Sunday, October 14, 2007

An Open Reply to Mr. Harwood's Open Letter to Ron Paul Supporters

The letter this reply relates to can be found here:

Dear Mr. Harwood,

I must say that you write a very eloquent open letter. I am so happy to see someone from the “mainstream” media finally admit that the post debate polls aren’t being hacked, that nothing illegal, immoral or corrupt was going on, and that these results are the legitimate result of political discourse. Your reasoning that political dialogue and democracy ought to be open and participatory is spot on. I must agree with you and hence I have decided to openly participate.

I do appreciate your efforts to try to placate those who have flooded your email box with complaints. This effort alone shows just how much Dr. Paul has grown in popularity over such a short period of time. It must be difficult to open your email box and see dozens of emails from people you know are irate. I’m sure it’s not fun reading through them when all they seem to do is complain, but certainly from looking through these emails you must now understand the level of frustration most of these people have been feeling. You see, if most Ron Paul supporters are like me, they had given up on the political process in this country long ago and now suddenly they have been given hope. They have suddenly found someone that they can get behind and support, someone that is not just the lesser of two evils, and someone with an ideology they believe in. This ideology I speak of is the ideology of the United States of America. Ron Paul believes in the ideals this country was founded upon and often points to the constitution of our great land, the supreme law of the land that the government is supposed to follow, and tells us that our government should be following the words of the wise men that wrote it. When Ron Paul supporters voice their endorsement of Ron Paul, they are supporting more than just the man, they are supporting his ideals, they are supporting the constitution of the United States of America, and they are supporting the country they were born in or immigrated to, a country they have come to know and love, a country they believe can once again become the greatest beacon for freedom and liberty the world has ever seen. It is only natural they should become upset when they believe that hope is being stolen from them.

Now comes the point I must take issue with you on. You, like your colleague before, have made a statement that seeks to minimize the significance of Ron Paul’s message and the force his supporters are bringing to the forefront of this political debate. You make the statement that you believe that Ron Paul’s chances of winning the presidency are no greater than your own. As a matter of opinion, that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion and it is what it is. As a matter of public record, I find that statement very disconcerting. I haven’t seen any “John Harwood Revolution” signs springing up on the roads. I don’t believe common people are posting John Harwood videos on Youtube. I haven’t seen the John Harwood girl making videos extolling the virtues of John Harwood’s stances on honoring the constitution and limiting government. I don’t recall seeing that John Harwood was running for president on any party ticket, or hearing that he had plans to run for president at all. I find it hard to believe that John Harwood is so certain any candidate would have the same chance of winning as a non candidate, particularly one with the backing Ron Paul now has, that he has posted an open letter saying so. Unless, sir, perhaps you have inside information that has been kept from the rest of us?

I would suggest, sir, that you are doing your best to make sure that Ron Paul has no chance of winning by continuously stating that he has no chance of winning. I would suggest that the media, sir, of which you are a part of, is mis-reporting and understating Ron Paul’s significance in this campaign. Why hasn’t his wins in the straw polls been widely reported? Why is it that suddenly, when he wins or places second in so many straw polls, are these same straw polls of no significance? A few years back, I seem to remember much importance was put on those same straw polls by the very media you work for. I guess the straw polls are only significant when the candidate the media has deigned “has a chance” wins. Why is it that I have to go on Youtube to see video of the masses that show up at Ron Paul’s rallies? Why is it that other candidates can’t get the people out on the streets the way Ron Paul can, and why doesn’t the media report this? And why have the rules to some states’ primaries suddenly been changed at the last minute? Why hasn’t the media reported this? Is it because, perchance, the media gets its money from the same corporations that donate so much to the other candidates’ campaigns while Ron Paul gets all his money from the hard working American people who do the actual voting? These questions go unanswered by those in the media. Instead, the personalities who sit in front of the cameras every night and day tell us that Ron Paul has no chance of winning rather than reporting the events that have been taking place and letting us decide for ourselves who has a chance of winning and who doesn’t. Ron Paul, sir, has a better chance of winning than zero, a much better chance. In fact, Ron Paul’s chances of winning the Republican primary have been put at 4 to 1 by, just behind John McCain and Mitt Romney who come in at 5 to 2. Funny, I didn’t see the name John Harwood even mentioned on that list, not even behind Duncan Hunter who came in at 100 to 1.

You state, sir, that when Ron Paul ran as a Libertarian he drew less than half a million votes. So? When was the last time the system was fair to a third party candidate? Was Ron Paul able to participate in debates against Republicans and Democrats when he ran as a Libertarian? No? Is that because the message he brings to the table, the message of freedom and liberty, of smaller constitutional government, of peace and hope, the message that any good Libertarian would bring to the table, is it because this message is so powerful that it resonates not only in the hearts of Americans, but in the spirit of all human beings and the big government candidates know they wouldn’t stand a chance arguing against such a message? Or is it simply because the Democrats and Republicans want to maintain their power and therefore make the political process nearly impossible for any third party to participate in? Whatever the reason may be, it is time to change the guard in American politics and allow all those interested free and equal access to the political process in this country, just as we are now practicing free and open political discourse by exchanging open letters on the Internet.

