I have to feel a teensiest bit sorry for Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich today. He’s spent the last few months watching his support crumble as a redrawing of the districts map pushed him (and me) into what is now called the 9th district. His re-election fate now stretched from the west bank of the Cuyahoga river to the East side of Toledo. An eighty mile long strip of gorgeous gerrymandering along the shore of Lake Erie.
Author Archives: Stephen VanDyke
That’s the jaw-dropping news on how hard the brakes have been put on financial innovation amongst the aspiring bourgeois:
There were no new banks created in the US in 2011, making it the first year in decades that the country has gone without the establishment of a single start-up lender.
The lack of new or de novo banks underscores the rapidly shifting business environment for US financials and changed attitudes towards the industry after the recent crisis.
[...] “The number of de novos has been trending down for a few years. There’s a pipeline effect – somewhere between one or two years,” said one analyst. “The lack of de novos now is probably a reflection of public attitudes in 2008.” Other analysts say the still-challenging operating environment for US financials is deterring banking start-ups.
I decided to looking into the process of opening a bank, and ran into a lovely website so conveniently set up by the Federal Reserve. For some reason it is geared towards “Minority-Owned and De Novo Institutions.” I felt a bit insulted at the minority thing, since I would call my fictional bank The 99%. see more…
On January 20th, Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz), the New Zealand Megaupload founder and internet superstar was bum-rushed by an two-year FBI investigation that culminated in an early-morning paramilitary raid and seizure on everything Dotcom owned and then some. In fact the “and then some” should have you worried, if you’re an online entrepreneur.
U.S. authorities managed to convince the New Zealand anti-terrorist squad that operating a file hosting website (or piracy enabler as the opposition would so crassly frame it) warranted “… armed officers arrived in helicopters and dropped into the Dotcom mansion courtyard.” Police turned off and seized servers, sending legitimate paying customers in a frenzy. Anyone who critically relied upon the Megaupload company has been up shit’s creek without a paddle since.
Now it seems Kim Dotcom is starting to get the upper hand in his defense and public relations nightmare — which will no doubt be lengthy and costly to pursue for both sides. He’s gained access to $74,000 to pay creditors, and is asking for an additional $220,000 to cover additional household, legal and business related expenses. I assume his success is trying to be used as an easy target of ridicule, but we can’t simply swallow the prosecution’s assertion that he’s some kind of thief who will disappear in the night because he’s successful. see more…
Way back in 2008 (not that long, I know), Kid Rock promised us all he wouldn’t be getting political, and even chastised music entertainers who got into endorsing candidates and playing music for free for them at small political rallies.
He said, “I truly believe that people like myself, who are in a position of entertainers in the limelight, should keep their mouth shut on politics. Because at the end of the day, I’m good at writing songs and singing. What I’m not educated in is the field of political science. And so for me to be sharing my views and influencing people of who I think they should be voting for … I think would be very irresponsible on my part.”
He went on to say, “I think celebrity endorsements hurt politicians. As soon as somebody comes out for a politician, especially in Hollywood, when they all go, ‘I’m voting for this guy!’ I go, ‘That’s not who I’m voting for!’” see more…
In early December of 2011, NBC unveiled a partnership with check-in king foursquare to track the presidential candidates on the 2012 campaign trail. From the looks of it, many hours of design and code were put into this impressive project that promised to show the candidates trekking across America in real time.
The short of it being that if Rick Santorum dropped in on his NASCAR buddies in Daytona, there’d suddenly and magically be a blip marking his appearance. Or suppose Ron Paul spoke to a crowd of 1,700 in Oklahoma City, or Newt Gingrich pointed and grunted at the moon in Cape Canaveral, or Mitt Romney visited a factory in Flint to jokingly threaten to fire everyone — the world would know about such heroic public services thanks to the harnessed power of databases and the internet. see more…
The presidential political season is picking up steam with the next round of GOP elections coming up rather quickly. The fact that anyone can campaign in seventeen separate primaries and caucuses (fifteen if you are an inconsiderate ass who thinks Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands aren’t worth campaigning in, even though they aren’t) is a sheer marvel of the information age and the phenomenon of paid political advertising (and transportation, lest we forget Rand Paul’s TSA travesty).
Here’s the rundown of the next two weeks of primary pollshocks waiting to unfold: see more…
From time to time, here at Hammer of Truth one of us will liveblog a debate or something. This is what it looks like.
On Wednesday February 22nd 2012, four GOP candidates for president got on stage to once again lay into each other in the
new public blood sport democratic process of of getting to know our next commander in chief. From left to right on the stage were Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Most people have been more interested in Whitney Houston’s sudden death over the past week and a half than anything political, so we’ll see if the first post-Whitney GOP debate is a pop or a drop amongst the American rabble.
