Presidential candidate Ron Paul has won the straw poll conducted at the Conservative Leadership Conference this weekend in northern Nevada. Paul finished with 33 percent of the vote, more than double his nearest contender....
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So, of course the cries will be that Ron Paul supporters showed up and that other supporters did not. And that is not just true, but so obvious it hardly needs observation.
The question should not be what's so remarkable about Ron Paul - because, historically, there's nothing at all remarkable about his stands. The question should be, what lack do all the other candidates have in common to promote such widespread disinterest? Well, on the right, it seems to be the complete lack of willingness to say anything remotely attributable to an understanding of the facts about the war, the economy, the moral and social implications of torture, the concept of "blowback" or a foreign policy based on mutual self-interest rather than power politics and Cold-War vintage "Right Thinking."
Meanwhile, the Democrats are trying to out-Regan Ronny on the "hot air and sunshine" front - for instance, there are fine words about "universal health care" - and not one word about paying for it, or the demographically inevitable collapse of social security.
But just as Ron Paul is a living reality check for the Right, Dennis Kucinich is his Lefty Twin on the Left. And boy, is HE out in Left Field. About as far as Ron is to the right - if you are using any sensible measure of left and right in an historical sense. And, despite being "too "out there to take seriously"...
Kucinich tops leading Dems in key CA straw poll
SAN MATEO, CA - Despite millions of campaign dollars being spent by the poll-leading Democratic Presidential candidates to woo California voters, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich scored a stunning second-place finish in a bellwether Presidential straw poll here today.
In a caucus-like setting open to all Democratic voters in the state, Kucinich came in significantly ahead of top-spenders Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and only slightly behind former U.S. Senator John Edwards.
Official results released by the San Mateo County Democratic Party this evening showed that Edwards received 29% of the total votes cast, Kucinich received just under 24%, and Obama and Clinton came in third and fourth, with 22.5% and 16.8% respectively. The other Democratic candidates were all in the low single digits.
And, unlike most all other campaigners for the office of President, neither one seems particularly fond of authoritarian systems of governance.
“But the difference between the Clinton neo-liberals and the Bush neoconservatives over America’s fundamental role in the world is quite small. The leadership of the two parties is in accord with notion that the American governing class has the authority and the obligation to police the world. They only differ on the question of tactics.” - Dennis KucinichBoth could also be accused of having "wacky" ideas. Paul's "Hard Money" stance - or in other words, having a money supply that can't be fiddled with for private profit, or to benefit large corporate interests - is considered "wacky."
And I imagine, so is Kucinich's desire to recreate the WPA.
America needs a great new public works program to restore the dream of a full employment economy, to restore the physical health of our nation. On Labor Day, 2003, I announced a new initiative -- an initiative that will enable the United States to rebuild its cities in the same way that Franklin Roosevelt rebuilt America during the Depression. Through a WPA-type program, this initiative would rebuild our cities, our streets, our water systems, our sewer systems, and new energy systems, while simultaneously putting millions of people back to work.A wacky idea - but considering the state of our public infrastructure, the impending collapse of many of our bridges, the pressing urgency of creating a "green" infrastructure and of course, the obvious necessity of either relocating entire populations or building huge levy systems - how the HELL are we going to accomplish this from a purely local standpoint, using only capitalistic urges? Hell, even IF we use as much capitalistic motivation as possible, this is something that really DOES have to be addressed centrally to a degree, just to prioritize the most critical infrastructure issues. Bridges in poor states and counties are still critical to the regional and national economies. Failing evies in poor areas tend to result in nearby rich folk getting wet.
Combining the number of unemployed and underemployed with the huge number of people returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts presents us with both a practical need and a moral obligation. Returning combat vets will need jobs and - let's be blunt - may be too impaired to return to the jobs and lives they had without a period of support in an ordered context. They will have the burning need to do something useful and creative, to redeem themselves in their own eyes with the equal need to spend as little time dealing with hassles and politics as possible. That's what PTSD does to you, and just about everyone returning from Peewee Bush's Great Adventure has a thousand-yard stare and memories that would gag a maggot. So we owe them. And it's a debt that we have no choice but to pay - one way or another, whether we are wise enough to realize there IS a debt or not.
