Thursday, January 31, 2008
Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.
Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.
The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.
Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.
Mr. Giustra was invited to accompany the former president to Almaty just as the financier was trying to seal a deal he had been negotiating for months.
In separate written responses, both men said Mr. Giustra traveled with Mr. Clinton to Kazakhstan, India and China to see first-hand the philanthropic work done by his foundation.
A spokesman for Mr. Clinton said the former president knew that Mr. Giustra had mining interests in Kazakhstan but was unaware of “any particular efforts” and did nothing to help. Mr. Giustra said he was there as an “observer only” and there was “no discussion” of the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev or Mr. Clinton.
But Moukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazatomprom, said in an interview that Mr. Giustra did discuss it, directly with the Kazakh president, and that his friendship with Mr. Clinton “of course made an impression.” Mr. Dzhakishev added that Kazatomprom chose to form a partnership with Mr. Giustra’s company based solely on the merits of its offer.
After The Times told Mr. Giustra that others said he had discussed the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev, Mr. Giustra responded that he “may well have mentioned my general interest in the Kazakhstan mining business to him, but I did not discuss the ongoing” efforts.
As Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign has intensified, Mr. Clinton has begun severing financial ties with Ronald W. Burkle, the supermarket magnate, and Vinod Gupta, the chairman of InfoUSA, to avoid any conflicts of interest. Those two men have harnessed the former president’s clout to expand their businesses while making the Clintons rich through partnership and consulting arrangements.
Mr. Clinton has vowed to continue raising money for his foundation if Mrs. Clinton is elected president, maintaining his connections with a wide network of philanthropic partners.
Mr. Giustra said that while his friendship with the former president “may have elevated my profile in the news media, it has not directly affected any of my business transactions.”
Mining colleagues and analysts agree it has not hurt. Neil MacDonald, the chief executive of a Canadian merchant bank that specializes in mining deals, said Mr. Giustra’s financial success was partly due to a “fantastic network” crowned by Mr. Clinton. “That’s a very solid relationship for him,” Mr. MacDonald said. “I’m sure it’s very much a two-way relationship because that’s the way Frank operates.”
Mr. Giustra made his fortune in mining ventures as a broker on the Vancouver Stock Exchange, raising billions of dollars and developing a loyal following of investors. Just as the mining sector collapsed, Mr. Giustra, a lifelong film buff, founded the Lion’s Gate Entertainment Corporation in 1997. But he sold the studio in 2003 and returned to mining.
Mr. Giustra foresaw a bull market in gold and began investing in mines in Argentina, Australia and Mexico. He turned a $20 million shell company into a powerhouse that, after a $2.4 billion merger with Goldcorp Inc., became Canada’s second-largest gold company.
With a net worth estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Mr. Giustra began looking for ways to put his wealth to good use. Meeting Mr. Clinton, and learning about the work his foundation was doing on issues like AIDS treatment in poor countries, “changed my life,” Mr. Giustra told The Vancouver Sun.
The two men were introduced in June 2005 at a fund-raiser for tsunami victims at Mr. Giustra’s Vancouver home and hit it off right away. They share a love of history, geopolitics and music — Mr. Giustra plays the trumpet to Mr. Clinton’s saxophone. Soon the dapper Canadian was a regular at Mr. Clinton’s side, as they flew around the world aboard Mr. Giustra’s plane.
Philanthropy may have become his passion, but Mr. Giustra, now 50, was still hunting for ways to make money.
Exploding demand for energy had helped revitalize the nuclear power industry, and uranium, the raw material for reactor fuel, was about to become a hot commodity. In late 2004, Mr. Giustra began talking to investors, and put together a company that would eventually be called UrAsia Energy Ltd.
Kazakhstan, which has about one-fifth of the world’s uranium reserves, was the place to be. But with plenty of suitors, Kazatomprom could be picky about its partners.
“Everyone was asking Kazatomprom to the dance,” said Fadi Shadid, a senior stock analyst covering the uranium industry for Friedman Billings Ramsey, an investment bank. “A second-tier junior player like UrAsia — you’d need all the help you could get.”
The Cameco Corporation, the world’s largest uranium producer, was already a partner of Kazatomprom. But when Cameco expressed interest in the properties Mr. Giustra was already eying, the government’s response was lukewarm. “The signals we were getting was, you’ve got your hands full,” said Gerald W. Grandey, Cameco president.
