By Ron Paul
Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. There weren’t any victory parades or photo-ops with Afghanistan’s post-liberation leaders. That is because the war is ongoing. In fact, 15 years after launching a war against Afghanistan’s Taliban government in retaliation for an attack by Saudi-backed al-Qaeda, the US-backed forces are steadily losing territory back to the Taliban.
What President Obama called “the good war” before took office in 2008, has become the “forgotten war” some eight years later. How many Americans know that we still have nearly 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan? Do any Americans know that the Taliban was never defeated, but now holds more ground in Afghanistan than at any point since 2001? Do they know the Taliban overran the provincial capital of Kunduz last week for a second time in a year and they threaten several other provincial capitals?
Do Americans know that we are still wasting billions on “reconstruction” and other projects in Afghanistan that are, at best, boondoggles? According to a recent audit by the independent US government body overseeing Afghan reconstruction, half a billion dollars was wasted on a contract for a US company to maintain Afghan military vehicles. The contractor “fail[ed] to meet program objectives,” the audit found. Of course they still got paid, like thousands of others getting rich off of this failed war.
Do Americans know that their government has spent at least $60 billion to train and equip Afghan security forces, yet these forces are still not capable of fighting on their own against the Taliban? We recently learned that an unknown but not insignificant number of those troops brought to the US for training have deserted and are living illegally somewhere in the US. In the recent Taliban attack on Kunduz, it was reported that thousands of Afghan security personnel fled without firing a shot.
According to a recent study by Brown University, the direct costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars thus far are nearly five trillion dollars. The indirect costs are virtually incalculable.
Perhaps Afghanistan is the “forgotten war” because to mention it would reveal how schizophrenic is US foreign policy. After all, we have been fighting for 15 years in Afghanistan in the name of defeating al-Qaeda, while we are directly and indirectly assisting a franchise of al-Qaeda to overthrow the Syrian government. How many Americans would applaud such a foreign policy? If they only knew, but thanks to a media only interested in promoting Washington’s propaganda, far too many Americans don’t know.
I have written several of these columns on the various anniversaries of the Afghan (and Iraq) wars, pointing out that the wars are ongoing and that the result of the wars has been less stable countries, a less stable region, a devastated local population, and an increasing probability of more blowback. I would be very happy to never have to write one of these again. We should just march home.
By Nick Giambruno
One shot from a pistol pierced the night right before Antonio Bedin collapsed, dead.
Antonio, a 67 year-old retired Italian, had just committed suicide. He was plagued by health problems and by the loss of his savings.
Last year, four small Italian banks became insolvent and immediately needed capital. They turned to a bail-in.
Antonio was one of thousands of small savers who were wiped out. Antonio lost everything. Then he shot himself.
He wasn’t alone.
There was another pensioner who hung himself at his home near Rome after he lost more than $100,000.
Their stories became national news sensations. It generated intense anger at the bail-ins.
A bail-in is when a bank recapitalizes itself by tapping its creditors, including depositors.
Most people think of the money they deposit into the bank as a personal asset they own.
But that’s not true.
Once a deposit is made at the bank, it’s no longer your property. It’s the bank’s. What you own is a promise from the bank to repay. It’s an unsecured liability. That’s a very different thing from owning physical cash stuffed under your mattress. Money deposited into the bank technically makes you a creditor of the bank. You’re liable to get burned from a bail-in should the bank get into trouble.
People in Cyprus had to find this out the hard way in early 2013. People awoke on an otherwise normal Saturday morning to the shock that the money in their bank accounts had been taken by a bail-in to recapitalize the banks.
Not surprisingly, many Italians aren’t just waiting around to get “Cyprused.”
I recently spent weeks on the ground in Italy investigating the ongoing banking crisis. I spoke with a prominent lawyer who told me that most Italians are now distrustful of the banks. They’re keeping a substantial portion of their savings in cash under their mattresses. They’re also buying lots of gold.
I’ve been to Italy numerous times over the years. But this time, I saw something new. There were signs everywhere advertising gold bullion, like the one below.
I think it indicates a strong demand for gold and a strong distrust of the banks. It seems to me like a slow motion bank run is already happening. This is the last thing Italy’s banking system needs. It’s further bleeding the capital in the banking system.
