RON PAUL ON OUR DYSFUNCTIONAL MIDDLE EAST POLICY

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Posted on 16th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

THE TERROR THREAT

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Posted on 14th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Nixon’s Vindication

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Posted on 7th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Ron Paul

Forty years ago many Americans celebrated the demise of the imperial presidency with the resignation of Richard Nixon. Today it is clear they celebrated too soon. Nixon’s view of presidential powers, summed up in his infamous statement that, “when the president does it that means it is not illegal,” is embraced by the majority of the political class. In fact, the last two presidents have abused their power in ways that would have made Nixon blush.

For example, Nixon’s abuse of the Internal Revenue Service to persecute his political opponents was the subject of one of the articles of impeachment passed by the US House of Representatives. As bad as Nixon’s abuse of the IRS was, he was hardly the first president to use the IRS this way, and the present administration seems to be continuing this tradition. The targeting of Tea Party groups has received the most attention, but it is not the only instance of the IRS harassing President Barack Obama’s political opponents. For example, the IRS has demanded that one of my organizations, Campaign for Liberty, hand over information regarding its major donors.

Nixon’s abuse of federal power to spy on his “enemies” was abhorrent, but Nixon’s abuses of civil liberties pale in comparison to those of his successors. Today literally anyone in the world can be spied on, indefinitely detained, or placed on a presidential “kill list” based on nothing more than a presidential order. For all his faults, Nixon never tried to claim the power to unilaterally order anyone in the world detained or killed.

Many today act as apologists for the imperial presidency. One reason for this is that many politicians place partisan concerns above loyalty to the Constitution. Thus, they openly defend, and even celebrate, executive branch power grabs when made by a president of their own party.

Another reason is the bipartisan consensus in support of the warfare state. Many politicians and intellectuals in both parties support an imperial presidency because they recognize that the Founders’ vision of a limited executive branch is incompatible with an aggressive foreign policy. When Republicans are in power “neoconservatives” take the lead, while when Democrats are in power “humanitarian interventionists” take the lead. Regardless of party or ideological label, they share the same goal — to protect the executive branch from being constrained by the constitutional requirement that the president seek congressional approval before waging war.

The strength of the bipartisan consensus that the president should have limitless discretion in committing troops to war is illustrated by the failure of an attempt to add an article dealing with Nixon’s “secret bombing” of Cambodia to the articles of impeachment. Even at the low point of support for the imperial presidency, Congress still refused to rein in the president’s war-making powers.

The failure to include the Cambodia invasion in the articles of impeachment may well be the main reason Watergate had little to do with reining in the imperial presidency. Because the imperial presidency is rooted in the war power, attempts to rein in the imperial presidency that do not work to restore Congress’ constitutional authority to declare war are doomed to fail.

Repealing Nixon’s legacy requires building a new bipartisan coalition in favor of peace and civil liberties, rejecting what writer Gene Healy calls “the cult of the presidency,” and placing loyalty to the Constitution above partisanship. An important step must be restoring congressional supremacy in matters of war and peace.

Obama Has No Middle East Strategy? Good!

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Posted on 1st September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Via Ron Paul Institute for Peace

 

Written by Ron Paul

Last week President Obama admitted that his administration has not worked out a strategy on how to deal with the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as a dominant force in the Middle East. However, as ISIS continues its march through Syria and Iraq, many in the US administration believe it is, in the words of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a threat “beyond anything we have ever seen.”

Predictably, the neocons attacked the president’s speech. They believe the solution to any problem is more bombs and troops on the ground, so they cannot understand the president’s hesitation.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon made it clear that fighting ISIS is going to cost a lot more money and will bring US forces back to Iraq for the third time. The post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan peace dividend disintegrates.

Mr. McKeon said last week:

ISIS is an urgent threat and a minimalist approach, that depends solely on FY15 funding or pinprick strikes that leave fragile forces in Iraq and Syria to do the hard fighting, is insufficient to protect our interests and guarantee our safety in time.

