Archive | January 2012

Kenya Post 4: Lake Victoria (plus one)

I don’t have the energy to make a real post tonight, having ridden 7 hours to Lake Victoria, 2 hours of which were on a rickety Kenyan road. Thus, I am posting these three pictures that stood out to me in the hundreds that I’ve already taken. The first two are in the vicinity of Lake Victoria, the last is form a bone jewelry making collective in Kibera, Nairobi.

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Kenya Post 3: Trip to Kibera Slum

Kibera

Kibera is one of the biggest slums on earth. Out of 5 million people in Nairobi, up to 1 million (the number depends on who you ask) live in Kibera making it larger than even supposedly big American cities such as Detroit, MI.

Like slums everywhere, Kibera’s resident flow in from all impoverished areas seeking job opportunities and better lives for their desperate families. Like slums everywhere, Kibera plays an important role in Nairobi’s economy, serving as a source of cheap labor specifically in the manufacture and distribution of hand fabricated goods and migrant agricultural work.
Like slums everywhere, the greater economy depends on keeping the area poor. Public services are sparingly doled out, just enough to keep the residents from rioting, but not so much that the prices of goods coming out of Kibera will rise.

Public sanitation is the greatest challenge in the area. There exists no effective method of handling the large amount of human waste and trash that the area produces. Households will leave waste outside their doorways, where it eventually gets burned or washed away by the rains. One group has created public toilet facilities that composts the waste and uses the methane discharged to allow for cooking by residents. Other public pit latrines are visible in the area, but they are, as yet, too few in numbers to effectively serve the demands of the large numbers of local residents. It is important to note that toilet facilities are not free. If households do not have the money, they will not use them.

Clean water is in plentiful supply, but carefully managed through a system of gouging the public system. The city has run a haphazard series of municipal water pipes through Kibera. Residents either legally or illegally tap into the pipes and then sell the water to other residents. If the tap is legal, the resident must pay a fee to the city. All taps, legal or no, charge for their services. Locals imply that this is merely the market capitalizing on a surrounding demand, but the reality is that the poorest of households cannot afford the water fees. They either illegally procure water from unmanned taps or fetch water from the river which is polluted with human filth. The result of this commercialization of water resources is that poor households have no access to clean drinking water.

Health services are mostly unavailable to resident outside that which is provided by proactive NGOs and private clinics. Though health services are available at low costs from government run clinics, the nearest facility is too far away. I spoke with Elizabeth Akinyi of the “Power Women Group,” a community based organization which supports HIV positive women by selling handmade goods to tourists. She said that anti retrovirals (ARVs) are available from the public clinics, but that the clinics are so far away that even the sickest will not attempt to make the journey. Thus, HIV positive residents depend on the good graces of donor agencies and NGOs to provide medications. Medications, however, are not free so the revenues from the groups store are essential to keeping these women alive and, as they put it, “living positively”.

It should be obvious that the greatest challenge to poor Kenyans is being able to bear the costs of services. As one person told me, “in Kenya, the only thing free is the air.” In addition to water, the city provides power to some parts of Kibera, which also must be paid for. Homemade television antennas can be seen over just about every household. Every once in a while, one can see a satellite dish. Public schools exists, but slots are too few to accommodate all of the children in Kibera, so many go without. Local groups have stepped up to attempt to provide basic education to children but without formal education, the children of Kibera have little future.

All of this, however, should not distract from the incredible resolve of Kiberans to make a better life for themselves. Everyone in Kibera has some kind of business. Street sellers, small fabricators and small businesses are to be seen everywhere. Some follow western models of individual entrepreneurship such as that of the owner of “Apokolipto Cinema” a small DVD theater that runs showing of bootleg horror and action DVDs from morning to night. Many of the larger operations, however, do not. Employee owned fabrication groups produce products for sale in Nairobi, but split profits amongst themselves and provide for school fees of employees’ children such as that of Kibera Jewelry, who make necklaces and other goods from recycled bone products. Kibera tours, the group that allowed me to visit the area, is a mixture. Though owned by one entrepreneur, the success of his tour depends on cooperation with local groups. Profits from his tour group are split between himself and the groups who participate.

