|Peace and Prosperity|
|Vince Vaughn Discusses Libertarianism and Ron Paul|
|Wed, 21 Aug 2019 04:01:42 GMT|
When Vince Vaughn is not acting in or producing a movie, there is a good chance he is reading about, or otherwise giving some thought to, political ideas. Interviewed recently by host Tom Woods at the Tom Woods Show, Vaughn described his political views as tending toward constitutionalism and libertarianism and recounted that he learned about and ultimately met libertarian communicator and former United States House of Representatives member and presidential candidate Ron Paul due to looking into the Federal Reserve. Abolishing the Federal Reserve has long been a major part of Paul’s agenda.
Paul, says Vaughn in the interview, “is really the only candidate I think I’ve ever endorsed, probably because I was most really in agreeance with him on stuff.” Vaughn, though, indicates in the interview that he is not interested in following Paul’s course of running for political office. Vaughn says that he has “always been very interested in history and politics” but never wanted “to throw my hat in the ring.”
Listen to the complete interview, in which Vaughn also talks about his film career, here.
|Red Flag Laws Are Far from Harmless|
|Mon, 19 Aug 2019 20:23:04 GMT|
When President Donald Trump presented on August 5 a collection of proposals for government actions to counter mass shootings, advancing red flag laws was part of the package. Briefly describing such laws that operate in several states, Trump said, “we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.” That description — taking guns only from people who “pose a grave risk to public safety” and only after a judgment has been made in accordance with due process — would make red flag laws sound to many people like a rather harmless means to protect the public from extreme harm. However, the truth is very different.
Donald Kilmer, a lawyer who has worked on cases where people were targeted with California red flag laws, described in a Saturday Washington Examiner editorial the terrible ordeal that an individual subjected to red flag laws, and people who live with that individual, can be forced to undergo. The ordeal starts with a judge deciding to order that an individual immediately cannot legally possess any guns, based entirely on arguments presented by those seeking to deprive the individual of his guns. This imposes immediate risks and costs on the individual, as well as people who live with him. They can be subject to punishment and must quickly arrange the moving of their guns elsewhere. Next up, the individual can argue in a hearing and, if unsuccessful at the hearing, in an appeal that his ability to legally possess guns should be restored. This, explains Kilmer can cost tens of thousands of dollars. All the while, the individual is denied his ability to legally possess guns.
And the prospects of success at a hearing may not be so great. Writes Kilmer:
To win these hearings, you have to refute an allegation that you pose a danger to yourself or others where a judge already issued a temporary ex parte order that concluded you were already a danger. Many judges will likely err on the side of caution, and against your rights.To boot, suggests Kilmer, California’s red flag laws would not have prevented any recent mass shootings.
Read Kilmer’s editorial here.
|Neocons See Hong Kong as China’s ‘Soft Underbelly’ – Daniel McAdams|
|Tue, 13 Aug 2019 21:12:30 GMT|
|Are suggestions that the US government is involved with the Hong Kong protest just more Beijing paranoia? RPI's Daniel McAdams points out that US support for the Hong Kong separatists goes back years and US government officials' ties to the protest leaders are widely and openly established. How far is China willing to go to shut down the US-backed regime change operation? RPI's Daniel McAdams speaks to RT America about it:|
|ISIS Comeback in Syria and Iraq? McAdams on RT America|
|Thu, 08 Aug 2019 13:15:29 GMT|
|Is ISIS really making a "comeback" in Syria and Iraq? RPI's Daniel McAdams talks to RT America about a new Pentagon Inspector General report finding that ISIS is transitioning from a territory-holding entity to an insurgency. US news media is seizing upon the report to argue that the US cannot continue its withdrawal from Syria, but do they really want the US to forever illegally occupy Syrian territory?|
|President Trump’s Response to Shootings Includes an Internet Crackdown|
|Mon, 05 Aug 2019 22:46:38 GMT|
After any mass shooting, you can expect many politicians to jump in front of reporters and voters to herald support for cracking down on the ability of people to obtain, keep, and carry guns. President Donald Trump fits that mold, expressing his continuing support for imposing red flag laws to deprive people of their guns in his Monday statement in response to killings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. He further trumpeted in the statement gun restriction actions he has taken as president, including directing the Department of Justice to ban bump stocks and approving legislation strengthening gun purchase background checks. Trump also noted the United States government last year prosecuted a record number of firearms offenses.
