By Chris Rossini
The U.S. federal government has given the American public a solid one-two punch with its foreign military interventions. First American taxpayers are on the hook for TRILLIONS of dollars with the destruction and destabilization of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.
All spectacular failures. No exceptions.
These spectacular failures caused countless deaths and human suffering. For those who were lucky enough to survive, they've naturally decided to run away from their homes to find a place that wasn't being being burned to a crisp. Millions of refugees and migrants have become yet another unintended (at least we assume it was unintended) consequence of the wars.
Next comes the second punch to the American taxpayer gut. The refugees that have come to the United States now receive welfare. Fox Business has the stats:
And what does the panel on Fox Business have to say about this one-two punch?
"America is very generous...This show's America's generosity."
Don't they realize what has been done?
There is no positive spin that can be placed on this story of destruction, displacement of innocent foreigners, and milking of the American taxpayer.
If a mugger on the street robs a bunch of little old ladies, do we compliment his "generosity" when he gives the stolen loot to his sick uncle? Do we block out the theft and just focus on the mugger giving the money to his uncle? Do we praise him as the most generous mugger on Earth?
It's time to knock it off with this ridiculous notion of America running the world by destroying it.
By Nick Giambruno
This story may unnerve you…
It’s the story of how Eritrea, a tiny, mostly unheard-of country in East Africa, and the United States, do the same awful thing.
Extortion and Threats of Violence
Nearly every country in the world bases its tax system on residency rather than citizenship. If you’re an Italian citizen, and you leave Italy to live and work in Dubai, you don’t have to pay taxes on the income you earn abroad to the Italian government.
But Eritrea levies a 2% flat tax on its citizens who live abroad. If you’re an Eritrean citizen, you have to pay taxes to the Eritrean government, no matter where you live and work.
The media has condemned this as “extortion” and a “repressive” measure by an “authoritarian” government.
The UN has even weighed in. In Resolution 2023, the UN Security Council condemned Eritrea for “using extortion, threats of violence, fraud and other illicit means to collect taxes outside of Eritrea from its nationals.”
You might be wondering, “What’s the controversy? Eritrea is getting criticized, and rightly so.”
That brings us to the only other country on the planet with a similar tax system… the United States.
Eritrea’s Expat Tax on Steroids
The U.S. also taxes its nonresident citizens, no matter where they live or work. This is the exact same thing Eritrea does, except the U.S. does it on a much bigger scale and with absolutely draconian penalties.
Eritrea’s paltry 2% tax is a mere fraction of the top 39.6% federal tax rate that expat Americans have to pay—even if they earn that income abroad and never set foot in the U.S. (The U.S. does exempt a limited amount of foreign earned income if you meet strict requirements.)
Also, Eritrea is a poor country with a very limited ability to actually enforce its 2% expat tax. Many Eritreans who live abroad have never even heard of it. Few are frightened by it.
The U.S., on the other hand, can enforce its byzantine tax system literally anywhere in the world. When you consider its global reach and the penalties—which can only be described as cruel and unusual—it’s no surprise U.S. expats are terrified. And they should be… or they aren’t paying attention.
The U.S. government threatens American expats with prison and outlandish fines merely for not filing a litany of complex forms correctly—even if no taxes are due in the first place.
When you consider all this, it’s not actually fair to compare poor little Eritrea and its relatively modest expat tax to the monstrous U.S. system.
Eritrea is hounded, ostracized, and sanctioned for using—according to the UN—“threats, harassment and intimidation” to “extort” taxes out of its citizens living abroad. You’d think someone would offer at least a peep of criticism for the only other country doing the same thing. But, if you listen for it, you’ll only hear the crickets chirping.
Even though it’s clearly a double standard, it’s easy to understand why it exists.
As the world’s sole superpower and issuer of the premier reserve currency, the U.S. is not accountable to anyone. It’s a heck of a lot easier to push around some small, impoverished African country than it is to stand up to the U.S. juggernaut.
Just ask Canada.
A few years ago, the Canadian government took the drastic step of expelling the head of the Eritrean consulate in Toronto because he’d been involved in levying the 2% expat tax on Eritreans living in Canada.
