By Ron Paul
The Federal Reserve's policies of printing trillions of dollars back in '08-09 have locked into place a serious financial crisis at some point in our future. It's unavoidable, and even Donald Trump can't stop it. Trump will unfairly get the blame though. I discuss this and much more below:
“Most Germans, so far as I could see, did not seem to mind that their personal freedom had been taken away, that so much of their splendid culture was being destroyed and replaced with a mindless barbarism, or that their life and work were being regimented to a degree never before experienced even by a people accustomed for generations to a great deal of regimentation … On the whole, people did not seem to feel that they were being cowed and held down by an unscrupulous tyranny. On the contrary, they appeared to support it with genuine enthusiasm.”
William L. Shirer, The Nightmare Years 1930-40
By John W. Whitehead
You want free education for your children? The government can take care of it. In exchange for free public schools, however, your children will be molded and indoctrinated into compliant, obedient citizens who reflect the government’s values rather than your own.
You want free health care? The government can take care of that, too. In exchange, your medical decisions—how you live and die—will ultimately be determined by corporations to whom you are little more than a line item impacting their profit and loss margins.
You want to be insulated from all things that might cause offense? That’s not a problem for the government. Its thought police will use hate crime laws to criminalize speech, thought and actions that may be politically incorrect.
You want a guarantee of safety? Sure, but your local police will also have to be militarized and trained in battlefield tactics, your communities and communications will be subjected to round-the-clock surveillance, and you—the citizenry—will be treated as suspects and enemy combatants.
You want to root out domestic extremism and terrorism? That’s just fine. But in the process of identifying and targeting terrorists, the government will have the power to label anyone who disagrees with its policies as an extremist/terrorist and subject them to indefinite detentions.
Are you starting to get the picture?
This is the terrible price—the loss of our freedoms and the enslavement of future generations—that must eventually be paid for the goods and services rendered by a government whose priorities are the acquisition of ever-more power, control and money.
As the old adage warns: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”
Unfortunately, we’ve been on the receiving end of the government’s taxpayer-funded handouts—and its deceptively well-intended dictates—for so long that many Americans have forgotten what it is to think for themselves, provide for themselves, and govern themselves.
Indeed, this age of entitlement is a far cry from the kind of constitutional republic America’s founders envisioned.
Gone is the proud, independent-minded, pioneering spirit of early Americans like my parents who rejected what they called “hand-outs,” worked hard for whatever they had, protected their homes and families, and believed the government’s job was to govern based on the consent of the governed and not dictate.
Contrast those fiercely independent early Americans who took to heart James Madison’s admonition to distrust all those in power with today’s citizens who not only expect the government to care for their needs but have blindly entrusted the government with vast, growing powers.
By giving the government the green light to act in loco parentis and treat the citizenry as children in need of caretakers, “we the people” have allowed ourselves to be demoted and infantilized, reduced from knowledgeable, independent-minded, capable masters of a republic to wayward, undisciplined, dependent, vulnerable children incapable of caring for ourselves.
It’s time to grow up.
Incredibly, despite the fact that we allowed the government to become all-knowing, all-powerful and all-mighty in the mistaken belief that it would make our lives safer, easier and more affluent, we’re still shocked when that power and might is used against us.
It’s time to stop being so gullible and so trusting.
Even when the headlines blare out the news about SWAT team raids gone awry, police shootings of unarmed citizens, roadside cavity searches of young women, children being shackled and tasered, and Americans jailed for profit in private prisons, we still somehow maintain our state of denial until suddenly we’re the ones in the firing line being treated like suspects and criminals, having our skulls cracked, our doors smashed, our pets shot, our children terrorized, and our loved ones jailed for non-offenses.
It’s time to remove those rose-colored, partisan-tinted glasses and wake up to the fact that our nation of sheep has given rise to a government of wolves.
Even though, deep down, we have suspected that the system is run by an elite who views the citizenry as little more than cattle destined for the slaughterhouse, we’re still shocked to find ourselves treated like slaves and economic units.
How could we not have seen it coming?
How long has the writing been on the wall?
How could we have been so blind, deaf and dumb to the warnings all around us?
Unfortunately, it happens this way in every age, in every place where freedom falls and tyranny flourishes.
