With the Senate impeachment trial dominating headlines this week, it seems appropriate to look back on what Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul said about the 1998 impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton.
At a press conference the week of the impeachment vote, Dr. Paul explained that his vote to impeach Clinton was because of Clinton waging military actions in the Mid-East. Through 1998, Clinton launched a series of attacks in the Mid-East that (coincidentally I am sure) just happened to coincide with major developments in the impeachment saga. Yet most Republicans refused to speak out against this abuse of presidential power.
You can see Dr. Paul’s remarks here. Note that Dr. Paul warned that Clinton’s unconstitutional war-making could lead to terrorist attacks against the United States, so he was talking about blowback years before 9-11.
Looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer for a liberty-minded friend or relative? Or are you already thinking of how you’re going to spend that Amazon gift card you get every year from friends and family who know your second favorite thing to do (after helping C4L put the heat on anti-liberty politicians) is reading books on liberty?
Then check out The Great Ron Paul, new from our friends at the Libertarian Institute. The title alone should be enough to make you want to buy it, but I’ll give you some details about the book anyway.
The book is a transcript of every interview Scott Horton, editorial director of Antiwar.com and longtime libertarian antiwar radio host, conducted with Dr. Paul from 2004 through this year.
It is not surprising that the interviews focus largely on foreign policy. But it is also not surprising, given that Dr. Paul does not believe there is some magic wall dividing foreign policy, economic policy, and civil liberties (especially in the era of the PATRIOT Act and TSA), that the interviews also discuss the Federal Reserve, the post 9-11 rise of the surveillance state, and how Dr. Paul’s 2008 Presidential campaign started a liberty rEVOLution.
The book gives you the opportunity to see Dr. Paul’s perspective on the major events of the past 15 years in “real time” and is thus a living history of a fascinating time in American (and world) politics, seen through the eyes of the leading spokesperson for liberty of our times. The fact that Scott not only agrees with Dr. Paul but is also himself knowledgeable about Austrian economics and libertarian political philosophy, means that Dr. Paul does not have to spend time explaining his philosophy or defending his views from distortions and attacks. Instead, these interviews give Dr. Paul the opportunity to focus on giving a libertarian perspective on the major events of the time.
The Great Ron Paul is a perfect gift for lovers of liberty, amateur or professional historians, and high school or college students interested in learning about the history and politics of the past fifteen years. You can buy the book (and help Campaign for Liberty) here.
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul issued the following statement regarding the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it will be reducing interest rates for the first time in a decade:
“The Federal Reserve’s reduction of its benchmark interest rate from 2.25% to 2% is a textbook illustration of a popular definition of insanity: taking the same actions over and over again and expecting different results. Since the stock market meltdown of 2008, the Fed has unsuccessfully tried to pump up the economy via historic low interest rates and Quantitative Easing. As anyone except those who believe the government’s manipulated statistics knows, these policies failed to revive the economy. Instead of acknowledging its mistakes, the Fed is resorting to another rate cut in a desperate—and what will prove futile—attempt to forestall another central bank-created recession, albeit one exacerbated by President Trump’s destructive trade war.
The bright side of the Fed’s failure is that it will increase public interest in Austrian Economics and alternatives to the Fed, such as precious metals and crypto currencies, and auditing and ending the Fed. My Campaign for Liberty organization will continue to mobilize pro-liberty Americans to pass Audit the Fed legislation at the federal level and increase the number of states that have restored gold and silver as legal tender.”
This Thursday, the Senate will vote on Senator Rand Paul’s resolution blocking President Trump’s arms sales to Qatar — more on that here.
The Senate will also vote on nominations.
The House is in session Monday through Thursday. The vote that no doubt will get the most media attention is H.Res.430, which authorizes the Judiciary Committee to intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce congressional subpoenas.
Of more significance is H.R. 2740, which combines five appropriations bills. The bills are Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, State and Foreign Operations, Energy and Water, and Legislative Branch.
The summaries of the appropriations bills are admittedly long, but they give you a good detailed look at how Congress spends your money. You will also find examples of wasteful spending to use to counter arguments that we can not afford any more cuts.
Defense—Provides $690.2 billion, an increase of $15.8 billion over Fiscal Year 2019 and $8 billion below the president’s request.