For Cameco, it took five years to “build the right connections” in Kazakhstan, Mr. Grandey said. UrAsia did not have that luxury. Profitability depended on striking before the price of uranium soared.
“Timing was everything,” said Sergey Kurzin, a Russian-born businessman whose London-based company was brought into the deal by UrAsia because of his connections in Kazakhstan. Even with those connections, Mr. Kurzin said, it took four months to arrange a meeting with Kazatomprom.
In August 2005, records show, the company sent an engineering consultant to Kazakhstan to assess the uranium properties. Less than four weeks later, Mr. Giustra arrived with Mr. Clinton.
Mr. Dzhakishev, the Kazatomprom chief, said an aide to Mr. Nazarbayev informed him that Mr. Giustra talked with Mr. Nazarbayev about the deal during the visit. “And when our president asked Giustra, ‘What do you do?’ he said, ‘I’m trying to do business with Kazatomprom,’ ” Mr. Dzhakishev said. He added that Mr. Nazarbayev replied, “Very good, go to it.”
Mr. Clinton’s Kazakhstan visit, the only one of his post-presidency, appears to have been arranged hastily. The United States Embassy got last-minute notice that the president would be making “a private visit,” said a State Department official, who said he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The publicly stated reason for the visit was to announce a Clinton Foundation agreement that enabled the government to buy discounted AIDS drugs. But during a news conference, Mr. Clinton wandered into delicate territory by commending Mr. Nazarbayev for “opening up the social and political life of your country.”
In a statement Kazakhstan would highlight in news releases, Mr. Clinton declared that he hoped it would achieve a top objective: leading the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which would confer legitimacy on Mr. Nazarbayev’s government.
“I think it’s time for that to happen, it’s an important step, and I’m glad you’re willing to undertake it,” Mr. Clinton said.
A Speedy Process
Mr. Clinton’s praise was odd, given that the United States did not support Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid. (Late last year, Kazakhstan finally won the chance to lead the security organization for one year, despite concerns raised by the Bush administration.) Moreover, Mr. Clinton’s wife, who sits on a Congressional commission with oversight of such matters, had also voiced skepticism.
Eleven months before Mr. Clinton’s statement, Mrs. Clinton co-signed a commission letter to the State Department that sounded “alarm bells” about the prospect that Kazakhstan might head the group. The letter stated that Kazakhstan’s bid “would not be acceptable,” citing “serious corruption,” canceled elections and government control of the news media.
In a written statement to The Times, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman said the former president saw “no contradiction” between his statements in Kazakhstan and the position of Mrs. Clinton, who said through a spokeswoman, “Senator Clinton’s position on Kazakhstan remains unchanged.”
Noting that the former president also met with opposition leaders in Almaty, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman said he was only “seeking to suggest that a commitment to political openness and to fair elections would reflect well on Kazakhstan’s efforts to chair the O.S.C.E.”
But Robert Herman, who worked for the State Department in the Clinton administration and is now at Freedom House, a human rights group, said the former president’s statement amounted to an endorsement of Kazakhstan’s readiness to lead the group, a position he called “patently absurd.”
“He was either going off his brief or he was sadly mistaken,” Mr. Herman said. “There was nothing in the record to suggest that they really wanted to move forward on democratic reform.”
Indeed, in December 2005, Mr. Nazarbayev won another election, which the security organization itself said was marred by an “atmosphere of intimidation” and “ballot-box stuffing.”
After Mr. Nazarbayev won with 91 percent of the vote, Mr. Clinton sent his congratulations. “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life,” Mr. Clinton wrote in a letter released by the Kazakh embassy. Last September, just weeks after Kazakhstan held an election that once again failed to meet international standards, Mr. Clinton honored Mr. Nazarbayev by inviting him to his annual philanthropic conference.
Within 48 hours of Mr. Clinton’s departure from Almaty on Sept. 7, Mr. Giustra got his deal. UrAsia signed two memorandums of understanding that paved the way for the company to become partners with Kazatomprom in three mines.
The cost to UrAsia was more than $450 million, money the company did not have in hand and had only weeks to come up with. The transaction was finalized in November, after UrAsia raised the money through the largest initial public offering in the history of Canada’s Venture Exchange.
Mr. Giustra challenged the notion that UrAsia needed to court Kazatomprom’s favor to seal the deal, contending that the government agency’s approval was not required.
