By Liberty Report Staff
The U.S. military is reporting that there are 44,000 American troops deployed to "Unknown."
This should not happen in a Republic.
Ron Paul discusses below (starting around the 2 minute mark):
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told an audience this week that the US was ready to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions. But the White House has denied that the Administration's position has changed. Is Tillerson free-lancing it? Or is something else going on?
By Ryan McMaken
The FCC is preparing to vote this week to roll back "net neutrality" regulations adopted in 2015. Supporters of net neutrality claim the regulations protect internet traffic from discrimination and ensure broadband providers don't abuse their power as gatekeepers to the internet. Supportersalso claim "[n]et neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally."
The problem, of course, is that net neutrality regulations do none of these things.
In the past, we've explored how government regulatory panels cannot and do not ensure fairness. In fact, they encourage abuse by the most powerful actors in the marketplace.
Moreover, as Peter Klein has noted, it is impossible to allocate goods "neutrally" even if government regulators were untouched by corruption.
Another problem results from the fact that internet regulation like net neutrality is just another form of central planning which requires a centralized rule-making body which must functions without the essential first-hand experience and knowledge of real-world market actors. In other words, the main conceit of central planning is this: a group of experts sitting in a room knows more than countless consumers, producers, and innovators working in the marketplace.
In a functioning marketplace, of course, consumers and producers are constantly making decisions based on available resources, current prices, and how each person subjectively values the products and services he or she wishes to buy. The complexity of the situation is enormous.
Central planners, however, act as if the wants and desires of countless consumers can be known by a small group of regulators, and thus a "fair" plan can be hatched.
From the perspective of an economist, of course, this is an impossible dream.
As Ludwig von Mises pointed out long ago, market prices — which form as a result of countless voluntary decisions in the marketplace — are an essential component of any economy. Without them, producers can't know what to produce. Net neutrality, like other centralized regulatory schemes, is built on decisions made without this key information. As a result, the policymakers at the FCC are groping around blindly, merely guessing as to what is "fair" or what the correct prices are, or how resources ought to be allocated.
Moreover, the more centralized this decision-making is, the worse the problem becomes.
In his essay, "The Use of Knowledge in Society," F.A. Hayek explains:
The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate "given" resources — if "given" is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these "data." It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.
In other words, the world is a very complex place and it is impossible for a panel of political appointees to understand all the details and varied environments that create market prices and the way in which resources are allocated.
This is especially problematic in cases where technology changes and adapts rapidly. In these cases especially, reserving key decisions to a "central board," as Hayek calls it, destroys the ability of market actors to respond to changes in real-world circumstances:
If we can agree that the economic problem of society is mainly one of rapid adaptation to changes in the particular circumstances of time and place, it would seem to follow that the ultimate decisions must be left to the people who are familiar with these circumstances, who know directly of the relevant changes and of the resources immediately available to meet them. We cannot expect that this problem will be solved by first communicating all this knowledge to a central board which, after integrating all knowledge, issues its orders. We must solve it by some form of decentralization. But this answers only part of our problem. We need decentralization because only thus can we insure that the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place will be promptly used.
Regulating the internet via the FCC, of course, thoroughly prevents innovators, consumers, and producers from taking advantage of the experience and knowledge of those who are actually working in the marketplace.
This isn't a problem, apparently, for those who insist that government must dictate to consumers and producers alike. After all, we have "experts."
Unfortunately, when it comes to something as complex and non-clinical as a functioning market, "experts" of the type employed by government panels are of little help. Hayek continues:
Today it is almost heresy to suggest that scientific knowledge is not the sum of all knowledge. But a little reflection will show that there is beyond question a body of very important but unorganized knowledge which cannot possibly be called scientific in the sense of knowledge of general rules: the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place. It is with respect to this that practically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him or are made with his active coöperation.
The "experts," may indeed be experts on some precise scientific question or clinical studies. Whether or not this knowledge can be usefully applied to the marketplace and millions of consumers, however, is something else entirely.
Instead, net neutrality gives us an Olympus of experts who shall hand down their decisions to millions of market actors for whom there will be no escape from the central planners.
Who Gets To Be an Expert?
Ironically, the fallacy that the FCC can wisely employ its regulatory expertise is being called into question by supporters of net neutrality themselves.
"You don't understand how the internet works" insists an open letter to the FCC from tech gurus Steve Wozniak and Tim Berners-Lee.
Anyone familiar with the federal regulatory state, of course, should not be surprised in the least to find out that regulators don't understand the inner workings of the industries they regulate. The same might be said of the federal judiciary where judges who barely know how to turn on a computer have been handing down decisions about tech matters for decades.
Unfortunately, Wozniak and Berners-Lee fail to see the irony of their situation in pointing out the FCC isn't qualified to regulate something as intricate as the internet.
For supporters of net neutrality, of course, their problem with the current FCC is not the impossibility of a handful of government appointees regulating a vast complex of markets and industries. For those who subscribe to this naive view, this problem of central planning can be overcome by putting in "the right people."
Sure, the current crop of FCC appointees don't understand the internet, but when we get the "right" people in, everything will be fine. Those good guys will be immune to lobbying from industry interest groups, and will know exactly the right prices, regulations, and directives that will be dictated to 320 million Americans to keep everything "fair."
Needless to say, this is fanciful thinking in the extreme, and to the tech geniuses point out the lack of internet savvy, we must also note: "you don't understand how an economy works."
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.
