By Liberty Report Staff
On yesterday's show, Dr. Paul surmised that if former President Obama really did want surveillance performed on the Trump presidential campaign, he wouldn't have to send a memo or an email ordering it to be done.
Obama wouldn't have to leave such an obvious paper trail.
We already know that the deep state is listening to everyone. There doesn't need to be a specially signed order. This point is elaborated on further by The Corbett Report:
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Editor's Note: The following is a reprinted chapter on Surveillance from Dr. Paul's book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom
By Ron Paul
Each of us is caught on camera quite a few times every day. Most of the time, we don't worry about it. We are taped getting money from a cash machine, buying things at the convenience store, shopping at the grocery, or just driving around a parking lot. Our data is collected even as we browse online. I don't see this as an inherent problem, since most of us agree to this kind of surveillance. When it is done by the private sector, it serves a social function and leads to more security and better service.
Private security cameras on private property can be quite useful in performing a task that government can't and shouldn't be responsible for. Protecting individual plants, businesses, homes, apartments, or condos with cameras should be the prerogative of the property owner. We would all rather not deal with this, but we can also appreciate the benefits. Such surveillance enhances security and deters theft.
The private use of video cameras is not my concern. In fact they can be used to promote freedom. They allow people to film law enforcement personnel when they get out of line.
More police brutality has been caught on film than ever before, which serves the interest of all of us. I also note that most government agencies are now barring citizens in government offices from carrying cell phones, and there can be no doubt about the reason. Government doesn't want to be watched and filmed.
Meanwhile, the government's own use of surveillance cameras is out of control. Cameras at traffic lights are pervasive throughout the country. Many cities have been sold on the idea, supposedly for safety reasons, but the reality is that the cameras are installed with the goal of raising revenue. The companies that put these cameras in are motivated because they share in the profits. Challenging the charges in court is frequently not even permitted.
All public places now are subject to government cameras: roads, streets, buildings, and who knows where else. The excuse is always the same: They are providing safety for us. But unlike in the private sector, this is not really believable. Government much too often violates our privacy and at the same time is fanatical in protecting its own secrecy.
Not only are the government's cameras proliferating, the government itself is turning even the private camera into a threat it otherwise would not be. Under the Patriot Act, private cameras, as well as cell phones and the Internet, are vulnerable to an aggressive federal government.
Everyone theoretically can be a potential threat, a possible friend of an "enemy combatant," and therefore can be under surveillance one way or the other. We're constantly reminded we live in a dangerous time and we're at war, so be ready and willing to sacrifice your liberty so we can all be safe and secure.
Whether surveillance is good or bad really depends on the institutions that use it and what the film is used for. Nothing good can come out of permitting government to film our every move. It strikes me like a scene out of Orwell's 1984. What I would like to see is the very opposite: citizens who film ever more government activity, a live camera in every government bureaucracy that can be seen by all citizens, a monitor on every bureaucrat that can be watched by every person who pays the bills. This would be a great way for the citizens to take back control. We need to protect citizens against government intrusions even as we curb the ability of the government to operate in total secrecy.
By Sheldon Richman
As Donald Trump demonstrated in his first address to Congress, no matter how loathsome a ruler he may be, he can bring an assembly of politicians to its feet and disarm some critics simply by invoking the quasi-secular faith — Americanism — and eulogizing the latest uniformed war-state employee to sacrifice his life for it. Trump has indeed shown he can fill the job expected of any president: supreme head of what Andrew Bacevich calls the Church of America the Redeemer.
Horace’s declaration “Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori” — “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country” — is just what poet Wilfred Owen called it: “The old Lie.” Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky extended Owen’s point when he had his protagonist in The Americanization of Emily tell a war widow, “We perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.”
How many times must people fall for this ploy before they realize they have been cruelly scammed? (The American Church is sustained by a coalition of profiteers and true believers, or what economist Bruce Yandle generically dubbed “bootleggers and Baptists.”)
If we are ever to abolish America’s bloody and costly permanent war state we will have to rethink the quasi-secular faith which holds that dying — and killing — for one’s country is the greatest honor and virtue to which one one can aspire. It is time we learned that killing and dying for an ideology — even so-called liberal democracy — is as bad as doing so for a religion — even so-called radical Islam. (The distinction between ideology and religion is more apparent than real).
In his speech, Trump milked the moment for all it was worth. Navy SEAL Owens died in a bungled special-ops raid in Yemen in late January. (Did you know the U.S. government conducts ground operations there?) It was the first such operation Trump approved, although it was planned during the Obama administration and Trump has shifted responsibility to the generals.