As Aldous Huxley recognized in his foreword to Brave New World: “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.”
This is how the seeds of authoritarianism are planted and watered and cultivated into aggressive, invasive growths that can quickly dominate an environment.
Remember, tyrants don’t always come to power in a show of force. Often, they sweet-talk their way to absolute power, buoyed along by a wave of populist demand for someone to save the country from economic, military and political crises.
As historian Jim Powell writes for Forbes:
Hitler didn’t take over a small government with an effective separation of enumerated, delegated and limited powers. He took over a large welfare state… He dealt with unemployment by introducing forced labor for both men and women. Government control of the economy made it virtually impossible for anyone to seriously threaten his regime. Hitler added secret police, death camps and another war machine. The German educational system, which had inspired so many American progressives, played a major role in all this… the government gained complete control of schools and universities, and their top priority was teaching obedience. The professorial elite promoted collectivism. The highest calling was working for the government.
It can easily happen here.
In fact, the early signs of this downshift are all around us if you only know where to look.
You can smell it in the air: there’s danger coming. A recent New Yorker article reveals the lengths some of the wealthiest in America are going to in order to survive an apocalyptic breakdown of society: isolated refuges, bunkers, gas masks, generators, solar panels, ammunition, etc.
You can see it in the changes taking place all around you: the government is preparing for something ominous. For example, the Pentagon is using a dystopian training video to prepare special forces to deal with the urban challenges of megacities: criminal networks, illicit economies, decentralized syndicates of crime, substandard infrastructure, religious and ethnic tensions, impoverishment, economic inequality, protesters, slums, open landfills, over-burdened sewers, and a “growing mass of unemployed.”
You can hear it in the news coming out of the independent media: the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches have already weakened our long-established bulwarks against tyranny by their constant undermining of the Constitution and the president’s amassing of imperial power.
We are no longer a constitutional republic.
The American dream is turning into a living nightmare.
We are fast moving towards full-blown fascism.
So what’s the answer?
The powers that be can—and will—continue to distract us with electronic gadgets and entertainment news, they can seduce us with promises they have no intention of keeping, they can drug us with politics packaged to resemble religion, and they can use the schools to breed a populace of compliant slaves.
In the end, however, the choice of whether to keep drinking the Kool-Aid or reject the false prophets and promises of the police state—a.k.a. fascism or totalitarianism or tyranny—rests with “we the people.”
After all, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it was “we the people” who struck this devil’s bargain in the first place, trading our liberties for dubious promises of prosperity, security and advancement.
Through our inaction, our apathy and our unwillingness to do the hard work of holding the government accountable, perhaps “we the people” have been the greatest menace to freedom.
Perhaps all of this is our fault.
My parents’ advice was that if you made a mess, you had to clean it up.
No one else is going to clean this mess up for us, certainly not anyone on the government’s payroll.
As Jim Powell rightly concludes: “Ultimately, liberty can be protected only if people care enough to fight for it, because everywhere governments push for more power, and they never give it up willingly.”
So let’s stop buying into the fairytale that politicians are saviors, capable of fixing what’s wrong with our communities and our lives.
Let’s stop expecting the government to solve all our problems.
Stop playing the partisan game that paints anyone not of your political persuasion as evil.
Stop defending the insanity of an immoral system of government that sees nothing wrong with bombing innocent civilians, jailing innocent citizens, and treating human beings as little more than cattle.
Stop validating a system of laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.
While you’re at it, start taking responsibility for your lives—and your freedoms—again. And maybe, just maybe, there will be some hope for tomorrow.
This article was originally published at The Rutherford Institute.
Several new proposals to tackle out of control military spending have been released by Washington think tanks. They all identify areas of possible savings, but they are all missing the central point...
(Apologies for technical difficulties in the clip)
By Tyler Durden
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants according to the AP.
Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press, detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts. On Monday, the Huffington Post reported that EPA grants had been frozen, with agency employees barred from speaking of the matter. The memo ordering the social media blackout is shown below.
Cited by The Hill, Myron Ebell, who leads the Trump EPA transition, confirmed the freeze to ProPublica. “They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first,” Ebell told ProPublica.
Trump's pick for EPA director, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has frequently challenged agency policy in court.
