Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rep. Paul to Fed: Tell Us Everything, or Else

Fox Business
By Peter Barnes
May 31st 2011

The chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve demanded Tuesday that the Fed fully disclose details of billions -- perhaps trillions -- in secret emergency loans it made to almost every major bank in the U.S. and overseas during the financial crisis or face a congressional subpoena for the information.

In an interview with Fox Business, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on domestic monetary policy, said he wants to know “how much, when, where and why” from Fed officials when they testify about the loans at a subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of what the Fed did during the big bailout a couple of years ago,” Paul said. “We have some precise questions. I imagine we won’t get all of them answered tomorrow because they’ll do a little bit of stonewalling, I’m sure.”

“If they don’t answer, they’ll hear from us,” he said. “We can use the subpoena power and say, ‘Look, you have to bring us the records.’ ”

The big loans started in 2007 and were disclosed in April under Freedom of Information Act requests by FOX Business and Bloomberg News after a two-year legal battle with the Fed and banks by the news organizations.

The loans came through the Fed's nearly 100-year-old confidential emergency lending program called the "discount window," in which the central bank provides funds to banks as the financial system's "lender of last resort" when firms can't borrow from each other or elsewhere.

More than 25,000 pages of previously-secret Fed discount window reports indicated most of the loans went to help many large U.S. banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), as well as many regional and community banks. They were short-term loans of one to 90 days.

But the day such loans peaked in October 2008 at $111 billion, records show about half the total went to two big European banks -- Belgium's Dexia and Ireland's Depfa -- as one-day overnight loans. Many more familiar foreign banks, from Barclays in Great Britain to Deutsche Bank (DB) in Germany, borrowed as well.

“The most astounding thing we see in these documents is so much of it went to foreign banks—the whole system was bailing out foreign banks,” Paul said. “It’s a bit shocking on how big a deal this is and how much money was involved…The shenanigans are very international.”

Paul, a longtime Fed critic and a 2012 Republican presidential candidate, said he would wait until he knows more about the loans before he considers proposing any new legislation to expand audits of Fed operations or to force greater Fed disclosure about such lending--or even future limits on it.   

“It’s ripe for reform, but I think transparency is the first step,” he said. “The (Fed’s responses to) written questions are going to be very important, the follow up’s going to be very important, so this is really just the beginning.”

Fed loans to foreign bank loans through the discount window are legal under U.S. law because the banks operate U.S. branches regulated by the Fed and make U.S. loans.

In April, the Fed declined to comment on the documents it released. But its records show the emergency loans were collateralized in full and have since been repaid.

Until April, details of discount window lending for all banks, foreign and domestic, had been private because the Fed and banks worried that naming firms that borrow for emergencies could scare customers, stigmatize banks, cause bank "runs" and hurt the financial system.

Under financial reform legislation Congress approved in 2009, the Fed disclosed details of $3.3 trillion in emergency lending through more than half-a-dozen temporary rescue programs it has since ended. The legislation also requires the Fed to now disclose discount window loans after two years.

It was unclear from the FOIA documents how much discount window lending totaled during the financial crisis. The Fed released copies of largely-unedited reports listing tens of thousands of individual transactions. Paul said the staff of his subcommittee had not totaled the loans itself in part because of the “complexity of it all.”  

A Fed spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Scott Alvarez, the Fed’s general counsel, and Thomas Baxter, general counsel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, are scheduled to testify at Wednesday’s hearing, which is titled “Federal Reserve Lending Disclosure: FOIA, Dodd-Frank, and the Data Dump.”

In a May 25th statement announcing the hearing, the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), said, “Many of the actions taken by the government in response to the financial crisis took place behind closed doors with little, if any, information provided to the public.  These actions demonstrated to many of us that the Federal Reserve was in need of transparency and accountability. Now that the Fed has released information on its actions during the financial crisis, it is important for the Committee to examine the disclosures by the Federal Reserve and ensure taxpayers are protected. This subcommittee hearing is a step towards ensuring transparency and accountability at the Federal Reserve.”



Monday, May 30, 2011

Ron Paul Pounds Iowa Early and Often, Seeks 2012 Advantage

International Business Times
May 30th 2011

The primary elections in Iowa are more than eight months away, but Ron Paul is in the state on his 2012 campaign trail, with a meet-and-greet scheduled for Tuesday marking the fourth time in the last month he visits.

Paul recently announced he was running for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, saying the time was right for his message of fiscal conservatism. In the past several months, Republicans in Washington have been pushing for federal budget cuts with some degree of success, although Democrats which still control the U.S. Senate and the White House have limited the extent of cuts.

Having a Republican in the White House would speed through an agenda which resonates with Paul and Republicans.

One example of the log jam that could be mitigated were a Republican in power at the White House would be the latest 2012 budget negotiations.

Republicans are attempting to tie steep spending cuts to an increase in the U.S. federal debt ceiling in the next several months.

Such bargaining tactics are expected to continue until the political landscape changes. With veto power, the U.S. president has the ability to reject legislation passed by Congress. However Republicans will also need to take control of the Senate if they wish to fast track new legislation.  ,

"We are tremendously excited to have Ron Paul here in Mason City," said James Mills, Paul's co-chair for the 4th district for Iowa in a press release. "Ron Paul has shown he is willing to spend time in Iowa and meet with voters to listen to their concerns."



Ron Paul's Call to Donation Arms- June 5th Money Bomb!

May 28th 2011

Ron Paul has over 375,000 followers on Facebook, and likely thousands more supporters across the country. How can we ensure the maximum participation possible in the June 5th Money Bomb? If we got even 1/3rd of his Facebook followers to pitch in, we would raise millions!

From Dr. Paul:

Ten Million Dollars.

