Earmarks Are Not the Problem

The fact increasing numbers of legislators are “willing to vote against big government than in past years” is not because the practice of earmarks was ended but because “the liberty movement has led to more liberty-minded members being elected to the House and Senate,” says Ron Paul. 

By Dr. Ron Paul

Last week President Trump urged Congress to reassert its constitutional authority to direct how federal agencies spend taxpayer dollars. Ironically, many constitutional conservatives and libertarians disagree with the president. The reason is, President Trump wants Congress to reassert its authority by bringing back earmarks.

Earmarks are line items in spending bills directing federal agencies to spend federal funds on specific projects in a representative or senator’s district or state. Congress ended the practice of earmarks several years ago after a public outcry fueled by a widespread misunderstanding of the issue.

Earmarks are added to spending bills after the spending levels have been determined. Therefore, earmarks do not increase federal spending. What earmarks do is limit the federal bureaucrats’ ability to decide how to spend taxpayer money.

When I served in Congress, I was amazed when self-proclaimed constitutionalists complained about how earmarks prevented funding of federal bureaucrats’ priorities. These “constitutionalists” seem to have forgotten that the Constitution gives Congress sole authority over deciding how taxpayer dollars should be spent.

My support for earmarks in Congress did not add one penny to the spending in the bills. I believed that some of the tax money sent to Washington should actually make it back to congressional districts rather than remain in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. In the end, I always voted against final passage of the bloated spending bills.

Some call earmarks a gateway drug to big spending. They point to how congressional leadership denied earmarks to members unless the members voted for big spending and other anti-liberty legislation. It is true that congressional leadership used earmarks to reward and punish members. During my years in Congress, earmarks for my district were stripped from bills in an (unsuccessful) attempt to make me stop voting against unconstitutional legislation.

Congressional leaders do not need earmarks to reward or punish members. They can, for example, deny plum committee assignments to those who refuse to toe the party line, or discourage donors from supporting them.

Presidents can still use the promise of federal funds to influence congressional votes. “Presidential earmarks” were crucial to passing Obamacare, and President Trump has threatened to withhold aid from states whose senators oppose his agenda. The removal of earmarks has given the president even greater influence over the legislative branch!

The fact that there are more representatives and senators willing to vote against big government than in past years has nothing to do with the lack of earmarks. Instead, the liberty movement has led to more liberty-minded members being elected to the House and Senate.

While the ideas of liberty are growing in popularity, the majority of the people and certainly most politicians still believe the U.S. government should run the economy, run the world, and run our lives. This misplaced faith in big government, not the presence of earmarks, is why most politicians vote for big spending. No politician ever said, “Now that I can’t receive earmarks, I am abandoning my support for the welfare-warfare state.”

Earmarks are a way for elected representatives to ensure their constituents’ tax dollars are spent in a manner that matches constituent priorities. Earmarks do not by themselves expand government. Those who oppose earmarks should work to stop so many Americans from demanding government-provided economic and personal security. Earmarks are not the cause of runaway spending, and removing them has done little or nothing to shrink government and regain our liberties.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at ronpaulinstitute.org.




Top-Tier Treason and the USS Liberty

In his new book, Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas, Philip F. Nelson has documented U.S. treason at the highest levels of government in a planned false-flag operation that called for Israel’s high-seas slaughter of USS Liberty sailors on June 6, 1967.  

By S.T. Patrick

Phillip F. Nelson’s new book, Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas,* seeks to out the American politicians responsible for the planning, execution, and cover-up of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. In tracing the planning of the June 8 attack back to 1965, Nelson has written a work that holds President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara responsible.

In 1979 Liberty survivor James M. Ennes Jr. wrote the first full treatment concerning the Israeli assault on the unarmed U.S. naval ship. After the release of his book, Ennes pursued further research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. Within that research, Ennes found a misfiled document that detailed the minutes of a meeting held by a “303 Committee” in April 1967. The 303 Committee was responsible for all covert CIA operations within the Johnson administration.

