Monthly Archives: September 2007

Ron Paul’s Fundraising: Better Than Ever ?

That seems to be the implication of the rumors that have been circulating for several days now:

Supporters of long-shot GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) are putting their money where their mouth is — the Internet.

With the third quarter drawing to a close, the campaign said it expects to exceed the $2.4 million haul it brought in during the second quarter, even though fundraising is usually slower in the summer.

“We will exceed our fundraising from last quarter — by exactly how much is yet to be seen,” Paul’s communications director, Jesse Benton, said. “We have a lot of money coming in online and have also launched a successful high-dollar funder program.”

The campaign is also using the website to raise $ 500,000 by the end of the 3rd Quarter, which happens to be Sunday.  As of this afternoon, they are closing in on $ 350,000 with four days to go.

The money is important because we’re getting to the point where even a guerrilla campaign like the one the Paul campaign is running is going to have to start spending what money they do have in places like Iowa and New Hampshire. The trick is going to be to spend it smartly and keep the money coming in until the first official votes are cast.

After that, everything — fundraising most importantly — will depend on the votes.

The Kind Of Help Ron Paul Doesn’t Need

Ron Paul’s supporters need to learn that stuff like this does not help your candidate:

Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul does not believe that 9/11 was an “inside job” and his campaign distanced itself from a raucous pro-Paul demonstration on a Mackinac Island ferry Friday night, a Paul spokesman said Monday.

In the incident, Paul’s supporters taunted former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for alleged complicity in the attacks.

Spokesman Jesse Benton said the campaign was aware of Internet reports about the demonstration, which occurred late Friday when Giuliani boarded a ferry loaded with Paul supporters leaving a Michigan GOP conference. No Paul campaign officials were involved, Benton said.

According to one eyewitness, Giuliani was beset by dozens of Paul enthusiasts as he was leaving the island, some of whom shouted taunts about 9/11, including: “9/11 was an inside job” and “Rudy, Rudy, what did you do with the gold?” — an apparent reference to rumors about $200 million in gold alleged to have disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

Ed Wyszynski, a longtime party activist from Eagle, said the Paul supporters threatened to throw Giuliani overboard and harrassed him as he took shelter in the ferry’s pilothouse for the 15-minute journey back to Mackinaw City.

“It was awful,” said Wyszynski, who supports Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination.

People, stop acting like children.

Could Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Visit to Columbia University be a Good Thing?

NEW YORK — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced sharp criticism Monday about his opinions on women, gays, Israel, nuclear weapons and the Holocaust in an appearance at Columbia University, where protesters lined the streets bearing signs reading, “Hitler Lives.”

Inside a crowded lecture hall, the university president issued blistering introductory remarks. Ahmadinejad exhibits “all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” declared Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, who questioned the Iranian leader’s record on human rights and his statements that the Holocaust was a myth.

Ahmadinejad bristled at Bollinger’s comments, calling the introduction “an insult to the knowledge of the audience here.”

At first I was not that fond of the idea of such an evil man visiting an American college campus. Why should we give him the platform? We give him the platform for a couple of reasons: the American people and the free world hear his words and those words are challenged in a free society. In American soil, Ahmadinejad can only condemn Lee Bollinger and other dissenters with words rather than torture or death. On American soil, Ahmadinejad’s words can be challenged. When the despot says that there are no homosexuals in Iran, the audience can laugh and mock him and there isn’t one damn thing he can do about it!

The only one insulting the knowledge of the audience at Columbia University, the American people, and the free world is you, Ahmadinejad. You vile, cruel, evil, sick, man! I’m not afraid of your words. I laugh at them.

Free speech is perhaps America’s greatest strength. One would only imagine what would have happened to Mr. Bollinger had he called the Iranian despot a “petty and cruel dictator” in Iran.

Contrast this with what is common in America. We criticize our leaders on a daily basis. Sometimes the criticism isn’t even particularly intelligent. Just the other day a student at Colorado State University wrote a particularly intelligent, concise, four-word editorial in the Rocky Mountain Collegian: “Taser this. FUCK BUSH.”

While it is true that the author of this brilliant opinion piece may be fired from the paper (the paper lost $30,000 in advertising within hours of the article’s publication), he does not have to worry about being thrown in prison or executed for criticizing the president. Rather than the government taking action the free market does the job.*

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University is a shining example to the world that we support free speech even if we despise the speech. Who knows, maybe the Iranian people who yearn for freedom will be emboldened by this?

