Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Rand Paul - Truth and No Bullshit

To understand Rand Paul, you've got to go back to the earliest days of January 2011 when he was sworn in.

Rand Paul on spending:

Rand Paul was sworn into Congress on January 5, 2011, along with his father Ron Paul.  Within weeks Rand introduced a proposal to immediately reduce federal spending by $500 billion and predictably MSM and Congress went ballistic.  In government speak, reducing government spending is the equivalent of outlawing God.

Rand Paul's Plan To Slash Spending By $500 Billion Immediately

Paul targets projects and agencies dear to liberals. It defunds completely the Affordable Housing Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

But it goes much farther than that.

It calls for rescinding all funds to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (that's the agency that offers protection from unsafe cribs and lead paint). It dramatically reduces spending to nearly every government agency. It rescinds most of the Department of Energy's funds and transfers the remaining dollars and accounts to the Department of Defense. Paul targets projects and agencies dear to liberals. It defunds completely the Affordable Housing Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. But it goes much farther than that. It calls for rescinding all funds to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (that's the agency that offers protection from unsafe cribs and lead paint). It dramatically reduces spending to nearly every government agency. It rescinds most of the Department of Energy's funds and transfers the remaining dollars and accounts to the Department of Defense.

Paul would reduce Health and Human Services funding by over $26.5 billion, including over $5.8 billion in reductions for the National Institute of Health. He'd slash defense spending by over $47 billion, and defund all Department of Education programs immediately, while capping Pell grants at just over $16.2 billion. He does not, however, propose to touch Social Security between now and the end of the fiscal year. 
Rand's bill was immediately rejected and laughed at.  Undeterred,  Rand went back to the drawing board and unveiled a plan with more modest spending cuts - $200 billion (not a lot of money for a government that pisses away nearly $4 trillion a year).

US Sen. Paul proposes $200B in spending cuts

That proposal was also laughed at by both Democrats and Republicans - there would be no talk of spending cuts in the US Congress.  Period! Rand was alone in his request to reign in spending, although he continued to talk about the need to cut spending which of course fell on deaf ears.

That's how Rand got indoctrinated into how Congress really works but I doubt that he was surprised.  He was acutely aware that his father constantly fought the big spenders in Congress but Ron Paul was also alone.

I give Rand Paul and A+ on trying to reign in spending.  He has a long record of voting NO spending that he considers unconstitutional.

I believe that Ron and Rand are ideologically quite similar even though their strategies and tactics differ considerably.  Rand holds the potential to succeed where Ron Paul failed. Ron Paul simply could not sell small accountable constitutional government to the voters.  Liberty is a tough, tough sell.

To understand Ron and Rand, you've got to view government as one giant poisonous tree that is spewing poisonous fruits. Ron Paul wanted to grab a buzz saw and just cut the whole rotten tree down. Clearly, Rand learned from Ron that such a strategy doesn't work.  Accordingly, Rand's strategy has been to hack away at the roots of the poisonous tree and slowly kill it (or slowly reduce the magnitude of government power).

Rand's voting record on liberty issues is quite impressive.  Even so he has been castigated and accused of nasty things including outright lies.  I don't know if they are intellectually lazy or even controlled opposition but Rand has been brutalized by some of the so-called members of the liberty movement.

Rand Paul on civil liberties:

There has been much hysteria on social media accusing Rand Paul of voting YES on NDAA. First of all, there was never an NDAA bill. NDAA was merely a very tiny component of the monster  Defense Authorization bill but that tiny component included highly combustible and contentious language on the right of the federal government to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process or charges. Because of civil liberties concerns, Rand Paul fought for language that would have weakened or neutered the right of the government to indefinitely detain citizens. Once that amendment was included in the Defense Authorization bill, Rand Paul voted YES on the bill.

It is not unusual for the senate and house to pass competing versions of a bill. It happens frequently and when it does happen a Conference Committee is created to include members of the house and senate to iron out the differences. Yes, the Conference Committee is always rigged.