The Trump administration reportedly told the Department of the Interior to stop tweeting from its accounts over the weekend after the National Park Service's Twitter account retweeted a post about the crowd sizes at Trump's inauguration Friday. The agency brought back its accounts on Saturday.
As part of the Trump administration's "temporary suspension" of all new business activities at the department, the EPA has been told to halt all contracts, grants and interagency agreements pending a review, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.
According to Reuters, the White House sent a letter to the EPA's Office of Administration and Resources Management ordering the freeze on Monday, an EPA staffer told Reuters. "Basically no money moving anywhere until they can take a look," the staffer said, asking not to be named.
The EPA awards billions of dollars worth of grants and contracts every year to support programs around environmental testing, cleanups and research. It was unclear if the freeze would impact existing contracts, grants and agreements or just future ones. Myron Ebell said he believed the move was related to Trump's executive order on Monday temporarily halting all government hiring outside the military.
Trump has promised to slash U.S. environmental regulation as a way to promote oil drilling and mining. An administration official told Reuters the president would sign two executive actions on Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a sharp reversal from the Obama administration. Trump's nominee to run the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is awaiting Senate confirmation. Pruitt sued the EPA repeatedly as Oklahoma's top prosecutor.
Trump also has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks to build its landing team for the EPA, according to a list of the newly introduced 10-member team seen by Reuters on Monday.
* * *
It appears that the first intra-agency vendetta for the new president has broken out not surprisingly with the agency that is most at risk from Trump's upcoming policy changes, and which was catalyzed by the EPA's role in the bizarre media scandal over the "participation" in Trump's inauguration rally. The EPA has yet to make an official statement.
This article was originally published at Zero Hedge.
Over the weekend, President Trump indicated that he would continue in his predecessor's foreign policy. The US conducted some 31 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq and two drone strikes in Yemen. Will we achieve different results doing the same thing over and over?
By Chris Rossini
Government is a destroyer, but it doesn't just destroy physical and tangible things. It also destroys intangible things like language and the meaning of words. For example, did you know that originally "liberals" were individuals that believed in liberty and were against government intervention? Today, the word "liberal" means the exact opposite.
Today, we read in the government-licensed press that President Trump has signed an executive order removing the U.S. from a "free trade agreement" known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Washington Post tells us:
A Republican president signed an executive order getting rid of a free trade deal on Monday.
President Trump did not get rid of a free trade deal. The TPP was a secretive, 5,000 page deal between governments and the crony corporations that tango with them. Free trade was nowhere to be found.
This is just one more example of government and its media destroying the meaning of words.
The real meaning of free trade is no government interference, involvement, regulation, or meddling. That's why the word "free" is there. "Free" of the government.
So what does free trade look like?
Let's say that you put your futon up on Craigslist for $50. Someone contacts you, agrees to to the terms of the deal, meets you at a specified location, and trades his $50 for your couch.
That's free trade.
No government involvement in the transaction. Both individuals are "free" of the government's forceful intrusions.
That's how all trade should be conducted. The only role that government should play (if free trade were to exist) is in settling disputes were someone to be defrauded or if a contract is not honored. Other than that, government should stay completely out. It only causes trouble and distortions.
Ironically, in the "land of the free" there is very little free trade. Government has inserted itself almost everywhere.
However, the words "free trade" are tossed around willy-nilly as if it actually exists. Republicans are not pro-free trade, and neither are Democrats. They both intervene constantly with never-ending regulations, subsidies, monopoly privileges and various other interventions.
Republicans claim that they're for free trade in order to garner votes. That's as far as it goes with them. Democrats don't bother with deception. They're very blunt about using government force in all aspects of our economic lives.
Regardless of their tactics, both parties are against individuals freely conducting their own economic affairs.
Unfortunately, President Trump does not support free trade either. He's proposing tariffs, protectionist regulations, and authoritarian ideas like "Buy American. Hire American.".....It's all government violence directed at people who are told that they're "free," starting at a very young age.
So today, President Trump did not get rid of a "free trade deal." He got rid of a crony-government trade deal.
That's good. He should get rid of every single one.
Get rid of them all.
While President Trump deserves a compliment for today, he unfortunately has other government interventions up his sleeve to prevent us from freely and peacefully exchanging with one another.