But Mr. Dzhakishev, analysts and Mr. Kurzin, one of Mr. Giustra’s own investors, said that approval was necessary. Mr. Dzhakishev, who said that the deal was almost done when Mr. Clinton arrived, said that Kazatomprom was impressed with the sum Mr. Giustra was willing to pay and his record of attracting investors. He said Mr. Nazarbayev himself ultimately signed off on the transaction.
Longtime market watchers were confounded. Kazatomprom’s choice of UrAsia was a “mystery,” said Gene Clark, the chief executive of Trade Tech, a uranium industry newsletter.
“UrAsia was able to jump-start the whole process somehow,” Mr. Clark said. The company became a “major uranium producer when it didn’t even exist before.”
A Profitable Sale
Records show that Mr. Giustra donated the $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation in the months that followed in 2006, but neither he nor a spokesman for Mr. Clinton would say exactly when.
In September 2006, Mr. Giustra co-produced a gala 60th birthday for Mr. Clinton that featured stars like Jon Bon Jovi and raised about $21 million for the Clinton Foundation.
In February 2007, a company called Uranium One agreed to pay $3.1 billion to acquire UrAsia. Mr. Giustra, a director and major shareholder in UrAsia, would be paid $7.05 per share for a company that just two years earlier was trading at 10 cents per share.
That same month, Mr. Dzhakishev, the Kazatomprom chief, said he traveled to Chappaqua, N.Y., to meet with Mr. Clinton at his home. Mr. Dzhakishev said Mr. Giustra arranged the three-hour meeting. Mr. Dzhakishev said he wanted to discuss Kazakhstan’s intention — not publicly known at the time — to buy a 10 percent stake in Westinghouse, a United States supplier of nuclear technology.
Nearly a year earlier, Mr. Clinton had advised Dubai on how to handle the political furor after one of that nation’s companies attempted to take over several American ports. Mrs. Clinton was among those on Capitol Hill who raised the national security concerns that helped kill the deal.
Mr. Dzhakishev said he was worried the proposed Westinghouse investment could face similar objections. Mr. Clinton told him that he would not lobby for him, but Mr. Dzhakishev came away pleased by the chance to promote his nation’s proposal to a former president.
Mr. Clinton “said this was very important for America,” said Mr. Dzhakishev, who added that Mr. Giustra was present at Mr. Clinton’s home.
Both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Giustra at first denied that any such meeting occurred. Mr. Giustra also denied ever arranging for Kazakh officials to meet with Mr. Clinton. Wednesday, after The Times told them that others said a meeting, in Mr. Clinton’s home, had in fact taken place, both men acknowledged it.
“You are correct that I asked the president to meet with the head of Kazatomprom,” Mr. Giustra said. “Mr. Dzhakishev asked me in February 2007 to set up a meeting with former President Clinton to discuss the future of the nuclear energy industry.” Mr. Giustra said the meeting “escaped my memory until you raised it.”
Wednesday, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, Ben Yarrow, issued what he called a “correction,” saying: “Today, Mr. Giustra told our office that in February 2007, he brought Mr. Dzhakishev from Kazatomprom to meet with President Clinton to discuss the future of nuclear energy.”
Mr. Yarrow said his earlier denial was based on the former president’s records, which he said “show a Feb. 27 meeting with Mr. Giustra; no other attendees are listed.”
Mr. Dzhakishev said he had a vivid memory of his Chappaqua visit, and a souvenir to prove it: a photograph of himself with the former president.
“I hung up the photograph of us and people ask me if I met with Clinton and I say, Yes, I met with Clinton,” he said, smiling proudly.
David L. Stern and Margot Williams contributed reporting.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
From President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961:
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The antiwar Republican congressman from Texas poses a serious threat to Hillary Clinton and potential Democratic rivals in the general election.
The presidential race has to a great extent turned into a three issue campaign, immigration, ecconomy and the war in Iraq. Democratic candidates are capitalizing on popular antiwar sentiments among the public but are swimming up stream by apparently supporting President Bush’s policy of turning a blind eye toward illegal immigration and unsecured borders.
Republicans running for president, unless sentiments change, are generally positioned against public opinion with their support for the war, however, they are riding the tide of public opinion when it comes to securing the borders and stopping illegal immigration and terrorists from entering the country. (Even if half of them are faking it)
Two Presidential candidates, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul, clearly support protecting U.S. borders from illegal immigration and terrorist attacks. Both candidates have opposed President Bush’s seeming support of the Council On Foreign Relations plans to replace the United States with a North American Union by integrating North America and erasing national boundaries.
