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benjamin.hadden
01-21-2008, 04:19 AM
I sent customized versions of this letter to my friends and family. So far it's gotten at least one new donor (thank you!). In writing this I felt it was more important to increase the new donor body count than to attempt to snare one big contribution from somebody. A $10 contribution gets somebody "onboard" with the campaign, and willing to talk to others. The target audience for this was also an audience which would be more likely to identify themselves as Democrat or Independent, not Republican.

Feel free to use, cutomize, etc. as you see fit. Enjoy.

<Split into two posts due to length.>

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Title: There is a Way to Be Good Again

You’ll recognize the title of my email if you’ve read “The Kite Runner.” I do think this is a fitting characterization of the current state of our affairs as a nation, and the need for action to restore us to decency.

Let me further set the tone with this (1:47 long):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idCiVKOQfg8

Over the past couple months I’ve spoken with a number of you about the upcoming presidential election. In doing so I’ve heard a wide range of interesting thoughts and reasons from people about their choice of candidate and their decision-making process.

I thought I’d take the time, since I feel so strongly about the importance of this election, to write to each of you and revisit those reasons. I’ve customized this email for you (not spam!), addressing some of the reasons and thoughts we’ve discussed. Please know that even as I may take issue with the reasons or thoughts we discussed, I’m not taking issue with you. I wouldn’t be surprised in some cases that if our discourse is continued I could be persuaded to take your side. I just hope you take the time to give it a read, and think about things.

I also hope, either via persuasive power or sheer quantity of words, to again direct your attention to Republican candidate Congressman Ron Paul, and to his platform, record and character.

In short, consider this, 1) he has an anti-war voting and speaking record that any anti-war Democrat or true conservative ought to be desperately jealous of, and stands as a polar opposite to and a perpetual thorn in the side of the neoconservative Republican majority, 2) he understands the causes of war and terrorism, and, unlike the Clinton and Bush administrations, has for decades been advocating a foreign policy to address these causes rather than incite them, 3) he understands the constitution and the limitations it places on the power of the executive branch of government – the apparent ignorance of which by both neoconservative Republican- and Democratic-lead congresses has led our country severely astray – and takes seriously his oath of office to preserve and defend that document, 4) he is completely free of the various lobbyist and special interest influences which currently wreak havoc on our political process, and 5) he realizes that the two most valuable roles the federal government can and should play in ensuring that the least able among us do not suffer is to provide a) reliable legal and contract enforcement, and b) sound monetary policy – one which does not continuously and subversively rob the poor and middle classes of their limited wealth through currency debasement (inflation), or raid the coffers of their entitlement programs to pursue overseas adventures. Ron Paul is consistent, honest and plain-spoken. All of these qualities are resoundingly not possessed by any of the other Republican candidates, nor by the leading Democratic candidates.

<< FYI, here’s your customized bit.

- in here I wrote a personalized message, then pasted copies of the arguments below that I’d talked about with that person -

>> and here’s some more boilerplate.

I’ve also included, at the end of the email, a merged list of the customized portions I sent to everybody (including yours, but without names, of course). I hope you give that a read as well.

On the off chance you’ve read this far, and are to some degree sympathetic to Ron Paul, you might now be asking, “It’s the primaries, and I’m a Democrat or live in a state where I otherwise can’t participate in my Republican primary or caucus. What does my opinion matter?” Don’t worry, I’ve thought long and hard about it and finally figured out a solution: On January 21st (today, Martin Luther King, Jr. day) there is a contribution drive for Ron Paul, the third of its kind in the Ron Paul campaign. This effort, like the two before it, is an entirely grass-roots effort, selected to occur on a historically relevant day and organized via that crazy, fringe internet thing. However, unlike the first two efforts, the second of which broke all previous single-day campaign contribution records for any candidate in history (think about that for a second), the MLK day event is targeted at the number of people donating, not the total sum of money raised. Participants are encouraged to contribute $10. This is a very accessible, easy and powerful way to make your voice heard, and to provide support to the ideas that Ron Paul stands for, even if you have no intention of voting for him come election day. I encourage you to consider participating. If you are sympathetic to Ron Paul but are having doubts about participating in this event, please watch the first video again.

