My Ron Paul petition of Real People about to top 500 signatures

Who'da thunk it? I am happy to announce my petition is about to top the 500 signature mark in just about a weeks time. Thanks to all other sites promoting this petition. Once we reach 10,000 signatures we need to send this to all of the national media channels. Let's take our word and have it heard!


2008 candidate comparison, Presidential Race

On WAR in Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East (Foreign Policy):
McCain "Supports Bush's surge, in fact, calls for more additional troops than Bush recommends. Has been quoted as saying he is willing to stay in Iraq for 100 years. "The most important weapons in the U.S. arsenal are the men and women of American armed forces. John McCain believes we must enlarge the size of our armed forces to meet new challenges to our security. For too long, we have asked too much of too few - with the result that many service personnel are on their second, third and even fourth tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. There can be no higher defense priority than the proper compensation, training, and equipping of our troops." Read more here.

Obama,as a state senator, he spoke out against Iraq war, before the war started. Has long favored a "phased withdrawal." "Our country's greatest military asset is the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States. When we do send our men and women into harm's way, we must also clearly define the mission, prescribe concrete political and military objectives, seek out advice of our military commanders, evaluate the intelligence, plan accordingly, and ensure that our troops have the resources, support, and equipment they need to protect themselves and fulfill their mission." -Barack Obama, Chicago Foreign Affairs Council, April 23, 2007. Read more here.

On Civil liberties:
McCain voted for the PATRIOT act and it's revisions. "He generally opposes the interests of the American Civil Liberties Union."

Obama voted against and later for bills to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. "Let me be clear: this compromise is not as good as the Senate version of the bill, nor is it as good as the SAFE Act that I have cosponsored. I suspect the vast majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle feel the same way. But, it's still better than what the House originally proposed. This compromise does modestly improve the PATRIOT Act by strengthening civil liberties protections without sacrificing the tools that law enforcement needs to keep us safe." --February 16, 2006 Source. Obama supported the interests of the American Civil Liberties Union 83 percent in 2005-2006. "Senator Obama is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and has supported efforts to base homeland security spending on risk rather than pork-barrel politics. He has also introduced legislation to strength chemical plant and drinking water security and to enhance disaster preparedness." -Campaign site

Social Security:
McCain would allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves. McCain's campaign site did not have a subject devoted to social security.

Senator Obama supported the interests of the Alliance for Retired Americans 100 percent in 2005. "We… have an obligation to protect Social Security and ensure that it's a safety net the American people can count on today, tomorrow and forever. Social Security is the cornerstone of the social compact in this country… Coming together to meet this challenge won't be easy… It will take restoring a sense of shared purpose in Washington and across this country. But if you put your trust in me — if you give me 'your hand and your heart' — then that's exactly what I intend to do as your next President." — Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, October 27, 2007. Read more here.

Stem cell research:
Both candidates support federally funded stem cell research.

Same-sex marriage:
McCain has mixed responses from favoring to opposing same sex marriage, seemingly in favor of legal agreements but not marriage or unions. Obama favors civil unions, but opposes same sex marriage.

Free Trade:
McCain in favor, Obama mixed voting record.

MCain mostly pro-life, except in some circumstances. Obama is pro-choice.

Capital punishment:
McCain supports the death penalty, Obama does as well - but questions the legal system.

Medical Marijuana:
McCain opposes legalization, Obama in favor if proved useful in treatment.

Gun control:
McCain is mixed with wanting moderate gun control. "John McCain believes that the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, individual Constitutional right that we have a sacred duty to protect. We have a responsibility to ensure that criminals who violate the law are prosecuted to the fullest, rather than restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. Gun control is a proven failure in fighting crime." Find more about McCain's stance here. Obama wants strict gun control.

Health care:
McCain opposes universal health care, rather he calls for reform, Obama supports it.

McCain and Obama support amnesty/permanent legalization for illegal aliens and temporary legalization for illegal aiens as guestworkers Source

MCCain Supports vouchers, Obama opposes them.