“We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William ‘Ryan’ Owens,” Trump said before Congress. “Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation…. Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you. For as the Bible teaches us, ‘There is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom. And we will never forget Ryan.”
Everyone stood and applauded for over two minutes, Trump making no effort to bring the ovation to an end. “Ryan is looking down right now,” he said. “You know that. And he is very happy because I think he just broke a record.”
That’s great. Carryn Owens lost her husband, his three children lost their father, but they’ll know that he died for the nation-state and that members of Congress stood for a record length of time.
Trump also said: “I just spoke to our great general [and Defense Secretary James] Mattis, just now, who reconfirmed that — and I quote — ‘Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.'”
Of course Trump left some things out of the account. The raid killed at least 25 noncombatants, including children — among them an American citizen: the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the militant Muslim cleric and American citizen executed without due process in Yemen by an Obama drone nearly six years ago. Nora al-Awlaki’s teenaged brother, Abdulrahman, also an American citizen, was similarly killed in an Obama drone strike in Yemen.
Moreover, the special-ops raid in January failed in its mission to capture or kill leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). As NBC reported: contrary to Trump’s claim, “last month’s deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a U.S. Navy SEAL and a number of children, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News.” (A follow-up report found the same. CNN reports otherwise, and it’s certainly possible the raid netted intel. But we must also consider that military officials have a motive to lie: to reinforce the faith that Owens did not die in vain.)
The purpose of the raid has been clouded by conflicting statements. NBC says that initially “Pentagon officials called it a ‘site exploitation mission’ designed to gather intelligence” but later did not dispute Sen. John McCain’s description of the mission as intended to eliminate or catch militants. Adding to the confusion is the Pentagon’s description of one of the victims, Sheikh Abdel-Raouf al-Dhahab, as an AQAP leader. NBC says “the Yemeni government disagrees.”
The Washington Post reported that “Yemeni and tribal officials described a chaotic scene that followed [the raid], saying that tribal leaders, even those without an affiliation with AQAP, took up arms out of loyalty to Dhahab and a desire to protect their village. ‘Any person who has dignity and honor would not stand by and watch his neighbors and relatives and tribesmen being attacked and do nothing,’ said Saleh Hussein al-Aameri, a tribal leader who was close enough to hear the gunfire.” (Emphasis added.)
Apparently you don’t have to be a “radical Islamic terrorist” to resent foreign troops storming your village at night.
“Almost everything that could go wrong did,” the New York Times reported. “The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed.” Nevertheless, “the Pentagon is drafting such plans to accelerate activities against the Qaeda branch in Yemen.”
According to the quasi-secular faith, reckless disregard for human life doesn’t matter. All that matters is that a man gave his life carrying out orders issued by the high priests of the American Church in the name of National Security. It is heresy even to wonder if the death was in vain, if the noncombatant deaths constitute war crimes, or if the operation bore any relation to the actual security of the American people. Woe betide anyone who suggests (as some military people have) that such raids create militants and fill the ranks of people who want revenge against Americans for what they allow their government to do.
As expected, the Trump administration deflected criticism by invoking Owens’s martyrdom. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer said that anyone “who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens.”
Inconveniently, it was Owens’s father who admonished Trump not “to hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation” of the ill-conceived operation. The elder Owens refused to meet the president when the chief petty officer’s remains came to Dover Air Force Base. “My conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” the elder Owens, a veteran, said.
That Trump would exploit a grieving widow and invoke the national quasi-secular faith for his own advantage is hardly surprising. Presidents always do this. What’s remarkable is that even some of Trump’s critics were taken in. For example, Van Jones, who portrays himself as an edgy left radical, gushed over Trump’s shameful use of Owens’s death. Trump “became president of the United States in that moment, period,” Jones said on CNN. “That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics.”
Hardly. But it shows that a quasi-secular faith can be as powerful as any religious faith.
Contrary to the national faith the “war on terror” is neither defensive and nor effective: there was no AQAP before the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan and Iraq roughly 15 years ago, and it has been bombing Yemen for years. (Bizarrely, it also helps AQAP by enabling Saudi Arabia’s war against AQAP’s enemy, the Houthis.) The 9/11 attacks, which provide the official excuse for the permanent war state, were acts of revenge — albeit immorally directed largely at noncombatants — after decades of oppressive and lethal U.S. actions against Arab Muslims. The already small terrorist threat to Americans could be further reduced by adopting a noninterventionist foreign policy.
But any suggestion that the American Church does wrong is systematically marginalized and kept from the public by the mainstream media’s defenders of the official faith. As long as that’s the case, innocents in other lands will continue to be murdered and Americans like Ryan Owens will continue to die in vain.
