By Chris Rossini
It's funny...governments, central banks, and their media mouthpieces must think they're magicians. They want the public focused on their left hand, while the right hand is working behind the scenes.
Across the board, the media keeps telling Americans that gold is not money, and that it's a bad investment. Supposedly, it's a 'barbarous relic', or just a "pile of rocks".
Gold is so bad, and so unimportant, that the media just can't stop telling us the reasons why. Of course, it's all nonsense, which is why they have to keep refreshing and reiterating the propaganda. Fortunately for us, they're in a futile battle against the truth. No one has ever won that battle.
Many of you will remember when Ron Paul used to grill former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Were those exchanges fun to watch or what?
Fed officials were used to taking softball questions from everyone, and here came Ron Paul with a Nolan Ryan fireball that left them squirming for words.
One particular Ron Paul question sticks out like a sore thumb. Dr. Paul flat out asked Bernanke "Do you think gold is money?" You could tell that Bernanke was caught off guard. He had to pause before answering "No."
With that pause, Dr. Paul smelled blood in the water. He went in for the big one. He asked "Then why do central banks hold it?" Bernanke, again caught off guard, gave the answer that clearly showed he was check-mated. He said: "Well, it's tradition."
It's tradition. Yeah.
Of course, central banks hold gold because it's real money. There's a old saying that says: "He who holds the gold, makes the rules." That saying is as relevant today as ever.
In fact, even when Richard Nixon severed the final ties between the paper dollar and gold in 1971, he made a very clear choice. At that time, the rest of the world was cashing in their dollars in exchange for the gold that those dollars promised them.
The jig was up. Foreigners realized that the U.S. printed way more paper than they could possibly honor. So a run on the gold ensued.
Nixon had to make a choice: 'Do we let everyone give us these pieces of paper and let the gold stores dwindle to nothing? Or do we keep the gold, not honor our commitments, and stick everyone else with the paper?'
Nixon chose the gold!
He stiffed everyone else and their rightful claims to it.
Ever since, everyone has been pretending that U.S. dollars are the real money. However, you can only pretend for so long. How long is still yet to be seen. The fact that the charade has lasted to 2016 is a testament to how powerful propaganda really is.
But as each year passes, more and more people are realizing that something is not right with the Fed and the paper charade that they lead. The genie has been let out of the bottle and there's no jamming it back in.
So what's happening behind the scenes? As the media keeps preaching to Americans to keep their eye on the left hand, what is the right hand doing?
Well, it turns out, central banks are loading up on gold! They're also doing so at an increasingly faster pace.
Here's a good chart provided to us by SchiffGold:
What's going on?
While Americans are being entertained by the pictures (!!) that appear on paper dollars, central banks are stocking up on gold. Why are they stocking up?
Please don't fall for that one.
By Ron Paul
An often ignored, yet major political question is "Why has there been no economic recovery?" There are plenty of silly distractions in the presidential campaign, but no answers for such a critical question. There has been no significant economic growth since 2008!
We were told by the media at the time that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was a "Hero". He saved "the system". But what exactly did The Fed save? Wall Street, at least on paper, seems to be thriving. But grassroots America continues to suffer.
The Fed's fivefold increase in the monetary base failed to "stimulate the economy," and did nothing to renew economic growth. The federal debt, however, did increase by an astounding $8 trillion! Yet more spending by government has not been a panacea at all.
Where are the outcries? Why has no one challenged the conventional wisdom of Keynesian economic planning? Why haven't Keynesian economists and pundits been called to task? They got us into this mess. They've championed the perpetuation of it. Why the silence?
You could be sure that if free markets existed, and they produced this kind of economic distress, there would be cries from every corner. We do not have free markets, but centrally planned markets. Where are the cries?
Conservatives are offering no help. When conservative politicians are asked about what should be done about the economy, their glib answers provide no solution. Sure lower tax rates and reduced regulations would be a good start, but that's just the very tip of the iceberg.
In order to restore soundness to the American economy, we have to go to the root of the problem, and not just tinker around the edges. At the root lies the Federal Reserve and its cadre of central planners.
There must be a return to interest rates that are set by the market. The idea of Americans sitting around with baited breath, waiting for central planners to issue their dictates is an embarrassment that future generations will look back on.
Future Americans will think to themselves: "Did they actually believe that the Federal Reserve knew what interest rates should be? That's impossible!"
It is impossible, and the central planners at the Fed have no clue as to what they're doing.
The Fed sits at the root of our problems, and then we can fan out from there. We have no economic recovery because far too many Americans have fallen under the spell of "progressivism," which is the idea that government must be involved in all aspects of our lives.
There is no objection to government managed wage rates, and no philosophic resistance to government control of education and medical care.
Americans have accepted government control hook, line and sinker! The "progressive" mentality (which is actually regressive) of total government control extends even beyond the American life. Strong support continues for increasing military spending for foreign adventurism.
