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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

“Expect a surprise on Monday”

EvilLucyby Horatio Bunce

Don’t do it Charlie Brown. Lucy is telling you she IS going to pull away the football again.

Have you noticed the change in the big show this week? The conservative “news” is currently prepping you on a few fronts:

1. The “news” knows a secret. They tell you to expect a “surprise” on Monday. They won’t tell you what the secret is. I warned you there would be hijinks. They even trotted out Santorum and asked “remember how you won Iowa in 2012, we were so surprised!”. They barely remembered that they had dutifully reported that Romney “won” for a few weeks as the GOP lied about the results long enough for the tide to change into the New Hampshire primary. So, something “unexpected” has been pre-announced for you. How do you think they know that?

2. As of this week you are now being sold that Iowa Caucus goers are so unstable that many of them change their minds at the last second right there in the voting booth. This is to prep you to believe the “surprise” coming Monday that the “news” already seems to know about. Now, I am going to ask you to apply a little logic to this scenario. If the Iowa folks are so wishy-washy, can’t make up their mind, last second kneejerk voters, would the Iowa results have any real meaning to them? Are they even statistically valid? Wait and see what the “news” tells you about the “message” sent by Monday’s results from these same voters. It will “mean something” and you will be informed of who are now “losers” and you should jump ship soon.

3. Donald Trump is being called “childish”, “petulant”, “afraid of the voters”, “doing a disservice to the voters” etc. for not being willing to appear in the varsity debate tonight on Fox and for not taking up Cruz on his hair vs. hair (oh, wait that was a different Trump episode) $1.5M-for-the-veterans-one-on-one debate. For my Single Digit Jeb theory to prove true, Trump must crash. This tit-for-tat with “I’m an attorney” Kelly was set up months ago with their earlier spat – knowing the debate schedule – knowing she would be moderator just before Iowa – and give another nail in the Trump coffin. As CNN put it, you couldn’t ask for a better SET-UP *ding*ding*ding*ding*ding*. Laying out of this debate is just terrible and will surely affect the Iowa voters we are told……but at the same time the “news” seems to ignore that laying out of the last j.v. debate seemed to promote Rand Paul to prime time for this one didn’t it? Remember back to Lamar Alexander’s last primary campaign? Remember how he was too chicken to debate Joe Carr, acted like it was a waste of his time, beneath him or whatever? Where was all this “candidates owe it to the voters”, “don’t shy away from robust debate” talk from the “news” back then? Sorry, I’m not buying it.

4. You also have the recent endorsement of Trump by Sarah Palin. I believe this was done to hurt his general election polling numbers. This is also an indicator to me that Trump’s campaign is ultimately contrived. Palin was selling you her “Going Rogue” book, playing the anti-establishment game while simultaneously campaigning for John McCain – allegedly her arch enemy she was “going rogue” against… then later traveling to TN to go all Pay-triot for a $100k speaking fee to the Tea Party ™. So if Palin = Tea Party, shouldn’t she be endorsing Cruz? After all, the “news” informed us months ago he is the “darling of the tea party”.

5. Single Digit Jeb is now touted as moving into 2nd place in New Hampshire polling (ok one poll)….and his ads have changed from attacking Rubio to praising his own leadership qualities (but consistently neglect to mention his whole-hearted support of Common Core for some reason). This poll also purports to confirm the effect of Palin endorsing Trump.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason for the former Florida governor’s sudden surge…

Boy, it sure is! I mean, “nobody” could see that coming…

6. Glenn Beck endorses Ted Cruz and claims he (Glenn) is a “constitutionalist” now and we need to be wary of “anger” and “angry men” because that is not going to bring us success and isn’t very Christlike (because Glenn’s whole anti-establishment GOP Blaze thingy is supposed to appeal to the anti-establishment GOP/evangelical crowd – but never actually suggest any alternative to the GOP). I guess Glenn forgot all about endorsing Pre-Emptive Nuke Iran Santorum last time around. Now Glenn is a “constitutionalist” and we have to vote for the dual-citizenship Canadian for the sake of our children. I wonder why Glenn doesn’t know about the Constitution Party

Why were federal inmates removed from the Blount County jail?

The Blount County Adult Detention Facility has been housing federal inmates for over a decade.  We have been told that the reason for doing so is because the county “makes money” housing the inmates because the county receives a per diem from the federal government.  In the last year, the rhetoric has changed from making money to offsetting fixed expenditures.

Some of the federal inmates were removed from the Blount County jail in 2015.  The question remains: why?