The spending is divided between $622.1 billion in base funding ($15.2 billion above the FY 2019 level and $88.2 billion above the president’s request) and $58.1 billion in “Overseas Contingency Operations” funds, which is an increase of $165 million over the FY 2019 levels and $96.2 billion below the president’s request. Limiting the use of OCO slush funds to increase military spending is one of the few items that is praiseworthy about the budget.
Two other good provisions are a repeal of the 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used to justify military interventions which have nothing to do with getting those responsible for the 9-11 attacks. The 2001 AUMF has also been used to justify crackdowns on civil liberties. Secretary of State Richard Pompeo recently suggested that the 2001 AUMF would allow for military action against Iran!
The bill also requires the president to remove all US troops from Yemen.
Unfortunately, those are the only good parts of the bill. Here are some troubling provisions:
$250 million for Ukraine security innovation.
$749 million for “partner countries” like Columbia and Jordan on top of the $424 million provided in base funding.
$4.5 billion for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, including $100 million to recruit female soldiers and train security personnel. Whatever your views on women in combat, I would hope we would all agree that social engineering is not a proper role of the US Military.
Prohibits the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo.
$970 million for Counter Drug activities plus $172 million for the National Guard Counter Drug Program.
$176 million for Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic aid, which is not a proper function of the US Government. Plus, civic aid means meddling in other nations internal affairs, which creates resentment of the US.
$200 million for Israeli cooperative procurement programs.
$8.7 billion for 90 F-35 aircraft, 12 more than requested. For more on the F-35 see here.
$6.5 million for gender advisor programs.
Legislative Branch — Provides $3.972 billion for the House of Representatives. This is a $264 million (or 4.3%) increase from FY 2019.
$7.36 billion for Corp of Engineers, $357 million above FY 2019 and $2.53 billion above the president’s request.
$1.6 billion for the Department of the Interior, which is $82.8 million above FY 2019 and $528 million above the president’s request.
$37.1 billion for the Department of Energy — $1.4 billion above FY 2019 and $5.6 billion above the president’s request.
$2.65 billion for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which is $273 million above FY 2019 and $2.3 billion above President Trump’s request.
$150 million for security for the nation’s energy infrastructure — $30 million above FY 2019 and $44 million above the president’s request.
$200 million to “advance” new energy technologies — $44 million above FY 2019 and $17.5 million above the president’s request.
$1.3 billion to develop the next generation of nuclear energy — $494 million over President Trump’s request.
$750 million for fossil fuels research and development, which is equal to FY 2019 and $178 million above the president’s request.
$6.87 billion for the Office of Science which does basic research. This is $285 million above FY 2019 and $1.3 billion above the president’s request.
$425 million for the Advance Research project, equal to FY 2019. President Trump proposed eliminating this program which funds “cutting edge research” for developing new entry technologies. Of course, without a market test, there is no way of knowing if the projects funded by this are the best use of resources.
$15.9 billion for the Department of Energy’s nuclear program — $665.7 million above FY 2019. These programs oversee the US government’s “nuclear deterrent.” This also funds nuclear non-proliferation activities.
$7.175 billion for environmental clean-up. This is equal to last years funding amount and $76 million above President Trump’s request.
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul issued the following statement in support of adding a provision allowing families to use “529” savings accounts for homeschooling expenses to H.R. 1994. H.R. 1994 makes changes to rules regarding retirement savings. The provision would allow special needs families to use 529 funds to pay for counseling and tutoring for their children.
The House Ways and Means Committee unanimously agreed to add the 529 expansion to H.R. 1994, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stripped it out at the behest of the teachers’ unions.
Ron Paul– “Allowing parents to use funds saved in a 529 account enables more parents to homeschool, and allows parents already homeschooling to improve their children’s education. This simple change in the law would thus enable more parents to provide their children a quality education that meets the child’s unique needs. The language stripped out of the House bill would also benefit children with special needs without increasing federal spending or imposing new mandates on local schools.