What does this mean in practice? If the neocons have their way, the Federal Reserve will “print” more money to finance another massive US intervention in the Middle East. In reality this means further devaluation of the US dollar, which is a tax on all Americans that will hit the poorest hardest.

A new US military incursion will not end ISIS; it will provide them with the recruiting tool they most crave, while draining the US treasury. Just what Osama bin Laden wanted!

McKeon and the other hawks act as if they had only recently become aware of the ISIS. Or if they noticed it, they pretend US policy had nothing to do with its rise.

McKeon also said last week, “ISIS threat was allowed to build and fester over a period of time.”

In fact, US regime change policy in Syria was directly responsible for the rise of ISIS over these past three years. As journalist Eric Margolis observed recently, the emergence of ISIS is the “mother of all blowback.” The neocons who want us to get tougher on ISIS, including a US attack on Syria, are the same ones who not long ago demanded that we support groups like ISIS to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. US-trained and funded “moderates” from the Free Syrian Army joined the Islamist militias including ISIS, taking US weapons and training with them.

Three years of supporting any force that might overthrow the secular government of President Assad has produced a new monster in the Middle East that neocons insist the US must slay.

Why can’t they just admit they were wrong? Why can’t the interventionists just admit that their support for regime change in Syria was a terrible and tragic mistake?

If ISIS is as big a threat as they claim, why can’t they simply ask Assad to help out? Assad has never threatened the United States; ISIS has. Assad has been fighting ISIS and similar Islamist extremist groups for three years.

Why does the US government insist on aligning with theocracies in the Middle East? If there is anything that contradicts the US Constitution and American values it is a theocratic government. I do not believe that a majority in the Middle East wants to live under such a system, so why do we keep pushing it on them? Is that what they call promoting democracy?

A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place! Here’s a strategy: just come home.

Ron Paul: “Americans Must Choose Non-Interventionist Free Markets For Peace & Prosperity”

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Posted on 26th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Originally posted at Voices Of Liberty, powered by Ron Paul,

Ron Paul and Mark Spitznagel are passionate about non-interventionism, free markets, and Austrian economics. In spite of their years, these passions former Congressman Paul and Mr. Spitznagel hold dear are growing in popularity among the youth of our nation.

Congressman Paul served many years as a U.S. Representative from Texas, spanning 1976 to 2013, and was a Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012. He has written extensively on liberty and politics, including The Revolution: A Manifesto and End the Fed. Spitznagel is the founder of Universa Investments, an investment advisor that specializes in tail-hedging, and is the author of The Dao of Capital, for which Paul wrote the Foreword.

The longtime friends (and friends of freedom) recently had the opportunity to catch up in person on topics ranging from the liberty movement and agricultural policy, to the consequences of Federal Reserve monetary policy. Here is a transcript of their conversation:

Mark Spitznagel: Ron, you have been the galvanizing force of a resurgent liberty movement in the United States. Yet, we find ourselves in this world where interventionism is on the rise, and much of America remains complacent about it. For instance, I think we would agree that today’s crony-capitalism and monetary-interventionism by central banks is at an unprecedented scale that will once again leave destruction in its wake. Why is America letting this happen, and moving away from its Jeffersonian ideals? Moreover, I have to ask you, has the liberty movement stalled, or even failed?

Ron Paul: Mark, on the surface and in Washington it may appear that interventionism is on the rise but in reality it’s on the defensive, more so than ever. Indeed there is a lot of complacency as that is frequently the rule for the majority of people regardless of the system. Where there is little complacency is with the intellectual leaders now leading the charge against the foreign and economic interventionists who have been in charge for decades and created the major crisis that we face today.1419433321_82a893a11c_z It’s never easy politically to turn off bad policies and many times we have to wait until the policies self-destruct. The philosophy of non-intervention is growing significantly and that is crucial since ideas do have consequences. The obvious failure of the current system, and the current intellectual leaders of the younger generation who are more favorably inclined toward non-intervention, provide the encouragement we need to clean up the mess. During my presidential campaigns, I was always quite pleased when students held up signs saying: “You cured my apathy.”

