NSA leaker Edward Snowden accused the U.S. surveillance agency of “setting fire to the future of the Internet,” and called Monday for the tech community to be “the firefighters.”
The former NSA contractor received a warm reception while speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival remotely via video from Russia where he’s lived since having been granted temporary asylum.
Snowden appeared in front of a green-screen that showed Article One of the U.S. Constitution.
“I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and I saw that the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale,” Snowden said.
Snowden faces felony charges in the U.S. after revealing the agency’s mass surveillance program by leaking thousands of classified documents to media outlets.
Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, also spoke at Monday’s event.
“Let me be clear about one thing: His disclosures have improved Internet security,” he said of Snowden, NBC News reported.
Fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed the Austin conference on Saturday, and called the NSA a “rogue agency.” Assange is living in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Monday’s session began at 11 a.m. Central Time and ended about an hour later.
WITHOUT A TRACE!
Details concerning the sudden, Saturday disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 continue to trickle in. Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the missing Boeing 777 carrying 227 passengers an “unprecedented mystery.”
Here’s what we do know: The flight disappeared on Friday night/Saturday morning en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane was at cruising altitude (35,000 feet) and weather was more or less clear. Air traffic controllers in Vietnam say contact with the crew disappeared about 120 nautical miles east of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, and radar signals suggest the plane may have turned around before losing contact.
And yet, nearly three whole days later, there are still no signs of the jet or its passengers. And an oil slick spotted in the South China sea originally thought to be a clue turned out to be a false lead.
Two Italian passengers said to be aboard the flight turned out to be safe on the ground, when they told authorities that their passports had, in fact, been stolen earlier. Someone aboard the flight was said to be using them, one of whom resembled a famous soccer player.
Adding another wrinkle to the case, the Wall Street Journal reports that airliners “such as the Malaysian jet also carry emergency beacons to transmit the aircraft’s location in the event of a mishap so that rescue teams can reach the site.”
These beacons, called emergency locator devices, are activated by impact on land or water, along with other emergency communications equipment. Malaysia’s aviation regulator said no signals were received from flight MH370′s beacon.
“There are many theories that have been said in the media,” Rahman said during a press conference. “Many experts around the world have contributed their expertise and knowledge about what could happen, what happened….We are puzzled as well.”
Naturally, conspiracy theories are already flying left and right on social media. One theory suggests the plane’s sudden disappearance is a “false flag” operation intentionally planted by CNN. Another claims that some relatives of the passengers onboard have even reported hearing their phones ring–but no one is answering.
Other tin foilers have gone so far as to suggest that the plane simply vanished. “If we never find the debris,” writes one skeptic, “it means some entirely new, mysterious and powerful force is at work on our planet which can pluck airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind even a shred of evidence.”
Another, just as bizarre conspiracy theory suggests terrorists hijacked the plane, and have parked the plane intact in an abandoned hanger to use as “a weapon of mass destruction” in the future:
Over at Reddit, speculation is surprisingly measured. Says one user who claims to be a pilot:
At 35,000 feet they’d be able to travel another ~100-120 miles (far enough to reach the coast of Vietnam). Depending on the speed of the aircraft, it would take at least 15-30 minutes to reach the earth (or sea), giving them ample time to make a distress call. Throw in this weird stuff with the fake passports, and now reports that the plane apparently had attempted to turn back, and this makes me think something pretty sudden and catastrophic must have happened, and mechanical and/or pilot error seems unlikely in this case.
On Monday, China’s state-run media blasted the Malaysian government’s rescue efforts, arguing that initial reaction from the country “was not swift enough.” Currently, at least 45 ships and 22 aircraft from nine countries, including the U.S., China, and more, are partaking in a joint multi-national rescue effort. “If [the disappearance] is due to a deadly mechanical breakdown or pilot error, then Malaysia Airlines should take the blame,” wrote China’s Global Times in a scathing editorial. “If this is a terrorist attack, then the security check at the Kuala Lumpur airport and on the flight is questionable.”
MORE at – Fast Company
US-style diplomacy features bullying, bluster and coercion. Cowing other nations to comply with its diktats is longstanding Washington policy. Outliers face stiff reprisals.