No matter how long the string of foreign policy failures, we still have presidential candidates that are talking about "rebuilding the military."
Take a look at how your hard work, and the earnings that you produce, have been funneled into the military-industrial-complex. Does this look like an area that needs to be "rebuilt"?
There is no resistance to runaway welfare entitlement spending either. Astonishingly enough, there are presidential candidates that actually want to ratchet up the welfare, promising "FREE" stuff and making up "rights" that don't exist.
An intellectual renaissance is past due for America. A re-understanding of "capital" is much needed. Capital can only come from savings. It can't be whisked into existence with a Federal Reserve computer.
A definable market-based monetary unit must exist once again. Ask someone what a dollar actually is and you're likely to get a blank stare in return. Even central bankers are unable to provide a coherent answer.
Excessive debt must be liquidated. Mountains of malinvestments that the Federal Reserve has brought into existence must liquidated as well. Belief in having government involved in every piece of minutia also must come to an end, and it most certainly will.
The key question is how much economic pain must be felt in tossing aside the Keynesian and "progressive" ideas that are now clearly running on fumes?
You see, these critical mistakes must be corrected.
We can run from them, but not forever.
One thing is certain though. The longer that we run, the greater the pain that must be felt in the return to reality.
By Daniel McAdams
The CIA was once so interested in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture that it secretly spied on the US Senate to see what they were coming up with. These days...well, not so much. They hardly seem interested in the report at all. In fact, the CIA Inspector General's office has acknowledged that it "mistakenly" destroyed its only copy of the Senate torture report.
As Yahoo News reports, it is particularly alarming that the CIA office charged with oversight on matters of illegal CIA activity has bungled its handling of the report. And what a coincidence the CIA loss of the report turns out to be! It seems that, "CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document, filled with thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of 'enhanced' interrogation methods."
As the Yahoo report points out, it is ironic that the CIA lost its copy of the torture report because the Senate Intelligence Committee's decision to launch an investigation of the CIA's torture programs in the first place was the CIA's "losing" all the videotapes made of the waterboarding and possibly other torture of two "high value" detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
It seems we have the choice of believing that the CIA is either grossly incompetent with extremely sensitive and important intelligence material or they have a policy of "selective butterfingers" whereby all those annoying pieces of evidence showing illegal activity all magically disappear.
When the scandal of the CIA spying on the Senate broke, the CIA investigated itself and found that it did nothing wrong. Can we expect another investigation and automatic exoneration over its sloppy handling -- or worse -- of the Senate's finished product?
And by the way, will the rest of us ever get the opportunity to see what our government has been doing to other people in our name?
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.
By Ron Paul
For many of us concerned with liberty, the letters “NDAA” have come to symbolize Washington’s ongoing effort to undermine the US Constitution in the pursuit of constant war overseas. It was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012 that introduced into law the idea that American citizens could be indefinitely detained without warrant or charge if a government bureaucrat decides they had assisted al-Qaeda or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.” No charges, no trial, just disappeared Americans.
The National Defense Authorization bill should be a Congressional mechanism to bind the president to spend national defense money in the way Congress wishes. It is the nuts and bolts of the defense budget and as such is an important oversight tool preventing the imperial executive from treating the military as his own private army. Unfortunately that is no longer the case these days.
Why am I revisiting the NDAA today? Unfortunately since 2012 these bills have passed the House with less and less scrutiny, and this week the House is going to vote on final passage of yet another Defense Authorization, this time for fiscal year 2017. Once again it is a terrible piece of legislation that does great harm to the United States under the guise of protecting the United States.
Unless some last minute changes take place, this latest NDAA will force young women for the first time to register to be drafted into the US military. For the past 36 years, young men have been forced to register with Selective Service when they turn 18 or face felony charges and years in prison. Under a perverted notion of “equality” some people are cheering the idea that this represents an achievement for women. Why cheer when slavery is extended to all? We should be fighting for an end to forced servitude for young men and to prevent it being extended to women.
The argument against a draft should appeal to all: you own your own body. No state has the right to force you to kill or be killed against your will. No state has a claim on your life. We are born with freedoms not granted by the state, but by our creator. Only authoritarians seek to take that away from us.
Along with extending draft registration to women, the latest NDAA expands the neocons’ new “Cold War” with Russia, adding $3.4 billion to put US troops and heavy weapons on Russia’s border because as the bill claims, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.” This NDAA also includes the military slush fund of nearly $60 billion for the president to spend on wars of his choosing without the need to get Congress involved. Despite all the cries that we need to “rebuild the military," this year’s Defense Authorization bill has a higher base expenditure than last year. There have been no cuts in the military. On the contrary: the budget keeps growing.
