Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots

Patriot Groups throughout the Maricopa and North Pinal County area.

 

AMERICA, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE THIS WRONG AGAIN!

  • Posted by ron golden SE Admin GA on January 2, 2011 at 10:00am
  • by Evan Mazur
    (libertarian)
    Saturday, January 1, 2011
    "Then everything changed. The housing bubble burst, banks stopped lending, and the Federal Reserve became an object of contempt. It was the world Ron Paul had prophesied, and he had a seductive story to tell about why it had happened—the Austrian [free market economics] story... It does not seem at all far-fetched to think that Paul could have a much greater impact on the race than last time. The Republican primaries are sure to be about economic and size-of-government issues."
    -Joshua Green, "The Tea Party’s Brain", Atlantic Magazine Nov. 2010
    The Long Road to Prominence
    Two time presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican with a 22 year career in the U.S. Congress in Texas's 14th district, has been fighting against big government his entire career. Known for his advocacy of keeping the government out of citizens' personal and economic lives, he was influenced by the Austrian free market economist Ludwig von Mises who stated that no matter how well intentioned, any attempts by the government to steer the economy would result in malinvestment that would lead to the boom-bust cycle where the pain of the recession would feel far worse than the temporary high experienced during rising economic activity. Mises is known for predicting the Great Depression and he turned down a job offer from Austria's central bank in 1929 knowing that a crash was coming which eventually ended in a hyperinflationary collapse. Similarly, when Richard Nixon took the United States off the gold standard in 1971 and enacted wage and price controls, Ron Paul knew the government's attempt to steer the economy would eventually steer it directly into an iceberg. Not one to go down with the ship, Nixon's interventions gave Ron Paul the impetus to enter politics and he won his first election in 1976 and became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Dr. Paul went against the grain from the very beginning. Representing the party that supposedly advocated free-market economics, Republican Richard Nixon was attributed with the phrase "We are all Keynesians now", referring to British economist John-Maynard Keynes who inspired Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal economic policy during the Great Depression. Ron Paul stresses that the economy was not repaired by New Deal intervention but by the expansion of capitalism through production of consumer goods that was made possible when U.S. soldiers returned home after World War II. Whatever the case, government had made the decision that even after WWII it should be in charge of steering the economy and repairing it, as if it were something mechanical like a watch, when things went wrong. NPR's report concluded that:
    "One way the economy is not like a watch is that you can repair a watch without politicians. Politicians took the Keynesian message that government spending can be good and ran with it. They paid for the war on poverty and the war in Vietnam. They sent a man to the moon. All the while, they piled up the federal budget deficit, convinced that Keynes gave them a free pass.

    Prescribing Keynesianism to some politicians is like prescribing crack to a coke addict. In the 1970s, the patient hit rock bottom. The U.S. had high unemployment, and the Keynesian solution stopped working. The national government spent and spent, but unemployment only got worse. Then came inflation, something Keynesians had no answer for."
    Such was the climate that Ron Paul encountered when he first entered into political office. Though Keynesianism had supposedly become passé due to the failures of the 1970s, Paul maintains that Keynesian economics never died and that government still tried to control the economy through the manipulation of interest rates through the Federal Reserve. The Fed's ability to control interest rates along with its ability to create money out of thin air to rescue banks that made bad investments, combined with Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that had the ability to buy up, and therefore guarantee, private banks' mortgages, created what Paul had predicted to be a perfect storm leading to malinvestment in the housing sector. In a speech to the House floor on October 27, 2005, Paul spoke of the GSE Crisis
"One of the major privileges the federal government grants to the GSEs is a line of credit from the United States Treasury. According to some estimates, the line of credit may be worth over $2 billion. GSEs also benefit from an explicit grant of legal authority given to the Federal Reserve to purchase the debt of the GSEs... "Ironically, by transferring the risk of widespread mortgage defaults to the taxpayers through government subsidies and convincing investors that all is well because a "world-class" regulator is ensuring the GSEs' soundness, the government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market. This is because the special privileges of Fannie and Freddie have distorted the housing market by allowing Fannie and Freddie to attract capital they could not attract under pure market conditions. As a result, capital is diverted from its most productive uses into housing. This reduces the efficacy of the entire market and thus reduces the standard of living of all Americans.

Despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government's interference in the housing market, the government's policy of diverting capital into housing creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing."

"Perhaps the Federal Reserve can stave off the day of reckoning by purchasing the GSEs' debt and pumping liquidity into the housing market, but this cannot hold off the inevitable drop in the housing market forever. In fact, postponing the necessary and painful market corrections will only deepen the inevitable fall. The more people invested in the market, the greater the effects across the economy when the bubble bursts."

"Instead of expanding unconstitutional and market distorting government bureaucracies, Congress should act to remove taxpayer support from the housing GSEs before the bubble bursts and taxpayers are once again forced to bail out investors who were misled by foolish government interference in the market."

The economic crisis he foresaw, along with a desire to educate Americans on other important topics, must have been the impetus for Dr. Paul to run as a GOP contender for U.S. President in 2007-2008. In his previous run he successfully became the Libertarian Party's nominee in the 1988 election against George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis.

Dr. Paul was however treated by both his own Republican Party and the media as something of a crank, with "crazy" ideas like abolishing the Federal Reserve, ending the income tax, allowing school choice, opposing torture, and bringing the troops home. For instance, during the January 17, 2008 South Carolina Republican debate, Fox News moderator Carl Cameron derisively asked
"Congressman Paul, yet another question about electability …. Do you have any, sir? There's always the question as to whether or not… you are, in fact, viable. Your differences with the Republicans on the — with the rest of the Republicans on this stage has raised questions about whether or not you can actually win the general, the Republican nomination, sir."
Paul replied that he was a strict constitutionalist who voted against more spending and waste than anyone in the room, and reminded participants of the Republican Party's previous positions on education and foreign policy. It was a tense moment that ultimately attracted cheers and applause for the Texas doctor. Through these televised debates and his appearances in cities and college campuses nationwide, Ron Paul was able to attract a huge grassroots following who helped him break records in fundraising. In anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, on Dec. 16, 2007 a "moneybomb" was organized that raised over $6 million in one day, the largest single day of fundraising in U.S. presidential campaign history. The L.A. Times reported that Paul was

"the most successful Republican fundraiser in the last three months of 2007. By a Texas mile. By the thousands, Paul's fervent followers donated $19.95 million to the "Ron Paul Revolution." He spent $17.75 million, and at year's end, had $7.8 million cash on hand, making him the only Republican candidate to increase his fundraising totals in every quarter of 2007."