Here is basic questionnaire to help you pick if you haven't already, from, rather basic, but it gets the job done.

HERE is a really cool questionnaire where you can select a candidate and whatever issue you want to see their views on.

Cool YouTube video's from James Kotecki on 2008 presidential candidates

interviews with 2008 presidential candidates - Ron Paul,John Edwards, Mike Huckabee,Mike Gravel, Kucinich.


The logic of suicide terrorism - The American Conservative

It’s the occupation, not the fundamentalism

Last month, Scott McConnell caught up with Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, whose book on suicide terrorism, Dying to Win, is beginning to receive wide notice. Pape has found that the most common American perceptions about who the terrorists are and what motivates them are off by a wide margin. In his office is the world’s largest database of information about suicide terrorists, rows and rows of manila folders containing articles and biographical snippets in dozens of languages compiled by Pape and teams of graduate students, a trove of data that has been sorted and analyzed and which underscores the great need for reappraising the Bush administration’s current strategy. Below are excerpts from a conversation with the man who knows more about suicide terrorists than any other American.

The American Conservative: Your new book, Dying to Win, has a subtitle: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Can you just tell us generally on what the book is based, what kind of research went into it, and what your findings were?

Robert Pape: Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources—Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others—so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

This is a Marxist group, a completely secular group that draws from the Hindu families of the Tamil regions of the country. They invented the famous suicide vest for their suicide assassination of Rajiv Ghandi in May 1991. The Palestinians got the idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers.

TAC: So if Islamic fundamentalism is not necessarily a key variable behind these groups, what is?

RP: The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign—over 95 percent of all the incidents—has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.

TAC: That would seem to run contrary to a view that one heard during the American election campaign, put forth by people who favor Bush’s policy. That is, we need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

RP: Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

Since 1990, the United States has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and that is the main mobilization appeal of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. People who make the argument that it is a good thing to have them attacking us over there are missing that suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life.

TAC: If we were to back up a little bit before the invasion of Iraq to what happened before 9/11, what was the nature of the agitprop that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were putting out to attract people?

RP: Osama bin Laden’s speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long. They begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.

In 1996, he went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States—that the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia. As you can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help in his mobilization appeals.

TAC: The fact that we had troops stationed on the Arabian Peninsula was not a very live issue in American debate at all. How many Saudis and other people in the Gulf were conscious of it?

RP: We would like to think that if we could keep a low profile with our troops that it would be okay to station them in foreign countries. The truth is, we did keep a fairly low profile. We did try to keep them away from Saudi society in general, but the key issue with American troops is their actual combat power. Tens of thousands of American combat troops, married with air power, is a tremendously powerful tool.

Now, of course, today we have 150,000 troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and we are more in control of the Arabian Peninsula than ever before.

TAC: If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?

RP: The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people—three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia—with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.

Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.

I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

TAC: So your assessment is that there are more suicide terrorists or potential suicide terrorists today than there were in March 2003?

RP: I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.

There is no evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq before our invasion. What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.

TAC: Do we know who is committing suicide terrorism in Iraq? Are they primarily Iraqis or walk-ins from other countries in the region?

RP: Our best information at the moment is that the Iraqi suicide terrorists are coming from two groups—Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis—the two populations most vulnerable to transformation by the presence of large American combat troops on the Arabian Peninsula. This is perfectly consistent with the strategic logic of suicide terrorism.

TAC: Does al-Qaeda have the capacity to launch attacks on the United States, or are they too tied down in Iraq? Or have they made a strategic decision not to attack the United States, and if so, why?

RP: Al-Qaeda appears to have made a deliberate decision not to attack the United States in the short term. We know this not only from the pattern of their attacks but because we have an actual al-Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence. The document says that al-Qaeda should not try to attack the continent of the United States in the short term but instead should focus its energies on hitting America’s allies in order to try to split the coalition.

What the document then goes on to do is analyze whether they should hit Britain, Poland, or Spain. It concludes that they should hit Spain just before the March 2004 elections because, and I am quoting almost verbatim: Spain could not withstand two, maximum three, blows before withdrawing from the coalition, and then others would fall like dominoes.

