Friday, October 05, 2007

The Enemy Within: Cato and its Covert Agenda

No one at Cato does anything without an agenda. Over the last 30 years Cato has positioned itself as a major 'think-tank' in DC, becoming a proponent for policies that further the agenda for federalization when all is said and done. For months the institution behind the white marble walls in Washington DC has remained mostly silent on the Ron Paul Campaign, discussing the 'real' candidates and ignoring Dr. Paul.

Ask yourself why all of a sudden David Boaz at Cato and the gang at Reason would suddenly discover that there is a lot of support for Ron Paul's candidacy? Earlier this year Boaz went out of his way to say in a comment written on 04.17.07 @ 9:46 pm,And apparently, the most notable contributor to Ron Paul is . . . Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project. It’s going to be a long campaign.

It could be that a continued silence would prove to be embarrassing, hence, this new comment from October 4th, 2007 by Boaz on the Cato Dispatch? Or are there other reasons as well?

David Boaz, a long time Cato employee said of the 3rd Quarter fundraising numbers, “Ron Paul's amazing fundraising success -- with no support from the Republican establishment and little attention from the mainstream media -- is an indication of the wide appeal of his message of Constitutionalism, reduced spending, and an end to the Iraq war. In some ways Ron Paul is the antidote for every problem that plagued Republicans in 2006: Voters were tired of Republican corruption, and Ron Paul has never succumbed to the temptations of Washington. They were fed up with overspending, and he's the original anti-spender. They're disillusioned by the seemingly endless war in Iraq, and Ron Paul opposed that war from the beginning. He's appealing to fed-up traditional Republicans and to younger voters who haven't yet been Republicans.”

But what follows is actually more interesting. In another location, conveniently located at the bottom of the page comes this from "The Libertarian Vote. The Cato crowd have been watching developments for a long time, long enough to ensure their background positioning.

“"The main theme of political commentary in this decade is polarization. Since the battles over the impeachment of President Clinton and the Florida vote in 2000, pundits have been telling us that we're a country split down the middle, red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative. Political analysts talk about base motivation and the shrinking of the swing vote. But the evidence says they are wrong.

Not all Americans can be classified as liberal or conservative. For those on the trail of the elusive swing voter, it may be most notable that the libertarian vote shifted sharply in 2004. ... If that trend continues into 2006 and 2008, Republicans will lose elections they would otherwise win. The libertarian vote is in play. At some 13 percent of the electorate, it is sizable enough to swing elections. Pollsters, political strategists, candidates, and the media should take note of it."”

Cato knows all about polarization because for the last thirty years marginalizing and polarizing the electorate has been at the core of their own prosperity. Cato was founded by three people. Edward H. Crane, III, an eager financial adviser from Los Angeles with big ideas not matched with personal or professional ethics, Murray Rothbard, the honored but often volatile proponent for the free market, and Charles Koch, the CEO of a privately owned petroleum company that was profiting in Vietnam with Halliburton and is now profiting in Iraq with the same partners and receiving cost plus contracts in unlikely places. The links between the Kochs and Bushes are well known to insiders. One of the first acts of the Bush Administration in 2001 was to quash the nearly 400 major EPA violations enforced against Koch Industries.

Murray was ousted for asking questions at their first board meeting in 1981. His comments were loud. Murray was like that. At the time most of us thought the conflict was personalities. Today, the real explanation is more prosaic. Murray would be glad to know that he was right about the 'cloven hoof' exhibited by Crane and Cato.

Murray was clearly going to be a problem for Cato when they started positioning themselves as 'free market.' What was really happening was a broad sweep of corporatization coming in with the onslaught of the Reagan Administration. In case you had not heard Reagan was a NeoCon. The warning had gone out from United Republicans of California in 1975 with this Resolution, accompanied by three pages of documentation in 8 point type.

Some of the Cato donations still come from committed freedom activists and not major GRID corporations. But don't imagine for a moment that those bare mentions are without further agenda. Events out of sight of most Ron Paul Activists have continued to develop.

The third quarter fundraising reports showed Paul's official campaign bringing in slightly over $5 million from 127,000 small contributors. That is major because those involved know that means a mainstream breakout that cannot be accounted for by old line libertarians or even the whole of the previous freedom movement.

The remarks made by the arrogant Catoites are still snarky and positioned to marginalize Paul but provide a repositioning for them that doubtless presaged a further move towards safe ground. Those who have profited through the Cato strategy so useful to the NeoCons knew perfectly well they are between a rock and a hard place.

Cato, Crane, and the Howie Cogs need to reposition themselves desperately. They might have been useful to the GRID corporations but there is no sign they will be protected in the conflict now coming. Better to have a foot in both camps. For months now there have been signs they want to move back into the now burgeoning movement and bring their wealth and centrist attitudes with them. They have a beachhead right there in DC.