Now as for the idea of this animal visiting ground zero…

» Read more

Monday Open Thread: Early Primary Edition

We’re appearing to see a definitive change in American presidential elections, with a rush for states to move their primaries forward as early as possible. This throws out the “traditional order” where states like Iowa and New Hampshire play key roles. At stake is the potential chance for dark-horse candidates like Ron Paul to win the nomination. For someone like Ron Paul to have a chance, he needs a strong showing within those states, and then enough time to turn that buzz into actual support. In many ways, it is assumed that the mass change of primary dates will do nothing more than help the front-runners win and relegate the second-tier candidates to the scrap-heap of history. On the opposite side, many states feel that there is no legitimate reason why Iowa and New Hampshire should hold such a revered position in picking our president.

These changes could dramatically impact the 2008 race. So what do you guys think? Is it a good thing, or a bad thing?

A Small Victory

If anyone has any doubts about whether or not the war on (some) drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines turn otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals, look no further than the injustice Richard Paey suffered in the State of Florida. To make a long story short: Paey received serious injuries in a car accident, his doctor prescribed pain medication, Paey moves to Florida, Paey could not find a doctor who would renew his prescriptions, Paey forges prescriptions to relieve his pain, Paey is arrested, convicted, and receives a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 ½ years.

Here’s the real kicker:

Everyone, including judges, acknowledged the traffic accident victim was using the pills for debilitating pain. And since his incarceration, prison doctors have hooked him up to a morphine drip, which delivers more narcotics in about two days than he was convicted of trafficking.

That’s right: the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for “drug trafficking” tied the judges’ hands. A strict interpretation of the Florida law meant this wheelchair bound “criminal” required this harsh sentence. The only hope for Richard Paey would be to receive a commuted sentence or a pardon from the governor; a very unlikely scenario.

But that unlikely scenario became a reality today when Florida Governor Charlie Crist gave Richard Paey a full pardon—a development which went beyond his own legal team’s request to commute his sentence. Richard Paey was wheeled out of prison by a prison guard a free man with all of his civil rights restored!

The state’s parole commission recommended denying clemency for Paey, who was only seeking to have his prison sentence commuted. But after his lawyer, wife and four children wept and pleaded for Paey’s release, Crist and the Cabinet went further than Paey expected by unanimously agreeing to grant him a full pardon — meaning he’ll have the right to vote and carry firearms.

They also acknowledged that the state’s drug laws might be unfair.

”This is not a pleasant case,” said Attorney General Bill McCollum, who noted that he supported mandatory-minimum sentences when he was in Congress. “Our laws are very much to blame.”

The state’s drug laws might be unfair? Gee, do ya think! Hopefully the AG’s realization of these unfair laws will extend to Florida legislators and legislators throughout the country. No fair human being could suggest that Richard Paey should serve hard time for merely relieving his pain.

But so are the prosecutors in Pasco County [to blame], said Paey’s wife, Linda Paey, who said she couldn’t understand why they zealously pursued her husband through three trials despite the widespread acknowledgement that he was a pain victim and not a drug dealer.

”I’ve changed. I no longer trust the police. I don’t trust the justice system,” she said. “Only the media got our case right.”

Crist, too, took a swipe at the prosecutors, saying the war on drugs itself isn’t just to blame in cases such as this. ”If they’re prosecuted appropriately, then justice will be done,” he said. “Obviously, this case cries out for a review of that process.”

Crist may be right in blaming the prosecutors for their overzealousness. After all, where was this overzealousness whenever former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s daughter was busted for a similar crime? Noelle Bush received nowhere near the punishment as did Richard Paey (Oh, I forgot; politicians and their families play by different rules). But prosecutorial overzealousness not withstanding; these mandatory minimum sentencing laws are subject to interpretation both by judges and prosecutors. One prosecutor might decide to file the mandatory minimum charges while another might decide not to. If the law is a bad law, there will be prosecutors who will bring the charges and judges who will rule based on their understanding of the law. Crist can further help right this wrong by pushing the Florida legislature to repeal these draconian laws.

While we may have to contend with this mandatory minimums madness for at least a little while longer, at least for one man the nightmare is over…hopefully.

Hat tip: Radley Balko

1 2 3 4 5 13