A question for you, Mark: I know you and a very few others like Jimmy Rogers know about authentic non-intervention in the economy, but what are Wall Street traders and investors like? Are they helpful in exposing crony-capitalism or are they part of the problem?

Mark: Unfortunately, Wall Street can’t help but respond to monetary intervention, like puppets to the Federal Reserve puppet master. Not only has the Fed turned just about every investor into a crazed gambler desperate for any yield above today’s artificially low interest rates, for professional investors the desperation is compounded by the career risk associated with underperforming in the very next period. If you’re fired for not having played the Fed’s game in the next round, who cares about what will happen in future rounds, and who cares about the long-run implications of this crony-capitalist game?

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I see this temporal myopia at the very heart of Washington politics as well. If politicians don’t get reelected each period, then from a career standpoint any concern for the future was for naught. It ranges far and wide, from corporate managers to, even more significantly, farmers: Think of how debt and farm policy distortions induce wringing out everything that we can from each harvest, even at the expense of future harvests (such as with soil erosion).

Frédéric Bastiat said it best when he condemned the pursuit of a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, rather than a great good to come at the risk of a present small evil. The latter is extraordinarily difficult today. To me, your ability to focus away from the present and truly see the great good or evil to come was really so astonishing about your political career. What was your secret, Ron, and what kept you from losing sight of that?

Ron: The simple answer (and there’s a more detailed one) about my not “losing sight” is that I detest the current political process. Originally, I never expected to be elected and had one goal in mind: promote the cause of Liberty. I firmly believed our country was headed in the wrong direction. I was confident that the Freedom Philosophy and the non-aggression principle offered the solutions to our problems. I had no interest in being molded or manipulated by those who held different views.

Your views on political myopia are correct. This myopia, fueled by self-serving politicians and justified by economic mysticism, is at the heart of the problem. This myopia dictates that politicians, the day after they’re elected, start concentrating on the next election. The lobbyists love the system. They receive high rewards for getting benefits that frequently benefit a Member’s district. The lobbyists convince the voters that the system can be used for their benefit and the Member gets the credit. Good economic policy, moral principle, the Constitution, or challenging one’s party’s leadership rarely enters into the equation. At times I think the myopia approaches blindness.

Your point about how the government farm program greatly distorts the market is a perfect example of how long bad policies can last when some people immediately benefit at the often gradual expense of others. It happens with all government programs. Dairy farmers and dairies, in protecting their interests, have made it difficult, if not impossible, to drink raw milk—hardly a policy that a free society would endorse.

Mark: Oh yes, a subject near and dear to my heart! There’s a parallel between the case where benefits from policies are concentrated in the few and the costs dispersed among the many, and the case where benefits are concentrated early on while the costs are dispersed over time. In both cases, for many people it’s not an obvious fight worth fighting. But of course it is worth fighting. When the State gives special privileges to certain crops, for instance, the result is an artificial, disease- and pest-prone monoculture and a distorted ecosystem and food system around those crops. CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), corn syrup and the corn-fed-everything industries are products of government favoritism. More long-term, natural, and sustainable agricultural systems like organic or pasture-based are made to look impractical. It’s crazy how much bureaucrats determine what we grow and what we eat.
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Sustainable farmers should all be libertarians. The problem is that many “hippie” types coming from the Left see big agricultural companies implementing these harmful policies, and they understandably conclude, “That’s pure capitalism at work, that’s how the profit motive leads to disaster when it comes to food.” But no, that’s cronyism at work, that’s how government intervention leads to disaster. The very same thing happens with financial crises, of course—capitalism is always wrongly accused. We blame the system when we interfere with its natural homeostatic functioning.