The 303 Committee consisted of CIA director Richard Helms, former ambassador to the Soviet Union Foy Kohler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Earle Wheeler, Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance, and National Security Adviser Walt Rostow. Rostow also headed a separate White House group that consisted of Johnson’s most adamantly Zionist advisors.

McNamara was often used by LBJ as the key liaison and chief executioner of the covert operations birthed by the 303 Committee and the other groups.

The minutes of the 303 Committee meeting—held two months before the attack on the Liberty—referenced an operation called “Frontlet 615.” Operation Cyanide was found within the subparts of Frontlet 615. The 303 Committee used Frontlet 615 as a code name for the pending Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt. As planned, the war was scheduled to begin on June 15. The Americans had agreed to provide equipment, officer training, and the limited use of aircraft to the Israelis.

Operation Cyanide was a provocative false flag that called for an Israel Defense Force attack on a U.S. ship. The assault on the unarmed ship would use unmarked fighter jets so that the destruction could then be blamed on the Egyptians, and the Americans could enter the war on the side of Israel.

It was not the first time Johnson had dabbled in false-flag operations. Years earlier, he had tasked National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy with “Plan 34A” in Vietnam. Buddy was charged with constructing a series of provocations that would cause the North Vietnamese to attack American destroyers (i.e., Gulf of Tonkin). Some historians cite Tonkin as the primary reason for Johnson’s 1964 win over Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.).

In a decision that confounded LBJ, Israel began its war with Egypt 10 days early. The USS Liberty was rushed from its position off the horn of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. The Liberty had been chosen as the victim of Operation Cyanide.

In Remember the Liberty! Nelson recalls the tense confusion and abandonment Admiral Lawrence Geis experienced as the Liberty was being attacked. Geis later relayed the tale to Chief Intelligence Officer David Lewis, who agreed not to reveal the information until Geis had died, which he did in 1987.

Geis explained to Lewis that Johnson had ordered two sorties of fighter jets recalled—one that had been en route to the Liberty ten minutes after the attack. Johnson had also recalled two A-4s, launched from the USS America within minutes, armed with nuclear weapons and headed for Cairo, Egypt.

McNamara called Geis and instructed him to recall the aircraft. “We’re not going to war over a few dead soldiers,” McNamara told Geis. McNamara, expecting the Liberty to sink within the hour, told Geis that he could order another sortie of fighter jets in 90 minutes. When the hour-and-a-half had passed, Geis prepared to order assistance. McNamara again instructed him to recall the order.

Geis demanded to speak to the president, who was standing next to McNamara. Johnson confirmed to Geis that he should “recall the wings.” He told Geis that he didn’t care if the Liberty sunk to the bottom of the Mediterranean. He was not going to embarrass his ally.

Upon assuming the presidency after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson had told Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Golda Meir in 1963, “You’ve lost a great friend, but you’ve found a better one.” He promised Ms. Meir that there would be no repeat of the Eisenhower incident of 1956. Ike had rebutted Johnson, who had attempted to persuade the president to back off on sanctioning Israel. The threat of sanctions was levied by Eisenhower after Israel had refused to release lands in the Sinai Peninsula.

In Remember the Liberty! Nelson further details the political maneuverings that make Johnson, McNamara, and LBJ’s administration culpable in the 1967 attack on American sailors off the coast of Egypt and Israel. A part of the proceeds from Nelson’s work are donated to the Liberty Veterans Association.

*Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas (softcover, 480 pages) by Phillip Nelson is available from the American Free Press Bookstore for $20 plus $4 shipping and handling inside the U.S. If you prefer, send cash, check or money order to AFP, 16000 Trade Zone Avenue, Unit 406, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. Or call 1-888-699-NEWS Mon. thru Thu. 9-5 ET  to charge.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer” News Show. His email is [email protected]




Will Congress and Trump Declare War on WikiLeaks?

