Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's rush to judgement that Iran was behind the apparent attacks on two tanker ships last week has not galvanized world opinion against Iran, as the neocons hoped. Instead, it was met with high skepticism even among Washington's closest allies. Has the neocon practice of massively exaggerating and endlessly issuing threats finally destroyed US credibility on the world stage?
By Liberty Report Staff
Donald Trump is out there, upset, that we didn't get more monetary stimulus from the Fed. But we got record fiscal stimulus from Congress and the White House.
America was never meant to be an Empire. Liberty and Empire are mutually exclusive. But alas the road of Empire was taken long before any of us were born, and it has been in steady decline for the last 50 years. Empires always end in a melange of moral and financial bankruptcy. America is following this script to the letter.
Just as the prime minister of Japan was in an historic visit to Iran (the first since the 1979 revolution), a Japanese-owned tanker (and one other) was attacked in the Persian Gulf. US neocons are pointing the finger at Iran. Does it make sense to attack Japan in the midst of productive talks?
By Liberty Report Staff
Murray Rothbard on tariffs (excerpted from The Free Market Reader):
The best way to look at tariffs or import quotas or other protectionist restraints is to forget about political boundaries.
In an unfolding scandal you won't much hear about in the mainstream media, the US State Department has been caught funding NGOs that are attacking Americans who express opposition to the neocon policy of confrontation with Iran. This is beyond just propaganda and into the realm of actual attacks - exactly the tactics the US decries in authoritarian regimes overseas.
By Liberty Report Staff
Peter Schiff had a few choice words on a recent podcast about President Trump's trade war:
What a lot of people overlook is that China doesn't have this massive trade surplus with the entire world. They have a massive trade surplus with America. They have a deficit with most other countries. So they have to take the money they earn selling to us and they use it to buy the stuff they need from other people.
Peter on the idea that the trade war will magically cause corporations to bring their businesses back to the U.S.:
Yeah, how are they going to do that?
A century ago, Americans were duped into the idea of a big and overarching government.
The 'land of the free' would become the land of the bureaucrats.
No one wants to produce in America because government is overbearing with regulations, bureaucracies, dictates and edicts.
President Trump should be tearing down all of these roadblocks, but he is not.
Instead, Trump has embarked on a trade war that can do nothing but lower the standard of living for the average American even further.
By Jeff Deist
Judy Shelton's recent interview with the Financial Times is nothing short of remarkable. Her comments represent the most substantive attack on the Fed, and central banking generally, by any potential nominee to the Fed board in recent history. She not only challenges how Jerome Powell and Fed officials conduct monetary policy, but whether they can conduct it competently at all.
Consider this salvo against the Fed's inescapable role as central planner:
How can a dozen, slightly less than a dozen, people meeting eight times a year, decide what the cost of capital should be versus some kind of organically, market supply determined rate? The Fed is not omniscient. They don’t know what the right rate should be. How could anyone?” Ms Shelton said. “If the success of capitalism depends on someone being smart enough to know what the rate should be on everything . . . we’re doomed. We might as well resurrect Gosplan,” she said, referring to the state committee that ran the Soviet Union’s planned economy.
And her attack on the Fed's outsized role in the economy:
She also said that the Fed should continue to reduce its balance sheet below the $3.5tn target set by Jay Powell, the chairman. “I would rather the Fed be less of an entity. When a central bank buys up government debt, that’s the beginning of compromised finances.”
She also recognizes malinvestment:
“It’s the distorting aspect of the Fed that is the worst aspect — it’s a wag-the-dog situation. People are fixated on the Fed and are making money by arbitraging, trillions of a second after the latest FOMC announcement,” she added.
And she isn't afraid to support a role for gold in monetary policy:
Ms Shelton has long been sympathetic to the gold standard, which the US fully abandoned in the early 1970s in favour of a flexible exchange rate for the dollar. “People call me a goldbug, and I think, well, what does that make them? A Fed bug,” she says.
"Fed Bugs"! Why didn't we think of this?
