Dear Viewers: We have much to be thankful for. Today we take a break from complaining about what is wrong and take a look at what we appreciate and are grateful for. Ron Paul's Thanksgiving reflections and recollections in today's program.
By Brittany Hunter
During his first days as president, Barack Obama pledged to protect government whistleblowers. In fact, Change.org even highlighted this stance saying, “Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.”
Oddly, or rather conveniently enough, this section of the webpage disappeared just days after the first round of Edward Snowden leaks.
President-elect Donald Trump has made his opinion on whistleblowers painfully clear in comments made on the campaign trail, even going so far as to suggest we “kill the traitor,” in reference to whistleblower Edward Snowden.
However, while calling for Snowden’s execution fits in with Trump’s caricature of a “right wing extremist,” if there is one thing we know for sure about Trump it’s that he often makes radical statements and then quickly changes his stance if he finds his popularity slipping. We have already seen this with his reversal on pretty much every issue, except of course his position on building a wall and making Mexico pay for it, which has stayed consistent throughout this entire 2016 circus.
Trump is not an ideologue, which means there may be a chance he can be influenced for good — if it will increase his favorability as president.
As a man who won the presidency by resonating with the anti-establishment and populist sentiment spreading throughout the country, it would be a foolish move for President Trump to turn his back on the very people who elected him into office.
For many Trump supporters — as well as the rest of the country — the surveillance state is one of the largest abominations to individual liberty seen in our lifetime, and that includes the passage of the Patriot Act and all the regulatory agencies that were conceived in the wake of 9/11. Without a firm anti-establishment stance against “big brother,” draining the swamp is not only unlikely, it is simply impossible.
There is, of course, also the issue of Julian Assange. It was not so long ago when Republicans were calling for the execution of Private Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
However, since Wikileaks committed itself to a campaign exposing Hillary Clinton in the final weeks of the election, these same Republicans now view Assange as a hero.
Trump has also praised Assange, which seems appropriate since it is clear he benefited from Hillary’s decreasing poll numbers. In fact, it is not entirely unreasonable to attribute at least a portion of Trump’s election night victory to the dozens of “Podesta Email” leaks that were released over the last several weeks.
Now that Trump has publicly called Assange a hero for essentially doing the same thing Snowden did — and won the presidency as a result of the leaks — is it possible that President Trump would consider pardoning Edward Snowden?
Again, at this point no one knows how this next administration will function. While names like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie do not do much to lessen the fear of an overreaching foreign policy, a tyrannical police state, and typical government cronyism, pardoning Edward Snowden would be the ultimate stand against the establishment.
If President Trump holds true to his promise of restoring peaceful relations with Russia, where Edward Snowden has taken asylum for the past three and a half years, Snowden could very well become a bargaining chip. Of course, this is all speculation at the moment, but as non-interventionists seeking peace, we can only hope that improved relations with Russia do not come at the cost of the most heroic whistleblower of our time.
Trump’s legacy as president is a blank slate, it could go either way. If he wants to keep his current base of support and prove his skeptics wrong, he would be wise to pardon Edward Snowden, and dish out the first real blow to the establishment during his first days in office.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.
By Ron Paul
I was recently interviewed by hedge fund manager and international investor Peter Pham. We discussed my history of interacting with central bankers and the damage that they do to our economic lives. We also talked about my concern for the financial markets going forward:
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
Today's Liberty Report discusses the future of the liberty movement in the era of President Trump. Future of Freedom Foundation president Jacob Hornberger joins us to add his views on whether we should be cheering, jeering, or something in-between...
By Jeff Deist
This recent election isn't really about Trump, and what he's going to do, or who he's going to appoint. I think it's more about the voters themselves. The fact that so many millions of Americans went off the reservation, went off the script, voted for a guy they're not supposed to vote for, and challenged the whole idea of Hillary's inevitability, progressive inevitability and globalist inevitability. It's a great thing for libertarians, and we ought to view it as that.
People are clearly looking for something different. Trump represents a protest vote. Libertarians represent a protest movement, an anti-state movement, and we should embrace Trump voters rather than pushing them away. The silver lining here is that millions of disaffected voters want something different.
Clearly the importance of the mainstream media is waning. The digital revolution has been a huge leveler. It used to be that bricks and mortar publishers like the New York Times had the final say. But now we have websites where everyone can be a publisher and have their own platform. In effect, everyone is their own media today. Everyone has a camera, and everyone has a phone, and many have a Twitter feed where they're out their reporting the news.
I'm noticing that news events appear faster in my Twitter feed than they do on The Drudge Report. And as we know, Drudge's stories appear faster than they do on CNN, ABC, CBS, etc.
The mainstream media is being left behind, and they should be left behind. They've been adverse to our interests for decades. They have their own agenda and they've been promoting a very anti-libertarian society.