The event is described here, where you can also pledge, though historically most people don’t: http://www.freeatlast2008.com/
If you choose to participate, just go to the official campaign website on the 21st and donate: https://www.ronpaul2008.com/donate/. The goal is to donate on the 21st East Coast Time, so if you are on the west cost, donate between 9pm Sunday and 9pm Monday night.

Thank you for your patience with my opinions and my desire to share them with you, as well as with my shameless fundraising plug. Feel free to write back, either to converse or to request I stop hassling you. Also feel free to forward this email. I’m obviously not bashful about talking politics, ideas and elections,

- your signature


Here are the questions I discussed with other people. Please read them, as you may find others which are applicable to you:
Paul is a Republican, and the Republican Party is to blame for many things scary and bad. I want a candidate as far away from Bush as possible, and certainly not a Republican.
I sympathize entirely. I, too, am disgusted by the Republican party in general and in the other Republican candidates being offered up. So is Ron Paul. He has consistently voted and spoken on the house floor against neoconservative Republican agendas, and is regularly a lone voice and singular vote on the right. You may notice that he is often belittled and subject to emotional and ad-hominem attacks during the televised debates, both by the other candidates and by the newspeople sympathetic to the neoconservative agenda. This is not accidental. He is threat to their policies and their way of thinking.
Consider this: not only did Ron Paul a) vote against the authorization to use force in Iraq, and b) speak passionately on the floor of congress many times before the invasion, sometimes day after day, pleading with congress to more carefully consider the dangers of going to war and of yielding their war-making powers to the executive branch, but c) he has been pleading his case against our Middle East and other foreign involvement for the entirety of his ten terms in congress. Support for Dr. Paul is not only anti-war support, it a dramatic signal of no-confidence in both the neoconservative faction of the Republican party, and in the apparent inability of the Democratic party to fulfill the anti-war mandate handed to them by the American people in 2006. No candidate from either party will remove the US Military (every boot) from the Middle East (yes, all of it) faster that Dr. Paul. Here is a good example of Paul speaking on the war and on foreign involvement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZmPS0XmeBw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZmPS0XmeBw)(2:58).

OK, hold on there… I’m anti-war, but I understand that Paul would limit the rate of withdrawal of troops from Iraq only as much as would be necessary to ensure their safety as they leave. Leaving so quickly would leave a vacuum of power and would result in massive chaos and death for Iraqi civilians, as well as a nasty and unstable regime that would lead to terrorism and war in the future. I think we should leave, but not before we help the Iraqi’s set up a stable country able to manage and defend itself. And even then we probably will need to keep a small peace-keeping contingent there for some amount of time until it’s really stable. We are in a bad situation, but we need to take the responsible way out, not just cut and run. We owe it to the Iraqi people since we messed things up so bad for them.
I understand the sentiment here. In all walks of life, if you mess something up for somebody else, you owe it to them to fix it. However, in the case of Iraq, this argument implies, as Ron Paul says, the implausible: that we can make things better in Iraq by staying there. If we should learn anything from the past four years, it should be that we are absolutely and totally incapable of creating a happy and stable Iraq by occupying that country and managing their government. Sure, we turn a power plant on now and then (which only a US contractor, undoubtedly, would be able to operate long-term), or flood a neighborhood with soldiers to prevent street violence. But if the current rate of non-transient “progress” is any indication of the rate at which we might move forward, your great grandchild may be called to service to secure the streets of Baghdad.
This obvious inability of ours to “fix” Iraq should not be taken as a reflection on the efficacy of our fighting forces. It reflects instead the impossibility of the scenario into which they have been placed. That they have found limited and temporary successes at all is, in my opinion, a massive testimony to their professionalism and dedication.
There is also the premise that a US withdrawal would result in total chaos, loss of Iraqi life, and the growth of a fundamentalist Islamic state which would repress its people and spawn terrorism. Yes, all of these may be the case, but I think that all of these factors would be an improvement over the status quo, or be irrelevant. The chaos would be, I propose, approximately equal to the current level of chaos which occurs with us there helping. The loss of innocent life once we leave would almost certainly decrease since it is our presence and side-favoring there that has allowed radicals to re-kindle simmering religious tensions into a full-fledged civil war. There are already a number of existing fundamentalist Islamic states, none of which ought to be of particular concern of the United States unless they threaten our national security, and none of them, including a potential fundamental Islamic Iraq, do. There are also already a large number of states which repress their people in horrible ways, and under our current policy we have not found cause to prevent those cases via occupation, let alone issue firm and consistent moral condemnation against these countries on the world stage.
Second, to invoke a thought experiment often used by Dr. Paul, think of what the United States would ask of an occupying force which was engaged in nation building within our borders. Regardless of the mess that force had made, or perhaps even more so if the mess were bad, we would want them out, and soon. We would not want them to stick around to try to patch things up before they left. If a bull runs into a china shop and then has regrets, it’s best for the bull to quickly but carefully back out the door, not to tromp around and try to glue pottery back together.
Lastly, I’ll make an emotional appeal that should counter any thoughts along the lines of “those poor Iraqi’s, they will suffer when we leave.” When you next feel the desire to support a continued foreign deployment of our military, into harms way, for purposes other than national security, watch this video (it’s happy, not sad) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUs1XHbslnA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUs1XHbslnA)(1:27), and then imagine what it’s like when things don’t turn out that way.