That's how much establishment candidate Mitt Romney raised in one day a couple of weeks ago from well-heeled party bigwigs for his 2012 White House bid.

So today, I'm writing to personally ask if you are up for a challenge.

My campaign's grassroots supporters are holding another Money Bomb next Sunday, June 5th, and I believe it offers us an excellent chance to make some headlines of our own.

You see, the Romney campaign thinks no one else can touch their accomplishment.

But honestly, I don't need 10 million dollars to match Mitt Romney.

After all, I don't have to defend a liberal record as governor of Massachusetts.

I don't have to defend against passing a bill just as bad as ObamaCare. Mitt Romney does. So it's ok if he has a bit more money than we do.

He's going to need it!

But it is absolutely critical I have the financial backing to build a first-class operation in early caucus and primary states and show the pundits and press that I am a serious candidate.

I know these so-called "gate keepers" are part of the Washington problem, but the fact is their either dismissing of candidates or praising them makes a difference to many undecided voters.

An overwhelming showing on June 5th would force the establishment pundits to realize you and I are in this to win it!

So please, visit www.RonPaul2012.com on June 5th and contribute whatever you are able. I know times are tough, but each and every dollar will go toward implementing our plans to run a first-class, winning campaign to restore America now.

Support for my Presidential campaign is growing every day, and I'm hopeful that we are in time to save America, rebuild our economy, and hand our children an even better country than the one we inherited.

And on June 5th, we can demonstrate the strength of support for our freedom message.

If you can help my campaign really take off now with a contribution at www.RonPaul2012.com on June 5th, I'd certainly appreciate it.

Your donation will allow us to ramp up our efforts in all the key primary states right away. That's why political experts say that $1 now is worth as much as $5 later on.

And it would prove that our campaign doesn't need fat cat bankers and rich elitists to compete.

When our R3VOLUTION comes together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish, and it is a great source of encouragement to know I can count on you.

Thank you for all your support!

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S. The other candidates have their corporate establishment Big Money donors. They have their lobbyists and their PACs. Mitt Romney used his insider rolodex - thick with Wall Street bankers - to raise 10 million dollars for his campaign.

And his campaign has thrown down the gauntlet by saying they don't think anyone else can touch their accomplishment.

Patriots like you can help me fight back with a massive Money Bomb on June 5th.

So please visit www.RonPaul2012.com on June 5th and contribute as generously as you can!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ron Paul Backs Industrial Hemp Farming Bill

Opposing Views
By Paul Armentano
May 25th 2011

Texas Republican Ron Paul and a coalition of 25 co-sponsors are once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.

House Bill 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would exclude low potency varieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

Several states — including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont– have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1831 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.

“We are pleased to see the re-introduction of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress. Vote Hemp is currently working with a Democratic Senator who is preparing to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in support of industrial hemp farming,” says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. “It is due time for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop’s benefits to farmers and to take action like Rep. Paul and the cosponsors of H.R. 1831 have done. With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits,” adds Steenstra.

According to a 2005 Congressional Resource Service report, the United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop. As a result, U.S. companies that specialize in hempen goods — such as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Patagonia, Nature’s Path, and Nutiva — have no choice but to import hemp material. These added production costs are then passed on to the consumer who must pay artificially high retail prices for hemp products.

Previous versions of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act were introduced, but failed to receive a public hearing or a committee vote. Please write your members of Congress today and tell them to end the federal prohibition of industrial hemp production. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be e-mailed to your member of Congress when you enter your contact information below.



10 Reasons Ron Paul Can Win In 2012

The Humble Libertarian
By W. E. Messamore
Tuesday May 24th 2011

If Ron Paul wins the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 after a losing bid in 2008, he wouldn't be the first candidate to do so. Indeed, the GOP's last nominee, John McCain, only won the party's nomination in 2008 after losing it to Bush in 2000. Even Ronald Reagan lost his 1976 bid for the party's nomination before winning it in 1980. But does Ron Paul have a real shot at winning this time around? Absolutely. All you Ron Paul supporters out there can actually win this for him in the next two years.

Here are ten reasons why:

1. Ronald Reagan

Who's that one guy that the Republicans are desperately trying to find to unite and lead their party? That one president who every single Republican (and even Democrats, including Obama) quotes and hearkens back to as a voice for America's greatness, prosperity, and success? That one man who could get you hammered out of your mind if you played a drinking game where you took a shot every time his name was mentioned at a Republican debate? Oh yeah- Ronald Reagan.

And with Haley Barbour officially out of the 2012 race, guess which presidential hopeful is the ONLY ONE in the entire field to have ever been endorsed by Ronald Reagan? That's right: Ron Paul. So Mr. (or Ms.) Republican Primary voter, do you heart Ronald Reagan? Guess who Ronald Reagan hearts? Ron Paul. In a tight congressional race, Reagan gave Paul this endorsement:

"Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country."

Not only did the Gipper endorse Ron Paul, he said Ron Paul understands our armed forces' needs very well, always puts them first, and is an outstanding leader in the fight for a strong national defense. So next time you hear someone say Ron Paul is weak on national defense, just ask them: "So you think Ronald Reagan was wrong?" And then tell them about his endorsement. If Reagan says Ron Paul's views on foreign policy and national defense are solid... that should be good enough for the GOP.

2. Name Recognition

Half the battle is name recognition. In 2007 and 2008, no one had a clue who Ron Paul was. He had never done anything remarkable in Congress (other than consistently vote for liberty and rule of law each and every time he voted for 20 years as a congressman that is), sponsored a bill that actually passed, or made much of an impact on his colleagues. To anyone who even knew who the man was, he was just a curiosity-- a physician from Texas who had delivered half of his own constituents and often ended up on the losing side of 434-1 votes.