You talk of a “scientific” poll of Republican primary voters where Ron Paul only garnered two percent. I say it is likely that “scientific” poll did not take many factors into account. I would imagine they only polled those party faithful who have in the past voted in the primaries. They are leaving out all those Democrats and Independents, Libertarians and members of the Reform Party, those who have affiliated themselves with the Green Party and the Constitution Party, all these people who have suddenly decided to register as Republicans just so they can vote for Ron Paul. These are the disenfranchised I speak of. These are the people who have been looking for someone to vote FOR instead of someone to vote against. These are the people who for years have been searching for a message and now they have found it in Ron Paul. The “scientific” poll you speak of probably did not take that into account and was probably developed so that the Republican Party faithful would dutifully go out and vote for whoever they were told had the best chance of winning. And let us not forget, many Republicans who would not normally go out and vote in the primary will discover the message of Ron Paul, and that will excite them so much that they will decide this year to vote in the primary, and they will vote for the man with a message they can support and understand. They will vote for the ideals they believe this country should stand for. Lastly, let us not forget the apathetic. Let us not forget those like myself who may have given up all together on the political process in this country. Let us not forget the tens of millions of registered voters who no longer even bother to vote. I bet your “scientific” poll forgot them. Should they come out on primary day and cast their votes for Ron Paul, you will likely see results similar to what you have seen in the online poll your organization so generously put up.

You say Ron Paul lacks GOP support because his views are plainly out of step with the mainstream sentiment of the party he is running in. I would suggest, sir, to the contrary. I would suggest that his views are out of step with the elite that have taken over the party he is running in. I would suggest that his views are out of step with the corporate backers of the party who want to be able to buy the party in order to broker power for themselves. I would suggest, sir, that Ron Paul’s views are very much in step with the rank and file who make up the backbone of that party, and the backbone of this country. I would suggest that he is very much in step with those who have to fight the wars, who have to work every day, sometimes two jobs, and live paycheck to paycheck, who have to pay the burdensome income tax they can’t afford, who see the value of the money they earn shrink while the raises don’t come, I believe Ron Paul is quite in step with these people. His ability to raise so much money from what you might consider the unwashed masses, but what I would consider common humanity, proves this. It is all the other candidates who are out of step with their constituents. It is they who ignore the unwashed masses at their peril, and all the corporate donations in the world can’t change this.

You end your letter by suggesting that Ron Paul supporters are a highly motivated minority. I submit to you, sir, that you have miscalculated. Ron Paul supporters are the common folk, and the common folk are just that, common, and they are not a minority. I will repeat myself and tell you what I told your colleague, people are fed up. They are fed up with being lied to. They are fed up with being told what to think. They are fed up with being told that their candidate, their hope for the future, has no chance to win. And they are fed up with being told that their activism and support does not matter and has no meaning.

Mr. Harwood sir, your open letter should be seen as a challenge by Ron Paul supporters. You have thrown down the gauntlet. It is up to them now to show that you are wrong. Ron Paul can win the Republican primary. He can and should win the presidency, for he is the best man for the job. He is the best hope for our country. He may be the best hope for the world. He is a man deserving of our respect and admiration for his principled stance and his record of standing up for the Constitution of the United States of America and for the ideals this nation was built upon. It is not yet time for these ideals to die. Ron Paul supporters, such as they are, must redouble their efforts to get the word out, and they must show up at the Republican primaries across this great nation of ours to make sure their voices are heard loud and clear. I wish to thank you, sir, for giving me the chance to discuss these matters in such an open forum. I wish to thank you for allowing this discourse to occur. I also wish, however, that you would stop touting your polls and statistics, come down out of your ivory tower, and take a look at the reality at what is happening on the street. There’s a revolution happening down here and everyone’s invited to join, including you.


Szandor Blestman.

A Ron Paul Supporter's Open Reply to Mr. Wastler's Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful

This article was originally published in on Oct. 12th, 2007.

The letter this article refers to can be found here:*blog*&par=RSS


I read your explanation for taking down the Ron Paul poll and I must say I was taken aback. First, let me say that the opinions expressed here are my own and I speak for no one else. That said, I’d like to say thank you for your backhanded compliment “You guys are good. Real good.” I say it’s backhanded because of the implications it leaves unsaid. When you follow it up with the accusation that the poll was hacked, it implies that the “Ron Paul faithful,” as you call them, have done something wrong. Hacking is a practice where someone breaks into a website's server or even a personal computer and changes programming code or steals data, usually for nefarious purposes. Often when this happens, fingerprints are left. Hacking is a crime. It is the destruction or theft of someone else’s property, the cyber equivalent of breaking and entering or defacing private property. If you are accusing someone of hacking, you should produce proof and try to catch the perpetrators. In fact, if your organization had been paying attention they should have seen that this kind of activity has happened in the past and they should have been prepared. Your organization should have the resources to do something about that. There are ways to stop hackers, just as there are ways to stop burglars. But your poll wasn’t exactly hacked now, was it? In fact, by your own admission, you said the poll was flooded, which isn’t exactly hacking.