Seriously, I will never, ever listen to a Republican or even think about supporting one, so long as I live.
Ok, have a listen to a Democrat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLbmrIETjbo&NR=1 (3:13. Fast-forward to 2:12 if you’d like.). This election is about much more than Republican v. Democrat contest, and it is not about finding somebody who can get the two parties to work together. It is about whether we want to be a failing empire or a reborn republic.

Ron Paul is yet another old, white male. This election gives me the opportunity to support a candidate who can instead show to the world that positions of great power are not restricted by race or gender.
This sentiment is very well intended, but I find it seriously flawed. Supporting a candidate based on demographics marginalizes the importance of their principles and platform in one’s decision-making process. If you have been fortunate enough to find a candidate who represents your chosen demographic and also best represents your ideal platform then by all means support that candidate. But if not, you need to ask yourself, how much of a compromise are you willing to make about a candidate’s principles, platform, and character in order to support the person who represents your demographic of interest? Do you know what the compromise is that you are making? Is that compromise worth the statement you hope to make by casting your vote for the President because the candidate is a woman or of color?
Here’s how this breaks down in my case: Myself, I think it’s time we had a formerly obese president, to show the world that the United States provides equal access to power regardless of body mass index. Because of this, I would vote for Huckabee, but his intent to tidy up the constitution so it aligns better with our national religion just doesn’t sit well with me. That, and he’s never was really fat enough (I hear his mom was fat but his dad wasn’t, i.e., he’s only half-fat). So, despite his rather trim figure, not to mention his racial and gender handicaps, I’m voting for Ron Paul, since his platform is nearly the ideal platform for me.
An “affirmative action vote” may be appropriate in a beauty contest, where nothing really is at stake. But this is the election of the president of our country, who will guide policy and lead the world’s most powerful military force. I think principles, policy and, and Martin Luther King, Jr. said, the content of one’s character, ought to far, far outweigh skin color or gender in this decision.

benjamin.hadden
01-21-2008, 04:20 AM
I want to elect a candidate of Change, and a candidate who has the political power to get things done. Ron Paul may want to change a few things, but I want a candidate who stands up to the status quo, is a real proponent of Change, and can build political coalitions for progress.
First, “change” in and of itself is value neutral. So is “getting things done,” as well as “progress.” All of these mean you’re going to get something different from the status quo (supposedly), be that good or bad. If a candidate tells you they’re for change, or that they have the political power to make things happen, then your brain gets to fill in the particulars, and it fills it in with things you that you want and things that you think are good. So any time a candidate claims to be a candidate of change, without providing specifics, they should get a 2-minute penalty for pandering. Consider how much time was wasted in the Democratic debates arguing over who was the candidate of change (“It’s me!” “No, me!” “I am!”), without any issues being discussed. To make a silly but technically correct analogy, Hitler was very much a leader of change, and had an amazing ability to bring people together to make things happen. So it’s vital that a candidate’s principles and platform be of equal if not more value in a decision making process than their desire or ability to make change.
Second, Ron Paul is the candidate of change, and he is effective! He’ll change not only the course of the Iraq war (end it), but also the foreign policy that got us there, and into a number of other places, in the first place. This change in foreign policy will also dramatically reduce our short term and long term exposure to terrorism, not by clamping down on civil liberties at home and torturing foreign nationals, but by eliminating the motivation for people to hate us in the first place. By changing our foreign policy, he’ll also vastly reduce our overseas expenditures, so those funds can instead be spent at home taking care of our own citizens and our own borders, and to buy down the national debt. He’ll change the mode of operation of the government from one in which the constitution is treated as an obstacle to one where it is treated as the foundation for all government behaviors. He’ll change the monetary policy of this country to one that doesn’t enable deficit financing and currency debasement. I could go on. He is also effective, named as one of the fifty most effective members of congress (including the house and the senate) by Congressional Quarterly Highlights.
But third, and most important, Ron Paul recognizes that the ability of the executive branch to make change, as defined in the constitution, is actually rather limited, compared to the power to make change vested in the congress. As written in the constitution (to the best of my understanding) the executive branch is essentially the errand-boy of the legislative branch. Congress tells the president what to do and gives her money, and she can do the bidding of congress if she likes. So any presidential candidate who runs on a platform of changes towards expanded government is inherently planning for a constitutional run-around or congressional strong-arming.