Supporters of Ron Paul's 2008 bid will remember how frustrated they were with media blackouts of relevant and newsworthy developments in Ron Paul's campaign, how little attention the Texas congressman received in debates, and how condescending and rude his interviewers often were. Everything's different now. Gone are the days of those highway signs that said "Who is Ron Paul?" or "Google Ron Paul." No one has to Google Ron Paul to find out what he stands for anymore. He's a household name.

A recent Gallup poll found that Ron Paul has 76% name recognition among Republicans-- more than Bachmann, Daniels, Pawlenty, Santorum, Huntsman, Johnson, and Cain, and within striking distance of Romney and Gingrich. In addition, Ron Paul is now a regular guest on national media outlets, and his interviewers often accord him a kind of respect that he certainly never got in 2008.

3. Poll numbers

The numbers are in Ron Paul's favor this time around. In a shock poll which headlined The Drudge Report mere hours before the first Republican Primary debate in South Carolina, CNN found that Ron Paul would perform better against Barack Obama in a hypothetical 2012 general election match up than any other hopeful in the entire Republican field. That's why Ron Paul has a shot at taking the lead in the crucial primary state of New Hampshire where he actually came in second among primary voters in a recent CNN poll.

Coming in second place in New Hampshire's primary is in itself, marked progress over Ron Paul's 2008 performance, and though he still trails New Hampshire's front runner, Mitt Romney, by 24 points, the libertarian Ron Paul has a lot of time to close that gap in the "Live Free or Die" state, especially because New Hampshire primary voters seemed most interested in Romney's ability to defeat Obama in 2012, with 42% saying Mitt Romney is the candidate who can do it.

Good campaigning in New Hampshire is all it will take to educate voters there that Ron Paul is statistically the stronger candidate to challenge Obama in 2012. And any more "let's hang Obama" gaffes out of Mitt Romney might really hurt his electability and along with it, his chances of taking New Hampshire.

4. He's actually trying this time.

Ron Paul's last presidential bid was not a serious one and Ron Paul actually did better than he thought he would-- a lot better. His only purpose was to use the national stage and platform of a presidential campaign to spread his libertarian ideas, ideas that would soon drive the political narrative and energize Tea Party voters to swing the House of Representatives back to the Republican Party in 2010. Ron Paul wasn't running to win before. It was just an educational campaign. But Ron Paul's in it to win it this time around, and has put together a solid campaign staff to achieve that goal.

Starting months ago, Ron Paul has been stepping up his visits and appearances in the key primary states of Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, where he's assembled teams to identify, communicate to, and turn out voters for the win. After a meteoric, record-setting, game-changing, narrative-jolting campaign that Ron Paul didn't even intend to win, imagine what he might be able to accomplish with an already existing, super-energized, political machine that is ready to actually win, and has had a couple years to learn from its past mistakes and practice winning elections (which it did to spectacular effect with Rand Paul's long shot, dark horse Senate race in Kentucky).

5. The Internet

You thought the Internet changed the political landscape back in 2007 and 2008? Oh what a difference just a couple years can make in technology time! The Internet gave Ron Paul a distinct advantage over his establishment opponents, and helped compensate for his disadvantages. He set fundraising records twice in the final quarter of 2007 with his online "money bombs." An extensive online network of Ron Paul Meetup groups-- more than for any other candidate-- cropped up spontaneously and sent out thousands of hardworking Ron Paul drones in real life to do the kind of grassroots work that wins campaigns.

This time around, the Internet is bigger, bolder, better, more powerful, more social, and more populous than ever before. Its effect on the news cycle, the media narrative, and even elections has never been greater, and that bodes well for candidate Ron Paul, because as Susan Westfall wrote at LewRockwell.com, "The Internet is indisputably Ron Paul country as countless polls and google trends have repeatedly shown." Get ready to see the Internet play a greater role than ever in electoral politics, and as a result, to see Ron Paul gain just that much more of an edge over the rest of the field.

6. Economic prescience

Ron Paul was right. Whatever else you may say or think about Ron Paul, he's got that going for him and there's no denying it. He predicted the collapse of the financial and housing bubbles before they happened, he railed against inflationary monetary policy before the dollar started taking a dive, and he focused on his message of fiscal conservatism in 2008 before the Tea Party made that the most pressing political issue in our national conversation.

This is part of the reason Ron Paul is now invited as a guest on so many national television and radio programs, and why many of his interviewers now respect and listen to him carefully when he speaks. In a political election cycle that will be dominated by fiscal and economic issues, Ron Paul will stand out from his opponents, not only as the candidate who made these issues priorities before the rest of us did, but who was right about them and held the positions on these issues that are now popular in the most energized segments of the voting populace.

7. War fatigue

One of the primary reasons for Ron Paul's sudden rise to national prominence in 2008 was the same reason he didn't ultimately go on to win his party's nomination-- he was opposed to the wars in Central Asia and advocated bringing the troops home. But like his economic views, Ron Paul's 2008 stance on foreign policy was ahead of its time.

With our national debt through the roof, tens of thousands more troops in the Middle East, some of the deadliest months since combat began in Afghanistan, Obama's unconstitutional war in Libya, most of Al Qaeda crippled, and the recent death of Osama bin Laden, Americans of all kinds, including conservatives, are finally growing tired of the wars and feel like we've accomplished what we set out to do.

Continuing our operations overseas is making less and less sense to Republican voters, and those who were concerned about Ron Paul's foreign policy last time around, might be more inclined to agree with him in 2012. It was a clear sign of just how much things had changed since 2008 when RNC Chair Michael Steele criticized the war in Afghanistan as a war of Obama's choosing. That's the kind of Republican Party that Ron Paul will be campaigning in this time around.