That is exactly what happened. Six months after the document was produced, al-Qaeda attacked Spain in Madrid. That caused Spain to withdraw from the coalition. Others have followed. So al-Qaeda certainly has demonstrated the capacity to attack and in fact they have done over 15 suicide-terrorist attacks since 2002, more than all the years before 9/11 combined. Al-Qaeda is not weaker now. Al-Qaeda is stronger.

TAC: What would constitute a victory in the War on Terror or at least an improvement in the American situation?

RP: For us, victory means not sacrificing any of our vital interests while also not having Americans vulnerable to suicide-terrorist attacks. In the case of the Persian Gulf, that means we should pursue a strategy that secures our interest in oil but does not encourage the rise of a new generation of suicide terrorists.

In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again. We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged.

That strategy, called “offshore balancing,” worked splendidly against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and is again our best strategy to secure our interest in oil while preventing the rise of more suicide terrorists.

TAC: Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders also talked about the “Crusaders-Zionist alliance,” and I wonder if that, even if we weren’t in Iraq, would not foster suicide terrorism. Even if the policy had helped bring about a Palestinian state, I don’t think that would appease the more hardcore opponents of Israel.

RP: I not only study the patterns of where suicide terrorism has occurred but also where it hasn’t occurred. Not every foreign occupation has produced suicide terrorism. Why do some and not others? Here is where religion matters, but not quite in the way most people think. In virtually every instance where an occupation has produced a suicide-terrorist campaign, there has been a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied community. That is true not only in places such as Lebanon and in Iraq today but also in Sri Lanka, where it is the Sinhala Buddhists who are having a dispute with the Hindu Tamils.

When there is a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied, that enables terrorist leaders to demonize the occupier in especially vicious ways. Now, that still requires the occupier to be there. Absent the presence of foreign troops, Osama bin Laden could make his arguments but there wouldn’t be much reality behind them. The reason that it is so difficult for us to dispute those arguments is because we really do have tens of thousands of combat soldiers sitting on the Arabian Peninsula.

TAC: Has the next generation of anti-American suicide terrorists already been created? Is it too late to wind this down, even assuming your analysis is correct and we could de-occupy Iraq?

RP: Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop—and often on a dime.

In Lebanon, for instance, there were 41 suicide-terrorist attacks from 1982 to 1986, and after the U.S. withdrew its forces, France withdrew its forces, and then Israel withdrew to just that six-mile buffer zone of Lebanon, they virtually ceased. They didn’t completely stop, but there was no campaign of suicide terrorism. Once Israel withdrew from the vast bulk of Lebanese territory, the suicide terrorists did not follow Israel to Tel Aviv.

This is also the pattern of the second Intifada with the Palestinians. As Israel is at least promising to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territory (in addition to some other factors), there has been a decline of that ferocious suicide-terrorist campaign. This is just more evidence that withdrawal of military forces really does diminish the ability of the terrorist leaders to recruit more suicide terrorists.

That doesn’t mean that the existing suicide terrorists will not want to keep going. I am not saying that Osama bin Laden would turn over a new leaf and suddenly vote for George Bush. There will be a tiny number of people who are still committed to the cause, but the real issue is not whether Osama bin Laden exists. It is whether anybody listens to him. That is what needs to come to an end for Americans to be safe from suicide terrorism.

TAC: There have been many kinds of non-Islamic suicide terrorists, but have there been Christian suicide terrorists?

RP: Not from Christian groups per se, but in Lebanon in the 1980s, of those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

TAC: Has the IRA used suicide terrorism?

RP: The IRA did not. There were IRA members willing to commit suicide—the famous hunger strike was in 1981. What is missing in the IRA case is not the willingness to commit suicide, to kill themselves, but the lack of a suicide-terrorist attack where they try to kill others.