Ron Paul tells it like it is, and while that makes for good debate fodder, it doesn’t make for an effective leader who can bring people together to reach compromises and make tough decisions.
First, I disagree that truth-telling and plain speaking makes for weak leaders. It actually provides a position of power that is unique and nearly impossible to challenge without resorting to force. Second, if bringing people together to make compromises and tough decisions is what we’ve been up to in the past years, I’m willing to try something else – perhaps somebody of unwavering principle. Third, in all the organizations I’ve been a part of, the spirit and character of the organization truly flows from the person on top, and it permeates the entire group. Can you imagine the housecleaning that would occur in Washington if even a little bit of Ron Paul’s honesty and character flowed in its veins?

Ron Paul would eliminate the IRS. That’s just silly from a budget point of view. It’ll never happen, and if it did, it would remove the progressive wealth re-distribution structure that are the cornerstone of all our social entitlement programs.
That’s right, he would… imagine if April 15th were just like any other day. Imagine if you could make investment decisions without having to consider the multitude of tax consequences. I rather like the idea.
It turns out it’s not that silly at all. As Dr. Paul likes to say, eliminating the income tax would return us to the levels of government income enjoyed only ten or so years ago. We seemed to have plenty of government and entitlements then. What would be necessary to allow for the elimination of the income tax, while maintaining a balanced budget, would be a vast reduction in our overseas military spending. These reductions would include the on-going operations in Iraq, many if not all of our military facilities in other countries around the world, and all of our contributions to third-world dictators of convenience. It is the elimination of these very items that would also be the first step in a process of restoring America’s position of most-loved country, instead of most-hated world policeman.
There is another, perhaps more frightening aspect of the IRS question. I believe many people, and perhaps even myself, find subtle comfort in the regularity and unavoidability of paying taxes. We emotionally equate ending the IRS with ending, say, Thanksgiving. It’s part of the American way of life, and part of the structure of our society. I think that whatever traces of this emotion are around need to be squashed out. It is some kind of bizarre Stockholm syndrome that I don’t fully understand. So, if, at the end of the day, you’re still uncomfortable with not having the IRS, just plan on sending a $10k check to the Union Gospel Mission every April 15th.

