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Beltway Conservative Budget Plans Are Big Spending and Anti-Liberty

by Ron Paul

According to a recent poll, 73 percent of all Americans oppose increases in federal spending. Since this anti-government spending sentiment is a major reason Republicans control the House and Senate, one would expect the Republican Congress to hold the line on, or even cut, government spending. Yet, despite the Republican leadership’s rhetoric about “fiscal responsibility,” this year’s House Republican budget spends $104 billion more than the GOP’s 2013 budget.

Some conservatives, most notably the Heritage Foundation, have criticized the GOP budget. Heritage and the conservative House Republican Study Committee (RSC) have both prepared conservative alternatives to the official Republican budgets. Unfortunately, neither Heritage nor the RSC budgets meaningfully reduce federal spending.

Conservative efforts to reduce the size of government are handicapped by their love affair with the military-industrial complex. Since the Pentagon’s budget makes up the largest category of “discretionary” spending, it seems logical that a serious balanced budget plan would reduce spending on militarism.

Yet many of the same conservatives who (rightly) criticize the Republicans for refusing to cut spending not only oppose cuts to the Pentagon budget, they actually call for increases in military spending! These conservatives refuse to admit that the trillions spent on “regime change” overseas have not only failed to turn the targeted counties into Jeffersonian republics but have actually empowered groups like ISIS.

Conservative support for ever-increasing spending on militarism undercuts their efforts to end corporate welfare. Much of the so-called defense budget is wasted on boondoggles like the F-35 fighter that only defend the lifestyles of defense contractors and their lobbyists.

Despite insisting on increased military spending, the Heritage and RSC budgets both, at least on paper, eliminate the deficit in less than ten years. These budgets contain some other positive elements. For example, the RSC budget calls for an audit of the Federal Reserve. Both budgets repeal Obamacare and provide the American people with much needed tax relief.

The good features of the conservative budgets do not cancel out their flaws. For one thing, neither of the conservative budgets actually cuts spending. Instead, they both use the old DC trick of cutting projected increases in spending. Only in DC could budgets that increase domestic spending be considered a “radical attack on the welfare state.”

The fundamental flaw in the conservative budgets is philosophical: like much of modern American conservatism, the budget accepts the notion that that the American government is both constitutionally authorized to, and capable of, running the economy, running our lives, and running the world. Hence the “conservative” budgets do little or nothing to scale back the federal role in education, housing, welfare, or commerce.

Conservative budgets reform welfare programs by giving the states more authority and flexibility in administering the programs. This may make marginal improvements in the programs, but it does not make the welfare state moral or constitutional. It also does not make government welfare more efficient or compassionate than private charity.

Similarly, while conservatives promise entitlement reforms that give individuals greater control, they refuse to grant young people the option to care for themselves by opting-out of the government entitlement system.

If America is going to avoid a major economic crisis, government spending and debt must be reduced. However, budgets that merely tinker around the edges of the welfare-warfare state, or only reduce the rate of spending increases, merely postpone the day of reckoning. Only a budget that brings the troops home, shuts down unconstitutional agencies, ends all corporate welfare, and begins unwinding our welfare and entitlement programs will ensure future generations enjoy liberty, peace, and prosperity.

Copyright © 2016 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.  Read online

And the rubber stamping starts…

The politicians have made their first legal appointment after a campaign based on misleading people who haven’t read the state constitution into amending it to legalize appointing positions that were already unlawfully being appointed.  Amendment 2 would have never passed if people had understood what they were voting on.  Several people I spoke with, who voted for Amendment 2, regretted their votes.  They all said that they didn’t know what the state constitution actually said about election judges until after they had voted.

Thank you Brian Kelsey and many in the Tennessee General Assembly for pushing Soviet style elections on us.  I so look forward to voting for or against the R (Red ?) party appointments.

30-0 and 97-0.  How many will line up to vote yes on the judges in the next retention “election?”