If you look at the pattern of violence in the IRA, almost all of the killing is front-loaded to the 1970s and then trails off rather dramatically as you get through the mid-1980s through the 1990s. There is a good reason for that, which is that the British government, starting in the mid-1980s, began to make numerous concessions to the IRA on the basis of its ordinary violence. In fact, there were secret negotiations in the 1980s, which then led to public negotiations, which then led to the Good Friday Accords. If you look at the pattern of the IRA, this is a case where they actually got virtually everything that they wanted through ordinary violence.

The purpose of a suicide-terrorist attack is not to die. It is the kill, to inflict the maximum number of casualties on the target society in order to compel that target society to put pressure on its government to change policy. If the government is already changing policy, then the whole point of suicide terrorism, at least the way it has been used for the last 25 years, doesn’t come up.

TAC: Are you aware of any different strategic decision made by al-Qaeda to change from attacking American troops or ships stationed at or near the Gulf to attacking American civilians in the United States?

RP: I wish I could say yes because that would then make the people reading this a lot more comfortable.

The fact is not only in the case of al-Qaeda, but in suicide-terrorist campaigns in general, we don’t see much evidence that suicide-terrorist groups adhere to a norm of attacking military targets in some circumstances and civilians in others.

In fact, we often see that suicide-terrorist groups routinely attack both civilian and military targets, and often the military targets are off-duty policemen who are unsuspecting. They are not really prepared for battle.

The reasons for the target selection of suicide terrorists appear to be much more based on operational rather than normative criteria. They appear to be looking for the targets where they can maximize the number of casualties.

In the case of the West Bank, for instance, there is a pattern where Hamas and Islamic Jihad use ordinary guerrilla attacks, not suicide attacks, mainly to attack settlers. They use suicide attacks to penetrate into Israel proper. Over 75 percent of all the suicide attacks in the second Intifada were against Israel proper and only 25 percent on the West Bank itself.

TAC: What do you think the chances are of a weapon of mass destruction being used in an American city?

RP: I think it depends not exclusively, but heavily, on how long our combat forces remain in the Persian Gulf. The central motive for anti-American terrorism, suicide terrorism, and catastrophic terrorism is response to foreign occupation, the presence of our troops. The longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the next 9/11, whether that is a suicide attack, a nuclear attack, or a biological attack.


Why can't conservatives and liberals see eye to eye?

Even in humdrum nonpolitical decisions, liberals and conservatives literally think differently, researchers show.

By Denise Gellene, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 10, 2007

Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

In a simple experiment reported todayin the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.

Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.

The results show "there are two cognitive styles -- a liberal style and a conservative style," said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not connected to the latest research.

Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." They were instructed to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to refrain from tapping when they saw a W.

M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter.

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M.

Researchers got the same results when they repeated the experiment in reverse, asking another set of participants to tap when a W appeared.

Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at UC Berkeley's Institute of Personality and Social Research who was not connected to the study, said the results "provided an elegant demonstration that individual differences on a conservative-liberal dimension are strongly related to brain activity."

Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry, the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who opposed Bush in the 2004 presidential race, as a "flip-flopper" for changing his mind about the conflict.

Based on the results, he said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

"There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the history of science and has studied behavioral differences between conservatives and liberals.

Lead author David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University, cautioned that the study looked at a narrow range of human behavior and that it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better. The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation, he said.

Political orientation, he noted, occurs along a spectrum, and positions on specific issues, such as taxes, are influenced by many factors, including education and wealth. Some liberals oppose higher taxes and some conservatives favor abortion rights.

Still, he acknowledged that a meeting of the minds between conservatives and liberals looked difficult given the study results.

"Does this mean liberals and conservatives are never going to agree?" Amodio asked. "Maybe it suggests one reason why they tend not to get along."


Latest Bin Laden tape is a fake?

Many think the latest Bin Laden tape is a fake. and they say they have proof. Check this out here.


Big money's sway in US 2008 race

The United States will hold its first billion dollar presidential election next year, heightening concerns about the influence of money in American politics.

