It seems that the National Post in Canada has been doing a series on the US Presidential Candidates. They covered Ron Paul of course in two articles. I was pretty excited about this being Canadian myself, until I saw it as the usual standard cookie-cutter discrediting pablum typical of old media. Nevertheless, I captured the two articles in this post verbatim, including the original image – of Mike Huckabee – the National Post used in the second Ron Paul article, prior to quietly correcting it.

Prior to reading the following, I urge you to read this handy guide on Mass Media’s Rules of Engagement in regards to Ron Paul Content. Another useful backgrounder is this one.

My comments are in blue.

Waiting for Ron Paul

He unites activists who think Washington is out of control

Martin Masse, Financial Post

Published: Friday, December 21, 2007

191110.jpgU.S. presidential hopeful Ron Paul would abolish the income tax and a host of federal departments, as well as withdraw all U.S. troops abroad.

Many things about Ron Paul are unconventional. The 10-term Republican congressman from Texas is polling in single digits among likely Republican primary voters, behind several better-known front-runners. Most mainstream commentators still dismiss him as an oddity with no chance to win the nomination, let alone the presidency.

Love how the lead-in already starts the framing of Ron Paul as “kooky”. Note the vague reference to “mainstream commentators”. Mainstream defined:

belonging to or characteristic of a principal, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement, style, etc.: mainstream Republicans; a mainstream artist

If we use that definition, there are plenty of “mainstream” people and organizations that *DO* support Ron Paul’s message. The fact that just about everybody can have their own real estate in the media of the Internet and draw their own readership and support base, makes the strict definition of mainstream vague, just like that overused word “democracy”.

Does it mean Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo (who has since dropped his bid for the GOP nomination) also had “no chance to win the nomination, let alone the presidency”. However, I never read an article about either of them that started with a lead-ins similar to the above – very familiar to Ron Paul supporters.

Despite that, he has won more than half of all straw polls held locally across the country. Soft-spoken and an obstetrician by trade, he is inspiring a devotion worthy of a rock star. His supporters have an overwhelming presence on the Internet and seem intent on proving the Hayekian notion that a decentralized, spontaneously emerging order is more efficient than any type of top-down organization.

Ah, yes. The standard linkage of Ron Paul supporters to that cult called the “Internet”. What other medium of free speech is left? Should Ron Paul supporters meet at church? Coffee Shops? Wrong. They are real people that physically meet in physical places to rally support when required. Or they donate real money to a real candidate. That mysterious thing called the Internet is simply a tool for organizing, sharing ideas, reporting news that old media doesn’t cover – perhaps that is what has their panties in a knot – or cover correctly.

Look at this statement: “seem intent on proving the Hayekian notion that a decentralized, spontaneously emerging order is more efficient than any type of top-down organization.” “Seem”. Not “are”. Interesting. Painting without proving. Attempting to drawing Ron Paul supporters as a pro-anarchy group to scare the baby boomer voter, are you? By the way, I have never heard Ron Paul say, either directly or indirectly, that he supports anarchy. What he does support is decentralized government. Not *NO* government. He wants to scatter central planning back to the respective States. Does this support local tyranny? What it does is to minimize centralized unaccountable big government in Washington where all of the powerful lobby and special interests groups set up shop. If central power is scattered back to the States, what it does is (a) minimize the effectiveness of the lobby groups and (b) makes government more accountable to it’s constituents and the people they govern. It is allows local people to have a local voice to their local elected officials.

I am going to say this once, and once only:

Ron Paul supporters do not, I repeat do NOT, have exclusive use of the Internet. Period. End of story. Full stop.

