Posts Tagged ‘ ron paul

About That Rand Paul

You know, I heard about Rand Paul’s filibuster from a friend’s text. Without any context, at all, my immediate reaction to such a message is to always disassociate myself from Rand. He is no libertarian, even though, sadly, he has become a mainstream symbol for it. Ironically, he, himself, disapproves of such a label.

But then I saw on C-SPAN what was happening, and it was amazing, thrilling, epic, heroic. I wrote that night:

I can’t stand Rand Paul, and I doubt his sincerity most of the time, but defending the 5th amendment, and getting mainstream press for it, over Obama’s assassination program is heroic.

It was refreshing to see this happening. The American public barely knows about, and, when they do know, cheers the ever increasing dictatorial powers the executive branch has acquired since 9/11. And yet, you know something is up, when insane, warmongering people like Charles Krauthammer and Rush Limbaugh are cheering alongside libertarians. That make so sense … like, at all!

But then, you start reading these reports coming in — reports saying this filibuster was “no accident,” but was approved, beforehand, by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with Jesse Benton, known liberty backstabber and opportunist as Rand’s and Mitch’s go-betweener — the guy whom threw Ron Paul’s grassroot supporters under the bus; the guy now running Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign. And then, you realize the GOP is in disarray, no thanks, in part, to the god awful treatment Ron Paul supporters got during the Republican primaries. And, finally, when you think about the memo Eric Holder replied with to Rand Paul’s question:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

Obama killed  Abdulrahmani, a 16-year-old American in Yemen, with no due process, in a country we are not at war with, but have been bombing, while he was at a barbaque. I can only assume this kid, while American, but not being on American soil and/or “engaged in combat” obviously justifies his killing, and is in no way inconsistent with Eric Holder’s memo. Lies. Lies. Lies. William Grigg has it right when he wrote:

What Holder is saying, in substantive terms, is that the President does have the supposed authority to use a drone to kill an American who is engaged in “combat,” whether here or abroad. “Combat” can consist of expressing support for Muslims mounting armed resistance against U.S. military aggression, which was the supposed crime committed by Anwar al-Awlaki, or sharing the surname and DNA of a known enemy of the state, which was the offense committed by Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdel. Under the rules of engagement used by the Obama Regime in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, any “military-age” male found within a targeted “kill zone” is likewise designated a “combatant,” albeit usually after the fact. This is a murderous application of the “Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy,” and it will be used when — not if — Obama or a successor starts conducting domestic drone-killing operations.

Holder selected a carefully qualified question in order to justify a narrowly tailored answer that reserves an expansive claim of executive power to authorize summary executions by the president. That’s how totalitarians operate.

With that much wiggle room, Eric Holder’s memo is unsatisfactory. Nothing actually productive nor fruitful happened to stop the encroaching war powers of the President. Yes, the filibuster, itself, was exhilarating, and the drones program was brought to the limelight (finally!), and you did get to find out who your real friends are (politicians don’t count), so, really, what was this about?

This was a power play, a power shift in the party, with assholes like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio riding on Rand’s coattails, smelling which way the wind is blowing, to get the anti-government, Ron Paul supporters back under the Republican wing, to get legitimacy back on Rand’s side. It was a brilliant political move. But for what? We know Rand has no real interest in liberty.

Maybe, just maybe, Rand Paul is watering down the libertarian message, capitulating to the war party, the Israel lobby, and singing his little jig, doing his little dance, just only to get the power he needs, to become the next President, so he can end the warsbring all the troops home, pardon all nonviolent drug offenders from prison, and end five Fed Departments, just like his Dad would …

I’m holding my breath. This is Reagan déjà vu.

Reagan Déjà Vu?

An Open Letter to Libertarians: Don’t Be Fooled By Rand Paul by Robert Wenzel, reprinted from EPJ.


Dear Libertarians,

There is a big difference between Ron Paul and Rand Paul that appears to be missed by many. Ron Paul was not hungry to be president of the United States. If he would have been hungry, he would have booted his grandson in-law and that entire gang out early on in the primaries when it was clear they were positioning themselves not to advance Ron Paul and liberty, but to advance their own careers. Ron Paul just wasn’t that hungry to do that and be president. He was satisfied getting the libertarian message out. [empahsis mine]

Rand Paul is different. It appears that he wants to be president. Wanting to be president changes a man, wherever they start off from. [emphasis mine]

This was Rand at the start of his political career, on the Federal Reserve and  Bilderberg.

After Rand settled in, this is what Rand did when questioned about Bilderberg.

Rand also enthusiastically endorsed elitist loser Mitt Romney. Remember this?

