By Ron Paul
After a week of insisting that a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Argentina was going to happen, President Trump at the last minute sent out a Tweet explaining that due to a Russia/Ukraine dispute in the Sea of Azov he would no longer be willing to meet his Russian counterpart.
According to Trump, the meeting had to be cancelled because the Russians seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in Russian waters that refused to follow instructions from the Russian military. But as Pat Buchanan wrote in a recent column: how is this little dispute thousands of miles away any of our business?
Unfortunately it is “our business” because of President Obama’s foolish idea to overthrow a democratically-elected, pro-Russia government in Ukraine in favor of what his Administration believed would be a “pro-Western” and “pro-NATO” replacement. In short, the Obama Administration did openly to Ukraine what his Democratic Party claims without proof the Russians did to the United States: meddled in a vote.
US interventionism in Ukraine led to the 2014 coup and many dead Ukrainians. Crimea’s majority-Russian population held a referendum and decided to re-join Russia rather than remain in a “pro-West” Ukraine that immediately began discriminating against them. Why would anyone object to people opting out of abusive relationships?
What is most disappointing about President Trump’s foreign policy is that it didn’t have to be this way. He ran on a platform of America first, ending foreign wars, NATO skepticism, and better relations with Russia. Americans voted for this policy. He had a mandate, a rejection of Obama’s destructive interventionism.
But he lost his nerve.
Instead of being the president who ships lethal weapons to the Ukrainian regime, instead of being the president who insists that Crimea remain in Ukraine, instead of being the president who continues policies the American people clearly rejected at the ballot box, Trump could have blamed the Ukraine/Russia mess on the failed Obama foreign policy and charted a very different course. What flag flies over Crimea is none of our business. We are not the policemen of the world and candidate Trump seemed to have understood that.
But now Trump’s in a trap. He was foolish enough to believe that Beltway foreign policy “experts” have a clue about what really is American national interest. Just this week he told the Washington Post, in response to three US soldiers being killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, that he has to keep US troops fighting in the longest war in US history because the “experts” tell him there is no alternative.
He said, “virtually every expert that I have and speak to say if we don’t go there, they’re going to be fighting over here. And I’ve heard it over and over again.”
That is the same bunkum the neocons sold us as they lied us into Iraq! We’ve got to fight Saddam over there or he’d soon be in our streets. These “experts” are worthless, yet for some reason President Trump cannot break free of them.
Well here’s some unsolicited advice to the president: Listen to the people who elected you, who are tired of the US as the world’s police force. Let Ukraine and Russia work out their own problems. Give all your “experts” a pink slip and start over with a real pro-American foreign policy: non-interventionism.
The G20 summit in Argentina has concluded. Are we better off? Will the temporary pause on new US/China tariffs hold? Anything positive from the brief Trump/Putin meet and greet? Missed opportunities? We break it all down in today's Liberty Report.
By Jeff Deist
Civility is the word of the moment.
New stories lament the breakdown of civility in American society, while reports of Antifa street violence in cities like Portland raise uncomfortable memories for older Americans of 1960s riots. Editorial after editorial decries the loss of social cohesion and friendliness across the country, even within families. Pundits and politicians insist we must restore civility in politics. Otherwise we face a bleak and intensifying cold civil war: progressive vs. conservative, urban vs. rural, #metoo vs. Brett Kavanaugh, elites vs. populists, and Never Trumpers vs. Deplorables.
Yet how do they propose to accomplish this? More politics, more elections, and more top-down edicts from Congress and the Supreme Court.
Hillary Clinton, for instance, suggests civility will be restored only following successful midterm elections that places Democrats in control of Congress. And why not? The political world is all she knows, and the political world yields winners and losers, victors and vanquished. In her utterly politicized worldview, things will settle down only when the right people—her people—control US politics. Hers is a zero-sum world, always ruled by the political gang in power.
We hardly should expect an America so wracked by politics to remain civil.
But Ludwig von Mises understood a different world, one organized around property and trade rather than the state. To him, private property was the basis of any civilized society. Without that foundation, without property and a concomitant system of mutual exchange, he knew humans were destined to devolve into poverty, war, and anti-intellectual savagery. Property gives us prosperity, and therefore material abundance to live civilized lives beyond mere the subsistence that marked most of human history. Property rights give us the ability to accumulate capital, to invest in higher productivity, and to have a greater degree of certainty regarding the future.
Civility cannot be sheared from the broader concept of civilization itself. Both words share the same Latin root civilis, which means relating to citizenship or public life. But it also means relating to others with courtesy, manners, and affability. If civilization is the sum total of a society and its culture, civility—or the lack thereof—is its building block, the positive or negative social traits exhibited by people in that society.
Lew Rockwell, our Founder and Chairman, has a long career fighting for both civilization and civility. Along the way he met some of the brightest lights of our time or any time: Neil McCaffrey, Henry Hazlitt, Leonard Read, Percy and Bettina Greaves, Ayn Rand, Ludwig and Margit Mises, Ron and Carol Paul, and Murray and Joey Rothbard among them.
So I'm sure you'll enjoy my recent interview with him.
Read the rest at The Mises Institute.
This week President Trump threatened to cut subsidies to GM. But why single out one company? Cut ALL corporate subsides. They are very bad policy.
In a bizarre Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that despite the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khoshoggi and Saudi Arabia's terrible human human rights record, we must remain joined at the hip because...Iran!