Ask yourself, “Why aren’t other candidates mustering that kind of support?” Do other candidates have websites? Yes. They all do. Can you donate online to all of these candidates? Of course! Do other candidates have meet-up site. Yes! So why don’t their supporters demonstrate the same enthusiasm for their candidate? There can be many answers, but my current favorite is apathy. They are consciously or sub-consciously voting for their candidate to “keep the other guy out”. In their minds, they are voting for the “lessor of the evils” – and that generates apathy. Ron Paul supporters are a different breed. Are some of Ron Paul’s supporters unsavory? Sure … just like some of the other candidates supporters. Does it mean that Ron Paul supports the views of his supporters? No. However, it does mean that Ron Paul’s supporters value his message.

This past Sunday, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, they — not Paul’s official organization, but volunteer supporters — raised $6-million on the Internet, breaking an all-time record for single-day fundraising. With $18.5-million amassed so far this quarter, he could end up with more cash on hand than any other Republican candidate when caucuses and primaries begin in early January.

Shows how powerful the message is, doesn’t it?

Philosophically a libertarian, Paul brings together disaffected fiscal conservatives, antiwar and pro-civil liberties left-wingers, and a vast array of people who believe the U.S. government is out of control. Although personally a social conservative, he gets support from brothel owners in Nevada and vows to put an end to the war on drugs. And his economic beliefs promise nothing short of a revolution.

Wow, more framing statements. Creates imagery about Ron Paul and his supporters being “kooks” again. Think their aren’t any, for lack of better phrase, “classic” Democrats or Republicans that believe the same thing about the government being out of control, but think Hillary, Obama, Rudy, or Mike are the best people to contain government? Pssstt … they aren’t and won’t. “Philosophically a Libertarian”? How about philosophically a “Jeffersonian or Taft” Republican? I like how “old media” continuously cites the “support of the brothel owners in Nevada”. Ever report the questionable people, special interest groups, multi-national corporations that donate to and support other candidates?

Paul has been studying the most uncompromising branch of free-market economics, the one propounded by the Austrian School, for more than 30 years. That sets him apart in a political and academic world where supply-side, monetarist and other neoclassical ideas usually dominate free-market discourse. From an Austrian viewpoint, these are hopelessly muddled creeds that have made their peace with big government, and especially with what for Austrians is the central issue of government manipulation of the money supply.

uncompromising branch of free-market economics” – you bet it is uncompromising. It won’t allow political intervention to restrict or distort free-market economics, particularly with respect to the monetary system that favours Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

That sets him apart in a political and academic world where supply-side, monetarist and other neoclassical ideas usually dominate free-market discourse.” – No it doesn’t. There are plenty of leading economists that have or will side with him, including Milton Friedman, who said:

“I strongly support Ron Paul. We very badly need to have Representatives who understand in a principled way the importance of property rights and religious freedom.”

By the way, it was interesting that Milton Friedman also was a strong critic of the Federal Reserves role in the Great Depression, claiming that the Fed caused it. Ben Bernanke, the current chair of the Fed, admitted it in a speech to Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday in 2002:

“Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”

His decision to first run for office in the 1970s was spurred by Nixon’s decision to take the U.S. off the gold standard. He’s been writing articles and books and giving speeches about the evils of government intervention and fiat money ever since. These themes resonate more than ever at a time when the greenback is sinking, financial bubbles are bursting, the country is drowning in bad debt and a credit crisis is in full bloom.

You see? Sadly, Ron Paul was right all these years…

Whether one agrees with him or not, Paul is so serious about economic theory that he has become some sort of standard bearer for nerds in politics. David Frum, an unpaid Rudy Guliani advisor, was far off the mark when in this paper last Saturday he accused Paul of not having the faintest idea what he was talking about and being “too lazy or too arrogant to learn.”

You’re right. Ron Paul’s deep education with respect monetary theory is bringing an acute awareness, to those who listen, an understanding what old media and government-run education omitted teaching the public. In high school, we are taught algebra, finite math, and calculus. Yet their is next to zero teaching of monetary theory, economics, and personal finances. Why? If you are expected to successfully grapple with differential equations and spatial matrices, what is so hard about teaching students how fractional reserve banking and central banks create and destroy money? The reason? It’s a scam. And we wouldn’t want our precious children learning that, would we?