Paul supporters even managed to fly a full size blimp in the air for 6 weeks advertising the Ron Paul Revolution with the message "Who is Ron Paul? Google Ron Paul". Despite his fundraising and grassroots support, Ron Paul was excluded from a January 6 New Hampshire debate sponsored by Fox News. When Ron Paul was routinely left off television polls and ignored by polls organized by the AP and other professional pollsters, it felt like rubbing salt in a wound for his supporters.

Ron Paul ultimately lost the Republican Primary to John McCain. But neither he nor his supporters had given up. On June 10, 2008 the Campaign for Liberty was formed with Ron Paul's support for the purpose of spreading the word of a constitutionally limited government with free markets. On September 2 of the same year, the Campaign for Liberty organized and held the Rally for the Republic, an event that shadowed the 2008 Republican National Convention where John McCain and Sarah Palin were officially nominated by the GOP as Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. Despite the competing GOP convention, Paul's Rally for the Republic, which aired live on C-SPAN 2, drew in a crowd of over 10,000 and included speakers such as Barry Goldwater Jr., Governor Jesse Ventura, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and tax activist Grover Norquist as well as music performances by country music star Sara Evans and pop-rock singer/songwriter Aimee Allen. The event solidified that Ron Paul and the ideas he believed in were here to stay. The economic crises in late September 2008 that Paul and the Austrian school economists had been predicting had given credibility to the ideas they had long been advocating. Paul, along with his economic adviser Peter Schiff, received due attention in the media for their predictions. "Peter Schiff Was Right", a collection of clips from Schiff's various TV appearances throughout the years, went viral on Youtube. It showed a man who stuck to his guns when faced with opposition that mocked and even laughed at his gloomy economic predictions. His 73 minute speech to a crowd of mortgage bankers from 2006, also on Youtube, laid out exactly how the collapse would happen and showed that Schiff's predictions were based on reason and not luck. He said much of the same in his previous speech in 2005. With newfound credibility and a continuous flow of new supporters, the long ignored Ron Paul began to catch the attention from his own Republican Party. Just 2 weeks before Barrack Obama's inauguration, the Wall Street Journal headline was "Ron Paul–Finally–Gets His Due". Author Susan Davis writes

For much of the 2008 campaign, Texas lawmaker and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and his supporters served as a thorn in the side—or a punching bag—for the mainstream GOP establishment.

Yet today, the six men vying to run the Republican National Committee praised the grassroots enthusiasm Paul tapped into during his campaign—and discussed how they would like to capture that enthusiasm to expand the party’s appeal.
The article went on to describe the praise for Ron Paul by the likes of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, former Mike Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman, and incumbent RNC Chairman Mike Duncan. In other positive signs since then, Ron Paul's son Rand Paul successfully won the 2010 Kentucky U.S. Senate race on a philosophy and platform not much different than his father, and shortly after Ron himself was selected as Chair of the House Sub-Committee on Domestic Monetary Policy. No longer would it be so easy or wise to marginalize Ron Paul and his ideas.

Economic Renegade
But no sooner had Ron Paul gotten his dues than had Barack Obama been sworn into office with some very different ideas on economic policy that included massive stimulus spending inspired by Paul's old nemesis John Maynard Keynes. Paul maintains that Keynes never died and that his ideas permeated both parties. Indeed, Republican John McCain stated "the nation needs a stimulus bill", just not the same one Obama promoted. NPR reported

Right now, a lot of economists are supporting the idea of a stimulus package. There are people you'd expect, like Paul Krugman, a proud Keynesian at The New York Times. There are also some surprises, like President Ronald Reagan's chief economic adviser, Martin Feldstein.

Many of the economists say they just don't know whether the Keynesian approach will work...
Anti-Keynesians say this massive stimulus package is too risky an experiment on an unproven theory. It might not get America out of the recession, they say. It might cause vicious inflation and a bloated government, and leave a trillion more dollars in debt as a constraining burden on Americans' children and grandchildren.

The Obama administration is betting that won't happen. They're trusting this theory. They're trusting Keynes.
Only weeks after Obama had been inaugurated, Newsweek's cover story prominently displayed the headline "We Are All Socialists Now". It had all been familiar to Ron Paul who made his decision to enter politics in 1971 when Nixon ended the gold standard and proclaimed that "We are all Keynesians now". The Newseek article reminds us it was

under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly... The architect of this new era of big government? History has a sense of humor, for the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion.... During the roughly three decades since Reagan made big government the enemy and "liberal" an epithet, government did not shrink. It grew.
Ron Paul was right - Keynes had never died. Both Democrats and Republicans had been using at least some elements of Keynesianism for decades, and both government and the welfare state had never stopped growing. Paul has long blamed the Federal Reserve as a destabilizing force of the economy and an enabler of government growth. In his best-selling book End the Fed, Paul writes

If you solve the money monopoly problem by ending the Fed, you solve many other problems, too. Essentially you take away from the government the capacity to use financial trickery to expand without limit. It is the first step to restoring constitutional government... Ending the Fed would put the American banking system on solid financial footing. The industry would thrive without the moral hazard of banks that are "too big to fail." Its loan operations would take a more realistic account of risks, and the bank's capital would not be put at risk in the service of politically driven priorities.[1]
The principle behind the instability is the government's inability to centrally plan an economy that is made up of millions of humans each with their own individual preferences and actions. This is why socialism doesn't work. The United States, though thought of as a capitalist haven, unfortunately is not a free market economy. When Alan Greenspan appeared on The Daily Show with John Stewart on December 18, 2007, Stewart questioned the existence of the free market due to the presence of the Federal Reserve

Stewart: So we’re not a free market then- there is an invisible, there is a "benevolent" hand that touches us…
Greenspan: Absolutely, you are quite correct. To the extent that there is a central bank governing the amount of money in the system, that is not a Free Market, and most people call it regulation
For the 5th plank of the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx called for "Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly." The Federal Reserve, planned by bankers at Jekyll Island in 1910 and created by Congress in 1913, is just such a national bank. Fed defenders will argue that the Fed is independent and not in the hands of the state, but there is an abundance of evidence to prove otherwise. In fact, it's economics 101. An introductory textbook American Government writes "For example, presidents try to influence Federal Reserve Board decisions on interest rates[2]." Members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors serve 14 year terms with a vacancy every 2 years so that during his four year term no U.S. President can appoint more than 2 members. Doing otherwise would cause excessive political influence in the Fed. But since Board members routinely do not serve out their full 14 year terms, the opportunity for political influence abounds. In his introductory college text Economics, author Steven Slavin writes "All seven members of the Board that was serving in the spring of 2006 had been appointed by President George W. Bush, and five have PhDs in economics[3]." If that weren't enough to put a few chinks in the armor of Fed's supposed independence, just read this transcript between President Richard Nixon and his new choice for Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns from October 23, 1969:

"My relations with the Fed will be different than they were with [previous Federal Reserve chairman] Bill Martin] there. He was always six months too late doing anything. I'm counting on you, Arthur, to keep us out of a recession."

