Congressmen long ago granted themselves the privilege of mailing items to constituents at taxpayers’ expense, a process called “franking.” Usually such a mailing amounts to a barely disguised plea for reelection, bragging about how much pork the congressman has brought home and listing services he offers to his constituents.
There are numerous rules governing the content of franked mailings, but one in particular has attracted attention lately: a ban on the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas.” A congressional staffer told the Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott that after he submitted a draft mailing to the House Franking Commission to determine whether it could be franked, the commission responded with a memo stating that the inclusion of “Merry Christmas” in an otherwise acceptable mailing is prohibited. In fact, no mention of any specific holiday is allowed — not Christmas, not Hanukkah, and not New Year’s Day.
Members of Congress are prohibited from franking “greetings, including holiday celebrations, condolences, and congratulations for personal distinctions (wedding anniversaries, birthdays, etc.),” according to the Members’ Congressional Handbook. The Franking Commission, however, went beyond that simple, commonsense ban on taxpayer reimbursement of purely personal greetings, stating in its memo: “You may make reference to the season as a whole using language along the lines of ‘Have a safe and happy holiday season.’ It may only be incidental to the piece rather than the primary purpose of the communication.”
As unlikely as it might have seemed to professional politicians and talking-head media stars just a few weeks ago, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is now regarded as a real threat to win the Iowa caucuses on January 3, just one week before the New Hampshire primary. And the reaction of party leaders to that would not be pretty, said columnist Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner.
“The Republican presidential primary has become a bit feisty, but it will get downright ugly if Ron Paul wins the Iowa caucuses,” Carney wrote in Monday's column. “The principled, antiwar, Constitution-obeying, Fed-hating, libertarian Republican congressman from Texas stands firmly outside the bounds of permissible dissent as drawn by either the Republican establishment or the mainstream media.”
Carney, who does not hide his admiration for the popular underdog, noted in the interest of “disclosure” that Paul wrote the forward to Carney's 2009 book, Obamanomics. He went on to say that in a crowded Republican field, led nationally by “a collapsing Newt Gingrich and an uninspiring Mitt Romney, Paul could carry the Iowa caucuses, where supporter enthusiasm has so much value.” Given the national media coverage of the Paul campaign up to this point, Carney suggested a Paul victory might generate headlines like, “Romney Beats Out Gingrich for Second Place in Iowa.”
Earlier this week, two human rights advocacy groups issued a joint preliminary report denouncing the governments of Europe for allegedly aiding the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in conducting the now infamous rendition program. Persons accused by the U.S. government of being "enemy combatants" were subject to "extraordinary rendition": capture and shipment off to one of the so-called “black site” secret prisons for questioning, where the detainees were often reportedly subjected to inhuman tactics to elicit responses from them.
Recently there has been much discussion of the eradication of the panoply of fundamental principles of liberty by the Congress and attempts to convert the President into a totalitarian dictator with historic powers to apprehend and indefinitely detain American citizens. This author has questioned whether the permission for the absolute abuse of power soon to be codified as part of the National Defense Authorization Act is not a greater act of tyranny than any perpetrated by George III that precipitated the waging of America’s war for independence.
The “long train of abuses” of which Britain’s crown was accused are enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. This historic indictment of King George III was penned principally by Thomas Jefferson and was laid out in a manner both methodical and lyrical. It stood on the rooftops and decried for the all the world to hear the despotic measures levied against the American colonies by the government of Great Britain.
As our own modern government passes one after the other laws eroding the bedrock of freedom upon which our Republic was built after the successful waging of the war against English oppression, the specific examples of the abuse of power cited in the Declaration of Independence may prove prophetic and may help to enlighten 21st-century Americans and embolden them in their efforts to restore liberty and the constitutional boundaries of government.
Ron Paul has elaborated on his views in his books, in speeches, and in interviews. During the debates, however, when he has a national audience, he doesn’t always present his views as persuasively as he could. In my last article, I suggested ways in which he could respond to challenges regarding his views on foreign policy and national security. In this article, it is to criticisms concerning his position on drugs and the recently resurrected charge that Paul is a "racist."
Last week, the Republican presidential contenders slugged it out in Iowa. As usual, Ron Paul’s remarks concerning American foreign policy have drawn heat. Paul is by far the most honest of the candidates. At the same time, he is also the most unpolished. In fact, chances are better than not that the former accounts for the latter.
Substantively speaking, Paul’s ideas are more cogent, and certainly more consistent with liberty, than any of those bandied about his rivals. But stylistically, he is at a disadvantage. Like or not, we are living in an imagistic age in which, as far as the electability of a candidate is concerned, style means at least as much, and often much more, than substance.
Paul, that is, needs to package his eminently sensible ideas so as to make them more palatable to both the base of his party as well as the rest of the country.
Fortunately, this is hardly as formidable a task as some may think. In fact, it isn’t particularly formidable at all.
When it comes to Israel, for example, imagine something like these words springing from the lips of Congressman Paul:
Last Friday, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction issued by a lower federal court which blocks the enforcement against an abortion statute recently enacted by the state of Nebraska. In July of last year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska handed down a preliminary injunction against the law known as the Women’s Health Protection Act.
With the Iowa caucuses just two weeks away, Ron Paul has taken the lead in two caucus forecasts — a development that has the GOP establishment on edge.
A December 18 Public Policy Polling survey found that the Texas Congressman was the choice of 23 percent of likely Republican caucus voters. Mitt Romney came in second at 20 percent, with Newt Gingrich in third at 14 percent and Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum tied at 10 percent. “Someone else/Not sure” was next at 7 percent, followed by Jon Huntsman at 4 percent and Gary Johnson at 2 percent.
Gingrich was the biggest loser in the poll, having plunged from 27 percent support three weeks ago to 14 percent now. In addition, he possesses the highest “unfavorable” rating of any candidate in the race (47 percent). Paul, meanwhile, led the pack on the positive side with 54 percent of voters viewing him favorably.
On matters of principle, Paul, not surprisingly, is the champion in voters’ minds. Seventy-three percent said he has strong principles, while only 50 percent thought the same of Romney and 36 percent of Gingrich. (The question was not asked about the other candidates.)
Despite the best efforts of the establishment media, Ron Paul’s campaign for President is gaining momentum nationwide as his “unorthodox” views are becoming more widely disseminated and understood by an American public slavering for salvation from the economic and moral abyss toward which the country is slouching.
There are some on the Right, however, who refuse to join the revolution.
Because of his strictly constitutional interpretation of all major issues, Ron Paul has been called “pro-choice state by state" by an influential pro-life organization.
This is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.
Ron Paul is unqualifiedly in favor of affording the full panoply of legal rights to the unborn. In fact, he is so ardently opposed to abortion that earlier this year he declared the right to life “the most important issue of our age.”
As GOP presidential contender Ron Paul is increasingly becoming a threat to the establishment and to big government advocates on both ends of the political spectrum, some members of his opposition are preparing dirty tactics to thwart him. The secretive hacker group Anonymous, for instance, has already vowed to disrupt the January 3 vote in the Iowa caucuses, which Paul seems poised to win.
Though Paul was initially almost wholly ignored by most politicians and the mainstream media, and treated as though he was a fringe, unviable candidate, he has surged in popularity in poll after poll. Now ignoring him is no longer an option.
According to the most recent Public Policy Poll (PPP), Ron Paul is firmly in first place in Iowa, with 23 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney, with 20 percent, and Gingrich, with just 14 percent of supporters.