With ISIS defeated in Syria, Russian President Putin announced this week that he was withdrawing the bulk of Russian military equipment and personnel. Russian assistance was requested by the Syrian government as ISIS and al-Qaeda appeared poised to take control of the country. Meanwhile, the US has just admitted it has more than four times the number of troops in Syria than it earlier claimed. And Defense Secretary Mattis said the US, though illegally in Syria, would not be leaving. Why?
By Adam Dick
Libertarian communicator and former presidential candidate Ron Paul says he is optimistic that philosophic changes taking place in America will lead to greater government respect for liberty. Paul made the assessment in a recent interview with host Marc Clair at the Lions of Liberty podcast regarding Paul’s new book The Revolution at Ten Years. “The philosophy comes first, and I think that’s where we excel,” says Paul.
Paul, in the interview, challenges “the propaganda” belittling the status of the libertarian revolution. While Paul notes that libertarians “don’t control the Congress, the presidency, or anything else” in Washington, DC, he argues that libertarians appear to be making good progress now to be in position to reshape government in the future.
Listen to Paul’s complete interview here.
Purchase Paul’s book, in which he discusses the libertarian revolution in more detail, here.
This article was originally published at The Ron Paul Institute.
By Ron Paul
Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case stems from the refusal of Masterpiece Cakeshop, a bakery, to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The bakery was found guilty of a civil rights violation and ordered to stop refusing to bake and design cakes because they are for same-sex weddings. The bakery was also required to file reports on the steps it takes to comply and whether it turns down any prospective customers.
The decision to force the bakery to change its business practices reflects a mistaken concept of rights. Those who support government intervention in this case view rights as a gift from government. Therefore, they think politicians and bureaucrats can and should distribute and redistribute rights. This view holds it is completely legitimate to use government force to make bakeries bake cakes for same-sex weddings since the government-created right to a cake outweighs the rights of property and contract.
This view turns the proper concept of rights on its head. Rights are not gifts from government, so the government cannot restrict them unless we engage in force or fraud. The bakery did not use force to stop any same-sex couple from getting a wedding cake. It simply exercised its right to decide who it would accept as a customer. No one would support private individuals forcing bakery employees to bake a cake at gunpoint, so why is it right for the government to do it?
Some people claim that forcing the bakery to bake the cake is consistent with libertarianism. The reason they make this claim is they view the bakery’s actions as rooted in bigotry toward homosexuals. But even if this were true, it would not justify government intervention. Bigots and others with distasteful views have the right to use their property as they choose. The way to combat bigotry is through boycotts and other means of peaceful persuasion.
Instead of considering whether Colorado has violated the bakery’s rights of property and contract, the Supreme Court is considering whether Colorado’s actions violate the bakery’s religious liberty. The argument for a religious liberty violation is based on the fact that the bakery owner’s refusal to bake the cake was rooted in his religious objection to same-sex marriage. Looking just at this argument means that a victory for the bakery would implicitly accept the legitimacy of laws dictating to whom private businesses must provide services, as long as an exemption is made for those with religious objections. This reduces property and contract rights to special privileges held by business owners with “sincere religious convictions.” It also allows judges, bureaucrats, and politicians to determine who is really acting on sincere religious convictions.
Just as business owners have the right to decide who to do business with, individuals have the right to form any arrangement they wish as long as they do not engage in force or fraud. This includes entering into what many consider unconventional or even immoral marriage contracts. What no individual has the right to do is use government to force others to accept his definition of marriage.
Even if the bakery wins in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, its victory will only protect those businesses acting on a “sincere religious conviction.” Those who oppose forcing bakers to bake cakes and who support private business owners’ right to decide who to accept as customers should work to restore respect for everyone’s rights.
Don't get too excited about a recent report that the Pentagon is going to finally undergo an audit to see where the trillions of missing dollars have gone. Beltway pundits -- including WaPo's Robert Samuelson in an article over the weekend -- are still screaming for more spending!
By Jason Ditz
When the Pentagon wants to mislead the public about where US troops are, generally speaking, they just lie. Yet sometimes the number of troops is just too big to claim as a rounding error, and questions start happening.
This week, the focus is on over 44,000 US military personnel deployed to “unknown,” which immediately raises red flags, because that’s not a place. Pentagon officials, however, say there is “no good way” to describe where they are.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning, on the one hand, presented this as an “operational security” and “denying the enemy any advantage,” including, it seems providing any specifics on who “the enemy” at this point even is.
At the same time, Manning presented this as simply a limitation of the Pentagon’s current capabilities, and that there is literally “no personnel system” in the Pentagon that tracks where everyone is, and they just stick everyone else in “unknown” so the number of troops they officially have balances out with the number of troops deployed in actual, real places.
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon went a step further, saying that the figures are flat out fiction, and were “not meant to represent an accurate accounting of troops currently deployed to any location. They should not be relied upon for a current picture of what is going on.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis suggested that the situation was complicated, but also that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the lack of accounting for troops abroad, saying at some point he was going to try to put everything together and figure out where everyone really is.
This article was originally published at Antiwar.com
By Liberty Report Staff
Ron Paul joins The Savage Nation with Michael Savage to discuss President Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel:
Just as government always lies about its wars and their “progress," they also lie about the economy and inflation. It’s not very hard to do when a compliant media parrots the same lines in unison. Ron Paul talks about the Fed’s massive creation of new dollars in 2008 and how it created an even bigger problem that we’re now going to have to face.