The complete transcript of the debate can be found here. Ron Paul highlights can be found here. Read on for our official Hammer of Truth verdict on the debate and be sure to leave your thoughts on how the candidates did. see more…
Maine Maine Maine… it’s the new nine nine nine that won’t go away any time soon.
Many of the counties with large groups of young people were initially delayed. What most people may not realize is that the Maine Caucus timeline is an anomaly among primary states, spanning the entire month of February and parts of both January and March. And proceedings don’t truly end until the first Sunday of May. The kicker is the delegates are never even bound to a presidential candidate.
Even with all these stop and start delays between counties, Ron Paul may yet have a significant victory in Maine according to Reuters:
When the chairman of the Belfast Caucus Committee telephoned his results showing a Paul victory to the state’s Republican headquarters, he was told they already had the numbers. Those numbers mysteriously — and inaccurately — showed a Romney victory in Belfast. When the final tally for Maine’s caucus was announced, zero votes from Belfast were included. Interestingly, not a single case of excluded caucus results supporting Romney has been publicly identified yet.
Gardner expects a large turnout this Saturday. “Based upon the fact that this year’s caucuses ginned up a lot of interest, we were anticipating there would be north of 200 people there,” the county GOP chairman told Dave Weigel at Slate.com. “Now that we’ve gotten the attention, the amount of attendees we’ll see is anyone’s guess. I’d be shocked if we saw lower turnouts as a result of this.”
Sentiment around Maine is that Ron Paul will likely win the Washington County caucuses to be held this coming Saturday. He only received eight votes from the county in 2008, but statewide in 2012, even without the votes in question from Waldo County, Belfast and Waterville, Paul almost doubled his vote total from 2008. Romney, on the other hand, saw his statewide vote count decline from 2,837 votes in 2008 to 2,190 votes in 2012. Another factor is that Washington County has both a proud, independent tradition in electoral politics and the kind of community and public college population that often provides support for Ron Paul.
But even if Paul doesn’t win, the electoral process has still been tainted. Not allowing people in at least a county and a half to have their preferences registered in Maine’s caucuses, particularly those in areas that all political observers believe favor one candidate, skews the results and undermines democratic input.
Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is being sued, in a civil lawsuit that claims the campaign and several contractors owe $104,945.65 in unpaid commissions and fees to their former money man.
Bydlak v. Gary Johnson (2/7/2012) [scribd]
Professional fund raiser Jonathan M. Bydlak (Bydlak & Associates) filed papers in Alexandria, Virginia Federal Court on February 7th. The suit names Johnson personally, Gary Johnson 2012 Inc., Our America Initiative, NSON Inc., Daines Goodwin & Company PC, Chet Goodwin (personally), Ronald T. Nielsen (personally), and Kim Blanton (personally). In the brief, Bydlak (who is represented by Charles Burham, a real lawyer) seeks damages for fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
Bydlak previously raised money for Ron Paul during his 2008 campaign (without incident) as Director of Fundraising, claiming to have raised more than $35 million. Now, he’s come out guns blazing over allegedly not getting paid in full for his commission on more than a half million dollars he says he raised for Johnson between July 2010 and December 2011, “OAI and GJ2012 are insolvent or in danger of becoming insolvent.” He says the campaign started to have payment problems “from the beginning.” see more…
It may be a picture of Mitt Romney in this photo, but Ron Paul is the name on the primary states’ voters lips these days. Even the New York Times can’t help but enjoy the conflicting image presented on their Sunday print edition:
Spit-take: The font is larger and more readable than the NYT masthead, and Romney looks downright ghoulish and scary, with children wise to keep their distance.
This is nothing less than winning, because last time I checked they don’t put faces on ballots.
A lot of people are saddened that Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch will be airing its last show tonight (Monday, Feb 13) on the Fox Business Network. The judge is being pushed into a lesser role at the media behemoth as the Rupert Murdoch owned cable channel retools itself to be more business-oriented. Top executives have been ordered to sweep all political content back over to Fox News, sending a strong signal that the days of FBN being a libertarian haven are coming to an end.
Back in October, a leaked memo from FBN exec Kevin Magee foretold the bad news, “I’ve been asked to remind you all again that they are separate channels and the more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves.”
“There is always going to be overlap between economics and politics, but we need to maintain two separate services,” Magee said. “We can cover the political angle, but our focus should be on our charter of gaining and producing wealth.” see more…
Navel-gazing search queries on Google often leads to some interesting results:
Full-nudity 18+ version available to anyone with a deviantART login.