Post-9/11, former Bush Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage notorious warned Pakistan, saying: “You will either accept our carpet of gold or we will carpet-bomb you back to the Stone Age.”
John Perkins was an “economic hit man.” His job was plundering countries for profit. It’s controlling their resources.
It’s impoverishing them. It’s bankrupting them. It’s entrapping them in debt bondage. It’s exploiting their people.
Nations refusing face major reprisals. Washington stops at nothing to achieve goals. Tactics include bullying, intimidation, punishing sanctions, assassinations, coups and lawless aggression.
Washington rules apply. It’s a game as old as empire. Go along or else. Nothing too outlandish is out of bounds.
Rule of law principles are ignored. Human lives and welfare aren’t important. Advancing America’s imperium matters most.
Hegemons operate this way. Washington is totally out-of-control.
Neocons make policy. How many regime changes are too many?
When does overreach risk global war? Perhaps bullying Russia too much risks it.
The damn fool in the White House lost his senses. So did his damn fool Secretary of State. On March 8, The New York Times headlined “Kerry Warns Russia Against Annexation of Crimea.”
According to an unnamed State Department official, doing so would “close any available space for diplomacy.”
He warned against “continued military escalation and provocation in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine…” He “urged utmost restraint.”
He responded to Russia’s upper house Federation Council and lower house State Duma saying they support Crimean parliamentarians wanting to join Russia.
It’s their choice. It’s entirely legal. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence. A World Court July 2010 advisory opinion affirmed its right to do so,” saying:
Its “declaration of independence of the 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law because (it) contains no ‘prohibition on declarations of independence.’ ”
On September 18, 2014, Scottish citizens vote up or down on independence. It’s their choice.
Crimeans can opt out of Ukraine the same way. They can declare independence or join Russia. It’s their legal right. Claims otherwise are false.
Moscow has every right to welcome them. Odds favor it happening. US threats won’t stop it.
Kerry is a world class bully. His counterpart Sergei Lavrov is a consummate diplomat. On Saturday, he said:
“We are ready to continue the dialogue on the understanding that the dialogue must be honest, partnership-like, without attempts to show us almost as a party to the conflict.”
Moscow rejects Kiev putschist governance. It does so responsibly. It has no legitimacy whatever. Power-grabbers lack it entirely.
“The so-called interim government is not independent,” said Lavrov. “To our huge regret, it is dependent on the radical nationalists who (lawlessly) seized power in an armed attack.”
“It seems to me our Western partners are well aware of what they are because they visit there regularly, and share very alarming impressions in private candid conversations, but for the reasons of seemingly political expediency are trying to hush up these facts.”
“Effectively, there is no state control whatsoever over public order, and the music is ordered by the so-called Right Sector which operates with the methods of terror and intimidation.”
“Already, threats are sounded not only against officials in Kiev and other Ukrainian regions, but against heads of the Russian regions neighboring with Ukraine as well.”
Lavrov wants Kiev sniper shootings independently investigated. Russia’s State Duma intends to do so.
What happened “can no longer be swept under the rug,” said Lavrov. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had nothing to do with them.
He was wrongfully accused. Evidence showed putschists were responsible. They murdered scores of civilians and police. They did so in cold blood.
They shot them from roof tops. He fired from windows of nearby buildings. Washington’s dirty hands were involved. Nothing too underhanded is too dirty to topple sitting governments it opposes.
Rogue states operate this way. None match US ruthlessness.
In talks with John Kerry, Lavrov “warned against hasty and reckless steps capable of causing harm to Russian-American relations, particularly…sanctions which would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”
He urged common sense. It’s not a US attribute. Lavrov knows what he’s up against. Dealing with an out-of-control hegemon isn’t easy.
Restraint is entirely lacking. Barrel-of-a-gun diplomacy is featured. One country after another is ravaged. Millions of corpses attests to US depravity.
Lavrov shows remarkable resilience. The patience of Job describes him. His bests efforts may fall short.
His Foreign Ministry issued a blistering statement, saying:
“A number of the member states and executive bodies of the OSCE have behaved in the worst traditions of double standards with respect to the situation in Ukraine.”