It seems Canada doesn’t like foreign governments shaking down Canadian residents. That is, unless the foreign government is the United States.
Somehow I don’t expect the Canadian government to give any U.S. officials the boot… even though they regularly shake down far more Canadian residents for much more money.
Curiously, Canada’s reaction to the U.S. expat tax is the exact opposite of its reaction to Eritrea’s. Rather than taking action to prevent the U.S. government from harassing U.S. persons living in Canada, the Canadian government facilitates it by complying with the odious FATCA law—even though it contradicts Canadian law.
The Uncomfortable Truth
It’s always better to face reality than to ignore ugly truths. And the story of Eritrea’s expat tax highlights a big one: Americans live under one of the worst tax systems in the entire world.
The government treats its citizens like milk cows… to be milked until the last drop to pay for welfare, warfare, and other untold waste.
For Americans, there’s almost no escaping the tax farm. I call it the “new feudalism.”
It’s ironic, when you look at U.S. history. In not much time, Americans went from revolting over a comparatively small tax on tea to thoughtlessly submitting to an ever-growing tax monster.
Still, don’t hold your breath for positive change. As long as the U.S. dollar remains the world’s premier reserve currency, no other country will stand up to the U.S. forcing its abhorrent tax policies on the rest of the world.
Positive change through the U.S. political system is just as unlikely. Most Americans passively accept the current tax system as “normal.” And, insofar as they want change, many Americans want more people to “pay their fair share.”
Bottom line: it’s simply not possible to stop this tsunami. You can only build your house on higher ground.
This article was originally published at The International Man.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) demolished a neocon-backed challenger for the 3rd Congressional district of North Carolina. In a heavy military oriented district, is the big neocon loss a sign of shifting tides?
By Ron Paul
Ever since the 1970's, the ideas of Keynesianism have been running on fumes. They've been dead from the neck up since then. However, if there's one thing that governments and bureaucrats have proved throughout the ages, it's that they don't stop following bad ideas voluntarily. Usually it takes a major financial crises to shake them loose. We've experienced one financial crisis after another, and they keep getting worse. The Keynesians are still around (for now) and I had a spirited debate with an individual on Maria Bartiromo's program below. Enjoy!
By Ron Paul
The media often asks me about my thoughts of a Donald Trump presidency. Today I was asked if there was any possible way that Trump could win my support. The answer is still "No." Of course, if he embraced the ideas of liberty, that would be great. But Trump is an authoritarian and is unlikely to do that. I discuss in greater detail in this fun interview:
"Operation Anaconda" launched in Poland this week -- the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War. The Commander of the US Army in Europe told the Russians there's "no need to be nervous." Should they be? Would we be if Russia was doing the same in Mexico?
By Jacob G. Hornberger
One of the prime characteristics of our age is the tendency of Americans to conflate the federal government and our country. We see this especially in the realm of foreign policy, where people praise the troops for their service to their country when, in fact, the troops are doing nothing more than serving the national-security branch of the federal government.
In actuality, the federal government and the country are two separate and distinct entities, a phenomenon reflected by the Bill of Rights, which expressly protects the country from the federal government.
Suppose the following question were posed to the American people of today: “What do you believe is the biggest threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people?”
My hunch is that the answers would be: ISIS, terrorists, Muslims, Iran, Russia, China, illegal immigrants, or drug dealers.
If that same question, however, were asked of our American ancestors, say in 1791, virtually all of them would have unequivocally answered in the same way: “The U.S. government — our very own government — constitutes the biggest threat to our freedom and well-being.”
That’s precisely why Americans demanded the enactment of the Bill of Rights as a condition for approving the U.S. Constitution, which called the federal government into existence. They knew that federal officials — that is, our very own government officials — would inevitably destroy their fundamental, God-given rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. They knew that they would confiscate their guns. They knew that they would jail and torture them without due process of law. And that they would use the troops, who would loyally and dutifully obey orders, to accomplish these things.
That’s why our ancestors expressly prohibited such actions with the Bill of Rights. If they weren’t concerned that federal officials would do all those bad things to the American people, there wouldn’t have felt any need to enact the Bill of Rights.
