How the Interventionists Stole the American Right
by Ryan McMaken
Thanks to Ron Paul, the Conservative movement is having an identity crisis. The old guard of the Conservative movement, which also happens to be the Republican Party establishment, still clings to the old creation myth of the Conservative movement. Namely, that there was no opposition to the New Deal-Liberal consensus until William F. Buckley and National Review came along in 1955, saving America from the American left, social democracy, moral turpitude and international Communism.
The modern gatekeepers of the movement, and the Republican Party officials, who fancy themselves as the keepers of the last word on the acceptable range of debate within the movement, cannot understand why the Ron Paul movement is more concerned with actually shrinking the size of government than with waging endless wars for endless peace. They cannot fathom that people claiming to be part of the American Right might actually be interested in rolling back government power to tax, wiretap, spy, arrest, imprison and feel up American citizens. This runs contrary to everything they have ever imbibed about what it means to be Conservative in America.
And to a certain extent, they are correct. Since the Buckley-National Review wing of the movement in the 1950s gradually took control of the American Right, the movement became recognizable no longer by any particular concern with freedom or with free markets, but with a struggle against international Communism, with fighting culture wars and with other collectivist and big-government notions that came to dominate the movement by the 1960s. Thus, in response, the modern National Review columnists and the established Conservative punditry has repeatedly attempted to read the Ron Paul movement out of the American Right wing, although to very little effect.
While the modern disciples of Buckley and American interventionism act aghast and claim that the Conservatives and libertarians within the Paul movement have some how betrayed the ideals of the right, it is actually the laissez faire and anti-interventionists among the Paul wing of the movement that have the better claim to being true to the roots of the movement.
The Conservative movement, in its original form, was primarily concerned with laissez faire, with civil liberties and with a restrained and anti-interventionist foreign policy. This wasn't just some quick flash-in-the-pan that occurred before people supposedly wised up about the so-called Communist menace. This was a diverse ideological movement that dominated the American Right for more than twenty years from the early days of the New Deal to the mid-1950s.
The names that come down to us today from what is now called the "Old Right" were powerful voices for laissez faire during the New Deal and post-war years: Albert Jay Nock, Frank Chodorov, Garet Garrett, Leonard Read, Henry Hazlitt and Felix Morley.
Now, these theorists almost never referred to themselves as "Conservatives" in these early years. Frank Chodorov famously threatened to punch anyone who called him a Conservative, but this was the label that was affixed to the movement by its enemies who insisted on branding anyone who opposed the revolutionary and socialist policies of the Roosevelt administration as "reactionaries" and "Conservatives." (Later, the Buckley wing would adopt the term and graft it onto the movement that had earlier thought of itself as a "radical" movement.)
Yet, it was this burgeoning laissez faire movement in opposition to the New Deal and later to a variety of foreign military interventions that provided the foundation of the movement that Buckley and his followers would later distort to fit their own policies of big-government anti-Communism.
Even the Pro-Buckley version of movement history, penned by George Nash, recognizes the primacy or laissez faire and anti-state ideologies in the movement. Indeed, Nash's history of the movement, in its first chapter, titled "The Revolt of the Libertarians," places the anti-government movement, with theorists such as Hayek and von Mises as instrumental in providing the theoretical underpinnings of the movement.
Nash presents this libertarian "stage" of the movement all as a minor and short lived affair of course, and as a mere stop on the way to Buckley-style conservatism. In reality however, Buckley's takeover of the Conservative movement, made possible through connections to the East Coast establishment and by promoting militant nationalism at the expense of laissez faire, allowed Buckley to build on a growing anti-establishment movement, and turn it instead into a movement that actually promoted the establishment through endless military intervention and culture war.
This new movement which was called the New Right (since it was something new) was devoted to an agenda that was opposed to the free-market and small-government ideologies of the Old Right, but which also exploited the popularity of the old libertarian message to hammer together a movement that occasionally made a nod in the direction of free markets and civil liberties.
Thus we see that Buckley had unsuccessfully attempted to purchase Human Events magazine which was itself moving toward aggressive anti-Communism, but still retained many of the laissez faire leanings inherited from past editors Morley and Chodorov. At the same The Freeman, a magazine edited by Chodorov, and later by Hazlitt, was also considered one of the mainstays of the movement, and was printed under the auspices of the Foundation for Economic Education, the first free-market think tank, and founded by libertarian Leonard Read.
Buckley went on in 1955 to found National Review where he could fully depart from the old laissez faire and anti-interventionist coterie that was found at The Freeman, Human Events and among some widely read columnists, such as Henry Hazlitt, who still promoted the old line.
Buckley brought with him a stable of former Communists who had little to no grounding in the established intellectual strains of the libertarian and Old Right movements of the time. Recent Communists like James Burnham, Max Eastman, Frank Meyer and Whitaker Chambers were brought in the displace the old rightists and libertarians who were more interested in freedom than in waging endless crusades against far away countries with second-rate economies.
The ex-Communists were still in awe of the movement they abandoned. For whatever reason, they had turned against their old movements, but they still believed that the economic system of Communism would produce better results than the economic system of capitalism. They believed that Communism as a political system of Communism was therefore more likely to succeed than the far less "disciplined" and "organized" ideologies of the West.
No one held this gloomy view of the future more steadfastly than Whitaker Chambers. Chambers believed that Western opposition to Communism was probably little better than a rear guard action that would only slow the eventual triumph of Communism.
This sort of doomsday Conservatism, based on a weak understanding of economics and a latent Communism that still believed in its inevitable triumph, could only further propel the Buckley movement ever more down the road of an apocalyptic foreign policy that saw the central battle of our time as an Armageddon between the American state and the Soviet state. Naturally, with the stakes so high, all must be devoted to the war.
Buckley had already set the tone in a 1952 essay in which he declared that in the name of eradicating Communism, "we have got to accept Big Government for the duration–for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged...except through the instrumentality of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores."
If one of the most prominent members of the Conservative movement is advocating for a totalitarian bureaucracy, what place is there in the movement for the likes of a Nock or a Chodorov? The laissez faire wing of the movement gradually was pushed out.
Buckely sought backing for this interventionism and for this disparagement of laissez faire by seeking an entirely new ideological framework for the movement. For this reason, Buckley forged an alliance with the traditionalist Conservatives who could provide academic and intellectual underpinnings to the movement and who introduced a novel interpretation of history in which the movement that rose in opposition to the New Deal was actually the successor to the European traditionalist and class-based conservatism of Edmund Burke, Coleridge, Brownson and others.
Russell Kirk became the most prominent theorist behind this new theory of the American Right and most importantly argued that the tradition of laissez faire in America had no place on the American Right or within the Conservative movement. Kirk's larger theory was that it was Conservatism that was responsible for preserving the vital institutions of American civilization, and that the laissez faire individualists were actually at odds with the true American ideological tradition. Thanks to Kirk and the traditionalists (who dominated the masthead at Modern Age magazine), Thomas Jefferson, the Jacksonians, William Graham Sumner, Mencken, Nock, Chodorov and all later individualists were working against the preservation and success of Western civilization that had allegedly been handed down to Americans through the old-style Burkean Conservatives.