This article was originally published at The Libertarian Institute.
President Trump's Saturday Tweet-storm accusing former President Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower has Washington in a frenzy. Are we on the verge of a Watergate-level crisis, or are Trump's Tweets just more bluster?
By Ron Paul
History shows that, if individuals have the freedom to choose what to use as money, they will likely opt for gold or silver.
Of course, modern politicians and their Keynesian enablers despise the gold or silver standard. This is because linking a currency to a precious metal limits the ability of central banks to finance the growth of the welfare-warfare state via the inflation tax. This forces politicians to finance big government much more with direct means of taxation.
Despite the hostility toward gold from modern politicians, gold played a role in US monetary policy for sixty years after the creation of the Federal Reserve. Then, in 1971, as concerns over the US government’s increasing deficits led many foreign governments to convert their holdings of US dollars to gold, President Nixon closed the gold window, creating America’s first purely fiat currency.
America’s 46-year experiment in fiat currency has gone exactly as followers of the Austrian school predicted: a continuing decline in the dollar’s purchasing power accompanied by a decline in the standard of living of middle- and working-class Americans, a series of Federal Reserve-created booms followed by increasingly severe busts, and an explosive growth in government spending. Federal Reserve policies are also behind much of the increase in income inequality.
Since the 2008 Fed-created economic meltdown, more Americans have become aware of the Federal Reserve's responsibility for America's economic problems. This growing anti-Fed sentiment is one of the key factors behind the liberty movement’s growth and represents the most serious challenge to the Fed's legitimacy in its history. This movement has made “Audit the Fed” into a major national issue that is now closer than ever to being signed into law.
Audit the Fed is not the only focus of the growing anti-Fed movement. For example, this Wednesday the Arizona Senate Finance and Rules Committees will consider legislation (HB 2014) officially defining gold, silver, and other precious metals as legal tender. The bill also exempts transactions in precious metals from state capital gains taxes, thus ensuring that people are not punished by the taxman for rejecting Federal Reserve notes in favor of gold or silver. Since inflation increases the value of precious metals, these taxes give the government one more way to profit from the Federal Reserve’s currency debasement.
HB 2014 is a very important and timely piece of legislation. The Federal Reserve’s failure to reignite the economy with record-low interest rates since the last crash is a sign that we may soon see the dollar’s collapse. It is therefore imperative that the law protect people’s right to use alternatives to what may soon be virtually worthless Federal Reserve notes.
Passage of HB 2014 would also send a message to Congress and the Trump administration that the anti-Fed movement is growing in influence. Thus, passage of this bill will not just strengthen movements in other states to pass similar legislation; it will also help build support for the Audit the Fed bill and legislation repealing federal legal tender laws.
This Wednesday I will be in Arizona to help rally support for HB 2014, speaking on behalf of the bill before the Arizona Senate Finance Committee at 9:00 a.m. I will also be speaking at a rally at noon at the Arizona state capitol. I hope every supporter of sound money in the Phoenix area joins me to show their support for ending the Fed’s money monopoly.
By Tyler Durden
As a result of a study, which found that weapons routinely make it past airport security, the TSA is introducing “more rigorous” and “comprehensive” physical inspections at airports around the country, according to Bloomberg. The security agency, which until now had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs in the screening line, is eliminating the "options" and replacing them with a single, universal method which would involve heavier groping.
The Transportation Security Administration made the announcement to its agents this week, and in the case of Denver International Airport employees, advised employees and flight crews on Thursday that the “more rigorous” searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”
In an ominous warning, TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson told Bloomberg that "people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved." The shift from the previous, risk-based assessment on which pat-down procedure an officer should apply was phased in over the past two weeks after tests at smaller airports. In their notice, Denver airport officials said employees are subject to search at random locations: “If a pat down is required as part of the operation, badged employees will be required to comply with a TSA officer’s request to conduct a full body pat down.”
The new policy will also apply to pilots and flight attendants, classified as “known crewmembers” who generally receive less scrutiny at checkpoints. The TSA conducts occasional random searches of these employees, and airlines this week inquired as to whether their employees would be subject to more frequent pat-downs. The number of random searches for airline crews isn’t changing and will remain a “very small percentage” of the total, Anderson said. But airport employees may face more random checks.
Anyone who declines use of the TSA's existing conventional scanner screen will be subject to the new pat-down. The TSA currently screens about 2 million people daily at U.S. airports. The agency doesn’t track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches after they pass through an imaging scanner.