Shelton, who works as an economic adviser to Trump, is not an economist by training. Her PhD in business administration, from Utah State no less, is sure to draw jeers from the Ivy League central bank crowd. But it's Ivy League economists, after all, who created the last crisis in 2008. And needless to say they're sounding alarm bells about Mrs. Shelton. The worst offender is former Treasury official Larry Summers, who shamelessly calls Shelton "dangerous."
Sorry, but a financial terrorist and chief architect of the weaponized derivatives market in the 2000s should have the simple decency to keep quiet and thank his lucky stars he's not in jail.
Judy Shelton is not an Austrian. She appears mostly aligned with the supply-side camp of her longtime friend and mentor Larry Kudlow, who heads the Trump administration's (useless) National Economic Council. And her support for a modified gold standard rests on shaky ground, as she unfortunately favors a rules-based approach under which the Fed would target a dollar price for gold—what Joe Salerno refers to as "price-rule monetarism."
So Shelton doesn't want to End the Fed. But in the parlance of woke America, she's an "ally." Recognizing the limits of central bank omniscience, and challenging its benevolence, are important first steps on the road to redeeming our money and our economy.
This article was originally published at The Mises Institute.
Afghanistan - the "good war" that never ends. Just when it seemed the US was making progress toward ending the longest war in its history, a new bad guy has emerged that, we are told, is far more threatening than the guys we've been fighting for 20 years. Forget the Taliban! We have to stay in Afghanistan to fight ISIS! Meanwhile, Trump has dropped more bombs on Afghanistan this year alone than Obama's average over five years. War is good for business.
By Ron Paul
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) found himself in hot water recently over comments he made in defense of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who faces war crimes charges over his alleged conduct while serving in combat overseas. Gallagher is charged with stabbing a 15 year old ISIS member while in custody, of taking photos posing with the corpse of the teen, and with killing several civilians.
Defending Gallagher recently, Hunter put his own record up next to the SEAL to suggest that he’s an elected Congressman who has done worse things in battle than Gallagher.
That’s where Hunter’s defense earned him some perhaps unwanted attention. While participating in the first “Battle of Fallujah” in early 2007, by Hunter’s own account he and his fellow soldiers killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children. They fired mortars into the city and killed at random.
In the sanitized world of US mainstream media reporting on US wars overseas, we do not hear about non-combatants being killed by Americans. How many times has there been any reporting on the birth defects that Iraqis continue to suffer in the aftermath of US attacks with horrific weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorus?
Rep. Hunter described his philosophy when fighting in Iraq:
“You go in fast and hard, you kill people, you hit them in the face and then you get out…We’re going to hurt you and then we’re going to leave. And if you want to be nice to America, we’ll be nice to you. If you don’t want to be nice to us, we’re going to slap you again.”
This shows how much Duncan Hunter does not understand about war. When he speaks of hitting people in the face until they are nice to America, he doesn’t seem to realize that the people of Fallujah – and all of Iraq – never did a thing to the US to deserve that hit in the face. The war was launched on the basis of lies and cooked-up intelligence by many of the people who are serving in the current Administration.
And that brings us to the real war criminals. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his fellow soldiers may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians and even felt justified. Their superior officers, after all, established the rules of engagement. Above those superior officers, going up and beyond to the policymakers, the lie was sold to the American people to justify a war of choice against a country that could not have threatened us if it wanted to.
Vice President Dick Cheney knew what he was doing when he kept returning to the CIA headquarters, strong-arming analysts to make the intelligence fit the chosen policy. John Bolton and the other neocons knew what they were doing when they made claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction they knew were false. The Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans played its role in selling the lie. So did the media.
Edward Gallagher will face trial and possibly jail for his actions. Rep. Duncan Hunter may even face punishment – though perhaps only at the ballot box – for his admitted crimes. But until those at the top who continue to lie and manipulate us into war for their own gain face justice, the real criminals will continue to go free and we will continue pursuing a suicidal neocon foreign policy.