Let's back up to the 2012 Defense Authorization bill (passed in Dec. 2011) when the same civil liberties issues were raised. Rand Paul voted NO on the final Conference Committee bill along with 14 other senators in an 86-13-1 vote. The 12/15/11 roll call vote is here.

Fast forward a year later to December 2012 and the vote on the 2013 Defense Authorization Act. In an 81-14-4 vote that easily passed, Rand Paul voted NO. The 2013 Defense Authorization official roll call vote is here and the vote occurred on 12/21/12.

In the 2011 and 2012 final votes on the Defense Authorization bill, Rand Paul voted NO, as documented above with the official roll call votes. Since Rand Paul was elected in Nov. 2010 and was sworn into office in January, 2011, he had no votes prior to being sworn in.

Yet, there is a firestorm brewing that falsely alleges that Rand Paul voted YES on NDAA. It's simply NOT true. However, what is TRUE is that Rand Paul voted YES on the 2013 Defense Authorization bill (senate version) on 12/4/12 because it contained an amendment restricting NDAA indefinite detention but that amendment was kicked out of the final bill in Conference Committee.

Still, the Rand Paul haters are circulating the 98-0-2 roll call vote as proof that Rand Paul voted YES on NDAA. That roll call vote is here. Rand Paul NEVER voted for NDAA.

The Huffington Post wrote a piece on Rand Paul's furious dissent.

NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill Passes Senate After Rand Paul Calls It An 'Abomination'

RT.com documented Rand Paul's position on NDAA.

'Abomination': Rand Paul slams NDAA as bill passes US Senate

Another lie that is circulating about Rand Paul is that he voted YES on the Patriot Act. He did no such thing. The Patriot Act originally passed shortly after 911 with a sunset date of 12/31/05, meaning it was supposed to be TEMPORARY but since government tyranny is NEVER temporary, Congress and Bush renewed the Patriot Act in 3/06 for 4 more years. In February, 2010, Obama signed a one year extension of the Patriot Act. On 5/26/11, Congress passed and Obama signed a 4 year extension of the Patriot Act. Senate bill 990 (PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011) cleared the Senate on 5/26/11 in a 72-23-5 recorded vote, here. Rand Paul voted NO.

Rand has been consistently solid on civil liberties. In June 2015, the Patriot Act was replaced with the USA Freedom Act, a bill that actually expands NSA snooping powers.  Rand Paul voted NO on the USA Freedom Act and his filibuster to kill it failed.

Senate Clears USA Freedom Act After Ending Rand Paul Filibuster

The USA Freedom Act is especially egregious because a federal court had ruled that NSA snooping was not specifically authorized by the Patriot Act.  Congress corrected that flaw with the USA Freedom Act!  How anybody call call a Nazied styled 4th amendment crushing bill the "USA Freedom Act" is appallingly reprehensible beyond belief but in attention deficit America, Congress loves flexing is totalitarian muscle because they know there are no ballot box consequences.

I give Rand Paul and A+ on civil liberties.  He's even worked with Democrats and introduced bills to reform the criminal justice system that would release non violent drug offenders from federal prison.

Rand Paul on Mitch McConnell and Audit the Fed

Rand has been criticized for endorsing Mitch McConnell in his bid for re-election to the senate and I understand that criticism.  McConnell is a worthless piece of corrupt statist shit. Audit the Fed is so important to Rand Paul that YES, he did cut a deal with the devil.  He knew that McConnell would be Senate Majority Leader and McConnell promised Rand an up/down vote on his Audit the Fed bill.  If slime ball McConnell lost his senate seat, who knows who would be Senate Majority Leader - definitely Harry Reid if the Dems kept the Senate but also possibly nutjobs like Lindsay Graham or John McCain.

McConnell promises to push Paul’s Audit the Fed bill

Audit the Fed cleared the House in September, 2014, 333-92.  However, it is languishing in the Senate and not because of Mitch McConnell.  It doesn't have enough co-sponsors to clear the senate and the last thing Rand wants is to bring Audit the Fed up for a vote and have it fail.