Now, let me return the compliment, but I will be a little more forward about it. You, sir, are also good. You are good at minimizing the significance of an event. You are good at taking facts and spinning them into something they are not. If you were an alchemist of old, you may have been able to take lead and turn it to gold. You compliment the “Ron Paul faithful,” calling them good, recognizing that they are well organized and feel strongly about their candidate on the one hand, and then you chastise them for expressing their strong feelings in a fair and significant way on the other. As far as I know, everyone had equal access to your poll and anyone with access to a computer could have voted on it. Am I wrong? Was there some flaw with the poll that somehow caused the followers of other candidates to not be able to vote? Were the Huckabee faithful somehow denied access? How about the Giuliani gang? McCain’s crowd? If I had felt Thompson stood out from the rest of the candidates, would I have been somehow forbidden from voting for him? If this is the case the fault is yours and not that of the “Ron Paul faithful.”

You say your poll may have been the target of an organized campaign and suggest that the participants came from Ron Paul chat rooms. So what? It is a campaign, sir. It is called a political campaign. Any other candidate could have mobilized his supporters to do the same, if he had that kind of support. It is part of the democratic process we in this country seem to take so much pride in. What you are doing, sir, when you complain about such things, is in essence shaming the “Ron Paul faithful” for paying attention. You are shaming them for taking action. You are shaming them for supporting their candidate. And, more importantly, you are trying to stymie their attempts to express their point of view. It is not the fault of Ron Paul supporters if supporters of other candidates do not show up to vote in your poll.

You say this poll was the cyber equivalent of asking the room for a show of hands on a certain question. I like that analogy. What you have done is in essence come into the room which was full of Ron Paul supporters, asked them a question, and then told everyone to put their hands down, that you really didn’t mean to ask that question, when you saw how many hands were raised.

Now I have a few unproven suggestions of my own to make to you, but before I do let me say that you, at least, do acknowledge that Ron Paul is a fine gentleman with substantial backing (more than “some” substantial backing) and that he was a dynamic presence at the debate. That is much better than the talking heads and pundits on TV. I congratulate you for recognizing those characteristics, but to follow it up with the statement that you haven’t seen him pull those kind of numbers in any “legit” poll makes one wonder if the compliment was put there simply for the purpose of keeping the “Ron Paul faithful” from questioning the follow up statement. Well, I do question the follow up statement. I question the legitimacy of your so called “legit” polls. Isn’t it possible that perhaps those polls are simply asking the wrong people? I know I’ve never been polled. Perhaps the people that are coming out in support of Ron Paul no longer have land line phones and therefore can not be contacted by your so-called “legit” polls. Perhaps many of Ron Paul’s supporters that watched the debate are not registered Republicans. Perhaps the “legit” polls are simply no longer significant. Or, perhaps there is some more nefarious purpose to these “legit” polls that we are not being told. It seems to me that many polls I’ve seen in the past decade or so have been questionable. I remember more than a few times seeing a poll and thinking “I don’t believe that.” I personally trust the “unscientific” Internet and phone polls that allow anyone to answer more than the “scientific” polls which are somewhat secretive as to how the data is gathered. Even when a poll states how the data was gathered you have to trust that the people conducting the poll did, in fact, do as they say they did. Poll people can say anything they want and I have no way of knowing if they are being honest.

If, however, you want to talk about numbers, and if you trust the numbers shown on “scientific” polls, I’d like to point to the numbers from polls taken on the Iraq War. It seems to me that poll after poll shows that public sentiment is more and more against the war. I’ve seen numbers between 65-80 percent of the public are against the war. Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate that has come out against the war. You took down your poll when Ron had 75 percent of the vote. That falls right in line with the numbers against the war. Perhaps the poll makes more sense to you now.

You suggested that a well organized and committed “few” can throw the results of a system meant to reflect the sentiments of “the many.” Are you suggesting that there are only a “few” Ron Paul supporters? After nearly thirty thousand votes, Ron Paul is leading with 86% of the vote in some categories. If you think the same “few” people are repeatedly voting, I suggest you figure out a way to stop that. should have plenty of resources to do that, and if you don’t I suggest you hire someone. Most Internet polls won’t let you vote more than once from any one Internet connection.

I suggest that CNBC is trying to influence the perception of who “the many” support. How much time did Ron Paul get to speak at your debate compared to the other candidates? How many questions was he asked compared to the others? Why did the commentators afterward focus so much on the other candidates? Why is Ron Paul so often referred to as a “lower tier” candidate, even after he was able to raise over 5 million dollars in the third quarter? Remember, this was 5 million from everyday, hard working Americans, not money from corporations which the other candidates depend on. In fact, I wonder what candidates CNBC or any of its affiliates have given money to. That’s a lot of money from the masses of humanity, and that suggests to me that Ron Paul’s following is much larger than you, sir, are willing to admit. I also know that when I talk to people on the street or at work, a great many of them are behind Ron Paul. TV might be very influential on how people think, but we still talk to each other and we still know the difference between the reality of the real world and the fantasy of the tube.