It is shameful that Speaker Pelosi put the demands of the teachers’ union—who have a vested interest in making it difficult for parents to pursue educational opportunities outside of government schools—ahead of the needs of America’s parents and children. It is especially shameful the Speaker’s actions will make it more difficult for parents of special needs children to get those children access to quality tutoring and counseling services. I urge the Senate to correct Speaker Pelosi’s mistake and add the language allowing families to use money saved in a 529 account for homeschooling expenses to H.R. 1994.
For more on Section 529 see Dr. Paul’s 2017 column below:
This week the House of Representatives will vote on a package of bills making the temporary tax cuts contained in last year’s tax reform bill permanent and making additional tax law changes. The bills will likely pass in the House, but will almost certainly be filibustered in the Senate if the Senate leadership tries to bring them to the floor.
The GOP tax plan does offset some of the damage caused by federal control of education by making it easier for parents to escape failing government schools or “edexit.” It accomplishes this by allowing money saved in a tax-free 529 education savings account to be used for homeschooling expenses.
This provision will help homeschooling families and inspire more families to consider homeschooling. Homeschooling parents must not only pay for all their children’s education expenses, they also must subsidize government schools via property taxes and other taxes. A commitment to homeschooling may also require a parent to limit or even forgo outside employment.
Despite the financial costs, more families are choosing to homeschool. This is due to increasing dissatisfaction with government schools, greater public acceptance of homeschooling, and the availability of quality online homeschooling curricula, such as my Ron Paul Curriculum.
My curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education including rigorous programs in history, mathematics, and the physical and natural sciences. The curriculum also provides instruction in personal finance. Students can develop superior oral and verbal communication skills via intensive writing and public speaking courses. Students also get the opportunity to create and run their own internet businesses.
The government and history sections emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. However, unlike government schools, my curriculum never puts ideological indoctrination ahead of education.
Unlike government schools, and even many private schools, my curriculum addresses the crucial role religion played in the development of Western civilization. However, the materials are drafted in such a way that parents of any or no religious belief can feel comfortable using the curriculum.
Interactive forums allow students to engage with and learn from each other. The forums ensure students are actively engaged in their education as well as give them an opportunity to interact with their peers outside of a formal setting.
The latest Republican tax plan has laudable features, such as allowing the use of tax-free education savings accounts for homeschooling. However, as long as Congress refuses to offset tax cuts with spending cuts, the benefits of tax cuts will be limited and short-lived. Therefore, while all lovers of liberty should support any and all tax cuts, we must work to pressure Congress to cut spending. Bringing the troops home and shutting down the Department of Education are two good places to start.
Parents interested in my homeschooling curriculum can find out more about it at ronpaulcurriculum.com.
Among the legislation the House will consider is H.R. 1500. This bill officially changes the name of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It also lays out the responsibilities of the agency and limits the amount of political appointees that can serve at the agency and requires the Executive Branch to provide “adequate staffing” for the agency.
The bill is a response to the Trump Administration’s efforts to reduce the CFPB’s power to impose costly regulations on the financial services industry. I can’t recall a recent incident where Congress passed legislation to protect a federal agency from an incumbent administration.
The House will also consider H.R. 1994. This bill makes changes to governing tax-free retirement savings accounts like IRAs and 401-Ks. I’ll have a detailed look at the bill later in the week.
Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (01-MA) made an agreement with Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady (TX-08) to include a provision allowing homeschooling families to use section 529 tax free savings accounts. The provision would also allow money from 529 accounts to be used to cover education expenses, such as fees for standardized testing, tutoring, or counseling for students with disabilities.
This language was left out of the Section 529 expansion that was included in the 2017 tax bill, and matches legislation introduced in this Congress by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Jason Smith (MS-08).
Since today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is fitting to reflect on the legacy of Sophie Scholl, leader of the White Rose movement. The White Rose movement was a group of German students who distributed pamphlets calling for active, albeit peaceful, resistance to the Nazi regime.
The White Rose movement came to an end in 1943 when its leaders were arrested, tried, and beheaded. Even though they knew they faced certain death, Sophie Scholl and her fellow White Rose members refused to renounce their beliefs.
Here a few of my favorite quotes from Sophie Scholl and the White Rose leaflets:
“Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”
“One has to do something in order to not be guilty oneself.”
“Why do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanised state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right – or rather, your moral duty – to eliminate this system?” (From White Rose Leaflet 3)
“We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!” (Leaflet 4’s concluding phrase, which became the motto of the White Rose resistance.)
