Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. It is also deadly when it drives your foreign policy. President Trump's pick for Joint Chiefs Chairman, Gen. Milley, has promised that the US military will beat any adversary harder than it has every been beaten before. That may well be true. But is it relevant?
By Ron Paul
Washington is once again gripped by the specter of a government shutdown, as Congress and President Trump negotiate an end-of-year spending deal. A main issue of contention is funding for President Trump’s border wall. Sadly, but not surprisingly, neither Congress nor the administration is fighting to cut, or at least not increase, spending.
Federal spending has increased from 3.6 trillion dollars to 4.4 trillion dollars since Republicans gained control over both chambers of Congress in 2014. Some may try to defend congressional Republicans by pointing out that for two years the Republican Congress had to negotiate spending deals with President Obama. But federal spending has increased by 7.5 percent, or over 300 billion dollars, since Donald Trump become President.
A big beneficiary of the Republican spending spree is the military-industrial complex. Republicans have increased the “defense” budget by eight percent in the past two years. President Trump and congressional Republicans claim the increases are necessary because sequestration “decimated” the military. But Congress, with the Obama administration’s full cooperation and support, suspended sequestration every year but one, so the planned cuts never went into full effect. Congress and Obama also “supplemented” the official military budget with generous appropriations for the Pentagon’s off-budget Overseas Contingency Operations fund. Spending on militarism increased by as much as 600 billion dollars over the amounts allowed for under sequestration.
President Trump has proposed reducing the projected military budget for fiscal year 2020 to 700 billion dollars. This would be a mere two percent cut, yet the usual voices are already crying that this tiny reduction would endanger our security. If history is any guide, the military-industrial complex’s congressional allies and high-priced lobbyists will be able to defeat the president’s proposed reductions and convince President Trump to further increase the military budget.
This huge military budget has little or nothing to do with America’s legitimate security needs. In fact, as candidate Trump recognized, America’s military interventions in the Middle East have endangered our security by empowering terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
While the warfare state has been a big beneficiary of the Republican spending spree, the GOP has hardly neglected the welfare state. Domestic spending has increased seven percent since 2016. Except for a half-hearted attempt to repeal Obamacare and some food stamp reforms that were included in and then dropped from this year’s farm bill, Republicans have not made any effort to roll back or even reform the welfare state.
The farm bill, which Congress is expected to pass this week, will spend as much as 900 billion dollars over the next ten years. Much of that spending will be on taxpayer subsidies for wealthy farmers and even “farmers in name only.”
Trump’s budget deals have been supported by the majority of Democrats. Even those who have called for the president’s impeachment are more than happy to vote with him when it comes to increasing spending and debt. These Democrats are the mirror image of 1990s Republicans who made a big spending deal with President Clinton while simultaneously trying to impeach him.
We suffer from too much bipartisanship when it comes to the welfare-warfare state. This bipartisanship has resulted in a national debt that is rapidly approaching 30 trillion dollars. This will inevitably lead to a major economic crisis. The way to avoid this crisis is to replace the bipartisan welfare-warfare consensus with a new consensus in favor of limited government, peace, free markets in all areas including currency, and auditing then ending the Fed.
By Bill Bonner
Whatever good was done by the Trump/Xi trade war truce in Buenos Aires was likely undone by what was done in Vancouver Airport earlier this month.
The U.S. stock market warmed to the idea of a ceasefire last Monday morning. Then came word that the U.S. government had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese technology firm Huawei. The feds got the Canadians to collar the poor woman while she was changing planes in Vancouver.
Few people in the U.S. have ever heard of Huawei. Still, the event had a pin-like look to it. And by the end of the week, investors had lost $1 trillion. This morning, by inference from futures trading, they are set to lose a half a trillion more.
What was Ms. Wanzhou’s crime? Mass murder? Grand larceny?
Nope. Even she didn’t know what the charges were.
But whatever they were, the U.S. government had not only made a federal case of it, but an international “cause célèbre,” too.
What Ms. Wanzhou is accused of is neither a genuine crime nor a misdemeanor.
Instead, she apparently ran afoul of the Deep State’s bogeyman program. Officially, her company is accused of using shell companies to access the Iranian market in defiance of U.S. sanctions on the country.
That is, it is not enough for the feds to regulate every living creature and every transaction that takes place in the 50 states. They also claim authority over the rest of the world.
No money can change hands without the consent of the U.S. (which controls the world’s reserve currency – the dollar – and the international banking protocols – the SWIFT system – that allow people to transfer money from one country to another)…
Nobody can trade with a foreign country if it doesn’t meet U.S. approval…
And no sparrow can fall anywhere on the planet without a shove from the Pentagon.
Ms. Wanzhou was told to jump. She apparently didn’t jump high enough.
Deep State Hysteria
Ms. Wanzhou is the CFO of the second-largest cellphone maker in the world, and the daughter of its founder. Huawei has 170,000 employees. It is as important to the Chinese government as General Motors once was to the U.S.
Of course, Ms. Wanzhou has nothing against Iran. China has nothing against Iran. Most of the whole bloomin’ world has nothing against Iran.
But the Deep State pretends to protect Americans from bad guys – in this case, Iranians – by imposing sanctions on people all over the Earth.