On November 11, The Daily Times reported Deputy Chief Jarrod Millsaps saying, “We’ve had to decrease our population in the facility in regards to federal inmates just because of the overcrowding issue.”  However, at November 30th Blount County Corrections Partnership (BCCP) meeting, I (Tona Monroe) asked Sheriff James Berrong why some of the federal inmates had been removed.  He refused to tell me saying that was between him and them (the US Marshals Service).

The reason that I asked is because Commissioners Tom Stinnett and Rick Carver have stated publically that the jail consultant that the county hired to do a criminal justice system assessment called Washington DC to have the federal inmates removed from the jail.  Did these two parrot what the Sheriff told them?  It appears to me that the Sheriff was trying to sour them on the jail consultant, possibly to get them to vote no on hearing from the jail consultant on his findings and conclusions about the study that we taxpayers paid him to do.  The consultant Alan Kalmanoff said he did not call Washington DC to have the federal prisoners removed.

The sheriff also said at the November BCCP meeting that the inmates could have been removed because I called Washington DC to have them removed.  I did not.  I did call the US Marshals Service Knoxville office after some of the inmates were removed to inquire why they were removed.

The man I spoke with told me that he couldn’t tell me because their agreement was with the Sheriff.  He told me that the US Marshals Service conducts its own jail inspection and that the inspection was not subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act.

More questions emerge from this situation.  Should such secrecy exist?  Should the sheriff be allowed to contract with the US Marshal’s Service without approval from the commission and mayor?  Should federal inmates be housed if the population exceeds the bed capacity?  Why were some of the federal inmates removed but not all?

If it is just due to the overcrowding issue as Deputy Chief Millsaps said, why didn’t the Sheriff just say so when I asked him?  Why would the US Marshals Service refuse to say that it was overcrowding?  If it is overcrowding, is there a number above bed capacity that triggers removal of federal inmates?

The Sheriff mentioned people calling Washington DC more than once at the Nov. 30th BCCP meeting.  Based on his response to my questions, it’s easy to speculate that someone called Washington DC to have the federal inmates removed.  However, I don’t know too many people who can pick up the phone and easily make things move with the federal government.

It’s not exactly clear exactly how many inmates (prisoners) were removed.  A letter from the Sheriff’s Office to the Tennessee Corrections Institute says that the federal government removed 47 inmates but the US Marshals Service told me that 36 inmates were removed.  One possible explanation given was the way the US Marshals Service accounts for inmates going to court.  The US Marshals Service said that was possible but didn’t deny or confirm that as an explanation for the difference.

headbashwallIs there something more to this story?  I don’t know.  The Sheriff and the US Marshals Service have refused to say and everyone else that I have talked with doesn’t know anymore than I do.  I have tried to find out but I’ve hit a wall of secrecy and the head banging is unproductive.

What would be productive is for the state legislature to limit the risks to the county associated with housing discretionary inmates in an overcrowded facility by prohibiting anyone from having unilateral authority to make this decision.  The state legislature should require that any such contract be approved by the legislative body of the county and should prohibit a facility exceeding capacity from housing discretionary inmates.

For more information read these posts:
December 2015 Commission Report
TCI Board of Control member: Blount County could use a nice 100,000 person jail
November 2015 Commission Report
Jail and Criminal Justice System Info

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

Jail and Criminal Justice System Info

Federal Inmates Agreement between Office of the Federal Detention Trustee and Blount County Sheriff’s Office

Tennessee Corrections Institute Jail Inspection Reports July 2012-June 2015

CTAS 2013 Jail Presentation by Jim Hart

Institute for Law and Policy Planning 2014 Criminal Justice System Assessment

The Summerill Group federal inmate rate renegotiation

2015 Updated Plan of Action

CTAS 2015 Jail Studies Review by Jim Hart

Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control September 12, 2012 minutes see page 3

Tennessee Corrections Institute Board of Control September 2, 2015 minutes see page 7

Warrant statistics supplied by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office

2011 – Entered 7,245…Served 6,994

2012 – Entered 7,400…Served 7,051

2013 – Entered 6,677…Served 6,838

2014 – Entered 6,134…Served 5,237

2015 – Entered 5,603…Served 5,226 as of November 30th

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

Tona Monroe’s comments in support of Criminal Justice System Assessment Report hearing

Thank you Mr. Chairman. The situation before us is not uncharted territory. The jail was overcrowded before and the county was forced to build, leaving us with debt that we are still paying on. We should all be able to see where the current situation is headed.

The overcrowding wisely lead the commission and sheriff to commission a study from a national firm who has studied over 400 counties across this country to provide us with options to address our jail and criminal justice system.

The Sheriff has recently started sending us letters telling us that he expects the jail overcrowding to persist. He has been telling us that tensions are increasing. The Sheriff is actually making the case for why the time for us to act is now.