Ron Paul sets himself apart from other Republicans by being decidedly antiwar. In a general election this may actually put Paul at a decided advantage over Hillary Clinton and most of her Democratic rivals. Paul will likely steal the thunder from Clinton’s antiwar rhetoric since he voted against the Iraq war that Hillary Clinton voted for.
At least among those voters that believe the Iraq war was a mistake, including Democrats, Paul will demonstrate his foresight was better than Clinton’s.
In a general election on the issue of protecting U.S. borders, Paul would likely ride public opinion with his support for protecting U.S. borders while Clinton would be positioned against public opinion.
Paul is generally considered more credible with his popular positions on the war and immigration than his Democratic rivals.
Paul certainly isn’t the only Republican that would give Clinton a run for her money he is however, the only Republican that would be getting energized support from both Republican and the Democratic base voters.
Of course, winning the Republican primary is still an uphill battle at this point, unless of course Paul can effectively argue that he is the most likely Republican to win a general election, which only GOP primary voters can decide...
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The American people seem mesmerized by the smoke and mirrors of the political and media elite. For the most part, the people of this country seem totally unaware that while the global elite who run this country passionately promote the "war on terrorism," those same elite are also violently attacking the liberties of the heartland. While they create a gargantuan Department of Homeland Security for our "protection," they are using that very same department to eviscerate the constitutional protections of our republic. While they insist that we are dependent upon oil from Saudi Arabia, they are ignoring giant oil and natural gas discoveries located under the frozen tundra of our 49th State (and other places). The elite have brilliantly turned the drumbeats of war against Islamofascism into a giant smokescreen to hide their insidious plans to wage a different kind of war against the American people.
The war against the American people is waged on a hundred fronts and with a hundred agendas. But one word seems to best describe the heart of the strategy. And that word is FEAR. The problem is, the man behind the curtain has misdirected people's fears.
The American people are continually besieged with the imminent threat of what little, pipsqueak, piss-ant countries such as Iraq and Iran pose to the safety and security of America. Hogwash! Iraq was never an imminent threat to these United States and George W. Bush and rest of his globalist neocons always knew it. Neither is Iran an imminent threat to America. And the Bushkies know this too.
Iran does not even have the capability of inflicting serious damage upon Israel, much less the United States. It has a ragtag army. No navy. No air force. No nuclear weapons. No really sophisticated weapons of any kind. Oh, they harbor several thousand fanatical sand people who live in caves and who huddle together in antiquated forts. They carry AK-47's, and some short-range shoulder-fired missile launchers. Yet, the Bush propagandists have conservatives worked up into a frenzy, all prepared to support a nuclear attack against Tehran. Believe me, if Israel thought that Iran was a serious threat to its security, it has the ability to take that country further back into the Stone Age than it already is.
Beyond that, if Bush believes that we are truly fighting a war against terrorists in Iraq, why does he give $20 billion worth of military weaponry to Saudi Arabia? Have you ever seen or even heard of a Saudi army? How about a Saudi navy? A Saudi air force? You haven't heard of it? Neither has anyone else.
What we do hear from former CIA insiders is that much of any military hardware shipped to Saudi Arabia often winds up in the hands of Muslim terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. In addition, readers are aware that many, if not most, of the al-Qaeda insurgents that are shooting and killing our soldiers and Marines in Iraq do not come from Iraq--they come from Saudi Arabia! So much for Bush's "war on terrorism."
What the globalists behind the curtain are doing is using the "war on terrorism" to distract the American people from the war they are waging--against us!
How else can one explain the fact that, while the neocons are waving the war flag against a schizophrenic but impotent Iran, they totally ignore the very real threat posed by the People's Republic of China. If the American people want an enemy to be concerned about, China, not Iran, is the place to look.
But do not ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates whether we should be concerned about Red China. He recently said, "I don't consider China an enemy." Pray tell, is Gates entirely stupid or just unbelievably naïve? Or, is he trying to deliberately deceive us?
Besides the commonly reported foibles of Red China selling the United States tainted food, poisoned toys, and crappy automobile tires, not to mention all the junk Americans are forced to buy (produced with slave labor, no less), the communist nation is also known to be sending hordes of spies into our country. They are using a multi-billion dollar trade surplus with the United States to build a modern army and navy. In fact, they have developed a very sophisticated submarine fleet capable of delivering nuclear missiles (including some with multiple warheads) anywhere in the world. They routinely track our submarines and use satellite technology to track our troop movements.