“Despite their mandate, they said nothing about the rise of nationalist and neo-Nazi sentiments, and, of course, ‘did not notice’ the forceful activities of extremist forces.”
“Ill-disguised attempts to turn a blind eye to crimes committed in Kiev and Western Ukraine are accompanied by a desire to strictly track the activities of the legitimate Crimean authorities aimed at independent determination of their future, and all this is being done in contravention of the OSCE’s basic principle of consensus, without taking into account the opinions and recommendations of the Russian side, without waiting for official invitations from the authorities of Crimea.”
“Russia will not accept the language of sanctions and threats, but in the event of their implementation…they will not be left without a response.”
Instead of resolving things responsibly, Washington and complicit EU states escalate them dangerously.
Media scoundrels hype Big Lies. Scurrilous reporting and commentaries proliferate.
The Los Angeles Times relied on illegitimate Kiev defense spokesman Alexei Mazepa. He lied claiming hundreds of Russian marines invaded Crimea.
“Russia is expanding its military presence on the peninsula,” he said. “There are thousands of Russian troops now in Crimea in addition to the official contingent of the Black Sea fleet,” he claimed
“There is no other word to describe the process but as an all-out invasion.”
No responsible editor would publish this trash. Don’t expect LA Times editors to explain.
AP was no better, headlining “Russia Reinforces Military Presence in Crimea,” saying:
“Dozens of military trucks transporting heavily armed soldiers rumbled over Crimea’s rutted roads Saturday as Russia reinforced its armed presence on the disputed peninsula in the Black Sea.”
Crimean-based Kiev source Vladislav Seleznyov claimed Russian amphibious ships unloaded around 200 military vehicles on Friday.
“Neither the equipment nor the ‘paratroopers’ have insignia that identify them as Russian, but we have no doubt as to their allegiance,” he said.
AP outrageously accused Russia of “seiz(ing) control of Crimea.” So did most other media scoundrels. Their reports and commentaries say so.
Haaretz hyped the Big Lie. On March 9, it headlined “Russian forces tighten grip on Crimea despite US warning.”
It cited Kiev spokesman Oleh Slobodyan claiming Russian forces took over a western Crimea border post. It controls 10 others across the Autonomous Republic, it said.
Fox News lied claiming “Russian troops hold Ukrainian border guards hostage.”
No evidence whatever suggests Russian forces operating on Crimean territory except those related to its Black Sea Fleet.
Don’t expect media scoundrels to explain. Big Lies proliferate like crab grass.
Putin said Russia has no intention of annexing Crimea unilaterally. At the same time, its residents are entitled to decide their status on their own, he maintained.
On Sunday, March 9, alone, scurrilous reports continued. The New York Times headlined “Suspicion Falls on Russia as ‘Snake’ Cyberattacks Target Ukraine’s Government.”
A second one headlined “Kerry Warns Russia Against Annexation of Crimea.”
Days earlier, Times imperial apologist Roger Cohen headlined “Ukraine Fights for Its Truth.”
The Washington Post headlined “Russian forces tighten grip on Crimea, surrounding border guard stations.”
WaPo editors featured Bush Secretary of State/unindicted war criminal Condoleezza Rice headlining “The US must lead again.”
The Wall Street Journal features one or more daily scurrilous reports and/or commentaries. A Saturday one headlined “Why Putin Fears Ukraine: It’s an Alternative Russia.”
The Chicago Tribune headlined “Putin, West butt heads over Crimean secession.”
An accompanying editorial headlined “Be firm, be patient on Ukraine.”
A days earlier commentary hyped “The Invasion of Ukraine.”
A Los Angeles Times editorial headlined “Putin plays with fire in Ukraine.”
Numerous other reports, commentaries and editorials proliferate Big Lies. They do it daily.
Lawless neo-Nazi Kiev putschists are considered Ukraine’s legitimate government. Yanukovych was maliciously accused of mass murder they committed.
Clear evidence showing otherwise is suppressed. US imperial lawlessness gets no attention. Russia/Putin bashing exceeds the worst of Cold War geopolitics.