The Defense Authorization bill should remain notorious. It represents most of what is wrong with Washington. It is welfare for the well-connected defense contractors and warfare on our economy and on the rest of the world. This reckless spending does nothing to defend the United States. It is hastening our total economic collapse.
By Daniel McAdams
Adding to suspicions of a US role in the ouster of independent-minded Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is a revelation making the rounds today that Michel Temer, the opposition leader who will step in as interim president, had met with US embassy officials in Sau Paulo to provide his assessment and spin on the domestic political situation in Brazil. Thanks to Wikileaks, we have the US embassy cable that resulted from the incoming president's visit to US political officers.
Acting president Temer will hold office for up to six months while impeached president Rousseff stands trial in the Brazilian senate. If her impeachment is finalized by a two-thirds vote, Temer will remain in office until elections in 2018.
Rousseff's ouster has been curious all along. She claims it is a coup against the will of the Brazilian voter and indeed she has not been accused of corruption or serious crime. Instead, she has been impeached for accusations that she used some tricky bookkeeping maneuvers to hide the extent of Brazil's budget deficit in advance of her successful 2014 re-election bid. Observers would note that if fiddling with economic statistics to make a country's balance sheet look better were grounds for impeachment in the United States, there would have been successive impeachments for decades or perhaps longer.
There are more curiosities surrounding the US role in Brazil's "regime change" this week. Just weeks ago, as Brazil's lower house of parliament began the process by voting 367 to 137 for impeachment, one very powerful opposition senator made his way to Washington to make his case in the Beltway corridors of power.
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald wrote at the time:
Today — the day after the impeachment vote — Sen. Aloysio Nunes of the (opposition) PSDB will be in Washington to undertake three days of meetings with various U.S. officials as well as with lobbyists and assorted influence-peddlers close to Clinton and other leading political figures.
The US has long been opposed to Rousseff, seeing her independent-mindedness and participation in the BRICS trade grouping as a threat to US influence in the region. Leftist governments in both Brazil and Venezuela have long been targets of US destabilization efforts. When Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been tapping her phones, Rousseff delivered a blistering speech at the United Nations accusing the US of violating international law and violating "the principles that must guide the relations among...friendly nations." Most foreign leaders when informed that the NSA had been spying on them sheepishly dropped the subject. Rousseff was almost alone in venting her rage over what she viewed as betrayal by a friendly government.
Is today's news about Temer's trips to the US embassy a smoking gun of a US role in this week's dramatic events? It must be stated that a meeting between political opposition figures and US embassy officials is not uncommon, and some alternative press accusations that the meeting makes Temer a US "informant" or even a US intelligence agent are probably over-blown. Embassy personnel as a matter of course cultivate political leaders in countries where they are posted to help get an understanding of the broad political situation. But it is part of the US interventionist strategy, from Moscow to Budapest to Minsk to Damascus to Sau Paulo, for US embassy personnel to actively engage opposition figures in countries where the US would like to see regime change. While it is understandable -- and can even be admirable -- that US embassy political officers actually get out from behind the embassy walls, it is also no secret that these meetings can be highly selective and can serve as a way to reinforce existing US policy toward a particular country instead of gaining a better understanding of the broad political landscape.
How deeply are Washington's fingers in the pie of Brazil's political crisis? There is at least one precedent, Greenwald notes in the above article. After years of strident US denial, secret documents were finally released revealing the central role played by the US in Brazil's 1964 military coup to remove a left-wing government. Plus ça change?
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.
By Chris Rossini
When government uses force, people (and companies) adapt. No one likes to be a punching bag. When the health-bullies tax or fix a high price on cigarettes or marijuana, people do their business on the black market. They still get the cigarettes. They still get the marijuana.
If government says a company must pay someone $15/hr no matter what, companies adjust. First, they will let go the employees that are not productive enough or skilled enough to earn the $15/hr.
Companies will also consolidate tasks. For example, if someone was being paid $8/hr to sweep the floor, that person will be fired and (A) either the floor won't be swept at all, or (B) someone else will just add that job to their list of responsibilities.
Companies will not pay $15/hr for an $8/hr task just because the government tells them to. Government can go pound sand.
This hurts all the individuals that can't earn $15/hr at the moment. Now their chances of getting hired to do anything dwindle to zero. They must go fill out their unemployment forms instead of working.
If government forces companies to unjustifiably pay $15/hr for employees, the incentive to automate skyrockets.
Wendy's is yet another example of a company that is moving to automation. They are putting self-serve kiosks in all 6,000 of their restaurants by the end of this year.
Blowback is not reserved for government's insane foreign policy. It also occurs with boneheaded domestic interventions as well.
Employees who were earning their market rate will now be laid off and will earn nothing.
They can thank government "help".
Abolish the minimum wage.
By Jacob Hornberger
I don’t get it. On the one hand, we’re told that the intentional targeting of civilians in wartime is a war crime. On the other hand, we’re told that the intentional targeting of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs was not a war crime.
