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July 03, 2007

Into the Mouth of Madness: An AoSHQ Digital Blackshirt Inflitrates A Ron Paul Rally

Note: Russ is having trouble uploading pictures. I'll see if I can add them to this later. Also I added in a subhed to his headline, so people will know what this is about.

Hello. Russ from Winterset here. Longtime commenter, first time poster, so bear with me because, well let's face it; I'm a retard. I attended a "Ron Paul for President" rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, and I've been trying all day to get my pictures posted here. I already had access to mu.nu thanks to Kathy at CakeEater Chronicles, but I didn't have picture privlidges (I guess she was worried that I'd fill her little culture blog up with pr0n or something like that). Ace gave me the keys to the blog, and went back and allowed me to post pictures, but now I'm getting error messages when I try to upload my pictures. So fuck it. I'll do this article with words alone.


Winterset is a small town about 40 miles Southwest of Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, and when I heard that Ron Paul would be coming to Des Moines, I knew that I should liveblog it and post my pictures and thoughts here at the HQ. The event held earlier in the day was the Iowans for Tax Relief Presidential Forum, and Ron Paul's army of winged monkeys were outraged that their man wasn't invited.

Why wasn't he invited? Maybe that "less than 1%" support level in local polls had something to do with it, but I don't give a damn. It's a privately sponsored forum, so they've got the right to invite whoever they damn well choose to invite.

The Paul campaign decided to rent the room RIGHT NEXT TO the ITR forum and throw his own little pep rally. Seriously, folks, all that was missing were the giant paper mache heads and people wearing homemade Trek uniforms to make this a full blown spectacle. My wife commutes to work in downtown DSM, and she called me Friday afternoon to say that the Paul supporters had placed signs on all the overpasses on Interstate 235 and were roaming through downtown DSM with signs attached to the tops of their cars.

Please don't get me wrong: I like Libertarians. I agree that our federal government is way to damn big and that state & local levels of government are where most of the work actually gets done, and I even agree somewhat that our nation's fiscal policy needs to be changed before we spend ourselves into a long national "Hammertime!" - but these agreements on policy don't make libertarians themselves any less annoying.

Let's face it: Libertarians are like that guy everyone knew in High School, who just had to jump into your discussion on "Who's the Greatest Guitar Player?" with a ten minute rant about how Yngwie Malmsteen IS THE GREATEST GUITARIST EVER AND HIS INFLUENCE WILL ECHO THROUGH HISTORY FOR GENERATIONS, IN FACT I WOULDN'T BE SHOCKED IF THEY RENAMED THE "GUITAR" AS THE "YNGWIE" SOMEDAY! Libertarians aren't really "joiners", and when you get enough of them together to try and make them line up behind one cause, the friction that results can be really funny. Well, at least it's "Margaret Cho funny".

Anyway, back to my day. I arrived downtown at 4pm for an announced rally start time of 4:30, and was disappointed to find NO paper mache heads among the crowd of supporters. There was one guy standing on the corner just North of the HyVee Hall (where both events were being held) and shouting at traffic "RON PAUL IS FOUNDING FATHERS MATERIAL!" and "RON PAUL IS FOR REAL TAX REFORM!". I think I saw his brother handing out pamphlets in Dealey Plaza the last time I was in Dallas, so I steered well clear of him, just in case he wanted to be my newest bestest buddy.

Everyone started moving inside around 4:15, and I fell in with a group who had driven up from Kansas City that morning. They were surprised to find that I was from Iowa, (which would become one of the themes of the day) and we had a nice conversation about how convenient the drive from KC to DSM is on I-35. They seemed like good people, which is nice. Like I said before, I respect libertarianism and like seeing that there are libertarians who seem to be "just like me". When I got into the hall, we were directed to the concession stands at the back of the room where Ron Paul treated all of us to free cheeseburgers and chips. Thank you, Ron Paul. That ice cold Coke really hit the spot.