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/politics/tenn-legislature-confirms-pages-as-new-state-supreme-court-justice-2c6195d8-4f17-18b8-e053-0100007f5-369729281.html

Suggested Reading:  http://www.dartblog.com/data/2013/02/010669.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_democracy

SC Setup

by Horatio Bunce

Can you see the game by the conservative “news” yet? Can you see the promotion of Single Digit Jeb and the intentional crash of Trump?

Since the next primary is in the South, the American Military and your sense of patriotism are being used to sway the primary away from Trump to George W. Bush…..uh I mean Single Digit Jeb. The latest issue now being used is whether or not George W. Bush “kept us safe” in the only attack on our mainland in our lifetimes, whether Bush and CFR Cheney lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to justify an unprovoked invasion there (they did by the way) and whether Donald Trump “insulted a war hero” John McCain. The “news” trots out injured servicemen from our many undeclared “wars” to appeal to your sympathy in hopes you will abandon Trump and vote for Single Digit Jeb because…..uh…we support the troops…or something. It will work. Look for Single Digit Jeb to advance because “it’s patriotic”.

Using McCain “the war hero” storyline yet again is not only sickening but an insult to your intelligence. He and the GOP use that vietnam prisoner of war bit every time he needs some leverage, but he is a traitor to those men who were captured there and remain. Do you remember the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs in 1991? John McCain declined the vice-chair position to investigate the status of the POWs and the information the US government is still today hiding regarding them. Allegedly, he only wanted to be chair to control the hearings, but did end up participating. If you were a loyal Rush Limbaugh listener back then you would mostly remember him making fun of Vietnam veteran Al Gore declining to sit on this committee and making light of Al’s role as a reporter.

It was John McCain who lobbied against making it a crime by anyone to withhold information on the Vietnam POWs that were abandoned there by the US government. It was McCain who blocked releasing classified information in possession of our government on these abandoned men and holding the bureaucrats accountable for not helping them. He has something to hide about Vietnam. I don’t know what it is, but it is more important to him than finding the abandoned men left behind in Vietnam. You should watch the documentary by Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain. There are some excerpts from this documentary on their youtube channel. McCain does not care a whit for these men and every time this “i was a war hero” angle is used on you by Single Digit Jeb’s campaign or the “news”, you should remember McCain still fights to hide what really happened. Go back and look at the link to the Committee report linked above. Just read the top of the first page, the Dedication to POWs. Note the date, January 1993. Do you remember Admiral James Stockdale? Ross Perot? The last time ever there was a true independent candidate on the teevee in 1992? See the appeal to the “outsiders” and the disaffected public when there is zero substance to come behind it?

Is Congress Declaring War on ISIS…or on You?

by Ron Paul

Passage of Senator Mitch McConnell’s authorization for war against ISIS will not only lead to perpetual US wars across the globe, it will also endanger our civil and economic liberties. The measure allows the president to place troops anywhere he determines ISIS is operating. Therefore, it could be used to justify using military force against United States citizens on US territory. It may even be used to justify imposing martial law in America.

The President does not have to deploy the US military to turn America into a militarized police state, however. He can use his unlimited authority to expand programs that turn local police forces into adjuncts of the US military, and send them increasing amounts of military equipment. Using the threat of ISIS to justify increased police militarization will be enthusiastically supported by police unions, local officials, and, of course, politically-powerful defense contractors. The only opposition will come from citizens whose rights have been violated by a militarized police force that views the people as the enemy.

Even though there is no evidence that the government’s mass surveillance programs have prevented even a single terrorist attack, we are still continuously lectured about how we must sacrifice our liberty for security. The cries for the government to take more of our privacy will grow louder as the war party and its allies in the media continue to hype the threat of terrorism. A president armed with the authority to do whatever it takes to stop ISIS will no doubt heed these calls for new restrictions on our privacy.