Thus were American proponents of laissez faire and individualism made second-class citizens within the very movement they had founded. Kirk went on to create a theory of American exceptionalism, based on its alleged past Conservatism, that he explored in his book The American Cause, which equated militant anti-Communism with the preservation of all things decent and traditional in American life.
Armed with this new theory of conservatism that disavowed any connection to past individualist ideologies and which disparaged free markets, Buckley succeeded in silencing most consistent laissez faire voices within the movement while claiming that the laissez faire Conservatives actually misunderstood their own history. Certainly, Buckley would brook no comment suggesting that American foreign policy should be anything other than highly interventionist.
This sea change in the Conservative movement can be illustrated by the shift in the ideological patrimony of the major movement theorists. Prior to Buckley and the traditionalists, Herbert Spencer was perhaps the most influential theorist among the members of the Old Right and the early libertarian movement. Spencer had been exceptionally popular in the United States during the late 19th century, with his books selling more than 300,000 copies during the last quarter of the century. This would be equivalent of selling well over a million copies today.
Sumner, Nock, Hazlitt, and Chodorov were all heavily influenced by Spencer who had been one of England's most strident individualists and defenders of free markets.
After Buckley, however, Burke replaced Spencer on the American right as the recognized ideological father of the movement.
Thus, by the 1960s, Buckley headed the dominant wing of the American Right, and it is at this time, that we then see the libertarian movement begin to form its own movement.
Now, at this point I must stop and note that some readers may take exception to my inclusion of the libertarian movement within the Conservative movement, or even on the right wing. There are indeed compelling arguments on all sides as to whether the libertarians should be included on the right or on the left or on neither. Looking at the fact of the matter, however, the modern libertarian movement has both historically and organizationally associated with the right wing far more than with the left.
And for this reason, when speaking about the history of the movement itself, it is safe to include the libertarians on the American Right. Perhaps it is helpful to make this important distinction also: While libertarians are obviously not Conservatives, they might nevertheless be placed within that larger ideological movement we call the Conservative movement.
As Brian Doherty notes in Radicals for Capitalism, the patrimony of the libertarians is extremely similar to that of the Conservatives, and Doherty described the important contributions of numerous members of the Old Right and of the libertarians to which Nash, in his own history of Conservatism credits the early foundations of the movement. Thus we see that both the libertarians and Conservatives claim a similar past during the thirties forties, and even early fifties, as which point the Buckley wing of the movement begins to diverge from the larger movement.
It is the libertarian, however, who carried on the movement that arose as opposition to the New Deal and the social democratic consensus of the thirties, while the Buckley wing of the movement tried to take the movement in an entirely new, different and far less radical direction.
It is no surprise then that today, some of the candidates that command the largest following among Conservatives, such as Newt Gingrich, openly defend the New Deal while denouncing the likes of Ron Paul for wanting to drastically cut back the American government, its abuses and its wars.
The remnants of the Buckley movement, far less dominant today than in decades past, nevertheless still tries to define who is and who is not entitled to be part of the movement, making proclamations without any regard to the historical fact that the Buckley wing of conservatism came to the opposition movement 25 years behind the old individualists, and is based on an unconvincing theory of conservatism that ignores the central role of classical liberalism and laissez faire individualism in American intellectual history.
Modern conservatism of the Buckley strain remains true to its roots of endless foreign intervention, combined with a disregard to civil liberties at home and a half-hearted nod toward free markets.
Thanks to Paul, many Americans, even if they have yet to understand Paul's ideological roots in the pre-Buckley Conservative movement, seek a return to the Old Right and the early libertarian movement that formed the only opposition to the rapid destruction of American during the New Deal and during the multiple wars that followed.
The "mainstream" Conservatives are perplexed by any consistent demand for small government among Conservatives. For them, advocating for constant war, while perhaps throwing in a few smears about homosexuals or Ted Kennedy, is what defines any movement that claims to uphold the freedom tradition in America.
The real tradition of the American right is the laissez faire individualist tradition. That tradition is no longer being ignored.
40 Hard Questions That the American People Should Be Asking Right Now
If you spend much time watching the mainstream news, then you know how incredibly vapid it can be. It is amazing how they can spend so much time saying next to nothing. There seems to be a huge reluctance to tackle the tough issues and the hard questions. Perhaps I should be thankful for this, because if the mainstream media was doing their job properly, there would not be a need for the alternative media. Once upon a time, the mainstream media had a virtual monopoly on the dissemination of news in the United States, but that has changed. Thankfully, the Internet in the United States is free and open (at least for now) and people that are hungry for the truth can go searching for it. Today, an increasing number of Americans want to understand why our economy is dying and why our national debt is skyrocketing. An increasing number of Americans are deeply frustrated with what is going on in Washington D.C. and they are alarmed that we seem to get closer to becoming a totalitarian police state with each passing year. People want real answers about our foreign policy, about our corrupt politicians, about our corrupt financial system, about our shocking moral decline and about the increasing instability that we are seeing all over the world, and they are not getting those answers from the mainstream media.
If the mainstream media will not do it, then those of us in the alternative media will be glad to tackle the tough issues. The following are 40 hard questions that the American people should be asking right now....
#1 If Iran tries to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, what will that do to the price of oil and what will that do to the global economy?
#2 If Iran tries to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, will the United States respond by launching a military strike on Iran?
#3 Why is the Federal Reserve bailing out Europe? And why are so few members of Congress objecting to this?
#4 The U.S. dollar has lost well over 95 percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a track record of incompetence that is absolutely mind blowing. So what possible justification is there for allowing the Federal Reserve to continue to issue our currency and run our economy?
#5 Why does the euro keep dropping like a rock? Is this a sign that Europe is heading for a major recession?
#6 Why are European banks parking record-setting amounts of cash at the European Central Bank? Is this evidence that banks don't want to lend to one another and that we are on the verge of a massive credit crunch?
#7 If the European financial system is going to be just fine, then why is the UK government preparing feverishly for the collapse of the euro?
#8 What did the head of the IMF mean when she recently said that we could soon see conditions " reminiscent of the 1930s depression"?
#9 How in the world can Mitt Romney say with a straight face that the individual health insurance mandate that he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts was based on "conservative principles"? Wouldn't that make the individual mandate in Obamacare "conservative" as well?
#10 If the one thing that almost everyone in the Republican Party seems to agree on is that Obamacare is bad, then why is the candidate that created the plan that much of Obamacare was based upon leading in so many of the polls?
#11 What did Mitt Romney mean when he stated that he wants "to eliminate some of the differences, repeal the bad, and keep the good" in Obamacare?
#12 If no Republican candidate is able to accumulate at least 50 percent of the delegates by the time the Republican convention rolls around, will that mean that the Republicans will have a brokered convention that will enable the Republican establishment to pick whoever they want as the nominee?
#13 Why are middle class families being taxed into oblivion while the big oil companies receive about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks a year from the federal government?
#14 Why have we allowed the "too big to fail" banks to become even larger?
