Category Archives: 2012 Election

Gun owners stock up on arms over fear of Obama re-election

Obama won’t have anything to lose if he’s sworn in during January’s inauguration.

RT | Nov 2, 2012

The results of the upcoming US presidential election will determine who Americans have decided to let run the country for the next four years. For firearm enthusiasts, it could mean the future of their livelihood.

That’s how it’s being viewed, at least, as Republicans ramp-up warnings that four more years of an Obama White House is comparable to an end of the Second Amendment. Fears of renewed, stricter legislation against guns under a second Obama administration has firearm sales soaring, and a victory for the incumbent on November 6 could have those figures shooting through the roof.

“Obama was the best gun salesmen we’ve had,” Irvin Walker, the owner of Triggers Gun Shop in Mills, Wyoming, tells the Star-Tribune. Walker says sales have only been on the rise the US President Barack Obama first threw his hat in the race for the White House back in 2007, and with another term being decided in only a few days, the proprietor says “That could very well happen again.”

Although President Obama hasn’t followed through with the Republican-driven fears that he’d wage a war on the right to bear arms, a victory on Election Day for the Democratic candidate would mean four more years of the incumbent, but not any longer. Federal law limits US presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms, which means President Obama won’t have anything to lose if he’s sworn in during January’s inauguration. Although he hasn’t introduced gun laws during the last three-and-a-half-years — and seems likely to not make any changes during the next four — a win on Election Day would mean a lame-duck term for the commander-in-chief where he’d be free to pass any legislation that would have lessened his chances of re-election the first time around.

Joe Arterburn, a spokesperson for hunting gear manufacturer Cabela’s, says he expects a surge in gun sales if Obama wins next week’s election. If GOP opponent Mitt Romney walks away victorious, he says he thinks his customers will continue to spend money on firearms and ammo, but not necessarily to the same degree.

“If Mitt Romney is elected and there’s no perceived threat on the freedom to own guns, people might decide to spend disposable income on things like outerwear instead,” Arterburn tells the Wall Street Journal.

Even after an onslaught of mass shootings in America during 2012, President Obama has failed to reveal any plans to limit gun sales during a second term, even announcing during a recent televised debate that he’d push for enforcement of the current laws — not new ones — as would Gov. Romney. Because his pre-presidential record in the US Senate suggests he might be even remotely willing to strip away gun rights, though, Republicans say next week’s vote could be one of historic circumstances.

“People are definitely scared of a president who has voted when he was a senator against guns,” Anthony Bouchard, director of the Wyoming Gun Owners Association in Cheyenne, adds to the Tribune. Re-election for the incumbent means a lame-duck session, he says, “and he can do the things he wants to do. That’s what we’re afraid of.”

Jim Barrett, an industry analyst at C.L. King & Associates Inc. in New York, tells the Associated Press that President Obama “is the best thing that ever happened to the firearm industry,” and that’s a fact that hasn’t changed during the last few years.

The president’s aides put up an argument, however, and note that Obama has done nothing to limit firearms so far in his terms. “President Obama’s record makes clear that he supports and respects the Second Amendment and the tradition of gun ownership in this country, and we’ll continue to fight back against any attempts to mislead voters,” campaign spokesperson Adam Fetcher tells the Journal. For Americans that don’t dig deep to find the facts, though, statements like that could be easily skipped. Republicans are aware, and are using that to take advantage.

“Defend freedom, defeat Obama,” an ad purchased by the National Rifle Association that aired last month insists. To the AP, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says Obama’s actions — even indirectly — are enough for the organization to support Gov. Romney this year.

“Gun owners and hunters fear that a second Obama administration with no future political campaigns to worry about will try to destroy this great American freedom,” Arulanandam said, echoing the advert’s message. He explains that even if the president has publically said he doesn’t want any changes, he has appointed two Supreme Court justices considered anti-gun by the NRA, and the botched fast-and-furious gun-walking fiasco could be used during the next administration as a platform to push for restrictions.

“There’s no political downfall if Obama enacts more stringent gun-control measures,” Arulanandam adds to the Journal.

Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, has formally endorsed Gov. Romney, and during a campaign rally last month said, “If President Obama is re-elected, we’re going to see an anti-Second-Amendment, anti-freedom rampage in this country like we’ve never seen before.”

The Center for Responsive Politics out of Washington reports that the NRA and its affiliated political committees have spent $10.7 million on the presidential campaign as of late October, with most of it happening just during the last few weeks.

So far in 2012, the number of background checks for would-be gun buyers is up from 56 percent when compared with the weeks before the 2008 presidential election. In Wyoming, the number of concealed firearm permits has increased steadily since 2007, with the latest figures nearly double what they were five years earlier. Nationally, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives notes that the number of licensed gun dealers has only shot up — albeit slightly — since Obama took the oath of office. Even if it’s just a tiny surge, it’s an increase nonetheless, and it looks to continue that way in 2012 — a feat that hasn’t occurred since the early President Clinton administration in 1992.

Ruger, the fourth-largest firearms manufacturer in America, says its sales have increased by 86 percent since the beginning of the Obama administration.

ObamaRomney: I’m the candidate of change | Nov 1, 2012

By David Espokasie Hunt

DOSWELL, Va. (AP) — Five days before the election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama vied forcefully for the mantle of change Thursday in a country thirsting for it after a painful recession and uneven recovery, pressing intense closing arguments in their unpredictably close race for the White House. Early voting topped 22 million ballots.

