So Long, Rep. Eric Cantor

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who is in his seventh term in the United States House of Representatives and fourth year as House Republican majority leader, lost his primary race for reelection on Tuesday. That means Cantor will be out of the House when a new Congress begins in January.

Over the last year, Cantor has earned the attention of Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity with his consistent war position — advocating war against Syria, war against Iran, and war against much of the world.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Ron Paul: Legal Pot, Not SWAT

Ron Paul addresses Monday on the Ron Paul Channel the menacing militarization of police in the United States. Paul, the chairman and founder of RPI, explains the problem extends from small towns obtaining military combat vehicles to United States government agencies buying up vast amounts of weapons and ammunition to police employing over 40,000 SWAT team raids each year.

Paul also notes in the commentary that crime in Denver has decreased following the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Paul wonders if Colorado may be on to something—less laws are a better means than militarized police to reduce crime.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Associated Press Way Off on Ed Thompson’s 2002 Wisconsin Governor Campaign

Ed Thompson campaigning for Wisconsin Governor.

Ed Thompson campaigning for Wisconsin Governor.

Twelve years after Ed Thompson, running as the Libertarian Party nominee, won 10.5% in the 2002 Wisconsin governor race, the Associated Press, in an article published Sunday, mischaracterizes Thompson as a spoiler candidate who cost the Republican incumbent the governorship. The reality is very different. Thompson won the second-highest Libertarian vote percentage of any governor candidate ever and the highest vote percentage of any non-Republican, non-Democrat candidate statewide in Wisconsin in the last seventy years without being anyone’s spoiler.

On December 11, 2002, I submitted an editorial to the Wisconsin State Journal to clear up similar allegations the Republican governor was then making to explain his failure to win the election. Having been Thompson’s campaign co-manager, I knew the governor’s allegation was malarkey then as the Associated Press’s similar suggestion is malarkey now.

The newspaper printed a very truncated version of my editorial as a letter to the editor. Below is the complete editorial I submitted. I have just removed a reference to Thompson’s no longer existing campaign website.

As a side note, the AP article is also misleading when it states the Libertarian Party has “never won a state or legislative office in Wisconsin.” The fact is that, by winning over 10% in the governor race, Thompson earned the state Libertarian Party an appointee on the Wisconsin State Board of Elections—expanding the eight member board that administered and enforced state campaign finance and election laws to nine members. I should know; I was the first board member selected by the state party.

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McCallum Wrong to Blame Thompson for Loss

Governor Scott McCallum claimed Monday on Wisconsin Public Radio that Ed Thompson cost McCallum the governorship. This claim is unsupportable. Governor McCallum would have soundly lost the governorship even if Thompson had not run.

A post-election Scott Rasmussen Public Opinion Research poll of 1,000 governor race voters commissioned by the Thompson campaign shows who Thompson voters would have voted for if Thompson had not run as the Libertarian governor candidate

Thompson voters split equally in their second choice, with 30% for Republican McCallum, 30% for Democrat Jim Doyle, and 27% for Green Jim Young. Ten percent would not have voted without the Thompson option. Thompson’s absence would not even decrease Doyle’s lead over McCallum.

Before the debates, polls indicated Thompson was appealing to more Democrat than Republican voters. In a wispolitics.com interview a month and a half before the election, then Assembly Republican Majority Leader Scott Jensen explained, “I think if Eddie Thompson were to drop out tomorrow, most of [Thompson’s supporters] are clearly voting for change, not the status quo and they are more likely to either not vote or go to the Doyle camp.”

Governor McCallum cannot legitimately complain about Thompson stealing votes. It would make more sense for Thompson to complain about McCallum stealing Thompson’s votes.

McCallum’s and Doyle’s surreptitious campaign to prevent Thompson from debating hindered Thompson’s ability to reach potential voters and obtain a debate boost. A Rasmussen poll of likely voters conducted for the Thompson campaign on October 17, the day after the first governor candidate debates in which Thompson participated, indicates that while 9.6% of all likely voters would vote for Thompson, 16.0% of those who saw the debate selected Thompson. When asked to suppose that Thompson could win, Thompson voters rose to 16.3% of likely voters, 22.8% among those who saw the debate. Viewers of the debate saw Thompson more favorably, 42.6% compared to 27.6% among all likely voters, and less unfavorably, 45.7% compared with 48.0%. Much of the significant improvement in Thompson’s support and favorable rating over the remaining month of the campaign is likely due to the rebroadcast of this debate and Thompson’s inclusion in a second debate.

McCallum claimed in the Monday WPR interview and during the campaign that he supported Thompson’s inclusion in debates. The editorial board of the Wausau Daily Herald told Thompson differently, saying both McCallum and Doyle refused to participate in the paper’s co-sponsored debate if Thompson were invited. The paper stated the same on the editorial page.

The post-election poll shows that voters gave Thompson the highest favorable rating (the percentage of people viewing a candidate favorably minus the percentage viewing him unfavorably). Thompson scored even with a zero rating (39% favorable minus 39% unfavorable), Doyle trailed slightly at -1% (44% minus 45%). McCallum and Young trailed far behind, McCallum at -17% (38% minus 55%) and Young at -21% (20% minus 41%). McCallum should be thankful he received more votes than Thompson even though Thompson scored second most favorable (after Doyle) and least unfavorable

With McCallum’s favorables lower than McCallum’s vote total, some of his voters chose a candidate they did not like. In contrast, Thompson won 10.5% of the vote–roughly one-quarter Thompson’s favorables. When voters were asked to suppose Thompson could win, Thompson’s vote total jumped to 23%.