8. The Tea Party

Ron Paul's first run just came a couple years too early. The Tea Party movement that stormed the political arena in early 2009 has completely changed the landscape from what it was when Ron Paul ran for president the last time. Not only does the Tea Party lend Paul added credibility because his campaign laid the groundwork for it (with mainstream media figures like Chris Wallace acknowledging that Ron Paul is the godfather of the Tea Party movement), but it has energized and activated a previously dormant niche of the voting populace, a niche that is wary of the big government records of such candidates as Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.

The Tea Party has shifted the entire focus of the political narrative away from the last decade's War on Terror, and toward the one issue that Ron Paul has a more solid record on than any of his opponents-- limiting the size, role, and influence of Washington D.C. to a Constitutional and sane level. Before the Tea Party, Ron Paul's views were denigrated as fringe. The Tea Party movement gave lie to this claim and vindicated Ron Paul as imminently mainstream.

9. Fewer, weaker, less energized competitors

Remember how many candidates Ron Paul had to share the stage with last time around? Even then he stuck out from the crowd. It would have been easy to predict that Ron Paul would dominate the recent South Carolina debate. Winning over the crowd with his common sense and principles, he shared the stage with only four other contenders, all of whom had less name recognition and weaker fundraising ability, and most of whom had questionable records when it comes to the fiscal conservatism that Republican Primary voters are looking for this election season.

Remember how Bill Clinton, a relatively unknown governor from Arkansas won the Democratic Party's nomination in 1992? Most of the stronger candidates sat it out because they didn't want the disadvantage of running against a popular incumbent. So Clinton seized the opportunity, won his party's nomination, and used the threat of an economic downturn (which pales in comparison to the one we're currently facing) to win the general election against Bush. Ron Paul has a similar opportunity, with the added advantage that he is better known, better funded, and better organized than Clinton in '92.

10. The Ron Paul Revolution

If the nomination were to go to whichever candidate's supporters want it the most badly, it would most definitely go to Ron Paul. No other candidate's supporters (with the exception of the Cainiacs) are even really that excited about their choice; certainly none of them are as energized as Ron Paul's supporters are. If there's one winning edge that Ron Paul has, which none of his opponents do, it's the grassroots Ron Paul Revolution, likely Paul's single most important advantage, and the reason for many of the other advantages he has.

And instead of building up this political movement from scratch like he did in 2008, Paul only needs to lead and mobilize an already existing and constantly-growing political movement with a depth of passion and conviction that we haven't seen from any other Republican's supporters. Their hard work will have a compounding effect on all the other factors at play, and if Ron Paul wins in 2012, it will be because of them.



Monday, May 23, 2011

Ron Paul Endorsed by Iowa State Rep. Glen Massie

Gamut News
May 23rd 2011

May 23, 2011 (Business Wire) — On Monday, Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul announced his first endorsement from a member of the Iowa legislature. Iowa State Representative Glen Massie formally endorsed Ron Paul as his choice for the Republican nominee for President. The endorsement came at a press conference held at Ron Paul’s Iowa Presidential headquarters in Ankeny.

“It is a distinct privilege and honor to endorse Ron Paul for President of the United States,” said Massie. “I have admired Ron Paul for a number of years for being a principled statesman who has faithfully kept his word to uphold the Constitution of this great country.”

In addition to the endorsement by Rep. Massie, Paul unveiled eight Congressional District Co-Chairmen and announced that his campaign in Iowa has more than 100 county co-chairmen.

The Congressional District Co-Chairmen are:

First District: William Johnson & Dr. Michael Allen
Second District: Marcus Fedler & Roger Barr
Third District: Matt Devries & John Kabitzke
Fourth District: James Mills & Tom German

“With eight District Co-Chairs and over 100 county co-chairs already established, Ron Paul has shown he has the organization ready to make an impact in Iowa,” said Campaign Chairman Drew Ivers. “Ron Paul will be tremendously competitive here and his campaign has no plans to slow down.”
For more information on Congressman Ron Paul’s Presidential Campaign visit www.RonPaul2012.com.



The War on Ron Paul

By Susan Westfall
May 23rd 2011

Whether the media establishments want to admit it or not, and believe me they don't, Ron Paul IS the 'front runner' for the republican primary. Despite voracious denials and vitriolic arguments from almost every quarter to the contrary, he is the only one with a chance of shutting out Obama for the presidency in 2012. He appeals to all sides of the aisle, and is attracting the much sought after independent swing vote almost as fast as he has the youth of the nation. The Internet is indisputably Ron Paul country as countless polls and google trends have repeatedly shown. The gradual change in political rhetoric flowing out of Washington, D.C. over the last 3 years reflects an explosion of interest in the freedom message he spreads so tirelessly. The continuous growth in popularity of talk and news shows focusing on freedom and the Constitution broadcasts loud and clear the rising prominence of issues he has brought to the debate. For anyone with any powers of discernment, it's a no-brainer.      
<><> <><> <><> <><>

So why do media pundits, dime a dozen politicians, and innumerable experts of self-aggrandized consequence spend great swathes of time, effort, and someone's money working so hard to convince the people otherwise? You can't turn on a TV, pick up a paper or surf the Internet without encountering the words "He can't win," or some other lame variation repeated ad nauseam with great gusto. According to all the most acclaimed talking heads, that mythical beast "The Front Runner" has yet to be seen on the horizon and is still to arise from some unknown lair, "blazing a new trail" of GOP fame and success across political skies sometime in the not too distant future. Their blind adherence to this tired refrain boggles the mind. Personally, I can find only one reason for the constant repudiation...fear. Fear of the known...Ron Paul, and fear of the unknown...future largess. The status-quo is cornered and its biggest backers are flailing in desperation through media and political mouthpieces.       
<><> <><> <><> <><>