It could be said that unemployment is rampant throughout Kibera, but then it could be said that not a day goes by where Kiberans are not doing something to make some money for themselves. A lack of access to capital and dependable city services, however, prevent the area from reaching its true potential.

Kenya Post 2: Arrival

Sunset over Kenya

A grueling flight, though the planes were largely empty, leaving lots of space to spread out. I was even able to sleep lying down.

Even from the sky, Nairobi is doing well. Lights are to be seen everywhere, paved roads are obvious and even from the sky, the condition of the vehicles is vastly superior to anything found in Blantyre, for example. The airport is filled with Kenyan Air planes, newer air terminals and even newer vehicles. Even the terminal bridge features large ads for EPSON printers and not Zain telephone cards. Stepping out of the terminal bridge however, I notice that the tiles on the ground are mismatched and haphazardly linked.

I nearly twist my ankle stepping in. Now this is the Africa I know.

Immediately, I go into travel mode, go through passport control, get bag, exchange money, clear customs, all as quickly as possible to beat the mad rush of people entering who probably don’t know what they’re doing. I secure a taxi driver named Sam. That’s really the first thing you have to do: secure a trustworthy driver. Treat them well and they will treat you well.

He compliments me on my English, though I remark that his English is better than mine. He says “No, no, I used to work in Mombasa.” The US has a base in Mombasa and Sam used to work driving military men around. “The talk so fast, I can’t understand anything they say. And they use foul language.” I inform him that US military recruits often come from the countryside and that they don’t use foul language when their mothers are around. “They should know that they disrespect me. Please tell them.” I agree to.

The talk of the military leads him to give me a run down on the war with Al Shabaab from Somalia. He instructs me not to go to the North. In the States, we fight wars elsewhere. It’s hard to fathom an active conflict just miles away from relative prosperity.

The times have been good to Nairobi. The lights are on. The roads are paved. Cars are in very good condition. The normal burners seen hobbling through Blantyre are not to be seen here. I make note of multitudes of hotels and at least ten neon lit casinos on the way. “The Chinese are here now, ” Sam says.

Indeed he is right. Even billboards are written in Chinese now. It’s clear that Chinese investors are creating a parallel economy, one for the Kenyans, one for western tourists, and yet another for the ever increasing numbers of Chinese investors and laborers that, by appearances, are flooding the country.

He points to a brightly lit hotel and remarks that it used to be the US embassy, you know, the one that was bombed by Al Qaeda in the late 1990’s in the lead up to 9.11. It is now one of the best places to stay in Nairobi.

He mentions witchcraft. One can’t go very long in a conversation in Africa without having the subject brought up at least once. His tells me that even the educated are doing it now. Wives, seeking to reign in sexually wandering husbands, place spells on them to control their activities. I ask him if his wife has placed a spell on him as well. He tells me no, that he treats his wife well, though mentions that one never knows whether one is under the influence of one of these spells. If his wife had bewitched him, he would never know. Any of us could be bewitched, even right now.

I make it to the guest house. One of the gate keepers runs a bomb checking device under the car, with an air of formality. The driver laughs and says exactly what I’m thinking, “this kid probably doesn’t even know what he’s looking for.”

The guest house is run by Seventh Day Adventists. They only serve vegetarian food, which is fine with me, though I note to my horror that caffeinated beverages are not allowed.

It is too late to get food at the guest house so I have Sam drive me to get something to eat. He drops me off at an Italian restaurant in the city center. I am convinced that the best Italian food outside of Italy is in Africa.