While I was waiting in line for the food, I struck up a conversation with two guys who'd come in from the Illinois side of the Quad Cities. They were also amazed to find an Iowan there among them. I overheard groups talk about coming down from Minneapolis, over from Chicago, over from Omaha (Nebraskans for Ron Paul seemed to be a BIG part of the group outside the Hall), and I had one person tell me that big groups came in from New Mexico and Arkansas. Hey, it's not as if we Iowans aren't a welcoming bunch, but it kind of seems smarmy to bring in large outside groups to demonstrate your ability to get interest locally. Of the 1000 people at the rally (I counted chairs, and last time I checked 50 rows of 20 chairs per row adds up to 1000) I'd guess that there were 100 members of the Paul organization, maybe 50 media members, and another 600-700 out of state supporters, leaving only about 150 or 250 spots left for honest-to-God Iowa voters. How many of them were Ron Paul voters and how many were spectators like myself? Who knows.

They started out the rally with an "opening act", some state legislator from Missouri? Say WHAT? Missouri? Iowa doesn't have enough political freaks that they had to import one from our toothless cousins to the South? OK, not the way I would have started the rally, but let's see what's next.

Next comes the National Campaign Manager for Ron Paul. He makes some comments about revolution in government, blah, blah, blah, abolish the IRS, blah, blah, blah, fiat currency, blah, blah. I laughed when he mentioned that Ron Paul will have 10,000 supporters at the upcoming Iowa Straw Poll held at the "Ames Colliseum". I guess this is where having more Iowa people on the staff would have helped: There IS no Ames Colliseum, but there is a "Hilton Colliseum" in Ames, Iowa where the mighty Iowa State University Cyclones wrestle and play basketball. Is it too much to ask to have the campaign get the names straight? Do the New York Yankees play their games at "New York Ballpark"? Do the Dallas Cowboys snort their blow and bang their hookers after playing a game at "Dallas Field"? Are roughly half of the Cincinnati Bengals incarcerated at the "Ohio State Pennitentary"? Well, OK, maybe the last one's right, but you get the point.

Then comes the clips from the big CNN debate in New Hampshire (you know, the one where Rudy's answer was interrupted by lightning). They were edited to make Ron Paul look as presidential as possible, but I found the last one in the group to be puzzling. Ron Paul was talking about the war in Iraq, and how the money we're spending over there "could be used so much better here in America to educate our children and fund our social programs". What. The. Fuck? I thought libertarians were against federal social programs and government education? The show wrapped up with a graphic showing how great Ron Paul is because his supporters totally spammed the online polls after that debate. Yeah, it's a puzzle why a guy who get's 95% approval in a bullshit online poll can be ranked in popularity somewhere between "explosive diarrhea" and "genital warts", isn't it?

Next thing you know, Ron Paul's on the stage, and the crowd goes wild. He's their Fonzie. He's their Sir Lancelot. He's their Rocky Freaking Balboa. So what's he do with the stage? He goes on to give an 85 minute policy wonk speech, and believe you me, when a libertarian goes off on a policy wonk tangent, that's some heady stuff right there, amigo.

I didn't take notes here, but here are three things that I took away from his speech.

1. A fiat currency is a bad thing. Well, no shit Sherlock. I knew a guy back in high school who had one of those Fiat X19 Bertone two-seaters, and that thing was a giant steaming turd. He was always calling friends for jump starts and tows, and anything we can do to keep those damned Fiats away from our currency is alright with me.

2. "The United States went into Afghanistan at the behest of Big Oil Companies". Huh? I didn't realize that Afghanistan had any oil reserves, but I guess that wouldn't stop Big Oil from wanting their country anyway. I guess it all makes sense when you look at the BIG PICTURE! (Layers!)

3. Ron Paul insisted that our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were "the best thing that could have happened to Iran, since it took two mortal enemies off their borders". This is where I started to tune him out. Bullshit Trutherism sounds the same whether it's coming from the Right or from the Left.

Anyway, that's my report of "What Happened at the Ron Paul Rally". Hopefully, I can pull my head out of my ass & get some pictures posted soon.

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posted by Russ from Winterset at 07:27 PM

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