That mindset — that the federal government poses the biggest threat to the country — was also reflected by the type of government that the Framers established with the Constitution. It was a weak government, one with very few, limited powers.
For example, there was no income tax and so the federal government’s revenues, which were based mostly on tariffs, were very small. Without a lot of money at its disposal, the government’s ability to do bad things to people was extremely limited. There was also no enormous standing military establishment, given the antipathy that our ancestors had to standing armies. They understood that throughout history, government officials would use the troops to do the bad things to people.
By design, there was divided government — three branches, with state and local governments also operating within their jurisdictional spheres. Our ancestors loved gridlock in the federal government. They built it into the system. They knew that it would inhibit the federal government’s ability to do bad things to them.
The irony is that with an extremely weak federal government, America became the greatest, freest, most prosperous, peaceful, influential, and admired nation in the world. With Americans free to keep everything they earned, capital came into existence in unbelievable amounts, which caused the standard of living of the American people to skyrocket. By the late 1800s, new products, services, and inventions were coming into existence every day. Foreigners were flooding into America in the hopes of sustaining their lives through labor and possibly even getting wealthy.
Americans were known as a can-do people, strong and independent. With ever-increasing wealth at their disposal, many of them were traveling the world, for tourism, business, or cultural exchanges. America was the envy of the world. Foreigners loved, admired, and respected our country.
And now look at what we have today — the most powerful government in history, consisting of a vast bureaucratic welfare state and a vast bureaucratic national-security state. There are millions of Americans on the dole, including Social Security, Medicare, education grants, subsidies, and the like. There is a vast empire of domestic military bases and foreign military bases. There is an enormous federal law enforcement bureaucracy for drug enforcement, immigration enforcement, homeland security, and much more. There are endless foreign wars and foreign interventions that kill and maim countless people on a permanent, ongoing basis. There is an empire of U.S. military bases in foreign countries. There are partnerships and alliances with foreign regimes, including brutal non-democratic dictatorial ones.
All that, of course, means ever-increasing federal spending, debt, taxation, and inflation, all four of which are the sure-fire recipe for weakening and even destroying a nation.
Moreover, much of the world, now hates America, given that they, like Americans living today, conflate the federal government and our country into one entity.
And the American people today? Priding themselves for having the most powerful government in the world, they are the most frightened people in the world. They’re scared to death of losing their dole, convinced that they would die in the streets without it. They also live in constant fear that the terrorists, Muslims, or ISIS are coming to get them, drag them from their homes, behead them, or force them to study the Koran. They’re convinced that the drug dealers are going to get them hooked on drugs. And they’re extremely fearful that poor, uneducated illegal immigrants are stealing their jobs. They express their courage vicariously by supporting the troops as they wage war against people thousands of miles away from American shores.
Our ancestors chose a weak federal government and ended up with a very strong nation. That wasn’t a coincidence. That was causation.
Today, Americans have most the powerful government in the world and a very weak nation, one consisting of dependent, frightened people, not to mention chronically dismal economic conditions. That’s not a coincidence either. That’s causation as well.
This article was originally published at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
By Chris Rossini
Libertarians are pretty much outside observers when it comes to this presidential election. We have no dog in this fight. No matter who the winner turns out to be, more authoritarianism appears to be the only thing on the menu. Liberty will suffer for at least another 4-8 years.
With that being said, when authoritarians battle one another, you can't help but grab your popcorn and watch the show. So much power is up for grabs that the nastiest things politicians have to offer will be on full display.
We know that Donald Trump is not politically-correct, which is an admirable quality. Cultural Marxism and its political-correctness offshoot are a clear and present danger in American society. We also know that Donald Trump is despised by the political establishment. Those who wield political power (as a career) don't want anyone upsetting their apple cart. Trump most certainly has done that. Finally, we all know that the media can't stand Trump either, and the feeling is mutual, as he hates them as well.
Wouldn't it be ironic if the political establishment and media succeed in taking down the un-PC Trump with political correctness? Can the king of speaking your mind freely lose to the "thought police"?
We may be witnessing that very thing, or at least an attempt.