And speaking of satellites, when is the last time you heard any notable media personality or government spokesman acknowledge the fact that Red China is now even using advanced weaponry to shoot satellites out of the sky? In fact, experts predict that by 2010 China will be able to knock out most of our satellites in low-earth orbit. You mean the man behind the curtain did not tell you that? I wonder why?
Plus, do not lose sight of the fact that China's growing military is underwritten by American corporations along with the political establishment within both major parties. It is American technology, American materials, and American wealth that is enabling Red China to create a very sophisticated and menacing global threat. But, again, the man behind the curtain does not want you to know that.
Instead, the man behind the curtain--along with his water boys Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, McCain and members of the media--are facilitating Red China's usage of the Panama Canal and the new NAFTA superhighway to allow China to increase its foothold in the government and commercial markets of the U.S. And don't overlook the fact that the communist country is not only buying up vast amounts of the U.S. debt, it is buying up vast amounts of private debt. And we hear nary a peep from the man behind the curtain.
The other thing the man behind the curtain does not want us to see is the impact that the forever war is having upon our economy. America is being pushed to the brink of recession, maybe even depression. The chief culprit of our economic woes is excessive federal spending. And the biggest hole into which all this deficit spending is being dumped into is none other than the forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly $1 trillion dollars has already been spent or is in the process of being spent, and conservative estimates of an additional $1 trillion will be spent to fight this forever war in the near future.
In addition, Bush's oil buddies have successfully manipulated the economy to the point that Americans are paying over $3 a gallon for regular gasoline. Diesel is running even higher than that. (Gas was $1.25 a gallon when G.W. Bush became President.) And economists are predicting that gasoline will rise to over $4 a gallon in the very near future.
At the same time, however, it is very likely that we discovered enough oil and natural gas reserves beneath the surface of Alaska (and other places) to supply all the oil and natural gas needs of the United States for the next 200-300 years. But, guess what? Not only are we not bothering to drill for these resources, our government and oil industry moguls will not even acknowledge that such resources exist. Once again, the old wizard creates his smoke and mirrors and implores us to ignore that man behind the curtain.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have just scratched the surface. But the bottom line is this: we have been had! Furthermore, the only Presidential candidate who understands any of this is Congressman Ron Paul. But don't expect any of our media or political elite to get behind Mr. Paul. Why? The man behind the curtain doesn't like Ron Paul, and that is putting it mildly. He knows that Ron Paul threatens the global elites' Machiavellian plans more than any other single political figure today. This disdain for Dr. Paul does not apply to other Republicans, of course.
The truth is, if the man behind the curtain has his way, he would much prefer an establishment Republican to be elected this November. Oh, don't get me wrong: neither Hillary nor Obama will provide much resistance to the globalist goons that are hiding behind the curtain. It is just that when a liberal Democrat is in the White House, conservatives and Christians seem to come out of hibernation and actually start resisting some things. But when a Republican is in the White House, the little goblins behind the curtain are free to wage their war of globalism and elitism against an unsuspecting and sleepy electorate.
Therefore, it does not matter to a tinker's dam whether it is Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee, or Romney who wins the election this November. The man behind the curtain will still produce his smoke and mirrors and create more fear and panic over any and every convenient distraction in the hopes that the Munchkins will not wake up in time to realize that the one who needs to be feared (and fought) is none other than the man behind the curtain.
Chuck Baldwin Live
P.O. Box 37070
Pensacola, Florida 32526
Friday, January 25, 2008
Ron Paul's unmatched grassroots support was in evidence once again in an early caucus state, this time in the Louisiana district caucuses on Tuesday night. According to official but preliminary results, Ron Paul appeared to earn the second highest number of committed delegates to the state convention on February 16th, behind John McCain, although the totals in some districts could still move in Paul's favor as provisional ballots are counted.
Ron Paul's share of the 105 delegates to the state convention is still unclear, due to a significant number of provisional ballots (500-650) cast by his supporters. Many voters who changed their registration to Republican ahead of the state deadline did not show up on the voter rolls, and their eligibility will have to be verified before they are counted. With over 10,000 people participating in the caucuses, a few hundred extra votes might seem inconsequential, but because the delegates are elected per district, in some districts the results could change substantially.