Cartoonist Tim Kelly provides one of the very best rebuttal shots in a very long time:
Yes, I threw this video documentary together. Yes, I understand if you hate on my terrible video editing skills (I make up for it in enthusiasm):
Here’s the description, because I’m trying to lend some credibility to YouTube in the form of proper linguistics:
OLD BROOKLYN/CLEVELAND, Ohio — Frigid forty degree weather did nothing to deter North East Ohioans from supporting Ron Paul in a Saturday afternoon sign wave at the busy intersection of Pearl and State. Reinforcements arrived in the form of the USS Constitution ship of peace. There were a LOT of honks, as you can guess.
Yes, the cannon works and is extremely loud! Luckily the guy at 1:58 was über cool.
More soon from Cleveland’s libertarian legion.
UPDATE: Sister group Ron Paul Akron has posted an even longer (and much better edited) video of the sign wave and a great deal of interviews on how easy it is to counter the whole electability issue, along with loads of horn honkings (bonus: both Cleveland EMS and Fire). Thanks to Craig Thompson for putting together this video:
Cleveland’s Rocking the USS Constitution. Sponsored by Todd Bonar, a local entrepreneur making a soy-based medical adhesive called Soy Sap, he states it simply, “Walk the walk and talk the talk.”
It’s certainly more fun to walk and talk when there’s a giant ship involved. Ahoy!
It seems the Green Party is getting a celebrity candidate in Roseanne Barr, as she decided to seek the presidential nomination this week announcing on Thursday that she would begin the arduous process of getting on the ballot across the nation (or at least the arduous process of announcing her intentions).
Here’s a snippet from the official announcement from Barr (read the whole thing, chock full of unfiltered unelectable hilarity, that goes on and on and on and on):
My Platform is Three fold, and will result in world peace within one year:
STEP ONE: MAKE WAR ILLEGAL, AND LEGALIZE HEMP
allow women to grow it and to make food clothing shelter and fuel from it for pennies. And legalize marijuana too, and let women integrate their divided consciousness with a natural herb instead of doctor’s pills which destroy the liver. End the War on drugs. this will take the potheads and non-violent drug users out of prisons, where you can get drugs anyway, thereby making room for the violent offenders and the real criminals–the actual threats to world peace.
STEP TWO: CHANGE THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF GOVERNMENT:
Since women make up 53% of the population, as well as the work force, a MINIMUM of Green Tea Party leadership will be female, and given that one in six Americans lives in poverty, at least one sixth of the party’s officials will officially be poor (since generations of rich guys running things has only gotten us here). As Congress people and senators, they will be able to become rich enough to eradicate their own poverty for generations, as well as that of those they represent simply by having access to public policy that decides where public money goes. They will simply direct public money TO THE PUBLIC, a novel idea and something which is not being done at all, ever. A small grant of 1500 dollars can enable a poor woman to start a business that can create wealth and jobs for as many as ten other people within two years.
Poor women know how to get things done well, and on the cheap. They know how to stretch that dollar.
In American, for speaking truth, women are called Bitches. I seek for next Mother’s Day, a march of One Million American Bitches who can get the job done–the job of getting the food to the hungry kids in this country and thereby creating real wealth, as well as saving our rich American friends and neighbors from going straight to hell and burning there for all of eternity. This is just one of my righteous spiritual goals and solutions to the real problems in America!
STEP THREE: (MOST IMPORTANT) I WILL OUTLAW BULLSHIT:
After the passage of this one law, the Patriarchy will inevitably begin to crumble, as will the concept of War itself, which is largely a large load of bullshit.
There’s a LOT more, including “THE NECESSARY RE-EDUCATION CAMPS” that do not sound very fun, or even slightly constitutional.
Worth an estimated $42 million according to a November TMZ article about some legal mess, I can easily see Barr making for an interesting campaign sideshow in the coming weeks if she has a savvy political/press team already fired up. She’s already put marijuana legalization at the forefront of her campaign and taken at least one nasty swipe at Ron Paul (and several at libertarians) on her twitter account:
The 2012 Green Party convention will take place in Baltimore, Maryland in July.
So what do you think, America? Is is good to see a longtime political critic emerge from Hollywood to help split the left-wingers without a clue away from Obama come November? Or will the media hyenas move in for the predictable commentary overkill on her waist size, and to ask her just how much of the green she’s been smoking recently?
Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus) is clearly a fan of two things: smoking the huffle puff puff pass, and the rap game. Since the last record he dropped in early 2011 is fading into distant memory, it seems he’s picked up a new hobby in the celebrity politics game instead. And who’s hotter to endorse on facebook and twitter this election season for bored celebrities than Ron Paul? (And marijuana, clearly).