By Chris Rossini
The recent tax riots in France provide us with a reminder as to why governments all over the world have central banks at their disposal. The primary benefit for politicians is to have their very own printing press that spits out new money to pay for whatever the politicians want.
Without the printing press, politicians would be forced to tax people directly. The people get the bill right away, and know that the bill is coming from the government.
Take France's new scheme that substantially increases taxes on fuel. The people are getting hit directly with the tax, and they can see with their own eyes that it's the government who is hitting them.
In this case, the direct tax has led to riots in the streets of France.
Direct taxes are never popular. No one likes to see their earnings squandered away by bureaucrats. On the flipside, bureaucrats want as much of your earnings as they're able to take.
That's why it's so popular (especially in the U.S.) to have a central bank (i.e. Federal Reserve) that creates new dollars out-of-thin-air to pay for every political scheme in the book.
When the Fed creates new money, citizens are not directly presented with a bill. Instead, the newly printed dollars go to pay for the wars and welfare.
Can you imagine if Americans received a bill in the mail for their portion of the 17th year of war in Afghanistan, or for all the "free" stuff that government hands out?
Americans would literally go nuts if such a bill were to come.
The bill does come, just in a very different way.
Americans see the bill in rising prices for pretty much everything that they buy. They see the bill with having to get two jobs. They see the bill in a lower standard of living each year.
Because the Fed creates money out-of-thin-air, the money that you currently have in your possession loses value. It buys less. That's how you pay. You're taxed without even knowing it!
It's so sneaky that one of the champions of this reprehensible "system" once boasted that "not one in a million" people will ever figure out what is happening to them.
When prices rise, the government can merely point to some made-up scapegoat.
It's the greedy businessman ... It's the weather ... It's Putin! ... Whatever nonsense that happens to stick.
Instead of Americans protesting government's endless taxation, they just complain that they can't make ends meet and blame whoever government wants them to blame (i.e., whoever government's mainstream media puts the target on).
The government and The Fed are ripping us off ... Big time ... All the time.
Be one of the '1 in a million' who understands this, and speak out against it.
The Fed is raising rates in search of an arbitrary "neutral rate" that they've collectively set their sights upon. Then we can all relax, right? Wrong! The damage of the Fed's manipulation of the economy has been done, and a financial crisis is unavoidable.
By Ron Paul
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released proposed rules allowing individuals to opt out of Obamacare’s abortion and contraception mandates for moral or religious reasons. These new rules should be cheered by all who agree with Thomas Jefferson that forcing people to subsidize that which they find abhorrent is “sinful and tyrannical.”
Sadly, Congress continues to pass, and President Trump continues to sign, spending bills subsidizing abortion providers. When government gives taxpayer money to abortion providers, it forces anti-abortion taxpayers to fund something they believe is murder. This is every bit as “sinful and tyrannical” as forcing health plans to pay for abortion and contraception.
If Congress is going to continue giving taxpayer dollars to abortion providers, then it should at least find a way to protect those with moral or religious objections to abortion from subsidizing the practice with their tax dollars. Creating a special fund for the taxes of those who object to abortion and ensuring money in that fund is not used to subsidize abortion providers would help ensure that anti-abortion taxpayers are no longer directly subsidizing what they believe is the murder of unborn children. However, it would force pro-life taxpayers to indirectly subsidize abortion because money is fungible. So, if the government used money from the pro-life taxpayers to increase spending on programs that do not subsidize abortion, it would be able to use a greater percentage of the taxes collected from other taxpayers to fund abortionists.
A better way to protect anti-abortion taxpayers is to give them an expanded charitable tax credit. Pro-life taxpayers could use the credit to support crisis pregnancy centers and other charities that help pregnant women and new mothers. This approach would increase funding to private charities, while ensuring that, since the plan reduces government revenue, anti-abortion taxpayers are neither directly nor indirectly subsidizing abortions.
Opponents of abortion are not the only Americans who should be allowed to opt out of paying for what they consider murder. The many Americans with moral and religious objections to Washington’s militaristic foreign policy should also be able to redirect some of their taxes from the warfare state to private charities. Some may claim this would weaken America’s defenses. However, since America’s military budget is higher than the combined military budgets of the next seven biggest spending countries, and since our militaristic foreign policy has little or no relation to actual security, there is no reason the military budget cannot and should not be reduced.
Allowing taxpayers to opt out of subsidizing war and abortion would be major victories. However, there are other government programs that might offer exemptions for moral or religious objections. For example, followers of Ayn Rand have moral objections to government-funded welfare. Some Christians also find government-provided welfare morally objectionable because they believe it is the duty of the church, not the state, to help the less fortunate. Others may find corporate welfare, the drug war, or restrictions on the First and Second Amendments morally objectionable.
It may be impossible to find a welfare-warfare state program that does not offend someone’s moral or religious beliefs. For many the entire welfare-warfare state is immoral because it is built on a foundation of aggression. The only way to stop the government forcing taxpayers to subsidize activities they consider immoral is to return to limited, constitutional government that does not steal from the people via the income tax and the inflation tax.
The Russian seizure of two Ukrainian warships sailing through the Kerch Strait has flared up tensions almost to the point of war. Are special interests pushing Ukraine to provoke Russia? Is Kiev operating all on its own? Are Washington neocon fingerprints on this little operation? Will it spin out of control?
Consistent failure has not deterred those who wish to rule the world militarily. With each passing decade, the foreign policy of America's Founders is looking more and more attractive. Ron Paul has consistently advocated their policy of non-intervention and peace.