With decades of consistency on record as proof, it is well known by all in Washington that Ron Paul will not compromise his principles for money, power or personal gain. Ron Paul is simply...not for sale. Lobbyists for special interests have never been able to rent his vote. This is such an undisputed reality that they don't even darken the door of his congressional office. His opinion can not be leased by the highest bidder, nor his silence ensured through threats and coercion. He is a man who stands his ground, refusing to back down, flip-flop, or play the political game of corporate footsie that entangles so many on the Hill. This is the kind of strength America not just needs, but deep down hungers for in a president. America does not need a president with the strength to circumvent law by executive order, ignore Congress and engage in needless conflicts, or break international and common law to achieve a victory. Those who stand to lose the most under a president who would not compromise the peoples' liberties, the Constitution or the rule of law for any reason are deathly afraid of Ron Paul.         
<><> <><> <><> <><>

If we apply Donald Rumsfeld's ludicrous scale of measurement, in use long before he popularized the phrase during his tenure as Secretary of Defense, then Ron Paul could aptly be termed a "known, known". Needless to say, much heated discussion has probably occurred in many a smoky back room about this unpleasant reality. Logic tells us that a good number of those rooms might even be located in the Pentagon. Ron Paul has never made a secret of the fact that he would like to: reduce military spending to that needed for defense only; bring the troops home from all foreign bases; and restore foreign affairs to a non-interventionist policy more befitting a Republic that purports to be the shining example of liberty. Accomplishing these goals would of course mean a vast reduction in the present size and budget of the military industrial complex and can be only a cause for apprehension in those quarters. If recent world events are any indication, the threat must be great indeed. In an unprecedented flurry of efficiency the military, under direction of Commander in Chief Obama, has recently not only rescued another country from tyrannical oppression, but tracked down and killed the world's worst terrorist, Osama Binladen, thus proving its undoubted worth and necessity. Unfortunately, the tyrant really isn't gone yet and no one can figure out exactly what happened with the bin laden operation. Nevertheless, we've been assured of the worthiness of our current pedal-to-the-metal monetary support for the military industrial complex. If we haven't then we're obviously unpatriotic and borderline terrorists ourselves.        
<><> <><> <><> <><>
Of course no one would actually dare accuse Ron Paul of being unpatriotic. They'd be laughed right off the media stage, no matter how lofty their perch. So the approach is made from a different angle. That of foreign aid. Dr. Paul has clearly stated on numerous occasions that he would cut foreign aid to all countries, not only because of our fiscal situation but also because he believes we should respect the sovereignty of all nations and not try to dictate their policies through bribes or bombs. Cutting foreign aid in and of itself does not seem to be a problem. Polls reflect that a majority of Americans support cuts to foreign aid. However, the idea of cutting all foreign aid brings on an instantaneous and seemingly mass hysteria with regards to Israel. If we dare to look past AIPAC and other lobbyist groups for answers which contain more rational ideas than the usual accusations of anti-semitism, unpatriotic betrayal, or abandonment of democratic friends, informative sources soon surface. In a report by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt of University of Chicago and Harvard University respectively, the "special relationship" between the US and Israel is explained more fully. Surprisingly, the military complex appears to play a weighty role here as well. A brief look at some benefits specific to Israel include: retaining 25% of aid dollars to subsidize its own defense industry instead of spending 100% to subsidize the US defense industry as other countries must do; not having to account for how aid dollars are spent; and being provided " with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems like the Lavi aircraft that the Pentagon did not want or need." There is a plethora of information in just this one report that evidences the detrimental effects of the "special relationship" American taxpayers purchase annually with their foreign aid dollars with what would appear to be little or no benefit to themselves. Interestingly, there is growing evidence of a substantive support in Israel itself for an end to US foreign aid which is seen by many there as "an affront against Israeli liberty and sovereignty, as well as a drain on the development of numerous sectors of the Israeli economy, such as the weapons and biotechnology industries." Based on just the above facts it can be argued that perhaps it's time for the American people to debate the prudence of an industrial complex deciding our military decisions, instead of a decisive military defending our national borders.
<><> <><> <><> <><>
Having hurled their verbal slings and arrows of foreign policy insanity and foreign aid abandonment, most pundits proceed to trot out the next big issue to be refuted...individual liberties. Of course they don't often mention those actual words, but delve deeply right to the perceived heart of the issue...heroin. Ron Paul wants to "legalize heroin" is touted gleefully to choruses of "and prostitution!" A round of smirks is the cue for visions of marauding bands of crazed, drug abusing prostitutes to begin dancing through the viewers' heads and scare them out of ever considering Ron Paul as a viable candidate for anything, much less republican party nominee. A thinking person might wonder why the fascination and focus on heroin, other than for the shock value of course, whenever individual liberty is mentioned. "Protecting individual liberty," Ron Paul often explains, "is the purpose of all government. Individual liberty is the right to your life, the right to your property and the right to keep the fruits of your labor." With those two simple sentences and a clear constitutional understanding of what they actually mean in regards to federal government overreach, almost everything that the status quo fights to maintain is essentially negated. Is it any wonder the most inflammatory phrases are employed at every opportunity to derail the very idea?

No matter how much Washington, D.C. wishes to protect Americans from themselves, lift them out of poverty, provide for their well-being, or ensure their safety from dangerous products and enemies, it cannot do so without infringing on their individual liberties and violating the Constitution. The federal government we live with today no longer serves the interests of the American people, but serves the special interests of: corporate cronyism; militarism for profit influence and empire; centrally planned debt management, counterfeiting, fraud and currency debasement. Those who would maintain the status quo, despite its almost certain destructive end, are beginning to realize just how much they have underestimated the power of a quiet, consistent message of truth delivered to the people by a man of principle. A man who would be president not for the power he could wield over the people, but for the power he would give to the people by restoring their Republic. So war has been declared again, but this time the war is on liberty...and Ron Paul.