A Ron Paul administration, though not in the cards, would turn conventional political and economic thinking upside down.

All of a sudden, all those on the left who have been denouncing the American empire and its military adventures would find an ally in the White house. Ron Paul not only wants to bring back U.S. troops home from Iraq, but also those stationed in Europe and Asia. Cutting the half-trillion dollars a year military budget is a central part of his plan to put the country’s finances back on a sound economic footing.

Paul never voted for a tax increase or for spending that he deems unconstitutional, which includes pretty much everything contained in federal budgets nowadays. He wants to abolish the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service. He would also eliminate the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security, get rid of corporate and agricultural subsidies, foreign aid, and a host of other programs. He would allow young people to opt out of Social Security and Medicare and let these two massive unfunded entitlement programs for the elderly slowly disappear.

I have read/heard in the most anti-Paul rhetoric that “Paul’s thinking is dangerous”. What you never read/hear is “to whom?”. All these bloated wasteful federal agencies? The military-industrial complex? Halliburton? The Carlisle Group? All those no-bid government contracts awarded to private companies based on their political connections for work in Iraq?

The effect on the U.S. economy of such policies would be tremendous. Ottawa would have to react, or else we could lose the little competitive advantages that fiscal prudence has earned us over the last decade. Reducing the lowest income tax bracket from 15.5% to 15% will not do it. And who knows how far the loonie would fall back again if hard money and sound finances were to prevail south of the border?

Ah, but what you are not saying is the average Canadian would look south of the border for an example. Imagine what it would mean to American citizens if they paid no income tax. Think about how that would improve their standard of living. Think about what it would mean to the saver if the dollar was back on a gold standard, or if a Paul administration removed all of the taxes and legislation that suppresses the usage of gold and silver as money and let’s it compete with Federal Reserve Notes. The saver would be rewarded as purchasing power is preserved, not confiscated via the inflation tax – a surreptitious, evil tax that not 1 in 10,000 people are aware of.

We Canadians would sit up and blink at the bright light emanating from the US. We would begin to ask serious questions about the validity of our government, their taxes, and our central bank. We would begin to ask, “Why can’t we do what the US is doing?”

Ron Paul policies would also threaten what has been a fundamental feature of Canadian economic policy for the past two decades, free trade — or rather, relatively free managed trade — with the United States. Paul’s idea of free trade is to get the government out of the way, not to create more international bureaucratic structures that are not accountable. That would raise interesting debates. Would the NDP and the Council of Canadians denounce the threat of genuine free trade and launch a campaign to save NAFTA?

You bet they would. One thing all major parties require is legitimacy. Imagine. People earning money without having to report it for confiscation, taxation, or regulation.

What most people do not realize is that the NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives share in common is that they are statists. Whether warfare, welfare, rigging the markets to favour Bay Street (Canada’s version of Wall Street) a vote for any of these three parties is a vote for big government, and this is by design. A quote I like to use often is something I sourced from a US Banking Magazine, written 80+ years ago:

Capital must protect itself in every possible manner by combination and legislation. Debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages must be foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When, through a process of law, the common people lose their homes they will become more docile and more easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of government, applied by a central power of wealth under control of leading financiers. This truth is well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of Capital to govern the world. By dividing the voters through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance. Thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves what has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.

– US Bankers Magazine, Aug 25, 1924

Read that carefully. Then read it again. Make sure you understand it. It is *EXACTLY* what is going on and has been going for years…

However many votes Paul ultimately gets, we shouldn’t wait for an U.S. politician to force those reforms on us, especially one who wants to do away with Yankee imperialism. Freedom is a universal, not an American value. Free markets work everywhere. Why not get rid of all this government deadweight of our own volition, and for our own good?

Why not indeed, Martin. Why not indeed.

— – Martin Masse is a public policy consultant in Montreal.

