Ron Paul ‘Revolution’ Strikes at GOP State Parties

Ron Paul ‘Revolution’ strikes at GOP state parties

By NBC’s Anthony Terrell

Ron Paul’s third campaign for president may not lead to the Texas Congressman being nominated at the Republican Convention in Tampa this August — notwithstanding a lawsuit filed by supporters in attempt to make that happen — but, from Maine to Alaska, the “Paul Revolution” has swept state Republican parties.

Out of the national spotlight, Paul activists have mastered obscure local party rules to win key positions of power at state conventions, infiltrating the Republican establishment across the country, including in the key swing states of Iowa and Nevada.

In Massachusetts, they even beat out many prominent pro-Mitt Romney supporters to win spots as Romney delegates. They are informally bound by party rules to vote for Romney still, but the open secret in both parties, is no one is really bound – one of the issues at the heart of the Paul supporters’ lawsuit against the national party.

Ben Margot / AP

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, cheer as Paul speaks at the University of California at Berkeley, Calif.

 

 

Paul’s strategy has always been to motivate “the remnant” to gain influence by getting involved in party politics, and described how that would happen to a small group of reporters in Columbia, S.C., in mid-January.

“We don’t win over the insiders by becoming like an insider,” Paul said. “We win the inside over by making the outsiders become more appropriate.”

But what Paul activists have done in many places is learn the rules of the insiders and use them against them.

After being described as “an outlier for the Republican Party,” Paul Wednesday morning on MSNBC, explained how supporters will achieve his long-term goal of bringing the GOP around to accepting his political philosophy.

“I want to work on the platform,” Paul said, “but we know platforms don’t change people’s attitudes. That’s what we want to do — get attention to changing the attitude, so that we, who are perceived as outliers, become the insiders. And that’s what’s happening. … We’re winning state delegations, state chairmen and small offices, anywhere from city councils to county commissioners.”

Paul supporters are winning elections and becoming party insiders: chairmen, national committeemen, executive board members, elected officials, candidates and delegates.

– In Iowa, four of Paul’s former aides hold leadership positions at the state party, including chairman A.J. Spiker – who was Paul’s state co-chair. At least six members of the Iowa State Central Committee are Paul supporters.

– In Alaska, Republicans voted Russ Millette as the party’s new chairman and Debra Holle Brown as co-chair, both Paul supporters. Local reports call this a sea change in state politics, after “at least 12 years of the Alaska GOP being run by what those party newcomers call ‘establishment Republicans.’”

– In Nevada, Paul supporters won 13 of 14 new elected executive board spots at the Clark County GOP. Four years after having the lights turned out on them at the state convention in 2008, Paul supporters now hold positions at local and county GOP offices across the Silver State.

– In Minnesota, the state Republican Party endorsed Paul supporter and economics teacher Kurt Bills for the GOP Senate nomination. He will face incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar in November.

– And in Maine, 21-year-old Paul supporter Ashley Ryan was elected as the state’s new Republican national committeewoman. The Paul campaign claims she is likely the youngest national committeewoman.

“Look at the next generation,” Paul said on MSNBC. “I mean, there is so much excitement out there. The big deal is that the next generation are sick and tired of what they’re getting and they’re looking for something.  And what we’re offering seems to appeal to the young people.”

Paul also explained that the goal of his movement “is to show that there’s a political benefit toward accepting some of the views that we have.”

“I believe we’re actually doing a favor for the Republican Party. If they would look to us for guidance and to realize that if they would accept some of these things, they might have an easier time winning.”

That said, not everyone’s sold on just how lasting the impact of the “revolution” will be, considering Paul wasn’t able to win a state in the GOP primary and didn’t stop Romney, the most establishment of all the candidates, from becoming the nominee.

Asked which mattered more — influence over party platform or being a state party chairman, Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager, dismissed either and said Paul supporters would be little more than a “hassle we’ll have to deal with.”

“I’m not sure that either have a particularly big influence on the direction of the party,” Schmidt said on MSNBC. “When you have a state chairman who takes over a state party and the state party’s dysfunctional, it’s no longer relevant to the political goals of electing a majority, whether that’s on the Democratic side or Republican side. Typically you see something that is taking place in California, for example, where you know the Republican parties become a small ideological clubhouse, totally faded to irrelevance where they– factions gather twice every year to pass resolutions, denouncing the other faction, and it’s a small clubhouse where people are relevant in the sphere of that small clubhouse, but no longer relevant in terms of being able to shape the outcome of an election — to recruit candidates, to raise money, to register voters. And that’s the direction these dysfunctional parties will go.”

Jeff Johnson, a Republican National Committeeman from Minnesota, though, addressed the anxiety some in the establishment have over this increased participation by Paul’s followers.

“Ron Paul haters, get over it,” Johnson said. “If we don’t grow, we die as a party.”

Nearing the end of his career, Paul, 76, calls his movement an “ideological revolution,” one he says is “alive and well.”