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ron Paul Counters Obama Policy on Israel, Middle East

New American
By Thomas Eddlem
May 20th 2011

Congressman Ron Paul issued a blistering critique of President Obama's recent proposal for Israel to surrender its territory to pre-1967 borders and create a Palestinian state.

“Unlike this President, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs," the Texas Republican wrote in a May 20 press statement. "There can only be peace in the region if those sides work out their differences among one another. We should respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate her policy from Washington." Representative Paul has announced an electoral challenge to Obama as a Republican, and will face Obama in November 2012 if he can win the GOP nomination.

Obama had proposed May 19 that "We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states." The proposal rocked the relationship between the United States and Israel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffed Obama in person the next day from an Oval Office press conference, complaining that "while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines — because these lines are indefensible; because they don’t take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years."

Obama also promised some $2 billion in additional direct foreign aid to Egypt in the May 19 address. Egypt was until the 1980s an enemy of the Jewish state. Obama pledged an additional $2 billion investment from the U.S. government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to North Africa and the Middle East.

By way of contrast, Rep. Paul has proposed eliminating all foreign aid. “I am not the only one who can see the absurdities of our foreign policy. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her enemies," Paul wrote. "Most Americans know that makes no sense.... We are facing $2 trillion dollar deficits, and the American taxpayer cannot afford any of it."

Representative Paul also noted that U.S. foreign aid has often worked at cross-purposes with freedom in the Islamic world. Paul pointed out that for 30 years U.S. aid propped up the corrupt Mubarak regime in Egypt, a regime overthrown by the peaceful "Jasmine revolution" this spring. “As the President prepares to send even more support to Egypt, we should be reminded that it was our foreign aid that helped Mubarak retain power to repress his people in the first place. Now we have to deal with the consequences of those decisions, yet we keep repeating the same mistakes."

Obama's May 19 speech also took special note of the Jasmine revolution sweeping the Islamic world, a revolution that began in December in Tunisia and has since touched just about every Islamic nation. Obama claimed that "the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands." Obama even acknowledged that the United States and its policies had nothing to do with the peaceful demonstrations: "It’s not America that put people into the streets of Tunis or Cairo -– it was the people themselves who launched these movements, and it’s the people themselves that must ultimately determine their outcome."

But despite traditional U.S. foreign aid support for dictatorships, Obama implicitly threatened further intervention in Islamic nations and devoted particularly harsh criticism to Syria. "Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens.  The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him." Syria has indeed launched a month-long bloody campaign against peaceful protesters, a campaign that appears to be getting bloodier.

Obama stressed that the United States stood for "universal human rights" and that "Our support for these principles is not a secondary interest. Today I want to make it clear that it is a top priority that must be translated into concrete actions, and supported by all of the diplomatic, economic and strategic tools at our disposal." To many observers, "strategic tools" is a code word for U.S. military action.

Representative Paul, by way of contrast, has opposed Obama's Libyan war and strongly condemned the implicit threat to attack Syria. “The President also defended his unconstitutional intervention in Libya, authorized not by the United States Congress but by the United Nations, and announced new plans to pressure Syria and force the leader of that country to step down," Paul wrote. “Our military is already dangerously extended, and this administration wants to expand our involvement. When will our bombing in Libya end? Is President Obama seriously considering military action against Syria?...We need to come to our senses, trade with our friends in the Middle East (both Arab and Israeli), clean up our own economic mess so we set a good example, and allow them to work out their own conflicts."



Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Plan For A Freedom President

By Ron Paul

Since my 2008 campaign for the presidency I have often been asked, “How would a constitutionalist president go about dismantling the welfare-warfare state and restoring a constitutional republic?” This is a very important question, because without a clear road map and set of priorities, such a president runs the risk of having his pro-freedom agenda stymied by the various vested interests that benefit from big government.

Of course, just as the welfare-warfare state was not constructed in 100 days, it could not be dismantled in the first 100 days of any presidency. While our goal is to reduce the size of the state as quickly as possible, we should always make sure our immediate proposals minimize social disruption and human suffering. Thus, we should not seek to abolish the social safety net overnight because that would harm those who have grown dependent on government-provided welfare. Instead, we would want to give individuals who have come to rely on the state time to prepare for the day when responsibility for providing aide is returned to those organizations best able to administer compassionate and effective help—churches and private charities.

Now, this need for a transition period does not apply to all types of welfare. For example, I would have no problem defunding corporate welfare programs, such as the Export-Import Bank or the TARP bank bailouts, right away. I find it difficult to muster much sympathy for the CEO’s of Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs.

No matter what the president wants to do, most major changes in government programs would require legislation to be passed by Congress. Obviously, the election of a constitutionalist president would signal that our ideas had been accepted by a majority of the American public and would probably lead to the election of several pro-freedom congressmen and senators. Furthermore, some senators and representatives would become “born again” constitutionalists out of a sense of self-preservation. Yet there would still be a fair number of politicians who would try to obstruct our freedom agenda. Thus, even if a president wanted to eliminate every unconstitutional program in one fell swoop, he would be very unlikely to obtain the necessary support in Congress.

Yet a pro-freedom president and his legislative allies could make tremendous progress simply by changing the terms of the negotiations that go on in Washington regarding the size and scope of government. Today, negotiations over legislation tend to occur between those who want a 100 percent increase in federal spending and those who want a 50 percent increase. Their compromise is a 75 percent increase. With a president serious about following the Constitution, backed by a substantial block of sympathetic representatives in Congress, negotiations on outlays would be between those who want to keep funding the government programs and those who want to eliminate them outright—thus a compromise would be a 50 percent decrease in spending!