But, Trump’s policy response in his statement went far beyond praising his past and ongoing gun control efforts. He also presented a list of other objectives including quick capital punishment for people found guilty of hate crimes and mass murder and more involuntary confinement of mentally disturbed people. He proposed cracking down on the internet as well.
Regarding the internet, Trump stated:
We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet, and stop mass murders before they start. The Internet, likewise, is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other heinous crimes. The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.This comment from Trump is not surprising, coming a couple weeks after United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promoted a crackdown on cryptocurrencies because they, like the internet, can be used to help accomplish bad, or at least government disapproved, purposes. Make no mistake: When Trump says he wants to “shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet” he is calling for more surveillance of, restrictions on, and punishments for people’s internet activities.
|Is This The End Of The Fed? Surviving The Coming Crisis - With Guest Jeff Harris|
|Thu, 01 Aug 2019 16:26:40 GMT|
|Yesterday's Fed rate cut was much too little for President Trump, but moving toward zero or negative rates only hastens the coming economic collapse. Long-time financial management expert Jeff Harris joins today's Report to discuss what the collapse might look like and what people might do to protect themselves. Watch today's Liberty Report:|
|More Afghan Civilians Killed By US Than By Taliban! Will Trump Withdraw?|
|Wed, 31 Jul 2019 16:46:50 GMT|
|According to a new report, the US and its allies have killed more Afghan civilians in 2019 than the Taliban. Most of these US killings are the result of airstrikes. The Trump Administration is pushing negotiations between the US-backed Afghan government and the Taliban, no doubt recognizing that a US withdrawal has become an election issue... Watch today's Liberty Report:|
|Want to Travel? First Answer Some Questions from a Virtual Policeman|
|Mon, 29 Jul 2019 22:02:31 GMT|
Yes, the harassment travelers in American airports are forced to undergo for security, or, as some people call it, “security theater,” can become worse. Travelers already arrive early to stand in long lines before having their carry-on baggage inspected and their bodies scanned by machines of questionable safety. In some cases, travelers are frisked. All this despite there being no reason to suspect the particular travelers have committed or will commit a crime. “It’s all for your safety,” a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee may say if asked why the mass harassment occurs day in and day out.
Yet, there can always be more harassment added to the mix. Don’t be surprised if travelers in America one day are required to answer questions presented by a computer avatar before they can take a flight, or maybe a bus or train ride. Suppose the connected computer program determines some of your answers are not truthful, then no travel for you or, at least, no travel without you being subjected to additional scrutiny. That is the nature of a program now being tested in Europe.
Ryan Gallagher and Ludovica Jona write about the pilot program, and its highly questionable results, in a Friday The Intercept article. Their article begins with the following:
They call it the Silent Talker. It is a virtual policeman designed to strengthen Europe’s borders, subjecting travelers to a lie detector test before they are allowed to pass through customs.Continue reading Gallagher and Jona’s article here.