The TSA has been criticized in recent years for its overall screening techniques after an internal investigation by Homeland Security in 2015 found that the TSA failed an unbelievable 95 percent of airport security tests, allowing undercover agents to successfully and repeatedly smuggle mock explosives and banned weapons through checkpoints in the country’s busiest airports. As a result, the TSA has been in desperate need of change and the physical inspection would be a good place to start.
That said, the agency has been ridiculed for years for causing delays at airports and being largely ineffective at detecting contraband. The good news is that while passengers may find the new patdown more intrusive, Anderson promised that the new screening procedure isn’t expected to increase overall airport security delays. However, “for the person who gets the pat down, it will slow them down.”
As Bloomberg adds, in December, a CNN political commentator, Angela Rye, posted an article online describing her “humiliation” during a TSA agent’s search. Rye wrote in graphic detail about the pat down of her genitals during a search at the Detroit Airport before a flight to New York.
TSA officials didn’t immediately address whether the new universal pat-down protocol will mandate touching of passenger genitals.
While the physical screening process has been a stress point for the TSA practically since its inception, the agency has tried to make travelers more comfortable by pairing them up with people of the same gender for pat-downs and also giving people the option of being inspected in a private room, however at the cost of substantial travel delays. However, as some have mused out, it still doesn’t answer one of the most confounding questions about the TSA: "Is America really any safer because some underpaid worker grabbed a pussy at the airport?"
This article was originally published at Zero Hedge.
It's Friday, which means it's payday for most people. Time to deposit that check into the bank, right? But what happens to that deposit? What happens in that building where a little rectangular sign says the government has you "insured". Ron Paul gives you the scoop on today's Myth-Busters!
[Editor's Note] - Read all of Rothbard's major works for free in digital format at The Mises Institute.
By Ron Paul
It would be difficult to exaggerate Professor Murray N. Rothbard’s influence on the movement for freedom and free markets. He is the living giant of Austrian economics, and he has led the now-formidable movement ever since the death of his great teacher, Ludwig von Mises, in 1971. We are all indebted to him for the living link he has provided to Mises, upon whose work he has built and expanded. But many are less aware of Rothbard’s political influence. Some would say that while he is undoubtedly an excellent economist, his political efforts have been less than successful. I would deny this.
Rothbard is the founder of the modern libertarian movement, and of the Libertarian Party which is its political incarnation, and he thus has built the necessary foundation for liberty by inspiring the most important third-party movement ever. And in my own political work, I have been profoundly influenced by the lucid and brilliant works of Rothbard. In his first correspondence with me after I was elected to office, Rothbard expressed surprise and delight to find a real Congressman who wrote that “taxation is theft,” and approvingly quoted his article, “Gold vs. Fluctuating Exchange Rates.” I, of course, was thrilled to hear from someone whose works I had studied and admired for so many years.
The aura that has traditionally surrounded American politics in this century has turned to suspicion during the past decade. The scandals of Watergate (and, let us hope, Iran-Contragate as well) convinced the public, for a time, that it is naive to trust any mainstream politician. Rothbard was delighted with the whole event, saying in 1979 that, “it is Watergate that gives us the greatest single hope for the short-run victory of liberty in America. For Watergate, as politicians have been warning us ever since, destroyed the public’s ‘faith in government’ — and it was high time, too. “Rothbard rejoices, saying, “government itself has been largely desanctified in America.”
No one trusts politicians or government anymore; all government is viewed with abiding hostility, thus returning us to that State of a healthy distrust of government that marked the American public and the American revolutionaries of the eighteenth century.” For the sake of liberty, let us hope this hostility isn’t just a passing phase.
Most understand that what a politician says during his campaign is rarely compatible with his performance. Still, this broad — and healthy — cynicism does not translate into a clear public understanding of the lies of the average politician.
It is incredible how a politician can maintain an image while the facts clearly point in the opposite direction. Many still see President Reagan as a budget-cutter while he has proposed the largest budgets and deficits in our history.
While it is perhaps understandable that the public remains naive about the realities of politics, given the Establishment media conspiracy to hide the truth, but the tendency of scholars to gloss over facts and misrepresent realities is absolutely inexcusable. Academics tend to cling to old interpretations, or worse, old Statist ideals which blur their view of reality. And when prevailing historical orthodoxy is challenged, those who have an interest in maintaining myths attempt to silence their opponents.
Just one example from his works is the case of Murray Rothbard’s revisionist analysis of Herbert Hoover’s pre-Depression years. When Rothbard set out to tell the story of Hoover, consider what he was up against. Republicans, who for the most part opposed Roosevelt’s New Deal, blame the enormous growth of government that occurred during those years on the Democrats. Conversely, the Democrats, who are proud of the New Deal, take credit for it. Thus Republicans are taught that “Hoover’s only problem was that he did not have a Republican Congress,” and Democrats are taught that government should solve any crisis that “socially Darwinian free markets inevitably cause,” just as Roosevelt did. And intellectuals are notoriously stubborn about accepting new historical interpretations, especially if the revision favors free markets over government planning.
