The first draft of the White House's war authorization legislation was leaked yesterday, signaling the opening round of the danse macabre, in which the bargaining and maneuvering over what Congress and the president both want -- war on Syria -- begins its public journey from conception to law. There will be fighting and sharp words along the way. Members will be coy and make impassioned speeches. It is all for show. It is important to make this clear to readers: The fight is not between whether the House and Senate will pass or reject the president's request for authorization to attack, but rather what kind of force authorization will ultimately be brought to the Floor for passage... and sure enough the headlines are starting with more drafts:
*OBAMA WANTS "TOO BROAD AUTHORITY'' IN SYRIA, TWO DEMOCRATS SAY
and Menendez/Corker propose a new US Senate resolution for authorizing use of military force in Syria setting a 60-day deadline, with one 30-day extension possible, while barring ground forces
President Obama announced this weekend that he has decided to use military force against Syria and would seek authorization from Congress when it returned from its August break. Every Member ought to vote against this reckless and immoral use of the US military. But even if every single Member and Senator votes for another war, it will not make this terrible idea any better because some sort of nod is given to the Constitution along the way. Besides, the president made it clear that Congressional authorization is superfluous, asserting falsely that he has the authority to act on his own with or without Congress. That Congress allows itself to be treated as window dressing by the imperial president is just astonishing... We are rapidly headed for the same collapse as the Roman Empire if we continue down the president's war path.
If Barack Obama is going to attack Syria, he is going to do it without the support of the American people, without the approval of Congress, without the approval of the United Nations, and without the help of the British. Now that the British Parliament has voted against a military strike, the Obama administration is saying that it may take "unilateral action" against Syria. Unfortunately for the Obama administration, the world is not buying it. In fact, people are seeing right through this charade. The following are 25 quotes about the coming war with Syria that every American should see...
The AP reports that US intelligence officials are admitting that linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no "slam dunk," as opposed to Obama (and Kerry) who are 'unequivocal' of the fact. This would appear to confirm Ron Paul's comments this morning on Fox News that "We're not positive who set off the gas," and indeed - who is set to benefit most from any Assad-regime-smackdown? Al-Qaeda. "Assad is not an idiot," Paul adds, "it's unlikely he would do this on purpose... look how many lies were told to us about Saddam Hussein prior to that build-up." A lot of uncomrtable truths in this brief clip for an administration that has crossed its own red line (as we noted here) on actions against Syria now... "I think it's a false flag..." Paul adds, there is a big risk that "we are getting sucked in" and the American people are against this war.
The ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.
Thanks to more documents leaked by Edward Snowden, this time to the Washington Post, we learned last week that a secret May 2012 internal audit by the NSA revealed 2,776 incidents of “unauthorized” collection of information on American citizens over the previous 12 months. They are routinely breaking their own rules and covering it up. However, although the numbers of Americans who have had their information intercepted in violation of NSA’s own rules seems large, it is actually miniscule compared to the huge volume of our communications they intercept in total! Though it made for a sensational headline last week, the fact is these 2,776 “violations” over the course of one year are completely irrelevant. The millions and millions of “authorized” intercepts of our communications are all illegal -- except for the very few carried out in pursuit of a validly-issued search warrant in accordance with the Fourth Amendment. That is the real story.
Instead of fighting for 30-second soundbites on mainstream media news outlets, Ron Paul has created his own TV channel. Now live-streaming exclusive content, the following brief clip gives us a glimpse into the studio from which the libertarian will send forth his message.
A question arises: how does one know they are living in an unmitigated disaster of a banana republic where not even an attempt at hiding the crime and corruption takes place? Well, we are not absolutely certain, but we have a distinct feeling that when the president appoints as his impartial "reviewer" of the ultra top secret NSA's policies and capabilities the one man who was caught and exposed and subsequently apologized for lying to Congress, that may be a pretty damn good sign. Sadly, that is precisely what just happened.