Big Lies drown out truth. Readers and viewers are systematically deceived. Headlining screaming misinformation substitutes for legitimate journalism.
It’s available only in alternative spaces. It’s a commodity perhaps more than ever needed. It bears repeating what other articles stressed.
Today is the most perilous time in world history. Peace may hang by a thread. Some savvy observers think war is inevitable.
Potential East/West confrontation looms. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance. What’s more important than peace?
Mindless US policy risks global war. There’s no turning back if it erupts. Perhaps they’ll be no way of avoiding the worst of all outcomes. Imagine risking that possible outcome.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Ukrainian gold reserves loaded on an unidentified transport aircraft in Kiev and flown to Uncle Sam’s vault ?
According to the iskra-news.info last night ,Ukrainian gold reserves (40 sealed boxes) were loaded on an unidentified transport aircraft in Kiev’s Borispol airport. The board took off immediately.
A source in the Ukrainian government confirmed that the transfer of the gold reserves of Ukraine to the United States was ordered by the acting PM Arseny Yatsenyuk.
So my guess is, that is if indeed this report is true it either means the new ruling elite have stolen the gold bullion or perhaps their is a legitimate fear of the Russians taking possession of this bullion, whatever the facts, it still looks very shady indeed.
More at Newswire 24
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli guards shot and killed a Jordanian judge on Monday who the Israelis said “tried to grab a rifle from a soldier” (uh huh) at the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.
The shooting took place at the Allenby crossing as the man was going from Jordan into the West Bank, the Israeli army said.
The man was initially identified only as a Palestinian but a Jordanian judicial official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, later confirmed that he was a judge working in Amman since 2009. The killed man was identified as magistrate Raed Zueter.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident was under investigation and that it appeared to have nationalistic motives. The crossing was temporarily closed, Rosenfeld added.
Shootings at the Allenby crossing on the West Bank-Jordan border are rare. Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement 20 years ago and have close security ties.
The border terminal is operated jointly by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. It is the main border crossing for Palestinians from the West Bank traveling to neighboring Jordan and beyond, and it is a crossing point for goods between Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.
Foreign diplomats and tourists also travel through the border crossing. Israelis are not permitted to use the crossing.
A spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, Sabah al-Rafia, said authorities were trying to get more details from the Israeli side on the incident.
The judge’s father, Alaa Zueter, told The Associated Press that he had gone to court to see his son today but didn’t find him at work and only later heard on the media what had happened.
“I didn’t know my son went to the West Bank today,” said the man, crying over the telephone. He said he didn’t know what his son’s business was in the Palestinian territory.
About half of Jordan’s population is Palestinian, and many Palestinians in the West Bank hold Jordanian citizenship. The Palestinians seek the West Bank, captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967, as part of a future independent state.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian self-rule government condemned the killing of the judge. It called for an independent investigation, saying: “this killing is one of a series violation of human rights in Palestine.”
A protest was expected later Monday outside the Israeli Embassy in Amman.
Before the BIS (Bank of International Settlements or The Central bank’s bank, and the IMF (and other MFs) tighten their grip on your real wealth, and or use negative austerity measures….. We need to invoke POSITIVE Austerity. P.A. – means cutting elite services like Corporate welfare / subsidies, the police state, the MIC, SIC, Fed interest, and bloated bureaucracy etc…
The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S.’s gross domestic product.
Borrowing has soared as central banks suppress benchmark interest rates to spur growth after the U.S. subprime mortgage market collapsed and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy sent the world into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yields on all types of bonds, from governments to corporates and mortgages, average about 2 percent, down from more than 4.8 percent in 2007, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Index.
“Given the significant expansion in government spending in recent years, governments (including central, state and local governments) have been the largest debt issuers,” according to Branimir Gruic, an analyst, and Andreas Schrimpf, an economist at the BIS. The organization is owned by 60 central banks and hosts the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a group of regulators and central bankers that sets global capital standards.
Marketable U.S. government debt outstanding has surged to a record $12 trillion, up from $4.5 trillion at the end of 2007, according to U.S. Treasury data compiled by Bloomberg. Corporate bond sales globally jumped during the period, with issuance totaling more than $21 trillion, Bloomberg data show.