Candidates in the 2008 race are seeking donations large and small

In spite of attempts to reform finance laws and limit contributions, the 2008 race for the White House is already the costliest campaign in history.

Election watchdogs say that fundraisers are finding a way around the restrictions to collect unprecedented sums of money.

Corporations are banned from making any donations and individuals can only give up to $2,300 to each candidate in any election.

But according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group that tracks money in US politics, influential industries are still contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to their preferred candidates, by means of so-called "bundlers".

These are typically well-connected business people or lobbyists who can tap into their extensive networks to collect and package individual donations on behalf of candidates.

"We see in our records a bundle of, say, 20 or 30 contributions coming on the same day to the same person, all from individuals who work at the same firm," says the centre's executive director Sheila Krumholz.

"We have evidence that there is certainly, in some instances, a feeling that the donors themselves feel pressured, or in their words, extorted - that they have to pay to play."

Legal activity

Bundling is a legal activity and candidates do not have to name their bundlers.

This campaign should be about ideas and personalities and leadership, but at this point it's just a struggle to raise money

Mary Boyle, Common Cause

Mary Boyle, communications director for Common Cause, a good-government reform group, explains how "bundlers" have become the new political power brokers.

"When you have the head of an oil company who's helping raise $200,000 for you, it's likely that person is going to have some access and influence to you that other members of the public don't get - and that's where you see the influence in policy," she says.

Common Cause is one of many groups campaigning to make all US elections publicly funded to end dependency on private contributions.

Candidates already have the option to accept public funding but many choose not to do so because they don't think it gives them enough money.

It is currently capped at about $20m - far less than the $27m raised by Hillary Clinton, for example, in the second quarter of this year.

Ms Boyle says the system needs to be overhauled to put all candidates on a level playing field and allow them to focus more on policy.

"This campaign should be about ideas and personalities and leadership, but at this point it's just a struggle to raise money," she says.

"A number of reforms have to be made and we're hoping that it happens by 2012, the next presidential election. It's too late for anything for next year."

Online donations

The internet has made it easier for ordinary members of the public to make small personal donations.

Barack Obama has attracted large numbers of small donations

Most give less than a couple of hundred dollars, but it is a trend that appears to be helping the Democrats more than the Republicans, who traditionally rely on fewer but more affluent donors and industries.

Ms Krumholz says the Democrats' Barack Obama has raised more money online than any other candidate.

"This is unheard of. It's unprecedented in any previous cycle, and even in this cycle where the internet is playing an important role in all the campaigns, Barack Obama stands out," she says.

He has set a new fundraising record for a Democratic candidate, collecting $32.5m in the second quarter of this year.

And because about half his donors have not hit the legal limit of $2,300, there is still plenty of time for them to contribute more if they want to.

This has given Mr Obama the financial credibility needed to become a serious contender.

Power of money

By contrast, one of the early Republican front-runners, John McCain, may be effectively out of the race or forced to choose to accept capped public funding because he has not raised as much as expected.

John McCain's fundraising has not gone as well as he hoped

It is a chicken-and-egg situation, says Professor Clyde Wilcox, a government expert at Georgetown University who studies voter psychology.

"Someone like McCain looks so far behind that there seems little reason to give because he doesn't have much chance of winning at this point. And as a candidate fades in the polls, money fades also," he says.

But the winning candidate is not necessarily the one who starts out with the most money - although by the end of the race they will probably be the best funded.

"There have been a lot of candidates with relatively small amounts of cash who do pretty well in the nomination process," says Mr Wilcox.

"If the candidate has no money, they can't get the message out. But if they have enough money to be heard then they can attract both votes and donors."

Americans have become increasingly cynical about the power of money in politics. But they are also more likely to make a financial contribution themselves when they are most dissatisfied.

That could help explain the rapidly growing number of small donors - one of the biggest trends of this presidential election.

With approval ratings for President George W Bush and Congress at an all-time low, many voters may be already expressing their views by writing a cheque.


Ohio Rep. Gillmor found dead

Published: Sept. 5, 2007 at 2:13 PM
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio, died suddenly in Washington at age 68, his office reported Wednesday.