Snoop’s message to his 13.9 million facebook fans:
Snoop doesn’t have the full lowdown on Ron Paul in his tongue-in-cheek photoshoppery, who we can confidently say has never recommended smoking weed every day but instead encourages a hands off approach by the federal government. “Why don’t we handle the drugs like we handle alcohol?” Paul asked rhetorically to the GOP audience when the question was posed to him in a late-November CNN debate.
Instead, it’s more likely that the California lovin’ rapper ran into the Ron [Paul] Swanson tumblr page over the weekend where a mashup of quotes from NBC’s Parks and Recreation character Ron Swanson collide with Ron Paul photos, making for hilarious results.
We’ll watch and see if this latest celebrity endorsement translates into a boost in record sales similar to American Idol Kelly Clarkson’s endorsement brouhaha, but we won’t hold our breath (unless it’s to hold in the smoke).
UPDATE: It would seem remiss not to point out that Snoop Dogg is getting even more political about the legalization of marijuana in the wake of his arrest in Sierra Blanca, Texas earlier this month. He has made recent public pleas to Obama, which have apparently gone unheard.
UPDATE II: Congrats to Buzzfeed, who won the traffic deluge from Drudge Report for their awesome reporting which consisted of posting of a facebook screenshot which was actually stolen from reddit (which was actually stolen from facebook, because screenshot). INTERNET, YOU ARE HIGH!
UPDATE III: The ensuing news circus is now Ron Paulizzle Twenty-twizzle special “attribution is fucked” edition
A word to Newt Gingrich on moon colonization: you’re not the grandiose visionary you think you are.
This week, Gingrich generated a lot of news touching on a subject that is actually rather dear to me: colonizing the moon. He lost a ton of points once I learned it was only because he happened to be standing on NASA property when he made the following statement, “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.” What is clearly little more than self-aggrandizing rhetoric is horribly tempered by the fact that he can’t even seem to promise the moon on his first term, because clearly re-election is more important than a moon base in under four years.
On the campaign trail, presidential candidates will often make grandiose statements about space exploration, simply because it’s the one unifying goal all of mankind shares. We know it’s crass and they know it’s crass, but it seems every time the campaign trail passes through Cape Canaveral Florida the issue of space suddenly becomes en vogue. Color us shocked the issue is once again front and center. see more…
The relatively recent political party — Boston Tea Party — was founded back in 2006 and has seen steady, if slow, growth as a political player since then.
I caught up with front man Darryl Perry (who writes a column here on a regular basis) for a few questions and here’s how he responded.
1) What is the membership size of the BTP? Is there a growth chart of any kind since its inception?
As of mid-December there were 2,232 members. I have not updated the growth chart recently, however I can tell you that membership growth hasn’t grown as fast in the past 18 months or so.
2) Have you considered forming a caucus or bloc within one of the established political parties?
The original intent was for the BTP to be a caucus within the LP – however the members present at the first meeting decided to form a new party. As far as future plans to form a caucus within any other party, I will say “no comment”.
3) How is the platform different than that of the Libertarian Party? What would you say the fundamental difference is in your party’s coming together in the online era.
The BTP platform is 1 sentence that can never be changed; whereas the LP platform is tweaked or majorly overhauled every two years. The BTP also offers a bottom-up approach to party organization, whereas the LP (and most other parties) prefer a top-down approach.
4) How many candidates will the BTP be fielding in 2012?
That is a good question. Aside from the Presidential ticket at this time only one party member has announced plans to run for office in Florida for a position on the Soil and Water Conservation Board in Hillsborough County, FL.
5) As a political party, what has your role been in challenging the onerous ballot access laws in many states?
I wish the BTP were able to file lawsuits to challenge these laws – however, the bylaws prohibit the National Committee from soliciting donations – which makes spending money on lawsuits difficult. However, the BTP is a member of COFOE, a group which has assisted others in lawsuits against these laws. I’ve personally spoken with half a dozen legislators in NH about easing ballot access, as well as sent letters to countless other legislators in many States.
I also published a book in October of last year which was written to inform people about the various ways in which the two major parties have taken control of the electoral process and ways in which the “playing field” can be leveled so that independent & minor party candidates have the same path to ballot access as the “big boys.”
If you have further questions about this fledgling political party, please leave them in the comments and we’ll try to have Perry answer them. If you’d like more info on the Boston Tea Party happenings, their website — bostontea.us — is simple enough to remember.