If you want to become president, you have one thing in mind, you need to get to 50.1% If you hold libertarian views and run on those views you are not going to be president. I dare anyone to run on completely libertarian principles and believe they are going to win. Go ahead. Tell voters you are in favor of legalizing heroin and LSD. Tell them that the U.S. government should default on its debt and relieve taxpayers of the burden. Tell them you want to end welfare and food stamps. Tell them you want to end the DEA, TSA, FDA, DOE, FAA, SEC, CFTC and the rest of the government alphabet soup agencies.

Tell them you want to end medicare. Tell them you don’t want to fight Muslims, or anyone else, anymore. Go ahead, see how far you are going to get. As I have stated before, there is nothing wrong with running, as long as you stick to principles and lose. It can be a method of spreading libertarian views. Winning, given the current voter climate, is when you become suspect.

Rand Paul is about winning. [emphasis mine]

Every time I point out Rand moves that are away from liberty, I get emails and comments telling me I am too  harsh on Rand. I received many again today because of this post (Scroll down to the comments).

What these commenters are looking at are Rand’s pro-liberty stances, i.e. he says he is against raising taxes and for cutting government spending. Whoopee, that would have been great if he stopped there and been consistent, but he didn’t stop and that is the problem. He isn’t going to get himself in much trouble with the masses in moving towards 50.1% by being against higher taxes–and just saying this, this early in the 2016 race, helps make him stronger with his libertarian and Tea Party base. But notice what else he said. He said he would be in favor of reforming the tax code, in response to a question about closing loopholes.

As Joe Salerno pointed out:

Republicans condemn them as major barriers to the implementation of a more business- and investor-friendly flat tax.  Even free market economists oppose tax loopholes as inefficient and “non-neutral” to the market economy’s allocation of resources–as if there existed an optimal pattern of coercive redistribution of income from productive, private taxpayers to parasitic, political tax-consumers  that was neutral to the market.

Salerno then pointed out what Mises said about loopholes:

Needless to say Ludwig von Mises, who never took his eye off of  the larger politico-economic issue of capitalism versus socialism,  freedom versus statism, did not share the modern aversion to tax loopholes founded on baseless economistic concerns about “ efficiency” and “tax neutrality.”..

[Mises said] “Capitalism breathes through those loopholes.” [emphasis mine, I just like this quote]

The issue shouldn’t be about reforming the tax code. It should be about lowering taxes, right from where they are now. When Rand talks about tax reform, he is talking code to his new supporters, Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin and the like. They all know that tax reform always ends up raising taxes. It did under Ronald Reagan and it sure as hell would under the crew now in Washington. Rand also mentioned “saving” social security, in the video clip at my earlier post.

This isn’t the first time “libertarians” were all in on “saving” social security. Here’s Murray Rothbard on the last time ”libertarians” and Republicans teamed up to “save” Social Security:

We should also say a word about another of Ronnie [Reagan]’s great “libertarian” accomplishments. In the late 1970’s, it became obvious even to the man in the street that the Social Security System was bankrupt, kaput. For the first time in fifty years there was an excellent chance to get rid of the biggest single racket that acts as a gigantic Ponzi scheme to fleece the American taxpayer. Instead, Reagan brought in the famed “Randian libertarian” Alan Greenspan, who served as head of a bipartisan commission, performing the miracle of “saving Social Security” and the masses have rested content with the system ever since. How did he “save” it? By raising taxes (oops “premiums”), of course; by that route, the government can “save” any program. (Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket.)

Rand also commented that, under his supposed lower tax scheme, the economy would grow quicker and result in even higher revenues for government. How is this small government thinking? [emphasis mine] Can you imagine Ron Paul ever saying, “Well my plan will be good because it might increase government revenues even more.”

In the clip, Rand also talked about making the Republican Party a bigger party. Just how is he going to do that? By an outreach program promoting more libertarian views, in conjunction with John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and John McCain? Oh yeah.

Bottom line: Watch more than the libertarian talk from Rand, he will use it when he can and when it won’t hurt him going into 2016. Watch Rand on the edge, where he can be hardcore libertarian like his father or be signalling to the Republican establishment. [emphasis mine] As we get closer and closer to 2016, it will be easier to spot Rand support moving toward intrusive government measures, that’s the only way he will get anywhere close to 50.1%.

And don’t think Rand is going to snooker the elitists and then become libertarian when he becomes president. [emphasis mine] The elitists don’t like those kind of games.

They sit you down when you have a reasonable chance of winning and tell you what they expect, and you better not cross them. Ask former presidential candidate Gary Hart, he was going to do a movie about “The Talk.” Guess who shut that movie idea down.

No libertarian is going to get elected president until a lot more people start thinking favorably about libertarianism. As I said, libertarians can run for office, if they want, but only if they speak principle and lose. It is the Rand Paul types that are dangerous. They will cast themselves as libertarians, but at the same time, to get elected, they will talk increased government interventionism  by promoting “tax reform,” “saving” social security and other sneaky interventionist moves.