Republicans launched a late push in Pennsylvania, long viewed as safe for Obama. The party announced a $3 million advertising campaign that told voters who backed the president four years ago, “it’s OK to make a change.” Romney and running mate Paul Ryan both announced weekend visits to the state.

A three-day lull that followed Superstorm Sandy ended abruptly, the president campaigning briskly across three battleground states and Romney piling up three stops in a fourth. The Republican also attacked with a tough new Spanish-language television ad in Florida showing Venezuela’s leftist leader, Hugo Chavez, and Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela, saying they would vote for Obama.

The storm intruded once again into the race, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed the president in a statement that said Sandy, which devastated his city, could be evidence of climate change.

Of the two White House rivals, Bloomberg wrote, “One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”

The ever-present polls charted a close race for the popular vote, and a series of tight battleground surveys suggested neither man could be confident of success in the competition for the 270 electoral votes that will decide the winner.

The presidential race aside, the two parties battled for control of the Senate in a series of 10 or more competitive campaigns. The possibility of a 50-50 tie loomed, or even a more unsettled outcome if former Gov. Angus King of Maine, an independent, wins a three-way race and becomes majority-maker.

Obama’s aides left North Carolina off the president’s itinerary in the campaign’s final days, a decision that Republicans trumpeted as a virtual concession of the state.

Yet Romney’s team omitted Ohio and Wisconsin from a list of battlegrounds where they claimed narrow advantage.

The Republican National Committee ad in Pennsylvania aired earlier in other areas of the country. Far less aggressive than many of the GOP attacks on the president, it said Obama took office promising economic improvement but had failed to deliver. “He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change,” says the announcer.

Republicans said the decision for Romney and Ryan to campaign in the state reflected late momentum, while Democrats said it was mere desperation.

Romney and his allies also made late investments in Minnesota and Michigan, states that went comfortably for Obama in 2008 but poll much closer four years later.

In a possible boost for Obama, government and private sources churned out a spate of encouraging snapshots on the economy, long the dominant issue in the race. Reports on home prices, worker productivity, auto sales, construction spending, manufacturing and retail sales suggested the recovery was picking up its pace, and a measurement of consumer confidence rose to its highest level since February of 2008, nearly five years ago.

Still, none of the day’s measurements packed the political significance of the campaign’s final report on unemployment, due out Friday. Joblessness was measured at 7.8 percent in September, falling below 8 percent for the first time since Obama took office.

Unemployment alone explained the competition to be the candidate of change, the slogan Obama memorably made his own in 2008 and struggles to hold now.

“Real Change On Day One,” read a huge banner at Romney’s first appearance of the day, in Roanoke, Va., and the same on a sign on the podium where he spoke in Doswell.

“This is a time for greatness. This is a time for big change, for real change,” said the former Massachusetts governor, a successful businessman who says his background gives him the know-how to enact policies that will help create jobs. “I’m going to make real changes. I’m going to get this economy going, from day one we’re making changes.”

He and his running mate also poked at Obama’s proposal to create a Department of Business by merging several existing agencies, including the Commerce Department, and the Republican campaign released a television ad on the subject.

Full Story

Getting a Read on the Real Rand Paul | Nov 1, 2012

James Bovard is out with an important review of Rand Paul’s new book,Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds

In the review, it is obvious that Bovard is trying to be sympathetic to Rand and still holds out hope that Rand may become a beacon of libertarian ideals, in Congress. However, solid scholar that Bovard is, he points out the many parts in Rand’s book that are downright puzzling, given that Rand poses as someone who claims to be suspicious of big government.

Bovard notes that Rand hails the air marshals program instituted after 9-11 even though “they have become the biggest laughingstock in the land.”

Rand also promotes the government created myth that Flight 93 passengers, on 9-11, chose to crash their plane. Bovard writes that even FBI Director Robert Mueller has testified that the terrorists crashed the plane after the passengers tried to take it over.

Bovard writes that part of  Rand’s “Passenger Bill of Rights” in execution would seem “akin to entitling rape victims to require their assailants to wear condoms.”

In the book, Rand also praises divisions of the National Endowment for Democracy. Bovard points out that ever since its creation in 1983, it has been involved in election manipulations and scandals, around the world e.g. Haiti and the Ukraine. Writes Bovard:

It is mystifying why a Senator as smart as Rand Paul would hitch his wagon to a federal agency that has tarnished itself and the United States around the world. Is the Senator receiving some extremely bad information from someone?

Holding out more hope than we have here at EPJ, Bovard concludes:

Rand Paul is a work in progress. Will he take the principled high road that his father paved with such courage? Or will he simply become another conservative who flourishes government waste, fraud and abuse stories to make supporters believe he is going to roll back Leviathan? Unfortunately, the answers to those questions can not be found in Government Bullies.

Rand knows better. His enthusiastic endorsement of Mitt Romney should tell us all what road Rand has chosen.

Has Sandy saved President Obama? Comforter-in-chief takes center stage in Atlantic City

Comforter-In-Chief: Obama (left) hugs marine owner Donna Vanzant (right) during a tour of Brigantine, New Jersey, which was badly affected by Sandy

President takes one-hour helicopter tour over Atlantic Coast, viewing flooded homes and wrecked buildings

Obama skipped campaigning in battleground states in favour of visit to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s state

Gov Christie: ‘We’ve got a big task ahead of us that we have to do together. This is what New Jerseyans are built for’

Daily Mail | Nov 1, 2012

By Mark Duell, Toby Harnden , Lydia Warren and Rob Preece

President Obama took time out from the campaign trail yesterday to visit a stretch of the devastated New Jersey coast and take on a role of comforter-in-chief that could be a major boost to his hopes of re-election next week.