Which is it?
The issue is back in the news with President Obama’s decision to visit Hiroshima. The question that is being debated is whether he should apologize for President Truman’s decision to order U.S. troops to drop nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
If the targeting of civilians in wartime is okay, then clearly the decision to nuke the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not a war crime.
But if that’s the case, then why was U.S. Army Lt. William Calley prosecuted during the Vietnam War? He’s the officer who intentionally killed several defenseless women and children in a Vietnamese village. The military prosecuted and convicted him of a war crime. Why? If it’s not a war crime to intentionally kill women and children in wartime, then why was Calley prosecuted and convicted of war crimes?
The fact is that it is a war crime for troops to intentionally target non-combatants in wartime. Nobody disputes that. But then given such, why the pass on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Everyone agrees that Truman was targeting non-combatants — mainly women, children, and seniors — when he ordered the nuking of those two cities. How do defenders of Truman’s decision avoid the inexorable conclusion that Truman’s action constituted a war crime?
Their primary argument is that the nuclear bombings of the cities shortened the war, thereby saving the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers who would have died had the war been continued to be waged, especially if an invasion of Japan had been necessary.
That’s in fact the rationale that has been cited for decades by U.S. soldiers who were fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Many of them have expressed gratitude over the years for what Truman did because it enabled them to live the rest of their natural lives while, otherwise, they might have been killed in subsequent battles.
But there are big problems with that rationale.
For one, the fact that killing non-combatants might or will shorten a war is not a legal defense to the war crime. Suppose Calley had said that his killing of those women and children had shortened the Vietnam War or that he intended to shorten the war by his actions. Would that have constituted a legal defense at his war crimes trial? Or suppose U.S. airmen who have bombed all those wedding parties in Afghanistan were to say, “We did it on purpose because we felt it would shorten the war.” Would they be let off the hook at their war crimes trial?
The answer is: No because that is not a legal defense to the war crime. The law does not say that the crime is excused if it succeeds in shortening the war or if it is intended to shorten the war.
Moreover, once that rationale is accepted, then doesn’t it logically apply to both sides in a war? What’s to prevent an enemy nation from intentionally targeting American non-combatants during war under the rationale that by doing so, it is bringing the war to an early conclusion, thereby saving the lives of many of its soldiers? Once both sides are relying on that rationale, doesn’t that effectively nullify the legal prohibition?
The fact is that soldiers die in war. That’s the nature of war. What’s one to say about a soldier who exclaims, “Thank you for killing those defenseless women, children, and seniors so that I could live out my natural life”? It’s certainly difficult to imagine Gen. George Patton ever saying such a thing. One cannot imagine that Patton would ever have been willing to kill defenseless women, children, and seniors if it meant that the lives of his soldiers would be spared. I think Patton would have said, “Get out there and fight. If you die, so be it. We are not going to kill defenseless women, children, and seniors just so you can live a longer life.”
Some defenders of the nuclear attacks say that since Japan started the war, the Japanese people at Hiroshima and Nagasaki had it coming to them. But since when do individual citizens have much say as to when their nation goes to war or not? How much say did the American people have in George W. Bush’s and the U.S. national-security state’s decision to go to war against Iraq and Afghanistan?
And let’s not forget who intentionally maneuvered, postured, and provoked Japan into attacking the United States, especially with his oil embargo on Japan, his freezing of Japanese bank accounts, and his settlement terms that were deliberately humiliating to Japanese officials. That would be none other than President Franklin Roosevelt, who was willing to sacrifice the soldiers at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines in order to circumvent widespread opposition among the American people to getting involved in World War II. Isn’t there something unsavory about provoking a nation into starting a war and then using that nation’s starting the war to justify nuking its citizens in an attempt to bring the war to a quicker conclusion? Wouldn’t it have been better and less destructive to not have provoked Japan into attacking the United States in the first place?
Defenders of the nuclear attacks also say that Truman had only two choices: nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki and continuing the war until Japan surrendered. But that’s just not true. There was another option open to Truman — a negotiated surrender. Given Truman’s steadfast insistence, however, on “unconditional surrender” —a ludicrous and destructive position if there ever was one — a negotiated surrender was an option that he refused to explore, choosing instead to kill hundreds of thousands of non-combatants in order to secure his “unconditional surrender” from Japan, which, by the way, turned out to not be “unconditional” after all since Japan was permitted to keep its emperor as part of its surrender.
The real reason why so many Americans still cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that the nuclear attacks on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes is their inability or unwillingness to acknowledge that their own government, including their own president and their own military, were capable of committing and actually did commit a grave war crime–the intentional killing of noncombatants consisting primarily of women, children, and seniors. In the minds of many Americans, that’s something only foreign governments are capable of and willing to do, not their own government.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.