That's very bad.
When authorities found out that Shona Banda treated her severe Crohn's Disease with cannabis, they took away her child and are trying to send her to prison for 30 years. But she is fighting back! We speak with Ms. Banda about her struggle for health freedom in today's Liberty Report...
By Ron Paul
Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s foreign policy positions have been anything but consistent. One day we heard that NATO was obsolete and the US needs to pursue better relations with Russia. But the next time he spoke, these sensible positions were abandoned or an opposite position was taken. Trump’s inconsistent rhetoric left us wondering exactly what kind of foreign policy he would pursue if elected.
The President’s inaugural speech was no different. On the one hand it was very encouraging when he said that under his Administration the US would “seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and that he understands the “right of all nations to put their own interests first.” He sounded even better when he said that under Trump the US would “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” That truly would be a first step toward peace and prosperity.
However in the very next line he promised a worldwide war against not a country, but an ideology, when he said he would, “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” This inconsistent and dangerous hawkishess will not defeat “radical Islamic terrorism,” but rather it will increase it. Terrorism is not a place, it is a tactic in reaction to invasion and occupation by outsiders, as Professor Robert Pape explained in his important book, Dying to Win.
The neocons repeat the lie that ISIS was formed because the US military pulled out of Iraq instead of continuing its occupation. But where was ISIS before the US attack on Iraq? Nowhere. ISIS was a reaction to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The same phenomenon has been repeated wherever US interventionist actions have destabilized countries and societies.
Radical Islamic terrorism is for the most part a reaction to foreign interventionism. It will never be defeated until this simple truth is understood.
We also heard reassuring reports that President Trump was planning a major shake-up of the US intelligence community. With a budget probably approaching $100 billion, the intelligence community is the secret arm of the US empire. The CIA and other US agencies subvert elections and overthrow governments overseas, while billions are spent spying on American citizens at home. Neither of these make us safer or more prosperous.
But all the talk about a major shake up at the CIA under Trump was quickly dispelled when the President visited the CIA on his first full working day in office. Did he tell them a new sheriff was in town and that they would face a major and long-overdue reform? No. He merely said he was with them “1000 percent.”
One reason Trump sounds so inconsistent in his policy positions is that he does not have a governing philosophy. He is not philosophically opposed to a US military empire so sometimes he sounds in favor of more war and sometimes he sounds like he opposes it. Will President Trump in this case be more influenced by those he has chosen to serve him in senior positions? We can hope not, judging from their hawkishness in recent Senate hearings. Trump cannot be for war and against war simultaneously. Let us hope that once the weight of the office settles on him he will understand that the prosperity he is promising can only come about through a consistently peaceful foreign policy.
By Jeff Deist
Today Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. American voters rejected the devil they know so well — Hillary Clinton — for the devil they don’t. Why they did so, and how Trump prevailed, is the biggest political story of our age. But the rejection of progressive hubris, what Friedrich Hayek called the “fatal conceit” of those who would presume to plan our lives, is at the heart of that story.
The Left views Trump’s election as an absolute calamity, despite his support for unions and protectionist trade policies, despite his identity as a New York elite rather than some despised red state politician, and despite his ambivalence toward the social issues that animate Christian conservatives. One would think Democrats would be relieved not to suffer an ideologue like Santorum or Cruz in the White House. Yet their hysteria and lack of self-awareness prompt them to attack the Electoral College, of all things.
Progressives bear direct responsibility for Trump’s victory. They grossly miscalculated in nominating Mrs. Clinton, an avaricious and humorless technocrat who utterly failed to engage ordinary people. They abandoned populist economic themes and union halls in favor of global trade deals. They stayed silent while the Obama administration spent two full terms at war. They excused Obama’s NSA scandals. They cheered the growth of an imperial presidency and an activist judiciary, both of which they are now shocked to imagine outside their control.
But worst of all, progressives have poisoned America with vicious identity politics and a deeply false narrative of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and privilege. How could a backlash not result? By demonizing history, religion, traditional families, and middle America, they deliberately politicized whole areas of life that should be off limits to government. Politics is war, but it is also sales.