And this is my favorite quote:
“Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.”
Campaign for Liberty President Norm Singleton issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s veto of S.J.Res. 7, which directed him to end US involvement in the Yemen Civil War:
“As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to end military interventions in conflicts unrelated to American interests. Not only are there no American interests in Yemen, US support for Saudi Arabia’s horrific actions in Yemen endangers America by giving the region one more reason to resent the US.
It is disappointing (to say the least) to see the president once again neo-conned into supporting a foreign policy that puts the deep state first and the American Constitution and taxpayers last. Congress must continue its efforts to end this unwise and unconstitutional intervention by adding language to this years defense appropriation bill forbidding the use of taxpayer funds for further intervention in Yemen. Campaign for Liberty’s dedicated activists stand ready to help end the war.
You probably heard Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, was arrested by British authorities yesterday. Mr. Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012.
Assange is expected to be extradited to the United States, where he will face charges for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” for helping then-Private Bradley Manning create a secure password to allow Manning to hack defense department computers and download classified documents. The documents would then be transmitted to Wikileaks via a drop box.
The US Government’s argument is that anytime an individual helps a whistleblower obtain classified information, or proactively acts to protect the whistleblower’s identity, they violate federal law. If the government succeeds, it will mean that journalists will be little more than passive recipients of information. This will obviously have a chilling effect on journalists’ willingness to work with whistleblowers and violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment.
Kevin Gosztola, writing for Shadowproof blog, has a good analysis of the case:
The WikiLeaks website publicly solicited submissions of classified, censored, and other restricted information,” the indictment states. “Assange, who did not possess a security clearance or need to know, was not authorized to receive classified information of the United States.”
Reporters or editors for media organizations publish stories based upon on leaks of classified information all the time and typically do not have security clearances.
If a precedent were set where journalists had to possess a security clearance, it would create a threat for any reporter relying upon such information to expose abuses of power or corruption committed by the U.S. government, including but not limited to security agencies.
It was part of the conspiracy that Assange encouraged Manning to provide information and records from departments and agencies of the United States,” according to the indictment. “It was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning used a special folder on a cloud drop box of WikiLeaks to transmit classified records containing information related to the national defense of the United States.”
In this section, prosecutors further allege Assange “aided” and “abetted” “espionage” as a co-conspirator by specifically criminalizing the act of using a drop box.
Several journalists and media organizations use drop boxes to accept documents from sources. One well-known setup is called SecureDrop. It would appear the Justice Department would like to establish a precedent that discourages media organizations from using this practice when engaging in journalism.
The second part of the alleged computer crime explicitly notes the indictment is pulling from two sections of the Espionage Act—793(c) and 793(e)—even though Assange was not charged with violating the Espionage Act.
Additionally, there is the timeline of events that appears in the indictment. On March 8, 2010, prosecutors allege Assange “agreed” to assist in cracking a password so she could anonymously access Defense Department computer connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network that held the documents.
Manning had a security clearance because she was an all-source military intelligence analyst in Baghdad. She did not need Assange to help her obtain access. What the prosecutors are claiming is her interest in shielding her identity, and the fact that Assange allegedly was willing to help her protect her identity, opened him up to a charge of conspiracy.
The indictment highlights chats that allegedly occurred between Assange and Manning over the Jabber online chat service. What the indictment does not state is that the account Manning corresponded with was “Nathaniel Frank.” The U.S. government believes Assange used this account, but they will have to prove it in order to mount a successful prosecution.
During Manning’s Article 32 hearing in December 2011, before her case proceeded to a court-martial, military prosecutors presented evidence they said would show Assange “attempted to devise a way to browse SIPRnet anonymously.”
Here is the roll-call vote on S.J.Res. 7, the resolution calling on the U.S. to end involvement in the Yemen Civil War. The vote was 247-176. Every Democrat plus 15 Republicans voted for the bill. Representative Justin Amash (MI-03) voted “present” because he objected to the use of the War Powers Act to bring the bill to the floor.
Amash and Thomas Massie (KY-04) were the only Republicans to vote against a Republican motion to recommit, which added language allowing states to refuse to do business with supporters of the boycott, sanctions, and disinvestment movement. This represents an attempt to use government power to silence critics of U.S. policy toward Israel.
