By Ron Paul
The nation's attention turned to Oregon this week when a group calling itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom seized control of part of a federal wildlife refuge. The citizens were protesting the harsh sentences given to members of the Hammond ranching family. The Hammonds were accused of allowing fires set on their property to spread onto federal land.
The Hammonds were prosecuted under a federal terrorism statute. This may seem odd, but many prosecutors are stretching the definition of terrorism in order to, as was the case here, apply the mandatory minimum sentences or otherwise violate defendants’ constitutional rights. The first judge to hear the case refused to grant the government’s sentencing request, saying his conscience was shocked by the thought of applying the mandatory minimums to the Hammonds. Fortunately for the government, it was able to appeal the decision to judges whose consciences were not shocked by draconian sentences.
Sadly, but not surprisingly, some progressives who normally support civil liberties have called for the government to use deadly force to end the occupation at the refuge. These progressives are the mirror image of conservatives who (properly) attack gun control and the PATRIOT Act as tyrannical, yet support the use of police-state tactics against unpopular groups such as Muslims.
Even some libertarians have joined the attacks on the ranchers. These libertarians say ranchers like the Hammonds are “corporate welfare queens” because they graze their cattle on federal lands. However, since the federal government is the largest landholder in many western states, the ranchers may not have other viable alternatives. As the Oregon standoff shows, ranchers hardly have the same type of cozy relationship with the government that is enjoyed by true corporate welfare queens like military contractors and big banks. Many ranchers actually want control of federally-held land returned to the states or sold to private owners.
Situations like the one in Oregon could become commonplace as the continued failure of Keynesian economics and militaristic foreign policy is used to justify expanding government power. These new power grabs will increase the threats to our personal and economic security. The resulting chaos will cause many more Americans to resist government policies, with some even turning to violence, while the burden of government regulations and taxes will lead to a growing black market. The government will respond by becoming even more authoritarian, which will lead to further unrest.
Fortunately, we still have time to reverse course. The Internet makes it easier than ever to spark the ideas of liberty and grow the liberty movement. Spreading the truth and making sure we can care for ourselves and our families in the event of an economic collapse must be our priorities.
We must help more progressives understand that allowing the government to run the economy not only leads to authoritarianism, it impoverishes the lower classes and enriches the elites. We must also show conservatives that militarism abroad inevitably leads to tyranny at home. We also need to continue exposing how the Federal Reserve feeds the welfare-warfare state while increasing economic instability and income inequality. This week’s Senate vote on Audit the Fed is important to our efforts to help the American people learn the full truth about our monetary system.
One thing my years in Washington taught me is that most politicians are followers, not leaders. Therefore we should not waste time and resources trying to educate politicians. Politicians will not support individual liberty and limited government unless and until they are forced to do so by the people.
Ron Paul smashes today's popular myths! Secession is in the air in Europe. Will everything fall apart? There is a big difference between genuine wealth & crony wealth. The U.S is not an innocent bystander in world affair, and much more, only here at the Liberty Report!
By Jacob Hornberger
While President Obama was tearing up to support his call for gun control, the U.S. military-industrial complex was celebrating its continued leadership in the sale of weaponry to foreign regimes. According to the New York Times, U.S. foreign arms deals increased nearly $10 billion in 2014. Total sales went from $26.7 billion in 2013 to $36.2 billion in 2014, a 35 percent increase.
Meanwhile, American statists, including those in the mainstream press, continue to scream about gun-show loopholes here in the United States but remain mute about the U.S. government’s #1 position in sales of guns and other weapons around the world. (Russia and China, which U.S. national-security state officials perceive to be “rivals” of the U.S. Empire, are #2 and #5.)
Not surprisingly, billions of dollars of armaments went to brutal pro-U.S. dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Qatar. While U.S. officials justify such sales as “defense,” everyone knows that the armaments are used to fortify the dictatorships’ brutal hold on power in their countries. If citizens begin making waves against the U.S.-supported tyranny under which they are suffering, they’re labeled terrorists. If they continue to make waves, that’s where U.S. guns, tanks, and other armaments come into play.
U.S. national-security state officials say that the weaponry they provide to these pro-U.S. dictatorships help maintain “order and stability.” In return, the dictatorships promise loyalty to the U.S. national-security establishment in international affairs.
South Korea, where U.S. troops are stationed to guarantee automatic U.S. involvement in a war between South Korea and North Korea, is the largest purchaser of U.S. weaponry, followed by the official Islamic regime that U.S. troops installed in Iraq with their 2003 invasion and decade-long occupation.
Another billion-dollar purchaser is Taiwan, which succeeded in increasing tensions with China, which strongly protested the sale.
President Eisenhower described this phenomenon in his Farewell Address in 1961: “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.”
It certainly was new back in the 1950s. If the American people in the 1780s had been told that the Constitutional Convention had come up with this type of federal government, there is no possibility that they would have approved the Constitution.