Following last year’s mass shooting in California, President Obama called for restricting the Second Amendment rights of any American on the “terrorist watch list.” The president also used the attacks to expand the unconstitutional gun background check system via executive action. Can anyone doubt that President Obama — or a future anti-gun president — will use the absolute power to do whatever is necessary to stop terrorism as a justification for imposing new gun control measures? Using the war on ISIS to justify more gun control will be particularly attractive since even many pro-gun politicians will support gun control measures if they are marketed as part of the war on terror.

As the American economy faces continued stagnation, and as challenges to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency mount, an increasingly authoritarian government will impose new restrictions on our economic activities and new limits on our financial privacy. In particular, our ability to move assets out of the country will be limited, and new reporting and other requirements will limit our ability to use cash without being treated as criminals or terrorists. Those who carry large amounts of cash will find themselves at increased risk of having the cash confiscated by government agents under civil asset forfeiture laws.

If Senator McConnell’s declaration of perpetual war passes, presidents could use the war on ISIS as a justification to impose new restrictions on our use of cash and our financial privacy via executive action. After all, they will say, the government needs to make sure cash is not being used to support ISIS.

The only way to protect both liberty and security is to stop trying to impose our will on other countries by military force. The resentment created by America’s militaristic foreign policy is ISIS’ most effective recruiting tool. Adopting a non-interventionist foreign policy that seeks peace and free trade with all would enable the government to counter legitimate threats to our safety without creating an authoritarian police state.

Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Read online: http://bit.ly/1nWPSsg

Congress is Writing the President a Blank Check for War

by Ron Paul

While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. In 2011 the president invaded Libya, overthrew its government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the Middle East. Last week the media reported that the US military had taken over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the US would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch’s power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people’s branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let’s be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing this open-ended war authorization, the US Constitution will be all but a dead letter.

Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

Read online: http://bit.ly/1OQVxqf

Back in the good old Reagan days…when we knew who our enemies were

Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.

Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983 – NSA Archives.

By Horatio Bunce

As I listened this week to Marco Rubio whining about Barry Sotero’s deal with Iran to return the funds we stole from them with our “economic sanctions” and how weak Obama’s response was to the “terrible” treatment of our soldiers who were only in “international waters”, etc., I was first reminded that:

A) It is the Congress that declares war against foreign enemies (though we apparently stopped doing that in spring 1942). Marco Rubio is in Congress. What is he doing about it? Why was our military in Iranian waters without a declaration of war from Congress?

B) If Sotero’s “weak” positioning of military craft in Iranian waters (apparently with no action from Congress) is a problem, then it is Congress that has the power to impeach him. Marco Rubio is in Congress. What is he doing about it?

Then as the pentagon re-re-revised their version of their excuses in the next days as to why we have these watercraft in Iranian waters and are still in 2016 apparently unable to competently navigate our military watercraft , it reminded me of other dealings with Iran when Republicans were in charge. Back when the internet was still being invented by Algore and it was easier to control the “news”. The GOP golden era of Reagan – when special envoy (and future Sect. of Defense) Rumsfeld was buddied up to Saddam Hussein, the CIA was training/arming Osama Bin Laden and the Afghani mujaheddin vs. evil Russia (don’t you remember Red Dawn, Rocky IV, Firefox, Top Gun, Rambo III – there was some great anti-Russia propaganda entertainment back then).

Remember when we conspired with Israel to pay them to ship US weapons to Iran (you know, their mortal enemy that wants to “wipe them off the map”) – but these weapons would only go to the  “moderate” Iranian “contras” we could trust to oust the “bad” Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (ISIS storyline anyone?). Was that also a “weak deal with Iranians” trading our arms for hostages? Did they learn they could “kidnap Americans” and name their price back then too?

How about shooting down innocent Iranian civilians in a passenger airliner over their own airspace as we did in 1988? We “got confused” back then too – really couldn’t remember why we actually were in Iranian waters instead of international waters and why our top-notch defense systems “identified” a commercial passenger jet on its routine, on-time route as an Iranian F-14 (and guess where they bought those). $61.8 million tax dollars went to pay off the victims. Apparently “wage-earning” Iranians were worth $300,000 each while “non-wage earners” (aka children) were only worth $150,000. The perpetrators? They received awards.