Among the many federal subsidies that Ron Paul would eliminate are our agricultural subsidies. These subsidies are actually very important for maintaining a base of food-producing capability within our borders. Removing farm subsidies would send all our food production overseas, and render us susceptible to starvation in the event of international conflict or sanctions.
Indeed, the removal of these subsidies would send some of our food production overseas, opening up vast new markets for developing world farmers and helping them work themselves out of poverty. Look at the case of the Catfish Wars to see what I mean (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183522,00.html). In this case it’s tariffs under question, not subsidies, but they are really the same thing. Tariffs lock out low-cost imported goods, so that domestic producers can raise their prices above market levels. Consumers therefore are forced to spend more on the domestically-produced goods. Subsidies also lock out foreign producers, and force consumers to spend more on domestic products, but via the government as a middle-man. So tariffs and subsidies are a great way to maintain poverty in developing countries, overcharge the consumer, and to make enemies all around the world. We should get rid of them if national security interest allow.
Consider microprocessor manufacturing. This is probably just about as important a commodity as food for today’s lifestyles. But we don’t subsidize microprocessor manufacturing in the US, we just do all the intellectual work behind it. Instead, the manufacturing is done in foundries overseas, resulting in our computers only costing $1k instead of $10k, and all of southeast Asia enjoying relative economic prosperity. If we had microprocessor subsidies both Americans and Asians would suffer.
Now let’s consider the national security question. By implementing agricultural subsidies, we encourage our farmers to stagnate in their productivity and technology. We encourage a static approach to food production which isn’t used to respond to changes in need from the market, and therefore also unready to respond to changes in need due to national emergency. Instead, if we removed the subsidies, farms would likely suffer initially, but through improvements in technology and management, as well as re-allocation of crops and livestock based on market forces, be able to rapidly recover to a competitive level in some, although likely not all, agricultural pursuits. Keep in mind, that although agriculture in developing countries has the advantage of cheap labor, domestic agriculture has the advantage of much shorter shipping distance, which is more important for food than for almost any other commodity, plus the use of technologies that developing countries could only dream of. So it’s my feeling, although I’m not entirely sold on it, that a market-driven farm system would actually provide for more security in domestic food production than a subsidized one, via the flexible and advanced agriculture that would result from open competition.
Lastly, and most importantly, it must be recognized that no nation is an island. Despite our great natural and human resources, we as a country will never ever be able to be self sufficient with an economy as complex and a standard of living as high as ours is today. Although food is an important fundamental need, and certainly more of a concern than, say, electric toothbrushes when it comes to ensuring a domestic production capability, if we go down the path of subsidies to ensure domestic capability in all fronts we will end up with a deeply, deeply managed economy, which the 20th century has shown just plain doesn’t work.

I don’t contribute to campaigns, it’s not my thing. I read the candidates’ platforms, make an informed decision, and vote on election day. What more do you want?
I understand that. This is the first campaign I’ve contributed to or supported in any way other than just voting. However, I am now convinced that the democratic process is and should be more than just a closed-eyed hand-count. It ought to be a dialog between people. In this dialog, when you find something that you are proud to support (which I admit, is but a rare occurrence for most of us), you ought to stand up and let other’s know about it. The alternative is to allow our media system provide a fair, balanced and intellectual proxy dialog. This is not working particularly well for the Paul campaign.
So why not give it a try? It feels good to stand up for something you believe in. It only takes about two minutes. You don’t have to stand up in front of a crowd and defend your position. In this case you’re only out the cost of lunch. If you do like Paul but don’t buy into the public funding campaigns, then send him 1 cent on the 21st. This effort is about people standing up, not about amassing funds (he’s already done that!).
Heck, if you don’t like Paul at all, then on 21 January send $10 bucks to the candidate you do like, and email all your friends and family to tell them why that’s your candidate.

Please, Ron Paul is not electable. He hasn’t gotten higher than fourth in a primary, and polls between 5-10%.
Allow me to take a second look for you. First, he has been voted into congress ten times, so we know that it is not contrary to the laws of the universe for him to be elected. Indeed three of these times he was running against an incumbent, which is no easy task. Second, he is rumored to have a lot of dedicated, organized supporters (some evidence which suggests this may be more than just a rumor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZngnWAQfM0, (0:30) sorry about the scary music). Third, these people also tend to give him lots of money, and as such he is probably the second-best funded Republican candidate, behind the Romney fortune. Forth, as of New Hampshire he’d has received more votes in the primaries than Giuliani and Thompson combined, two so so-called front-runner candidates. Fifth, the Republican field is all messed up, no two ways about that. There is no established favorite, and the longer the neoconservative, main-line Republican vote stays split the better chance Ron Paul has of accumulating a winning share of delegates. And lastly, sixth, unless the Republican party runs an anti-war candidate they have absolutely no chance of winning the general election, plain and simple. At some point one can hope they will wise up to this.
Oh…and as of today Ron Paul got second in the Nevada caucus, although you wouldn’t know that if you watched FOX (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB-Vrf7ThDw), and once they finally did tell you about it they’d give you all the reasons why it was a fluke.
Along these same lines, I’d encourage you to think long and hard about the “lesser of two front-running evils” voting strategy, and if it is really the best way to go, particularly for an election of this importance. If you still feel that you should vote for a so-called front-runner in order to prevent another so-called front-runner from winning, perhaps you’d consider lending financial support to the campaign of the candidate you really wish would win, in order to further their message.