Most Americans are probably unaware that over the past two weeks the US has launched at least eight drone attacks in Yemen, in which dozens have been killed. It is the largest US escalation of attacks on Yemen in more than a decade. The US claims that everyone killed was a “suspected militant,” but Yemeni citizens have for a long time been outraged over the number of civilians killed in such strikes. The media has reported that of all those killed in these recent US strikes, only one of the dead was on the terrorist “most wanted” list. Far from solving the problem of extremists in Yemen, however, this US presence in the country seems to be creating more extremism. This cycle of intervention producing problems that require more intervention to “solve” impoverishes us and makes us more, not less, vulnerable. There is an alternative. It is called non-interventionism. We should try it. First step would be pulling out of Yemen.
In May 22 testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke issued another of many similar positive interpretations of central bank policy. Yet again, he continued to argue that quantitative easing has decreased long-term interest rates and produced other benefits. The Fed's polices have not produced the much-promised re-acceleration in economic growth. The standard of living - defined as median household income - has fallen back to the level of 1995. The best approach would be for the Fed to recognize the failure of QE and end the program immediately, thereby allowing price distortions in the markets to correct themselves. By ending the illusion that the Fed can take constructive actions, this might even serve to force federal government leaders to deal with the growing fiscal policy imbalances. Otherwise, debt levels will continue to build and serve to further limit the potential for economic growth.
It’s long been a common approach for government sliding into insolvency to confiscate wealth from their own citizens. Charles I of England infamously commandeered 200,000 pounds of his own citizens’ gold right before the English Civil War in 1638. Roosevelt confiscated his entire nation’s gold holdings roughly three centuries later. And of course, Cyprus raided domestic bank accounts earlier this year in a desperate attempt to bail-in the national banking system. It’s foolish to think that these things cannot happen, especially when you look at the numbers. This is why we are concerned that the IRS is refusing to issue tax ID numbers for single-member LLCs that are owned by an IRA... which is the specific structure that US taxpayers need to create in order to ship their retirement savings overseas.
This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character. There is a common denominator in all the bubbles created over the last century – Wall Street bankers and their puppets at the Federal Reserve. Fractional reserve banking, control of a fiat currency by a privately owned central bank, and an economy dependent upon ever increasing levels of debt are nothing more than ingredients of a Ponzi scheme that will ultimately implode and destroy the worldwide financial system. Since 1913 we have been enduring the largest fraud and embezzlement scheme in world history, but the law of diminishing returns is revealing the plot and illuminating the culprits. Bernanke and his cronies have proven themselves to be highly educated one trick pony protectors of the status quo. Bernanke will eventually roll craps. When he does, the collapse will be epic and 2008 will seem like a walk in the park.
In 2001, the Patriot Act opened the door to US government monitoring of Americans without a warrant. It was unconstitutional, but most in Congress over my strong objection were so determined to do something after the attacks of 9/11 that they did not seem to give it too much thought. Civil liberties groups were concerned, and some of us in Congress warned about giving up our liberties even in the post-9/11 panic. But at the time most Americans did not seem too worried about the intrusion. This complacency has suddenly shifted given recent revelations of the extent of government spying on Americans. What is even more important, though, is for more and more and more Americans to educate themselves about our precious liberties and to demand that their government abide by the Constitution. We do not have to accept being lied to – or spied on -- by our government.
Just about a year ago we questioned the "demographic demand" thesis for why the US housing 'recovery' would become self-sustaining and lead to yet another fiscal and monetary 'nirvana'. However, while the 'household formation' meme remains front-and-center among bloviating Fed apologists; the sad facts are that not only is household formation actually still falling but, as a recent Pew Research study finds, a record 21 million young adults are now living at home with their parents.
Last week’s House debate on the Defense Appropriations bill for 2014 produced a bit more drama than usual. Had Amash’s amendment passed, it would have been a significant symbolic victory over the administration’s massive violations of our Fourth Amendment protections. But we should be careful about believing that even if it had somehow miraculously survived the Senate vote and the President’s veto, it would have resulted in any significant change in how the Intelligence Community would behave toward Americans. The US government has built the largest and most sophisticated spying apparatus in the history of the world. Rep. Amash’s amendment was an important move to at least bring attention to what the US intelligence community has become: an incredibly powerful conglomeration of secret government agencies that seem to view Americans as the real threat.