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The Enemy Within: Cato and its Covert Agenda

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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?

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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."”

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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.

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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.

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Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father (more...)

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