Of course, during Ike’s time, the national-security establishment was saying that this fundamental change in the nature of the federal government was only necessary because of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. Really? Then why didn’t it get dismantled when the Soviet Union was dismantled and the Cold War was over?
Among the ironies in all this is that there is gun control in many of the countries ruled by dictatorships that the U.S. military-industrial complex furnishes with arms. That, of course, inhibits them from resisting the tyranny under which they are suffering. But of course, U.S. national-security state officials and their counterparts in the dictatorial regimes they arm would respond that resistance to tyranny is inconsistent with the “order and stability” that is maintained in such dictatorships with U.S. weaponry.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
By Paul-Martin Foss
One of the lesser-known victims of inflation is one of its smallest: the penny. At one time, the penny could actually buy you something. Many of our parents remember when a penny could buy a piece of candy. At the Federal Reserve’s creation in 1913, a penny could buy you 2/3 of a pound of potatoes. Three pennies could buy you a pound of flour. Nine pennies could buy you a quart of milk. What can nine pennies buy today? Nothing, really. Inflation has so reduced the purchasing power of the dollar that the penny is useless for commerce. Nobody wants to use them and nobody wants to accept them. It’s not uncommon to see a trail of pennies leading out of a store, as some customer would rather drop them on the ground than put them in his pocket.
Advertisement from April 28, 1913.
Image Source: Library of Congress
It’s no wonder, then, that retailers are beginning to do away with the penny. Whether it’s small convenience stores like my brother’s store Mission Market, or the Department of Defense’s PXes on overseas military bases, the hassle and cost of purchasing, shipping, and storing pennies that will only be thrown away after being given as change is too much for some businesses to tolerate. Don’t forget that businesses have to bear the cost of ordering coins from the bank, sorting coins from cash registers at the end of each shift, and rolling and returning any excess coins to the bank. The time it takes to do all of that is more expensive than the value of the pennies. Those additional costs are an imposition to businesses. All pennies really do is allow prices to be quoted to the nearest hundredth of a dollar, an economic unit that has become useless for daily commerce. Due to inflation, there really isn’t any reason nowadays to quote to anything less than a tenth of a dollar, as even the dime won’t buy you much more than perhaps a stick of gum.
The hassle of the penny plays into the government’s war on cash, too. Any way to make the use of cash more burdensome will help to move people towards credit cards and electronic payment methods. The war on cash is well-known and well-documented, and increasing inflation plays into the government’s war on cash in a big way. The US Mint would like very much to stop minting pennies and nickels, as the cost of production has for many years exceeded the face value of the coins. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing will not print Federal Reserve Notes above $100, even though the Secretary of the Treasury is required to maintain plates for printing notes through $10,000. As the smaller denominations of coins fade away, and with $100 bills being the largest notes still printed, there will come a time when the rising prices caused by the Federal Reserve’s monetary inflation will leave fewer and fewer choices for those who still wish to use cash. As more people eschew the use of cash, restrictions on cash usage will ensnare fewer people, leading to less outrage and thus less momentum to overturn them. The war on cash will have run its course, with the government as the winner and consumers as losers.
The solution of course is to get government out of the money business altogether. Allow consumers and markets to determine what kind of money they want to use and the problem of inflation and worthless coinage would disappear. A sound, stable monetary system will never exist as long as control over money is placed in the hands of a single centralized institution.
This article was originally published at The Carl Menger Center.
By Chris Rossini
It's become increasingly obvious that the mainstream media in the United States is a mouthpiece for the U.S. government. The major media is unreliable and relentlessly biased, with reporting that's an insult to anyone that can think beyond the present moment.
In fact, younger generations have ditched the mainstream media altogether. Here are the median ages for viewers of the following outlets:
CNN - 61 years old
MSNBC - 63 years old
FoxNews - 67 years old
Considering that seniors vote in large numbers, and are also the least likely to search the Internet for Ron Paul, Ron Paul's Institute, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, and The Mises Institute, the mainstream media still has some life left. Time, however, is not on their side.
Unfortunately, the disgust that arises from watching the mainstream media is often channeled incorrectly. Among the most popular are cries against "corporate media". Such blame shows the common misunderstanding of capitalism vs. crony capitalism. America has largely devolved into crony capitalism. Free markets, without some kind of government interference, barely exists in the "land of the free".
As such, there is nothing inherently wrong with corporations per se. Corporations solve our most pressing problems every day of our lives. You're likely reading this article on a computer made by a corporation, or a phone made by a corporation. If you printed it out, you did so on a printer made by a corporation, on paper supplied by a corporation.....You get the picture.
The problem is not "corporate media"!