And this year, as Paul disciples become more involved and win elections, it’s a movement the Republican Party is being forced to deal with.

Wash. Post: Former US Supreme Court law clerks think the mandate is done for

Poll: Former Supreme Court clerks think the mandate is done for
Posted by Sarah Kliff at 10:00 AM ET, 06/20/2012

A new poll of 56 former Supreme Court clerks finds that 57 percent think the individual mandate will be overturned. That’s a 22-point jump from the last time the same group of clerks was surveyed, right before oral arguments. Back then, 35 percent thought the court would toss out the required purchase of health insurance.
Most of the clerks found the Supreme Court’s questioning to be more skeptical than they had expected. As one clerk put it to Purple Strategies’ Doug Usher, who conducted the research, “I feel like a dope, because I was one of those who predicted that the Court would uphold the statute by a lopsided majority…it now appears pretty likely that this prediction was way off.”
That seems to capture the mood of the rest of the country, too. Over on InTrade, the estimated likelihood of the Supreme Court overturning the mandate has marched upward ever since oral arguments, hitting 79.9 percent Wednesday morning.
Ezra has more about how, exactly, the Supreme Court overturning the health reform law’s individual mandate went from an outside shot to the conventional wisdom. We have more on why the individual mandate matters here, and also a rundown of the alternatives to the mandate, to increase insurance enrollment, should the provision fall.

Fox News: North Las Vegas Declares Emergency Due to Questionable Spending

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – There are no signs of rioters, wind-damaged homes or flooding. The brand new City Hall features gleaming marble floors and the public recreation centers offer Zumba, karate and Pilates classes.
Despite all of its suburban trimmings, North Las Vegas is officially a disaster area.
After five years of declining property taxes, massive layoffs and questionable spending, leaders of the blue-collar, family-oriented city outside Las Vegas declared a state of emergency, invoking a rarely used state law crafted for unforeseen disasters.
No matter that the statute, which allows municipalities to suspend union contracts and avoid paying scheduled salary increases, doesn’t actually include fiscal emergencies among the list of potential disasters.
“It says, in case of ’emergency such as.’ You can’t list how many different types of emergencies there are in the world,” City Council member Wade Wagner said of the move, which will save the city $9 million.
There are many cities across the nation grappling with declining property values and growing expenses like North Las Vegas, but few, if any, have declared financial emergency.
Stockton, Calif., and Los Angeles explored similar emergency declarations and were met with legal challenges. In Buffalo, N.Y., court officials upheld a wage freeze in 2006 that allowed the city to address its four-year $127 million deficit and avoid financial disaster.
North Las Vegas is among Nevada’s hardest-hit cities, at a time when the state is dealing with the nation’s highest unemployment rate and an unrelenting tide of foreclosures and bankruptcies. Every few months, the state threatens to take over the city.
Even so, the financial disaster declaration is unprecedented in Nevada, raising questions about whether North Las Vegas is overreaching at the expense of its employees and reputation.
“It makes it sound like our buildings are all on fire and they don’t have water to put it out or something,” said Jennifer Meyers, who moved to the city before the housing collapse so her kids could play in the street without worrying about crime.
“It doesn’t sound like a place you would want to move to,” she said.
Union workers, long among the highest compensated government employees in southern Nevada, claim the city won’t be able to defend the emergency designation in court. The police union filed a lawsuit Friday claiming the city was misusing the law.
“Everybody in the city is basically using all their time and all their effort to try to break the unions,” said Sgt. Leonard Cardinale, president of the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association.
Public perception turned against the city’s public safety workers after some union leaders put up billboards last year that read: “Warning: Due to recent police layoffs, we can no longer guarantee your safety!”
It isn’t hard to make the case that North Las Vegas, Nevada’s fourth-largest city, is in trouble.
As its population more than doubled to 223,394 in 2010 from 115,488 in 2000, the city doubled its staff, built a new park each year and, in 2009, started construction on a sparkling $130 million City Hall.
For nearly two years, the city, where residents have long paid the highest tax rate in southern Nevada, has teetered on the edge of insolvency.
One in every 195 homes is in foreclosure, the state’s highest rate. Once the nation’s fastest growing city, it lost more than 3,000 businesses in three years after the recession hit in 2007. Its total revenue has plunged from $817 million in 2009 to $298 million this year.
Hundreds of municipal workers have received pink slips and still the city struggled to close a $30 million budget gap. As a final body blow, Fitch Ratings downgraded the city’s bond rating last month to a “BBB” with a negative watch.
By 2013, the city will have shed more than 800 employees since the recession began.
City officials concede they are far from the urban disasters brought on by Hurricane Katrina or the Los Angeles riots, but argue all the same that North Las Vegas’ fiscal crisis shouldn’t be downplayed.
Without the emergency declaration, the city claims it would have to lay off 217 public safety workers to afford the salary increases required under its police and fire union contracts. Libraries would close and recreation centers would no longer offer swimming and Spanish classes.
“We are in a fiscal emergency,” Wagner said. “North Las Vegas is ground zero basically for foreclosures in the nation. There are only a handful of places that have been hit as hard as North Las Vegas.
“So because our property taxes have declined so much, we really had to invoke this,” Wagner said.
Since then, residents have urged City Hall to keep its libraries and recreation centers and sacrifice public safety, which accounts for 66 percent of the city’s budget. In all, the city expects to go from 1,000 public safety employees in 2011 to 721 in 2013. The City Council voted Wednesday night to turn its jail services over to the city of Las Vegas in a move expected to save $16 million annually.
Residents like Bob Borgersen are fed up with the unions and the council for not being able to compromise as the city continues to struggle. He blamed the council for not saving when its property tax income was flush.
“It’s bad. The property values have gone down to nothing,” he said. “They didn’t think ahead, unfortunately.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/22/financially-strapped-nevada-city-declared-disaster/#ixzz1yj27MuRq