The President was accompanied by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican bruiser and Mitt Romney backer who showered him with effusive praise for his handling of Superstorm Sandy, giving President Obama a bipartisan sheen that aides believe could help him secure victory on Tuesday.

Leaving Republican presidential candidate Mr Romney on the sidelines holding campaign events in Florida in which he had to pull his punches and barely featured on TV, President Obama travelled to Atlantic City in New Jersey to get an aerial view of the widespread damage caused by the storm.

The images of President Obama offering solace to New Jersey residents who had lost their home could be of incalculable political value in the final few days of the 2012 presidential campaign.

He was joined on the presidential helicopter, Marine One, for the one-hour tour by Governor Christie, who faces his own re-election bid next year and is widely believed to be laying the foundations for a presidential bid in 2016 should Romney lose this time around.

‘I want to let you know that your governor is working overtime,’ President Obama told victims at an emergency shelter after the tour. ‘The entire country has been watching what’s been happening. Everybody knows how hard Jersey has been hit.’

Governor Christie said:  ‘It’s really important to have the president of the United States here.’ President Obama returned the compliment.

The politicians’ meeting came as people in the heavily populated US East Coast corridor battered by Sandy took the first cautious steps to reclaim their upended daily routines, even as rescuers combed neighbourhoods strewn with debris and scarred by floods and fire.

Mr Romney was forced to reassure voters, a week before election day and following the massive disaster, that his administration wouldn’t leave disaster victims in the lurch.
Map of U.S. East Coast showing deaths, damages from Hurricane Sandy, as of Tuesday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m.

With President Obama heavily involved in getting federal funds to those in trouble, the Romney campaign moved quickly to reassure the public it supports a strong program of storm relief.

Only last year, as Mr Romney hewed to the right while battling for the GOP nomination, he seemed to downplay the federal government’s role in disaster response.

‘Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction,” Romney said at a debate last June.

‘And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.’

Asked by moderator John King of CNN whether that would include disaster relief, Mr Romney said: ‘We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardising the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids.’

However Mr Romney had altered that position when he released a statement on the disaster yesterday.

‘I believe that FEMA plays a key role in working with states and localities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

‘As president, I will ensure FEMA has the funding it needs to fulfill its mission, while directing maximum resources to the first responders who work tirelessly to help those in need, because states and localities are in the best position to get aid to the individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.’

Mr Romney had ducked a spate of opportunities on Tuesday to personally clarify his position and the statement essentially endorsed the current disaster aid system.

President Obama and Governor Christie ladled on the mutual praise on Wednesday as they toured the damage sites.

Governor Christie, who has publicly endorsed Mr Romney, said: ‘I want to thank the president for coming here today (Wednesday). It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey and I appreciate it very much.’

The President returned the kind words, telling the crowds of beleaguered New Jersey residents who had gathered that their Republican governor was  ‘working overtime to make sure that as soon as possible everybody can get back to normal’.

By Tuesday night, the winds and flooding inflicted by the fast-weakening Sandy had subsided, leaving at least 76 people dead along the Atlantic Coast and splintering beachfront homes and boardwalks from the mid-Atlantic states to southern New England.

The storm later moved across Pennsylvania on a predicted path toward western New York State and Canada.

At the height of the disaster, more than 8.2 million customers lost electricity – some as far away as Michigan. Nearly a quarter of those without power were in New York, where lower Manhattan’s usually bright lights remained dark for a second night.

Governor Christie, who is a vocal supporter of GOP nominee Mr Romney, has changed his partisan tune after the storm, regularly singing President Obama’s praises in relation to the federal aid given toward disaster relief support.

‘The president has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency),’ Governor Christie told the Today Show on Tuesday.

Governor Christie later told news anchor Soledad O’Brien that President Obama ‘has been incredibly supportive and helpful to our state, and not once did he bring up the election.’

Governor Christie continued his new tact of effusively praising President Obama and the work that the federal government is doing in response to the hurricane, saying that the two spent a ‘significant’ afternoon together touring the Jersey Shore in Marine One.

‘I cannot thank the president enough for his concern,’ Governor Christie said at the 5pm press conference yesterday. ‘The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit.’

The governor said that the two have put their partisan differences aside and had spoken six times including their afternoon-long trip yesterday.

‘It has been a great working relationship to make sure that we are doing the jobs that the people elected us to do,’ Governor Christie said of President Obama.  ‘I am pleased to report that he has sprung into action immediately while we were in the car together.’

The President was slightly more reserved with his praise, as he kept the majority of his remarks focused on the efforts of FEMA and ways for those who lost homes from the storm rather than his political rival.

‘Governor Christie has been responsive aggressive, making sure the state got out in front of this incredible storm,’ President Obama said.

Full Story

2012 Selection ‘Surprise’: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are Cousins

Obama & Romney Are Related! Genealogy Infographic | Oct 12, 2012

by Tom Kemp

In time for the 2012 election countdown, I recently did some genealogy research to learn more about the background of both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, and guess what—they’re related!

What’s more: they’re also related to several former U.S. presidents, English kings, outlaws and celebrities. This is really huge! So huge in fact that our team at GenealogyBank decided to create this Infographic to show many of these surprising genealogical findings.

Obama & Romney - Who Knew? We're Related! Genealogy Infographic

Obama & Romney Are Related?