"Yes Mr. President, Burns said, lighting his pipe. "I don't like to be late."

Nixon continued. "The Fed and the money supply are more important than anything the Bureau of the Budget does. Arthur, I want you to come over and see me privately anytime... I know there's the myth of the autonomous Fed..." Nixon barked a quick laugh. "... and when you go up for confirmation some Senator may ask you about your friendship with the President. Appearances are going to be important, so you can call Ehrlichman to get messages to me, and he'll call you[4]."
Time magazine reported the effect of the collusion between President Nixon and Fed Chairman Burns

During 1972 Burns allowed the money supply to grow sharply, leading to charges that he was trying to help his friend Nixon get re-elected by making sure that the economy was going full throttle. Whatever the motive, the move was a mistake: a year or so later, the aftereffects of the easy-money policy of 1972 combined with soaring food prices and the skyrocketing cost of oil to produce the roaring inflation of 1973-74.
Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has written of past political influence on the Federal Reserve's policies

I have always thought that measured inflation at a rate as low as 1 percent cannot be sustained in an economy using a fiat currency in a competitively democratic society with any remnant of populism (is any country immune?) Such a currency, by its very nature, has as the only constraint on its supply the actions of the central bank, and cannot be entirely insulated
from political influences. The U.S. inflations of 1946, 1950, and the late 1970s remain too vivid in my memory.
Nor was Greenspan himself immune to political pressure. In a headline entitled "Greenspan says Congress pushed Fed on housing boom", Reuters reported on statements made by him addressing the housing boom made possible by the Fed's low interest rate policies

"If the Fed as a regulator had tried to thwart what everyone perceived as a fairly broad consensus that the trend was in the right direction, homeownership was rising and that was an unmitigated good, then Congress would have clamped down on us," he told a questioner at a congressionally appointed commission investigating the financial crisis.

"There's a presumption that the Federal Reserve's an independent agency, and it is up to a point, but we are a creature of the Congress and if ... we had said we're running into a bubble and we need to retrench, the Congress would say 'we haven't a clue what you're talking about'," Greenspan said.
Back in 2001, New York Times Keynesian economist and columnist Paul Krugman called for just such a housing bubble when he suggested the Fed keep interest rates low. During the jittery aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he wrote "Meanwhile, economic policy should encourage other spending to offset the temporary slump in business investment. Low interest rates, which promote spending on housing and other durable goods, are the main answer." Later in 2005, he wrote

So what happens if the housing bubble bursts? It will be the same thing all over again, unless the Fed can find something to take its place. And it's hard to imagine what that might be. After all, the Fed's ability to manage the economy mainly comes from its ability to create booms and busts in the housing market. If housing enters a post-bubble slump, what's left?

Mr. Roach believes that the Fed's apparent success after 2001 was an illusion that it simply piled up trouble for the future. I hope he's wrong. But the Fed does seem to be running out of bubbles.
It is interesting to note that Krugman acknowledges that the bubbles the Fed creates can indeed pop and leave citizens in a messy economic aftermath. Nonetheless, he seems to think that it's worth the gamble. Followers of the Austrian free-market economic school like Dr. Paul do not. After the housing bubble popped, Paul in March of 2010 eventually had the opportunity to question former head of the New York Federal Reserve and current Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner on the financial meltdown and prefaced by stating that the Austrian free-market economists predicted the crisis and placed the blame on the Fed fixing interest rates too low for too long, the moral hazard created by the line of credit given by the Federal Reserve to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the unrestricted ability for the Fed to buy mortgage debt.

Paul: So my question is, are you familiar with the explanation of the Austrian economists, of the business cycle, how bubbles are formed and what we should do, and you shake your head yes, and if so, if you do understand that, which part of it don’t you like? And why don’t we look more carefully at those economists? They were right 10 years ago, I believe they’re right now. Why aren’t they consulted?

Geithner: Congressman, I agree with much of what you said and as you and I have talked before in this hearing, I think you’re right to point out that a long period of low real interest rates around the world played a major role in contributing to this financial crisis, this real estate boom, this credit boom. You’re also right that moral hazard played a very important role, most dangerously in Fannie and Freddie and those institutions were allowed to grow to enormous size, take on enormous risk without capital to support those commitments because of the expectation the government would come in and protect them from the failures. I completely agree with you. Completely agree with you.
Once again, Ron Paul had been proven right. However, it was commonly heard that the financial crisis that occurred in September 2008 was blamed on a lack of government regulation. But back in May of 2008, Paul had the opportunity to question former Fed Chairman Greenspan's predecessor Paul Volcker on the topic of regulation.

Paul: And, I believe in regulation. But I don’t believe for a minute that it’s a lack of government regulation that is our problem. It was the fact that the government had licensed the Federal Reserve to distort the market, create capital out of thin air, distort interest rates, cause the malinvestment, the excessive debt.

The market is a good regulator. The market, through interest rate changes, gives us signals that we should follow, but we don’t have that anymore. But just to say "all we need is more regulation", I think it’s sort of like saying that we need regulations for something that is unregulatable, because the system is so artificial. It has nothing to do with the market economy.

So I really fear when I hear statements "well it’s the free market that is the problem", rather than asking, "where did the bubble come from?". And I think it’s very, very precise and very clear where financial bubbles come from and we have to deal with that.

