A new NBC poll revealed some surprising information about how Americans view Russia. The mainstream media has been uniformly critical of Russia, including claims that it manipulated US elections. Who is buying this line and who's rejecting it?
By Ron Paul
Neocons, with their militaristic ideas, have put our country into a very big mess. Consistent failure has not led them to run away and hide in shame. In fact, the Trump Administration has plenty of neoconservative personalities in its midst.
My son, Senator Rand Paul, was recently on television promoting the ideas of a non-interventionist foreign policy and rebuked the thought of continuing down the road to ruin. Please watch it below:
According to recent press reports, the CIA weapons smuggling operation to Syrian rebels has been on hold for a few weeks. At the same time, however, US Centcom Commander suggests that regular military units may be sent in to the country. Are we backing off or readying an invasion?
By Ron Paul
When it comes to the declaration of war, the "Father of The U.S. Constitution," James Madison, said that:
"The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature...the executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war."
The American government's militarism over the last 70 years is as unconstitutional as it gets.
I had a great conversation on Fox Business with Kennedy about this very subject:
By Fox News
In a new sign that Venezuela’s financial crisis is morphing dangerously into a humanitarian one, a new nationwide survey shows that in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food.
The extreme poor said they dropped even more weight than that.
The 2016 Living Conditions Survey (Encovi, for its name in Spanish), conducted among 6,500 families, also found that as many as 32.5 percent eat only once or twice a day — the figure was 11.3 just a year ago.
In all, 82 percent of the nation's households live in poverty, the study found.
Venezuelans suffer shortages of the most basic goods, from food to medicine, amid triple-digit inflation and a nearly 80 percent currency collapse in the last year.
A whopping 93.3 percent told Encovi researchers that their income was not enough to cover their food needs, which would explain why Venezuelans are replacing red and white meat with vegetables and tubers, mainly potato, and other cheaper options.
"There is a change in eating habits patterns from 2014 [when Encovi surveys began]. Previously Venezuelans consumed primarily rice, breads and pastas; now it’s tubers,” said Maritza Landaeta, a researcher with the Venezuelan Health Observatory, as quoted by runrun.es.
“In our qualitative studies we observed mothers who say that they fed their children only with bananas or auyamas [a kind of pumpkin] to satisfy their feeding needs,” she said.
Additionally, 65 percent of those surveyed admitted having children at home who had skipped school for food-related reasons — including filling in for their parents in the long food lines.
Read the rest at Fox News
Gen. H.R. McMaster has been named National Security Advisor to President Trump. How much will his hawkish views on war and geopolitics influence the President's policies?
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
Some of our assumptions are so deeply embedded that we cannot perceive them ourselves.
Case in point: everyone takes for granted that it’s normal for a country of 320 million to be dictated to by a single central authority. The only debate we’re permitted to have is who should be selected to carry out this grotesque and inhumane function.
Here’s the debate we should be having instead: what if we simply abandoned this quixotic mission, and went our separate ways? It’s an idea that’s gaining traction — much too late, to be sure, but better late than never.
For a long time it seemed as if the idea of secession was unlikely to take hold in modern America. Schoolchildren, after all, are told to associate secession with slavery and treason. American journalists treat the idea as if it were self-evidently ridiculous and contemptible (an attitude they curiously do not adopt when faced with US war propaganda, I might add).
And yet all it took was the election of Donald Trump for the alleged toxicity of secession to vanish entirely. The left’s principled opposition to secession and devotion to the holy Union went promptly out the window on November 8, 2016. Today, about one in three Californians polled favors the Golden State’s secession from the Union.
In other words, some people seem to be coming to the conclusion that the whole system is rotten and should be abandoned.
It’s true that most leftists have not come around to this way of thinking. Many have adopted the creepy slogan “not my president” – in other words, I may not want this particular person having the power to intervene in all aspects of life and holding in his hands the ability to destroy the entire earth, but I most certainly do want someone else to have those powers.