I don’t know about you, but forking over $150k for murdering my child just wouldn’t cut it.

When Peace Breaks Out With Iran

Written by Ron Paul

This has been the most dramatic week in US/Iranian relations since 1979.

Last weekend ten US Navy personnel were caught in Iranian waters, as the Pentagon kept changing its story on how they got there. It could have been a disaster for President Obama’s big gamble on diplomacy over conflict with Iran. But after several rounds of telephone diplomacy between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the Iranian leadership – which we are told by the neocons is too irrational to even talk to – did a most rational thing: weighing the costs and benefits they decided it made more sense not to belabor the question of what an armed US Naval vessel was doing just miles from an Iranian military base. Instead of escalating, the Iranian government fed the sailors and sent them back to their base in Bahrain.

Then on Saturday, the Iranians released four Iranian-Americans from prison, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. On the US side, seven Iranians held in US prisons, including six who were dual citizens, were granted clemency. The seven were in prison for seeking to trade with Iran in violation of the decades-old US economic sanctions.

This mutual release came just hours before the United Nations certified that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear treaty signed last summer and that, accordingly, US and international sanctions would be lifted against the country.

How did the “irrational” Iranians celebrate being allowed back into the international community? They immediately announced a massive purchase of more than 100 passenger planes from the European Airbus company, and that they would also purchase spare parts from Seattle-based Boeing. Additionally, US oil executives have been in Tehran negotiating trade deals to be finalized as soon as it is legal to do so. The jobs created by this peaceful trade will be beneficial to all parties concerned. The only jobs that should be lost are the Washington advocates of re-introducing sanctions on Iran.

Events this week have dealt a harsh blow to Washington’s neocons, who for decades have been warning against any engagement with Iran. These true isolationists were determined that only regime change and a puppet government in Tehran could produce peaceful relations between the US and Iran. Instead, engagement has worked to the benefit of the US and Iran.

Proven wrong, however, we should not expect the neocons to apologize or even pause to reflect on their failed ideology. Instead, they will continue to call for new sanctions on any pretext. They even found a way to complain about the release of the US sailors – they should have never been confronted in the first place even if they were in Iranian waters. And they even found a way to complain about the return of the four Iranian-Americans to their families and loved ones – the US should have never negotiated with the Iranians to coordinate the release of prisoners, they grumbled. It was a show of weakness to negotiate! Tell that to the families on both sides who can now enjoy the company of their loved ones once again!

I have often said that the neocons’ greatest fear is for peace to break out. Their well-paid jobs are dependent on conflict, sanctions, and pre-emptive war. They grow wealthy on conflict, which only drains our economy. Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Read online: http://bit.ly/1SqRyXf

Who Should Pay For the Syrian Refugees?

by Ron Paul   Monday November 23, 2015

Last week the US House dealt a blow to President Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland. On a vote of 289-137, including 47 Democrats, the House voted to require the FBI to closely vet any applicant from Syria and to guarantee that none of them pose a threat to the US. Effectively this will shut down the program.

The House legislation was brought to the Floor after last week’s attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead, and for which ISIS claimed responsibility. With the year-long US bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, there is a good deal of concern that among those 10,000 to be settled here there might be some who wish to do us harm. Even though it looks as though the Paris attackers were all EU citizens, polling in the US shows record opposition to allowing Syrian refugees entry.

I agree that we must be very careful about who is permitted to enter the United States, but I object to the president’s plan for a very different reason. I think it is a sign of Washington’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy that US citizens are being forced to pay for those fleeing Washington’s foreign policy.

For the past ten years the US government has been planning and executing a regime change operation against the Syrian government. It is this policy that has produced the chaos in Syria, including the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the country. After a decade of US destabilization efforts, we are now told that Syria is totally destabilized and we therefore must take in thousands of Syrians fleeing the destabilization that Washington caused.

Has there ever been a more foolish and wrong-headed foreign policy than this?