You can imagine what a hullabaloo would follow if the Chinese pulled a similar stunt.
Suppose they tried to boss other nations around with a “sanctions” list that included some half a million of the world’s leading business and government officials.
And suppose, honoring a Chinese warrant, the authorities in Singapore picked up Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.
The Chinese, for example, regard Taiwan as their territory. And they regard the present Taiwanese government as illegitimate traitors. They could easily announce “sanctions” against anyone trading with Taiwan… which would implicate thousands of American businessmen, politicians, and government employees.
Then, stopping at Singapore airport for refueling, perhaps en route from a conference in Moscow back to a home office in Sydney or San Francisco, an executive could be nabbed by the Chinese – for an offense that Americans might find silly, irrelevant, or plain stupid.
If humans were cows or tree squirrels, no offense might have been taken. But we homo sapiens live in a world of jealousy, hate, and revenge. The U.S. would be outraged. It could be an Archduke Franz Ferdinand moment – the kind of event that is hard to reconcile with today’s power politics… and hard to ignore or forget.
In the present case, the Chinese, who value “face” more than money, took offense. They see the arrest as illegal, high-handed, and a breach of the ceasefire reached only a week earlier.
Read the rest at Bonner & Partners
The shock arrest of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada, reportedly on a US request, over allegations that her company sold products to Iran in violation of US sanctions, has opened a huge Pandora's box. If this member of the Chinese political and business elite is jailed in the US, what will happen to US/China relations? Trade war? US execs arrested in China? Something far worse? Did Trump have a clue about this? Was he briefed on the full implications?
The US sparked an international incident when they ordered the arrest of Meng Wangzhou, CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei. By most indications, Huawei is being punished for selling communications equipment to Iran. Ron Paul tells Rick Sanchez about the consequences of Meng’s arrest and problems in US foreign policy vis-à-vis Iran.
Whenever you put government in charge, you get a big mess. That's exactly what we have. President Trump campaigned against a "big, fat, ugly bubble," and then took ownership of it. Big mistake. The Fed has twisted the economy into a Gordian Knot, and has painted itself into a corner. There will be a lot blame coming from every direction. The answer, as always, is liberty.
Successful entrepreneur and Founder of Thales Academy shows us the possibilities of education outside of the government bureaucratic grip. The future of education is indeed a great one.
By Chris Rossini
Yesterday, President Trump caught a lot of attention with his "Tariff Man" tweet:
At no point has anyone come to America to "raid the great wealth of our Nation." America has yet to be invaded by an incoming army, navy, or air force of any country. No one has come to "raid" or steal our property.
The biggest thieves that individual property owners in America have to worry about is the U.S. federal government itself and its central bank - The Federal Reserve. For it is they who have literally "raided" individual Americans over the last 100+ years.
The federal government does it directly. It takes our money outright. The Fed is more insidious, and steals from us without most people even knowing it. By printing money out-of-thin-air, The Fed steals the purchasing power of the dollars that we work for. As prices rise for just about everything, always remember that it's The Fed that brings this about.
Naturally, if our government and the Fed are the biggest takers of our paychecks, they're going to want to shift the focus off of themselves.
Who is the easiest to blame?
Put yourself in their shoes...How would you direct attention if you're feeding off of taxpayers to the tune of many trillions?
Blame China, or Iraq, or Syria, or Russia, or Iran, or North Korea, or ..... The list never ends.
It's always the foreign boogeymen that are to blame.
This is just one more fiction that you can add to the mountain of propaganda that Americans consume every single day.
But here's the real kicker...
Even though local, state, and federal governments in America constantly rob us blind, President Trump adds yet another tax for Americans to pay --- Tariffs!
Tariffs are paid by American consumers!
They're not paid by China.
They're not paid by Germany or the EU.
They are paid by Americans.
The president then adds insult to injury by literally bragging that BILLIONS of dollars are flowing into the U.S. Treasury as a result of the tariffs.
That's our money!!
Sadly (far too many) Americans have been duped and are actually happy that the government is taxing them even more.
Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams would be sick!
But what a marvelous trick the government has pulled ... Washington DC has figured out how to live off us with pinpoint precision.
You do the work ... create the wealth .... and they take it away in ever increasing amounts.
Free Trade is a win-win situation. One person agrees to exchange with another. Both are better off, otherwise they wouldn't trade. Nothing could be more simple to understand.
To think that government taxing the American side of the trade is a benefit to Americans is the height of economic folly.
It doesn't matter what any other government in the world does to their citizens. If they tax their citizens with tariffs, that's their problem, not ours.
Our problem is when our government taxes us.
The policy that we need is for our government to drop every tariff to zero. Whether or not other countries follow doesn't matter one iota to Americans. They can keep all their tariffs. That's their loss, not ours.
We need our government off our backs, and out of our pockets.
Isn't that what the "land of the free" was supposed to be in the first place?
In a major speech yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised that the Trump Administration was creating a "new liberal international order," with the US re-asserting its "leadership." This sounds a lot like the old "new world order" promised by recently departed President George HW Bush. Is going back to the future really a good US grand strategy?
Many in Washington who are obsessing over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are silent on the thousands of civilians killed by US drones and are seeking conflict with Iran. Is this about principles...or just politics?