One last point I’d like to make. It doesn’t surprise me at all that your poll shows so many in favor of Ron Paul, and it has nothing to do with hacking, spamming, or targeting. It has to do with people being fed up. People are fed up with the same old, same old. They are fed up with being lied to. They are fed up with giving politicians a mandate and then having those same politicians refuse to follow through. Many are even fed up with the news media not doing their job. They are fed up with the way the world is run. They are fed up with being disenfranchised by the political system. Ron Paul is a breath of fresh air. He is obviously a man of principle. He offers a message of freedom and hope. He offers us a break from the corruption that has permeated the government. He praises our Constitution. He is the only candidate running for president that, in my opinion, can take this country in a different direction, a better direction.

Sir, I believe your letter was disingenuous. Time and again your letter belittles the efforts of Ron Paul’s supporters while complimenting the people themselves. Time and again you imply that Ron Paul has little support. Your evidence of “legit” polls not showing the numbers is conjecture at best and the method itself is either outdated or misinformation at worst. The evidence presented by the Internet and (cell) phone polls taken after the debates of the last few months is more accurate, in my opinion. The evidence presented by Ron Paul’s fundraising, the volunteerism of his supporters, the people on the street when you talk to them, the signs spontaneously going up, the videos online, the meetup groups, the songs, all these things are evidence of a grassroots movement the likes of which haven’t been seen in this country since 1776. You, sir, as the general manager of should not be worried about the results of a poll so much as you should be making sure that everyone has fair access to that poll. You should not be in the business of suggesting to me what to think so much as you should be in the business of presenting the results and letting me decide for myself what to think. I can make up my own mind, thank you very much.


Szandor Blestman

Ron Paul - He's Not Just For Bloggers Anymore

This article was originally published in on Oct. 11th, 2007.

Money talks, BS walks. How many times have you heard that phrase? I know I’ve heard it more than twice in my lifetime. It appears that this saying has proven true for the Ron Paul campaign. After raising 5.1 million dollars in the third quarter, over a million of that in the last week, the mainstream news media has suddenly started paying attention. They’ve been ignoring him all this time, perhaps hoping that he’d just go away, while his supporters have steadfastly stood by him and his policies, screaming into the dark abyss of political despondency that Ron Paul was different, that he was worthy, and that he was more popular than anyone was letting on. His supporters have been echoing his stances that freedom works, that a foreign policy of peace and voluntary interaction is better than one of force, and that smaller, less intrusive, limited government is preferable to a nanny/police state. So why is it that the mainstream media and all the political pundits are so surprised when he suddenly raises so much money? Could it be that they’ve not only been ignoring him, but also his supporters? Could it be that they’ve underestimated the power of his message and the capacity for the common American to understand it? And could it be that the reason he’s been scoring so low in the mainstream media polls is because they’ve been polling the wrong people? Or maybe their polls are woefully inadequate. Need I also mention that some of the polls used don’t even mention Ron Paul? Is there a possibility that (gasp) common, ordinary people are actually interested and active in the political process again?

Wolf Blitzer on CNN interviewed Ron Paul about a week ago and did a very good job of letting him express his views, unlike the “fair and balanced” (cough, cough) Bill O’Reiley who kept interrupting him like a little child who doesn’t want to listen when his mommy tells him “no.” Wolf wanted to know why Ron’s message seemed to be resonating with the people and suggested that it was the fact that Ron Paul was the only Republican candidate against the Iraq war. Ron agreed that was part of it, but also suggested that many people are worried about much more than just the war. Indeed, I’m a little worried about the direction this country is taking as I believe are many others. Wolf also suggested that Ron was really a Libertarian because of his views on smaller and leaner government and Ron replied that the constitution defended those positions. Indeed, I believe that his stance on constitutional government resonates well with the common man. There are still many of us common folk out here who are proud or our constitution, who have read it, and who would like to see the government adhere to it, particularly the Bill of Rights. There are still a good many of us American citizens who are proud of our heritage of freedom and liberty and who would like to see it continue into the future rather than being relegated to the trash bin of “that was the world before 9/11.”

“Good Morning America” interviewed Ron Paul the other day and called him a “bona fide grassroots sensation.” The host also called him an old school Libertarian which isn’t strictly true. He’s a Republican with Libertarian views, which is one reason why his candidacy is so exciting. I’ve been voting for Libertarian and other third party candidates for decades because I decided long ago that voting for the lesser of two evils was still voting for evil. I’ve always felt that I should vote for someone who I wanted to hold the office rather than against someone I wanted to keep out of office. Had Ron Paul been a third party candidate he would have been shut out of the debates and his message would have gone unnoticed by most. He would have been shut out of the process by unfair regulations that prevent many good ideas from ever being aired. Such is the nature of our two party system. It purposefully stifles competition. As a Republican, he can debate and raise money with the rest of them, and he’s proven that the message of liberty and freedom, of smaller constitutional government, and of a foreign policy of non-intervention is a message that a great many people can agree with.

