Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tea Party '07

On December 16, 1773, American colonists, disguised as Indians, snuck aboard a British merchant ship and dumped tons of tea into Boston Harbor, and act of protest against British tyranny that rallied the colonists and helped spark the American Revolution.

Today, the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, believers in liberty nationwide are rallying behind Presidential candidate Ron Paul, the only candidate who supports the Founders' view of a nation conceived in liberty, bound by its Constitution, and free from government oppression. Today, December 16th, donations are pouring into the coffers of this freedom fighter, as supporters hope to ignite a second, peaceful Revolution, to restore this country to its proper track.

As of this writing (4 p.m. Eastern time), more than $3.5 Million has been donated at <> today. We are hoping to exceed the one-day record of $4.3 Million. Please donate as much as you can possibly afford, and forward this message to every person and mailing list you know.


Ron Paul is a 10-term Republican Congressman from Texas.
He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.

He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Congressman Paul introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress.

A medical doctor who has delivered over 4,000 babies, he is known as "Dr. No" on Capitol Hill because he votes against any legislation that violates the Constitution.

Dr. Paul is that rarest of all rarities: an honest politician.

Congressman Paul is the only major-party Presidential candidate who believes in the Founders' ideal of peace, free trade, and limited government. He deserves your support, and now is the time to give it. <> (purchases from <> also count)

View the current fundraising totals at <> and <>.

Also, once you've donated all you can, there is one more thing you can do: Visit two houses of people you don't know and hand out literature. See <> for details. And don't forget to visit <> to do what you can for Congressman Paul in your state.

Please do all you can to restore liberty and the rule of law to America! Support Ron Paul for President!

“I am for preserving to the states the powers not yielded by them to the union; and for preventing the further encroachment of the executive branch on the rightful powers of congress. I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple, and for retiring the national debt, eliminating the standing army, and relying on the militia to safeguard internal security, and keeping the navy small, lest it drag the nation into eternal wars. I am for free commerce with all nations, political connections with none…. I am for freedom of religion, and for freedom of the press. And against all violations to the Constitution to silence our citizens” - Thomas Jefferson on his positions for the 1800 election.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Security for Prosperity and Peace

(updated below)

In his interview with Wolf Blitzer on December 2nd, Ron Paul mentioned a website he called “Security for Prosperity and Peace” in connection with his contention, stated in the November 28th CNN/YouTube Republican Debate, that we were moving toward a NAFTA highway. A cursory Google search on the phrase yielded no relevant results. A little creative searching yielded the government website he was actually referring to: the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Paul claims that the highway is mentioned on that site. Well, it is: in the Myths vs. Facts section comes this interestingly vague disclaimer:

Myth: The U.S. Government, working though the SPP, has a secret plan to build a "NAFTA Super Highway."

Fact: The U.S. government is not planning a NAFTA Super Highway.  The U.S. government does not have the authority to designate any highway as a NAFTA Super Highway, nor has it sought such authority, nor is it planning to seek such authority. There are private and state level interests planning highway projects which they themselves describe as "NAFTA Corridors," but these are not Federally-driven initiatives, and they are not a part of the SPP.

Note that what they actually deny is that any highway is actually (or will be) designated a “NAFTA Super Highway.” Does that mean that the rumors are false? Well, let’s dig a little deeper into the site, and we find the Report to Leaders. On page 24 of this PDF document we find a slide labeled “Signature Initiative: Safer, Faster and More Efficient Border Crossings,” which is what I presume Paul was referring to. On this slide, under “Key Milestones,” is listed

“Initiate new studies on the main NAFTA corridors between Mexico and the U.S. and develop a methodology to relieve bottlenecks within the highway network and at ports of entry by mid-2006 (9 months).”

Now I’ll be honest: This isn’t an issue that I care deeply about. I believe Paul is taking the wrong tack on immigration; instead of being paranoid about securing our borders against peaceful immigrants (emphasis on peaceful), I believe we should focus on eliminating the government benefits that induce them to come here and drain our tax dollars away. Frankly I believe we should eliminate most of these government-aid type benefits for everybody, but particularly for non-citizens. Then peaceful immigrants would only come here looking for work, which only benefits our economy.

Looking at this site, can we really say that, while obviously not one single mammoth government project, the spectre of a “NAFTA highway” speeding people and cargo from Mexico to Canada and points in between is “illusory”?