As Rothbard put is about the last “savers” of social security:

The way Reagan-Greenspan saved Social Security is a superb paradigm of Reagan’s historical function in all areas of his realm; he acted to bail out statism and to co-opt and defuse any libertarian or quasi-libertarian opposition.

Let’s not let it happen this time, in any shape or form, with any expansionary government proposals or plans, by anyone. Let’s stay principled and call out politicians who are hungry to get elected and veer from the liberty message–even Rand Paul. Liberty shouldn’t be co-opted by anyone, in anyway at anytime. [emphasis mine] The only way Rand would ever get elected president in the current environment is if he bows to the elitists and he becomes their tool. The only value he is to us then is to point out, as an object lesson, how he veers from true libertarian principle.

Yours in liberty,

Robert Wenzel

Secession Porn

Secession, secession, secession. I get hot and heavy just thinking about pulling out. Let’s just say, my pleasure-detecting sensors hit maximum current load when it comes up. No seriously. There is no other concept in the liberty movement that gets me as flustered as secession. I’m not sure why. I think it has to do with its level of practicality; it being the most possible solution; and it being the most peaceful solution. Yes, all other secession attempts in American history have been bloody messes. Disastrous! But what are the alternatives? The alternatives are the inevitable fates we find ourselves in continuing the same-in, same-out we’ve already been doing, and that means full blown socialism, or the more likely consequence for Americans, out right fascism. Fear. Death. I’ll be out of the country by then.

I can tell you, after living in New Hampshire, for over a year and a half, there is very little cultural resemblance from here and California. If, left to their own devices, if one seceded from the other, the response would be “okay, whatever, call me maybe?” But, we have this debt-ridden, empire-expanding, centralized cancer in Washington, D.C. that will suck the country dry, keeping it “together,” until the end. It’s what states do: expand the territory over which they have a monopoly on violence.

Of course, I’m not really sure how much for resources the federal government will have — all wealth already squandered on destructive goals — once its precious fiat US dollar reaches its true value of zero. It’s all about timing and preparation. New Hampshire, with its guns, liberty-leaning activism, the (a hark back to the guerrilla warfare of our American colonial ancestors) densely-filled Blair Witch forests, and the expected, eventual collapse of the US dollar hegemony, could, very possibly, survive a bloody battle with anyone whom, even closely, still feels a strong-Storm Trooper-urge to fight for the empire. I don’t want that. Heck, I’m sure I’ll be in Canada by then (or somewhere)! But if it does, New Hampshire is strategically ready for the worst case scenario. Have you seen the kind of weather New Englanders have to deal with regularly!?

But what comes after New Hampshire secession? Well, I can tell you, after the dust has settled, and everyone has no more nostalgia for an America that hasn’t been America for so long, I’ll be fighting for Manchester’s right to secede from New Hampshire. Yes. Absolutely. But where does it all end? Well, at the point of the individual, of course, … but I’ll settle for city-states.

Now that I have cleaned my stains, and in lieu of the ridiculous – I would’ve stayed in the Union if Romney were elected but I’ll ignore the fact he’s no different from Obama – petitions (principals, man!), I give you the words of the closet anarchist, Ron Paul, reprinted from the Albany Tribune

Is all the recent talk of secession mere sour grapes over the election or perhaps something deeper? Currently there are active petitions in support of secession for all 50 states, with Texas taking the lead in number of signatures. Texas has well over the number of signatures needed to generate a response from the administration, and while I wouldn’t hold my breath on Texas actually seceding, I believe these petitions raise a lot of worthwhile questions about the nature of our union.

Is it treasonous to want to secede from the United States? Many think the question of secession was settled by our Civil War. On the contrary, the principles of self-government and voluntary association are at the core of our founding. Clearly, Thomas Jefferson believed secession was proper, albeit as a last resort. Writing to William Giles in 1825 he concluded that states “should separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left are the dissolution of our union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers.”

Keep in mind that the first and third paragraph of the Declaration of Independence expressly contemplate the dissolution of a political union when the underlying government becomes tyrannical. Do we have a government without limitation of powers yet? The federal government kept the union together through violence and force in the Civil War, but did might really make right?

Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some thought it was treasonous to secede from England, but those “traitors” became our country’s greatest patriots. There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents. That is what our revolutionary war was all about and today, our own federal government is vastly overstepping its constitutional bounds with no signs of reform. In fact, the recent election only further entrenched the status quo.

If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties, and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it. Consider the ballot measures that passed in Colorado and Washington state regarding marijuana laws. The people in those states have clearly indicated that they are ready to try something different where drug policy is concerned, yet they will still face a tremendous threat from the federal government. In California the feds have been arresting peaceful medical marijuana users and raiding dispensaries that state and local governments have sanctioned. This shouldn’t happen in a free country!