#15 Why has the United States had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976?
#16 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of all jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs. How in the world could we allow that to happen?
#17 If the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, then why don't our politicians do something about it?
#18 If you can believe it, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have permanently closed down since 2001. So exactly what does that say about our economy?
#19 Why was the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall made in China? Wasn't there anyone in America that could make it?
#20 If low income jobs now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States, then how are we going to continue to have a vibrant middle class?
#21 Why do the poor just keep getting poorer in the United States today?
#22 How can the Obama administration be talking about an "economic recovery" when 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty?
#23 Why has the number of new cars sold in the U.S. declined by about 50 percent since 1985?
#24 How can we say that we have a successful national energy policy when the average American household will spend a whopping $4,155 on gasoline by the end of this year?
#25 Why does it take gigantic mountains of money to get a college education in America today? According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark in early 2012. Isn't there something very wrong about that?
#26 Why do about a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who don't pay their bills to be put in jail?
#27 If it costs tens of billions of dollars to take care of all of the illegal immigrants that are already in this country, why did the Obama administration go around Congress and grant " backdoor amnesty" to the vast majority of them? Won't that just encourage millions more to come in illegally?
#28 Why are gun sales setting new all-time records in America right now?
#29 Why are very elderly women being strip-searched by TSA agents at U.S. airports? Does that really keep us any safer?
#30 The last words of Steve Jobs were " Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." What did he mean by that?
#31 How in the world did scientists in Europe decide that it was a good idea for them to create a new " killer bird flu" that is very easy to pass from human to human?
#32 If our founding fathers intended to set up a limited central government, then why does the federal government just continue to get bigger and bigger?
#33 Are we on the verge of an absolutely devastating retirement crisis? On January 1st, 2011 the very first of the Baby Boomers started to reach the age of 65. Now more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will be turning 65 every single day for the next two decades. So where in the world are we going to get all the money we need to pay them the retirement benefits that we have promised them?
#34 If the federal government stopped all borrowing today and began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the U.S. national debt. So does anyone out there actually still believe that the U.S. national debt will be paid off someday?
#35 If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are an all-time record 46 million Americans now on food stamps?
#36 How can we say that we have the greatest economy on earth when we have a child poverty rate that is more than twice as high as France and one out of every four American children is on food stamps?
#37 Since 1964, the reelection rate for members of the U.S. House of Representatives has never fallen below 85 percent. So are the American people really that stupid that they would keep sending the exact same Congress critters back to Washington D.C. over and over and over?
#38 What does it say about our society that nearly one-third of all Americans are arrested by the time they reach the age of 23?
#39 Why do so many of our politicians think that it is a good idea to allow the U.S. military to arrest American citizens on American soil and indefinitely detain them without a trial?
#40 A new bill being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would give the U.S. government power to shut down any website that is determined to "engage in, enable or facilitate" copyright infringement. Many believe that the language of the new law is so vague that it would allow the government to permanently shut down any website that even links very briefly to "infringing material". Prominent websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would be constantly in danger of being given a "death penalty". The American people need to ask their members of Congress this question: Do you plan to vote for SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act)? If the answer is yes, that is a clear indication that you should never cast a single vote for that member of Congress ever again.
Ten most corrupt politicians in 2011 selected by top legal group
, Public Safety Examiner
As they do each year, officials at the successful (and feared) public-interest group Judicial Watch released their annual Ten Most Corrupt Politicians list. The 2011 list contains several well-known government officials as well as some lesser known -- but equally corrupt -- elected leaders.
This year's list includes an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The "honorees" are listed alphabetically. The Public Safety Examiner thanks Ms. Jill Farrell, the incredible public affairs director at Judicial Watch, for providing valuable information and assistance throughout 2011.
1. Spencer Bachus (R-AL): He has become the face of a congressional "insider trading" scandal that has rocked the Washington establishment as 2011 draws to a close. Rep. Spencer Bachus, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was one of the principal targets of a (CBS News) 60 Minutes investigative report on the scandal, which aired on CBS TV in September 2011.
<a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/cdg.examiner2.national/nws/pos3/article;tt=public%20safety;plc=national;chn=news;subc=top%20news;sect=top%20news;nid=41504891;top=news;top=top%20news;top=year%20in%20review;top=government%20and%20political%20corruption;top=public-interest%20group;top=investigations;ed=national;uid=2426356;etid=37621;pgtp=article;tile=3;pos=3;sz=300x250;kw=;ord=354198653?" target="_blank"><img src="http://ad.doubleclick.net/ad/cdg.examiner2.national/nws/pos3/article;tt=public%20safety;plc=national;chn=news;subc=top%20news;sect=top%20news;nid=41504891;top=news;top=top%20news;top=year%20in%20review;top=government%20and%20political%20corruption;top=public-interest%20group;top=investigations;ed=national;uid=2426356;etid=37621;pgtp=article;tile=3;pos=3;sz=300x250;kw=;ord=354198653?" width="300" height="250" alt="" /></a>
The report was based, at least in part, on the book Throw Them All Out by author Peter Schweizer, which outed a slew of members of Congress who allegedly profited in the financial markets by trading on insider information. Bachus was not the only congressman cited by 60 Minutes -- others included Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi –- but the Alabama Republican stood out for his remarkable "good fortune" in shorting the stock market.
According to the allegations made by Schweizer and 60 Minutes, Congressman Bachus, at the time the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee, traded short-term stock options in 2008 after receiving a private briefing for congressional leaders by Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The subject of the briefing: the pending meltdown in the global economy. Those privileged to attend the meeting reportedly sat around a table in Pelosi's office, having left their cell phones outside the room to avoid leaks.
Congressman Bachus's aggressive trading practices, in which he was able to benefit by betting on falling stock prices, reportedly earned him substantial profits from some of the 40 trades placed during the months of July through November 2008, many of the trades occurring after the September meeting.
In the wake of the congressional insider trading scandal, legislation banning insider trading is under consideration in Congress. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee advanced a bill banning insider trading on December 14, 2011. Similar legislation (pushed by Rep. Bachus himself, obviously to deflect criticism) has stalled in the House. Critics have suggested, and so has the House Ethics Committee, that the law already prohibits insider trading by members of Congress.
2. Former Senator John Ensign (R-NV): John Ensign, former U.S. Senator from Nevada and former Chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, was forced to resign from office in May 2011 as the result of an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In a scandal that first broke in 2009, Senator Ensign publicly admitted to an affair with the wife of long-time staffer Douglas Hampton. Ensign then allegedly tried to cover up the affair by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors.
According to The New York Times, after Hampton discovered the affair involving his wife Cynthia, the senator bought his silence by giving him "a strong boost into a lobbying career." Ensign asked political backers to find Hampton a job. "Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Senator Ensign's parents, who insist this was a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Senator Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help Mr. Hampton, advocating his clients' cases directly with federal agencies."
These lobbying activities seemingly violated the law related to the Senate's "cooling off" period for lobbyists. According to Senate rules, former Senate aides "may not lobby the Member for whom he worked or that Member's staff for a period of one year after leaving [their] position." Hampton began to lobby Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his job on Capitol Hill.