Concerned that high debt loads would cause international investors to avoid their markets, many nations resorted to austerity measures of reduced spending and increased taxes, reining in their economies in the process as they tried to restore the fiscal order they abandoned to fight the worldwide recession.
Adjusting budgets to ignore interest payments, the International Monetary Fund said late last year that the so-called primary deficit in the Group of Seven countries reached an average 5.1 percent in 2010 when also smoothed to ignore large economic swings. The measure will fall to 1.2 percent this year, the IMF predicted.
The unprecedented retrenchments between 2010 and 2013 amounted to 3.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and 3.3 percent of euro-area GDP, according to Julian Callow, chief international economist at Barclays Plc in London.
The riskiest to the most-creditworthy bonds have returned more than 31 percent since 2007, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. Treasury and agency debt handed investors gains of 27 percent in the period, while corporate bonds worldwide returned more than 40 percent, the indexes show.
And this is one of the things at stake with the new crisis. Still think its about “revolution” ?
The deal to develop its western Olesska field followed a similar shale gas agreement with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) in January and boosts Ukraine’s leadership at a time of fraught relations with Moscow over gas supplies.
“The agreements with Shell and Chevron … will enable us to have full sufficiency in gas by 2020 and, under an optimistic scenario, even enable us to export energy,” President Viktor Yanukovich told investors shortly before the signing.
The highest end of expectations for Olesska’s potential reserves would match around three years of European Union gas demand, but similarly sunny hopes for shale reserves in neighboring Poland have been very sharply downsized.
Shale development in Europe is far behind the booming U.S. sector and progress is patchy. Chevron pulled out of a shale exploration tender in Lithuania and has suspended work at a Romanian shale well after local protests.
“This is one more step towards achieving full energy independence for the state. This will bring cheaper gas prices and the sort of just prices which exist (elsewhere) in the world,” he said.
Ukraine pays $400 per thousand cubic meters for Russian gas under a 2009 10-year agreement. Kiev has failed to re-negotiate its terms with Moscow.
The agreement with Chevron, to extend for 50 years, foresaw an initial investment of $350 million by the U.S. major in exploratory work over two or three years, Stavytsky said, aimed at establishing the commercial viability of shale reserves in the 5,260 square km (2,000 square miles) Olesska, part of a band of shale which stretches from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Earlier government figures set total investments, including extraction after exploratory drilling, at around $10 billion.
FRICTION WITH RUSSIA
Stavytsky said the Ukrainian side hoped that exploratory work would yield more detailed information about reserves at Olesska in 2015.
It was expected that Olesska would produce 5 billion cubic meters per year – and possibly as much as 8-10 billion cubic meters, he said.
The deal with Shell, which is at a similar level of investment, is for exploration at Yuzivska in eastern Ukraine.
The two shale projects could provide Ukraine with an additional 11 to 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in five years’ time, according to projections by the Kiev government.
With Ukraine also a transit route for Russian gas to Europe, rows in the past which have led to disruption for European consumers.
The two sides clashed over prices in the winters of 2006 and 2009, with Moscow halting deliveries not only to Ukraine but to the rest of Europe.
With Russia angered over Ukraine’s plans to sign a landmark agreement with the European Union which will mark a shift away from Russia’s sphere of influence, the issue has flared again.
Late last month, Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) demanded Ukraine pay a $882 million overdue gas bill urgently.
Stavytsky said on Tuesday that Ukraine had already begun to settle the outstanding bill but gave no details.
Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said his company had recently received $9 million in payments from Naftogaz Ukraine. “It’s just a drop in the ocean,” he said.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has since said he sees no reason for Moscow to cut gas supplies to Ukraine over the unpaid bill for now and has played down talk of an imminent “gas war” that might disrupt flows to Europe.
Robbie Martin Joins Jack Blood to Discuss the Media Firestorm Surrounding his Sister Abby, WW3, Freemasonry, and His Music
The biggest story on the Web this week was Abby Martin speaking out against Russian aggression on “Russia Today America”
Abby’s TV show “Breaking the Set” is one of a kind. We applaud her for taking a stand!