I give Rand Paul and A+ on what he had to do for the cause of Audit the Fed because Audit the Fed is that important. However, Audit the Fed won't clear this congress (probably any congress) and it definitely couldn't survive a presidential veto if it miraculously cleared both the house and senate.

Foreign Policy 

The neocons hate Rand Paul and view his foreign policy as very similar to Ron Paul's foreign policy.  I don't believe that Rand is a neocon.  What Rand has done is attempt to gently persuade the GOP base and Republican elites that foreign policy must change if the Republican Party is to win a presidential election.  Yeah, some view it as a wimpy gutless strategy but going back to hacking at the roots of the poisonous tree and considering the bloodlust of the GOP voting base, as a matter of politics Rand is forced to romance warmongers and war lovers (something Ron refused to do).  On that I don't criticize him too badly - he's in a very awkward and delicate position.

However, where Rand did lose me is on his neocon turn on the Iran Deal, a deal endorsed by Ron Paul. In fact, I was so infuriated that I made the decision to no longer #StandWithRand.  Although Rand does support a deal with Iran, he doesn't support this deal and opposes ending the sanctions right away.  Iran is suffering heavily under the weight of sanctions and agreed to this deal providing sanctions were lifted immediately upon ratification.

I don't understand Rand's issues with Iran.  Shiite Iran is not a terrorist nation and neither Iran nor Shiite Muslims have ever committed acts of terror against the US and the West.  If you take into accounts 911, the bombings in Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow, Mumbai (and other places), and the bombing of the USS Cole, all the evidence clearly documents that every one of these Islamist terror attacks were committed by Sunni Salafist Wahhabists. Wahhabism is a radical Sunni sect of Islam that is practiced on the Arabian Peninsula and quickly spreading globally with Saudi and Gulf money. Yet, America and America's neocons are in bed with the biggest terrorist nation on the planet - Saudi Arabia, something even Rand Paul has acknowledged.

Rand Paul: Declassify 9/11 report pages on Saudi Arabia

Sen. Rand Paul calls for Americans to boycott Saudi Arabia

Rand Paul Bill Would Unhood Saudi Role in 9/11

Iran had a functioning democracy until the CIA engineered a coup in 1953 that ousted the popular Mossedegh and installed the dreaded shah, a US puppet, a situation that paved the way for the Islamic Revolution and Ayatollah rule, here and here.

Rand's insane position on Iran, a nation that has never been involved in Islamist terror, makes no sense.  Rand certainly isn't earning any brownie points with the neocons - they hate his guts.

Insiders: Rand Paul's foreign policy views are a serious liability - While the Kentucky senator’s positions help him stand out in a crowded field, Republicans believe they likely preclude him from winning the nomination.

In my opinion, Rand never stood a chance at winning the Republican nomination because the GOP primary voters are just as hardcore neocon as the GOP's most dangerous psychopaths like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Tom Cotton and others.  Still there is an anti-war liberty wing within the GOP that is growing and Rand just lost it.

Presently, Rand's vote on the Iran Deal may be irrelevant because it's being reported that Obama has the votes to pass it, although Harry Reid and Democrat neocons are teaming up with Republican neocons to kill it via a filibuster.

I don't know if Rand is shamelessly pandering to typical Republican warmongering primary voters by opposing the Iran Deal but if he is, he's crossed a dangerous line and lost the respect of those who love and support his father.

I give Rand Paul and B on foreign policy simply because he would be a whole lot less dangerous than the rest of the Republican and Democrat POTUS aspiring heap who all deserve big F's.

Rand has done a lot of good things, even if he lost the battles.  But it's not Rand fault that he stands alone on spending, civil liberties and other issues.  He's even visited black colleges and given speeches on the benefits of liberty, something Republicans never do.