Yet Trump represents no victory for conservatives. The political Right, despite installing an ostensible Republican in the White House and gaining seats in Congress, is in ideological tatters. It has no coherent ideology of individualism, capitalism, and opportunity to counter the progressive narrative of dependency and victimhood. Republican identity lies simply in being less progressive than progressives, in merely wanting to engineer society toward different ends. The GOP long ago forfeited any claim to limited government or constitutionalism, as demonstrated by the disastrous debt-fueled presidency of George W. Bush. Republicans remain deeply committed to interventionism and nation-building, a foreign policy doctrine that originated with leftwing radicals. They refuse to address entitlements, either structurally or in the more important sense of rejecting government’s role in healthcare and retirement. Most importantly, conservatives forfeited the wider culture: progressives now dominate academia, media, literature, performing arts, philanthropy, churches, synagogues, and boardrooms across America.
So what can Trump actually do, in the face of this political and cultural stalemate? That’s the wrong question. What matters is what he can undo, or at least avoid doing. The last thing we need is more laws, New Deals, or Contracts with America. What we do need is less political control of society, meaning less state involvement in the economic, cultural, and social issues of the day. Can Trump possibly choose forbearance over action, at least in a few key areas?
Let us offer three suggestions.
First, Trump should stand by his pledge to pursue an “America first” foreign policy. Both the Left and Right oppose this, which suggests it’s a very good idea. Voters plainly want an end to our intractable conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they don’t want another dollar or drop of blood expended to install western democracy in the sectarian Middle East. Trump must resolve to stay out of Syria, stop the saber rattling toward Iran, and reject the crazed calls for resurrecting a Cold War with Russia. He must refuse to normalize constant war as an acceptable feature of American life. By trusting his deal-making nature and refusing to start — or intensify — another conflict, Trump could shock the world by actually presenting a kinder, gentler America.
Second, Trump should get serious about the Federal Reserve. By purchasing Treasury debt, the Fed is the shabby enabler of a deficit-addicted Congress. Interest rates are too low, savers (especially seniors) are suffering, and business malinvestment is once again creating bubbles throughout the economy. Interviewing John Allison — the former BB&T executive who understands sound money — for vice-chair of the Fed was a good sign that Trump understands this (nominating former Goldman Sachs insider Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary, however, was tone deaf). The Fed is the biggest source of cronyism in the economy, and thus anti-Fed populism is both good policy and good politics. It’s time to dispel the myth that monetary policy can make us richer. For starters, Trump should pressure Congress to pass Senator Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed bill.
Finally, Trump should use his platform to continue attacking the illiberal code of political correctness. PC is not just another social issue, like abortion or marriage. It underlies all other issues, because it attempts to frame how we think and speak. The conscious manipulation of language is inherently authoritarian, and Trump’s reflexive disdain for PC comes from his better angels. Trump’s twitter feed can serve him well here.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.
By Adam Dick
With Donald Trump set to become president tomorrow, many proponents of the US government refraining from intervening in other countries have their fingers crossed, hoping that a Trump administration will bring an improved US foreign policy. In particular, there is hope that Trump’s statements that he wants the US and Russia to have friendlier relations will mean the Trump administration will work to reverse the much increased tensions of the last few years between the nations — tensions characterized by harsh words, sanctions, and military deployments.
In this week’s Ron Paul Institute weekly email to subscribers, RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote about how Obama’s foreign policy turned out to be different than the one for which many peace supporters had hoped. McAdams also discussed in the email other matters, including Obama granting a commutation for whistleblower Chelsea Manning. (You can sign up here to receive free RPI updates.)
Read here the RPI weekly email beginning paragraphs, in which McAdams addresses Obama’s foreign policy and the last-minute escalation of confrontation with Russia that Obama is leaving for the incoming president to deal with:
It seems strange that this will be the last time I write you under the presidency of Barack Obama. I recall the slight ray of hope we felt when he took office, after eight years of the crazed neocons who ran Bush's White House. At the time, Dr. Paul had just finished his ground-breaking 2008 presidential run and so much had changed for us in the Congressional office. While we were legally separated from campaign activities, we felt the mist from the waves crashing on the shore of American political life. Ron Paul went from being a widely-admired and principled Member of Congress to the world-renowned ambassador of honest money and non-interventionism! A revolution was born!
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.