Friday, October 19, 2007

Ron Paul Rings True on the Issues

The Disciples of Ron Paul, Spreading the Word in N.H. - washingtonpost.com

Have you ever heard the expression, 'What's wrong is right and what's right is wrong?' " Aitken, the retired art teacher, asks. "We've been doing things that are so wrong for so long that the right thing for some might feel freaky. Sometimes you have to stop and think, 'Okay, this is my conviction.' " (closing paragraph)
This month, the 10-term Texas Republican stunned the GOP field by raising a little more than $5 million in the third quarter, 70 percent of it from online donations; Sen. John McCain, once considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who placed a strong second in the Iowa straw poll in August, raised $6 million and $1 million, respectively. For months now, Paul has been the most popular GOP candidate on the Web, with more supporters on MySpace, Facebook and Meetup than Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney, who won the Iowa straw poll and leads in the polls here.

"Everyone -- the staffers in the other campaigns, the bigwig political observers in the state -- is scratching their heads. They don't know what to make of this Ron Paul phenomenon," pollster Smith says. A University of New Hampshire poll last month showed Paul at 4 percent in the state. The most recent Washington Post-ABC News national poll, also from last month, had him at 3 percent. "The other campaigns aren't worried that he'd win the primary. They just don't know who his supporters are and whose support he's taking away," Smith adds. "His poll numbers aren't high now, but it's only October. And they could see him getting 10 percent of the vote here. If you get 10 percent of the vote in a crowded field, well, you might finish third." But the Paulites are aiming for higher than third place.

And it doesn't even occur to them to wonder if it might be that the problem is not that Ron Paul is an exceptional spokesperson for his ideals of small, limited, ethical and constitutional government, but that the other Republican are such a mixed bag of lousy, triangulating, scheming, lying, conniving pandering jokes that a man who might seem unremarkable and even a bit dotty in the company of a Roosevelt, a Kennedy or a Goldwater is seen as a literal giant towering over the mental and moral midgets sharing the stage with him.

By the modern standards of Republicanism, he's not a very good one. But then, that's the problem right there - and a hell of a lot of Republicans are wondering how the hell a Republican administration could get them into debt and into war with so little attention to the inevitable price of such folly.

Yet the current crop compete to compare themselves, not with Barry Goldwater, or even the saner and more centrist Richard Nixon - who'd be a Democrat today - but with that champion of Voodoo Economics and Feelgoodism, Ronald Regan.

Meanwhile there's a really troubling thought going around the nation, largely left unspoken but apparent in all quarters. What will Hillary do if she gets the Democratic nomination - and the Presidency?

She's thought of as being the most liberal - but she's the farthest to the Left. And those are two different concepts entirely. The way she's praised the President's war and his domestic surveillance with faint and perfectly triangulated damnations, I find it difficult to be confident that she will gladly return all the extra executive powers Bush has arrogated unto himself, nor will she see any way toward "healing the nation" other than centralized bureaucracies.

Now, unlike most Libertarians, I actually believe that one can have an efficient, professional and ethical civil service. I have been to Canada, and I know that in some countries, when a man from the government shows up at your door, they probably ARE there to help you.

But ... this is Ahumurika. And it would take an act of God, not merely Congress to change the culture of our civil service to the point where bigger would be anything resembling better.

Just ask anyone who has ever been in personal contact WITH our government, pretty much at any level, with any personal stake in the matter. The best you can expect is to waste an entire day waiting in an office designed with malice aforethought to crush the spirits and steal the souls of all so unfortunate or foolish as to step within them, even in search of a public restroom.

All them "Libruls" who praise, say, Medicare and Medicaid for it's remarkable efficiency and ruthless cost reductions have never been in contact WITH either program - or any competitor. Trust me when I tell you, as a Canadian-American, you do not want universal health care that is based in ANY way upon Medicare or Medicaid.

Some people refer to even those programs as "socialized medicine." I refer to them as "Stalinized Medicine." You see, socialized medicine comes with one assumption, that universal health care is of social benefit.

Medicare and Medicaid presume that all their clients are of little or no social utility, that giving them any medical attention at all (much less than the care they actually medically require) is more than they deserve, and that treating clients (and doctors) with anything other than suspicious contempt and a level of compliance enforcement and auditing that is generally reserved for things like ebola viruses and weapons grade plutonium. Their costs are low because they offload all the costs onto the few doctors that actually accept medicare and medicaid.