Volcker: Look, supervision and regulation aren't going to solve all these problems, you're quite right. You have to get the basic structure of the system right. One point of concern I think touches upon what you're saying is that you can't lose sight of the fact that if people get used to the notion that the creditors of financial institutions are going to be protected, that will effect their behavior and they will take more risks than they otherwise would take.
Ron Paul had been validated again. You cannot regulate the unregulatable and the moral hazard that is brought upon by the implicit promise of a bailout by the federal government or the Federal Reserve causes banks to take excessive risks. Through his accurate predictions of economic crisis and the validation of his theories about why they happen through his interactions with figures like Volcker and Geithner, Ron Paul's credibility had become rock-solid. In a reversal from previous headlines regarding Keynesians and socialists, in November 2010 CNBC ran the headline "Here's Why the Fed Plan Is Failing: We’re All Austrians Now". Author John Carney writes

Not since the New Deal has Austrian economics enjoyed the political popularity it does now. Austrian economists are awfully popular with the Republican Party, especially its Tea Party wing. Peter Schiff, the Austrian economics-inflected investment advisor, is a very popular guest on business television. Tom Woods' book "Meltdown"—which provided an Austrian economics explanation for the financial crisis—was a best seller. Congressman Ron Paul and Senator-elect Rand Paul are both devotees.

Perhaps more importantly, there has been widespread blame assigned to Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve for initiating the housing bubble with its low interest rate policies. I cannot remember when the last time was that there was widespread public appreciation of the role of central banks in causing the boom-bust cycle... All of which points to me to the possibility that Austrian business cycle theory has gone mainstream
Not only that, Ron Paul seems to have made a tentative ally in the Federal Reserve. In a television interview, St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard said of Dr. Paul

I love that he talks about markets and how markets work... I think his rhetoric on that is excellent. I'd like to see more of that around Washington... I'm not too keen on him ending the Fed
But others around the country have started to become keen on abolishing the Federal Reserve, which until recently had neither been conceived of nor talked about in the media. Abolishing the Federal Reserve is part of the official state Republican platform in both Idaho and Maine. "End the Fed" rallies attended by dozens are held every year at different branches of the Federal Reserve throughout the country. Even popular radio and television political commentator Glenn Beck regularly rails against inflation and money printing and stated in a June 18, 2009 TV broadcast that "The Fed needs to be shut down." A bill with a more moderate proposal with the goal of fully auditing the Federal Reserve was introduced by Dr. Paul in 2009 and received more than 320 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. In the end the bill was watered down to include a limited 1-time audit of the Fed. That was not good enough for Paul, but good fortune shined upon him when in December 2010 he was selected as Chair of the House Sub-Committee on Domestic Monetary Policy. This position will give Ron Paul oversight of the Federal Reserve as well as subpoena power. We might expect to see fireworks as current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is raked over the coals. Coverage of these interactions is sure to increase Ron Paul's exposure and popularity which will hopefully generate more discussion on abolishing the central bank.

A Foreign Policy of Freedom
Paul is a shrewder politician than he’s given credit for. Early on, he branded himself "the taxpayer’s best friend." When, in the early 1980s, his isolationism threatened to cost him his seat, Paul came up with a showstopper. In a videotaped campaign ad mailed to Republicans throughout his district, Ronald Reagan offered this endorsement: "Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he has always put them first."
-Joshua Green, "The Tea Party’s Brain", Atlantic Magazine Nov. 2010
On foreign affairs, Ron Paul believes strongly in the Constitution and the Founding Fathers and praises Thomas Jefferson's inaugural address that called for "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Yet in the 2008 presidential campaign, despite receiving more campaign contributions from donors in the military than any other candidate, he was often accused of being an "isolationist" for his desire not to interfere in the affairs of foreign countries and his calls for withdrawing the troops from bases around the world and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On the issue of isolationism Paul says

Anyone who advocates the noninterventionist foreign policy of the Founding Fathers can expect to be derided as an isolationist. I myself have never been an isolationist. I favor the very opposite of isolation: diplomacy, free trade, and freedom of travel. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders. The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracy, rather than seeking change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example. The real isolationists are those who isolate their country in the court of world opinion by pursuing needless belligerence and war that have nothing to do with legitimate national security[5].
Ron Paul voted against the Iraq War from the very beginning. Does such a view make him some sort of weak-on-national-defense pacifist? No, in fact he supported the authorization to use military force in Afghanistan back in 2001 after America was attacked by terrorists. In July 2008 President Bush and Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Maliki signed a "general time horizon" for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq which marked the "official" beginning of the end of a war that was started under dubious and false pretenses. President Obama promised to end the Iraq War and bring the troops home during his presidential campaign and has already removed combat troops out of Iraq for other purposes, though General Patraeus has made the point that "there are 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq" that retain an "enormous capability". The transitional force remaining is backed up by an equal number of "private" contractors. Supposedly the remaining soldiers will be withdrawn by the end of 2011, but in November 2010 the State Department cautioned against doing so

A new audit from the US State Department is condemning the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) requirement that all US military forces be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, insisting that Iraq will continue to need to have US soldiers for stabilization.

Indeed, the report cautioned against ever setting any date for an end to the war in Iraq, saying that stability could still be many years away for Iraq, already seven and a half years into its US occupation.
Will the Iraq War ever end? Officially there has been no change in plans but that remains to be seen. America is now focusing on what to do with the situation in Afghanistan.

Ron Paul voted for the authorization to use military force in Afghanistan in 2001, but that was based on his belief that we would use our military to hunt down Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cohorts. Although Osama bin Laden has never been found, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in now in U.S. custody and there has been success in greatly reducing the presence of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. CIA Chief Leon Panetta, National Security Adviser General James Jones, and retired Colonel Douglas MacGregor have all confirmed that there are less than 100 members of al Qaeda remaining in Afghanistan. Many members of al Qaeda have simply fled Afghanistan for neighboring countries such as Pakistan. With fewer than 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan, what are we still doing there and how much longer will we be doing it? General James Jones has said the United States has no intention of leaving Afghanistan "in the near future" and certainly not in 2011. Vice President Joe Biden has stated the U.S. would "assist" Afghans for "for a long time to come." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that

Well, as we have with so many other countries— obviously, we have troops in a limited number of countries around the world; some have been there for 50, 60 years, but we have long-term economic assistance and development programs in many others. And we think that's a likely outcome in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, that we would be there with a long-term commitment.
And in yet another sign of shifting dates of withdrawal, the McClatchy Tribune reported that

The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama's pledge that he'd begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011, administration and military officials have told McClatchy Newspapers.

The new policy will be on display next week during a conference of NATO countries in Lisbon, Portugal, where the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014, the year when Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said Afghan troops could provide their own security, three senior officials told McClatchy, along with others speaking anonymously as a matter of policy.