Ron: Sustainable farming and libertarianism are a natural mix. I know that you yourself, in addition to being a hedge fund manager, are a pasture-based dairy goat farmer and artisanal cheese maker. Sustainable farming recognizes the perils of tinkering with the complex interactions of natural systems. And it rejects the notion of dependency on the government and emphasizes the principle of self-reliance. Of course, if this principle were to be followed in all areas of the economy we wouldn’t have to worry about prosperity or a shrinking middle class.

Mark: Do you think your background as a physician has influenced your acceptance of the idea of having reverence for a system’s natural resiliency, and not messing with that through tinkering?

Ron: There is no doubt that it did. I kept a copy of the Hippocratic Oath hanging on the wall at my medical practice of about 35 years. We know that today the government has little reverence for the economy’s natural resiliency, what Adam Smith referred to as the “invisible hand” of the market. Interestingly, in modern times the Hippocratic Oath has been changed to be more in tune with today’s legal system. The Oath now shows less reverence for life than it did originally. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Once we restore the principles of a free, self-adjusting market, we’ll have to check and see if the Hippocratic Oath has been restored to its original form.

Speaking of doing no harm, I followed the story last June when you were blocked from trying to help a struggling, blighted neighborhood in Detroit by bringing in a herd of goats from your farm in Michigan, Idyll Farms. The goats would have cleared the neglected overgrowth, and the project was providing jobs and education to the community. But the Detroit City Hall chose to enforce an ordinance banning all livestock and immediately kicked your goats right out.

Mark: I’m a big believer in urban farming, especially for large open and economically-challenged areas like parts of Detroit. Call it a return to Jefferson’s yeoman farmer. One of the previously unemployed people I hired there told me he wanted to use his earnings from the summer to purchase a house. It was a win-win. By the way, we didn’t ask the city for permission to bring in the goats—and the local community encouraged us not to ask—because we knew what their answer would be. Hopefully we provided some momentum to change this bad ordinance.

Ron: What is your opinion of political action versus the importance of education?

Mark: They go together. How could our utterly failed public education system not have something to do with today’s complacency? Of course our system requires a thinking electorate, one that can see through the central planners’ economic mysticism you mentioned. As you know, Ludwig von Mises argued that all governments—even dictatorships—ultimately rest on public opinion. We can complain about the politicians and central bankers, but ultimately the only reason they can get away with these outrageous and wealth-destroying policies like corporate bailouts and asset inflation is that the public assumes they do something good. With our current state of economic ignorance and political apathy among the general public, we’re left with the lowest common denominator of plundering—not only of ourselves, but especially of those who are most powerless: future generations who, sadly, cannot yet vote. When you think about it, this is a huge burden on an electorate. Would you agree?

Ron: Definitely. It’s a safe bet that the quality of education in this country is inversely proportional to the increase in the Federal government’s involvement in it. Government schools have a predictable agenda: justifying the government and its programs. I was warned never to try to educate in a campaign yet that was always my goal. The understanding that public opinion is crucial to all political change recognizes that the intellectual leaders are key to a country’s future, both good and bad. But for the most part politicians aren’t interested in changing people’s minds. Their concern is to put their finger up to the wind to see which way it’s blowing and accommodate. I have always had an interest in working to change public opinion regarding the proper role for government in a free society, such as my efforts with my own FREE Foundation for 38 years and currently with the Ron Paul Curriculum for K-12.

Mark, when did you first get interested in Austrian Economics? Was it before you became a professional investor? How long did you contemplate writing your book The Dao of Capital? Do you issue any guarantees with its purchase?

Mark: Ha! Yes, the one guarantee is that you will incur much psychological trauma by practicing what I preach. Seriously, my book is about the thinking behind my way of investing, what I call “roundabout” investing (after the Austrian economics concept of roundaboutness)—so I’ve basically been contemplating it my entire adult life. But it took me about a year or so to actually write down.