While a president who strictly adheres to the Constitution would need the consent of Congress for very large changes in the size of government, such as shutting down cabinet departments, he could use his constitutional authority as head of the executive branch and as commander in chief to take several significant steps toward liberty on his own. The area where the modern chief executive has greatest ability to act unilaterally is in foreign affairs. Unfortunately, Congress has abdicated its constitutional authority to declare wars, instead passing vague “authorization of force” bills that allow the president to send any number of troops to almost any part of the world. The legislature does not even effectively use its power of the purse to rein in the executive. Instead, Congress serves as little more than a rubber stamp for the president’s requests.

If the president has the power to order U.S. forces into combat on nothing more than his own say-so, then it stands to reason he can order troops home. Therefore, on the first day in office, a constitutionalist can begin the orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. He can also begin withdrawing troops from other areas of the world. The United States has over 300, 0000 troops stationed in more than 146 countries. Most if not all of these deployments bear little or no relationship to preserving the safety of the American people. For example, over 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. still maintains troops in Germany.

Domestically, the president can use his authority to set policies and procedures for the federal bureaucracy to restore respect for the Constitution and individual liberty. For example, today manufacturers of dietary supplements are subject to prosecution by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if they make even truthful statements about the health benefits of their products without going through the costly and time-consuming procedures required to gain government approval for their claims. A president can put an end to this simply by ordering the FDA and FTC not to pursue these types of cases unless they have clear evidence that the manufacturer’s clams are not true. Similarly, the president could order the bureaucracy to stop prosecuting consumers who wish to sell raw milk across state lines.

A crucial policy that a president could enact to bring speedy improvements to government is ordering the bureaucracy to respect the 10th Amendment and refrain from undermining state laws. We have already seen a little renewed federalism with the current administration’s policy of not prosecuting marijuana users when their use of the drug is consistent with state medical-marijuana laws. A constitutionalist administration would also defer to state laws refusing compliance with the REAL ID act and denying federal authority over interstate gun transactions. None of these actions repeals a federal law; they all simply recognize a state’s primary authority, as protected by the 10th amendment, to set policy in these areas.

In fact, none of the measures I have discussed so far involves repealing any written law. They can be accomplished simply by a president exercising his legitimate authority to set priorities for the executive branch. And another important step he can take toward restoring the balance of powers the Founders intended is repealing unconstitutional executive orders issued by his predecessors. 

Executive orders are a useful management tool for the president, who must exercise control over the enormous federal bureaucracy. However, in recent years executive orders have been used by presidents to create new federal laws without the consent of Congress. As President Clinton’s adviser Paul Begala infamously said, “stoke of the pen, law of the land, pretty cool.” No, it is not “pretty cool,” and a conscientious president could go a long way toward getting us back to the Constitution’s division of powers by ordering his counsel or attorney general to comb through recent executive orders so the president can annul those that exceed the authority of his office. If the President believed a particular Executive Order made a valid change in the law, then he should work with Congress to pass legislation making that change.

Only Congress can directly abolish government departments, but the president could use his managerial powers to shrink the federal bureaucracy by refusing to fill vacancies created by retirements or resignations. This would dramatically reduce the number of federal officials wasting our money and taking our liberties. One test to determine if a vacant job needs to be filled is the “essential employees test.” Whenever D.C. has a severe snowstorm, the federal government orders all “non-essential” federal personal to stay home. If someone is classified as non-essential for snow-day purposes, the country can probably survive if that position is not filled when the jobholder quits or retires. A constitutionalist president should make every day in D.C. like a snow day!

A president could also enhance the liberties and security of the American people by ordering federal agencies to stop snooping on citizens when there is no evidence that those who are being spied on have committed a crime. Instead, the president should order agencies to refocus on the legitimate responsibilities of the federal government, such as border security. He should also order the Transportation Security Administration to stop strip-searching grandmothers and putting toddlers on the non-fly list. The way to keep Americans safe is to focus on real threats and ensure that someone whose own father warns U.S. officials he’s a potential theorist is not allowed to board a Christmas Eve flight to Detroit with a one-way ticket.

Perhaps the most efficient step a president could take to enhance travel security is to remove the federal roadblocks that have frustrated attempts to arm pilots. Congress created provisions to do just that in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, the processes for getting a federal firearms license are extremely cumbersome, and as a result very few pilots have gotten their licenses. A constitutionalist in the Oval Office would want to revise those regulations to make it as easy as possible for pilots to get approval to carry firearms on their planes.

While the president can do a great deal on his own, to really restore the Constitution and cut back on the vast unconstitutional programs that have sunk roots in Washington over 60 years, he will have to work with Congress. The first step in enacting a pro-freedom legislative agenda is the submission of a budget that outlines the priorities of the administration. While it has no legal effect, the budget serves as a guideline for the congressional appropriations process. A constitutionalist president’s budget should do the following:

1. Reduce overall federal spending
2. Prioritize cuts in oversize expenditures, especially the military
3. Prioritize cuts in corporate welfare
4. Use 50 percent of the savings from cuts in overseas spending to shore up entitlement programs for those who are dependent on them and the other 50 percent to pay down the debt
5. Provide for reduction in federal bureaucracy and lay out a plan to return responsibility for education to the states
6. Begin transitioning entitlement programs from a system where all Americans are forced to participate into one where taxpayers can opt out of the programs and make their own provisions for retirement and medical care

If Congress failed to produce a budget that was balanced and moved the country in a pro-liberty direction, a constitutionalist president should veto the bill. Of course, vetoing the budget risks a government shutdown. But a serious constitutionalist cannot be deterred by cries of “it’s irresponsible to shut down the government!” Instead, he should simply say, “I offered a reasonable compromise, which was to gradually reduce spending, and Congress rejected it, instead choosing the extreme path of continuing to jeopardize America’s freedom and prosperity by refusing to tame the welfare-warfare state. I am the moderate; those who believe that America can afford this bloated government are the extremists.”