Rand has stepped out of the establishment box on a lot of issues and for that he has earned the respect of many conservatives, if not Libertarians who justifiably are suspicious of him.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is trumping all the Republican candidates. While Trump may be a narcissistic rabble rouser with a non-stop motor mouth and years of TV reality show experience to sharpen his showmanship, he's way short on the issues.  Trump has been mostly silent on big issues while brandishing his "Make America Great Again" theme (no disclosures on how he intends to accomplish such a lofty feat).

I do believe that Rand is the best hope for liberty and I can't see where Trump would in any way advance the cause of liberty.  If anything, another election season that is upon us once again proves that voters are idiots and they seek sleazy entertainment rather than an honest debate on the difficult issues that we face.

However, a Rand Paul presidency wouldn't bring much change because all his vetoes would be overridden by a traitorous Congress.  Rand would be a lame duck president but there is one area where he would excel - as Commander in Chief, Rand would be far less likely to march off to war than any president in my lifetime.  I trust Rand more on foreign policy than any other of the other psychopaths running for president.

Until this congress is fired by the voters and replaced with liberty leaning congress critters, the cause of liberty is dormant.

With the shit hitting the fan in the financial sector, the economy in steep decline, endless wars, massive deficits, mountains of unsustainable debt, a bankrupt military empire and public corruption on steroids, I can't see where our decline can even be reversed at this junction without massive suffering (not that we won't ultimately experience suffering). Who in their right mind would even want to be president?

The next president will be under immense non-stop pressure.  Rand should just sit out 2016 - America isn't ready for him but Americans might be in 2020 when they are desperate for a leader who will help lift them from misery by empowering them with liberty.

The GOP is old, white, gray and dying.  Every election cycle there are fewer and fewer of the Republican geezer brigade but right now they control primaries because they vote in huge percentages. There is no way that these folks will nominate Rand.  Maybe some day the younger liberty wing of the GOP will take over but for now it's just not going to happen.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Unhappy Labor Day: How the Federal Reserve, Monetary Policy and Congress Robbed the Poor and Middle Class

As liberals, progressives, Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and assorted others comprising the ideological spectrum ponder the acute decline of the American middle class and the hopeless suffering of the poor, it's not likely that the true reason for such national misery will be addressed.  In fact, truth is universally ignored in America.

Yes, there are a lot of moving parts to our economic woes ranging from nasty corporatist trade agreements (outsourcing US manufacturing) to massively increased socialist-statist entitlements (the welfare state) to endless wars that are bankrupting us but one factor leads the pack as the chief culprit: the destruction of the dollar attributable to Nixon de-tethering the dollar from gold in 1971 and its horrific effect on the poor and middle class.  Purchasing power has nosedived and wages, which never keep pace with inflation, have also nosedived.

Source:  Zero Hedge

Worker wages and purchasing power peaked in 1971 just before Nixon churned the dollar into a 100% fiat currency that became the chief tool to transfer wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich.

Why Inequality Started Soaring in 1971 - Going Off the Gold Standard Encouraged a Financialized Economy … Which Caused Inequality to Soar

Why would going off the gold standard increase inequality? Financialization of the economy is one of the main causes of inequality. And going off the gold standard greatly increased financialization.
The debt based 'fiat money' economy or financialization replaced sound money.  Just to maintain their standard of living, families started borrowing and stopped saving money became saving became nearly impossible. Effectively, Americans became debt slaves as wages remained stagnant and their wage dollars bought less and less.