For the most part, Al Qaeda has been swept out of Afghanistan and the United States has shifted into nation building and going after the Taliban. But America faces serious problems in what has become known as "The Graveyard of Empires". For one, an investigative journalist found that the U.S. government is indirectly funding the Taliban

JUAN GONZALEZ: Aram Roston traces how the Pentagon’s civilian contractors in Afghanistan end up paying insurgent groups to protect American supply routes from attack. The practice of buying the Taliban’s protection is not a secret. US military officials in Kabul told Roston that a minimum of ten percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts consists of payments to the Taliban.

AMY GOODMAN: That translates into millions of dollars being funneled to the Taliban. This summer, anticipating a surge of US troops, the military expanded its trucking contracts in Afghanistan by 600 percent to a total of over $2 billion.
The United States government is also not welcomed by the very government they helped install in Afghanistan. Twice in 2010, Afghan President Hamid Karzai defiantly spoke of the U.S. presence in his country

"If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban," Karzai seethed.

The "main enemies" of Afghanistan are the Taliban, the United States and the international community, according to Karzai.

It's not the first time Karzai had threatened to choose the Taliban over the US. In March, he told a group of parliament members that Afghanistan might join the Taliban if foreign interference in his government continued.
Nine years into the war with fewer than 100 Al Qaeda left in the country, continuous strategic military boondoggles, a defiant Afghan governmentt, no clear goals, no clear exit strategy, and no end in sight to any of it all, many Americans have been getting fed up with America's presence in Afghanistan. Former Republican and 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root, a man who originally supported the war, wrote

If we are going to fight this war, we had better be able to answer the simple question: "Why are we in Afghanistan?" While watching the NBC Evenings News on Wednesday night, I heard two very disturbing statements by 4-star General Stanley McCrystal, the commanding general of our war efforts in Afghanistan. First he stated we were there "not to conquer, not for glory, not for money…but rather to help the Afghan people shape their future." Is that why we're there? Silly me. I thought we were there to punish and destroy our enemies in the war on terrorism
Conservative radio and television host Glenn Beck, who supported the war on the condition that America would swiftly fight the war and end it, stated

if we're not going to fight this war to win it, Mr. president, please, bring our troops and our family members home... I've said on this program, several times, that I find myself becoming more and more libertarian all the time. It's b/c of our politicians - I don't seem to trust very many of them anymore. I don't think many of them have given us reason to trust them. We have troops all over the world right now putting their lives on the line and their families' lives on hold, and in return they're being treated like garbage in the countries they protect. South Korea, Japan, Germany - fund your own security, we're kind of busy now and a little tired.
Radio and former CNN host "Mr. Independent" Lou Dobbs took it a step further and mirrored Ron Paul's plan of not only immediately ending the Afghan and Iraq wars, but bringing home the troops from U.S. bases around the world

Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, our top military leadership has still yet to define clearly what victory and success will look like, nor has it identified the goals and objectives of the conflict. So I've been thinking about this for a long time, and I'm ready to declare that it's time to bring our troops home.

And I have a proposition for President Obama: You say you will not consider withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan, so here is my proposition, Mr. President, given that we have not succeeded under the leadership of the general staff for right years in Afghanistan, eight years of combat. Why don't we re-evaluate what we are doing with our troops worldwide, not just Afghanistan?

Here is my proposition: Why not do something for your own legacy, for the American people and our men and women in uniform who deserve far better leadership than they are receiving from their general staff? It is time to call a halt to the nonsense, bring home our troops, and not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but the 60,000 of them in Germany, 37,000 of them in South Korea, another 10,000 in Japan, bring home our 10,000 troops in Italy.

Bring all of our troops home, and leave only a modest presence wherever it might be proven absolutely necessary, but bring home our troops. And let our so called allies, and allies I'm sure they are, carry their own share of the burden, put their military as forward against whatever enemy is perceived, potential or existent, and let's work as mature responsible partners in these alliances, rather than the United States as some sort of senior partner, some sort of big brother who carries all of the burden, all of the financial sacrifice, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, the overwhelming sacrifice of blood from the brave men and women who serve this nation in uniform.
During an October 9, 2009 call-in segment to the radio show, one astute caller congratulated Dobbs on his bold stance and commented on the consequence of staying in Afghanistan

Caller: If we're broke, we won't have any national security and I think we're falling into bin Laden's trap to bankrupt us.

Dobbs: "I wish bin Laden had been the only one to set that trap. But we've had both major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, have been operating has his agent for some number of decades because the policies that have been pursued by both parties while in power in either the Congress or in the White House."
Bin Laden had announced his plan to bankrupt the U.S. through war at least as far back as 2004. Al Jazeera transcribed his taped message

All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.

All Praise is due to Allah.

So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.
Osama bin Laden has stated that he doesn't need an army of hundreds or thousands of followers in Afghanistan. Baiting the military on a wild goose chase with just a couple of mujahidin over a long period of time would drain America's resources, not to mention the cost America pays when fighting the Taliban, a group separate and distinct from Al Qaeda. Financially, those fighting the defensive war have a significant advantage over the attackers. Because of technological advancement over the decades such as guided missiles, a single Stinger missile costing $50,000 can shoot down a $1 million helicopter or a $50 million fighter jet, while back in the 1950s the weaponry might cost as much as the vessel. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda used relatively inexpensive shoulder launched missiles to destroy expensive Soviet tanks and aircrafts back in the 1980s. Over a prolonged period this strategy bled the Soviets to the point of bankruptcy. This war of attrition, whether carried out by Al Qaeda or the Taliban or anyone else, must be avoided. Unfortunately, the U.S. has stepped into the bankrupting trap. Al Qaeda set the trap again in 2010 calling for strategy "Operation Hemorrhage" with smaller, more frequent operations. Glenn Beck reminded viewers of what was said back in 2004

Osama bin Laden said these words, that he would do to America what he did to the former Soviet Union. What is that? Bleeding it to death, financially.
As America borrows more and more money for domestic spending and for war, it devalues the currency. The lender, which is now primarily China, will eventually demand a higher rate of return on its interest in order to offset the inflation. If America does not offer a sufficient rate of return on its bonds, China could dump them and cause a hyperinflationary collapse. Gregory Zerzan was Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the administration of President George W. Bush. In his October 2009 article entitled "Dollar is a National Security Issue", he wrote

The ability to cripple the U.S. economy by massively devaluing the dollar is the type of "asymmetric warfare" that the People's Liberation Army has discussed openly in recent years. This is not to suggest that the People's Republic wants to destroy the dollar, nor that doing so would come without cost. But such power would clearly give China tremendous leverage.
Ron Paul has sounded the alarm bell on this issue earlier. In an a piece titled "The End of Dollar Hegemony" from February 2006, he said

"In the short run, the issuer of a fiat reserve currency can accrue great economic benefits. In the long run, it poses a threat to the country issuing the world currency. In this case that’s the United States. As long as foreign countries take our dollars in return for real goods, we come out ahead. This is a benefit many in Congress fail to recognize, as they bash China for maintaining a positive trade balance with us. But this leads to a loss of manufacturing jobs to overseas markets, as we become more dependent on others and less self-sufficient. Foreign countries accumulate our dollars due to their high savings rates, and graciously loan them back to us at low interest rates to finance our excessive consumption.