Louisiana gets 47 delegates to the Republican national convention, but its selection process is perhaps the most arcane in the nation. Three of the delegates will be state party officials, as is the norm. 20 of the remaining 44 delegates will be pledged to the winner of the statewide primary on February 9th, but only if the winner receives at least 50% of the vote. Only in Nevada has any winner topped the 50% mark yet, and that was in a low-turnout caucus, not a primary.
The other 24 delegates are selected at the state convention on February 16th, by the delegates selected in the district caucuses, and will be officially unpledged, but will naturally support the presidential candidate of their choice, which makes the results from Tuesday night critically important. If no one tops the 50% mark in the statewide primary, all 44 delegates will be officially unpledged, and selected at the state convention.
Ron Paul supporters are keeping a watchful eye on the results of the provisional ballot count, and have a largely-uncontested slate of alternate delegates available to step forward if any of the elected delegates to the state convention are unable to attend. The final results may not be known until after the February 5th Super Tuesday primaries, but the organization and enthusiasm of the Ron Paul Revolution in Louisiana has given all Ron Paul supporters another dose of optimism as we head into the heart of the primary season.
Update: According to "parocks" at the Ron Paul Forums, Enough provisional ballots have been cast, mostly by Ron Paul supporters, to add approximately 24 more delegates, if enough of the provisional ballots are ultimately verified.
Here is Ron Paul's Plan
Four-pronged approach will strengthen the economy by reforming taxes, cutting spending, improving monetary policy and eliminating burdensome regulations.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA –Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has unveiled a comprehensive economic revitalization package. The four-pronged plan is designed to stem the current economic slide and address the unsound governmental policies that are harming Americans’ pocketbooks.
“Real economic reform must address the underlying reasons for the current economic malaise,” said Ron Paul. “This plan is more than just a band-aid for our economy; it fundamentally reforms four areas where government policies are damaging our national economy. When enacted, my plan will provide both short-term stimulus, and lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity.”
The comprehensive economic revitalization plan is available online at: http://www.RonPaul2008.com/Prosperity.
The four areas that the plan covers are:
1. Tax Reform: Reduce the tax burden and eliminate taxes that punish investment and savings, including job-killing corporate taxes.
2. Spending Reform: Eliminate wasteful spending. Reduce overseas commitments. Freeze all non-defense, non-entitlement spending at current levels.
3. Monetary Policy Reform: Expand openness with the Federal Reserve and require the Fed to televise its meetings. Return value to our money.
4. Regulatory Reform: Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley regulations that push companies to seek capital outside of US markets. Stop restricting community banks from fostering local economic growth.
Congressman Paul has written or co-sponsored numerous bills to enact the policies in his plan. In Congress, he has been a champion of lower taxes and limited government.
Congressman Paul is the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology. In Congress, Dr. Paul has never voted for a tax increase or for an unbalanced budget.
For Paul, R-Tex., Louisiana is really more of a third place finish since finishing ahead of the winner, John McCain, was "uncommitted pro-life."
But the Paul campaign says they got second place and maybe should have gotten first.
In a statement this afternoon, they allege that Paul supporters were forced to file provisional ballots even when they were pre-registered as delegates for Paul and they accuse the Louisiana Republican party of changing the rules at the last minute.
Paul campaign statement:
The failure of the Louisiana GOP to properly determine who was and wasn't eligible to vote threw this entire process into disarray," said Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore. "The party needs to correct this mistake by counting all the votes immediately, and releasing the results."
Due to mistakes by the Louisiana GOP, hundreds of voters were forced to file provisional ballots, including nearly 500 that could change the outcome of the election. According to party officials, caucus locations relied on a voter list from November 1, 2007 despite the fact that under caucus rules, voters must have registered Republican by November 30, 2007.
In multiple instances, state-certified Ron Paul delegates that were on the ballot were forced to file a provisional ballot despite the fact they were pre-approved as delegates.
The Louisiana State GOP also changed the rules at the last minute to allow other candidates to file more delegates. At the time of the original January 10 deadline, Ron Paul had the largest number of delegates pledged to him. The party then changed the rules to give other candidates until January 12 to file more delegates.
It's a confusing process in Louisiana and a trip to the Louisiana Republican Party does not clear things up. They don't even assign numerical totals to show how big the gap between places one and two and three were. In fact, at the website, a statement from party chairman Roger Villere Jr. only says Paul "appear to have captured the next highest number of delegate positions."
But Villere did praise Paul's supporters for having dash.