So, I support Kucinich's idea. I think it's a great idea. I'm not so fond of his ideas of paying for them, because it's essentially good old confiscatory taxation. I agree, corporate taxes have fallen way below what they probably should be. And certain salaries are obscene. And if it were my place to judge, I'd say there are people who have way too much money for their own good.
But I'm a Libertarian, so expressing my disapproval is as far as I can go in that direction. I also know something Dennis seems to have not learned. There's a Liberal maxim: "When you tax something, you get less of it." This is true, to a point, but it's not very far from no tax at all. Past a certain point, what you get is increasing levels of tax-evasion, non-compliance and outright criminality. Grey markets shade to black, and a widespread, pervasive and well-earned disrespect for Authority thrives and prospers. Not a wise thing in a well-armed society, as many a DEA agent has learned. Or for that matter, many a Prohibition Agent. Not wise to go looking for stills in the Blue Ridges, not without a lot of other men, dogs and helicopters. And even then, you might just step in a bear trap.
But that does not mean that it's impossible or should not be done. We just need to figure out a way to do it that is both conscionable and Constitutional. And, I observe that it's certainly no worse, constitutionally speaking, than a large standing army. But the point is, we must do it in a way that is not unfair, is not inequitable, and which does not reek of class warfare - and that's what confiscatory taxation amounts to, whatever fine-sounding words you clothe it in.
When the government "governs least," by deliberately avoiding as many restrictions on individual liberties as possible, and by firmly restraining those who aspire to levels of power in competition with government from limiting individual liberty for their own profit, choices are expanded, and solutions to common problems are solved in more organic ways.
Neither party supports candidates that favor that approach to leadership. All of the front runners - even the ones I actually like somewhat - are still obviously men and women of power and influence who want to have more power and influence, operating within a system that assumes that the pie is finite. In order for them to have more, YOU must have less.
You see, that's how they KNOW they have more power. Not so much by the positive and productive things they can do - but by token of the things they can get away with that you cannot. This attitude is particularly conspicuous among Republicans, but corrupt Democrats are not unknown, historically. Not even within my own memory. I remember Strom Thurmond, for example. Of course, he did switch parties in '64 or thereabouts.
Why is it that the more a candidate is touted as a "front-runner," the more dubious they seem? For instance, despite an overwhelming anti-war mandate from the Democratic base, neither Clinton nor Obama are actually on record as anti-war. Both voted for it, up to the point where it was completely unsustainable, politically. Nor is Clinton very eager to condemn the illegitimate expansion of powers undertaken by Bush, leading one to think that her only objection to it is that she doesn't have them yet.
And there's not a single public policy pronouncement from any of them that doesn't look like it won't cost you in terms of increased cost, time, inconvenience and erosion of privacy. There's a distinct lack of common sense and fact based argument - with two exceptions, who are being dismissed by all "legitimate media" as kooks.
Well, if paying attention to cause and effect is kooky, call me a kook! Here's Dennis on drug policy. Interestingly enough, on this issue he makes pretty much the same arguments that Paul does - and from a diametrically opposite political position.
I know that proponents of the Drug War will say that I am pro-drugs. I am not. As mayor of Cleveland, I saw first-hand the damage done by addiction to drugs, including alcohol. I also witnessed that the wasted resources and collateral damage did not promote a safe society. It is unconscionable that only one bed exists for every ten people that apply for drug treatment. Our priorities and our resources are being put in the wrong place. The primary job of law enforcement should be protecting our country and its citizens -- not protecting people from themselves.Now, Kuchinich and Paul are so ideologically opposed that you might honestly expect them to explode like matter and antimatter on contact. It's quite interesting that they both get to the same conclusion from the same set of facts. This tells me that the facts are themselves unavoidably compelling. And yet it's only the "kooks" that will say out loud that which everyone knows: "the emperor has no clothes."
Yet again, we are in the process of being presented Hobson's Choice and yet again, the process is being engineered to forestall any candidate who will continue to support the obscure, complex, but massively lucrative trade, defense and economic policies that have beggared large portions of the world and are in the process of turning us into the peons of a corporate state.