Of course it’s a myth. The Canadian government says so. Oh, wait…


Monday, June 4, 2007


Okay, xkcd is an awesome webcomic about, as it says, “romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” Actually, science should be thrown in there somewhere too. But the “Powers of One PastedGraphic3-2007-06-4-10-57.png” strip is particularly awesome. As with several webcomics, there’s a little additional joke in the tooltip (mouseover) text, and in this case, it’s cooler than the actual strip. See the strip to understand what’s going on, but I’m adopting the tooltip joke as a new quote: “It’s kinda Zen when you think about it, if you don’t think too hard.”

That so sums up much of Zen-type stuff for me. That’s how I believe a lot of Zenlike stuff (I’m not really dissing Zen itself here; Zen philosophy is too complex for the kind of light treatment I’m giving here. So let’s say this applies to some actual Zen stuff and a lot of pop Zen, or Zen-like, stuff) is. It sounds all cool and spooky and paradoxical until you actually examine it closely enough to understand it. For instance, I got an email from a friend today that said, “My father's mother once said ‘I'm not a feminist. I'm not particularly feminine’ and she was both right and wrong.” Now, I’m not poking fun at the author of this email; she knew exactly what she meant, and so did I. But this is the sort of quote that could be interpreted all Zen-ly: oooh, something’s both right and wrong at the same time, there’s no absolute truth, we’ve just got to go with the flow and take a lot of drugs (or meditation, or whatever) so we can try to grasp, non-intellectually, the ultimate, seemingly contradictory Truths of the Universe.

Poppycock. For someone with an intellectual, scientific mindset, this is a simple problem (and I realize I didn’t choose a particularly difficult example; if someone has a better one on tap, I’d gladly use it). Either this was intended to mean “she was both right and wrong at the same time and in the same way,” in which case it’s utterly contradictory, therefore it was nonsensical, therefore there was no meaning in the statement whatsoever; or it meant “she was right in at least one way and wrong in at least one other way,” in which case it makes perfect sense, but isn’t creepy or mystical or contradictory in any way, it’s just couched in a shorter, more-interesting-sounding way (this is precisely how it was intended to be understood in this case, by the way).

Again, I realize I used a simple, almost straw-man example, but I really view a lot (if not all) of the seemingly-contradictory, mystical statements of the Zen-loving crowd this way: either they’re actual contradictions, in which case they’re both meaningless and utterly useless, or they’re not, and a little analysis will uncover what’s actually going on, thus removing the spooky mysticism from the situation. Yes, sure, this removes a little of the mystery from the Universe, but isn’t the point of mysteries that it’s fun to try to solve them? There’s plenty more mysteries in the Universe to uncover, and meanwhile, you’ve increased your understanding of the world, which in my mind is more important than maintaining unnecessary mysteries.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

South Carolina Republican Debate

(updated below – Update II – Update III – Update IV)

Did I hear this correctly? Mayor Giuliani has proposed not just a national ID card, but a mandatory nationwide database of everyone in the country at all times? Do we have any idea what this means? Universal person registration??????

And Mitt Romney came straight out and said that we should “double Guantanamo.” Well, Mitt, that’s a little difficult unless we go to war with Cuba. Why don’t we do the easy thing and just establish concentration camps around the U.S.?

Ron Paul PastedGraphic14-2007-05-15-21-26.png did splendidly. He mildly stumbled once or twice; when he was asked if he would actually get rid of the Department of Homeland Security in a time of war, I think he should have said, “Absolutely. We already had a Department of Homeland Security: it’s called the Department of Defense.” He actually had a better quote on his website PastedGraphic3-2007-05-15-21-26.png than the one he used: “Only in Washington would anyone call the creation of an additional layer of bureaucracy on top of already bloated bureaucracies ‘streamlining.’” He also seemed a bit nervous at first, stumbling over words and fiddling with his pen.

But at moments he was brilliant. The fight between him and Guliani was awesome. I loved Guliani’s quip, that he’d never heard that theory (that Al Quaeda attacked us because of our wars and intervention in the Middle East) before. That’s wonderful, since, as Paul said, that’s the reason that Bin Laden himself gave PastedGraphic3-2007-05-15-21-26.png. The pundits are saying that it was a boost for Guliani and that Paul is done. I think quite the opposite. Guliani PastedGraphic3-2007-05-15-21-26.png and McCain are spouting the standard Bush line that they hate us because we’re rich and free. That plays well for the hardcore, Fox News-watching base of the Republican Party, but for anyone with any brains, they’ve been asking that exact question for six years now: Why did they attack us? The Bush answer doesn’t compute. Paul gave them the answer tonight. Expect this to work in Paul’s favor far more than the pundits have any idea.