When Gillmor did not show up at his office Wednesday morning, his staff went to his apartment to check on him and found him dead, an e-mail obtained by The Hill said. Gillmor's staff indicated he died sometime Tuesday night.

The Capitol Police were investigating, but sources told The Hill they believe the 10-term lawmaker may have had a heart attack.

Gillmor won his district with 57 percent of the vote in the November election. He represented the Fifth Congressional District, the second largest in the state, which includes Bowling Green and most of Toledo's suburbs.

Gillmor served on the Financial Services Committee, and was the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, his Web Site said. He was a member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, and the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity

He is survived by his wife, Karen; two daughters, Linda and Julie, and three sons, Paul Michael, and twins, Connor and Adam.


Democracy Index 2006


"The hoax of modern medicine: Seven facts you need to know"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007 by: Mike Adams

"What happens when the Bush Administration negotiates drug prices with private industry using public money? To answer the question, just consider the situation with U.S. government "negotiations" over the prices of prescription drugs for Medicare: The Bush Administration not only agreed to pay monopoly prices for medications, it also made it illegal for the government to negotiate any discounts with pharmaceutical companies!

The result? A multi-trillion dollar taxpayer funded subsidy to the richest corporations in the world: Drug companies. Click here to view the CounterThink cartoon on this topic.) But it's not just the Bush Administration to blame here: no presidential candidate seems to be free from Big Pharma control other than Rep. Ron Paul, who is a strong advocate of genuine health freedom. Even the Democratic candidates are pushing tyrannical agendas. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, for example, has now publicly called for health care reform that would force all Americans to visit conventional medical doctors on a regular basis, then submit to chemotherapy drugs if any signs of cancer (breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc.) were detected. It's a police state medicine proposal, and it came out of the mouth of a Democrat.

When it comes to health care, drug prices and politics, both side of the aisle have been bought off by Big Pharma. I cringe to consider what might happen with health care if Hilary Clinton were to become president. Although I'd love to see a woman in the White House, I'm not sure I'd want a health care dictator in cahoots with Big Pharma calling the shots on national health care reform.

No serious health care reform proposals
The truth is that no politician other than Rep. Ron Paul has any real plan for health care reform. No one is talking about getting people OFF prescription drugs and onto disease prevention diets, healthful lifestyles and low-cost nutritional supplementation. The answers to preventing 90 percent of all cancers in this country are right in front of us, yet no one is talking about using a cancer prevention diet (plus sunlight and exercise) to stop this epidemic of preventable disease.

No one is talking seriously about banning soda ads and junk food ads to children, and Big Pharma has bought off lawmakers so completely that there's also no serious discussion of ways to end the madness of direct-to-consumer drug advertising (a dubious practice that isn't even allowed in most other countries).

Rather than protecting the people, politicians are now in bed with the powerful corporations selling foods, drugs and personal care products that actually harm people. There is no real defender of the people who remains in power in Washington. The entire power base has shifted to those sellout bureaucrats who seem to be willing to sacrifice the future health of this nation in order to solidify their own personal reelection campaigns with the help of corporate donations (bribes).

The system is broken. A nation that was once designed so that lawmakers would represent the interests of the common people has now devolved into a system that only serves the interests of the corporations. The people are now considered proxy voters to be brainwashed and manipulated into voting for whichever candidate is going to concentrate the most power into the hands of the few. As a result of all this, the future of this nation is in real jeopardy.

An intoxicated nation
We have become a nation of drug addicts -- and I don't mean illegal drugs. From the high-fructose corn syrup and caffeine in the food supply to all the prescription drugs people now believe they need because they saw them on TV, synthetic substances now dominate American medicine (and American tragedy). An estimated 30 percent of all traffic accidents are now caused by people on medication, and yet the drug companies are pushing even more drugs for yet more fictitious diseases -- because, you know, there's always a way to add yet one more pill to the daily chemical intake, right?