"I applaud the supporters of Congressman Paul for their enthusiasm and superior organizational ability. Our Party needs the infusion of new activists who have both political skill and a passion for protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution," he said. "I left the caucus with a renewed commitment to promote our core Republican principles of limited government and individual freedom, thanks to the zeal displayed by Congressman Paul's Louisiana supporters," Villere says on the website.
According to the website, more than 10,000 Louisana Republicans met yesterday to elect delegates to their state convention. Those delegates, led by those currently lobbying for uncommitted, will ultimately award delegates to candidates for the Republican National Convention.
ABC News tried to speak to an official representative of the Louisiana Republican party, but the phone number listed on the website http://www.lagop.com rings busy.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Who'd have predicted that a couple of months ago?
Giuliani, you may recall if you can remember anything as distant as last summer, was the longtime GOP national front-runner in polls. He ran strongly against everybody in his party, even former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who finally won one last night, taking his home state from Sen. John McCain, who won there in 2000. Everybody wondered if anyone had a chance against the hero of 9/11, who defied standard Republican theocracy with his liberal social views.
But, guess what? Ron Paul, the 72-year-old Texas congressman and ob-gyn who delivers babies and a strict view of the Constitution, beat Giuliani in Michigan. And beat him good. Not only that,....
he doubled Giuliani's totals of 24,000 votes or 2.8%, getting more than 52,000 votes or 6.3% of the total Republican ballots.
Paul even beat Thompson this time, the real consistent conservative who was supposed to be the next Ronald Reagan until he actually announced his campaign in September. Thompson got about 31,000 votes or 3.7%, which is more than Rudy but still less than the nobody congressman with the libertarian views who few people but his passionate partisans took seriously months ago. He's often called Dr. No for his consistent congressional votes against spending.
Paul was so written off that Fox News banned him from its recent debate in New Hampshire. Oops, now the Paulunteers are organizing a boycott of Fox sponsors in return for the snub, a move that Dennis Kucinich's fans are now calling for against MSNBC for barring him from Tuesday's Democratic debate in Las Vegas.
True, Romney killed all his Republican competitors in Michigan, as he had to, with more than 326,000 votes, nearly 39%, with McCain trailing at 29.7% or 248,000. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee garnered less than half of Romney's votes, 135,000 or 16%.
And it's also true that Thompson and Giuliani didn't really campaign seriously in Michigan. Or New Hampshire. Or Iowa except for a last-minute Thompson bus tour. Obviously, both Giuliani and Thompson are intentionally laying back, trying to make the rest of the Republican field over-confident. No doubt.
Paul hasn't won anything yet either, except the continued devotion of his followers and growing national attention, including two national TV appearances on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" plus a full hour on "Meet the Press." OnTuesday Richard Viguerie, the noted conservative author, announced he's launching a new website to support Paul. Viguerie called Paul "truly a principled conservative in the grand tradition of Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan."
Paul just keeps picking up his 6% to 10% each time there's a vote. But Paul also beat Giuliani in Iowa. And he came pretty close to Giuliani in New Hampshire and did, in fact, beat Thompson there. And now in Michigan, Paul beat them both rather handily. He does it by going against virtually all the views of his GOP colleagues including opposing the Iraq war.
Fueled by the generous donations of Paul believers, the congressman was probably the most successful GOP fundraiser in the fourth quarter, acquiring nearly $20 million then and, according to his website, more than $834,000 more so far this month. He's already launched an eight-state ad blitz and has been campaigning in recent days in South Carolina, where he has three offices and will return later this week, and across Nevada. He got skunked in Wyoming where Romney won, but imagine if Paul scored big one day in the wild West where many people believe government got too big about 100 years ago.
Paul's website and new campaign blog claim to have quietly organized more than 7,800 precinct captains around the country. Meantime, Giuliani's top staff is going unpaid this month to save dwindling funds. Is there a pattern here?
So, while the "front-running" Republicans each win one state and no one builds up a head of steam, Paul just keeps hanging around, like a bad cold. Some of the other Republican candidates should be careful, lest they get the sniffles one of these days.
