Flashback 2017: Security or Surveillance? ... Edward Snowden on The Ron Paul Liberty Report
By Ron Paul
Those hoping for a Christmastime government shutdown were once again disappointed when Congress passed a 4,000-page, $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that few, if any, Representatives and Senators read before voting on. The Republican leadership celebrated this bloated monstrosity because it spends $858 billion on warfare while “only” spending $772.5 billion on welfare.
No one should think Republican insistence on more warfare than welfare spending means Democrats oppose the warfare state. Under President Biden and a Democrat-controlled Congress, “defense” spending has increased by 4.3 percent over the last two years. Similarly, every Republican President in recent years—including two who had a Republican-controlled Congress for at least part of their term—supported huge increases in welfare state spending. Most Democrats only pretend to oppose warfare and most Republicans only pretend to oppose welfare to appease their parties’ respective bases.
The Omnibus appropriates a $44.5 billion giveaway to Ukraine. This brings the total US spending on Ukraine’s military to over $100 billion - approximately 50 percent more than Russia’s entire military budget! This money is spent in a conflict that does not affect US security, yet one that would likely have not occurred were it not for prior US meddling in the region.
The Omnibus bill provides $11.3 billion for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a $569.6 million increase and $524 billion above the President’s request. According to the Democratic leadership, the funding increase is so the FBI can better fight “extremist violence and domestic terrorists.”
The public recently learned what the FBI considers an appropriate way to fight “extremism,” with the release of emails between Twitter officials and the FBI. These memos show the Bureau was working with Twitter—and almost certainly other social media companies—to suppress certain stories, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, and points of view, such as skepticism regarding masks, lockdowns, and vaccine mandates. The bureau even used taxpayer funds to reimburse Twitter for the costs of implementing these “requests.” Government officials working with private companies to silence American citizens is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
This is hardly the first time the FBI has violated the constitutional rights of American citizens. In fact, since its founding the Bureau has targeted political activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King, whose agenda was considered “extreme” or “dangerous” by the Bureau’s corrupt leadership. The idea of a national police force with the power to target Americans because of their political beliefs would have horrified the drafters of the Constitution. The federal government has no constitutional authority over criminal law except for cases of piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. Libertarians, constitutional conservatives, and progressives who still care about civil liberties should join together to defund the FBI.
The fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill expands government, reduces liberty, and increases government debt, forcing the Federal Reserve to monetize more debt leading to more price inflation. Our political elites prioritize militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home over addressing the problems facing the American people like the Federal Reserve’s destructive monetary policy. This will fuel growing discontent with the political system. As the economy continues to worsen and the attempt to run the world continues to result in failures, the discontent will grow until the welfare warfare system collapses and, hopefully, a new error of liberty peace and prosperity dawns.
The terrible "progressive" idea that the U.S. government is meant to manage the lives of American citizens (along with the world at large) has failed as expected.
Towards the end of failed arrangements, the ambitious scramble to grab whatever they can, while they can.
It seems like we've reached that point, doesn't it?
The Paul's are big family. What's it like getting together for Christmas? Carol and Kelley Paul shared their thoughts about it last year. We hope you enjoy it again!
Ukraine's president, Vladimir Zelensky, made a surprise visit to Washington, DC, today, where he is expected to "discuss strategy" with President Biden and to address the US Congress. While Congress has just topped up Biden's latest Ukraine request to $47 billion, the AP is reporting that Zelensky's message is going to be "that's not enough!" Both Party leaders whole-heartedly support giving Ukraine "whatever it takes" as Americans face runaway inflation and recession.
The "must pass" omnibus bill ramps spending to the outer limits as Democrats face loss of power in the House in January. Packed full of warfare-welfare state spending, the disgusting mess is symbolic of the decline of the US Congress as a legitimate legislative body. Also today: US missiles striking Russian territory...what could go wrong?
Outspoken Members of the Incoming US House Republican majority have warned the FBI that subpoenas and hearings will be high on the agenda in the next Congress. This after the latest release from the Twitter Files shows direct contact between the Bureau and the pre-Musk social media company. Also today: House Democrats warn Facebook to keep censoring opinions they don't like. And...military-industrial complex runs wild at Ukraine's DC party.
By Ron Paul
As we learn more and more from the “Twitter Files,” it is becoming all too obvious that Federal agencies such as the FBI viewed the First Amendment of our Constitution as an annoyance and an impediment. In Friday’s release from the pre-Musk era, journalist Matt Taibbi makes an astute observation: Twitter was essentially an FBI subsidiary.
The FBI, we now know, was obsessed with Twitter. We learned that agents sent Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth some 150 emails between 2020 and 2022. Those emails regularly featured demands from US government officials for the “private” social media company to censor comments and ban commenters they did not like.
The Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), a US government entity that included the FBI as well as other US intelligence agencies expressly forbidden from domestic activities, numbered 80 agents engaged regularly in telling Twitter which Tweets to censor and which accounts to ban. The Department of Homeland Security brought in outside government contractors and (government-funded) non-governmental organizations to separately pressure Twitter to suppress speech the US government did not like.
US Federal government agencies literally handed Twitter lists of Americans it wanted to see silenced, and Twitter complied. Let that sink in.
This should be a massive scandal and likely it would have been had it occurred under a Trump Administration. Indeed, Congress would be gearing up for Impeachment 3.0 if Trump-allied officials had engaged in such egregious behavior. But since these US government employees were by-and-large acting to suppress pro-Trump sentiment, all we hear are crickets.
What is interesting about these Twitter revelations is how obsessed the FBI and its government partners were with satire and humor. Even minor Twitter accounts with small numbers of followers were constantly flagged by the Feds for censorship and deletion. But knowledge of history helps us understand this obsession: in Soviet times the population was always engaged in joking about the ineptitude, corruption, and idiocy of the political class. Underground publications known as samizdat were rich with satire, humor, and ridicule.
Tyrants hate humor and cannot withstand satire. That is clearly why the FBI (and CIA) was determined to see a heavy hand raised against any American poking fun at the deep state.
There is good news in all of this, however. As Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote over the weekend, a new Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found that even though the mainstream media has ignored the “Twitter files,” Americans have not. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that Twitter was involved in politically-motivated censorship in advance of the 2020 election. Some 70 percent of those polled believe Congress must take action against this corporate/state censorship.
As Professor Turley points out, although the First Amendment only applies to the US government, “it does apply to agents or surrogates of the government. Twitter now admits that such a relationship existed between its former officials and the government.”
So now we have proof that the FBI (along with US intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security) have been acting through “private” social media companies to manipulate what Americans are allowed to say when they communicate with each other.
Is there anything more un-American than that? Personally, I find it sickening.
We do not need the FBI and CIA and other federal agencies viewing us as the enemy and attacking our Constitution. End the Fed…and End the Federal Bureau of Investigation!