I heard a new Ron Paul supporter on a radio talk show a couple of nights back talking about Ron Paul in the latest debate. He said he’d been waiting years to hear a politician say the things Ron Paul was saying while at his podium. He hadn’t heard of Ron until that debate and now that he has heard him he has decided to support him. He’s heard the message and now he will exuberantly tell others that message and that is how Ron’s support has grown all along. In spite of the mainstream media ignoring him, in spite of the anti-Paul bloggers who try to ridicule and berate Ron Paul supporters, in spite of the propagandists who try to condemn Ron Paul’s policies as crazy, impractical, or otherwise unworkable, Ron Paul’s support continues to grow. And Ron Paul supporters proved to be more than just fans watching from the sidelines as their candidate battled with his competition, they get involved. They come out in droves to his rallies. They applaud him loudly at the debates and wherever he speaks. They've voted him into first or second place in many straw polls which has gone unreported in the mainstream media. They put up signs where they can. They write articles when they have the time. They will do whatever it takes to get their candidate elected. And when it came down to crunch time, they put up big time and sent in cold, hard cash. Imagine that. Many of them had never contributed to a political campaign in their lives, and they decided to donate to Ron Paul. That’s how much Ron’s message resonates with the common man, so much that they are willing to give him their hard earned money. I would guess most bloggers haven’t even decided which candidate they want to support yet, let alone sent a campaign donation to anyone.

Ron Paul supporters should be proud. Their generosity has catapulted their candidate from the purview of the blogs to the spotlight of the mainstream media. Now more people than ever will hear his message, and it will make sense to many of them. They will see that he is different, that he is honest and a man of principle. They will know that this man is a good man who can make a genuine difference in the direction this country is taking. Ron Paul will no longer be the Internet candidate that no one has heard of. Even though CNBC took down their Internet poll when Ron Paul was winning with over 70% of the vote, and even though the talking heads still tried to marginalize him afterward, it seems it is too late to stop the freedom train. Too many have heard his message. Money talks. Ron Paul has it. And when a candidate can bring in contributions in the numbers Ron Paul has this quarter, people will listen.

And what do the statist bloggers with the collectivist views have to say about this? What will all the Ron Paul detractors do about this turn of events? Well, to be honest, I don’t know. Perhaps they will try to say that only a few very rich Ron Paul supporters sent in thousands of contributions using thousands of aliases. Perhaps they will come to find that I did it all by myself with my Atari 800 computer. Nah, I doubt that. But will they continue to call Ron Paul and his supporters crazy? Probably. To them the answer to all the ills of society is government, the bigger the better. They worship government and believe it is the only legitimate way to regulate business and personal lives. They don’t believe that we can figure these things out for ourselves, that normal, everyday people can innovate and create new and better ways to do business, create security and otherwise interact with each other. Anyone who thinks different than they do must be crazy, right? Will they continue to call us Ronbots and accuse us of not thinking and blindly following without question? I would guess so. After all, it is natural for a human being to think that everyone else does as he does. Will they continue to make up cutesy names like Rontard to describe us? Almost certainly. Anyone who thinks differently than they do must be stupid or retarded, isn’t that true? Meanwhile, there’s a significant amount of mostly silent people who have been ignoring them and apparently listening to Ron Paul's supporters, and they have just spoken with their wallets. I continue to have faith in the American people. Ron Paul is not just for bloggers anymore.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Taxes, Extortion, Bullies and the Browns