Leaving the restaurant, I bolt for the cab. Around 20 street women carrying babies surround me demanding money. I guess this is probably their best way of making a living. The wait outside the Italian restaurant for whiteys to leave, then gang up on them hoping that some money might get thrown their way. Interestingly, they are all dressed exactly the same, as if there is a street mother uniform. I barely make it to the car as the driver panics, “Get in the car!” As the door closes, the mothers’ demeanor changes to the familiar laughing and smiling that Africans are known for. They wave us out. I notice the zipper to my bag is open, though nothing is missing.

We drive through the city center. At this time of night, the only places open are nightclubs and a few casinos. We proceed through a gauntlet of prostitutes on the left and drug dealers on the right. I assume the prostitutes are on the left to facilitate entry into vehicles. The drug dealers can sell directly to drivers on the right.

I wonder to myself if the army of baby carrying women over by the Italian restaurant were originally stationed over here with the prostitutes.

The driver reminds me that this is nothing. He says he’ll bring me through on a Friday night. The streets are packed, he says. On morality and consumerism, Kenya is a far different ballgame from peaceful and content Malawi.

Kenya Post 1: The Most Expensive Soccer Ball Delivery Service on Earth

I’m on my way to Kenya, I’ve only made it to the Amsterdam airport. I’m already surrounded by missionaries on their way to Kenya. It seems that the last hold out for Jesus is on the African continent. I talked to one of them and found out that this particular group visits every year. Activities include:

Printing matching Jesus T-shirts
Taking soccer balls to schools
Buying uniforms for kids
Prayer in the slums
Prayer in the villages
Even more prayer in the prisons.

“We can show the kids what it’s like. Makes them realize how glad they are not to be poor.” Honestly, I didn’t know what to say, but I thought, while I looked at this portly gentleman from Tennessee, “I’m glad I’m not you”.

If prayer had an exchange rate, Africa might be the richest place on earth. Unfortunately, prayer does NOT have an exchange rate which leads me to ask what use these people really are.

Think about it. I estimate there are 50 people in this particular group. Each of them will probably cost approximately $3500 for the flights, accommodations, food and transport. That’s a grand total of $175,000. If there is a group on this particular flight once a week, then that’s $9,100,000 spent yearly carting Jesus to Kenya. I’m positive, however, that there are more missionaries fiying to Kenya every year, and positive that there are more missionaries flying to any of the 53 other African countries.

This total money spent on these groups must total in the hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year. It is the most expensive soccer ball delivery service on the planet.

Guest Post: Squatters in the Election Year

I am going to be travelling for the next few weeks. To make up for an anticipated lack of posts, I have enlisted some of my friends to produce content for this site. I took a cue from my friend, Mark, who also pawned his blog off on his own unsuspecting friends.

This post is by one of my best friends, Jeff Harris, who lives in Asheville, NC. I knew Jeff from Mississippi. When he’s not eating squirrels, he studies soil.

My house is in town, but it’s surrounded by thick woods, and sits at the end of a long driveway that winds back behind a huge 100-year old two-story house that’s been vacant for the past five or six years, effectively cutting us off from the view of all neighbors and the street. If I were into horror flicks, I would probably live in terror that a gang of axe-wielding psychopaths might be closing in on our little cul-de-sac at any moment, free to perpetrate their carnage in privacy. I don’t care much for that genre of entertainment, and I don’t harbor that sort of fear (at least not consciously), but I am extremely interested in any human activity I see around the premises of the vacant house that cuts us off from the rest of the world, as you might imagine.

About a month ago, I discovered a squatter living on the back porch of the old house. He turned out to be a harmless but extremely misguided young man who sincerely wants to be healthy and productive, but who has absurd notions about how to achieve that state. He’s an awful lot like I was at his age, but with fewer resources than I had. I’ll call him Kevin. The day I discovered Kevin, I talked to him a lot about his hopes and plans, and he told me about his anxiety disorder and how he was trying to cope with that, and also that he hoped to have enough money from SSI to pay rent somewhere by February. He genuinely seemed to just want to keep his head down and have a hidden place to crash near the gym down the street where he has a membership, and where he works out and showers.

