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.
‘Vote For Gold’
"You have to choose, as a voter, between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold."
In a brief but perfectly succinct interview on CNBC yesterday, Ron Paul shared his opinion on the need to own gold (and the physical demand for the manipulated metal) and the Detroit bankruptcy ("we're going to see more Detroits"). He concludes that "long term, you can expect governments not to change" and that they’ll keep taking on more debt and printing more money until people lose confidence in both the U.S. dollar and the U.S. military, both of which will be shake the foundation of a fiat/dollar system.
Last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered what may well be his last Congressional testimony before leaving the Federal Reserve in 2014. Unfortunately, his farewell performance was full of contradictory comments about the state of the economy and the effects of Fed policies on the market. One thing Bernanke inadvertently made clear was that the needs of Wall Street trump Main street, the economy, and sound money.
Ron Paul wrote this scathing assessment and prediction about the newly created DHS eleven years ago. He was outraged by the $3 billion price tag. The DHS 2014 budget is $60 billion. Were his warnings about the American people being spied on by our government accurate? Are you safer today than you were in 2002? Do you have more or less liberty and freedom than you had in 2002? Was it worth it?
There is a very simple and elegant solution to declining defense spending, one which has been used time and again in US history when the US government needed to provide the Fed with more securities (i.e. deficit) to monetize: war. According to RT that, or rather its more politicall correct equivalent "kinetic strikes", is what may be just over the horizon. RT reports that President Barack Obama is considering using military force in Syria, and the Pentagon has prepared various scenarios for possible United States intervention. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Obama administration is deliberating whether or not it should use the brute of the US military in Syria during a Thursday morning Senate hearing. Gen. Dempsey said the administration was considering using “kinetic strikes” in Syria and said "issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government,” the Associated Press reported from Washington.