Not exactly a head-on challenge to the system, in other words. (That’s what we libertarians are for.) The problem in their view is only that the wrong people are in charge.
Indeed, leftists who once said “small is beautiful” and “question authority” had little trouble embracing large federal bureaucracies in charge of education, health, housing, and pretty much every important thing. And these authorities, of course, you are not to question (unless they are headed by a Trump nominee, in which case they may be temporarily ignored).
Meanwhile, the right wing has been calling for the abolition of the Department of Education practically since its creation in 1979. That hasn’t happened, as you may have noticed. Having the agency in Republican hands became the more urgent task.
Each side pours tremendous resources into trying to take control of the federal apparatus and lord it over the whole country.
How about we call it quits?
No more federal fiefdoms, no more forcing 320 million people into a single mold, no more dictating to everyone from the central state.
Radical, yes, and surely not a perspective we were exposed to as schoolchildren. But is it so unreasonable? Is it not in fact the very height of reason and good sense? And some people, we may reasonably hope, may be prepared to consider these simple and humane questions for the very first time.
Now can we imagine the left actually growing so unhappy as to favor secession as a genuine solution?
Here’s what I know. On the one hand, the left made its long march through the institutions: universities, the media, popular culture. Their intention was to remake American society. The task involved an enormous amount of time and wealth. Secession would amount to abandoning this string of successes, and it’s hard to imagine them giving up in this way after sinking all those resources into the long march.
At the same time, it’s possible that the cultural elite have come to despise the American bourgeoisie so much that they’re willing to treat all of that as a sunk cost, and simply get out.
Whatever the case may be, what we can and should do is encourage all decentralization and secession talk, such that these heretofore forbidden options become live once again.
I can already hear the objections from Beltway libertarians, who are not known for supporting political decentralization. To the contrary, they long for the day when libertarian judges and lawmakers will impose liberty on the entire country. And on a more basic level, they find talk of states’ rights, nullification, and secession – about which they hold the most exquisitely conventional and p.c. views – to be sources of embarrassment.
How are they going to rub elbows with the Fed chairman if they’re associated with ideas like these?
Of course we would like to see liberty flourish everywhere. But it’s foolish not to accept more limited victories and finite goals when these are the only realistic options.
The great libertarians – from Felix Morley and Frank Chodorov to Murray Rothbard and Hans Hoppe — have always favored political decentralization; F.A. Hayek once said that in the future liberty was more likely to flourish in small states. This is surely the way forward for us today, if we want to see tangible changes in our lifetimes.
Thomas Sowell referred to two competing visions that lay at the heart of so much political debate: the constrained and the unconstrained. In the constrained vision, man’s nature is not really malleable, his existence contains an element of tragedy, and there is little that politics can do by way of grandiose schemes to perfect society. In the unconstrained vision, the only limitation to how much society can be remade in the image of its political rulers is how much the rubes are willing to stomach at a given moment.
These competing visions are reaching an endgame vis-a-vis one another. As Angelo Codevilla observes, the left has overplayed its hand. The regular folks have reached the limits of their toleration of leftist intimidation and thought control, and are hitting back.
We can fight it out, or we can go our separate ways.
When I say go our separate ways, I don’t mean “the left” goes one way and “the right” goes another. I mean the left goes one way and everyone else — rather a diverse group indeed — goes another. People who live for moral posturing, to broadcast their superiority over everyone else, and to steamroll differences in the name of “diversity,” should go one way, and everyone who rolls his eyes at all this should go another.
“No people and no part of a people,” said Ludwig von Mises nearly one hundred years ago, “shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.” So much wisdom in that simple sentiment. And so much conflict and anguish could be avoided if only we’d heed it.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.
By Chris Rossini
President Trump's inaugural speech contained words that would create a smile for any liberty-loving individual:
"We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do 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."
Fulfilling those words would truly be revolutionary. Trump really would be different if he chooses to govern by them.