After having tried unsuccessfully to convince Kevin that the rotting, mold-infested house he was squatting in was bad for him both physically and spiritually (it’s a pretty depressing place inside), I decided to leave him to his own devices, at least for a while, hoping he would work things out. He was convinced that being near the gym was better for him than say, staying at the local Occupy encampment five miles away (and he may be right about that) so he stayed in the rotting old house, to my disappointment. A week or two later though, I was happy to see that he had at least cleaned up some debris from the yard, which had been dumped out of an old refrigerator by vandals who had stolen the appliances from the house a year or two ago. It was a tiny indication that he wasn’t spiraling down into terminal homelessness due to depression and nihilism, and so I decided to continue ignoring his presence for the time being, and wishing him the best.

Yesterday, as I rounded the bend in my driveway where the old house sits, I was alarmed to see a guy in in camouflage hunting gear and a machinegun-like device poking around the house. He turned out to be a guy with a metal detector, who said he had been given permission by the real estate agent who’s handling the vacant house. He confirmed her name and convinced me he had actually talked to her, so I wished him luck and went on my way.
Today, the same guy was there again, this time with his young son who was also decked out in serious camouflage and sporting a toy rifle. This time, the guy stopped me as I drove by and alerted me that he had “chased a bum away from the house,” and showed me an old silver quarter he had just found. I told him what I knew about “the bum,” and assured him that Kevin was harmless. He didn’t seem convinced, but when I explained that Kevin had some psychological issues, he looked relived, as if we had finally gotten back on the same page. “Yeah,” he said,” he seemed pretty unfriendly when I ran him off.” I wondered what kind of demeanor he usually expected of “bums” when they were being “run off,” but I couldn’t blame him for his actions – he had done what pretty much any normal person from a private-ownership based culture like ours would have done in that situation. To him, “the bum” was not another human so much as a dangerous intruder, and most likely one that deserved whatever dire situation he happened to be in.

As I was talking to the guy, I looked up and saw Kevin walking back up the driveway toward the old house, in seeming defiance of the guy who had chased him away earlier. Kevin kept his head down and tried not to look our way, just wanting to go about his meager day without any trouble from anyone. But when I called to him and asked him how he was doing, he brightened, looking happier than I had ever seen him, and said he thought he had found a place to live. Unfortunately, since buses weren’t running due to it being a holiday, he was worried that the walk to procure it would take him all day, and he wouldn’t have time to take a shower and would miss the soup kitchen, so he had decided to go tomorrow. I asked him if he thought it would still be available tomorrow, and he said he hoped so, but his face betrayed a tiny bit of doubt. Meanwhile, metal detector guy was following us with extreme interest, looking almost comically surprised at the easy candor I had with Kevin. When I then offered to give Kevin a ride to check out the prospective new housing situation so that he wouldn’t miss the opportunity, metal detector guy’s surprise turned to amazement, and then almost as quickly, into what I can only describe as some kind of peaceful understanding. Kevin had ceased to be a threat, and had become a legitimate human being, just like that. I told Kevin I had to run back down to my house to drop some groceries off, and I’d be back in a few minutes. When I got back, he and metal detector guy were talking, both smiling, and metal detector guy waved goodbye to him as he walked to my car. Belligerence and mistrust had just turned to goodwill, and it had turned so easily.

I tell this story not to call attention to the notion that I did something nice for someone, and that the kindness perhaps even rubbed off a little on someone who was perhaps less inclined to consider the needs of someone less fortunate, but to illustrate that everyone – no matter where they may fall on the cultural spectrum – has the capacity for acceptance at the very least, if not full compassion, for other human beings. The transition of perspective from viewing others as enemies to viewing them as fellow human beings may seem an impossible stretch for some people, especially those who have been subsumed by the worst messages our culture has to offer, but the capacity is there.