In November 2010, the Federal Election Commission dismissed a complaint that Ensign had violated campaign-finance laws, and in December, the Obama Department of Justice announced that it would file no criminal charges against the senator. Ensign, however, was unable to avoid the ongoing investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. In May 2011, the Senate Ethics Committee issued a devastating report that summarized the evidence against Ensign and made the extraordinary recommendation that the Justice Department reopen a criminal investigation.
3. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL): In a year full of shocking congressional sex scandals, perhaps none is more serious than that involving Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, who allegedly sexually harassed a female government employee and then engaged in a cruel campaign of retaliation when she rebuffed his advances. (On March 7, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Hastings on behalf of the victim, Ms. Winsome Packer.)
The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008 when Hastings (an impeached federal judge) served as Chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ms. Packer served as his employee. According to Judicial Watch's complaint, "Mr. Hastings' intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances."
These advances included: Making multiple demands that Ms. Packer allow Rep. Hastings to stay in her apartment while she served as the Commission's lead staff representative overseas; subjecting Ms. Packer to unwanted physical contact, including hugging her with both arms while pressing his body against her body and his face against her face; inviting her on multiple occasions to accompany him alone to his hotel room; making sexual comments and references to Ms. Packer; and asking Ms. Packer humiliating and inappropriate questions in public, such as "What kind of underwear are you wearing?"
In addition, Hastings seems to have abused his office by using government travel as a cover for sightseeing and by soliciting gifts and campaign contributions from congressional staff.
On November 28, 2011, The House Ethics Committee announced that it will take an additional 45 days to determine whether to launch a full investigation into the allegations against Hastings.
4. Attorney General Eric Holder: Attorney General Eric Holder now operates the most politicized and ideological Department of Justice (DOJ) in recent history. And revelations from the Operation Fast and Furious scandal suggest that programs approved by the Holder DOJ may have resulted in the needless deaths of many, including a federal law enforcement officer.
Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) "gun-running" operation in which guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels and others, apparently in hopes that the guns would end up at crime scenes. This reckless insanity seems to have resulted in, among other crimes, the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout with Mexican criminals in December 2010. Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene of his death.
The Fast and Furious operation by itself should have resulted in Holder's resignation, but it is the cover-up that has prompted serious calls for Holder's ouster.
On May 3, 2011, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Holder testified: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." Newly released documents show he was receiving weekly briefings on Fast and Furious as far back as July 5, 2010. It appears Holder lied to Congress. (Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain Fast and Furious records. The Judicial Watch investigation continues.)
Unfortunately, when it comes to Holder's corruption and abuse of office, Fast and Furious is just the tip of the iceberg.
On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that DOJ lawyers would no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as applied to homosexual couples. DOMA had passed Congress by a vote of 85–14 in the Senate and a vote of 342–67 in the House. President Clinton signed the act into law on September 21, 1996.
Judicial Watch filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the DOJ (including one on behalf of the Family Research Council) for records related to this pro-homosexual marriage decision. This failure to defend this federal law is unprecedented and raises serious questions as to whether President Obama and Eric Holder are upholding their oaths of office and following the Constitution's command to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
The DOJ continues to stonewall the release of information regarding Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's participation in Obamacare discussions when she served as Solicitor General. In addition to forcing Judicial Watch to file a lawsuit to obtain this information, Holder's DOJ thumbed its nose at Congress by failing to release this material to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kagan's judicial confirmation hearing. Holder continues to personally resist requests from Judicial Watch and Congress for additional information on this controversy. Kagan's role in these discussions is especially significant now that the U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will consider challenges to the constitutionality of Obamacare in Spring 2012.
New revelations emerged in 2011 about the DOJ's Black Panther scandal. Judicial Watch uncovered evidence that the liberal special interest group National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) may have had an inappropriate amount of influence on the DOJ's decision to drop its voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense. This comes on the heels of sworn testimony that the Civil Rights Division of the Holder DOJ makes enforcement decisions based upon race.
Most recently, Judicial Watch obtained shocking documents suggesting the Holder DOJ is conspiring with scandal-ridden Project Vote (President Obama's former employer and ACORN front) to use the National Voter Registration Act to increase welfare voter registrations. One former ACORN employee (and current Project Vote Director of Advocacy), Estelle Rogers, is even helping to vet job candidates for the Justice Department's Voting Rights Division! (ACORN and Project Vote have a long record of voter registration fraud.)
Seeming to affirm ACORN's hijacking of the DOJ, Holder recently said in a speech that he plans to use "the full weight" of the agency in 2012 to attack states that are enforcing laws that protect against fraud in the voting booths. This speech ended the pretense that the DOJ is independent from the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign – as it repeated almost verbatim the partisan arguments made by the Democratic Party against voter ID laws.
Holder must go. Pick your reason – Black Panthers, race-based decision making, abandoning the Defense of Marriage Act, Fast and Furious killings and lies, or turning the DOJ into an arm of the radicalized left –- but Holder must go.
5. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) and the Blagojevich Co-Conspirators: It took more than two years and two trials, but disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod "Blago" Blagojevich was finally brought to justice on June 27, 2011, for a number of crimes, including his efforts to "sell" President Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. He became the state's fourth governor, and one of at least 79 Illinois public officials, to be found guilty of a crime since 1972, proving that Illinois has certainly lived up to its reputation as a cesspool of corruption.
As the trial unfolded, it became clear that many hands were dirty in the Blago scandal. (See Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel, who was finally forced to testify during this second Blago trial – for a whopping five minutes – and President Obama himself, who was interviewed by the FBI in the scandal even before he took office.)
But all of the focus now seems to center on Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
The House Ethics Committee announced on December 2, 2011, that it will continue its investigation into allegations that "Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. or someone acting on his behalf offered to raise campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a Senate appointment in 2008….The committee also released an initial report from the Office of Congressional Ethics that said there was "probable cause" to believe that Jackson either directed a third party or had knowledge of a third party's effort to convince the since-convicted Blagojevich to appoint Jackson Jr. in exchange for campaign cash.
The evidence suggests Jackson, Jr. attempted to bribe his way into the U.S. Senate. And it will take a monumental lack of attention on the part of the House Ethics Committee to overlook the Illinois Congressman's role in this serious scandal.
6. President Barack Obama: President Obama makes Judicial Watch's "Ten Most Wanted" list for a fifth consecutive year. (The former Illinois Senator was also a "Dishonorable Mention" in 2006.) And when it comes to Obama corruption, it may not get any bigger than Solyndra. Solyndra was once known as the poster child for the Obama administration's massive "green energy" initiative, but it has become the poster child for the corruption that ensues when the government meddles in the private sector. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving 1,100 workers without jobs and the American taxpayers on the hook for $535 million thanks to an Obama administration stimulus loan guarantee.