Five Democrats joined very other Republican in voting for the motion.
Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05)
Jefferson Van Drew (NJ-02)
Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Joe Cunnigham (SC-01)
Elaine Luria (VA-02)
One-Hundred and Fifty-Eight Republicans voted against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Most Republicans opposed it because of provisions examining the bill’s language denying certain individuals from owning firearms.
One Democrat, Collin Peterson (MN-07), voted against the bill.
Eight Republicans voted for the resolution. They are:
Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)
John Katko (NY-24)
Tom Reed (NY-23)
Denver Riggleman (VA-05)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)
Pete Stauber (MN-08)
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Fred Upton (MI-06)
Only eighteen representatives voted against H.R. 1593, which establishes a “school security council” in the Department of Homeland Security, furthering federal intrusion into public education and leading to (further) violations of student rights.
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul and President Norman Singleton made the following statements on the reintroduction of the “Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act” (FAIR):
The FAIR Act limits incentives for federal, state, and local law enforcement to use civil asset forfeiture (more accurately called civil asset theft) by forbidding the use of equitable sharing, which allows state and local police departments to share proceeds from civil asset theft. Equitable sharing also allows state and local police to evade restrictions on the use of civil asset theft. The FAIR Act also requires all proceeds from civil asset forfeiture go to the Treasury Department’s general fund and not to the Justice Department.
The bill also requires the presumption of innocence in civil asset theft cases, and raises the standard of proof in civil asset forfeiture cases to “clear and convincing evidence.”
The bill is cosponsored by Democrats Bobby Rush (IL-01), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), and Tony Cardenas (CA-29) and Republicans Thomas Massie (KY-04), Tim Walberg (MI-07), and Tom McClintock (CA-04).
Here are Dr. Paul’s and Mr. Singleton’s statements:
Ron Paul—Civil asset theft is one of the, if not the, worst violations of due process and individual liberty to emerge from the unconstitutional war on drugs. Congress could achieve a rare bipartisan victory for liberty by sending this bill to President Trump’s desk as soon as possible.
Norm Singleton—The bipartisan group of representatives who introduced the FAIR Act reflects the broad support among all Americans for ending abuses of civil asset theft by restoring due process and taking the profit motive out of law enforcement. Campaign for Liberty is ready to mobilize our supporters to ensure Congress passes, and President Trump signs, the FAIR Act.
The House is in session Monday through Thursday. The main legislation on the agenda this week is H.R. 7, which strengthens remedies available to “victims” of gender-based pay discrimination.
For a good analysis of the flaws in this legislation, see here.
The House will also vote on H.Res 124, legislation expressing disapproval of the administration’s recent reinstatement of the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
Finally, the House will vote to override President Trump’s veto of H.J.Res 46, legislation revoking President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border.
The House will also consider several bills under suspension including
H.R. 920—Places an embargo on arms shipments to any part of the Venezuelan military under control of a government not recognized as legitimate by the US government.
H.R. 854—Authorizes $150,000,000 for 2020 and 2021 to be spent on “humanitarian aid” for the people of Venezuela.
H.R. 1477- Our last Venezuela bill (and boy is it a doozy). Requires the Secretary of State to prepare an assumption of the threat of Russian -Venezuelan cooperation and the dangers of foreign acquisition of CITGO (the Venezuelan-owned oil company).
H.R. 1616—Makes it a priority of US policy to help eastern and central Europe obtain energy independence.
H.R. 1839—Expands protection from bankruptcy for certain medical patients and allows states to offer coordinated care for children under Medicaid. This program could costs an additional $20 million per year and will likely be permanent spending.
The Senate will vote on the Green New Deal. For more on the Green New Deal, see Dr. Paul’s column.
The Senate will also vote on a $13.5 billion disaster relief bill, which is smaller than the $14.2 billion version the House passed in January. However there is a bipartisan effort to increase the bill’s cost by providing more for Puerto Rico. And there will be an effort to provide aid to farmers affected by flooding.
Since this is emergency spending, Congress does not even have to try to provide offsets for the spending (but hey, it’s not like the federal debt is reachingunsustainable levels.)
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