It remains to be seen what will happen in states that are refusing to comply with deeply unpopular mandates of Obamacare by not setting up healthcare exchanges. It appears the federal government will not respect those decisions either.

In free country governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. When the people have very clearly withdrawn their consent for a law, the discussion should be over. If the feds refuse to accept that and continue to run roughshod over the people, at what point do we acknowledge that that is not freedom anymore? At what point should a people dissolve the political bands which have connected them with an increasingly tyrannical and oppressive federal government? And if people or states are not free to leave the United States as a last resort, can they really think of themselves as free? If a people cannot secede from an oppressive government they cannot truly be considered free.

Update: Mises apparently felt the same way as I do! Rothbard explains. (h/t Robert Wenzel)


We Are The Peacemakers

Less Antman, anarcho-capitalist, gave a speech at the Libertarian Party’s National Convention on May 5th this year. I am no longer part of the Libertarian Party — my gateway drug to libertarian ideas back in late 90′s. In many ways, the party has lots its relevance and radicalism. Nonetheless, Less Antman’s speech is wonderful. I highlighted my favorite parts. You can view the video below. The state is always at war. No more wars.

Antiwar is the Health of the Anti-State Movement by Less Antman, reprinted from Anarchy without Bombs.

Five years ago, almost to the day, the Libertarian movement exploded into the public consciousness. As someone who joined the Libertarian Party more than 32 years ago, when our party and platform already supported marriage equality for gays while the big debate in this country, including the Democratic Party, was over gay imprisonment, I can tell you that the first 27 years were the hardest. We had an appealing message of liberty that for some reason just didn’t catch fire with the public. Until May 15th, 2007. And there is one man we have to thank. Rudolph Giuliani.

On that day, the one-time 1988 Libertarian Party nominee for President, who I believe is still an official member of our party, was attacked by Giuliani for expressing the absurd idea that the 9/11 murderers, and let’s be clear that they are murderers, were motivated to kill Americans because of US military intervention on top of cruel trade sanctions in Muslim countries. Giuliani, as you know, is a foreign policy expert because he lived close to the World Trade Center and wore a hardhat on 9/11. Oddly enough, not only the CIA but the 9/11 Commission, which supposedly included Giuliani, AGREED with the man Giuliani attacked. As for the man he attacked, anyone who is an advocate of peace, whatever disagreements they might have on other issues, should join me in saying, God bless you, Ron Paul.

We have all heard Randolph Bourne’s famous quote “War is the health of the state”. War is the four letter word that lets government officials who are mere mortals, almost as human as you and I, place themselves above the rule of law, above due process, and above habeas corpus because, of course, all’s fair in love and war. [emphasis mine]

War is such a useful concept to politicians that they declare wars on everything. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on ignorance, the war on poverty, the war on pornography, and even the war on trans-fats. You see, we can’t afford to respect life, liberty and property… WE’RE AT WAR.

Drowning people in fear is the key to power. But we also learned five years ago that antiwar is the health of the anti-state movement. And even if we do nothing other than end ALL the wars, real as well as metaphorical, we will be well on our way to a free society. And millions are ready to rally around that banner. [emphasis mine]

But only one party can be the Party of Peace, and it isn’t the Republican Party, which will only nominate a candidate who passes two tests. First, they must be pro-life. Second, they must want to kill lots of foreigners. It isn’t the Democratic Party, which has rallied around a man who now holds the record for most children killed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. [emphasis mine] And it isn’t our good friends in the Green and Constitution parties, who understand the importance of military nonintervention but not the equal or greater importance of free trade, which the late libertarian, Joan Kennedy Taylor, called the necessary foundation for world peace. The Libertarian Party is the only Party of Peace.

Libertarians love strategic alliances … between people. Trade, travel, migration and cultural exchange build both prosperity and friendship throughout the world. We oppose strategic alliances between governments. They lead to war, terrorism, and a blind eye toward violations of life, liberty and property by those allied governments. [emphasis mine] When it comes to politicians, friends don’t tell friends to respect human rights. And with friends like that, we create enemies.

Libertarians believe in humanitarian intervention… by volunteers who are supported by others who volunteer their money. The most positive image of Americans is our personal generosity after natural disasters in other parts of the world. We oppose humanitarian intervention by governments, whose decisions are influenced by what President Eisenhower called a military-industrial complex that profits from finding crises, and whose arrogance causes them to fancy themselves experts about another country and culture simply because they viewed a YouTube video. [emphasis mine] Of all humanitarians, the US government is the one whose past record of horrible unintended consequences and distorted intelligence has most earned itself a “time out” in its own corner of the world. It’s time for some humanitarian nonintervention. Bring ALL of our troops home from around the world to their families, treat their wounds, and stop creating new ones.


Ron Paul vs Paul Krugman

Business cycles are well understood. They are not a natural consequence of capitalism, but instead from central bank manipulation of credit.”

- Ron Paul