Despite the Obama administration's reticence to release details regarding this scandal, much is known about this shady deal. White House officials warned the president that the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program was "dangerously short on due diligence," nonetheless the Obama administration rushed the Solyndra loan through the approval process so it could make a splash at a press event. The company's main financial backer was a major Obama campaign donor named George Kaiser. While the White House said Kaiser never discussed the loan with White House officials, the evidence suggests this is a lie. And, further demonstrating the political nature of the Obama administration's activities, the Energy Department pressured Solyndra to delay an announcement on layoffs until after the 2010 elections. Despite the public outrage at this scandalous waste of precious tax dollars, President Obama continues to defend the indefensible and has refused to sack anyone over the Solyndra mess.
President Obama continues to countenance actions by his appointees that undermine the rule of law and constitutional government:
· Despite a ban on funding that Obama signed into law, his administration continues to fund the corrupt and allegedly defunct "community" organization ACORN. In July 2011 Judicial Watch uncovered a $79,819 grant to AHCOA (Affordable Housing Centers of America), the renamed ACORN Housing which has a long history of corrupt activity. In absolute violation of the funding ban, Judicial Watch has since confirmed that the Obama administration has funneled $730,000 to the ACORN network, a group that has a long personal history with President Obama.In 2011, JW released a special report entitled "The Rebranding of ACORN," which details how the ACORN network is alive and well and well-placed to undermine the integrity of the 2012 elections –- evidently with the assistance of the Obama administration.
· Barack Obama apparently believes it is his "prerogative" to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law when it comes to appointing czars. According to Politico: "President Barack Obama is planning to ignore language in the 2011 spending package that would ban several top White House advisory posts. Obama said this ban on "czars" would undermine "the President's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed." In other words, Barack Obama believes he must ignore the U.S. Constitution to protect the U.S. Constitution. Many Obama administration czars have not been subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate as required by the U.S. Constitution. In 2011, JW released a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report on the Obama czar scandal, entitled "President Obama's Czars."
· In an historic victory for Judicial Watch and an embarrassing defeat for the Obama White House, a federal court ruled on August 17, 2011 that Secret Service White House visitor logs are agency records that are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell issued the decision in Judicial Watch v. Secret Service. The Obama administration now will have to release all records of all visitors to the White House – or explain why White House visits should be kept secret under the law. The Obama White House continues to fight full disclosure and has stalled the release of records by appealing the lower court decision.(Judicial Watch gave Obama a "failing grade" on transparency in testimony before Congress in 2011.
· In 2011, the Obama National Labor Relations Board sought to prevent the Seattle-based Boeing Company from opening a $750 million non-union assembly line in North Charleston, South Carolina, to manufacture its Dreamliner plane. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) showing this lawsuit was politically motivated. Judicial Watch uncovered documents showing NLRB staff cheerleading for Big Labor, mouthing Marxist, anti-American slurs and showing contempt for Congress related to the agency's lawsuit against Boeing, including email correspondence attacking members of Congress. And it starts at the top. Obama bypassed Congress and recess-appointed Craig Becker, who is connected to the AFL-CIO, the SEIU and ACORN, to the NRLB.
· Obama's corrupt Chicago dealings continued to haunt him in 2011.Obama's real estate partner, campaign fundraiser and Obama pork recipient Antoin "Tony" Rezko was finally sentenced to jail this year as was former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is now set to serve 14 years for attempting to sell Obama's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. The FBI continues to withhold from Judicial Watch documents of its historic interview of then-Senator Obama about the Illinois corruption scandal. The FBI interview was conducted in December, 2008, about one month before Obama was sworn into the presidency.
7. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA): A first-timer on Judicial Watch's "Ten Most Wanted" list, Rep. Laura Richardson is in hot water for reportedly misusing her congressional staff for personal and political gain. Rep. Richardson is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee regarding allegations by former staff member Maria Angel Macias. Macias alleges that she was required by Richardson to order other staffers to run personal errands for the Democrat congresswoman – such as picking up her dry cleaning – and to work on her re-election campaign at taxpayer expense.
Richardson's alleged behavior would violate federal law, which protects federal employees from "being forced by job-related threats or reprisals to donate to political candidates or causes." House ethics rules also specify that "in no event may a member or office compel a House employee to do campaign work."
Macias indicated to the Committee that Richardson regularly directed her to call staff members outside of office hours to "make them work at campaign events." According to former employees, they were required to work the extended hours "under threat of dismissal," and reportedly, were even required to act as servers at such events. Shirley Cooks, chief of staff for Representative Richardson, was also directed to ensure that staff members "volunteered" for off-hour campaign projects.
Rep. Richardson has responded by denying that she has ever forced employees to volunteer on campaigns, and then played the "race card," claiming she is being targeted because she is black and because she is a woman. Richardson has further indicated that she would explore whether the Ethics Committee "has engaged in discriminatory conduct"… which is a blatant attempt to intimidate committee members and undermine the investigation.
Richardson is not new to controversy and investigations of ethics violations. Complaints against her include commandeering emergency helicopters in her California district for use as sightseeing vehicles for her staff and of her receiving special treatment when a bank rescinded the sale of a foreclosed home Rep. Richardson owned in Sacramento and then restructured her mortgage. (This was the third home on which Rep. Richardson had missed payments.)
The House Ethics Committee failed to punish her over the foreclosure deal (no surprises there) and approximately one year later Richardson again defaulted on her payments. True to form, however, Richardson failed to take responsibility for her actions, claiming the default was due to a "clerical error."
Rep. David Rivera (R-FL): Rep. David Rivera, U.S. Representative for Florida's 25th congressional district, is mired in numerous ethics controversies stemming from charges of money laundering and tax evasion schemes initiated when Rivera served in the Florida House of Representatives. The Republican congressman, serving his first term, is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Miami-Dade Police public corruption unit, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office.
Of particular interest is the investigation by the FBI and the IRS regarding Rep. Rivera's dealings with the Flagler Dog Track, now known as the Magic City Casino. The basis for the investigation relates to payments reportedly totaling as much as $1 million made by the casino to Millennium Marketing in the guise of a consulting contract. Most of the money is said to have been paid in 2008.
Millennium Marketing is owned by Rivera's mother and godmother, and Rivera supposedly benefited from the arrangement, and is thus the subject of a tax evasion inquiry. Income from the consulting contract was never reported by Rivera on his tax forms, nor did he mention the Millennium deal in financial disclosure forms filed with the Florida Ethics Commission. Instead, Rivera indicated that he had worked as a consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in addition to being a member of the Florida House of Representatives. He reported no income for USAID, however, and the agency had no record of his having ever worked there.
For a long time, Rep. Rivera denied ever receiving any income from the dog track, but just before heading to Congress, Rivera admitted receiving $132,000 in "undisclosed loans" from Millennium. He claims he paid the money back.
Participating in the dog track inquiry – and at one time having had the lead on the case – is the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, assisted by the Miami-Dade Police. Investigators are also taking a close look at Rivera's campaign spending, including $75,000 he paid in 2010 "to a now-defunct consulting company owned by the daughter of a top aide."
In August 2010, an investigative subcommittee of the House Ethics Committee charged Rep. Waters with three counts of violating House rules and ethics regulations in connection with her use of power and influence on behalf of OneUnited Bank. She was expected to face an ethics trial in late 2010, but the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings.