Yes. Obama and Romney are both direct descendants of King Edward I of England, who was the eldest son of King Henry III and himself a father to numerous children by his two wives, Queens Eleanor and Margaret. King Edward I was perhaps the most successful of the medieval English monarchs. Known as “Longshanks” due to his great height and stature, King Edward I stood head and shoulders above other men of his time, towering at a height of 6’2. Romney and Obama are chips off the old block, both over six feet tall. Romney measures in at 6’2 and Obama at 6’1.


Obama, Romney Family Ties Share Polygamy, More

Several U.S. Presidents as Cousins-in-Common

The 2012 presidential candidates not only share a royal ancestor, they also have many distant cousins-in-common. These distant relatives form the impressive lineup of United States presidents featured in the White House Family Reunion photo in the Infographic above.

12 yr Girl Discovers ALL U.S. Presidents Except One Related to One British King

Obama and Romney’s U.S. president distant cousins-in-common include:

  • James Madison – 4th President of the United States
  • William Harrison – 9th President of the United States
  • Zachary Taylor – 12th President of the United States
  • Ulysses S. Grant – 18th President of the United States
  • Benjamin Harrison – 23rd President of the United States
  • Grover Cleveland – 24th President of the United States
  • Warren G. Harding – 29th President of the United States
  • Calvin Coolidge – 30th President of the United States
  • Richard Nixon – 37th President of the United States
  • Gerald Ford – 38th President of the United States
  • Jimmy Carter – 39th President of the United States
  • George W. Bush – 43rd President of the United States
  • George H.W. Bush – 41st President of the United States

Early American Presidential Roots

Obama and Romney also have deep early American roots in their respective family trees. Mayflower passengers Edward and Samuel Fuller are both direct ancestors of Mitt Romney. They were part of the group of Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Romney is also a distant cousin to the early American President Thomas Jefferson, and Obama is a distant cousin to President George Washington.

Wild West Outlaw Kin

Another interesting ancestral find was that each of the presidential nominees is a distant relation to notorious American Wild West gunslingers. Wild Bill Hickok is a distant cousin to Obama, and William H. Bonney a.k.a. “Billy the Kid” is a distant cousin to Romney. Also noteworthy is that Romney is a relation to famous American actor Clint Eastwood, who has starred in many hit Western movies such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Star-Studded Family Trees

Both of the 2012 election candidates share their family trees with Hollywood megastars, as well as other celebrities ranging from renowned American artists to British royalty.

Obama is a distant cousin to the following celebrities:

  • Brad Pitt – Hollywood Megastar
  • Elvis Presley – King of Rock & Roll
  • Georgia O’Keeffe – Famous American Artist & Painter
  • Robert Duvall – Hollywood Actor

Romney’s family tree also has many movie stars and famous people. His distant cousins include:

  • Clint Eastwood – Hollywood Megastar
  • Alec Baldwin –Hollywood Actor
  • Princess Diana – Former Princess of Wales
  • Katherine Hepburn – Earlier Hollywood Megastar
  • Julia Child – Famous Chef, TV Personality and Author

Both Have Foreign-Born Fathers

President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to parents Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. The Infographic features an old photo of Barack Obama II as a child with his mother Ann.

President Obama’s father was born in 1936 in Kanyadhiang Village, Kenya. The Infographic features an old picture of President Obama’s dad Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., as an infant with the president’s paternal grandmother Habiba Akumu Obama.

Governor Romney was born in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan, to parents Lenore and George W. Romney. The old family photograph in the Infographic shows the governor as a baby with his mom and dad.

Mitt Romney’s father George W. Romney, the former governor of Michigan, was born in 1907 in Colonia Dublán, Mexico. The old picture in the Infographic shows Romney’s father as a child with Mitt’s grandma Anna Amelia Pratt Romney.

Who knew the presidential candidates shared so many family connections? We’re continuing our ancestral exploration into the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates’ family trees. Make sure to stay tuned by following us here on the blog and on Facebook, Twitter or G+ to get more Obama and Romney family history.

. . .

Romney Agrees With Obama… On Everything

Ron Paul fans attack Rand for endorsing Romney | Jun 8, 2012

by Charlie Spiering

Fans of the “Ron Paul Revolution” were not happy with his son Sen. Rand Paul after he endorsed Mitt Romney last night on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Show.

Paul explained that although his “first choice was always my father,” he insisted that he had a lot in common with Romney, who signaled to him that he was serious about a number of government reforms.

Ron Paul Supporters Are Really Pissed That Rand Paul Endorsed Mitt Romney

Rand Paul:’It would be an honor’ to serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president

But the backlash on Sen. Paul’s Facebook page was fierce as the vocal supporters of the Ron Paul Revolution, took to the comments section to denounce his son. As of this morning, over 2,000 comments were posted, a majority of them negative. Supporters blasted Rand Paul for “selling out” the legacy of his father to the “Republican establishment.”

A few fans approved of Rand Paul’s decision, but only 270 people “liked” his endorsement message.

Others even speculated that Rand Paul was threatened or bribed into supporting Romney, by the Bilderberg group, suggesting that it wasn’t a coincidence that his endorsement came after their conference.

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Bilderberg 2012: were Mitt Romney and Bill Gates there?

A banner welcomes Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the 2012 Bilderberg conference. Photograph: Hannah Borno for the Guardian

Another conference over. Charlie Skelton talks to some of the 800 activists outside the gates to find out what they learned

Guardian | Jun 5, 2012

by Charlie Skelton

What a Bilderberg it’s been. Big names, big money, big decisions, big crowds. Somewhere around 800 activists outside the gates (up from about a dozen in 2009), and inside? Well, here’s what we learned.