This article was originally published at on October 6th, 2007
It is my opinion that taxes are nothing more than extortion. The income tax is especially heinous. I see no difference between the government demanding money from me and telling me if I don’t pay a band of armed men will come into my house, kidnap me and throw me in a cell (or perhaps kill me if I resist), or a group of armed thugs representing a mobster organization coming into my business or home and telling me if I don’t pay X amount for protection than something “terrible” might happen. The similarities between these to situations is obvious, the differences are subtle. Force in used in both cases, but with the mobsters it is more blatant than with the government. One would say that with the mobsters the money taken is used solely to enrich themselves and that with the government the money goes to the “greater good.” But do you truly believe that politicians don’t use tax money to enrich themselves? If nothing else, what do you think pays their salaries? And do you mean to say that if the mobsters were to build a playground or a park nearby, or put up streetlamps, or fix the roads in front of the businesses they just ripped off, or provide a place for some homeless folk to stay, are you suggesting that these things would somehow make their extortionist activities ok?
Some would say that we voted the politicians into office, so that they have the “right” to steal from us. Are these people suggesting that if we voted for which mobster we wanted to shake us down that this would legitimize their crimes? On top of that, only individuals have rights. Governments do not have rights over and above the individual. Groups of people do not have rights over and above the individual. Interactions between people should be voluntary, not forced, but that is a discussion for another essay.
Some might point to the court system and say that fairness and justice can be found there and that we should trust in their judgment. What good is a court system that is owned by the mobsters? Taxes pay the judges’ salaries. Do you think a judge who is making a living off the extortionist’s money is going to tell the extortionist to stop? Do you believe he will be fair and impartial when his livelihood is threatened? Judges have families to feed, too. They have mortgages to pay and children to send to college. I’m certain there are a few who are principled enough to be fair and impartial and listen to all arguments from both sides, but I’d bet the majority of them are biased toward the hand that feeds them.
I’ve probably missed a couple of points, but I think you get the idea. Most people are pretty smart and understand what’s going on, they just don’t have the courage to do anything about it. I’m one of those people. I pay my taxes simply because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of our government. I’m frightened to death of those men with guns who will come arrest me if I don’t pay my extortion money, I mean taxes. I don’t want to be thrown into a prison and made to depend on people I don’t know for my survival. These are powerful humans we’re talking about here, with lots of guns and they’re willing to use them. They even feel justified in doing so. I’m just one man and I feel impotent against the system, so I continue to pay the extortionists for the right to be able to work in this country, I continue to pay my income taxes.
Ed and Elaine Brown were different. They refused to knuckle under to the bullies. They refused to give the fruits of their labor to the extortionists. They tried to work through their system and were stonewalled. Now they are sitting in jail. The government made good on their threats, kidnapped them from their home and imprisoned them. The government was apparently able to infiltrate the circle of trust the Brown’s had built. This just goes to show how treacherous our government is. People who did no harm to anyone are now removed from society. Now we, the taxpayers, both the willing and the unwilling, are forced to pay for the food, clothes, housing, and security of two people who were otherwise contributing in a positive way to society. Is this truly what we want for our citizens? Is this what it means to be free? Are we to be ruled by the force of the mob and devolve into group mentality, or are we to reclaim our legacy for our posterity and once again come to recognize that the rights of the individual are paramount if we are to be a truly free society?
I was on a radio program with Ed and Elaine the day before they were arrested. Elaine was a kind and gracious host. She thanked me for my efforts in support of a freer society. I thanked her for showing us the way, for I am not brave like the Browns are. I could not stand up to the Goliath as they did. They are like the little kid on the playground who finally has enough and stands up to the bully. I am just a kid who helps form a circle around the combatants. I only served to cheer them on. Unfortunately for the Browns, this time the bully won the fight. He is still king of the playground. The rest of us little kids can do nothing but shake are heads and walk away as the Browns lie bloody on the cold concrete. Ed said that he knew of only one way to defend his property, that words and paper weren’t enough, and perhaps he’s right. Unfortunately, words and paper are all I have, and they seem woefully inadequate. Unless all the kids on the playground decide they’ve had enough, unless they all decide the time has come to stop giving the bully their lunch money and to defend each other, I’m afraid the bully will remain king of the playground. Ed and Elaine Brown really have shown us the way, the question is, are we brave enough to follow?