The delay apparently has less to do with evidence and more to do with infighting on the panel. Ultimately, an outside counsel was retained and a recommendation was expected by January 2, 2012. However, the Committee announced that the Waters probe will be extended until July 31, 2012.
According to The Associated Press, the charges currently under the House Ethics Committee microscope "focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help [bailout money] for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors." At the time she requested the help, Waters neglected to tell Treasury officials about her financial ties to OneUnited Bank.
Without intervention by Waters (and a big assist from her co-conspirator Rep. Barney Frank), OneUnited was an extremely unlikely candidate for Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding. The Treasury Department indicated that it would only provide bailout funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. However, Judicial Watch uncovered documents detailing the deplorable financial condition of OneUnited at the time of the cash infusion. In fact, just prior to the bailout, OneUnited received a "less than satisfactory rating."
Aside from OneUnited, there was yet another scandal with Waters' fingerprints all over it.
According to The Washington Times: "A lobbyist known as one of California's most successful power brokers while serving as a legislative leader in that state paid Rep. Maxine Waters' husband $15,000 in consulting fees at a time she was co-sponsoring legislation that would help save the real-estate finance business of one of the lobbyist's best-paying clients…"
"Real-estate finance businesses," such as the one helped by Waters' influence, were labeled a "scam" by the IRS in a 2006 report.
Despite all of her ethical woes, Maxine Waters seeks to take over the retiring Barney Frank's position as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. It is quite obvious that Rep. Waters has neither the integrity nor the ethics necessary to hold such a position of public trust.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK): Rep. Don Young may have achieved a new level of corruption in 2011. The House Ethics Committee announced just before Christmas that the Alaska Republican Congressman was cleared of allegations by the House Ethics Committee that he exceeded the limit on campaign donations to his legal defense fund – which was set up to defend Young against an entirely different set of corruption charges! There was good reason the House Ethics Committee released this decision after most of official Washington left for the Christmas holiday: because the Committee's "exoneration" is a joke.
House ethics rules prohibit contributions from any single source that exceed $5,000. Young received $63,000 from "twelve companies that…were in fact owned by Gary Chouest, his wife, and his five children, or some combination of those seven individuals." Despite an independent analysis by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) that the shell-game was a rather transparent violation of the contribution limit, the House Ethics Committee gave Young a free pass because the 12 companies controlled by essentially one individual were "separate legal entities"!
On July 24, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Young was under federal investigation for taking bribes, illegal gratuities, and unreported gifts from VECO Corporation, an Anchorage, Alaska- based company. Two executives in the company, including former company CEO Bill Allen, had already pled guilty to bribing members of the Alaska legislature. Reportedly, Young received $157,000 from VECO.
Rep. Young has developed a legendary reputation for steering federal dollars to Alaska. As The New Republic put it, Rep. Young is "well known for his sharp elbows and generous appetite for legislative pork," including the $223 million he secured to build the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere." Eventually, lawmakers responded to the mounting criticism and the bridge was defunded.
Over the years, Rep. Young has been linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff's illegal efforts to lease government property, and he has been criticized for adding a $10 million earmark to a transportation bill for a short piece of road in Florida near Fort Myers, called Coconut Road. The local real estate developer who owned 4,000 acres along the road helped raise $40,000 for Young's campaign, which might go a long way toward explaining why the Alaska congressman aggressively pushed to build a road in Florida.
Thanks for being part of "PoliticalForum" at Google Groups.
For options & help see http://groups.google.com/group/PoliticalForum
* Visit our other community at http://www.PoliticalForum.com/
* It's active and moderated. Register and vote in our polls.
* Read the latest breaking news, and more.
December 28, 2011
Obama Administration Nixes Ticker-Tape Parade for Iraq War Troops
Obama's contempt for the military is palpable. They say they are afraid a celebration "could spark violence overseas." How ridiculous. As if the jihadis weren't already trying to kill U.S. military personnel. Now the Obama Pentagon would have us believe that everything is fine and peaceful, but a ticker-tape parade for our troops will set the jihadis off? Please.
WASHINGTON — Americans probably won't be seeing a huge ticker-tape parade anytime soon for troops returning from Iraq, and it's not clear if veterans of the nine-year campaign will ever enjoy the grand, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue homecoming that the nation's fighting men and women received after World War II and the Gulf War.
Officials in New York and Washington say they would be happy to help stage a big celebration, but Pentagon officials say they haven't been asked to plan one.
Most welcome-homes have been smaller-scale: hugs from families at military posts across the country, a somber commemoration by President Obama at Fort Bragg, N.C.
With tens of thousands of U.S. troops still fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan, anything that looks like a big victory celebration could be seen as unseemly and premature, some say.
"It's going to be a bit awkward to be celebrating too much, given how much there is going on and how much there will be going on in Afghanistan," said Don Mrozek, a military history professor at Kansas State University.
Two New York City councilmen, Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo, have called for a ticker-tape parade down the stretch of Broadway known as the Canyon of Heroes. A similar celebration after the Gulf War was paid for with more than $5.2 million in private donations, a model the councilmen would like to follow.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week that he was open to the idea but added, "It's a federal thing that we really don't want to do without talking to Washington, and we'll be doing that."
A spokesman for the mayor declined to elaborate on the city's reasons for consulting with Washington. Ignizio said he had been told by the mayor's office that Pentagon officials were concerned that a celebration could spark violence overseas and were evaluating the risk....
"The sports celebrations that we've had in New York for the Yankees and the Mets were amazing," Oddo said. "But these are the real heroes."
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Thanks for being part of "PoliticalForum" at Google Groups.
For options & help see http://groups.google.com/group/PoliticalForum
* Visit our other community at http://www.PoliticalForum.com/
* It's active and moderated. Register and vote in our polls.
* Read the latest breaking news, and more.
"But Paul leads Romney 38-13 with the 48% of likely caucus voters who don't regularly watch Fox News."
December 27, 2011
Paul maintains his lead
The last week and a half has brought little change in the standings for the Iowa Republican caucus: Ron Paul continues to lead Mitt Romney by a modest margin, 24-20. Newt Gingrich is in 3rd at 13% followed by Michele Bachmann at 11%, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum at 10%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.
Paul's strength in Iowa continues to depend on a coalition of voters that's pretty unusual for a Republican in the state. Romney leads 22-20 with those who are actually Republicans, while Paul has a 39-12 advantage with the 24% who are either independents or Democrats. GOP caucus voters tend to skew old, and Romney has a 34-12 advantage with seniors. But Paul's candidacy looks like it's going to attract an unusual number of younger voters to the caucus this year, and with those under 45 he has a 35-11 advantage on Romney. The independent/young voter combo worked for Barack Obama in securing an unexpectedly large victory on the Democratic side in 2008 and it may be Paul's winning equation in 2012.