We know from both theory and history that liberty works. It works better than any other system ever devised. In fact, it's not a system. It's the absence of a system. So what we desire is the de-politicizing of society. We desire a world where the great economic, social and cultural questions of the day are less decided by a central government. These issues are instead decided by individuals and markets in civil society.
Libertarianism is an ideology for everyone, regardless of one's religion. It's for soccer moms, churches, neighborhoods and schools. It's not something where you have to agree with other people's lifestyle. Disagreements are just solved peacefully and voluntarily, rather than by the violence of politics.
I think we have to stay strong and we have to know that in the long run, however imperceptibly, things are moving our way because I think liberty is the natural state for humans.
The New Congress is on its way. Ron Paul and Campaign for Liberty President Norm Singleton examine the possible paths and agendas that Congress has in store.
By Chris Rossini
Donald Trump has announced that on his first day as the new president, he will sign an executive order to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
On the plus side, Trump is delivering an uppercut to the one-world globalists who cooked up the backroom trade deal in secret. However, too much celebration is not in order. The reason being that Donald Trump is not a believer in free trade, but an interventionist. Replacing one set of bad ideas with another gets us nowhere.
First, let's start with the positives of withdrawing from the TPP.
Getting rid of thousands of pages of government and corporate cronyism is a plus. As usual, this bureaucratic monstrosity was peddled as "free trade" even though it has nothing to do with free trade. The plotters tried to appeal to man's good sense, even though the truth is anything but good. It's no different than the Patriot Act having nothing to do with patriots or patriotism. Typical politicians.
Genuine free trade does not require mountains of regulations and sweetheart deals for those who have cuddled up to power. Real free trade requires the U.S. Congress to abolish tariffs and quotes. In other words, no more special favors for special interests. The free trade agreement (if one feels the need for one) would require maybe one page, not thousands. Of course, the U.S. Congress and their cronies have no interest in real free trade, but it's still good to see Trump withdraw the U.S. from the TPP.
Besides the elimination of a huge bureaucracy, the one-world globalists have been dealt a setback as well.
Gary North writes:
The TPP is the culmination of the agenda of the Trilateral Commission, founded in 1973. The Trilateral Commission was named for the three world trade zones: Western Europe, the Western hemisphere, and Asia. First, there was the European Union (1993). Second, there was NAFTA (1994). The TPP was to be the final link in the chain.
Breaking a link in the globalist chain is something to cheer for sure. The globalists are persistent though. They'll be back for sure with another angle to achieve their utopian goals.
But in the meantime, here's where the problem comes in, and it has to do with Trump himself.
Robert Wenzel says it best:
Trump is not against the central planning concept of global trade, which is what free market advocates object to, but just the type of central planning...Trump is not in favor of more freedom in trade. He is an advocate of more convoluted central planning of trade.
So from a perspective of freedom and prosperity, one problem is merely being replaced by another. It's a push (or maybe worse).
Think of it this way: What if someone told you that Fidel Castro was replaced by Kim Jong-un? No big deal, right? One may celebrate the fact that Castro is out of power, but he's been replaced by more of the same.
That's what we're facing with Trump scrapping the TPP. Sure there's a reason to celebrate, but we still have Trump who thinks he can shove a square peg into a triangular hole.
Government interference in the economy (which took root with so-called "progressivism" in the early 1900's) is now bearing fruit...and it's rotten to the core.
America was great because it was free.
Donald Trump (up to this moment) has not proposed more freedom. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to hear him even say the words "freedom" or "liberty". That's not what he's about. Trump wants manage the economy, which is a very stale idea.
America needs to re-ignite the ideas that were present prior to the largest creation of wealth in the history of the world. America needs real free (and voluntary) trade, sound money, rock-solid private property rights and a government that is hands-off!
We don't need a different "planner" or "plan".
We need our liberty back.
By Chris Rossini
President-Elect Trump has been meeting with one bomb-thrower after another over the last week. How refreshing to see that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) visited Trump Tower today. Last year, Gabbard made headlines for questioning the Nobel Peace Prize winning President's regime change policy for Syria.
As Daniel McAdams reported at the time for The Ron Paul Institute:
Gabbard first raised eyebrows several weeks ago when she began to openly question President Obama's Middle East policies, and particularly his "Assad must go" policy in Syria. It is unusual for a first-term Member of Congress to take such a public position in opposition to a sitting president in her own party -- particularly if she has any interest in continuing her political career.
It's quite commendable for Gabbard to put peace above party and president.
Gabbard was asked by Wolf Blitzer if the U.S. has learned from its foreign policy failures in the Middle East. Her answer was fantastic:
No...and the reason for this is that after Iraq, the United States went ahead and did the very same thing in Libya, overthrowing Gaddafi. Now, ISIS is growing in strength, has a stronghold in Libya today with plans to continue to expand. And what's even crazier is that now the United States policy is looking to do the very same thing once again in Syria with this focus and determination on overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad which will only serve to make ISIS stronger in Syria...