There was a second article entitled “Rooting for Ron Paul” published a day later (so their date stamps tell me). A couple of things to note:

  • They credit the first article above to Martin Masse, but their is no credit given for the second story. Just says “National Post”.
  • The second article somewhat mirrored the first … except that it was originally published with a picture of Mike Huckabee 😉 I am serious. I am going to see if I can dig the image they used up … Found it!:
  • 163998.jpgI emailed them about this … along with many other folks I am sure. They quietly changed the image. As of Sunday, Dec 23, 2007, at 5:00am when I checked, the image was correct.

Rooting for Ron Paul

Comment: Republicans would do well to listen to the Texas congressman

National Post

Published: Saturday, December 22, 2007

193754.jpgScott Olson/Getty Images – A virtual unknown, Ron Paul has managed to create a significant profile for himself online.

This article, unlike the first one, cites no author. It just says “National Post” at the top. When I read this, it is a standard “hit-piece” on Ron Paul, as you will see.

Ron Paul makes a pretty odd sort of 21st-century JFK. He’s a slight-built, goofy-grinned 71-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist from Texas, a man old enough to have delivered milk as a teenager to Honus Wagner’s doorstep. In interviews, the congressman comes off a little like your less cuddly but more interesting grandfather. He believes the U.S. should return to a gold-backed currency, wipe out the Federal Reserve and most government agencies, pull out of NATO, and eliminate federal income taxes. At live events, he projects extraordinary charisma. When he starts talking in his bedside-manner voice about the harm done by the blind, senseless War on Drugs, he can move a listener almost to tears.

This lead-in paints the image again as “kooky”.

Even on the libertarian end of the political spectrum, some would consider him pretty hard-core — a borderline anarchist who has devoted his life to destroying the U.S. federal government as we know it. But if you’re looking for a modern candidate who seems to have the Kennedy-like ability to weld disparate social elements into a game-changing campaign, you’ll have a hard time making a stronger choice this year than Ron Paul.

“Borderline anarchist”? Whew. There’s a phrase. That should set up imagery of Rome burning in the standard readers mind. Get the ol’ fear juices flowing. “Destroy the federal government as we know it”? Of course this paragraph doesn’t state that Ron Paul wants to transfer federal powers to the individual states to make government more accountable to the people. But hey, since when do facts matter to a good story?

“… seems to have the Kennedy-like ability to weld disparate social elements into a game-changing campaign …” – Ah yes, the classification of Ron Paul’s supporters “calling his them names like “kooky”, “crazy”, “conspiracy nutjobs”, “paultards”, and the like. This is classic “guilt by association” and works well on the apathetic electorate.” Never mind that there are perfectly normal people, living perfectly normal lives, who are fed up with their government, who support Ron Paul.

He is a Depression-era country boy who has somehow built what may be the strongest Internet following of any 2008 candidate for the presidency — at any rate, it is the loudest. Cheques from gun-control opponents who admire his strong Second Amendment stance flow into his coffers alongside equally large cheques from peaceniks impressed by his stance against the Second Gulf War. He’s an “isolationist” who has thousands of expatriate and libertarian supporters in Europe. By some accounts, his following amongst active-service soldiers abroad towers over those of other Republicans.

Woops! There’s that tie in of that mysterious cult of “Internet” followers again! Let’s not mention that these people are physical people who physically appear at rallies, and donate physical money to their candidate! And here I was thinking that the medium of the Internet is just a communication mechanism … you know, like the telephone? Good thing it isn’t 100 years ago, otherwise old media might of called Ron Paul’s supporters that mysterious cult of “telephone followers” because they use that new-fangled gadget to call each other to organize instead of the normal way of using the horse and buggy…

Note the use of “gun-control opponents” and “peaceniks” attributed to Paul’s followers. Ah, that “kooky” fringe element again.