The problem is when corporations team up with government. That is the issue that we face in America. It should go without saying that government has an extreme interest in co-opting media corporations. The first lasso that government throws over the head of major media is with "licensing" laws. Once that lasso is nice and tight, the rest falls into place for government.
Government then spreads like a virus by deciding which of its "licensed" media outlets can have access to their press conferences, and various other circuses. If the corporation is a good group of team players, government will "regulate" away any upstart competition as well. The licensed company's riches will be virtually guaranteed. This setup goes way back, and has applied to radio and TV as well. It's nothing new.
By contrast, in a normal free market environment (that government has not poisoned) corporations seek to increase the supply of that which is greatly desired. So when someone like Ron Paul runs for President, and people lose their minds with excitement, a normal corporation would not have done something like this:
A normal corporation would have seized on the excitement, and would have provided more of what their customers wanted. It would not have been in their interest to try to hide what their viewers desired.
Fortunately, the Internet has been jackhammering the molds that have been created for our minds. The Internet is charging full force at government's two major strongholds: schools and the media.
Of course, those in power know about this threat. Hillary Clinton famously grumbled about how the Internet has no "gatekeepers." Her husband Bill likewise said that the Internet needs a taxpayer-funded "Ministry of Truth".
The problem that we face is not one of corporations....but of the tag-team of government and corporations.
As with everything else that we're dealing with today, the solution is the same:
Get government out!
The media and various interest groups are framing the Oregon standoff as a simple matter of an armed militia challenging the government. This is unfortunate, as the real issue is that of federal government over-reach and bullying.
By Adam Dick
Judge Andrew Napolitano, interviewed by Gretchen Carlson on Fox News regarding President Barack Obama’s Tuesday gun control executive order announcement, explained that Obama is exceeding his presidential authority in creating a new crime related to gun transfers.
Expanding the definition of who is a gun dealer and who, therefore, can be prosecuted for the crime of transferring a gun without possessing a gun dealer license amounts to an unconstitutional unilateral creation of a crime by the executive branch, concludes Napolitano. Not only has Congress not approved the creation of this crime, Napolitano, who is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board, advises that Congress has rejected creating the crime three times.
Watch Napolitano’s interview here:
For more information regarding the illegitimacy of using executive fiat to expand gun dealer licensing requirements and close the so-called gun show loophole, read here George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s detailed analysis of the matter.
For more of Napolitano’s thoughts regarding Obama’s new gun executive order, read here Napolitano’s new editorial “Why Obama’s executive action on guns is unconstitutional.”
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.
North Korea's apparent test of a nuclear weapon yesterday is being greeted in the usual foreign policy circles as a case to do more of the same: more sanctions, more pressure, and more regime change. Is it wise to do the same thing and expect different results? Is there another possibility?
By Chris Rossini
Bernie Sanders is attacking Wall Street. He's campaigning to break up the "too big to fail" banks. It's easy to see why such an idea would get some fanfare. After all, there are many Americans that remember the great $700 billion heist during the George W. Bush administration...the one that bailed out the most-favored banking cronies.
Sanders says: "We need a movement which tells Wall Street that when a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist."
Again, superficially, it makes sense as to why people would hitch their wagons onto such an idea. Sadly though, Sanders is taking a swing that can only end up as a major whiff.
The American banking system is like an octopus. The head of the octopus is the central bank, known as The Federal Reserve. That is where the source of our problems originate. It all starts and ends with The Fed. The banks are nothing but appendages. They're like the Fed's octopus arms.
Sanders wants to attack the arms. That's a poor strategy, and the results would be fruitless.
The size of a bank doesn't matter. In fact, how does Sanders know what the "right" size would be? At what point is a bank no longer "too big"? How can he know such a thing? The truth is, he can't, and like most government decisions, such a move would be totally arbitrary.
Even if Sanders were to succeed in breaking up the big banks, were the Federal Reserve to still exist, those new banks would retain their "lender of last resort". The banks would still operate in an environment drowning in moral hazard. They would still have a call option on our purchasing power and would continue to loot us via inflation. They would still be The Fed's instruments in creating the illusionary booms that are followed by the bone-crushing busts.
That's why they call it The Federal Reserve "System".
It's a "system" of enriching the few at the expense of the many.
Sanders isn't going to touch the "system". In fact, with all the free stuff and new "rights" that he's concocted, Bernie's going to need The Federal Reserve around to finance them.
Bottom line? Tangling with the Fed's octopus arms would accomplish virtually nothing. The only change that must occur is to End The Fed. The Eccles Building needs to be turned into a museum where future generations can walk through and learn about one of the biggest mistakes that was ever made in America.
Will Sanders call for an end to The Fed?
Don't count on it.
From House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce to GOP presidential candidates like Fiorina, Carson, and Trump, the recent Saudi beheading of a prominent regime critic was all Iran's fault. No matter what Saudi Arabia does, much of Washington claims, they must not be criticized.