Posts Tagged ‘Campaign for Liberty’

Ron Paul at the 2007 National Right to Life Co...

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Transcript:

The events in Egypt of late have captured the attention of the world as many thousands of Egyptians take to the streets both in opposition to and favor of the current regime. We watch from a distance hoping that events do not spiral further into violence which will destroy lives and threaten the livelihoods of average Egyptians caught up in the political turmoil. I hope that Egyptians are able to work toward a more free and just society. Unfortunately, much of the blame for the unrest in Egypt and the resulting instability in the region rests with U.S. foreign policy over the past several decades. The U.S. government has sent more than $60 billion to the Egyptian regime since the Camp David accords in 1978 to purchase stability, including more security for the state of Israel.

We see now the folly of our interventionist foreign policy. Not only has that stability fallen to pieces, with the current unrest, but the years of propping up the corrupt regime in Egypt has led the people to increase their resentment of both America and Israel. We are both worse off for the decades of the intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs. I wish I could say that we have learned our lesson and will no longer attempt to purchase or rent friends in the Middle East, but I am afraid that is being too optimistic. Already we see evidence that while the U.S. historically propped up the Egyptian regime, we also provided assistance to groups opposed to the regime. So we have lost the credibility to claim today that we support the self-determination of the Egyptian people. Our double dealing has not endeared us to the Egyptians who now seek to reclaim their independence and national dignity.

Diplomacy via foreign aid transfer payments only makes us less safe at home and less trusted overseas, but the overriding reality is that we simply cannot afford to continue a policy of buying friends. We face an ongoing and potentially deepening recession at home, so how can we justify to the underemployed and unemployed in the United States the incredible cost of maintaining a global empire? Moral arguments aside, we must stop sending hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign governments when our own economy is in shambles.

American media and talking heads repeatedly pose the same loaded questions. Should the administration encourage the Egyptian president to remain or to resign? Should the U.S. ensure Mohamed ElBaradei or current Vice President Omar Suleiman succeed current president Mubarak? The best answer to these questions is that we should just do nothing, as Eisenhower did in 1956. We should leave Egypt for Egyptians to figure out.

Some may claim that this is isolationism. Nothing could be further from the truth. We should enthusiastically engage in trade, allow travel between countries, but we should stay out of their internal affairs. We are in fact more isolated from Egypt now than ever because the regime we propped up appears to be falling. We have isolated ourselves from the Egyptian people by propping up their government as we isolate ourselves from the Tunisians, Israelis, and other recipients of foreign aid. Their resentment of our interventionist foreign policy makes us less safe because we lose our authority to conduct meaningful diplomacy when unpopular regimes fall overseas. We also radicalize those who resented our support for past regimes.

Let us hope for a more prosperous and peaceful era for the Egyptians and let us learn the lessons of our 30 year Egyptian mistake.

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Campaign for Liberty
On Real Respect for the Constitution
By Ron Paul

I am pleased that the Constitution has received a lot of attention in recent weeks, thanks to the tea party movement. The 112th Congress kicked off with a reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House. It goes without saying that Members of Congress should have read the Constitution many times, and should continue to study it.

Citing the particular clause of the Constitution that authorizes newly introduced legislation is a reasonable suggestion, yet in reality it will do little to restrain unconstitutional growth of the federal government. We have had such rules in the past and no benefit came of it.

The laws that are passed reflect the preferences and personal agendas of those in charge. For too long those agendas have expanded government at the expense of personal liberty, regardless of which political party was in charge. This expansion of government clearly violated the Constitution, yet it was always argued that this or that program somehow conformed to that “living” document.

By misinterpreting the general welfare clause, the interstate commerce clause, and the “necessary and proper” clause, Congress has justified every conceivable expansion of the federal government. Congress also has misinterpreted the 14th Amendment and legislated as though it had repealed the 10th Amendment. Sadly, Congress has also systematically abdicated its prerogatives and responsibilities to the executive branch over many decades.

Too many people, in and out of Congress, grew up being taught that the Constitution was a “modern living document.” Though the authors allowed for flexibility through the amendment process, this process has been ignored for the sake of speed and convenience. As a result, the Constitution now has little actual meaning.

Our Constitution should be viewed as law, and Members of Congress should be expected to follow, respect, understand, and uphold the law. But a document is just a piece of paper if those who represent us and promise to obey it ignore it instead. Celebrating the Constitution without this understanding will do nothing to restore the greatness of America.

Simply praising the document distracts from the need for Members to resist special interests, political self-interests, emergency needs in times of crisis, fear-based economic myths, and the persistent temptation to seek security over liberty while ignoring personal responsibility and self-reliance.

I wonder: will this welcomed renewed interest in the Constitution lead to a healthy reassessment of all of our policies? Will there be no more wars without an actual congressional declaration? Will the Federal Reserve Act be repealed? Will only gold and silver be deemed legal tender?