A Mitt Romney attendance?

Four eyewitnesses on the hotel staff told me Willard Mitt Romney was here at Bilderberg 2012. My four eyewitnesses place him inside. That’s one more than Woodward and Bernstein used. Romney’s office initially refused to confirm or deny his attendance as Bilderberg is “not public”. They later said it was not him.

Bilderberg steering committee member is Ron Paul’s biggest campaign donor

So, was he being crowned, or singing for his supper? Will Mitt Romney follow in the august footsteps of Clinton, Cameron and Blair to have attended Bilderberg and then shortly become leader? Four years ago, Senator Obama shook off his press detail and nipped (many think) into Bilderberg. This exact same hotel.

Did Romney have to get down on one knee in front of David Rockefeller? This sounds flippant, but it’s a serious question: has Bilderberg switched allegiance? Are they going to toss away Obama after just one term?

I put this question to author and Bilderberg expert Webster Tarpley. Is Wall Street going to throw its chips in with Romney? “I think there’s a frisson that’s gone through the ruling class against Obama,” he says. The leak we had from the flirty hotel staffer corroborated this. “They don’t seem to like Obama very much,” he said.

Tarpley’s conclusion is this: “They want Romney and Mitch Daniels, who will run together as moderate rightists.” Governor Daniels of Indiana was on the official list.

The official list is nonsense

The Washington Post saw Bill Gates come in. And I’ve got three eyewitnesses from inside who confirmed he was here. This is his ear:

You won’t see the names Mitt Romney or Bill Gates on the officially released Final List of Participants because, well, the list is a nonsense. It’s nothing like a complete list of people who attend Bilderberg. It’s a smokescreen, a bit of spin. So can we all, please, stop repeating it as gospel?

Attending Bilderberg 2012 as an ‘international’ participant was Bassma Kodmani.

So who is Bassma Kodmani? The answer to that question is also the answer to the question: what the hell is happening in Syria? This is where it gets interesting (and worrying) for Bilderberg followers.

Kodmani was at Bilderberg in 2008, the last time it was here in Chantilly. She is a member of the European Council on foreign relations – its parent group, the council on foreign relations, is a sort of über lobby group, a couple of rungs down from Bilderberg, but still hugely powerful.

There’s a lot of CFR/Bilderberg crossover. Honorary chairman of both is David Rockefeller; co-chairman of the CFR is Robert Rubin (he was here); and on the CFR’s board of directors are Fouad Ajami and Henry Kravis, both at Bilderberg 2012.

Bassma Kodmani is also the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative. This body, set up in 2004 by the CFR, is helping to steer “a comprehensive process” of “democratic reform” in the region. In 2005, the Syrian National Council came into being. Bassma Kodmani was a founding member, and is on the executive committee. Kodmani is one of the SNC’s two spokespeople, alongside Radwan Ziadeh (who has a flawless Washington pedigree – look him up). According to its website, the SNC is a non profit public policy research organization register in the District of Colombia and headquartered in Washington DC. Just up the road.

I asked Tarpley about Kodmani. He doesn’t mince words. “She’s a Nato agent, a destabilizer, a colour revolution queen. The fact that Kodmani was there is a scary one for Syria”, says Tarpley.

To those gathered outside, at least, it looks increasingly like, at this year’s Bilderberg, the war of regime change got signed off. In the airport lobby, on the way home from Bilderberg, I looked up at a TV monitor to see Bilderberg attendee and CFR board member Fouad Ajami talking about how Syria is about to become another Libya. That sound you can hear? It’s all those juicy defence contracts being scratched out around Chantilly. Fuel the jets and open the champagne, boys. We’re going in.

Occupy Bilderberg turned up

A statement of support from Occupy London was read out at Occupy Bilderberg. A symbol of Anglo-American unity, like Bilderberg itself. The statement protested against (amongst other things): the rise of an undemocratic “technocracy” – a “network of cronies” in which financial “experts”, largely from the international banking community, who have been appointed rather than elected, are handed the reins of government.

So here you’ve got the (broadly speaking) liberal left protest movement, with its anti-corruption and pro-transparency agenda, finding common ground with US libertarians and an anti-Obama, anti-fascist, pro-union New Deal American like Webster Tarpley.

As Tarpley says: “Bilderberg creates a singularity, where a lot of seemingly disparate things come together.” That applies not just to the people inside – megabank money and government – outside the security cordon you’ve got Occupy Bilderberg rubbing shoulders with US veterans, German students who’ve flown over for the event, truckers from Michigan, Orthodox Jews, Ron Paul supporters, anarcho-syndicalists, academics and grandmothers.
Why? In the words of the statement from Occupy London: “the profound denial of a participatory, direct democracy which the Bilderberg Conference represents.”

Mainstream news turned up

Finally. The Washington Times sent Ben Wolfgang, the Guardian sent Ryan Devereaux and the Times of London actually tried to get a journalist inside – Alexandra Frean was turned away at the gates. But she tried. At least she tried. That’s a start. We can work with that.

There was speculation before the conference that on the Bilderberg agenda this year would be how to implement a unique EU internet ID. Who would be pushing that through? Step up Neelie Kroes, EU commissioner for digital agenda.

Presumably Eric Schmidt (Google) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) would have been sharing podium-space with Bill Gates at that session. That’s if there was one, of course.

A Ron Paul deal with Mitt Romney: what’s in it for him?