I only see the situation getting worse…
Italians are rightly afraid of bail-ins. That fear is leading them to withdraw their savings as cash and also to buy gold. This further drains the banks’ capital, making it more likely they’ll need to do a bail-in to remain solvent, which fuels even more withdrawals. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This means that the chances are good that a large number of unsuspecting Italian savers are going to get wiped out.
The thought of potentially many more old, struggling pensioners committing suicide because they got wiped out from bail-ins has enormous emotional power in Italy. It’s like political nitroglycerin.
It would have a catalyzing political effect.
Bottom line, if Italians get Cyprused before the referendum later this year it’s a virtual certainty it will fail.
That’s the unenviable conundrum the current, pro-EU Italian government is facing. They can stall and save the banks through a bail-in, or they can let the whole house of cards come down. Either option is political suicide.
It’s hard to imagine that the frustrated Italian populace won’t vote to give the establishment the finger in the referendum, and humiliate the pro-EU government.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised to resign if that happens.
If he does, the anti-euro, populist Five Star Movement will almost certainly come to power. They’ve promised to promptly hold another referendum. This one would be on whether Italy should leave the euro and go back to its old currency, the lira.
If Italy—the third-largest member of the eurozone—leaves, it will have the psychological effect of someone yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Other countries will quickly head for the exit, and return to their national currencies.
Economic ties and integration are what hold the EU together. Think of the currency as the economic glue. Without the euro, economic ties will weaken, and the whole project could unravel.
It would be a deathblow to the EU, the world’s largest economy… And it would explode into a global stock market crash like the world has never seen.
The Financial Times recently put it this way:
An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the eurozone within a very short period. It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.
That’s how important the upcoming referendum in Italy is. It would be the first domino to fall in the collapse of the EU.
Not surprisingly, the unsavory George Soros is keenly aware of what’s going on. He recently said, in reference to the Brexit and events in Italy, “Now the catastrophic scenario that many feared has materialized, making the disintegration of the EU practically irreversible.”
Soros Fund Management has been picking up gold assets and placing bets that stocks will crash.
He’s positioning to make big profits from the coming crisis. And I think we should, too.
That’s exactly why I recently spent weeks on the ground in Italy.
There are potentially severe consequences in the currency and stock markets.
This article was originally published at International Man.
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
By Ron Paul
I recently sat down for an interview with Baltimore Barristers to talk about Trump at the first debate, The Clinton Foundation, Gary Johnson, the Federal Reserve, ISIS, and more! You can listen below:
By Ron Paul
In this interview with Kennedy I discuss the Libertarian Party and Gary Johnson. Do I think Johnson is a good standard-bearer for the libertarian message? Also, if you want to vote third-party, how should you decide which candidate to vote for?
Many believe that there's a big difference between Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton on trade issues. But is there? Ron Paul gets to the truth on this week's edition of Myth-Busters.
By Ron Paul
Yesterday, I was a guest on CNBC to discuss the markets and how the election will impact them. We also covered the destructive Fed and the big picture on gold. You can watch it below:
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
By Adam Dick
On September 29, libertarian communicator Ron Paul returned to Gettysburg College, from which Paul graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1957, and presented the college’s annual Constitution Day lecture. As reported on the Gettysburg College website, over 800 people attended Paul’s speech.
Before zeroing in on matters including American history, current events, and libertarianism, Paul talks in his speech about his time at Gettysburg College.
Watch Paul’s complete speech, and Gettysburg College Political Science Professor Kenneth Mott’s introduction of Paul, here:
In addition to presenting the annual Constitution Day lecture, Paul met with some smaller groups of students at the college. Read more about Paul’s visit to Gettysburg College, and find links to a local radio interview with Paul and photographs from the visit, at the Gettysburg College website.
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.
Texas business owner Michael Kleinman fought the law...and he won. He challenged a Texas law forbidding the display of political campaign signs beyond ten days after an election. After four years, an appeals court ruled in his favor. Free speech and property rights won the day.
By Ron Paul
The Welfare/Warfare State impoverishes the people. If you couple tough economic conditions with a philosophy of entitlement, you end up with a toxic mix. Individuals who are looking to cause trouble will find any excuse to act as their spark. Individual liberty and property rights are the only antidote to the suffering. I discuss this, as well as the third-party candidates, with Dana Loesch of The Blaze:
How do you have a debate on foreign policy when both sides agree on the fundamentals? They can only call names and argue about who would bomb more and sooner. Also, do vice presidents matter? Think about how many presidents died or were killed in office.