At campaign end, Thompson had strong momentum. Support of 23% of voters and a favorable view among 39% put victory within sight. Maybe, with more time, Thompson could have won. One thing, though, is certain. McCallum’s loss of the governor campaign had nothing to do with Thompson’s campaign.

Have You Reset the Net?

Suppose your neighborhood experienced a dramatic increase in home break-ins. What might you and your neighbors do in response?

Some residents may join together in a neighborhood watch. Many residents will review their home security precautions. Some people will put new locks on their doors. Other neighbors will build or improve fences, close their curtains more often, install security lights or an alarm system, acquire a guard dog, or a keep a gun at the ready.

It has been a year since the publication of the first revelations on the United States government’s mass spying program based on documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Yet, many people have not undertaken additional precautions in response.

A broad range of organizations launched on Thursday, under the title “Reset the Net,” a campaign to encourage people to take steps to protect private communication from government break-ins. Reset the Net describes its message in a promotional video:

The call is simple. Find some territory of the internet that you can protect from prying eyes. Seize it and hold it.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Ron Paul: ‘Get Rid Of the NSA’

RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, speaking with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business this week, says that the recently revealed mass interception, storage, and analysis of images contained in private electronic communications is “another reason to get rid of the NSA.”

Paul says limited reform of the National Security Agency is insufficient. Instead, Paul explains that the correct course is abolishing the agency and terminating its destructive activities:

The bigger picture is they have no business doing it in the first place….

But, you can’t just say we’re going to monitor it, and let’s have search warrants to take pictures. We have to look at the principle, and the principle is the government has no right to do this, and the people shouldn’t put up with it.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

 

Judge Napolitano: NSA Intercepting Private Photos ‘Blatantly Violates the Constitution’

Judge Andrew Napolitano condemns as a violation of privacy and the United States Constitution the recently revealed US National Security Agency practice of intercepting millions of images each day from communications including emails, text messages, and videoconferences. Napolitano, speaking on Monday with Melissa Francis on Fox Business, says the NSA’s actions blatantly violate the US Constitution and privacy rights.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

US House Votes to Respect States’ Medical Marijuana and Hemp Legalization

An appropriations bill passed Friday in the United States House of Representatives and on its way to the US Senate contains provisions calling for the United States government to stop treading on states’ efforts to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

The majority of House members voted on Friday to respect states’ legalization of medical marijuana and hemp in two amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 4660). First, the House approved by a vote of 237 to 170 an amendment introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) regarding industrial hemp. Immediately following the hemp amendment vote, the House approved by a vote of 219 to 189 a similar amendment concerning medical marijuana introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Because of House amendment rules, the wording of the amendments could not state as clearly as could stand-alone legislation that the US government is prohibited in a state from enforcing US laws that prohibit or punish activities related to medical marijuana and hemp that are in compliance with the state’s law. Yet, the debate in the House on both amendments reflected the understanding that such a message is being conveyed in the amendments. The amendments may be read below.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Don Young (R-AK) cosponsored the medical marijuana amendment.

Reps. Blumenauer, Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Polis cosponsored the hemp amendment.

While each of the amendments had bipartisan sponsorship, the votes of the full House membership revealed a large partisan division. Over 90% of voting Democrat members voted “yes” on each of the two amendments. Of the Republican members who voted on the amendments, by contrast, only 22% and 30%, respectively, voted “yes” on the medical marijuana and hemp amendments.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Sen. Ron Wyden: House-Passed USA FREEDOM Act is ‘Reform in Name Only’

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking Wednesday in his home state of Oregon, declared that the “Status Quo Caucus” including “intelligence leadership, their friends in the House of Representatives, [and] their allies in academia” had successfully transformed the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) into “reform in name only” by the time it was debated and approved on the United States House of Representatives floor.

This development regarding legislation supposedly intended to restrain the US government’s mass spying program comes as little surprise to Wyden, who explains that “[w]hat has happened is what I predicted would happen last fall.” Indeed, Wyden warned in October that:

…we know in the months ahead we will be up against a “business-as-usual brigade” – made up of influential members of the government’s intelligence leadership, their allies in thinktanks and academia, retired government officials, and sympathetic legislators. Their game plan? Try mightily to fog up the surveillance debate and convince the Congress and the public that the real problem here is not overly intrusive, constitutionally flawed domestic surveillance, but sensationalistic media reporting. Their end game is ensuring that any surveillance reforms are only skin-deep.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Lew Rockwell: Central Banks Make World Wars Possible

As people worry a new world war may rise out of Ukraine, RPI Advisory Board Member Lew Rockwell proposes Wednesday on the Tom Woods Show that the creation of central banks makes world wars possible. Rockwell’s comments regarding central banking are made in a wide-ranging interview that begins with a discussion of Rockwell’s book Against the State, which will be published in June.

Looking back to Rome, Rockwell notes that successive reductions in the silver content of coins helped fund government activities. Rockwell then explains that limits of this old method of money debasement were overcome in Britain in the 17th century with the creation of the Bank of England “specifically … to wage war.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.