It sounds like a great deal for everyone, except the time will come when our dollars-- due to their depreciation-- will be received less enthusiastically or even be rejected by foreign countries. That could create a whole new ballgame and force us to pay a price for living beyond our means and our production. The shift in sentiment regarding the dollar has already started, but the worst is yet to come.
Around the time of time of the 2009 G-20 meeting, CNN's beautiful Kristie Lu Stout interviewed Victor Gao, director of The China National Association of International Studies. Stout asked him about his expectation from the G-20 and he hoped that the member nations would be able to come up with a plan to pull out of the recession and noted a tale of caution

Gao: I think China is also very much concerned, mainly about the security of its massive amount of investments in the United States. You mentioned very correctly that China is now the largest creditor to the United States. Of course China has all the reasons and justifications to be worried about that because the signs seem to indicate that the massive amount of spending and printing of money in the United States may eventually result in hyperinflation which will decimate the purchasing power of the 2 trillion U.S. dollar foreign currency reserve... We cannot afford to have any 1 single country whose financial crisis will eventually result in holding the rest of the world hostage

Stout: Your comments just now bring to mind the comments from China's central banker Zhou Xiaochuan from last week suggesting that a new international currency is needed. Many people interpreting that as China suggesting we need to move away from the U.S. Dollar.
Gao is not suggesting that China will intentionally abandon the dollar to cause hyperinflation. But such a tactic cannot be ruled out. Reuters reported

The call for China to abandon modesty about its global goals and "sprint to become world number one" comes from a People's Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Colonel, Liu Mingfu, who warns that his nation's ascent will alarm Washington, risking war despite Beijing's hopes for a "peaceful rise."

"China's big goal in the 21st century is to become world number one, the top power," Liu writes in his newly published Chinese-language book, "The China Dream."

"As long as China seeks to rise to become world number one ... then even if China is even more capitalist than the U.S., the U.S. will still be determined to contain it," writes Liu.

Rivalry between the two powers is a "competition to be the leading country, a conflict over who rises and falls to dominate the world," says Liu. "To save itself, to save the world, China must prepare to become the (world's) helmsman."

"This book represents my personal views, but I think it also reflects a tide of thought," Liu told Reuters in an interview. "We need a military rise as well as an economic rise."
China dumping the dollar is not mentioned, but a dollar collapse would wipe out America's economy and the ability to defend itself, thus allowing for China's military and economic rise. But the possibility of America printing a dollar noose and hoping that a foreign power decides not to hang its adversary is a situation that would not even exist if the U.S. adopted Constitutional sound money and lived within its means, as Ron Paul advocates. Even if a hyperinflationary collapse doesn't destroy America, as more and more money is borrowed for domestic spending and war, America is required to pay more and more interest on the national debt. The greater the percentage of the U.S budget that goes towards paying the debt, the less productive the economy becomes, and the less money America has to provide for a national defense. It is a serious problem and a March 2010 Zogby poll revealed

More than twice as many U.S. adults (58%) say that debt owed to China is a more serious threat to the long-term security and well-being of the U.S than is terrorism from radical Islamic terrorists (27%).
Interestingly there was little variation by party identification with a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents all agreeing that the debt owed by the United States to China poses the greater threat.
Dr. Jerome Corsi reported on a 2010 Joint Operating Environment report released by the United States Joint Forces Command concerning America's debt

The JOE 2010 correctly noted that the unfunded obligations constituting the nation's $70.7 trillion negative net worth are a result of the U.S. baby-boom generation coming of age to receive entitlement benefits in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, while the underlying working population that pays to support the programs is declining as a consequence of both demographics and unemployment.

With regard to national-defense implications of the deteriorating U.S. economic position, the JOE 2010 worried that should China demand higher interest rates as an inducement to continuing to buy the U.S. Treasury debt needed to finance continuing trillion-dollar U.S. federal budget deficits, the U.S. could suffer a "hard landing" that could increase the perception the U.S. no longer controls its financial future.

Noting President Obama's warning that the U.S. economy will add $9 trillion debt over the next decade, the JOE 2010 warned the result could be "a decreased ability of the United States to allocate dollars to defense."
In order to have enough money for defense, America has to end the offensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring home troops from around the world. Concerning the cost of wars, In his 2008 bestseller The Revolution, Dr. Paul wrote

In early 2006, Harvard's Linda Bilmes and Columbia's Joseph Stiglitz estimated the long-term costs of the war, including care for our maimed soldiers, at $2 trillion. By the end of the year they were saying that the $2 trillion figure was too low.

It isn't just the Iraq war that busts the budget - it's our overseas military presence as a whole. We have reached a point at which it now costs $1 trillion per year to maintain. One trillion dollars. The proposed Pentagon Budget alone was $623 billion for 2008. "What's remarkable about this year's military budget," wrote one military analyst, "is that it's the largest budget since World War II, but, of course, we're not fighting World War II[6]."
Such a situation cannot be sustained. Are Americans ready to adopt Dr. Paul's non-interventionist approach to foreign affairs and bring the troops home? A Pew Research Center survey released at the end of 2009 shows that they may be

Almost half, 49 percent, told the polling organization that the United States should "mind its own business" internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own, the Pew Research Center survey found. That's up from 30 percent who said that in December 2002.

Only 32 percent of the poll respondents favored increasing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, while 40 percent favored decreasing them. And fewer than half, or 46 percent, of those polled said it was somewhat or very likely that Afghanistan would be able to withstand the radicals' threat.

Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut said in an interview that the "very bad economy" appeared most responsible for the growth of isolationist sentiment. He said the public was also "displeased with the two wars we are waging, in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Ending the wars should not be seen weak or bad for America. In an October 2010 blog entry simply titled "Ron Paul was Right", Andrew Sullivan, the editor of The Atlantic magazine who initially supported both wars, copied the findings of Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer

"We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, ... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100 percent of the terrorist campaign," Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.