Unconstitutional government spending, after all, is doubly an evil: it not only means picking the taxpayer’s pocket, it also means subverting the system of limited and divided government that the Founders created. Just look at how federal spending has corrupted American education.

Eliminating federal involvement in K-12 education should be among a constitutionalist president’s top domestic priorities. The Constitution makes no provision for federal meddling in education. It is hard to think of a function less suited to a centralized, bureaucratic approach than education. The very idea that a group of legislators and bureaucrats in D.C. can design a curriculum capable of meeting the needs of every American schoolchild is ludicrous. The deteriorating performance of our schools as federal control over the classroom has grown shows the folly of giving Washington more power over American education. President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law claimed it would fix education by making public schools “accountable.” However, supporters of the law failed to realize that making schools more accountable to federal agencies, instead of to parents, was just perpetuating the problem.

In the years since No Child Left Behind was passed, I don’t think I have talked to any parent or teacher who is happy with the law. Therefore, a constitutionalist president looking for ways to improve the lives of children should demand that Congress cut the federal education bureaucracy as a down payment on eventually returning 100 percent of the education dollar to parents.

Traditionally, the battle to reduce the federal role in education has been the toughest one faced by limited-government advocates, as supporters of centralized education have managed to paint constitutionalists as “anti-education.” But who is really anti-education? Those who wish to continue to waste taxpayer money on failed national schemes, or those who want to restore control over education to the local level? When the debate is framed this way, I have no doubt the side of liberty will win. When you think about it, the argument that the federal government needs to control education is incredibly insulting to the American people, for it implies that the people are too stupid or uncaring to educate their children properly. Contrary to those who believe that only the federal government can ensure children’s education, I predict a renaissance in education when parents are put back in charge.

The classroom is not the only place the federal government does not belong. We also need to reverse the nationalization of local police. Federal grants have encouraged the militarization of law enforcement, which has led to great damage to civil liberties. Like education, law enforcement is inherently a local function, and ending programs such as the Byrne Grants is essential not just to reducing federal spending but also to restoring Americans’ rights.

Obviously, a president concerned with restoring constitutional government and fiscal responsibility would need to address the unstable entitlement situation, possibly the one area of government activity even more difficult to address than education. Yet it is simply unfair to continue to force young people to participate in a compulsory retirement program when they could do a much better job of preparing for their own retirements. What is more, the government cannot afford the long-term expenses of entitlements, even if we were to reduce all other unconstitutional foreign and domestic programs.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this article, it would be wrong simply to cut these programs and throw those who are dependent on them “into the streets.” After all, the current recipients of these programs have come to rely on them, and many are in a situation where they cannot provide for themselves without government assistance. The thought of people losing the ability to obtain necessities for them because they were misled into depending on a government safety net that has been yanked away from them should trouble all of us. However, the simple fact is that if the government does not stop spending money on welfare and warfare, America may soon face an economic crisis that could lead to people being thrown into the street.

Therefore, a transition away from the existing entitlement scheme is needed. This is why a constitutionalist president should propose devoting half of the savings from the cuts in wars and other foreign spending, corporate welfare, and unnecessary and unconstitutional bureaucracies to shoring up Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and providing enough money to finance government’s obligations to those who are already stuck in the system and cannot make alternative provisions. This re-routing of spending would allow payroll taxes to be slashed. The eventual goal would be to move to a completely voluntary system where people only pay payroll taxes into Social Security and Medicare if they choose to participate in those programs. Americans who do not want to participate would be free not to do so, but they would forgo any claim to Social Security or Medicare benefits after retirement.

Some people raise concerns that talk of transitions is an excuse for indefinitely putting off the end of the welfare state. I understand those concerns, which is why a transition plan must lay out a clear timetable for paying down the debt, eliminating unconstitutional bureaucracies, and setting a firm date for when young people can at last opt out of the entitlement programs.

A final area that should be front and center in a constitutionalist’s agenda is monetary policy. The Founders obviously did not intend for the president to have much influence over the nation’s money—in fact, they never intended any part of the federal government to operate monetary policy as it defined now. However, today a president could play an important role in restoring stability to monetary policy and the value of the dollar. To start, by fighting for serious reductions in spending, a constitutionalist administration would remove one of the major justifications for the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies, the need to monetize government debt.

There are additional steps a pro-freedom president should pursue in his first term to restore sound monetary policy. He should ask Congress to pass two pieces of legislation I have introduced in the 110th Congress. The first is the Audit the Fed bill, which would allow the American people to learn just how the Federal Reserve has been conducting monetary policy. The other is the Free Competition in Currency Act, which repeals legal tender laws and all taxes on gold and silver. This would introduce competition in currency and put a check on the Federal Reserve by ensuring that people have alternatives to government-produced fiat money.

All of these measures will take a lot of work—a lot more than any one person, even the president of the United States, can accomplish by himself. In order to restore the country to the kind of government the Founders meant for us to have, a constitutionalist president would need the support of an active liberty movement. Freedom activists must be ready to pressure wavering legislators to stand up to the special interests and stay the course toward freedom. Thus, when the day comes when someone who shares our beliefs sits in the Oval Office, groups like Young American for Liberty and Campaign for Liberty will still have a vital role to play. No matter how many pro-freedom politicians we elect to office, the only way to guarantee constitutional government is through an educated and activist public devoted to the ideals of the liberty.

For that reason, the work of Young Americans for Liberty in introducing young people to the freedom philosophy and getting them involved in the freedom movement is vital to the future of our country. I thank all the members and supporters of YAL for their dedication to changing the political debate in this country, so that in the not-too-distant future we actually will have a president and a Congress debating the best ways to shrink the welfare-warfare state and restore the republic.