Will we end all unconstitutional federal departments, including the Department of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor?
Will the Patriot Act be repealed and all warrantless searches stopped?

Will the TSA be abolished?
Will the IRS’s unconstitutional collection powers end?
Will executive and judicial quasi-legislative powers end?
Will we end the federal war on drugs?
Will we end the federal government’s involvement in medical care?
Will we end all of the federal government’s illusionary insurance programs?
Will we ban secret prisons, trials without due process, and assassinations?
Will we end our foreign policy of invasion and occupation?

For America to once again become the standard for a free society, our love of liberty and desire for peace must far surpass any public display of fidelity to the Constitution. We must first look to strong moral character, respect for the rule of law, and an understanding of the proper role of government in a free society.

As of November 7th, the total U.S. public debt outstanding reached an astonishing $13.7 trillion. This means that although Congress just raised the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion back in February, the new Congress will face another debt ceiling vote almost immediately next year. Otherwise, the Treasury will not be able to continue issuing debt to fund government operations.

The upcoming vote will provide an interesting litmus test for the new Republican congressional majority, especially those new members closely identified with Tea Party voters. The debt ceiling law, passed in 1917, enables Congress to place a statutory cap on the total amount of government debt rather than having to approve each individual Treasury bond offering. It also, however, forces Congress into an open and presumably somewhat shameful vote to approve more borrowing.

If the new Congress gives in to establishment pressure and media alarmism about “shutting down the government” by voting to increase the debt ceiling once again, you will know that the status quo has prevailed. You will know that Congress, despite the rhetoric of the midterm elections, is doing business as usual. You will know that the simple notion of balancing the budget, by limiting federal spending to federal revenue, remains a shallow and laughable campaign platitude.

Of course congressional leaders– now Republicans– will tell America that they plan on balancing the budget soon, but they just need some time. After all, we have to keep the government open, right? We can’t have an “mergency” shutdown of vital government services. But somehow Congress always finds money for emergency spending, in the form of supplemental appropriations bills for TARP bailouts, troop surges, and the like. Why is there never an emergency that justifies less spending???

Surely we are facing an emergency debt spiral, as evidenced by the Federal Reserve’s recent commitment to buy another round of Treasury debt. It’s now quite obvious that the U.S. government plans to inflate its way out of debt, and the world is fleeing our dollar in response. Just 7 years ago Congress raised the debt ceiling to $6.4 trillion, which means the federal government had doubled its indebtedness in less than a decade. Annual deficits for 2011 and beyond are projected to be at least $1 trillion. By contrast, the entire federal debt amassed from the founding of our nation until President Reagan took office in 1981– a period of roughly 200 years– was $1 trillion. So it’s no exaggeration to state that federal debt is growing exponentially.

I have two simple proposals when the new Congress convenes in January. First, refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Find a way, month by month, for Congress to spend only what the Treasury raises in revenue. Second, start over from scratch with the 13 appropriations bills that fund the federal government. Reject any talk of baseline budgets or discretionary spending. It is all discretionary, and members of both parties should vote against any 2012 appropriation bill that is not at least 10% smaller– in nominal dollars– than its 2011 counterpart.

A motivated Congress could begin to slow the tide of debt by taking the simple step of cutting federal spending by 10% across the board for the next few years. Let’s hope it does not take the complete collapse of the U.S. dollar to provide this motivation.

Zero Based Terrorism
By Philip Giraldi

There is every indication that the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives will support an open ended policy to “win” in Afghanistan, whatever that means, giving President Barack Obama a free pass to pursue any option he chooses, even if it entails an endless series of escalations. The Republicans would also support extending the war on terror to include the most recent bête noir Yemen and the perennial favorite Somalia. The only fly in the ointment is the presence of a substantial bloc of Tea Party Republicans in the new majority, a group that might be inclined to reflexively support American imperialism in all its glory but will almost certainly be opposed to paying for it through higher taxes and an expansion of the military to actually do the fighting.

Before actually voting on any continuing resolution or new budget, it would behoove the Tea Partiers to do some loss versus gain budget analysis on the nine years of war on terror. The Obama Administration has recently revealed that it is budgeting $80 billion for intelligence programs for 2011. That figure is almost certainly too low, probably by at least 25%, as many programs are hidden in other budgets or secretly funded because of their sensitivity. And it is reasonable to assume that the intelligence budget has been at that elevated level since 9/11, meaning that something close to a trillion dollars has been spent. If one also includes part of the defense budget, which has doubled since 2001 based on the terrorist threat, the numbers are staggering, with Washington spending a minimum of two to three trillion dollars countering the terrorist menace, creating a massive governmental and private sector infrastructure ostensibly dedicated to keeping Americans safe.