You may think the United States government would not be interested in using this type of technology-assisted harassment on travelers. But, in fact, it is right up the US government’s alley. Consider James Bovard’s 2018 article regarding TSA’s deployment of the Quiet Skies program that employed human surveillance to develop, based on “the flimsiest of pretexts,” assessments of danger posed by travelers.
|Ron Paul Discusses President Trump’s Mixed Messages Regarding Iran|
|Sun, 21 Jul 2019 20:33:37 GMT|
|In a new interview at RT, Ron Paul, who seeks to advance a noninterventionist foreign policy through his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, discussed the conflicting actions President Donald Trump is taking regarding Iran. On one side, Trump is engaging in conflict escalation and threats. On the other side, Trump is indicating support for conciliation, including by suggesting that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) — Ron Paul’s son and an advocate for improving United States relations with Iran — could help reduce tension with Iran by talking with the nation’s foreign minister.|
Paul also discusses in the interview several other foreign policy matters, including the US government’s effort to overthrow the Venezuela government, the ending of the US dollar’s status as the world reserve currency, and Paul’s support for ending US involvement in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Watch Ron Paul’s interview here:
Get your tickets to the Ron Paul Institute's Washington Annual Conference on August 24th. Tickets and info here.
|Lew Rockwell Q and A: Optimism, Murray Rothbard, and the Mises Institute|
|Sun, 21 Jul 2019 19:22:08 GMT|
Before a packed house at the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s Mises University on Thursday, Mises Institute founder Lew Rockwell addressed an array of topics. On stage, Mark Thornton presented Rockwell with questions provided by attendees. Among the matters discussed during the Q and A, Rockwell explains why he believes there is reason for optimism in both the long term and the short term, discusses his time with the late influential libertarian writer Murray Rothbard who Rockwell says he still misses every day, and recounts some of the story of the early years of the Mises Institute.
Listen to Rockwell’s Q and A here.
Rockwell is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Come see Lew Rockwell speak at the Ron Paul Institute's August 24th conference in Washington DC! Info and tickets here.
|President Trump Could Use Some Education Regarding Blowback for US Foreign Intervention|
|Fri, 19 Jul 2019 13:40:56 GMT|
Back in a 2007 Republican presidential primary debate, then-presidential candidate Ron Paul sought to educate fellow presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and the American people about the concept of blowback. Paul did so after Giuliani claimed during the debate to be shocked to hear Paul’s “absurd” argument that people would attack Americans, such as in the attacks of September 11, 2001, in reaction to the US government’s interventions abroad. As Paul noted in reply, blowback is understood and taught by the Central Intelligence Agency and has occurred through American history, including with the 1979 taking hostage of Americans in Iran.
In a speech Wednesday in Greenville, North Carolina, President Donald Trump showed that, like Giuliani, he could use some education in regard to blowback. Among a series of criticisms of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that Trump stated in the speech was that “Representative Omar blamed the United States for the terrorist attacks on our country, saying that terrorism is a reaction to our involvement in other people’s affairs.”
Maybe Trump could hit the books regarding the subject of blowback. After Paul’s debate dustup with Giuliani, Paul, in a press conference, discussed blowback further and offered a reading list that could help enlighten Giuliani regarding blowback and foreign policy. It could be helpful for Trump as well.
|Libra: Advancing the Cryptocurrencies Crackdown and the War on Cash|
|Tue, 16 Jul 2019 19:39:49 GMT|
United States Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a Monday press conference, attacked cryptocurrencies, including Facebook’s planned Libra. Mnuchin charged that Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers” and are a “national security issue.” Further stated Mnuchin: “Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs and human trafficking.”
Mnuchin, however, likely has no real reason for such concerns about Libra. It looks like backers of Libra are prepared to help the US government crack down on cryptocurrencies and financial privacy.
The argument Mnuchin presented Monday is the same argument routinely used in the US government’s war on cash. The ability of cash to be transferred privately is argued to be a great danger because the private transfers can advance nefarious purposes. To prevent this, cash transactions must be spied on, very much curtailed, or event banned; it’s a matter of public safety. So goes the argument for eliminating privacy from everyone’s financial transactions.
Mnuchin’s comments followed similar expressions of concern related to Libra and cryptocurrencies generally last week by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome H. Powell in congressional testimony and President Donald Trump at Twitter.