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Roundabout investing is all about delaying gratification and taking small setbacks now for enormous positional advantage later. I regularly fall behind other asset classes during monetary expansions in order to maintain a position that eventually soundly passes them all by when the stock market crashes. The key is that the strategy (which I run in my hedge funds) pairs with a stock portfolio to robustly protect it against large losses—a “tail hedge.” The whole necessity of this protection specifically follows the bubble-blowing distortions of the Fed’s monetary policy. Austrian economics has always been central to my awareness of this. I happened upon the Austrians in college from Henry Hazlitt’s magisterial Economics in One Lesson which then turned me on to Bastiat and Mises—and my career would have been entirely different without them.

Mises will ultimately be right yet again about the inevitable final collapse of the current asset boom brought about by credit expansion. The term “black swan” (the surprising, unforeseen event) used for bursting financial bubbles has been and will remain a misnomer—we can and, indeed, should expect such tumults to occur at some point as a consequence of massive central bank intervention and economic distortion. Given the unprecedented scale of the Fed’s market manipulation this time around, how do you think this next one will play out, and will the Fed stop at anything to continue to delay the inevitable? Might they ever be politically restrained?

Ron: I agree with you that these “black swan” events should be anticipated, though timing is a different matter. The fact that you say you’re willing to “fall behind” other asset classes, it seems to me, means you have to practice patience, accept some losses, and be prepared. Since these are not usual human characteristics, do you think this gives us some insight into why those who understand Austrian economics are not necessarily good at market investing?

When Mises got married, he told his wife Margit that she would hear him talk a lot about money but they would never have a lot. I once asked Hans Sennholz, one of the few who got a PhD under Mises, whether Mises dealt with investments. His answer was that he did not. Sennholz believed that if the theories were correct one should participate and prove it. I know in the ‘70s Sennholz highly favored real estate investments. I pressed him a little on Mises’s apparent disinterest in personal investments and his response was that Mises’s responsibility was “to write and explain economics for the ages,” and leave it for another generation, the Mark Spitznagels, to prove the theories correct. I have tried to follow Mises’s admonition that it is our responsibility to make the economic theories “palatable” to the general public through persuasion.

As to the unwinding of this mess, I’m convinced that when the current expansion ends it will be abrupt, gigantic, and worldwide. The 43-year expansion of Fed credit and debt, delivered to us by a fiat dollar standard, and held together artificially by an undeserved trust will end badly. Though I’m optimistic on the long run because of the ideological groundwork being laid, I anticipate both serious economic and political crises. No one should expect Congress to cut spending or the deficits.

Unfortunately, the welfare/warfare state is alive and well.children for ron paul They will continue to write regulations that are supposed to correct the previous regulatory mistakes and all the malinvestment generated by the Fed’s easy money policy. I can’t conceive of [Fed Chair Janet] Yellen ever persistently lightening up on the monetary pedal, despite her tapering to date. It is my belief that a dollar crisis will result from a major loss of confidence in it as a reserve currency.

What do you think the odds are for a “soft landing” for the economy? Am I overstating the seriousness of the problems we face?

Mark: I don’t think you are, Ron. I cannot see how a soft landing would be possible here. Net corporate debt is at all-time highs (so don’t let anyone tell you that corporate balance sheets are strong), interest rates are essentially pinned at zero, and the Fed’s balance sheet has exploded. Based on the Q-ratio—the most robust and predictive valuation measure there is—the stock market is more overvalued today than it was at every major top over the past century, save 2000. How could this get corrected in an orderly way?

As for your comments about Austrian economics, yes, it’s one thing to get it, quite another thing to practice it. Patience is everything. Everything. Unfortunately, human beings are wired to do the opposite of what we really need to do. In some ways I think of my investing just as you describe: a test to prove the Austrian theories correct. Of course this notion of “proof” is something that no deductive Austrian would accept. But I look at it from an entirely practical, rubber-meets-the-road vantage point.