The next step is to hear from the jail consultant. It will cost us nothing further to hear from the consultant. 13 of us were not on the commission when the final report came out. It would behoove us too listen to the findings.

Let the Sheriff tell us what he is seeing in the jail. Let the consultant tell us what his recommendations are. Let everyone be heard. If we continue to ignore the situation then as the Sheriff said in his October 28th letter, “the repercussions could be detrimental to not only the Sheriff’s Office, but to Blount County also”.

Here are some of the situations we could find the county in if we remain inattentive. We could be closed down by the state or the courts. We could be sued and face allegations of our jail being unconstitutional. We could be sued by inmates because of overcrowding conditions in the jail. We could lose control of the jail to inmate riots from the overcrowding. We have a pill problem and some are warning of heroine being a public safety issue. The consultants recommendations may be helpful to our public safety, budget and very fabric of our wonderful community.

Many Counties in Tennessee are in similar situations and are acting while we are not. National media is publishing the stories. We will be next in the national headlines if we don’t get to work now.

I had to go back to 2006 to find a jail report that didn’t show serious overcrowding. A plan of action was issued in 2012. How much more longer can we afford to wait?

The Comptroller’s website lists Blount County’s FY 2014 debt as the 8th highest county debt in the state. It would be a tragedy for us to add to that financial burden when the county has already been down this costly road before. We should be proactive not reactive.

We as the funding body will have to make the tough financial decisions for the jail. It is not a tough financial decision to have open discussion on what we can do to reduce our inmate population and thereby reduce or eliminate the repercussions that the taxpaying people of Blount County will face if we sit back and let the problem continue.

Therefore, I urge you to join me in voting to move forward and have a hearing on the study that we commissioned two years ago and has been out for a year and a half. Thank you.

November 10, 2015 Agenda Committee meeting

Note: The jail has 350 beds.  The March 15, 2007 jail report showed only minor overcrowding of 2 inmates (see page 147) while the rest of the 2007 showed serious overcrowding.  The December 2006 jail inspection report listed 349 inmates (see page 81), which is 1 below capacity, and the last time these reports showed the inmate population being below the bed capacity.

Troy Ball’s comments on Jail Study Hearing

My comments will address Item G4 which calls for a long awaited and much needed hearing by the full commission on the jail study. There are 4 verses in Proverbs that address the situation before us.

Proverbs 23 verses 1-4:
1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Commissioners, I ask you where else does the Bible tell you that it would be better to put a knife to your throat and commit suicide than to fall for the deceitful ways of government officials? Today we call rulers leaders, politicians, commissioners, mayors and sheriffs. Sometimes we mistakenly call those in government servants but government officials are very much our rulers, dominating our lives, spending our money and telling us nearly every move to make.

The Mayor’s deceit with the jail study is obvious. There is no lawsuit. For those of you who voted no it’s time to realize the deceit and move forward. You have a chance to correct this deceit.

The Sheriff’s deceit with the jail study is obvious. The county does not make money keeping federal inmates and the report says that. The only way to make it appear like the county is profiting off the federal inmates is overcrowding the jail, packing the inmates into the jail like sardines in a can.

For those saying we need to keep the federal inmates for money, heed the words labour not to be rich, cease from thine own wisdom. Jails do not make money. The taxpayers foot the bill regardless of the level of government funding.

The next federal inmate that you sit back and allow to be brought into the jail to add to public treasury could be the one to files the lawsuit that brings the whole matter into the federal court. Then you will find out how wise it is keep federal inmates when a federal judge tells you every move to make. When you get the bill for the new jail pod then you will wish you hadn’t been given to appetite and fallen for the deceitful meat of the Mayor and Sheriff or sought the riches of federal money.

Private citizens in Tennessee can make traffic stops and arrests for traffic violations

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/47/4775.asp

For those who would like to see more DUI enforcement, the Court of Criminal Appeals in Tennessee at Knoxville has affirmed that state law empowers citizens to arrest those driving under the influence of alcohol.  See the opinion here: http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2015/tn-privatecop.pdf

Arresting power of private citizens includes misdemeanors in addition to felonies.  Most of us have had police officers blow past us at high rates of speed that far exceed the posted speed limit without having their lights on.  I once witnessed an officer put his lights on to go though an intersection and then turn his lights off after he got through the intersection.

Minor traffic offenses are usually handled with a citation in lieu of arrest but more serious violations usually result in arrest.  I wonder what would happen if private citizens started exercising this power to arrest officers for all the traffic violations that they commit in public.  An officer once told me that courts frown on it, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.