This is important to remember as we face the prospect of another election year, which in all likelihood will prove to be an exceptionally ugly one. We will all encounter people who have misguided opinions about what will “fix” the country, and people with pent up rage which they direct toward people of other creeds, cultures and skin color. But it’s crucial to remember that none of these people have the intent to be evil. They are generally just deeply frightened of the uncertainty of life, and are often not bright enough to see how ugly their convictions are (I don’t mean to imply that metal detector guy was prejudiced in this way, but he was almost certainly a part of the particular culture that breeds such convictions). These people deserve compassion too. Their hate is just an instinctual response to fear. And many are greedy and selfish beyond comprehension – but in most cases that greed is really just fearful desperation. When dealing with people who are under the control of such fear, even the smallest gestures of goodwill are incremental nudges toward the diffusion of the fear and hate which fuels their actions. With now over 7 billion people on the planet and a populace deeply divided along certain cultural lines in what has been the most influential country on the planet for the past 100 years or so (we’re all united in our rampant consumerism – some just have more guilt about it than others), we’re sitting on a bomb. De-fusing it will require every bit of courage and delicate, precise action that we can muster. It is crucial that we redirect our disgust away from people we disagree with, and channel it toward their actions, and toward the misguided cultural institutions which reinforce the fear and hate that afflicts them. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are all just frightened mammals – some less frightened than others, and some from a better informed perspective, yes, but equally as capable of causing more strife in the world, if we should forget to view ourselves and others in this light.

Burn My Passport: Citizenship in the 21st Century

My US passport sits on my desk, along with two other ratted and expired versions of it. I often think of citizenship. Mostly, I think of how absolutely meaningless it is and about the ridiculous restrictions imposed by it.

For example, my passport is blue and has the seal of the United States of America on it. With this document, I can enter most countries around the world visa-free and return to the US at will for as long as I hold this document. Malawians, though, cannot travel to most countries without securing travel visas ahead of time, often at great expense. Passports not only restrict entry, they also restrict exit. Even Americans without passports are denied the right to exit the country legally. Malawians, even if they can afford the expense of having a passport, have to apply for special permission to leave.

It is my opinion that, by marriage, I should be entitled to a red passport for Japan as well. I am, to some extent, as personally invested in that country as the United States, equally concerned with the welfare of the population of the archipelago, speak the language and could see myself easily living there again at some point.

Yet, Japan and the US live in antiquated worlds where holding both passports is (on paper) an impossibility. Both countries maintain draconian monopolies on the state allegiance of their passport holders, forcing naturalized immigrants to forfeit citizenship to the country of their birth. Worse yet, the United States forces us to pay taxes to to her, even when we don’t live here and, ostensibly, receive no state benefits.

The Economist recently wrote on the issue of citizenship, stating succinctly:

Citizenship mattered in the days when defence relied on conscription. But modern warfare does not require armies of ill-trained conscripts. Few countries now rely on mandatory military service and those that do are mostly winding down the draft. Citizenship is no guarantee of loyalty: history’s worst traitors have been true-born citizens. Many of those ready to fight most enthusiastically for a flag will have gone through hell to get to their country.

Citizenship is a human rights issue. The implications of citizenship are directly addressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Articles 2 and 13. In the United States, though, citizenship is used as a tool to marginalize an entire labor force, deny public services, insure less than optimal wages and allow employers to skirt basic workplace safety and compensation rules. It is interesting that the most fervent proponents of this antiquated system of resident registration, are the loudest advocates against “big government” and for “free markets.” Note Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s narrow and restrictive views of citizenship, which include denying citizenship to people whose only crime was to be born on US soil to parents who fought tooth and nail to get here. It is as if the market can only be free if its participants are determined and protected by the heavily funded and armed hand of the state.