But don’t be fooled into thinking Facebook is introducing Libra as a means to protect privacy from government’s prying eyes. Instead, the written testimony of David Marcus, the head of Facebook subsidiary Calibra, for a Tuesday hearing of the United States Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee indicates that Marcus wants the roll-out of Libra to be an intensely cooperative venture with the US government. Thus, it looks like the introduction of Libra is shaping up to be the means by which a major crackdown on all cryptocurrencies can commence. Marcus declares:
Chairman Powell has made clear that the process for reviewing Libra needs to be patient and thorough, rather than a sprint to implementation. We strongly agree. That was the spirit with which we published the white paper introducing the Libra project. The time between now and launch is designed to be an open process and subject to regulatory oversight and review. In fact, I expect that this will be the broadest, most extensive, and most careful pre-launch oversight by regulators and central banks in FinTech’s history. We know we need to take the time to get this right. And I want to be clear: Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.Of course, the expansive regulations worked out for Libra should be expected to be applied to other cryptocurrencies as well. It’s only fair, right?
Singing from the same songbook as Mnuchin about preventing dangers that can arise from the use of cryptocurrencies and even explicitly marketing Libra as a participant in the war on cash, Marcus further states:
The Libra Association is similarly committed to supporting efforts by regulators, central banks, and lawmakers to ensure that Libra contributes to the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and more. A network that helps move more paper cash transactions—where many illicit activities happen—to a digital network that features regulated on- and off-ramps with proper know-your-customer (KYC) practices, combined with the ability for law enforcement and regulators to conduct their own analysis of on-chain activity, will present an opportunity to increase the efficacy of financial crimes monitoring and enforcement. The Libra Association will continue to engage proactively and openly with all relevant stakeholders on these key issues. Libra should improve detection and enforcement, not set them back.So much for cryptocurrencies providing privacy from government’s prying eyes. The people behind Libra appear happy to work with the government to ensure there is no such benefit for people using Libra or, ultimately, any cryptocurrency.
|McAdams: Turkey’s Erdogan Chooses Russia Over US|
|Mon, 15 Jul 2019 22:40:56 GMT|
|RPI Director Daniel McAdams appeared on RT America's News, Views, Hughes program today to discuss the big story that NATO partner Turkey has thumbed its nose at US criticism and decided to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defense system. The US will be bound to apply economic sanctions to Turkey for the move under a 2017 law punishing any country doing business with Russia's military sector due to Russian activity in Ukraine and claims that Russia interfered in US elections. Also Turkey will be forbidden from purchasing the F-35 stealth fighter that it had been a partner producing. As McAdams points out, this is really a momentous shift if the US follows through and chases Turkey out of the NATO orbit. Watch the interview here:|
|Ron Paul Discusses the Huge Influence for Militarism in Washington, DC|
|Sun, 14 Jul 2019 19:10:55 GMT|
Starting off a new interview with Ron Paul at the Wall Street for Main Street show, host Jason Burack asked Paul, who served in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from Texas and ran three times for US president promoting a noninterventionist foreign policy, about the extent of influence in favor of militarism in Washington, DC.
Burack queries: “How much influence does the Pentagon and the military-industrial-and-information complex have over Congress, both political parties, whoever is US president, and the bureaucracy here in the DC metro area?” In response, Paul comments:
Well, it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest. And there’s a good reason for that. It’s because they have the biggest budget for one individual group of people.Paul continues that the support for the military-industrial complex is “very bipartisan” even though Democrats have some reputation for being less supportive of starting wars. As an example, Paul mentions Bernie Sanders, the independent US Senator from Vermont who is seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Paul comments, “if some weaponry is being built in Vermont, he was able to support this.”
For some more information related to Paul’s comment concerning Sanders, check out Daniel Bukszpan’s July of 2016 CNBC article that examines Sanders’ support for the F-35 aircraft.