It’s hopeless – we’re just going to end up with another pre-selected, big-party candidate. My support doesn’t matter.
Then why not waste $10 and a vote on Ron Paul?
Seriously, though, imagine what a gulag prisoner would think if they heard you expressing that sentiment. “You get to vote?” Now go back and watch the Scott Ritter video again before I slap you.

No celebrities have endorsed Ron Paul. That’s not a big deal per-se, but if nobody with a name to keep is willing to stick their neck out for him, isn’t that a pretty good indicator that he’s a crank?
I have a name to keep with you people, and I’m putting mine on the line right here. If you need other names, look here: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/endorsements.

Look, despite your brilliant, Socratic arguments above, I don’t think you are right and I think Ron Paul is wrong. Why should I contribute?
You shouldn’t. You should help me figure out why I’m wrong, and who I should support instead. I honestly would appreciate it.

I was born into the Democratic party, my Mom and Dad are Democrats, as is my Brother, Sister and dog (or I am a died-in-the wool neocon, either way). We’ve talked at length about topics like these and it should be clear I stand as a polar opposite to you on many of these issues. Why in the world are you punishing me with this email?
In that case, I’d encourage you to forward this email to likeminded friends and colleagues of yours for their entertainment. This should pose no threat to their world view, and it’ll bring them joy to see yet another Ron Paul supporter getting spun up for no good. Also see my above note about helping me figure out why I’m wrong. Cheers!

Ron Paul supporters are nuts, idealistic, anachronistic, immature and fringe.
Then count me among their numbers, and come back when you are ready to talk about issues.

Ron Paul talks about some pretty dramatic changes implemented on short timescales: removal of vast quantities of foreign-deployed military forces, market-driven interest rates, no longer forcing people to participate in social security. I think these ideas are good, but I think implementing them rapidly could cause huge problems, and are best taken as small steps.
The good news is, nothing happens fast in government, so if there is some risk of pain due to rapidly implemented changes, it’s likely not going to be that bad. But more importantly, I think the changes that Ron Paul talks about should be made as quickly as bureaucracy allows. We shouldn’t need to wait until 100 more marines get brain damage before changing our foreign policy.
Regarding domestic policy, it’s important to note that Ron Paul is by no means suggesting we cancel the social security, Medicare, and other entitlements that people have come to expect and have planned their lives around. What would change is that people can elect to opt out of these systems, and those who remain in the systems may have a chance of actually receiving their entitlements, since the budgets of those programs will no longer be raided for overseas adventures.

Look you little @%!#, you weren’t at ground zero on 9/11, you’ve never been in the military, you’re only 28 years old, you’ve never sacrificed for your country like millions of other Americans before you, and you’ve never been so down-and-out that you would have fallen by the wayside were it not for government support. It’s pretty insensitive of you to spout off a non-interventionist, constitutional, small-government policy, and label our great country as a budding military empire, without ever having lived the other side of the coin.
I have to call things like I see them. I have no other option.
Personally, I believe the many Americans who died fighting our previous wars would agree with me on many of these issues, just like our current active duty and retired military personnel do (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nwZGRrqhfs, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4co3DaNGKo). I also think that the people who were murdered on 9/11 would weep if they could see the direction their country has in the aftermath of their death.

Inflation isn’t that bad right now.
Despite what we may have been told, I don’t think inflation is about the cost of a taco (Consumer Price Index). Inflation is about the purchasing power of the US dollar on the global market. Consider for a moment this debate response from Dr. Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIwlKyz6LvU. Personally, this frightens me a bit, and I can’t believe it’s normal and okey-dokey. It amazes me that the best way to make money in this country is to take out a massive leveraged loan, buy a real asset (property or gold), then wait for the currency to devalue so the asset increases in price.
While I’m not sure this is entirely relevant, since US homes are primarily a domestic rather than a global commodity, consider this: average housing prices in the US have skyrocketed over the past six years, effectively doubling. Ask yourself this: has the quality of the average house doubled in the past six years? Have 100 million houses been washed into the sea, reducing supply? Has the population of the United Sates doubled in the past six years, increasing demand? No, no and no. If anything there are way more houses and only a few more people. The only other option as I see it is that the number of dollars (literally) has gone up by a factor of two. This means than any dollar held prior to that is now worth half what it was before. Simplistic analysis, probably wrong, but perhaps partially right.