And now, in the wake of a series of letter bombs which did not explode and did no damage, the call is for increased security, almost certainly costing many more billions of dollars which will enrich former senior officials like Michael Chertoff. Chertoff, who headed the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, now is a partner in a company that sells security equipment for airports. He has been on television frequently since the first letter bomb was discovered, recommending better and more intrusive security without revealing in any way his own ties to the industry that provides the necessary equipment. He is not alone. Security has become a vast and lucrative enterprise for those in position to cash in. If America’s visible empire is its string of hundreds of bases and deployments worldwide, the hidden empire is the military industrial complex with tentacles into nearly every congressional district that supports the endeavor.

To read more.

Reject the Welfare/Warfare State
By Ron Paul

Last week’s midterm elections have been characterized as a victory for grassroots Americans who are fed up with Washington and the political status quo. In particular, the elections are being touted as a clear indicator that voters demand reductions in federal spending, deficits, and debt.

If the new Congress hopes to live up to the expectations of Tea Party voters, however, it faces some daunting choices. For all the talk about pork and waste, the truth is that Congress cannot fix the budget and get our national debt under control by trimming fat and eliminating earmarks for “Bridges to Nowhere.”

Real reductions in federal spending can be achieved only by getting to the meat of the federal budget, meaning expenditures in all areas. The annual budget soon will be $5 trillion unless Congress takes serious steps to reduce spending for entitlements, military, and debt service. Yet how many Tea Party candidates who campaigned on a platform of spending cuts talked about Social Security, Medicare, foreign wars, or bond debt?

With regard to entitlements, the 2010 Social Security and Medicare Trustees report tells it all. It paints a stark picture of two entitlement programs that cannot be sustained under even the rosiest scenarios of economic growth. No one, regardless of political stripe, can deny the fundamental problem of unfunded future liabilities in both programs.

To read more.

The message of liberty is more influencing, more energizing, more fundamentally sound than any other message that the President or any other politician and their bags of cheap political parlor tricks can offer. 

The form of saving matters

Although Austrian economists agree on most of the “big picture” issues, even so there are some internal controversies. One of the most heated debates within the Austrian camp centers on the economic benefits (or lack thereof) of the practice of fractional-reserve banking. Just about every Austrian today thinks that our current financial system — cartelized and propped up by the government — is prone to excessive inflation and the boom-bust cycle.

Even so, many prominent Austrian banking experts believe that in a truly free market, private institutions could usefully engage in limited fractional-reserve banking (see, e.g., Steve Horwitz’s book). On the other hand, Murray Rothbard and his followers thought that fractional-reserve banking per se was illegitimate and economically harmful.

What They Do in Our Name

Thanks to Wikileaks and heroic leakers inside the military, we now know the U.S. government has killed many more innocent Afghan civilians than we were aware of heretofore. We also know that American military and intelligence personnel roam Afghanistan assassinating suspected bad guys. Sometimes they kill people they later acknowledge weren’t bad guys at all. “Bad guys,” like “Taliban,” is implicitly defined as anyone who resists the U.S. occupation force and the corrupt puppet government it keeps in power.

What other atrocities are our misleaders and misrepresentatives committing in our name?

The Cycle of Violence in Afghanistan

Last week the National Bureau of Economic Research published a report on the effect of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq that confirmed what critics of our foreign policy have been saying for years: the killing of civilians, although unintentional, angers other civilians and prompts them to seek revenge. This should be self-evident.

The Central Intelligence Agency has long acknowledged and analyzed the concept of blowback in our foreign policy. It still amazes me that so many think that attacks against our soldiers occupying hostile foreign lands are motivated by hatred toward our system of government at home or by the religion of the attackers. In fact, most of the anger towards us is rooted in reactions towards seeing their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other loved ones being killed by a foreign army. No matter our intentions, the violence of our militarism in foreign lands causes those residents to seek revenge if innocents are killed. One does not have to be Muslim to react this way, just human.

The Grinch Who Stole Conservatism

The GOP is frantically searching for the person who will lead them to the Promised Land (translate: White House) in 2012. Barack Obama is leaving a death stench so heavy that even most of the political allies in his own party are asking him to stay away from their reelection campaigns. You gotta give it to Obama: he has done in one term what most Presidents cannot accomplish until their second (lame duck) term. The problem is, the GOP just can’t seem to find their Moses (or even their Ronald Reagan). That means, as far fetched as it sounds now, Obama has a good chance of being reelected. And, once again, when any Democrat candidate for President wins, the GOP will have no one to blame but themselves. 2012 could be another example.

You see, the GOP (including their lackeys at Fox News) either really don’t know what a constitutional conservative looks like, or they do know what he or she looks like and don’t want them leading the party. I believe the answer is the latter, but in either case, the GOP continually does nothing to groom constitutionalist conservatives for leadership. Just the opposite: such people are routinely ignored, shunned, besmirched, or impugned. (Can anyone say, “Ron Paul”?) Is it any wonder that by the time the general election comes around, the GOP candidate for President is usually nothing more than a Democrat-lite, or a “Democrat in Drag” to borrow from Steve Farrell.