Ron: What kind of preparations should average folks be taking? Should they own gold? Maybe some farmland?

Mark: Today’s environment is a quagmire for retail mom and pop investors out there. This is part of what is so insidious about the Fed’s trap. I believe—and history is entirely on my side—that retaining “dry powder” (capital to be invested later) and thus playing the roundabout will be the victorious strategy here. One way or another, we need to position ourselves for much greater opportunities to come. Gold has proven a sound store of value over the long term—with a good degree of trading noise thrown in just to make it difficult. Most stocks, credit, or long duration treasuries are clearly not a terrific idea when these markets are pricing in today’s very artificial, unsustainable economy. Productive, real assets that make things that people need and are reasonably priced regardless of interest rates, inflation, and the state of the economy are, to me, the best store of value these days. So farmland would be a terrific example, at least where prices haven’t already spiked. The economics, demographics, and ecological implications of agriculture will be profound.

I see you haven’t lost a step now that you are a non-Congressman, Ron. I have one final pressing question for you: Is your political career really over? Will you be personally involved in a political race in 2016? You will be sorely needed in order to direct the conversation on both sides. How can the presumed free market Republican Party nominate another candidate who favors bailouts and market manipulation? More than anything else, Americans need to be provided a clear choice between intervention and non-intervention.

Ron: Thank you for that word of confidence. But for me it looks rather clear that electoral politics is not on my agenda. There are no plans forron-paul-revolution my personal involvement in a political race in 2016. My continual campaign for liberty, nevertheless, will remain active. The exact format will be determined by the market. The financial support for the different activities I’m involved in will indicate which vehicle I should use to continue the “R3VOLUTION.” For me this campaign has been going on since 1973.

Five months after your birth, Mark, on August 15, 1971, Nixon announced that the gold standard was dead. That event motivated me to start speaking out about the serious problems I anticipated would result. Hazlitt, whose book you mentioned earlier as your first exposure to Austrian economics, predicted this would happen from the time the Bretton Woods Agreement was signed in 1945. This event convinced me that Austrian economists were right and motivated me to get involved. My first race for Congress was in 1974.

My political success was modest and surprising. The reception by the current Millennials was well beyond my expectations. I especially enjoy reaching out to the young people on college campuses and see only the positive signs of their interest in the liberty movement. That is the campaign I can’t imagine abandoning. As you have been motivated to “prove” the validity of Austrian economics with your financial success, I, in a somewhat similar way, have used politics for promoting the same ideological principle through political action.

Your challenge that Americans must choose between intervention and non-intervention is precisely the issue. When pressed for a political label to describe myself, my favorite is “non-interventionist.” This must be in all areas: social, economic, and in foreign affairs. All intervention condones the initiation of force; non-intervention requires voluntarism and persuasion. The latter is the only road to peace and prosperity.

Ron Paul On Ferguson: The War Comes Home

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Posted on 26th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute,

America’s attention recently turned away from the violence in Iraq and Gaza toward the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown. While all the facts surrounding the shooting have yet to come to light, the shock of seeing police using tear gas (a substance banned in warfare), and other military-style weapons against American citizens including journalists exercising their First Amendment rights, has started a much-needed debate on police militarization.

The increasing use of military equipment by local police is a symptom of growing authoritarianism, not the cause. The cause is policies that encourage police to see Americans as enemies to subjugate, rather than as citizens to “protect and serve.” This attitude is on display not only in Ferguson, but in the police lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing and in the Americans killed and injured in “no-knock” raids conducted by militarized SWAT teams.

One particularly tragic victim of police militarization and the war on drugs is “baby Bounkham.” This infant was severely burned and put in a coma by a flash-burn grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team member who burst into the infant’s room looking for methamphetamine.