Listen to Paul’s complete interview here.
|The Worst 'Fact Check' Ever|
|Thu, 11 Jul 2019 20:11:43 GMT|
Voice of America has responded! And it may well be the worst “fact-check” and rebuttal in the history of fact-checks and rebuttals. As Ron Paul Institute executive director Daniel McAdams put it, “Unbelievable! They confirmed everything you said as true and then pronounced you wrong!”
This revolves around an interview I did on RT where I talked about how the U.S. weaponizes the dollar and uses the global SWIFT payment system as a foreign policy billy club. The Voice of America “fact-checking” website Polygraph.info contacted me for comment. Since it was clear they intended to discredit my narrative, we decided not to respond to their email but instead write a full-blown rebuttal of the narrative that I knew they would advance.
This worked out even better than I anticipated. Polygraph.info actually responded to my pre-rebuttal. And in their response, they basically conceded my main point – that the U.S. government can and does use SWIFT as a foreign policy tool. Of course, they tried to downplay the significance, but their concession is telling.
While the U.S. has the ability to pressure SWIFT thanks to its position in the global economy, it could be limited by potential costs that would be felt by U.S. businesses and those of U.S. allies. An Atlantic Council opinion piece warns the U.S. Congress to ‘be wary of taking unilateral steps to target SWIFT in future legislation,’ adding the practice risks hampering the flow of financial data, “slowing global trade and transactions.” Moreover, the U.S. does not directly control SWIFT. [Emphasis added]McAdams is right. This essentially confirms what I said — No. The U.S. does not control SWIFT, but it can exert significant pressure on it.
So, despite what VoA and the Treasury Department claim, the U.S. government clearly pressures SWIFT to serve as a foreign policy tool. It may be technically accurate to say the U.S. government does not ‘control’ SWIFT. But the U.S. clearly applies political pressure on the institution and that pressure yields results. [Emphasis added]The Atlantic Council piece Polygraph.info links to confirms what I wrote. The very fact that somebody felt the need to warn Congress about the consequences of abusing its influence over SWIFT indicates that my position is absolutely correct.
Polygraph.info chose to ignore most of the points that I made in my pre-rebuttal article, writing that they were “beyond the scope of this fact check.”
This is an odd statement considering my article addressed the substance of what they were supposedly fact-checking. So basically, the very thing they were fact-checking was beyond the scope of the fact check.
As Ron Paul once said, “Truth is treason in an empire of lies.” The fact that a propaganda arm of the U.S. government wants to whitewash the truth about America’s economic warfare is telling. Its inability to effectively do it is even more so.
Reprinted with permission from Tenth Amendment Center.
|Marianne Williamson Tries to Help Mike Gravel Give Peace a Chance in the Presidential Debates|
|Tue, 09 Jul 2019 17:09:39 GMT|
|On Sunday, author Marianne Williamson did something very unusual for a political candidate. She sent out an email to raise funds for one of her Democratic presidential primary opponents — former United States Senator Mike Gravel. The stated purpose of her email was to help increase the number of contributors to Gravel’s campaign by 10,000 so he can meet the contributors threshold for participation in future Democratic primary presidential debates.|
After meeting a contributors threshold, along with attaining sufficient support measured in polling, Williamson was included in the first Democratic presidential primary debate in June. Gravel, though, did not qualify to participate.
Williamson’s participation in the debate helped spur interest in her and her campaign. Indeed, Google Trends announced that Williamson was the most searched candidate on the internet during her June presidential debate, even while she was among the candidates with the least amount of speaking time.
From his time in the US Senate when Gravel opposed the Vietnam War through his decades later singing “Give Peace a Chance,” Gravel has provided a voice against empire and militarism.