Today, after meeting with the President-Elect, Gabbard said the following, which is music to every peace-loving American's ears:
“I felt it is important to take the opportunity to meet the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”
Gabbard is against a "no-fly zone" in Syria (which Hillary Clinton was for) and has no interest in getting the U.S. in a confrontation with Russia.
More individuals like Gabbard need to visit Trump Tower over the coming weeks. Trump needs to have people like her in his ear, rather than the war hawks he's surrounded himself with up to this point. The war hawks have done an astonishing amount of damage to this country and the world.
More sanity please!
By Simon Black
There are two words that kept coming up over and over again over the last 20+ months during the US Presidential circus: “fair share”.
Hardly a day went by without hearing that certain taxpayers “need to pay more of their fair share.”
It sounds really great, and given the voter statistics, this idea resonated with tens of millions of people. After all, who could possibly be against fairness?
When you dive into the numbers, however, the data doesn’t support this assertion at all.
According to IRS figures, households that earn more than $1 million annually, roughly 0.4% of all taxpayers, pay a total of $364 billion in federal income tax.
This amounts to roughly 27% of all the US federal individual income tax that’s collected.
So in other words, the top 0.4%, pays 27% of the total tax bill.
If you extend this analysis to the upper middle class, i.e. the top 24.5% of households earning more than $100,000 per year, the numbers are even more dramatic.
(Bear in mind this includes two spouses earning $50,000 each.)
This group of households earning between $100,000 up to $1 million contributes 50.4% of all US federal individual income tax.
Combined, the two groups, which comprise the top 25% of US taxpayers, pay nearly 80% of the total tax bill.
(In case you’re wondering, the bottom 50% of income earners contributes less than 5% to the total tax bill.)
This isn’t intended to be a slight against any income group; rather, I’m honestly wondering exactly how much these people consider to be “fair”?
Because it’s not intuitively obvious to me that sticking 25% of the people with 80% of the bill is “unfair.”
Now, the common refrain from the “fair share” crowd is that taxes go to fund our roads, schools, police departments, fire fighters, etc., and that rich people can afford to pay more.
But there’s a big problem with this logic.
All the benefits that people cite, from fire fighters to public schools, are typically funded at the state and local level… and paid for with state and local taxes. NOT federal tax.
Your federal tax dollars don’t fund local fire departments.
Instead you’re paying for a giant, bloated, federal bureaucracy that squanders tax revenue on some of the most obscene waste imaginable.
You paid $2 billion for the Obamacare website that didn’t work.
You paid $1 billion for the military to destroy $16 billion of perfectly good ammunition.
You paid $856,000 for the National Science Foundation to teach mountain lions how to run on treadmills.
And you paid an incalculable sum of money to drop bombs by remote control on innocent civilians and children’s hospitals in countries populated by brown people.
None of this money is going to fix the pot hole in front of your driveway.
But despite their argument being totally specious and unsupported by IRS data, the “fair share” cries grow ever louder.
Warren Buffett, a 0.01% guy himself, has been a loud voice claiming that wealthy people should pay more.
Buffett complains every year that he pays less tax as a percentage of his income than his secretary.
And this has created a popular belief that wealthy people pay very low tax rates.
Again, IRS statistics disprove this claim; the average tax rate for top income earners in the US is over 30%, versus 9.8% for the bottom half of income earners.
Moreover, there’s nothing stopping Warren Buffett from writing a bigger check to the US government.
If he feels so strongly about his “fair share,” he’s free to make a donation to pay down the national debt.
But he hasn’t done that. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Several years ago Warren Buffett pledged to leave nearly all of his wealth to the charitable foundation run by Bill and Melinda Gates.
And he donates billions each year to other charities.
Warren Buffett could have bequeathed his entire fortune to Uncle Sam.
But he didn’t. That’s because Buffett knows his money can do more good in the world by funding those private organizations instead paying for more federal waste.
And this statement is true whether you make $50 million per year, or $50,000.
Bottom line, it’s not evil for anyone to want to keep their hard-earned savings and income out of the federal government’s ignominiously wasteful hands.
Nor is it evil to take completely legal steps to reduce what you owe, no matter what the specious “fair share” crowd says.
(By the way, regardless of your income level, there are always options to reduce your tax bill.)
Taking these steps is totally sensible.
And if you’re like me and feel disgusted by much of the destruction that your federal taxes have funded, you might even feel a moral obligation to do so.
This article was originally published at Sovereign Man
Mises Institute President Jeff Deist joins the Liberty Report to discuss advantages for libertarianism and liberty emerging from the recent US presidential election. Good for liberty? Join us and find out...