Mitt and Dr. Paul are BFF… | Apr 6, 2012

by Catherine Poe

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2012 — The rumors just won’t go away. They continue to swirl around Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. No matter how quickly the Paul people try to quash such talk, the rumors flare up again.

For months now, insiders have been claiming that the two candidates have not only made a pact not to go after each other at the debates or in their ads, but that Paul will throw his full support behind Romney and not run as a Third Party candidate. In return, Paul supposedly will get one of the following

1. a VP slot for his son Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

2. a position in a Romney administration

3. a prime time spot at the convention for him and/or his son  to speak

4. an adoption of at least some of his Libertarian tenets

5. a seat at the all-important table of the nominee.

Now still another account from sources close to the Ron Paul campaign has materialized, acknowledging that an alliance has been forged. Business Insider said that the confidants, who preferred to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, confirmed what we all have suspected, “The courtship [between the two candidates] has been underway for a long time.”

This even as  Ron Paul’s campaign manager was saying, “Our most cordial relationship is probably with Romney’s people, but cordiality doesn’t imply anything other than that we are civil. Just because we’re polite doesn’t mean we’re cutting deals.”

However, “sources close to the campaign told Business Insider that, behind the scenes, there have been ongoing discussions between the two campaigns that appear to include, or at least be the precursor to, an eventual deal.”

Of course, both Paul and Romney have vehemently denied the allegations. But then again, they would. Wouldn’t look so good for the pure as driven snow Dr. Paul to be making side deals with the likes of Romney, an anathema to most of his supporters. And Mitt wouldn’t look so good either if it were known he was a back room kind of guy, cutting secret deals. Despite the denials, there is an old saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

It looks as though this emerging strategic partnership has been in the works for a while and despite ideological differences, the two men struck up a friendship back in 2008 when both were running in the presidential primary. A Republican strategist back in February confirmed that the two candidates are quietly in touch through their aides. In fact, the two campaigns have even coordinated on minor details “such as staggering the timing of each candidate’s appearance on television the night of the New Hampshire primaryfor maximum effect.”

Rick Santorum has been complaining about the chumminess of his two rivals for months now. After one of recent debate, Santorum suggested that Paul and Romney had ganged up on him, part of backroom “running mate deal.” When asked at a Tea Party Rally about the perceived bashing he took at the hands of his rivals, Santorum said: “The coordination that I felt at that debate was pretty clear. I felt like messages were being slipped behind my chair. It’s pretty remarkable that in 20 debates, Ron Paul never attacked Mitt Romney.”

Even the likes of Rush Limbaugh has added his two cents, speculating about the advantages of the new bromance that is brewing between the two candidates:

“I’m just beginning to see huge advantages to Romney if Ron Paul stays in. I can see Romney offering a plum to Ron Paul’s son (every father cares about such things.) I can see Romney offering a plum to Paul’s son and to not run a third party to set his son up for the future. If you’ve noticed, Ron Paul never rips Romney, which I know Romney appreciates. In fact, Ron Paul joins the chorus of those defending Romney sometimes.”

Even though as recently as last Monday, Paul said he wasn’t sure if he would endorse the ultimate Republican candidate, the rumormongering goes on unabated. Paul’s campaign advisors told Business Insider on the record that “Ron Paul’s principles will not be compromised. I’m shocked that anyone would think that.”

Still other supporters protest that what observers may think their being simpatico is actually more likely Dr. Paul’s animosity toward Santorum and Gingrich than any “friendship” with Romney. (Both men have opposed the candidacy of both Paul and his son Senator Paul in the past.)

If it turns out that there is a deal, the impact will be interesting to watch. In the long run, Romney’s supporters probably could care less. Whatever secures the nomination for their candidate is ok with them. But for the fervent, often zealous supporters of Congressman Paul, this could be a disappointment of monumental proportions. It might be equal to learning that your parents lied to you and there is no Santa Claus.

Dr. Paul has been known as a man of integrity or at least that is his campaign persona. He gives ground to no one on his Libertarian principles even when they ruffle the feathers of the Republican Party. He doesn’t play to crowd in the debates, telling them what they want to hear.

He says what he thinks they should hear. His followers are like disciples going out among the great unwashed and bringing the gospel of Libertarianism. They are probably hoping to see him on the ballot come November as a Third Party candidate, not that they truly believe he can win, but so he can continue to carry the message.

In fact, to some degree Paul’s Libertarian message has penetrated the GOP, which has moved much closer to where Dr. Paul stands than it did just ten years ago. Paul didn’t move closer to the GOP’s long held positions, it shifted his way.

For Ron Paul, all this political jockeying is merely a means to an end if he and his supporters are to gain a toehold in the Republican Party. They have organized at the grassroots level, gotten themselves on county committees, and even run to be delegates and state officers. Their goal all along has been to bring the libertarian vision into the mainstream.

However, do not expect to see a Mitt Romney and Ron Paul joint press conference after the primary, one in which the two rivals now swear allegiance to one another. After all, the Congressman, who is retiring this year, has his legacy to preserve.

So how will we know if a pact was made? Look for two things to happen:

  1. Paul does not start a Third Party insurgency;
  2. Romney allows Paul his moment in the sun at the GOP August convention during prime time.

“Ron Paul wants a presence at the convention,” one Paul adviser told Business Insider, and  if Romney is the GOP nominee he would grant that wish.

That in turn would bring out an important constituency, one that works hard, tirelessly, some might say relentlessly, into the Romney fold. The Paul supporters could be the tipping point in Mitt Romney’s drive to defeat President Obama.

That is why Mitt and Dr. Paul are BFF.

