read more

Ron Paul Beats McCain in Maine Caucus, Primed to Win Over 1/3 of State Delegates

While most reports about this past weekend’s Maine Caucus focused on the purely symbolic presidential preference poll, in the meaningful race to secure delegates to the state convention Ron Paul is primed to finish second with likely 35 percent of the total delegates.

Delegates to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis are elected by the state delegates. Internal results from 10 of 16 counties, including the largest cities of Portland, South Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Augusta, Waterville, Bangor, and Brewer, show Ron Paul picking up 215 of 608 State Convention delegates so far reported, or 35%.

“Ron Paul’s strong second place finish in Maine, in which he beat John McCain, is proof that this race is far from over,” said Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore. “We’ll continue to battle for every delegate in this wide-open race for the Republican nomination.”

In the presidential preference poll, with 70 percent reporting, Ron Paul is in third place just two percentage points behind John McCain. However, the Maine preference poll is purely a beauty contest, and in the actual election of state delegates the so-called “frontrunner” McCain is far behind Ron Paul.

Link

When Grand Central Stood Still

Q4 2007 Fundraising Figures

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_for_the_2008_presidential_election

As you can see, Ron Paul has almost $8 million in cash by the end of the year, compared for McCain who is in debt.

History of Tax Hikes, Tax Cuts Since 1992

With people arguing whether our tax rates are hurting or helping the wealthy, let's take a look at the historical figures. To me, it seems people always think in short-term outlooks, not long-term.

1993 saw a tax hike on the wealthy (via two new brackets at the top), and then 2001 through 2003 saw a series of tax cuts that lowered the tax brackets as follows:










  1992   1993 -
2000
  2001  2002  2003 -
2007
15% 15% 15% 10% 10%
15% 15%
28% 28% 27.5% 27% 25%
31% 31% 30.5% 30% 28%
36% 35.5% 35% 33%
39.6% 39.1% 38.6% 35%

From 2000 to 2002 most brackets dropped by one percent, and there was a new low bracket added for the "lucky duckies" at the very bottom.

In 2003 most brackets got an additional cut of two percent with a special gift for the "other" lucky duckies, the ones at the top. But note that the rich still paid more in 2003, and everybody else paid less, than was the case in 1992.

Now if we could just balance the budget...

McCain changes story on tax cut stance

Republican John McCain says he opposed President Bush's tax cuts because they didn't come with spending cuts. That is not what he said at the time.

In a presidential debate on Wednesday, McCain said he voted against the Bush tax cuts because he wanted to rein in spending.

"I disagreed when we had tax cuts without spending restraint," the Arizona senator said.

The explanation fits with his history of railing against wasteful federal spending. But it does not fit with McCain's comments when he opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.

In 2001, McCain said the tax cuts favored the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. In 2003, he said there should be no tax cuts until the Iraq war costs were known.

His aversion to the Bush tax cuts is just another reason McCain gives heartburn to many in the conservative GOP base. Besides taxes, there is also his more forgiving attitude toward illegal immigration, his effort to limit money in politics and his long-running feuds with leaders of the Christian right.

The debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., came on the heels of Tuesday's Florida primary, when McCain defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gaining an advantage going into next week's Super Tuesday primary.

Link

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Also remember McCain's claim about Republicans losing the 2006 election because of spending, it was actually a combination of the economy, Iraq, terrorism, and scandals and corruption in government.

McCain really needs to do actual "straight-talking."