As shocking as the case of baby Bounkham is, no one should be surprised that empowering police to stop consensual (though perhaps harmful and immoral) activities has led to a growth of authoritarian attitudes and behaviors among government officials and politicians. Those wondering why the local police increasingly look and act like an occupying military force should consider that the drug war was the justification for the Defense Department’s “1033 program,” which last year gave local police departments almost $450 million worth of “surplus” military equipment. This included armored vehicles and grenades like those that were used to maim baby Bounkham.

Today, the war on drugs has been eclipsed by the war on terror as an all-purpose excuse for expanding the police state. We are all familiar with how the federal government increased police power after September 11 via the PATRIOT Act, TSA, and other Homeland Security programs. Not as widely known is how the war on terror has been used to justify the increased militarization of local police departments to the detriment of our liberty. Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has provided over $35 billion in grants to local governments for the purchase of tactical gear, military-style armor, and mine-resistant vehicles.

The threat of terrorism is used to justify these grants. However, the small towns that receive tanks and other military weapons do not just put them into storage until a real terrorist threat emerges. Instead, the military equipment is used for routine law enforcement.

Politicians love this program because it allows them to brag to their local media about how they are keeping their constituents safe. Of course, the military-industrial complex’s new kid brother, the law enforcement-industrial complex, wields tremendous influence on Capitol Hill. Even many so-called progressives support police militarization to curry favor with police unions.

Reversing the dangerous trend of the militarization of local police can start with ending all federal involvement in local law enforcement. Fortunately, all that requires is for Congress to begin following the Constitution, which forbids the federal government from controlling or funding local law enforcement. There is also no justification for federal drug laws or for using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to treat all people as potential criminals. However, Congress will not restore constitutional government on its own; the American people must demand that Congress stop facilitating the growth of an authoritarian police state that threatens their liberty.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RON PAUL

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Posted on 21st August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Guest Post by Justin Raimondo

Ron Paul is 79 today

Libertarians owe him a great debt, one which can never be repaid. Without him, it’s more than likely that our movement would’ve either gone off the rails, succumbing to opportunism of the worst sort, or else slipped into obscurity, never to be seen or heard from again. Thanks to him,  neither of those dreadful scenarios occurred.

What happened instead was the almost miraculous growth and development of libertarianism into a viable national movement, with “mainstream” media forced to sit up and take notice. Now we are told we may be approaching the “libertarian moment” — by the New York Times, no less! — and 90 percent of the credit (maybe more!) goes to Ron  and the movement he inspired.

But it wasn’t easy. Three presidential campaigns, one under the Libertarian Party banner and two in the GOP primaries, with him travelling all over the country non-stop — a heroic effort for a man of his years. And he looks fabulous: I should only look that good at 79!

His career limns the upward trajectory of the rising libertarian movement, spanning the years when libertarians were totally unknown to the general public — I recall hearing, after telling someone that I was a libertarian, “I didn’t know the librarians had their own party!” — to our present Libertarian Moment. Without him, we may have reached it, eventually — but surely not as soon. And I know many of my readers will agree with me when I say it has come not a moment too soon.

To readers of this web site who may not be libertarians — and there are many — what’s important about Ron and the movement he spawned is the awareness he has brought to the public of the dangers inherent in our interventionist foreign policy. He has stood like a rock, even in the darkest days of the post-9/11 era, when even the staunchest peace advocates hesitated to raise their voices and the War Party was on the march. He stood up to the bully Rudy Giuliani, the has-been NY mayor and failed GOP presidential candidate, who was riding high at the time: he stood firm even as the know-nothings booed him and he told the truth about the gross stupidity and immorality of a foreign policy that has reaped such a whirlwind in the years since that moment. He stood up to the smears  of the War Party — and they’re still attacking him. Yet his stature, far from being diminished, only grows. At the age of 79, he is still speaking truth to power.