Even worse, the United States is the greatest exporter of advanced degrees in world. We don’t allow Chinese graduate students, for example, to stay in the US upon graduation, despite the fact that the number of domestic PhD’s in the sciences is embarrassingly low. We bring them in, then kick them out as quickly as possible unless they are able to quickly find a private sponsor. God forbid that they might want to start their own operation in the US or work for some small business. So much for promoting entrepreneurship among the educated.

Obviously, some are able to skate this requirement of unipolar citizenship. Canadians and Israelis often hold passports from both countries. People from developing countries, and those who likely have sacrificed the most to attain US citizenship are barred from holding passports in their countries of birth. It is an incredible double standard. Ironically, Israel, which demands the right of dual citizenship with the United States, deny even full Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians.

In an increasingly intertwined and mobile global economy, the concept of the state and of citizenship/allegiance are quickly becoming an antiquated and outdated concept. More than 200 million people around the world live outside the countries of their birth. For me, travelling to another country is the same as travelling to, say, California, taking at least as much time and effort. I am equally employable or unemployable in Japan as I am in the United States. My services are valued as much in Europe and they would be in Africa or South East Asia, so when, I ask, are states going to finally recognize this reality and catch up? Even Reale in 1931, referred to the passport as “an anachronism in the modern world” and predicted that one day, it would become irrelevant.

My recommendations:

1. Abolish passports – Publicly, states will imply that passports are meant to protect and secure borders to prevent incursion by those who pose a threat to the state. Clearly, this did not work on 9/11, nor does it work well anywhere else. The greatest threats to the security of any state probably already possess citizenship. Passports are useless guarantees of the stability of the state and merely serve to exclude economic undesirables. Best to rid ourselves of them entirely.

2. In the absence of abolishment, allow free and open passage worldwide – Proponents of citizenship posit that the “flood gates” will open, and developed states will face an unprecedented flow of immigrants from developed countries. The truth is, that those who wish to come to places like the United States, already do. In addition, most people would rather remain in their communities than travel to places where they know no one. The United States (and Europe) has a system of open borders, but people still choose to live in impoverished hell holes like Mississippi. Many other forces, besides passports, keep people at home.

Clearly, though, the first option is the most radical and the most difficult to implement. The abolishment of passports would mean the abolishment of that which defines the state. Simply, states, as we know them would cease to exist and would become, rather, provincial areas with open borders, but local laws and local systems of taxation. That is exactly what the United States is, though a passport-less world would lack the greater power of a centralized government, such as that of the US Federal Government.

The second option is the most reasonable and should be the goal of states in the 21st century. Without the free and unrestricted passage of all global citizens, the world will stagnate in a restricted and deprived global marketplace, much akin to the restrictive feudal states of pre-Enlightenment Europe. The second option is the best option for the development of global human rights, the free exchange of ideas and economic development. The rising BRIC economies will mean greater economic equality for all world citizens. The United States and Europe need not fear a mass influx of poor people seeking opportunities. They have more than a few options now.

Determining Authorship of Ron Paul Newsletters Through Text Analysis: Part 3

I have written two posts attempting to use textual analysis to determine whether Ron Paul did or did not write the inflammatory newsletters that have gotten so much press recently. The first post failed miserably. I used four articles from the “Ron Paul Report” of which authorship was in question. I compare these with more than 30 articles and books know to be written by Paul. The particular methodologies I employed there were able to determine that Paul was likely not the author of two (of four) newsletter articles. The authorship of the other two was left to speculation.

In part 2, I included text from other authors including myself (as a control) and authors known to collaborate with Paul, namely Lew Rockwell (from whose site I was able to obtain many of Paul’s articles), Jack Kerwick and Michael S. Rozeff. I concluded that Paul may or may not have been the author of the articles, but much of the evidence in that analysis pointed to one Lew Rockwell. In the end, though, I presonally concluded that the establishment of authorship through quantitative means is a difficult venture.