Paul continues to have much more passionate support than Romney. 77% of his voters are firmly committed to him, compared to 71% for Romney. Among voters who say their minds are completely made up Paul's lead expands to 7 points at 28-21. If Paul's lead holds on through next Tuesday it appears he'll have won this on the ground- 26% of voters think he's run the strongest campaign in the state to 18% for Bachmann and 10% for Santorum with just 5% bestowing that designation to Romney. There's also an increasing sense that Paul will indeed win the state- 29% think he'll emerge victorious with 15% picking Romney and no one else in double digits.
Although Romney's support has held steady at 20% over the last week his favorability numbers have taken a hit, something that could keep him from moving into first place over the final week. He was at +9 (49/40) but has dipped now into negative territory at -3 (44/47). Additionally Romney is the second choice of only 10% of voters, barely better than Paul's 9%. It's certainly still close enough that he could win, but there's nothing within the numbers this week to suggest that he should win. One of Romney's biggest problems continues to be his inability to hold onto his 2008 voters. Only 48% of them are still with him.
In a development that probably no one would have expected a year ago Romney is winning big with regular Fox News viewers, getting 27% to 16% for Gingrich, 15% for Bachmann, and just 12% for Paul. But Paul leads Romney 38-13 with the 48% of likely caucus voters who don't regularly watch Fox News.
Newt Gingrich just keeps on sliding. He's gone from 27% to 22% to 14% to 13% over the course of our four Iowa tracking polls. His favorability numbers are pretty abysmal now at 37/54 and only 32% of likely voters think that he has strong principles to 45% who believe he does not. Once the darling of Tea Party voters in the state, he's now slipped to third with that group behind Bachmann and Paul. There's not much reason to think Gingrich can return to his former strong standing in the state in the final week.
Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum continue to all be clustered right around 10%. Santorum actually has the best favorability numbers of any of the candidates at +27 (56/29). He's also the most frequent second choice of voters at 14%. Whether he can translate any of this into a top 3 finish remains to be seen, but he's someone who would seem to have the potential to grow his support in the final week.
One thing that's hurt Santorum's ability to really make a move is that the Evangelical vote is incredibly fragmented with 6 different candidates getting between 12 and 21%. Paul actually leads the way with that group at 21% to 16% for Romney and Bachmann, 15% for Santorum, 14% for Gingrich, and 12% for Perry.
Bachmann leads the way with Tea Party voters 24-21 over Paul but the fact that you can be winning Tea Partiers but only in 4th place overall speaks to the diminished power of that movement compared to 2010 within the Republican electorate...only 26% of likely caucus voters consider themselves to be members.
Iowa looks like a 2 person race between Paul and Romney as the campaign enters its final week. If Paul can really change the electorate by turning out all these young people and independents who don't usually vote in Republican caucuses, he'll win. If turnout ends up looking a little bit more traditional, Romney will probably prevail. And given all the strange twists and turns to this point don't be surprised to see yet another surprise in the final week...and based on the innards of this poll the person best positioned to provide that surprise in the closing stretch is Santorum.
Full results here
Ron Paul overcomes another smear campaign by the MSM
barry broome, Hattiesburg Personal Finance Examiner
December 27, 2011
Let's be clear about Texas Congressman Ron Paul and his campaign for the Presidency of the United States. He's been far more influential than the elites had hoped.
Ron Paul's philosophy on federal government is so distant from the modern political consensus by both entrenched Democrats and Republicans, that he's been dismissed entirely by the MSM and the leaders of both political parties. That alone doesn't mean Paul's ideas are unrealistic or 'kooky'. Instead it could simply mean that those entrenched in media and politics - the ones who make a grand living from the status quo - aren't at all interested in changing the game. If you were making millions (or billions) off the status quo would you want to risk a change? Even if such a change were in the best interests of the majority of Americans?
Somehow I doubt it.
Most Americans have the misfortune of believing that main-stream political leaders have their best interests in mind. The truth is that America's ruling elite continues to get richer while the average citizens' income stagnates. The ever increasing wealth of Congress is evidence that we continue to elect politicians who are far more interested in personal aspiration than ruling honorably.
So how has the ruling elite treated Ron Paul and his message?
1) Ron Paul is poised to win Iowa next week. He's currently polling in first place with 22%. The MSM and the Republican Party has declared Iowa 'irrelevant' if Paul wins.
2) The MSM has again charged Paul with being a racist homophobe who wrote "two decades worth of racist content". This has been repeated by every major news outlet in the U.S.. Interestingly, the MSM has only been able to find 3 sentences (over that 20 year period) in which they could use to level such claims of racism. No, seriously... each news outlet that refers to 'decades of racist newsletters' has only found 3 sentences, over the span of 20 years, that have negative conotations for minorities. Think about that... 3 sentences.
3) Ron Paul is weak on national security. That is the claim charged by Paul's fellow Republicans. However, even Bill O'Reilly agrees with Paul's assertion on Iran... that is... so long as he's not interviewing Paul. For example, when O'Reilly interviews Mitt Romney -- O'Reilly seems to echo Paul's concerns about Iran. See the video in the left-hand column.
4) Ron Paul wants to legalize drugs and abortion. Paul has consistently stated that he wants to do away with federal drug laws, federal abortion laws, and federal marriage laws... thus leaving these issues up to the individual states as the Founding Fathers intended.
"The more difficult and emotional the issue... the more it should be left up to the States" -- Ron Paul
Fox News has been the worst (and most dishonest) critic of Ron Paul. They see him as a threat to their promotion of perpetual war in the Middle East. Often Fox News ignores Paul altogether.
Despite the elitist attitude of those running our national media and political parties -- Ron Paul has moved into first place in Iowa and is currently polling at second place in New Hampshire.
Perhaps the American people aren't as brainwashed as those elitists hoped.
Iowa GOP moving vote-count to 'undisclosed location'
By JONATHAN MARTIN
12/27/11 7:15 PM EST
Threats to disrupt the Iowa Republican caucuses next week have prompted state GOP officials to move the vote tabulation to an "undisclosed location," POLITICO has learned.
The state party has not yet told the campaigns exactly where the returns will be added up, only that it will be off-site from the Iowa GOP's Des Moines headquarters. The 2008 caucus results were tabulated at the state party offices, which sit just a few blocks from the state capitol.
Activist groups including the Occupy movement have indicated that they'll attempt to interrupt rallies in the closing days before next Tuesday's caucuses.
The AP reported today that Occupy is making plans to even attend some caucuses and vote "no preference," but not disturb the voting process.
But Iowa Republicans are also bracing for other threats, sources say, including hacking.
Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn wouldn't comment on the plan to move the vote-counting except to say they're increasing security measures.
"The Iowa GOP is taking additional safeguards to ensure the Caucus results are tabulated and reported to the public in an accurate and timely manner," Strawn said. "We are not commenting on specific security procedures."
"Ron Paul represents the ideology that Republican insiders most fear: conservatism."
Why Do GOP Bosses Fear Ron Paul?
John Nichols on December 21, 2011 - 8:53am ET
DUBUQUE: Ron Paul represents the ideology that Republican insiders most fear: conservatism.
Not the corrupt, inside-the-beltway construct that goes by that name, but actual conservatism.