“He’s an isolationist” – Oh, that one again. Never mind that Paul has never used that term to describe himself and only uses that term when old media assigned it to him. He repeatedly denies that and calls himself a “non-interventionist”. Big difference. An isolationist closes borders and trade. Paul has repeatedly said, “Talk with countries, trade with countries, entangling alliances with none.” Yawn. Old media refuses to let that one go…it’s such a good scare word…

In most official polls of Republican voters, either nationwide or in early primary states, he has yet to crack double digits — yet he now holds the all-time U.S. political record for fundraising in a single day, raising $6-million on Dec. 16, and he has summoned up an astonishing $18-million in the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

Ah, yes. The “official polls”. The ones that leave Ron Paul’s name out of the list of choices. I question the integrity of these polls and there are many, many examples of fraudulent polls out there, like this one.

Will all this money and energy amount to anything in the end? Republicans on the ground in New Hampshire, which holds the country’s first primaries Jan. 8, are warning the national leadership that it is impossible to guess. Congressman Paul may actually be stronger with independent voters than with Republicans, and those independents make up more than 40% of the electorate in the tiny New England state.

It’s the same terrain on which John McCain delivered a surprise 49%-30% hiding of George W. Bush in 2000, and where Pat Buchanan edged out Bob Dole in 1996 with his appeal to the “pitchfork-wielding peasants.” In other words, it’s a playground for “mavericks,” and nobody fits the description better than Dr. Paul.

Mavericks? What does that mean? Independent critical thinkers that vote with a strong moral and ethical value system, instead of the apathetic electorate that get up from their iPods or televisions once and a while, drag themselves out to the voting booth and put an “X” next to the candidate they have heard about in Old Media, rather than go through the pain of taking it upon themselves to research and understand what their candidate represents?

Looking on the Republican race as Canadian outsiders, we’re rooting him on — if not to win (which he won’t), then to at least grab his party’s bloated, big-spending Bush-ite establishment by the lapels and slap it around a little.

I always deplore these statements that he “won’t win”. Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter “won’t win” either, but old media doesn’t state that in their standard coverage of these two people. Why chant this around Ron Paul? Oh, I forgot. They don’t want him to win … and they want to make sure their readers think that too.

Notwithstanding Dr. Paul’s eccentric– and, many would argue, dangerous — views on foreign policy, the GOP does occasionally needs a reminder of its roots in limited government and the Constitution. Ron Paul won’t be the next president, but the next president will have to take notice of what he has achieved by means of nothing more than patience, plain speaking and stubborn integrity.

A standard hallucination put forth by old media – the tie in with Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy as “dangerous”. As opposed to the “safe” foreign policy past and current exercised by the establishment:

  • A war with Iraq that has cost between 79,757 – 86,893 Iraqi deaths, and the deaths of 3900 Americans. A war that was sold to Americans on false pretenses like (a) there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and (b) Iraq was tied in with al-Qaida, therefore was tied in with 9/11 … despite the fact that the 19 hijackers were of Saudi origin and despite the fact that the official 9/11 Commision Report lists US foreign policy as one of the factors for the 9/11 attacks on US soil: American foreign policy is part of the message. America’s policy choices have consequences.” , but has been routinely ignored by old media?
  • The occupation of Afghanistan, supposedly looking for a man named Bin Laden. Think about all the billions of dollars being spent to look for him. Wouldn’t it have been simpler just to offer a 1 Billion dollar bounty to those who lead to his arrest? Whooops! Silly me. I thought the goal was to capture him…
  • The Iran-Contra affair? The fact that US foreign policy supported Saddam Hussein in the 80’s?
  • Now the current administration is saying no option is off the table when dealing with Iran? Including nuclear?.
  • The endless “War on Terror” that has no face, no geography, but has established perpetual war.
  • The past 50 years of secret CIA wars all over the world to further “US interests” (whose interests specifically?).
  • This list is endless…

You tell me what is dangerous… Paul’s foreign policies sounds pretty sane to me.