Unfortunately, the views of the National Security Advisors that President Trump has picked don't seem to jibe.
For example, General Michael Flynn, who recently resigned, had a couple of positive views, especially with his desire to work with Russia (which is probably the view that made him a target of the deep state).
But Flynn also had terrible views when it came to the Middle East, and specifically with Iran. President Trump barely finished draping the new curtains in the White House, and Flynn was already putting Iran "on notice".
Flynn has had a bone to pick with Iran for a long time, as those who have read his book could clearly see.
Flynn even said the following (very false) statement in his book:
Most Americans mistakenly believe that peace is the normal condition of mankind, while war is some weird aberration. Actually, it is the other way around.
There's a HUGE difference between "mankind" and governments.
So Gen. Flynn did not live up to the words from Trump's inauguration speech. He's a war hawk plain and simple.
Today, President Trump replaced Flynn with Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
Will McMaster advise Trump towards a more peaceful foreign policy?
It doesn't look like it.
Wouldn't you know, he's a major hawk on Russia. Look how that happened.
Target Liberty also provides the following on McMaster's thinking:
[McMaster] holds the view that U.S. troops on the ground are the only way to solve many conflicts. He holds that simple air bombardment, which the U.S. is presently doing in the Middle East, is "George Costanza-type" fighting.
Presidents have promised peace (and have been awarded Nobel Peace Prizes) only to provide us with more war.
Trump is yet to make his mark in the history books as to which road he will choose.
But he's not setting himself up for peace based on the people he's surrounding himself with.
The problem with President Trump's expected strategy plan to defeat ISIS is that it is not a strategy at all, but rather it is the same old failed tactics: more US military force.
By Ron Paul
Just over a week into the Trump Administration, the President issued an Executive Order giving Defense Secretary James Mattis 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS. According to the Order, the plan should make recommendations on military actions, diplomatic actions, partners, strategies, and how to pay for the operation.
As we approach the president’s deadline it looks like the military is going to present Trump with a plan to do a whole lot more of what we’ve been doing and somehow expect different results. Proving the old saying that when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, we are hearing increasing reports that the military will recommend sending thousands of US troops into Syria and Iraq.
This would be a significant escalation in both countries, as currently there are about 5,000 US troops still fighting our 13-year war in Iraq, and some 500 special forces soldiers operating in Syria.
The current Syria ceasefire, brokered without US involvement at the end of 2016, is producing positive results and the opposing groups are talking with each other under Russian and Iranian sponsorship. Does anyone think sending thousands of US troops into a situation that is already being resolved without us is a good idea?
In language reminiscent of his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the president told a political rally in Florida over the weekend that he was going to set up “safe zones” in Syria and would make the Gulf States pay for them. There are several problems with this plan.
First, any “safe zone” set up inside Syria, especially if protected by US troops, would amount to a massive US invasion of the country unless the Assad government approves them. Does President Trump want to begin his presidency with an illegal invasion of a sovereign country?
Second, there is the little problem of the Russians, who are partners with the Assad government in its efforts to rid the country of ISIS and al-Qaeda. ISIS is already losing territory on a daily basis. Is President Trump willing to risk a military escalation with Russia to protect armed regime-change forces in Syria?
Third, the Gulf States are the major backers of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria – as the president’s own recently-resigned National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, revealed in a 2015 interview. Unless these safe zones are being set up to keep al-Qaeda and ISIS safe, it doesn’t make any sense to involve the Gulf States.
Many will say we should not be surprised at these latest moves. As a candidate, Trump vowed to defeat ISIS once and for all. However, does anyone really believe that continuing the same strategy we have followed for the past 16 years will produce different results this time? If what you are hammering is not a nail, will hammering it harder get it nailed in?
Washington cannot handle the truth: solving the ISIS problem must involve a whole lot less US activity in the Middle East, not a whole lot more. Until that is understood, we will continue to waste trillions of dollars and untold lives in a losing endeavor.