Recently, a FOX News affiliate “uncovered” the “true” author of the more incendiary portions of the Ron Paul Report. Ben Swann of FOX believes that one James B Powell wrote the newsletters. He concludes this based not on the signed confession of Mr. Powell, but on his own subjective comparison of James Powell’s “How to Survive Urban Violence” with the disputed texts of Ron Paul’s newsletters.

Of course Ron Paul supporters and the conservative blogosphere hae chosen to merely believe Mr. Swann, seemingly without taking the extra of effort of either asking Mr. Powell or by digging into the text for some more rigorous analysis. Naturally, we are just supposed to believe it, too.

I found the text for Powell’s “How to Survive Urban Violence” along with a single copy of the “Powell Report,” a newsletter that Powell produces to provide investment advice to paying subscribers. Other than those two, I was unable to find any other text by Powell.

I included these two texts in my collections of texts and set about attempting to determine the authorship of the four disputed articles. Again, I will use a principal component analysis (PCA) methodology, though this time I will use the excellent R package BiplotGUI. I will find the first two PC’s of word length, sentence length, and punctuation. I will then graph the first two PC’s against one anaother and determine if there is evidence for clusters of texts, which should correspond to distinct authors. If we can determine that the four texts are placed in some reasonable vicinity of one (or no) authors, then we might be able to infer who actually wrote (or did not write) these texts.

I extracted the data for word length, sentence length and punctuation using the Signature software package.

PCA of Word Length

Word Length

As we hoped, texts cluster in areas corresponding to different writers. I have noted Paul’s cluster in blue using a 90% alpha bag. Mr. Rockwell’s work cluster (in green) to the left of Paul’s, indicating that word length is distinct between the two. The newsletters appear to lie closer to Mr. Rockwell’s cluster, though there is some cross over between the two. Note that the article on car jacking (the worst of the bunch) seems to cluster with a chapter from “End the Fed” and an article from Rockwell on Bethlehem. I will point out that the particular chapter of “End the Fed” that sits in this cluster is quite distinct in tone from the other chapter. Upon reading them both, I felt that two different people wrote the two chapters.

Point Predictives for Sentence Length

Sentence Length

The point predictive plot was more interesting that the plot of the first two PC’s. Again, even when looking at sentence length, the article on carjacking clusters with two of Mr. Rockwell’s articles and the odd chapter from “End the Fed,” suggesting that they *might* all come from the same author. Most of Paul’s articles are clustered by themselves, though this should not be surprising, as we already know that they were written by the same person!

Punctuation

Punctuation

This one is perhaps the most compelling of all of the analyses that I have run. The newsletters, Lew Rockwell’s articles and one of the Powell articles cross over one another. Paul’s articles nearly all occupy their own cluster. The only newsletter article that lies anywhere near Paul’s works is the article on reelection. Again, Rockwell’s articles cluster near the chapter from “End the Fed.” Powell’s “Urban Violence” article sits in Paul’s cluster (though near the Re-election article, though his other article lies far away.

Conclusions

At this point, I’m willing to accept that Paul probably didn’t write at least three of the four newsletter articles, though I would have preferred to see otherwise. Paul’s works appear to have some commonalities that indicate that if, in fact, he did write these articles, we would expect to see them appear within his cluster. Outside of the fairly standard and non-offensive re-election article, the three do not. Interestingly, the previous analysis pointed to Lew Rockwell as the author of the re-election article.

As for determining authorship, we don’t have enough texts from the other authors to draw any reasonable conclusions as to who was responsible. I say that Lew Rockwell may have written the article on car-jacking. Authorship of the articles on AIDS and the coming race war is more difficult to establish. We only have two articles from James Powell. Personally, I do not believe that Mr. Powell wrote any of these articles, though, again, having more texts would greatly help the analysis.

While I may be willing to accept that Paul is being truthful when he says that he did not author the articles, I cannot believe that he didn’t know about them. Paul is still accountable for pandering to racists for profit and political support though getting politicians to admit to their past indiscretions is as difficult as determining authorship of mystery texts.

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