You yourself have a cozy job in the defense industry, what business do you have going on about an anti-war candidate? Shouldn’t you want a candidate who’ll sponsor huge military programs? Wouldn’t Ron Paul as president be bad for you?
I would absolutely love it if there was no demand for my job, or for many of the jobs in the defense industry. I consider jobs like mine, and of soldiers and policemen, to be non-value-added, in the technical sense of the term. These jobs are there to fix screw-ups, not to produce anything. Can you imagine the increase in value-added economic activity if even a small fraction of the smart people in the defense industry no longer built weapons? For the cost of one year’s operation of the Iraq war we easily could have sent an American to Mars and back. To Mars. Think about that for a while.
Secondly, Ron Paul is a huge proponent of a strong national defense. He believes, however, that our soldiers should be protecting our borders, not those of Iraq, and that the military should be strong and well armed for this more limited mission, not stretched to the breaking point conducting foreign nation building like it is today.

benjamin.hadden
01-21-2008, 04:19 PM
Just got another donor from this (thank you!). That makes two new donors.

People, two things: 1) Reasoning and arguements are much more effective than silly "RP08!" plugs, 2) we need to be reaching out to our family and coworkers, plus our friends that we actually see, not our internet friends. Anybody who surfs youtube or digg already has been exposed to the message.

Here is some of the response I got, modified for their privacy.

Donor 1:
Although I disagree with Dr. Paul’s gun and abortion policies, I did, on the basis of your exceedingly well-reasoned writing, donate to the cause on “January 21.” If nothing else, it is fun to watch the ronpaulgraph numbers change in a short time – I am one of the 316 “new donors” so far today!

Donor 2:
1. I have to agree that of the candidates that I have paid any attention to, Dr. Paul makes the most sense. I don't agree with him on everything, but he's closest to the mark of the lot. ...

2. I have contributed $10 to add to the bulk of people if not much in the coffers. ...

3. I applaud your passion and willingness to get involved. As I think I've said before, I feel completely disenfranchised. Fortunately we enjoy a level of freedom that allows one to operate as an honest citizen while feeling this way - we aren't forced to choose sides just to function on a daily basis. The recent ... State Supreme court decision on primaries was the last straw. From a strict legal point of view their decision was correct, but it ignored the fact that the two parties have institutionalized the two party system to their own advantage. The two parties have become, like baseball, a government chartered and protected institution. In essence we have formalized a false dichotomy. All a long way of saying that I wish that a third party could be formed from and for moderates (rather than just the lunatic fringe third parties). There was an article in the Times recently along the lines that the number of people who identified themselves as 'independents' was skyrocketing - I think I know why.

4. I have more than once voted for the libertarian person on a ballot because it was the closest I could come to "Please! None of the above!" I would like to be drawn to a candidate vs. being forced to choose the least worst of only two. Give me some alternatives. This is why the loss of the meaning of the primary vote here was so damaging - in the primary we could pick from a large field. We could influence the idiots we'd have to choose from in the 'final'.

5. There is a lot of difference between being a patriot and a being a hawk. We have to have a military and a strong defense because many in the world would be perfectly happy to take what we have by force rather than earning it. That is totally different from using our ability to defend ourselves as a tool of horrifically bad foreign policy. Keep doing what you are doing. We undoubtedly need it.

Fields
01-21-2008, 08:32 PM
good job

benjamin.hadden
01-22-2008, 12:30 AM
Got a third first-time donor verified (plus a forward to another person).

I tell you folks, we ought not to worry about "waking up" people who are already regularly using youtube, digg, etc. They already know the message, and they either get it or they don't. We need more socially-diverse targeting. So contact your old schoolteacher, your long-lost uncle, and your dentist. Spread the message outside your regular social circles.

Canvassing, as many others have mentioned, is a great way to do this, since each new person you meet is almost guaranteed to be from a different social circle. That person, in turn, will take care of informing their close associates.

Think of it in terms of meme theory (in short, modelling the spread & retention of ideas in the same way as for diseases). An idea will spread much more effectively if it takes long leaps between people (e.g. ebola patient on a transcontinental flight), and gets into entirely different populations.

So be the transcontinental ebola patient of Ron Paul, and visit every continent.