And if he wins the Iowa Republican Caucus vote on January 3a real, though far from certain, prospectthe party bosses will have to do everything in their power to prevent Paul from reasserting the values of the "old-right" Republicans who once stood, steadily and without apology, in opposition to wars of whim and assaults on individual liberty.
Make no mistake, the party bosses are horrified at the notion that a genuine conservative might grab the Iowa headlines from the false prophets. Already, they are claiming a Paul win won't mean anything. If Paul prevails, says Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, "People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third. If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states."
The party's amen corner in the media is doing its part. Republican-insider radio and television programs have begun to go after Paul, the veteran congressman from Texas who is either leading or near the top in recent polls of likely caucus goers. Rush Limbaugh ridicules Paul on his radio show, while Sean Hannity's Fox show has become a nightly Paul-bashing fest, with guests like former Education Secretary Bill Bennett trashing the congressman with lines like: "his notion of foreign policy is impossible."
Actually, Paul's notion of foreign policy is in line with that of conservatives used to believe. The congressman is often referred to as a libertarian, and he has certainly toiled some in that ideological vineyard. But the truth is that his politics descend directly from those of former Ohio Senator Robert "Mr. Republican" Taft and former Nebraska Congressman Howard Buffettold-right opponents of war and empire who served in the Congress in the 1940s and 1950s and who, in Taft's case, mounted credible bids for the party's presidential nomination in 1940, 1948 and finally in 1952. In all three campaigns, Taft opposed what he described as the "Eastern establishment" of the partythe Wall Streeters who, he pointedly noted, had little in common with Main Streeters.
Taft was a steady foe of American interventionism abroad, arguing very much as Paul does today that it threatens domestic liberty. Indeed, just as Paul joined US Senator Russ Feingold in opposing the Patriot Act, spying on Americans and threats to freedom of speech and assembly in the first days of what would become an open-ended "war on terror," so Taft warned during the cold war that "criticism in a time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government."
"The maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country…more good than it will do the enemy," explained Taft, who challenged President Truman's attempts to use war powers as an excuse to seize domestic industries and otherwise expand what Dwight Eisenhower would eventually define as the military-industrial complex.
Buffett, the father of billionaire Warren, opposed military interventionism during the cold war era, declaring on the floor of the House: "Even if it were desirable, America is not strong enough to police the world by military force. If that attempt is made, the blessings of liberty will be replaced by coercion and tyranny at home. Our Christian ideals cannot be exported to other lands by dollars and guns. Persuasion and example are the methods taught by the Carpenter of Nazareth, and if we believe in Christianity we should try to advance our ideals by his methods. We cannot practice might and force abroad and retain freedom at home. We cannot talk world cooperation and practice power politics."
When the threat of increased US involvement in Vietnam arose in the early 1960s, the elder Buffett wrote in William F. Buckley's National Review: "When the American government conscripts a boy to go 10,000 miles to the jungles of Asia without a declaration of war by Congress (as required by the Constitution) what freedom is safe at home? Surely, profits of U.S. Steel or your private property are not more sacred than a young man's right to life."
Just as Ron Paul has consistently opposed free-trade deals and schemes to enrich government contractors, the elder Buffett railed against the crony capitalism of his day. "There are businesses that are being enriched by national defense spending and foreign handouts," Buffett warned in 1948. "These firms, because of the money they can spend on propaganda, may be the most dangerous of all. If the Marshall Plan meant $100 million worth of profitable business for your firm, wouldn't you Invest a few thousands or so to successfully propagandize for the Marshall Plan? And if you were a foreign government, getting billions, perhaps you could persuade your prospective suppliers here to lend a hand in putting that deal through Congress."
Buffett campaigned in 1952 to nominate Taft as the Republican candidate for president. That effort was opposed by the Wall Street speculators and banksters of the day, and it failedalthough not without a serious fight that went all the way to the GOP convention.
After his defeat, Taft griped, "Every Republican candidate for President since 1936 has been nominated by the Chase National Bank."
That was the pure voice of old-right conservatism speaking.
It is echoed now by Ron Paul, who makes no secret of his high regard for Taft, Buffett and the old-right Republicans of the past, and of his disregard for the neocons and crony capitalists of today. Paul is running ads that propose to "drain the swamp," a reference to the insider-driven politics of a Washington where Republicans such as Gingrich maintain the sort of pay-to-play politics that empties the federal treasury into the accounts of campaign donors and sleazy government contractors.
Paul's ideological clarity scares the wits out of the Republican mandarins who peddle the fantasy that the interventionism, the assaults on civil liberties and the partnerships that they have forged with multinational corporations and foreign dictators represent anything akin to true conservatism.
The problem that Limbaugh, Hannity and other GOP establishment types have with Paul is that the Texan really is a conservative, rather than a neoconservative or a crony capitalist who would use the state to maintain monopolies at home and via corrupt international trade deals.
Paul's pure conservatism puts him at odds with a party establishment that has sold out to Wall Street and multinational corporations. But it has mad an increasingly iconic Republican with a good many of the grassroots activists who will attend the caucuss.
The disconnect between the disdain the establishment expresses with regard to Paul and his appeal to the base is easily explained.
The GOP establishment chooses partisanship over principle. The base does not necessarily do so.
In other words, while the party establishment and its media echo chamber reject the Main Street conservatism of the Taft's and Buffetts, there are many grassroots Republicans in Iowa towns like Independence and Liberty Center (where Paul campaign signs are very much in evidence) who find Paul's old-right conservatism quite appealing.
That is what frightens Republican party leaders. The notion that the Grand Old Party might actually base its politics on values, as opposd to pay-to-play deal-making, unsettles the Republican leaders who back only contenders who have been pre-approved by the Wall Street speculators, banksters and corporate CEOs who pay the party's taband kindly pick up some of the bills for the Democrats, as well.
What do the party insiders fear about genuine conservatism? Above all, they fear that a politics of principle might expose the fact that the Republican Party has for decades been at odds with the conservative values and ideals of Americans who do not want theirs to be a warrior nation that disregards civil liberties and domestic economics in order to promote Wall Street's globalization agenda.
Ron Paul is not a progressive. He takes stands on abortion rights and a number of other issues that disqualify him from consideration by social moderates and liberals, and his stances on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and labor rights (like those of the author of the Taft-Hartley Act) are anathema to economic justice advocates. But Paul cannot be dismissed as just another robotic Republican. Indeed, he is more inclined to challenge Republican orthodoxy on a host of foreign and fiscal policy issues than Barack Obama. He does so as something that is rare indeed at the highest levels of American politics: a conservative.
And if he wins Iowa, he could begin a process of transforming the Republican Party into a conservative party.
That scares the Republican bosses who currently maintain the party concession on behalf of the Wall Streeters. But it, if the polls are to be believed, it quite intrigues the folks on Main Street who may be waking up to the fact that the "conservatism" of a Newt Gingrich or a Mitt Romney is a sham argument designed to make the rich richer and to make the rest of us pay for wars of whim and crony-capitalist corruption.
* John Nichols is the author of several books that examine the legacy of old-right conservatives such as Taft and Buffett, including: Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books).