Trump claims that Judge Gonzalo Curiel has treated him unfairly in a Trump University court case. Everyone (literally) is solely focused on the "Mexican" comment that Trump made. Trump claims that because he wants to build a wall, the fact that Curiel is of Mexican descent poses a conflict of interest. Trump also said that there were "other reasons" why Curiel may be treating him unfairly as well.
Those "other reasons" get completely buried. After all, Trump's lawyers would never win an argument in court based on the fact that Curiel is of Mexican descent. As far as this writer's understanding goes, they've never even attempted to do so.
So what are those "other things"?
A few days ago, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales wrote an Op-Ed in The Washington Post. Before we get to what Gonzales said, it should be pointed out that he was a part of the George W. Bush Administration. The Bushes do not like Trump. However, Gonzales said (despite that fact):
...this is not about the judge. This is about whether or not someone can receive a fair trial before an impartial judge.
Have you heard the media or political establishment use the words "impartial judge"? No, it's 24/7 about how Trump is a racist because of his "Mexican" comment.
Are there reasons the believe that Curiel cannot be an "impartial judge"?
Again, we libertarians (especially this one) are just observers of this circus. We have no dog in this fight either way. But let's look at a few things that may help make Trump's case:
Can race come into play when judges make decisions?
Pat Buchanan made a great point in his latest piece:
When Obama named Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, a woman of Puerto Rican descent who went through college on affirmative action scholarships, did Obama think this would not influence her decision when it came to whether or not to abolish affirmative action?
Is there evidence that Curiel would not be "impartial" towards Trump? That's for others to figure out. But there appears to be more to the story than the simple soundbite that "Trump's a racist".
Yet it's the simple PC-soundbite that the media and political elites have jumped on. They have shown their cards. It's been well advertised that the Republican Party and its leadership do not like Trump. They've been itching to ditch him somehow.
Republican leaders look like they're trying to convey to voters that it's OK to separate yourself from the GOP's presidential nominee. This is very unusual with party politics, as traditionally everyone walks in lock-step.
Neocon Senator Lindsey Graham summed up the playbook this morning when he said:
“If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Will PC takedown the un-PC Trump?
From a libertarian perspective, it would be more significant if the ideas of liberty were the tools that everyone used against Trump. Sadly that's not the case.
The "thought police" are having their day in the sun instead.
How would resources be allocated in a free market economy? Can you work with Bernie Sanders? How can we fix Washington? Gold standard or competing currencies? Ron Paul takes viewer questions in today's Liberty Report.
By Chris Rossini
Last week, Hillary Clinton gave what was called a "foreign-policy" speech. The fact we're forced to listen to Clinton (considering her horrendous record) shower thoughts on foreign policy merely displays how bankrupt American democracy has become. Not that Trump's foreign policy speech was any better. It wasn't.
But Clinton's speech was more of diatribe against Donald Trump himself. That's fine of course. The more that these two individuals display how bad they both are as candidates, the better. It gives libertarians a plethora of inconsistencies, lies, and nonsense to point out to the general public.
For example, Hillary said of Trump in her speech:
He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin..
Pretty scathing right?
Insinuating that Trump needs a psychiatrist?
That's sure to get some laughs, media attention, and lots of applause.....and it did on all fronts.
However, perhaps the same psychiatrist can take both candidates in for a few sessions.
Glenn Greenwald pointed out earlier this year:
"[Hillary] has embraced and expressed extreme levels of support for some of the world’s most brutal and horrific dictators. She called President Mubarak of Egypt a close personal friend of her family and expressed all kinds of support for him at the time that the government, of which she was a part, was arming and funding him. She did the same with the Saudis. The Clinton Foundation has raised money from some of the worst and most oppressive dictatorships in the Persian Gulf, including the Saudis and the Qataris and the Emirates and the Bahrainis. Hillary Clinton, essentially, her record has been one of embracing and supporting, in all kinds of ways, the world’s worst tyrants."
Neither Clinton, nor Trump seek a policy of peace, non-intervention, and national defense of America only. They both want to lead the Empire in their own egotistical ways.
It looks like one of them will win, and the empire will continue to run on fumes no matter what.
Americans, yet again, will lose.