Ron Paul Detractors Still Don't Get It

This article was originally published in on Octorber 3rd, 2007

So, I’m a Ronbot. According to certain denizens of the web lurking in their shadowy corners of the blogosphere, there are many of us Ronbots out there, but not too many. No, if there were too many if us, if we were more than say one or two percent of the population, then that would shatter the world view of some of these Internet denizens. We are a small Ronbot army, somehow controlled by this mystical deity and granted the magical ability to be able to hijack Internet, phone and other polls meant to give viewers of debates a voice of who won said debate. Come to think of it, according to some pundits, there are only a few of us who are very smart and know how to spam these polls. Ok, ok, I admit it, I’m the only real Ron Paul supporter and I’ve been creating all this hubbub and spam on my old turbo charged Atari 800 computer.
But seriously, think about this term Ronbot for a minute. It’s a term some clever blogomatic coined in an attempt to minimize the power of Ron Paul’s message. It’s a term that intimates that Ron Paul supporters aren’t real people, that they are some form of mindless zombie sent into the cyber world to disrupt and distract from the normal operations of the Internet. It’s meant to suggest that Ron Paul supporters have been programmed by his campaign to infiltrate the Internet encampments of the establishment and shake them up a little. What strikes me as ironic is that Ron Paul detractors will accuse his supporters of blindly following without thought, when it seems to me it is they who have blindly followed the establishment for years without question. It is they who continue to follow the leader down the road paved with corporate dollars as they support one candidate or another who get the majority of their contributions from special interests. They are the ones supporting candidates that have been bought and paid for by the corporate elite. They are the ones supporting the candidacies of the very rich who know nothing of what it’s like to struggle to earn a living.
There is something else that seems to be happening. On the streets, real people with real lives are showing their support for Ron Paul. These are not keyboard pundits sitting behind their monitors hurtling insults into cyber space at those who disagree with them, these are men and women with real jobs and real families making real decisions about their future. They don’t want the government in it. They want to make their own choices. They want real freedom. I’ve talked to people. I’ve talked to the mechanic at the oil change place. I’ve talked to the farmer in the waiting room there. I’ve talked to the clerk behind the counter at the drugstore. I’ve talked to my coworkers. These are common folk, but they still have their dreams. They have silently pledged their support for Ron. They understand his message and realize it is a message of hope and of positive change. They realize that the best thing for the common good, the best way to protect our children and their progeny, is to respect the individual’s rights and the God given freedoms spelled out for us in the constitution. They understand that it is best for all concerned for the United States of America stop trying to be an empire, to stop building nations, to end the wars, and to bring its soldiers home. These are not Ronbots, but they are the politically dispossessed that the system and the pundits have left out of the equation. They are the people the talking heads on TV are forgetting about when they spew out their artificially low numbers in their poll results. How else is it that Ron Paul could win or place in so many straw polls if not for such people? How else is it he could raise so much money so quickly without corporate backing? That’s what Ron Paul detractors don’t get, that he is more than just some Internet phenomenon due to fade. He is the real choice of the real common man, not the choice thrust upon on by the elite, self appointed guardians of the American body politic. Real people with real brains who are able to make real choices like his message of a limited, less intrusive federal government that follows the mandates set forth by our founding fathers in the Bill of Rights instead of dictating to us what to think and do. Now that they finally have a candidate that espouses these views instead of pandering to try to be everything to everyone, they are going to support him.
The people using the term Ronbot will in the same breath use the same tired old axioms that have gone unquestioned for far too long to support a policy of war, or of taxes, or of any number of socialistic policies meant to tie down the common man and keep his face pressed to the teat of mommy government. These people have been arguing conservative v liberal in meaningless blogs and now that a candidate shows up with a substantive message of restoring individual liberty, individual responsibility and governmental non-interference in both the markets and personal lives, a message that tears apart both liberal and conservative paradigms, a message that the common man can truly back, they call foul. They cry, “Get out of our face. Don’t come around here screaming about individual liberty and responsibility. We don’t want to hear it. We want the government to take our money and spend it on the war. We want the government to take care of us. We want the government to tax us to the max so we can have free health care. We want to be told what to do. We want to give up our freedom so the terrorist boogie-men don’t get us. We want to be shaken down in the airport by TSA agents. We want dissenters corralled into free speech zones where we don’t have to hear them. Please keep the status quo. We don’t want the government to change. We want the government to decide for us. We’re scared of freedom.” Well now you are going to hear it. The message is being shouted from the rooftops now that a viable candidate is touting that message. It is reverberating across the country and as more people hear and understand it, more people add their voices to the chorus until soon the song will come to a crescendo and we will bring a true measure of freedom back to this country. That, my friends, is not the clamoring of a few mindless followers known as Ronbots, that is the roar of an oncoming tidal wave crashing upon the shores of 21st century America carrying an ideal that was born over two hundred and thirty years ago, an ideal that was thought lost in the socialistic propaganda of the last century but is quickly re-emerging with a force to be reckoned with. The concept of freedom is not easily held back, and given time it will swell and wash away the sands of fascism and socialism that seek to contain it.
I am not a bot of any kind. I have been a believer in freedom and liberty since I can remember. I have been writing about freedom oriented themes since before I even heard of Ron Paul. My writings are archived and available for all to see. I don’t write about Ron Paul because he’s running for president, I write about him because he embodies the ideas I believe in, ideas that made this nation great. I have no delusions that he will obtain office and everything will magically change. He is just one man trying to achieve a position of power that is supposed to be held in check by many other men. He would need the support of many more in congress before smaller government and the repeal of oppressive laws could be accomplished. His supporters would not only have to vote for him as president in 2008, but would also have to vote in other freedom oriented candidates as their representatives and senators. If nothing else, Ron Paul’s candidacy has given us the opportunity to once again discuss the issues of freedom and liberty both in the marketplace and in our personal lives. It would be a wonderful thing to see America once again become a beacon of freedom, a place where one can live by one’s own will without the oppressive yolk of government dragging one down. A Ron Paul presidency would at least be a good start.

Human Labeling and the Punishment of Public Perception

This article was originally posted at on October 3rd, 2007.