NPR: The Future of Libraries in the E-Book Age by Lynn Neary

NPR: The Future of Libraries In The E-Book Age
by LYNN NEAR

A lot of attention has been focused on the way bookstores and publishing companies are managing the e-book revolution. The role of libraries has often been overlooked. But when HarperCollins Publishing Co. recently announced a new policy that would limit the number of times its e-books can be borrowed, it sparked a larger conversation about the future of libraries in the digital age.

These days, you don’t have to go anywhere near a library to check out an e-book. You can download one to your digital device in a matter of seconds. And there’s no more pesky overdue notices — the e-book simply disappears from your device when your time is up.

“The fact is that with a digital item, if you give it to somebody you still have it. It doesn’t have to come back,” says Eli Neiburger, the director for IT and production at the Ann Arbor District library in Michigan.

E-books, says Neiburger, are really digital files, but libraries and publishers are still trying to deal with them as if they are just like print books. In other words, they’re trying to do business the way they have always done business

“Part of the models we’ve seen so far are still trying to force 20th century business models onto digital content,” Neiburger says. “And any digital native says, ‘You mean I have to wait to download an e-book? What sense does that make?’ And they’re off to the Kindle store to spend $3.99 or $4.99 or $9.99 to get that same book.”

In the current climate, libraries worry they’ll become obsolete. Publishers are afraid they won’t be able to make any money. That’s why HarperCollins came up with a new e-book policy that says an e-book can be checked out 26 times, after which it has to be repurchased. Leslie Hulse, a senior vice president at HarperCollins, says publishers have to place some limitations on the way libraries lend e-books.

“I think the tension is, at the extreme, we could be making a book available to one national library on a simultaneous access model in perpetuity,” says Hulse. “And what that would mean is everyone in the country could check out that book for free at any time, and that’s not a commercially viable solution.”

HarperCollins may have raised the ire of librarians around the country with their new e-book policy, but Christopher Platt, director of collections and circulation at the New York Public Library, says the move has also stimulated a more public discussion about the future of libraries and e-books.

“The HarperCollins limit isn’t going to stick,” he argues.”It’s going to develop into something new. And Harper, to its credit, is engaged with libraries to see what would work.”

Platt has his own ideas about what might work for the future. He says libraries use intermediaries to manage both their physical and digital book collections. He thinks libraries could work with these intermediaries to develop subscription packages of e-books. Libraries would pay the publishers for these subscriptions and use them as they see fit.

“So I’d buy a title with 1,000 uses, and then it’s up to us and our readers whether those 1,000 uses get used simultaneously in the first few days or whether they get drawn out over time,” Platt says. “And then if they do get used quickly, we’ll buy more.”

Neiburger has more radical idea. He thinks libraries could deal directly with content providers: “The goal of the library is to obtain the ability to distribute content to its public. And if we can do that easier and more cheaply with the rights holder or the artist themselves and they make more money on it, then it may be heretical — but the future usually is.”

That idea has potential, says Platt, but it may not be practical in the long run.

“In some scenario that will happen and that will grow,” he says. “You will see more original content coming into library collections going forward and I think that’s a wonderful thing, especially if libraries play a role in creation of that content. But on a regular matter of just ordering at scale the number of e-books that we add to our collection, that’s a very difficult things to manage.”

From the traditional to the visionary, the conversation about libraries in the digital age has begun in earnest. Roberta Stevens, president of the American Library Association, wants more publishing companies to get involved in the conversation, because at the moment some publishers aren’t even willing to sell e-books to libraries. Libraries may be able to survive without those books now, says Stevens, but in the future a lot of books will only be available electronically.

“When we look at the future then we have to really think very seriously about what is our role — and how can we actually serve the millions and millions of people who use our public libraries everyday if we can’t even get access to titles,” says Stevens.

Libraries have always been thought of as a kind of “temple of books” … a place you can go to for peace and quiet, a place to read and think. They are intricate part of the fabric that pulls a community together. But if they are to be relevant in the future they will have to make space for themselves in the digital community as well.