I have to tell a little story about Ron that underscores his sterling personal qualities as well as his ideological virtues. In my fiery youth, not even Ron Paul was radical enough for my tastes and I remember penning (yes, it was so long ago that we had pens in those days!) an article attacking him for “selling out.” It was a long diatribe, which was published in a long-defunct journal of which I was the editor. Not long after, I was surprised to receive a letter from him which was as gracious as can be, pointing out that “I don’t believe we are as far apart as you believe” and warmly inviting me to visit with him when I came to Washington. I published the letter in our paper, and came across it the other day as I was going through my old files.

Personally and politically, the man is a saint.

One last thing: I’ve been a Ron Paul-watcher for many years, and what I’ve seen of his long career is unusual in the sense that most people get more conservative as they get older: Ron, on the other hand, only got more radical. Radicalism is often thought of as the exclusive province of youth but in Ron’s case just the opposite pattern occurred. Through some alchemy of spirit, he’s just gotten younger over the years — which is perhaps part of the reason why he has inspired a vital and growing youth movement that has no equivalent on the left or the right.  Thanks in large part to Ron, the future of the libertarian movement is bright indeed — and how can you thank a man for fulfilling the dreams of your youth? You can’t, really — you can only try.

Ron Paul: “What Have We Accomplished In Iraq?”

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Posted on 18th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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By Ron Paul

We have been at war with Iraq for 24 years, starting with Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait that year, the propaganda machine began agitating for a US attack on Iraq. We all remember the appearance before Congress of a young Kuwaiti woman claiming that the Iraqis were ripping Kuwaiti babies from incubators. The woman turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and the story was false, but it was enough to turn US opposition in favor of an attack.

This month, yet another US president – the fifth in a row – began bombing Iraq. He is also placing in US troops on the ground despite promising not to do so.

The second Iraq war in 2003 cost the US some two trillion dollars. According to estimates, more than one million deaths have occurred as a result of that war. Millions of tons of US bombs have fallen in Iraq almost steadily since 1991.

What have we accomplished? Where are we now, 24 years later? We are back where we started, at war in Iraq!

The US overthrew Saddam Hussein in the second Iraq war and put into place a puppet, Nouri al-Maliki. But after eight years, last week the US engineered a coup against Maliki to put in place yet another puppet. The US accused Maliki of misrule and divisiveness, but what really irritated the US government was his 2011 refusal to grant immunity to the thousands of US troops that Obama wanted to keep in the country.

Early this year, a radical Islamist group, ISIS, began taking over territory in Iraq, starting with Fallujah. The organization had been operating in Syria, strengthened by US support for the overthrow of the Syrian government. ISIS obtained a broad array of sophisticated US weapons in Syria, very often capturing them from other US-approved opposition groups. Some claim that lax screening criteria allowed some ISIS fighters to even participate in secret CIA training camps in Jordan and Turkey.

This month, ISIS became the target of a new US bombing campaign in Iraq. The pretext for the latest US attack was the plight of a religious minority in the Kurdish region currently under ISIS attack. The US government and media warned that up to 100,000 from this group were stranded on a mountain and could be slaughtered if the US did not intervene at once. Americans unfortunately once again fell for this propaganda and US bombs began to fall. Last week, however, it was determined that this 100,000 was actually only about 2,000 and many of them had been living on the mountain for years! They didn’t want to be rescued!

This is not to say that the plight of many of these people is not tragic, but why is it that the US government did not say a word when three out of four Christians were forced out of Iraq during the ten year US occupation? Why has the US said nothing about the Christians slaughtered by its allies in Syria? What about all the Palestinians killed in Gaza or the ethnic Russians killed in east Ukraine?

The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration —  and echoed by the US media — to provide a reason for the president to attack Iraq again. This time it was about yet another regime change, breaking Kurdistan away from Iraq and protection of the rich oil reserves there, and acceptance of a new US military presence on the ground in the country.

President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress is completely silent. No declaration, no authorization, not even a debate. After 24 years we are back where we started. Isn’t it about time to re-think this failed interventionist policy? Isn’t it time to stop trusting the government and its war propaganda? Isn’t it time to leave Iraq alone?