We are being presented a choice of comfortable liars and panderers, nice people, some of them, but utterly committed to the interests of and service to a cultural "elite" that has few, if any concerns in common with thee and me.
The bribes they offer us for our votes differ - but they are comparatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Even universal health care is a tiny expenditure compared to the ongoing "wars on" various indefinables, like terror and drugs and crime, so if that's the price they must pay, they will pay it.
These people have become, in practice, a ruling class, with all the power of Earls, Barons and Princes, with a sense of entitlement that entire sectors of our economy are more than happy to pander to.
One only has to read Forbes or audit The Wealth Channel to note this; the idea that wealth itself makes one superior to the common herd, above common considerations and entitled to deferential treatment. And there is much profit to be made by tugging one's forelock with hand stretched out, so much profit that it's compromised our ideals of citizenship.
Don't get me wrong - I'm no Leveler. I don't believe that a wealthy man's money belongs in my pocket, nor would I stoop to taking advantage of a person's absurdly inflated idea of their own place to profit. To me, it's ethically equivalent to rolling a drunk, though I humbly observe that if they are ethically equivalent, and IF one must compromise one's ethics to survive, being a member of Snoop Dogg's posse or cleaning pools in Kennebunkport is better than rolling drunks.
I don't even object to wealthy people having people serve them. I just want them to remember that those who serve have their own inherent worth and dignity - after all, if they have not earned that themselves, what's the point in having them underfoot?
Our government is in large part defined for us by those who belong to or who are closely affiliated to the power elite. And more or less due to that, it treats us all as barely competent savages, not quite capable of wiping our own butts without instructions on the toilet paper, in need of being reminded of our "place" and certainly not worthy of wandering the streets of the gated communities in which they live.
And when the peons get uppity, well, those who work for the lords and barons tend to haul out their Tasers to "teach us a lesson," as I've observed before in Kerry Triangulates New Failure.
I've learned the obvious lesson - or rather, it's been reconfirmed for me. I've learned to reflexively question authority - and let the answer be an instruction to all.
If questioning EITHER president Bush or John Kerry, the man who provably should be in office both lead to detention, arrest and tasering, it's highly probable the results would not have changed things in an way that would be of significant benefit to 85 to 90 percent of US citizens. We would simply have been consenting to being ruled by which King - not electing a President. Probably, as I suspect was the case with Bob Dole before him, Kerry was a well-paid actor in a timeless charade.
Hence the popularity of Kucinich and Paul - and the desperate attempts to silence and discredit both of them. Neither is entirely likable; both have warts and bumps - but neither is trying to blow smoke up your bum about anything. What you see is what you get, and if that's somewhere short of professionally-coiffed perfection, I can live with that. I can live with either man gaining office. But what I'd really like to see is this: the promise of each to support the other in getting as close as possible, and if necessary, running as a team. And likewise, I'd suggest that if sending 100 bucks to Ron Paul on November 5 is a good idea, sending a hundred bucks to EACH campaign is an even better one.
Hey, when was the last time the field narrowed down to two really great candidates, as opposed to a choice between who sucked least?
Both Paul and Kucinich are in agreement on the single most important concern of the day, at least to me; a return to constitutional government. The rest is all details and philosophy, trivia in comparison to that one grand point of agreement. And on that point, that overriding point, the ultimate "litmus test" for any Citizen - they stand alone, each in isolation on their respective "sides."
The realities that face us today are stark enough that we don't have the luxury of dealing with the little stuff. Anything that is a go or no-go depending on your political philosophy is a sheer luxury this nation cannot afford; we have wasted to many years with such partisan crapola while issues that matter desperately rotted for lack of will, intelligence, guts and comprehension. The place to start is to return to the basis of our Republic and consider every aspect of government and governance in light of what the manual says. From now on, if we don't like what it has to say, instead of ignoring it, we either pass an amendment, or stop whining about it.
And since they both stand for that, I hope both are placing a priority on excellent personal security.
tag: Clinton, Obama, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Democrat, Republican, power politics, common sense, reality based, constitution, constitutional government, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, authoritarianism, election fraud, question authority, respect for authority