There Really Is A Secret Alliance Between Ron Paul And Mitt Romney | Apr 3, 2012

by Grace Wyler

For the past few weeks, reports have been circulating about a “secret alliance” between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, fueling speculation that, if the price was right, the iconoclastic Congressman might be ready to cut a deal and throw his support behind the eventual nominee.

Paul said Monday that he is “not sure” whether he will endorse the GOP’s candidate in the likely event that he loses the nomination fight. His senior advisors deny that there is any deal in the works, and bristle at the suggestion that their candidate could be bought.

“I think the narrative is amusing to no end — I would say 99.9 percent of it is media speculation,” the campaign’s official blogger Jack Hunter told Business Insider. “Ron Paul’s principles will not be compromised. I’m shocked that anyone would think that.”

“Ron Paul is incorruptible,” senior campaign advisor Doug Wead added. “In 22 years, there have been no women, no money, nothing — so I can’t believe he would make a deal now.”

Senior Paul advisors also suggested that Paul’s perceived lack of attacks on Romney could have more to do with his animosity toward Santorum and Gingrich than with any “friendship” with the frontrunner. Santorum endorsed Rand Paul’s primary opponent Trey Grayson in the 2010 Kentucky Senate race, and Gingrich once campaigned for an opponent of the elder Paul when both men were serving in the House.

“Our most cordial relationship is probably with Romney’s people, but cordiality doesn’t imply anything other than that we are civil,” Paul’s campaign manager Jesse Benton told BI. “Just because we’re polite doesn’t mean we’re cutting deals.”

But sources close to the campaign told Business Insider that, behind the scenes, there have been ongoing discussions between the two campaigns that appear to include, or at least be the precursor to, an eventual deal.

“The courtship has been underway for a long time,” a source who declined to be named, talking about internal campaign affairs told Business Insider. “They are smart enough to know that he [Paul] can’t win the nomination or get a Cabinet position … but Ron Paul has to go somewhere.”

At stake, is Paul’s legacy and the future of his movement. After two decades in the House and three presidential campaigns, the libertarian septuagenarian is nearing the end of his political career. And while his performance in the 2012 primaries far exceeded even the campaign’s expectations, there is a growing acceptance among some campaign advisors they must come to some kind of agreement with Romney and the party’s Establishment or risk forfeiting the gains made since 2008.

“You don’t have to be a math genius to know that it is going to be very hard for us to get to Tampa with 1,144 delegates,” Benton said. But, he added, ““short of Dr. Paul being the nominee, there would be a substantial price for us to throw our support behind someone else.”

The problem with any potential deal, of course, is that Paul’s support is predicated on the candidate’s unwillingness to compromise his principles, many of which are at odds with mainstream Republican positions. Any evidence that Paul had abdicated those ideals for political expediency would destroy both his movement and the Paul brand.

“Our supporters wouldn’t let us sell out, so even if we wanted to sell out it would be fruitless,” Benton said. “If it turns out we can’t make Ron the nominee, we would have to communicate with our people to see what would be acceptable to them.”

Media reports have speculated that a possible deal might include a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention or influence over the party’s platform discussions — neither of which is likely to be enough for Paul’s supporters.

“To think that is to think Dr. Paul is cheap,” Benton said. “He wants to save America — a speaking slot at a convention isn’t that important.”

The other option that has been floated is a possible Cabinet position for Paul’s son Rand. But Rand Paul does not engender the same devotion among the Movement, and Paul diehards are more likely to see his acceptance of a role in Romney’s administration as a betrayal than as a victory.

“There’s no way, because he would be working under a neo-con,” Dale Decker, a prominent grassroots organizer for Paul in Wisconsin, told BI. “Ron Paul Nation will not vote for a Mitt Romney-Rand Paul ticket – it’s Ron Paul or None At All.”

Kristan Harris, another Paul devotee from Wisconsin who is applying to be an RNC delegate, was more circumspect:

“It would never happen because you’d kill the movement,” Harris said. “The only scenario where I can imagine Ron Paul accepting Rand as vice president, is if they made him head of the Treasury.”

In the end, any deal between Romney and Paul will likely be implicit and reflect Paul’s broader goal to shape the Republican Party from the inside.

Paul is now poised to take advantage of the fractured Republican party, and leverage his 2012 success into a broader acceptance of his movement by the party. Sources familiar with the Paul campaign have even suggested that a quiet promise to support (and fund) Paul’s Campaign For Liberty PAC would go a long way in discussions about a deal.

The agreement would actually be a natural progression of Paul’s relationship with the Republican Establishment. Since his 2008 presidential campaign, the Paul camp made a conscious decision to diminish the perception that the candidate was about fringe issues, shifting control of the movement out of the hands of local organizers and volunteers and professionalizing the campaign with the addition of veteran GOP operatives whose first loyalty is to the party, rather than to Paul.

But as Paul’s team contemplates its next move in the glare of the national spotlight, it must strike a delicate balance between its new ideological elasticity and loyalty to the grassroots activists who have propelled the Ron Paul Revolution.

Big Romney is watching you

Security cameras on a pole in front of the giant portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square Jan. 9, 2012.  (Credit: David Gray / Reuters) | Mar 16, 2012  

Romney’s private equity firm is helping China create an all-seeing surveillance system — the free market at work

The New York Times reported today that Bain Capital, the private equity firm started by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, owns a Chinese company, Uniview, that supplies highly advanced surveillance equipment to the Chinese government. China’s authoritarian rulers are using the equipment to create an “omniscient monitoring system” throughout the country, according to a Human Rights Watch researcher quoted by the Times. “When it comes to surveillance, China is pretty upfront about its totalitarian ambitions,” said Nicholas Bequelin.