Over the last ten years alone, there has been a forty-fold increase in the number of children being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. That's a 4000% rise in the number of children with this so-called "disease." Gee, why isn't the CDC involved? Any increase that large should be due to an infectious disease pandemic -- if it were real, that is. But there is no pandemic, no outbreak, and no real cause for alarm. The 4000% increase is due entirely to clever marketing, disease mongering and the takeover of psychiatric medicine by Big Pharma.

Modern medicine is the cause of disease
It increasingly seems like the only real disease in this country is the sickness of believing in pharmaceutical medicine. It's a kind of madness, actually: Thinking that a synthetic chemical can solve all your problems and put your life in perfect order like those actors shown in pharmaceutical television ads. I believe it will one day be viewed as a kind of cultural mass psychosis. When it comes to health, our modern world has lost its mind, and the so-called science backing it up has lost all touch with scientific reality. Modern medicine is a hoax. Science has been abandoned for marketing. Safety has been thrown out the window and replaced with profit potential. Ethics have surrendered to greed, and we have now become a nation of mind-numbed druggies who seem increasingly incapable of questioning the news, voting intelligently, or understanding anything that's really going on in the world (such as the coming collapse of the real estate bubble and the inevitable hyperinflation of the U.S. dollar).

Here are the seven facts you need to remember about everything you're seeing today in modern medicine:

Fact #1: 90 percent of all diseases (cancer, diabetes, depression, heart disease, etc.) are easily preventable through diet, nutrition, sunlight and exercise. None of these solutions are ever promoted because they make no money.

Fact #2: Nearly all the consumption of pharmaceuticals today is a direct result of marketing to the public and covertly bribing physicians to write more prescriptions. There is very little drug consumption based on scientific merit.

Fact #3: No pharmaceuticals actually cure or resolve the underlying causes of disease. Even "successful" drugs only manage symptoms, usually at the cost of interfering with other physiological functions that will cause side effects down the road. There is no such thing as a drug without a side effect.

Fact #4: There is no financial incentive for anyone in today's system of medicine (drug companies, hospitals, doctors, etc.) to actually make patients well. Profits are found in continued sickness, not wellness or prevention.

Fact #5: Virtually all the "prevention" programs you see today (such as free mammograms or other screening programs) are little more than cleverly disguised patient recruitment schemes. They use free screenings to scare people into agreeing to expensive and often unnecessary treatments that enrich drug companies. Breast cancer mammography is a complete scam: The machines actually cause cancer!

Fact #6: Doctors know virtually nothing about nutrition and are still not taught nutrition in medical schools. Expecting a doctor to teach you about how to prevent disease is sort of like expecting a car mechanic to show you how to perform brain surgery. Although there are some exceptions (doctors who have taught themselves nutrition), most doctors remain so nutritionally illiterate that they have no familiarity with the natural plant-based medicines found in everyday fruits and vegetables.

Fact #7: Nobody has any interest in your health except you. No corporation, no doctor, and no government has any desire to actually make you well. Keeping you sick makes it easier for them to control and financially exploit you. Healthy, aware individuals are perceived as a threat to the tyrannical institutions now running this country, and they've figured out that the best way to keep a nation controlled and subdued is to drug 'em all and keep the people in a constant state of brain fog from medications and fluoride. The only healthy, aware, critically thinking individuals I know are all 100% free of pharmaceuticals and processed foods (and watch no television, either).

Remember those seven facts and you'll know more about health and disease than most people. And for your part, stay healthy! Work to safely get off all prescription drugs, eat a diet of natural, wholesome foods (and avoid processed foods), exercise regularly, avoid toxic chemicals in your home (throw out those toxic laundry detergents and switch to soap nuts), and toss those toxic personal care products (skin creams, cosmetics, shampoo, etc.). Stay natural, healthy and alert. Be well, and you'll be the exception! And please, never be so gullible as to think that your government is going to "save you" with a new health care reform plan. Even if we switch to free health insurance for everyone, the whole system is still based on toxic treatments that cure nothing!"