It is a tough job to change historical interpretations — no matter how false — which have been solidified for generations in the minds of State-protecting partisans. Nevertheless, Rothbard announced in 1963: “Herbert Clark Hoover must be considered the founder of the New Deal in America.” And in fact “Franklin D. Roosevelt, in large part, merely elaborated the policies laid down by his predecessor.”
Rothbard’s analysis is stunning and exhaustive. He set out to prove his proposition and did so without question. Hoover was an interventionist. He was philosophically committed to using the coercive machinery of government to bring about full employment, insure the survival and influence of labor unions, manipulate the price level for farmers’ benefit, maintain wage levels and deport immigrants, prevent bankruptcies, and above all to inflate the money supply. Hoover did this in spite of the “bitter-end liquidationists” who thought the Depression represented a necessary correction in the malinvestment of the previous decade.
And indeed, against all odds, Rothbard has made inroads to changing the way history treats Hoover. The eminent British historian Paul Johnson, who became the darling of the conservative movement with his massive study on the history of Christianity and his history of the world during the twentieth century, Modern Times, was directly influenced by Rothbard’s reconstruction of Hoover. In Modern Times, Johnson calls Hoover’s fiscal and monetary policies “vulgar Keynesianism,” a point upon which Rothbard had previously elaborated.
Idols for Destruction, a scholarly work by Herbert Schlossberg now causing much talk in conservative and evangelical circles, enthusiastically echoes Rothbard’s historical revision of Hoover. “Herbert Hoover amazingly referred to even by historians as a partisan of laissez-faire, energetically supported … a powerful central State that would coordinate the efforts of the business.”
The New Deal was not new after all. It was hatched in the decade prior to Roosevelt’s ascension to power. Rothbard’s analysis, directly and indirectly, has led many to be more objective when evaluating partisan politics, both now and in the past.
Years before I ever thought of running for Congress, I came across Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression. Before reading it, my thinking was clouded by the temptation to divide these issues and ideas into partisan terms. Rothbard fixed that.
America’s Great Depression was a key book in my conversion to pure free-market, libertarian thinking. The confidence I gained with ammunition supplied by Rothbard encouraged my entry into politics since I needed the reassurance that my intuitive allegiance to liberty was shared by great thinkers. Rothbard taught me to always keep the distinction between peaceful market activity and State coercion in my mind. It served as a constant guide once I was in office.
I wanted to see the brilliant writings of theoreticians such as Rothbard translated into practical political action. To my surprise, there was a strong constituency for these views, and I was elected to four terms. Even a person familiar with only a small part of the vast work Rothbard has produced during his career knows his attitude towards politics. Like Mises, he labels the State as the “social apparatus of violent oppression.”
How do we minimize the role of the State? To bring about radical and permanent change in any society, our primary focus must be on the conversion of minds through education. This is a task to which Rothbard has dedicated his life. That’s why he was such a willing participant on so many occasions in the educational functions I held for interns, staffers, and Members of Congress. After speaking at a seminar I held, he expressed delight at the large turn-out, saying it “shows the extent to which our ideas have permeated politics and public opinion, far more than I had hoped or believed.”
But because Rothbard sees education as the primary vehicle for change, that does not mean, of course, that he is opposed to getting directly involved in political action towards a libertarian society. As he had said, “since the State will not gracefully convert itself out of power, other means than education, means of pressure, will have to be used.”
That’s why I asked his help when I was appointed to the U.S. Gold Commission, and Rothbard produced brilliant material on American monetary history in the nineteenth century, especially as related to gold and the evils of central banking. These are issues that Rothbard has refused to compromise on, despite enormous pressure from inside and outside the movement. To this day, he remains the most persuasive monetary theorist and consistent critic of inflation and fiat paper money. When gold is once again restored to a central place in our monetary system, we will owe a gigantic debt to the work of Rothbard.
In fact, Rothbard’s work with the Gold Commission helped us get on the road to a gold coin standard because out of the Gold Commission came support for my legislation to mint the American Eagle Gold Coin. And his encouragement and support helped me make up my mind to run for the Presidency of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket.
In a multitude of ways, Rothbard’s work has given not only me but all of us the ammunition we need to fight for the American dream of liberty and prosperity for all mankind.
This is a chapter from Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard, edited with an introduction by Walter Block and Lew Rockwell.
By Liberty Report Staff