I love the new year of the political season because so many great talented patriots use it as a fresh opportunity to weigh in on the pressing issues of the day in their own great ways. My tip of the tricorner hat goes first to The folks over at Songify The News (previously called Auto-Tune The News until the lawyers from Antares intervened and made them change it) for their little diddy poking fun at all the silly candidate hijinx in song form.
Newt Gingrich actually is not a terrible singer, but that’s thanks to some very painstaking and creative editing by the schmoyoho crew.
Ron Paul is curiously silent during the song, which seems like a fitting observation of his relative exclusion at the debates, and the fact that there’s at least a million other channels on YouTube alone trying to pimp Ron Paul in some song or another. The slow clap was a great touch though.
In related news, Rand Paul was sidelined at a TSA checkpoint yesterday after he refused to be groped. The White House made the amazing blunder of siding with the TSA in what is arguably the flashpoint of the clash between freedom of movement and the security state. I will be mailing him a complimentary copy of the Big Brass Balls TSA card to proudly carry in his wallet for the next encounter:
The Ron Paul campaign has expertly taken this latest personal confrontation with the encroaching police state and started a potentially devastating fundraising drive called “End the TSA.” Paul has promised vehemently to dismantle the TSA and other odious police state agencies at home and abroad along with cutting a trillion dollars in a bold spending reform plan.
The campaign stated, “The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”
My tip of the tricorner hat to the Paul’s today as well, for fighting the good fight against those agencies and polices that so desperately needs to be reformed and having the long game to back it up this time around.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the Paul family will soon announce their hereditary medical condition:
h/T to George Faulk
From time to time, here at Hammer of Truth one of us will liveblog a debate or something. This is what it looks like.
On Thursday January 19th, 2012 four GOP candidates for president got on stage to once again lay into each other in the
new public blood sport democratic process of of getting to know our next commander in chief. From left to right on the stage were Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. Rick Perry recently dropped out and a lot of us are pretty fucking glad.
The order is chronological, dere’s probably mistakes in it. Onward! see more…
This Mitt Romney video mashup shows how undecided he is on his own platform, he’s found lacking principles of any kind and contradicting himself numerous times:
Follow the money trail and you’ll see it flowing from establishment players, to the establishment candidates, which gets funneled back through the establishment media. It’s a slick racket.
It’s been more and more apparent that without solid guiding principles and a real sense of humility, power is attracting the worst kinds of megalomaniacs and sociopaths. Check out this Fox News interview and listen to Romney chuckle at misfortune caused by his own hands when asked if he feels anything about taking the poor family dog that went on a 12-hour road trip — on the roof of the car:
Is America finally having a light-bulb moment? Yup.
An interesting passage from Matt Mullenweg’s Open Web FTW article at Gigaom:
Everyone’s doing app stores now. Chrome has their store, Firefox has their store, and Microsoft is going to launch a store. As distribution mechanisms they’re going to be incredibly powerful, but they’re actually going to end up bringing more power back to the software creators and the developers. Because as they compete with each other, they will all be forced to open up and become better.
The Internet needs a strong, independent platform for those of us who don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else’s domain. I like to think that if we didn’t create WordPress something else that looks a lot like it would exist. I think Open Source is kind of like our Bill of Rights. It’s our Constitution. If we’re not true to that, nothing else matters.
The independent web is growing quite a bit. Although we have these great cloud servers for WordPress, the software that people run and install themselves is still as popular as ever. Our services are bringing more people online, but they’re also bringing more people who want to own their own space on the web–they want to own a house instead of rent an apartment. When we were first starting out, I thought, “Downloading and uploading software, managing databases, no one wants to do that.” But it turns out, a lot of people do.
Or as I like to call it: The second American revolution everyone in the world will want to attend (extra emphasis on the want part, men knowing that “anything is possible” across the globe is an incredibly motivating force in getting amazing things done, consult your history books and skylines).
Consider the comedian who gets on stage and commands a large audience, he is independent of the crowd (who I hope like hell are drunk) telling his hilarious truths and mistruths. Sometimes a joke will land flat and a critic in the audience will heckle. Any comedian worth his salt knows how to shut down that fella’s drunken free speechification on the spot.
Unfortunately, stratification is the obstacle open source advocates often seem to ignore once they grow in power and influence to become a kingmaker themselves. Mullenweg gets it half right here, but we’ll probably see the larger corporate app stores fall victim to more claims of bias and app censorship from the higher ups, and given enough practice they’ll become better at squashing them without too much fanfare or outrage. They’ll also be consolidating power in bolder ways. Open source communities are not magically immune from this creeping order pyramid either.
I enjoyed the part where he acknowledges the obvious motivator of every true elite, “my primary motivator is not money, it’s to make an impact on the world.” Just this world? There’s a whole giant universe out there to make an impact on.