We do not live in a perfect society. People are not always nice to each other. They don’t always follow the golden rule. They don’t always do what’s best for the greater good. They don’t always do what’s best for their family. They don’t always do what’s best for their own selves. This is not earth shattering news. This is life, pure and simple. It is the same in China as it is in the US. It is the same in Africa as it is in Australia. When it gets down to a personal level, to a human level, we all have our faults, and we all have our positive traits. Every interaction comes down to a very personal level. And yet we have a tendency to judge people with only the tiniest bit of knowledge about them, knowing minimal facts which aren’t necessarily the most accurate.
One way this is done is by labeling. As humans, we like to categorize things. We categorize everything from plants to animals, from rocks to clouds. We find similarities in things and group them together such as animals with hair, woody plants, rocks made of certain minerals, clouds with a certain amount of fluffiness. Everybody has a certain idea or picture in their head as they hear these categories. The same is true when we categorize humans. We create labels that instantly put ideas in people’s heads as to what these people are like. People carry a pre-conceived perception of what a person is like when that person is categorized in a certain way. Sometimes that perception can be good, other times it will be bad. Label someone a genius and the perception of a kind, old Einstein might be in order, label someone an adulterer or a Jezebel and the association is not so positive.
Sometimes a label will be give some a positive perception of a person while others will have a negative perception. That is especially true with political labeling. Label someone a conservative and many will think of a rich business man. Some may believe he is a greedy thief ready to prey upon the poor and downtrodden while others will believe he is a hard working guy just trying to do the best he can for his family. The same is true when one is labeled a liberal. Some people might imagine a pot smoking lazy hippie living off the welfare state while others might perceive a rich philanthropist full of genuine concern for the handicapped, the dispossessed, all the single mothers, and the rest of the dregs society has cast aside. Your personal perception of these groups depends on what you’ve been taught and perhaps on where your beliefs fall in terms of the political spectrum.
There are some labels, however, we can all agree have negative connotations. For instance, we label certain people “sex offenders.” Each state has a huge registry filled with these miscreants. They are everywhere. Some may even be your neighbors. Of course, we must ostracize these people. We can’t let them live in certain areas, for we all know these people are uncontrollable. We know they are all the type that will hide behind the nearest bush and just wait for the weakest and most innocent among us so they can pounce on them, run off with them, and take them away to do unspeakable things to them. Certainly none of them are just young men that had a young girlfriend whose mother may have become angry with him for one reason or another and reported him to the authorities. Certainly the registries contain none that may have made a mistake like relieving himself behind a tree when he thought no one was looking. Certainly the registries don’t list anyone that may have been innocent and didn’t have the money to afford a lawyer or took a plea deal to avoid the prospect of being thrown in prison. Certainly no one on the registry has ever been set up. Most certainly there are no over zealous prosecutors in this country who want to make a name for themselves by throwing as many of these perverts in prison as possible. These prosecutors would never consider entrapping a person through devious means to get a conviction. All these deviates most certainly deserve to be listed in these registries, because we all know the government never makes mistakes. We all know the government never abuses its power. We all know that government positions are filled by angels who know exactly what’s best for us and not by humans who are fallible. And we know that listing these people for all the world to see is not really punishment because human perception is such a marvelous thing and everyone looking at the registry is simply going to use it for information purposes and never, ever to ostracize, harass, or otherwise punish someone who is listed on it.
Of all the labels we can give a person, arguably the worst is that of terrorist, AKA “illegal enemy combatant.” These people are the lowest of the low. Their bombs destroy indiscriminately. They kill and maim innocent men, women and children for no real reason. We all know these people are nothing but religious zealots. We all know terrorists are only doing this so they can go to Heaven and receive their seventy virgins. We know they hate us for our freedoms and that they believe ours is the culture of the devil. There’s no way they were just trying to defend their homes. They can’t possibly see us, the bringers of the light of freedom and democracy, as a foreign occupation force. Anyone living over there is, of course, a terrorist. They deserve to be put into a prison compound forever. They deserve to be tortured. These terrorists are sub-humans. They couldn’t possibly cooperate with us unless we tortured them. And of course everyone knows that a tortured person is going to give out nothing but true and accurate information. These people couldn’t possibly be just farmers or normal, everyday people who were trying to get along in life as best they could when they were arrested. Our military, like our government, couldn’t possibly make a mistake. And, of course, these people don’t deserve a fair, impartial trial because we know with such certainty that they are the evilest, most vile of creatures, those labeled terrorists. It’s a good thing they’re not Americans, otherwise the constitution might apply to them. The words “all men are created equal” carry no weight for these terrorists, for everyone knows that Thomas Jefferson meant to include only Americans when he wrote his great declaration. It’s a good thing that no American will ever be accused of being an enemy combatant and that should any citizen ever be arrested he will be assured a fair, impartial trial right away long before he could be subject to torture in some American run prison on foreign soil. We, of course, have nothing to fear from a nation with the power to oppress so, as long as that nation is ours.
Human perception is a funny thing. There are people who are color blind and they do not know it. There are thought processes going through some people’s heads that stop short of reasoning through something completely. Laws should be considered on a case by case basis. One size fits all is never a correct path, for everyone and every situation is unique. To legally label a person is punishment, whether the establishment wants to believe it or not. It is the vilest, most humiliating of punishments. It allows not only the legal system, but the general public to dehumanize these people. Registry laws and the ability to wantonly label people with no oversight not only violates the rights of these people, but it opens the door for the government and their agents to violate the rights of everyone, and there’s more than a good chance that once the door is open the government will step into the home. Those with power will seek to exercise said power. These laws should be opposed vehemently.