Simply put, if you don't want to get stung, don't throw rocks at a hornets' nest. Withdrawal from the Middle East will signal an end for terrorist motivations and prevent more lives lost in a repeat of 9/11, and it will save the lives of American soldiers who are currently dieing abroad. Ron Paul recalls

I was in Congress in the early 1980s when the U.S. Marines were sent in to Lebanon, and I came to the floor before they went, when they went, and before they were killed, arguing my case against getting involved in that conflict.

Ronald Reagan, when he sent the troops in, said he would never turn tail and run. Then, after the Marines were killed, he had a reassessment of the policy. When he wrote his autobiography a few years later after leaving the presidency, he wrote this:

"Perhaps we didn't appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the Marines' safety that it should have. In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believed the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 Marines would be alive today."
Surging Support for The Ron Paul Revolution
Today, on matters of economic politics, Paul is at least as significant as any of the Republicans he shared the stage with in the 2007 South Carolina debate. And has anyone noticed that he’s a fixture on Fox News?

To Paul’s delight, he is in such constant demand that he installed video equipment in his district office to spare himself the drive to Houston studios. "Before, they’d totally ignore me," he says. "But after the housing bubble burst, people like [MSNBC host] Joe Scarborough and others started reading my speeches, and when I go on the air now"—Paul is beaming—"he’ll introduce me by reading some of my predictions from 2002, 2004, about how there’s a bubble coming and we ought to remove the line of credit to the Treasury for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
-Joshua Green, "The Tea Party’s Brain", Atlantic Magazine Nov. 2010
Ron Paul's credibility over the years has finally earned him more widespread attention and respect in both the media and in voters. Thus the demand for media that covers the libertarian ideas of free minds, free markets, and a Constitutionally bound minimal government is beginning to sprout. Judge Andrew Napolitano started his career at Fox as a judicial analyst. In early 2009 Fox gave him an internet-only show called Freedom Watch, which in 2010 got bumped up to a weekend show on the Fox Business Network and soon after was promoted to a daily weeknight show. Freedom Watch regularly features Ron Paul and related guests, and a topic discussed almost daily is the need to abolish the Federal Reserve. Napolitano also guests hosts The Glenn Beck Show when his Fox colleague is absent. The conservative Beck felt that both major parties were disappointments in the 2008 election and did not endorse John McCain, who Beck called a "progressive". He showed an inkling of libertarianism in that election year during an Oct 13 radio show when he stated

Boy, coming from a libertarian Republican. That's what you need to be voting for. Boy, you could say that again. It's time for the libertarians to really start taking a hold, choking the bat snot out of those votes in congress.
In August 2008 on CNN Beck interviewed Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame. Jillette endorsed the Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Beck replied "he may be the guy I end up voting for. I'm not a fan of some of the stuff he does, but you know what? Look, I don't need the perfect candidate." He also expressed interest in Ron Paul though he stated concern that about 10% of Paul supporters were "crazy". When Beck started his show on Fox in January 2009, be began to explore many libertarian ideas and interview libertarian guests. On the March 18, 2009 broadcast of his radio show, Beck described himself as "a libertarian in conversion" and stated "I think this is exactly where America is." When Beck was interviewed by Andrew Napolitano he stated the he was "more Ron Paul than Sarah Palin". Libertarian John Stossel had started a weekly show on the Fox Business Network in September 2009. On the radio side, Ron Paul supporter and libertarian conservative Jason Lewis, a former guest host for Rush Limbaugh, got his own nationally syndicated radio show called the Jason Lewis Show. Peter Schiff, Ron Paul's economic advisor for the 2008 presidential campaign, also began the Connecticut based Peter Schiff Show which he hopes will become nationally syndicated.

The media's newfound support for Ron Paul and libertarian ideas would surely come in useful for Paul in a 2012 race. The Paul supporters are glad to finally have a voice outside the standard left-right paradigm, and the number of supporters continues to grow while Ron Paul makes headlines. In February 2010, Dr. Paul won the Presidential Straw Poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference with 31% of the vote, breaking Mitt (22%) Romney's 3-year winning streak. Sarah Palin, who didn't attend CPAC, came in third with 7%. At the April 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll, Paul and Romney both topped the competition with a tie of 24%, with Romney winning by a single vote. In a Rasmussen Poll released on April 14, 2010, in a hypothetical 2012 Presidential race between Ron Paul and Barack Obama, Paul was virtually dead even at 41% while Obama was at 42%. When asked if Obama would be reelected, George W. Bush's former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove replied "When you're running 1 point ahead of Ron Paul in the polls, that's a problem."

In the backdrop of an all time low Congressional approval rating of only 13%, massive debt and unending wars going back to the Bush presidency, Ron Paul's rising popularity can partially be attributed to the desire for smaller government and the anti-establishment sentiment making waves throughout America. On the Chris Matthews show, Atlantic magazine editor Andrew Sullivan commented on voter sentiment that George W. Bush had essentially governed as a socialist by running up the debt and introducing an immensely expensive Medicare prescription drug entitlement program. On his October 1, 2009 radio show, Lou Dobbs proclaimed "Obama may be a socialist but he's the second socialist, it was Bush who was the first socialist". In an article entitled "Bush and Obama: Standards & Similarities", author Charles Scaliger wrote

Our bloated global military and unending wars aren’t the only thing sapping our national resources. Another more universally recognized peril is the towering national debt, which is now reckoned in the tens of trillions of dollars. The economic collapse of 2008-2009 led to trillions of dollars of new government spending under the guise of economic stimulus — spending that began, lest we forget, under President Bush, who pushed through a $700 billion stimulus (the bank bailout) that only made things worse. No sooner was Obama in office than he began pushing for a second, even more gargantuan stimulus package.

In tandem with these faux stimuli, both Presidents committed billions more to bailouts of select corporations, from financials to automotives, which were arbitrarily deemed "too big to fail." The American public gnashed their teeth at such blatant favoritism, but the elites in Washington and Wall Street got exactly what they wanted, with Presidents Bush and Obama equally willing to extract the tributary payments from the taxpayers’ hides. Two years on, the economic and financial crisis shows no sign of abating, and the national debt continues to spiral further and further out of control. Not surprisingly, but rather ironically considering how Republicans and Democrats on the whole vilify each other, federal spending has increased about 10 percent per year under President Obama, and it increased at a nearly 10-percent rate under George W. Bush, as well.
For years, Bush and Obama and the 2 major parties have governed with similar policies that have furthered America's deterioration, and Americans are not happy. Martial arts star Chuck Norris stated

"Truthfully, when the Republicans were in control of the Congress in those first six years of Bush’s…, they ran us into the ground. So the Democrats said, ‘Well, we’ll change everything. We’ll make everything better.’ So now the Democrats have control of Congress, and they run us deeper into the ground. I don’t know who to trust. I don’t trust any of them. Ron Paul is the only guy I trust."