However this controversy has raised many questions by those patronizing the Alternative media. Robbie Martin was kind enough to answer all of our questions (and yours)
The conversation then turns to Robbie’s Music, his record label, his satire of Freemasonry, and politics du jour.
Robbie’s news site is Media Roots where he does a regular podcast.
Robbie’s band is Fluorescent Grey
His record Label is at www.recordlabelrecords.org
JB Show Exclusive: Fired NM Police Chief Shane Harger breaks his Silence! Tells of Corruption, Drug Cover Ups, Murder, and How he will go forward as an Honest Cop
Thanks to our roving producer Greg Knight for all of his work making this happen!
This show will BLOW YOUR MIND! You will want to share this with all of your friends etc..
Never before have you heard a Police Officer be this candid. Chief Shane Harger pulls no punches!
In this 60 min interview with Jack Blood, Chief Harger discusses the incident with a (fired / rehired) TSA officer that started a media storm which ended with Harger being fired, along with his entire staff, from the NM Tourist town of Jemez Springs. ALSO: How this was payback for enforcing the laws the rest of us have to follow on the towns elite.
The controversy all began when Chief Harger was on the way to Las Vegas to attend the “Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association” (CSPOA) Convention 28 January 2014 (This after he signed a document promising to honor the US Constitution while performing his duties as a Peace Officer. )
The chief also talks about Drug dealing and smuggling cover ups in New Mexico, corrupt police using checkpoints to harass citizens, and the murder he walked into when (allegedly) a fellow cop had just killed his own wife… as well as how his fellow officers destroyed evidence, and covered up that murder.
More info on this case HERE: Update: TSA Harasses Police Chief – Placed On Administrative Leave – Told To Disband Entire Police Department
Keeping in mind that Ted Cruz is CANADIAN – and therefore INELIGIBLE! Congrats to all of the Paul 2016 supporters!
Rubio and Ryan, GOP leaders in Congress all see big drops in support
Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote — nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.
The poll also found a strong plurality of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference believe marijuana should be fully legalized, with 41 percent saying it’s time to change the law and tax it. Another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases.
In the presidential poll, Mr. Cruz’s 11 percent was a big improvement for the freshman senator, who won just 4 percent in last year’s straw poll. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third with 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fourth with 8 percent in results that signal growing discontent with the GOP establishment in Washington.
Indeed, CPAC voters now have an unfavorable view of Republicans in Congress, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of the job the GOP is doing on Capitol Hill. Just last year the GOP had a 54 percent approval rating, and in 2012 they held a 70 percent approval rating.
But a series of tough votes over the last few months that saw Republican leaders work with President Obama to boost spending and raised the government’s debt limit have deepened a rift between the GOP’s leadership on Capitol Hill and conservative activists around the country.
That could be one reason why Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote December’s budget deal that boosted spending in 2014 and 2015, saw his standing with CPAC voters cut in half — from 6 percent support in last year’s presidential straw poll to just 3 percent this year.
Sen. Marco Rubio suffered an even bigger drop, falling from 23 percent and second place in 2013 to seventh place, with 6 percent, this year.
For Mr. Paul, the victory is his second in a row, and he saw his support climb from 25 percent last year to 31 percent this year.
“He is the only true liberty candidate who focuses on civil liberties more than anybody else,” said Al Seltzinger, 36, from Baltimore. “I think the way the nation is going today with the government and the president going against the Constitution that we need someone who holds strict to the Constitution and whose voting record is pretty solid when it comes to the Constitution.”
Mr. Cruz also jumped from just 4 percent last year — when he was a newly sworn-in senator — to his 11 percent this year.
Mr. Carson, who gained prominence with a 27-minute speech challenging Mr. Obama when the two appeared at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, is also on the rise. In last year’s straw poll, taken just after that speech, he garnered 4 percent of the vote, but jumped to 9 percent this year.
For his part Mr. Christie, who has faced political troubles back home in New Jersey after his staffers caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to punish a town mayor, seems to be holding steady among activists. He rose from 7 percent last year to 8 percent support this year.