The American people have been forced to pay untold millions for a ten-year CIA and Pentagon program to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government, and now we are supposed to pay millions more to provide welfare for the refugees Obama created.

Who should pay for the millions fleeing the chaos that Washington helped create? How about the military-industrial complex, which makes a killing promoting killing? How about the Beltway neocon think-tanks that continue to churn out pro-war propaganda while receiving huge grants from defense contractors? How about President Obama’s national security advisors, who push him into one regime change disaster after another? How about Hillary Clinton, who came up with the bright idea that “Assad must go”? How about President Obama himself, a president elected to end wars, but who has ended up starting more wars than his predecessor? It’s time those who start the wars start paying for the disasters they create. Then perhaps we might have some relief from an interventionist foreign policy that is destroying our financial and national security.

If Obama wants to take in refugees from the chaos in Syria, there are probably plenty of vacant rooms in the White House.

Read online: http://bit.ly/1N3bKH3

Does the Bell Toll for the Fed?

Written by Ron Paul      Monday November 9, 2015

Last week Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted that the Federal Reserve Board will increase interest rates at the board’s December meeting. The positive jobs report that was released following Yellen’s remarks caused many observers to say that the Federal Reserve’s first interest rate increase in almost a decade is practically inevitable.

However, there are several reasons to doubt that the Fed will increase rates anytime in the near future. One reason is that the official unemployment rate understates unemployment by ignoring the over 94 million Americans who have either withdrawn from the labor force or settled for part-time work. Presumably the Federal Reserve Board has access to the real unemployment numbers and is thus aware that the economy is actually far from full employment.

The decline in the stock market following Friday’s jobs report was attributed to many investors’ fears over the impact of the predicted interest rate increase. Wall Street’s jitters about the effects of a rate increase is another reason to doubt that the Fed will soon increase rates. After all, according to former Federal Reserve official Andrew Huszar, protecting Wall Street was the main goal of “quantitative easing,” so why would the Fed now risk a Christmastime downturn in the stock markets?

Donald Trump made headlines last week by accusing Janet Yellen of keeping interest rates low because she does not want to risk another economic downturn in President Obama’s last year in office. I have many disagreements with Mr. Trump, but I do agree with him that the Federal Reserve’s polices may be influenced by partisan politics.

Janet Yellen would hardly be the first Fed chair to allow politics to influence decision-making. Almost all Fed chairs have felt pressure to “adjust” monetary policy to suit the incumbent administration, and almost all have bowed to the pressure. Economists refer to the Fed’s propensity to tailor monetary policy to suit the needs of incumbent presidents as the “political” business cycle.

Presidents of both parties, and all ideologies, have interfered with the Federal Reserve’s conduct of monetary policy. President Dwight D. Eisenhower actually threatened to force the Fed chair to resign if he did not give in to Ike’s demands for easy money, while then-Federal Reserve Chair Arthur Burns was taped joking about Fed independence with President Richard Nixon.

The failure of the Fed’s policies of massive money creation, corporate bailouts, and quantitative easing to produce economic growth is a sign that the fiat money system’s day of reckoning is near. The only way to prevent the monetary system’s inevitable crash from causing a major economic crisis is the restoration of a free-market monetary policy.

One positive step Congress may take this year is passing the Audit the Fed bill. Fortunately, Senator Rand Paul is using Senate rules to force the Senate to hold a roll-call vote on Audit the Fed. The vote is expected to take place in the next two-to-three weeks. If Audit the Fed passes, the American people can finally learn the full truth about the Fed’s operations. If it fails, the American people will at least know which senators side with them and which ones side with the Federal Reserve.

Allowing a secretive central bank to control monetary policy has resulting in an ever-expanding government, growing income inequality, a series of ever-worsening economic crises, and a steady erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power. Unless this system is changed, America, and the world, will soon experience a major economic crisis. It is time to finally audit, then end, the Fed.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/november/09/does-the-bell-toll-for-the-fed/

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.