Back in the 2008 presidential campaign, Gravel largely dedicated his time on the debate stage to relentlessly condemning US military intervention overseas and the military-industrial complex. You can watch here his comments in the first Democratic primary presidential debate of that campaign:
|To Reduce Fear of Police, Eliminate Laws Empowering Police to Abuse People|
|Fri, 05 Jul 2019 23:56:24 GMT|
|In a Friday editorial at the American Conservative, James Bovard examines a multitude of reasons why Americans rationally fear having an interaction with a cop. At the root, explains, Bovard, there are too many laws providing reasons for police to exercise force and too few restraints on when and how that force may be exercised.|
Bovard writes his editorial as a response to South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s comment in a June Democratic presidential primary debate that Buttigieg is “determined to bring about a day when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle, when they see a police officer approaching, feels the exact same thing — a feeling not of fear but of safety.”
After examining the wide scope of police authority under the law, Bovard concludes that what is needed to pursue the goal Buttigieg espouses is a policy change much more radical than any of the Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage are likely to endorse. Bovard writes: “The best way to encourage citizens to have ‘a feeling not of fear but of safety’ is to repeal legions of laws empowering police to unjustifiably accost and wrongfully subjugate peaceful citizens.”
Read Bovard’s editorial here.
Speaking of fear of US government agents, then-House of Representatives Member Ron Paul (R-TX) similarly started of a 1997 House floor speech with this observation:
Mr. Speaker, earlier this year another member severely criticized me on the House floor for declaring on C-SPAN that, indeed, many Americans justifiably fear their own government. This fear has come from the police-state mentality that prompted Ruby Ridge, Waco, and many other episodes of an errant federal government.Returning to this observation later in his speech, Paul comments:
Force and intimidation are the tools of tyrants. Intimidation with government guns and the threat of imprisonment and the fear of harassment by government agents put fear into the hearts of millions of Americans.With constitutional limits on the US government’s power disregarded, Paul laments, “we have witnessed the massive build-up of a virtual army of armed regulators prowling the states where they have no legal authority.”
Like Bovard, Paul suggests a policy change in response that few American politicians would support. Paul declares: “Yes, we need gun control; we need to disarm our bureaucrats, then abolish the agencies.”
Watch Paul’s complete speech here:
|'The Collapse of Marijuana Prohibition and the Future Drug Policy Reform'|
|Fri, 05 Jul 2019 18:12:04 GMT|
|Reason Foundation's Jacob Sullum speaks at the Ron Paul Institute's recent conference on the drug war. The prohibition house of cards is about to fall. Don't miss RPI's next conference in August in Washington DC. Info and tickets here.|
|On Independence Day, Consider the Failure to Keep the States ‘Free and Independent’|
|Wed, 03 Jul 2019 21:20:43 GMT|
The Declaration of Independence, celebrated each July Fourth, does not speak of creating a powerful new government. Instead, it challenges the excessive power exercised in various ways by the British government in the American colonies. Over the many decades since the document’s publication, the increased rejection of the recognition that the colonies and then the American states are free and independent is tied to the growing of the United States government’s power and the decreasing respect for liberty in America.
Libertarian communicator Ron Paul wrote about this development in his book Swords into Plowshares. The independence expressed in the Declaration of Independence, notes Paul, was not for a nation called the United States. Instead it was for each of the several colonies — the independent states. America has come very far from this founding principle. On Independence Day, it would be good for many Americans to contemplate Paul’s comments in the following paragraph from Swords into Plowshares:
The Founders made an attempt to prevent the catastrophe we’re facing. Their sincere effort to protect liberty with a republican form of government has failed. The very clear conclusion expressed in the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states that the “United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States” that come together only in a very limited fashion.
|Bolton’s absence helped Trump in Korea – Daniel McAdams|
|Mon, 01 Jul 2019 21:52:03 GMT|
|President Trump's shipping John Bolton off to Outer Mongolia while he paid a surprise visit to Kim Jong-Un and took historic steps into North Korean territory was a very smart move and a good way to re-start stalled bi-lateral and trilateral talks. Bureaucrats and Beltwayites were furious that they were made irrelevant by the president's personal diplomacy and the Democratic presidential candidates were only interested in making political points. RPI's Daniel McAdams is interviewed on RT America on the real meaning of the meeting:|