These are usually clinics and doctors that you would not want to go to. I mean, you would really, really prefer not to go. You might prefer consulting your local curando than trust your health to the disease incubators they laughingly refer to as "reception areas."

I actually want a universal access system that is free for those who are poor and affordable for everyone. I definitely want the government putting pressure on the costs of the system - many of which are deliberately extortionate. I want it simple and I want it to be easy, because sick people should not have to jump through hoops, nor should physicians be second guessed by bean-counters about appropriate treatments.

Plainly speaking, before we develop a new system of payment to overlay on our current healthcare industry, we should question whether it should be an industry at all. Shouldn't it be a profession, like education? Something seen as an inherent, inarguable social good that is one of a very short list of things government should do and be expected to do well?

Don't we deserve a government that sees every single citizen as being of value, deserving respect? Of course, we would have to ensure that the respect is mutual, and that government service was seen as a calling worthy of respect, not the last resort of idologues, cronies, losers and mental basket cases. CF "Education."

I believe in a small, limited, competant and efficient government, one dedicated to governing and regulating as little as possible, but doing what they actually do very, very well indeed. I want to be happy to pay my taxes because I get my money's worth.

And I don't think it's been possible to say that since... well I don't remember a time in my life where I was conscious of politics and government that I didn't consider it a gigantic waste of time, money, paper, effort and manpower to achieve results that were no better than that which a moderately retarded fifth grader with a decent education could have come up with on their own.

You see, it's not HARD to do that. We have a Constitution that's specifically designed to lead us to that very outcome, designed to strikingly limit the ability of Government to meddle with our private affairs and the public arrangements of the various States. It was intended to be a central FACILITY, not a Central Authority.

And when you start looking at it that way, you see all kinds of things it does badly, many things it should be doing, but doesn't, but above all it's impossible to ignore that it's gotten damned uppity and there are all kinds of folks in it that, while not properly qualified to give you change for a ten-spot, think they understand economic policy better than you or me.

I'm not saying that with the idea that we know better. I'm saying that in thinking they know more, they have actually achieved negative results.

People call Ron Paul dotty for calling for a return to "hard money," but when you start looking into it, you realize that all that means is that he's calling for a medium of exchange that government cannot mess with. He's calling for a return to one of the most fundamental duties of government, setting a standard of value for commercial exchanges that applies to all market activities.

When the dollar is "adjusted" against gold, it doesn't mean that the actual value of the gold has changed. It's worth what it's worth, based on a steady commodity demand. So when your dollar is mysteriously worth less gold than it was last Tuesday, that's what you call "theft."

In fact, our entire central banking system is a necessity that serves as a fig leaf for what must be the most massive fraud in existence; the Federal Reserve essentially pulls money out of the air. It's technically related, vaguely, to the return on government bonds and other indicators - though I darkly suspect that it's a designedly complex system intended to hide within it the essential core truth that a US Dollar is only worth what you believe it's worth - other than it's value as a recyclable material.

Now, nobody likes thinking about it, because we value everything in dollars - including human life and our own self-worth. So the idea that our entire economy is based upon debt and promises you would consider dubious coming from your brother-in-law is troubling, and in general, we prefer to not think about it. Really, Really Hard.

But for saying that real money based on a real commodity with a real, measurable value unaffected by and not bound to debt is a better way, Ron Paul is dismissed as a nut.

But what would you prefer to have in your hand, a silver dollar - Constitutionally set at one troy ounce of coin silver - or a promise that a coupon you hold will be honored at your local merchant according to an arbitrary value assigned to it in the money markets that day?

As it happens, nobody will ever trade you a one ounce silver coin for a one dollar US Federal Reserve note. And that indicates that ever since we went off the gold standard, our medium of exchange has lost touch with economic reality.

Of all the Republican candidates,
Ron Paul is the only one in close enough touch with reality to offer any sort of credible alternative. And that includes hard, cold, metallic truths such as this.

Money that does not have a real world value allows all kinds of economic shenanigans dear to the hearts of bankers and politicians - and that is precisely why we need to have a medium of exchange that can be independently verified as worth what it is worth.

Ron Paul - like hard money - rings true. That often means he says things you won't like hearing. But that's the test of truth, and we have collectively enjoyed the opposite since 1981.




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