The Paul campaign is not really the badly run, self aggrandizing office staff in Arlington Virginia, heavily weighted to either incompetent retread Libertarians or Cato graduates, the REAL campaign is out in the hinterland taking the ideas into the mainstream through sheer grit and determination, despite those at Head Quarters. Early 'build out' in the HQ tried diligently to control those elements, but failed. Now they settle for taking credit for work they had no positive role in creating.

This unpalatable truth is widely under discussion among local activists. Those who know Ron report that he is very trusting but the question of why there is no steering committee must be taken up. Such a committee should be made up of old time, trusted friends who have no links to Cato.

Most of the new, committed, activists were never previously political but report the same problems of arrogant, incompetent 'directors' sent from the DC office. Typical of those local activists is Linda Hunnicutt, a grandma from North Carolina who, although she is fighting lung cancer, still painted her RV Red, White and Blue, slathered it with Ron Paul signs and took to the road for Paul. Linda founded the Warrior Grannies to take America back.

“Linda Hunnicutt, the Granny Warrior, met Ron Paul for the first time in 2005 when she was on a personal crusade to stop the busibodiness of government. Linda had become aware that the U. S. Department of Agriculture was interfering with the right of individuals to own exotic animals and become active on the issue.”

But positioning itself to avoid the problem of being on the wrong side is only one motivation for the Cato Crew. Also worrying them is the indictment, with more to come, of one of their most trusted and central members. Paul Jacob was indicted in Oklahoma. Paul is a long time associate of the Crane Machine, working through the Howie Cogs in New York, now spread out across the country.

That story, which has long legs, and will eventually result in more indictments, began with a blogger, Hart Williams, of Oregon. Williams, a local activist who had been a working journalist for 30 years with various prestigious magazines and papers, noticed that the initiatives that would take control away from local people were coming from out of state sources who obviously did not want to be identified.

He started digging.

Eventually, he had the whole story which others, associated with more formal institutions, used to bring the Crane-Howie conspiracy to light. He was featured in a segment from PBS's NOW early in the process.

The story that came to light involved a long time courtship of John Walton, who at his death donated $300,000,000.00 to the excited and ambitious Howie Cogs to further their profitable work on behalf of GRID Corporations. The original corporate structure and its assets were donated by the Kochs for the use of Howie and Cogs. That became Americans for Limited Government. That transaction took place in the early 90s. The 'branch office' near Walton's home was immediately closed, its purpose fulfilled.

The issue that concerns those who are working for freedom is that of defederalizing government to bring it back into alignment with the Constitution and ensure transparency. Despite the following attempt to reposition himself Jacobs' work had nothing to do with freedom. The bald fact is that GRID corporations such as Koch Industries are not heroes in the Objectivist model; they are the problem. It is local residents of states who have the Constitutional right to determine their form of government. Reason promptly weighed in with support for Jacobs this morning, running this self-serving interview. Reason has also ignored the Paul Campaign until now.

“The difficulty of keeping a free country is involved in both cases. I’ve got a 7-year-old, I’ve got a 15-year-old, and a 23-year-old with an almost two-year-old son, and a wife who I like to think needs me. I don’t want to be going through this, but we have got to stop government from rolling over us. I didn’t choose this fight, but I’m going to fight these guys and we have to band together as a people. I have been moved in the last two days by the amount of good wishes and help pouring out from people left, right, and in between. I’m not going to let this politician in Oklahoma roll over our initiative rights, so I plan to fight with everything I got. I hope in the end we win and I think we will.”

The money that Jacobs and such other activists as Eric Dondaro, Leslie Keyes, and others have been 'making' was fed through the hands of Howie Cogs in lavish stipends and on to 'initiatives' that all work to the advantage of GRID corporations and to the detriment of ordinary people at the local level. That has always been the strategy they followed. The campaign to get ballot status for the Libertarian Party in California to benefit Crane candidate Ed Clark was known by activists to be using phony registrations but managed, barely, to avoid prosecution.

This was carefully concealed from Clark, who became alienated from the Crane Machine in the aftermath of the 1980 campaign as did most Libertarians.

Ron Paul is an honest, straight forward man, very unlike those associated with Cato. The Ron Paul Campaign is about getting local communities out of the grasp of federal control. Ironically, it was just yesterday that the Browns, IRS resisters in New Hampshire, were arrested by agents that the local sheriff could have told to get out. Sheriff Richard Mack, one of the proponents for the Mack – Printz Decision that in 1997 affirmed the sheriff of a county as having standing to order the Feds out has taken up the work of educating sheriffs across the country. That is an essential in the campaign for renewing local control.

Ron Paul Activists know that they in parallel with their Paul Campaign work need to provide local solutions in their own communities; a lack of transparency and control from GRID corporations only makes that more difficult.

Understanding how corporate money has worked to corrupt the Constitution, the rights of individuals and erase the borders between Federal control and local government that should be in the hands of the people needs to continue. The enemy you face is all too often someone you thought you could trust.

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