Median Wages Have PLUMMETED Since 1969 - Real Wages Much Lower Than They Were Four Decades Ago

Wages need to rise to keep up with inflation, especially since the value of the dollar has been trashed,,,
The interests of Wall Street, corporations and the rich are served at the expense of the poor and middle class.  It doesn't help that tens of millions of low wage immigrants have flooded America and most of these folks are collecting welfare while creating the 'Minimum Wage Economy'.  It doesn't help that Congress has passed tax laws that actually encourage the destruction of US manufacturing by taxing corporations at lower rates if they earn their profits on foreign soil.  It doesn't help that American and western workers can't compete with 3rd world slave wage nations.
According to CNN's online global wage calculator, which uses data from the International Labor Organization, the average annual salary of a worker in China's private sector was 28,752 yuan (about $4,755) in 2012, or 38% of the global average. Jan 24, 2014

While globalization has indeed benefited 3rd world nations by fostering massive industrialization and rising standards of living, it's come at the expense of western workers who can't compete in high tax and high cost of living nations.  No American can house or feed themselves on earnings of $4,755 a year. Such wages automatically qualifies a person for food stamps, Medicaid and other welfare benefits.

It's as if the globalization economy has churned the world into a form of industrial feudalism consisting of subsistence level serfs and their corporate masters.  Western corporations lobby heavily for the low wage welfare state because it effectively transfers the social costs of an employee to the taxpayers who are already severely financially stressed.  Clearly, it's a form of corporate welfare but corporations love it because it lowers their production costs and makes their exports cheaper in foreign nations.  China keeps its currency permanently devalued so that it's goods remain cheap when exported.

These are not good times for labor who is being crushed by globalization and financialization but Wall Street and the rich are doing well as the wealth of the 1% continues to grow.

Just about everybody claims to have a political solution.  Bernie Sanders is campaigning on transferring wealth from the rich via high taxation to fund a bigger entitlement state.  Sanders doesn't believe in sound currency or simply creating economic conditions wherein the poor and middle class have the opportunity to create and keep their own wealth.

The Republican nutjobs running for president are obsessed with endless wars, the American empire, growing the corporatist fascist state and the creepy social issues that fire up the war loving GOP base. Donald Trump is campaigning on "Make America Great Again" but offers absolutely nothing on how he intends to achieve such a lofty goal.

Well, there are solutions, solutions that the power hungry statist politicians despise.  There is only one way to make America great again.  Restore sound money (which effectively kills corrupt Wall Street power) and making America a safe and desirable place to park and utilize capital.  Capital will always seek and find capital friendly places - it's like a law of financial physics. We need a revival domestic manufacturing because nothing jump starts a sick and ailing economy like a factories and manaufacturing.

It's been estimated that literally trillions of dollars in corporate profits earned by US corporations are locked up in foreign banks and cannot be repatriated back to the US because of oppressive taxation. Ron Paul addressed this issue several times.  The statist liberal progressive approach is to force those profits back to American where they can be taxed and expropriated.  The free market approach is to abolish the tax penalties and allow that big pile of capital back into America to work its job producing magic.

Moreover, abolishing the corporate tax would enormously benefit America because we happen to have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, here, which is why US corporations keep their profits stashed away in low tax off shore banking havens.

American corporations aren't exactly paragons of morals and ethics.  They spend billions bribing (lobbying) congress and state legislatures for special privileges, special tax breaks and protectionism.  If we give them a tax free paradise from which to operate, then they get no special privileges and would be subjected to the rigors of the free market and competition, something many corporations abhor. We have to get the corporate money out of politics and kill the scourge of corporatism.  The marriage of big business and big government is simply evil.

However, we can't stop at just abolishing corporate taxes, all the corporate welfare and subsidies must also cease and desist including worker entitlements. food stamps, Medicaid etc.   Businesses must be forced to compete for labor without the drug of entitlements (corporate welfare).

Finally, making America Great Again is a splendid idea but also a minefield for power seeking politicians whose logo infested suites literally resemble NASCAR drivers.  In America, there is no such thing as bribery, it's all a legal campaign or PAC contribution.

You can't make America Great Again without making the American worker great again.  Every American worker deserves the opportunity to work, earn, save, provide for his family and all without dependency on the thieving government that keeps him poor.

Let's work to make Labor Day a day to truly honor and be proud of.  Making America Great Again and Labor Day go hand in hand.  You can't have one without the other.

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