There was one more great Paul moment, but I don’t remember what it was right now. I’ll repost when I figure it out.


Ron Paul is #1, with 30%, in the Fox News debate poll! The guy who announced that said that perhaps Paul has a better organization to coordinate his supporters texting. I don’t think so. It’s not so much a matter of coordination or organization. I mean, the email we got today was an appeal for money; it didn’t even mention the debate. His blog post PastedGraphic3-2007-05-15-21-26.png for today gave the number and message to text, but that’s about it. The rest of it is just grassroots. There are several PastedGraphic14-2007-05-15-21-26.png websites PastedGraphic14-2007-05-15-21-26.png not formally associated with the Paul campaign that have sprung up to support him. He had a lot of people who believed in him (myself included) long before he declared his candidacy.

But none of that explains the results. Surely, with as many Paul supporters as there may be, they’re a small fraction of the number of people watching the debates. This has got to be a genuine popular upswell of support. There have been accusations that Paul supporters were somehow fudging the online MSNBC PastedGraphic14-2007-05-15-21-26.png and ABC PastedGraphic14-2007-05-15-21-26.png poll results. Honestly, they were so distorted that even I thought it was possible. But the results from Technorati PastedGraphic3-2007-05-15-21-26.png and, in particular, Alexa PastedGraphic3-2007-05-15-21-26.png (you can’t distort the drop in visitations to other candidates’ websites that happened after the first debate) seem legit. And I just don’t see how you can distort text message polls; presumably (hey, let me try…) you can only vote once from any one phone (hm. I got a response when I voted the first time, but this time my message dropped into a hole. But maybe I missed the end of the voting. Update: I did get a response, hours later. It was the same response as I got to my first message. So perhaps it went through after all. Hard to say). To fudge these results, you’d have to have tons of cell phone accounts. That’s money that Paul supporters don’t have.

Part of this can be explained by the fact that libertarians have a much higher proportion of techie types than any other political persuasion. Online polls and text message polls are only accessible to those with the technical knowhow to access them, and libertarians lead the pack on that count.

One of the candidates (Duncan Hunter, I believe), in the post-debate interviews, just said, in response to Ron Paul’s comments, that “we didn’t attack a middle eastern country, we saved a middle eastern country—Kuwait—and our reward was being attacked on 9/11.” But that’s precisely Paul’s point! That was our reward for intervening in the Middle East!

Paul didn’t say anything about immigration that I heard tonight, so this wasn’t directed at him, but this same guy said, in support of stricter immigration controls, “we caught 1100 [illegal immigrants] from Communist China [crossing the border from Mexico],” I presume within the last year. This is a point against allowing immigration? 1100 of the most industrious, intelligent people in the world want to come here to escape Communist oppression, and that’s a bad thing??

Update II

This is priceless. Immediately after the post-debate show on Fox, there is a show on Discovery Times on Osama bin Laden where they clearly say that bin Laden was severely upset by the U.S. liberation of Kuwait, believing that it was the duty of the Muslim world to do so. This (along with, I’m sure, what the show will say later) utterly validates Paul’s point. It has nothing to do with us being rich. How could it? Saudi Arabia is crazy rich. Bin Laden himself is incredibly rich. It has nothing to do with being free. As bin Laden himself said, why then did he not attack Sweden? It has everything to do with blowback from our intervention in the Middle East.

Update III

I remember now, after seeing the video Movie-5%252528dragged%252529-2007-05-15-21-26.png of Paul’s performance in the debate, what his last great moment was: His gripe that they were dealing with hypothetical situations when the real Osama bin Laden was still free and we were basically ignoring him. Awesome.

Update IV: June 18, 2013

Updated some formatting and a few links, in particular the “websites” link that previously linked to the official campaign blog, not a grassroots website. I think I (embarrassingly) did not realize that was the “official” blog.

Friday, March 30, 2007

You have no right to a speedy trial

I’m speechless.

Marcia Cooke, Federal judge trying the case of Jose Padilla, has held that our Constitutionally-protected right to a speedy trial only comes into play when a suspect is actually charged with a crime. Before that time, Government officials can hold you in a cell indefinitely. So, if the government never wants to see someone come to trial, all they have to do is not charge them with any crime. I see. Well, that’s alright then. No possibility of injustice there.

Someone tell me…when is it time to revolt, again?

I’m waiting.