To realize those totalitarian ambitions, China’s authorities, with Bain Capital’s help, are expanding the country’s already vast network of surveillance cameras. The city of Chongqing is spending $4.2 billion for a network of 500,000 cameras, Guangdong Province is installing a million cameras, and Beijing is planning to put cameras in all entertainment venues, the Times reported.

The authorities use these cameras, along with Internet monitoring and cellphone surveillance, to monitor as much of the entire population as possible. But they are particularly interested in keeping a permanent eye on democracy advocates, intellectuals, religious figures and other people they deem dangerous. For example, police used a surveillance camera to record a human rights lawyer named Li Tiantian entering a hotel with men other than her boyfriend, then taunted her about her sex life and threatened to show the tape to her boyfriend. “The scale of intrusion into people’s private lives is unprecedented,” Li told the Times. “Now when I walk on the street, I feel so vulnerable, like the police are watching me all the time.”

But the whining of Li and her troublemaking ilk are of no concern to the patriotic Uniview. In its promotional materials, the company chirps, “Social management and society building pose new demands for surveillance and control systems.”


Big Brother Bain Is Watching You

Bain is also untroubled by the fact that it owns a company dedicated to re-creating the unique societal ambience of George Orwell’s “1984.” It stressed to the Times that Uniview’s products “were advertised” as tools to fight crime, not to monitor dissidents, and that only one-third of Uniview’s sales were to public security bureaus.

Ah, because Uniview advertised that its surveillance cameras were only used to fight crime, it’s OK for Bain to own them. Thanks for clearing that up, Bain! (I take the liberty of addressing you as Bain because, as the Supreme Court has ruled and the GOP believes, corporations are people.)

Speaking of which, Bain, I would be remiss to your investors if I did not draw your attention to an excellent opportunity to acquire a leading Rwandan firm, the Tutsi Machete Co. The Tutsi Machete Co. is a perfect target for you. It is underperforming, has a weak management structure and is ripe for a leveraged buyout. Some have claimed that TMC provides hundreds of thousands of machetes to frenzied genocidal mobs, but that is not a concern: The company ran an ad claiming that their machetes were only used to fight crime. Making the optics even stronger, only one-third of the machetes were given to frenzied genocidal mobs. With a significant downsizing of its workforce – which can be accomplished using the company’s own products, thus ensuring significant additional savings – TMC’s profits should increase by 300 percent. Recommendation: Buy.

Romney and his wife earned at least $5.6 million from their Bain holdings, the Times reported. But according to the person who manages their trusts, the Romneys had nothing to do with the decision to invest in Uniview. All they did was pocket the money.

Owning a piece of the Great Eye of Sauron Company is probably too much even for the free-market-worshiping Romney. He will probably get out of the trust, and it won’t be surprising if Bain suddenly decides to unload Uniview. But that won’t solve the real problem, which this grotesque episode highlights. The real problem is untrammeled capitalism, at whose coldblooded shrine he and the rest of the GOP worship. And that problem won’t go away if Romney washes his hands of Uniview, any more than Pontius Pilate was able to wash away his responsibility for crucifying Jesus.

For the almighty market has no conscience. Private equity firms like Bain are sharks. They were created to maximize profits for their investors – nothing more, nothing less. Buying Uniview was egregious, but firms like Bain buy slightly less nasty versions of Uniview every day. Until they stop making decisions solely based on the bottom line, the same issues will keep coming up.

The same thing applies to the free-market mantra constantly repeated by companies like Bain and their defenders — “improving corporate performance.” “Improving corporate performance” really means “maximizing profits for shareholders.” Sure, it sometimes works out well for everyone, workers and investors alike. But the point is, that isn’t its goal. The fate of human beings is not important. If tens of thousands of workers get dumped along the way, they’re just collateral damage, road kill along the great haj to honor Adam Smith.

Early in the primary campaign, in a desperate attempt to wound Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich both channeled their inner Marx and made this exact charge against Romney and Bain. When Romney fired back that they were “putting free enterprise on trial,” and GOP ideologues tut-tutted, Twinkle Dumb and Twinkle Me realized that they had gone too far off the reservation and changed the subject. But they were right.

As a liberal, I’d like to be able to cite this story as an example of the perfidy of the American right and the internal contradictions of an ideology that exalts “freedom” but somehow leads to totalitarianism. Unfortunately, the Democrats are virtually indistinguishable from the Republicans on this issue. Bain Capital, in all its creepiness, is as American as apple pie.

Bain is doing two things with Uniview. It is helping an authoritarian regime keep an eternal eye on its citizens, and it is doing so for the same reason it does everything: to maximize its profits. The Democrats are marginally better than the Republicans when it comes to the latter issue: they at least pay lip service to the workers who are “downsized” by firms like Bain. But the differences are cosmetic: they, too, have essentially bought the gospel of greed. And both parties have signed off on the Surveillance Society.

It was President George W. Bush who created the Patriot Act. But in 2011, it was President Obama who asked Congress to extend its surveillance powers. It was Obama who signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows indefinite detention and essentially declares that the “war on terror” is permanent. And it was Obama who decided that it was OK to launch drones at will around the world, and assassinate American citizens without trial.

After all, those who are innocent have nothing to fear.

So there’s no reason to worry about the millions of surveillance cameras being deployed all over China. Big Brother is already watching us. Why shouldn’t he watch some other people too?