Monday, January 7, 2008
FACT: The ethics commission fined Huckabee $1,000 for failing to report that he paid himself $14,000 from his 1992 U.S. Senate campaign and $43,000 from his 1994 lieutenant governor's campaign. (Source: POLITICO, Huckabee rivals unearth ethics complaints Kenneth P. Vogel Nov 21, 2007)
FACT: Huckabee accepted more than 300 gifts worth at least $130,000, ranging from $3,700 cowboy boots to a $600 chainsaw. (Source: POLITICO, Huckabee rivals unearth ethics complaints Kenneth P. Vogel Nov 21, 2007)
FACT: Mike Huckabee raised more taxes in 10 years in office than Bill Clinton did in his 12 years. (Source: The Leader, 08/30/2006)
FACT: Mike Huckabee's substantial tax hikes far surpassed his modest tax cuts, with the average tax burden increasing by a whopping 47% over his tenure. (Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/09/07)
FACT: Mike Huckabee opposed a congressional measure to ban internet taxes in 2003. (Source: Arkansas News Bureau, 11/21/03)
FACT: Mike Huckabee in 2004, he allowed a 17% sales tax increase to become law. (Source: The Gurdon Times, 03/02/04)
FACT: Mike Huckabee stole over $70,000 worth of furniture from the Arkansas governors mansion. (Source: Arkansas Times Counting the Furniture, 12/14/06 Leslie Newell Peacock)
FACT: Mike Huckabee set up a nonprofit entity so he could give paid ``inspirational'' speeches without having to disclose the donors. (SOURCE: Bloomberg Dec 12, 2007 Margaret Carlson)
FACT: During the 2001 regular session of the Arkansas Legislature, Mike Huckabee supported giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. (Source Arkansas Journal, Mike Huckabee Supported Bill to Give Driver's Licenses to Illegal Aliens, Henry Rearden, 11/22/2007)
FACT: Mike Huckabee supported in-state higher education benefits for children of illegal immigrants. (Laura Kellams, "Senators research U.S. law on aliens," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/27/05)
FACT: Mike Huckabee opposed a federal raid of 119 illegal immigrants at an Arkansas Tyson poultry plant, 107 of whom left the country either voluntarily or through deportation. (Melissa Nelson, "Huckabee Risks Political Fortunes To Denounce Immigration Raid," Associated Press, 8/5/05)
FACT: Mike Huckabee opposed a bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in his own state. (Source CNS NEWS, Some GOP Concerned about Huckabee's Immigration Views, Fred Lucas, 12/04/2007)
FACT: Mike Huckabee says he has degree in theology, further investigation discovers he does not. (Source: The Carpetbagger Report, Mike Huckabee has a theology degree -- or does he?, 12/14/2007)
Look through his "Awe Schucks" act and see him for what he really is. Mike Huckabee is a wolf in sheep's clothing that uses the religion card to push his own agenda.
Friday, January 4, 2008
The problem, of course, is that our country is not a democracy. Our nation was founded as a constitutionally limited republic, as any grammar school child knew just a few decades ago (remember the Pledge of Allegiance: "and to the Republic for which it stands"...?). The Founding Fathers were concerned with liberty, not democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. On the contrary, Article IV, section 4 of the Constitution is quite clear: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government (emphasis added). The emphasis on democracy in our modern political discourse has no historical or constitutional basis.
In fact, the Constitution is replete with undemocratic mechanisms. The electoral college is an obvious example. Small states are represented in national elections with greater electoral power than their populations would warrant in a purely democratic system. Similarly, sparsely populated Wyoming has the same number of senators as heavily populated New York. The result is not democratic, but the Founders knew that smaller states had to be protected against overreaching federal power. The Bill of Rights provides individuals with similar protections against the majority. The First Amendment, for example, is utterly undemocratic. It was designed to protect unpopular speech against democratic fervor. Would the same politicians so enamored with democracy be willing to give up freedom of speech if the majority chose to do so?
Our Founders instituted a republican system to protect individual rights and property rights from tyranny, regardless of whether the tyrant was a king, a monarchy, a congress, or an unelected mob. They believed that a representative government, restrained by the Bill of Rights and divided into three power sharing branches, would balance the competing interests of the population. They also knew that unbridled democracy would lead to the same kind of tyranny suffered by the colonies under King George. In other words, the Founders had no illusions about democracy. Democracy represented unlimited rule by an omnipotent majority, while a constitutionally limited republic was seen as the best system to preserve liberty. Inalienable individual liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights would be threatened by the "excesses of democracy."
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas, raised at least $19.5 million, according to a statement posted on his Web site. His campaign said today that he originally aimed to raise $12 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The take puts Paul on par with the top fundraisers in the Democratic Party, who outpaced Republicans last year. The campaign of New York Senator Clinton yesterday said she raised at least $20 million in the fourth quarter.