Unlike the typical Democrat or Republican, Ron Paul's support continues to surge. The Atlantic writes

Paul thinks the government ought to be doing a whole lot less, and his constituents seem to agree. They’ve been returning him to Congress since the 1970s by growing margins.

Lately a lot of people, not just in Texas, are coming around to this view. "I’m so confident in my philosophy that I think I could run a pretty good race in San Francisco," he told me in his Washington office recently. "What I’d talk about there wouldn’t be so much about deficit spending as about personal liberties, military engagement overseas, and the financial crisis. That used to help more in conservative districts. But everybody’s worried about it now."
Indeed, support for the ideas of Ron Paul runs across the political spectrum. Speaking of San Francisco, the candidate Paul endorsed to run against Nancy Pelosi in 2010, John Dennis, was also endorsed by anti-war progressive activist Cindy Sheehan as well as Matt Gonzalez, Ralph Nader's pick for VP in 2008.

The Stars Are In Alignment. Is Ron Ready to Run?
As a leader, Congressman Paul is well researched and versed in an array of issues, while also having an incredible grasp of the U.S. Constitution and its impact on economics, government and war. This understanding serves as a baseline for everything he advocates. He handily beat all Republican candidates three years ago in the debates--as a matter of fact, he embarrassed them.
- Retired U.S. Army Major Don Vandergriff. The visionary: Ron Paul, Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2010
Ron Paul has seen an explosion of support since the 2008 election. While he was once ignored by media and not taken seriously, Paul earned a great deal of credibility for his understanding of free market economics that allowed for accurate predictions of financial calamity caused by the Federal Reserve in conjunction with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was the most successful fundraiser for the Republican primaries and received more donations from the military than any other candidate. This fundraising happened prior to the formation of Paul's outreach organization Campaign for Liberty, which would surely serve as a pipeline for breaking new fundraising records in 2012 and attracting more voters. Paul's ability to attract grassroots support has raised eyebrows from Republican National Committee contenders. Interest in free markets and skepticism of the Fed has never been higher, and Ron Paul has recently earned a powerful position to overlook and question the Federal Reserve. Interest in the Constitution has soared, and candidates like his son Rand Paul were swept into office by the Tea Party faithful who want a government that is kept in bounds by the Founding Fathers' framework. Americans are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with foreign policy and the progress of the wars. They are also becoming wary of the debt and hopefully are starting to see how war spending has a negative effect on an already fragile economy. If the dollar collapses, and Ron Paul predicts it will if government stays the course, America won't be able to pay for any national defense. F.A. Hayek's classic book The Road to Serfdom showed what the unpleasant outcome might be. The Council on Foreign Relations has been running simulation games on financial collapse at least as far back as 2002, and fears of high dollar inflation are bringing calls for a new world reserve currency. There are troubled times on the horizons and America will need a President who is committed to dismantling the Washington command & control economy and allow for a free market to blossom. The man for the job is Ron Paul. Reagan White House budget guru David Stockman praised Dr. Paul in a July 2010 interview

Yet Stockman hopes the Republicans gain the majority in the House and Senate next November, because "then the next Congress gets down to the business of trying to reform entitlements and cut spending. Also, while we’re at it, we have to get out of the imperialism business, okay? No imperial power has succeeded on the edge of bankruptcy."

Which means: Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq right away—the same prescription touted by renegade Republican congressman Ron Paul.

"I’m totally in agreement with Ron Paul," Stockman says. "I don’t think he can be elected president, but I think he’s the only guy who really understands monetary policy, economic policy, the proper role of the state, the proper role of the U.S. in the world. On the other hand, the world is changing pretty dramatically before our eyes. I wouldn’t rule out anything right now. But if you asked me who is speaking truth to power, it’s Ron Paul."
Strong praise, but Stockman does bring up the issue of electability. Are America and a conservative Republican Party ready for a libertarian in the White House? In a July 1975 interview with Reason Magazine, Ronald Reagan stated "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." Was Glenn Beck right when he said he thought America was "libertarian in conversion"? Some in the Tea Party are ready for Ron but others have their doubts. A Politico article writes

"Save for Ron Paul, I'm not really happy with many Republican officials," said Marc Delphine, a leader in the Beaverton, Ore., tea party. Other respondents, though, blasted Paul, the libertarian-leaning Texas Congressman, for requesting earmarks or for his isolationist foreign policy.
Some of the challenges Ron Paul will face if he chooses to run will be addressing the perception of these issues. Paul actually votes against the bills earmarks are attached to but puts dollar amounts on their allocations. Failing to do so would mean that money taken from his district from the Federal government would not be transparently spent. If Paul did not allocate the money, it would not reduce federal spending at all. Ron Paul is not an isolationist and that subject has already been covered here. Will Americans be ready to hear that by continuing the spending on wars we are falling for the trap laid out by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? Or that the surest path to big government is war, and the surest path to more war is big government? Time will tell, but the Pew Research survey that showed a 19% increase since 2002 of Americans who thought America should "mind its own business" is a good sign for Dr. Paul. The economy will surely be the top issue of 2012 and that is a subject in which Ron Paul excels.

But does Ron Paul want to run again in 2012? He's already stated that the chances are "at least 50-50". The Ron Paul Revolution would to like to remind Dr. Paul of his newly gained recognition in the media, his own party, the CPAC and SRLC polls, and the Paul vs. Obama poll. And don't forget the Rand Paul victory, the organizational power of the Campaign for Liberty, and the soaring interest in the Constitution and the free market. Whatever the decision, Ron Paul has always done his country proud and supporters know he will make his choice with the best of hearts.

[1] Ron Paul, End the Fed (The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, Inc. (FREE), 2009, p. 7
[2] Susan Welch, American Government - Seventh Edition. Wadsworth Publishing, 1999, p. 366
[3] Steven Slavin, Economics - Eigth Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008, p. 331
[4] Ehrlichman, John. 1982. Witness to Power. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. pp. 248-49
[5] Ron Paul. 2008. The Revolution - A Manifesto. Grand Central Publishing. pp. 10-11
[6] Ron Paul. 2008. The Revolution - A Manifesto. Grand Central Publishing. p. 36





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