If the Senate Intelligence Committee, in service of the Deep State, has its way, providing truthful information to Americans about their government—or even merely criticizing the welfare-warfare state—will soon be illegal and grounds for shutting down whistle-blowing organizations and websites or potentially even sending out military forces to arrest truth-tellers. WikiLeaks would be just the first of many groups targeted for such treatment, warns Dr. Paul.

By Ron Paul

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently passed its Intelligence Authorization Act for 2018 that contains a chilling attack on the First Amendment. Section 623 of the act expresses the “sense of Congress” that WikiLeaks resembles a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such.” This language is designed to delegitimize WikiLeaks, encourage the federal government to spy on individuals working with WikiLeaks, and block access to WikiLeaks’s website. This provision could even justify sending U.S. forces abroad to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or other WikiLeaks personnel.

SINGLE MALE over 50, Polish-Italian, non-smoker, in good shape, articulate, attentive seeking a single female, slender, intelligent, down-to-earth, who’s looking for love and willing to relocate. Serious calls 727-492-8164.

WikiLeaks critics claim that the organization’s leaks harm U.S. national security. However, these critics are unable to provide a single specific example of WikiLeaks’ actions harming the American people. WikiLeaks does harm the reputations of government agencies and politicians, however. For example, earlier this year WikiLeaks released information on the CIA’s hacking program. The leaks did not reveal any details on operations against foreign targets, but they did let the American people know how easy it is for the government to hack into their electronic devices.

For the last year, most of the news surrounding WikiLeaks has centered on its leak of emails showing how prominent Democrats worked to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. In order to deflect attention from these revelations, Democrats, aided by their allies in the media and even some Republicans, promulgated a conspiracy theory blaming the leaks on Russian hackers working to defeat Hillary Clinton. Even though there is no evidence the Russians were behind the leaks, many in both parties are still peddling the “Putin did it” narrative. This aids an effort by the Deep State and its allies in Congress and the media to delegitimize last year’s election, advance a new Cold War with Russia, and criminalize WikiLeaks.

If the government is successful in shutting down WikiLeaks by labeling it a “hostile intelligence service,” it will use this tactic to silence other organizations and websites as well. The goal will be to create a climate of fear to ensure no one dares publish the revelations of a future Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning.

Some have suggested that criticizing police brutality, the surveillance state, the Federal Reserve, or even federal spending aids “hostile foreign powers” by weakening the people’s “trust in government.” This line of reasoning could be used to silence, in the name of “national security,” websites critical of the welfare-warfare state.

By labeling WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service” and thus legitimizing government action against the organization, the Senate Intelligence Authorization Act threatens the ability of whistleblowers to inform the public about government misdeeds. It also sets a precedent that could be used to limit other types of free speech.

President Trump should make it clear he will veto any bill giving government new powers to silence organizations like WikiLeaks. If President Trump supports the war on WikiLeaks, after candidate Trump proclaimed his love for WikiLeaks, it will be further proof that he has outsourced his presidency to the Deep State.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, along with notable whistleblowers, foreign policy experts, and leading champions of peace and liberty, will be addressing this important issue at my Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s conference on Saturday, September 9 at the Dulles Airport Marriott Hotel in Dulles, Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. You can get more information about the conference and purchase tickets at the Ron Paul Institute.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.




Gun Control: A Colorblind Issue

In yet another appalling example of political correctness-induced cowardice on the part of America’s so-called mainstream media, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has dumped a black conservative columnist. Why? She penned a column defending the National Rifle Association and the rights of gun owners in response to an outrageous opinion piece from a retired leftist professor in Missouri asserting there is no difference between the NRA and ISIS, and that gun owners love their guns more than their children.

By Mark Anderson

Conservative columnist Stacy Washington wrote a column challenging a recent editorial written by an academic who compared the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the radical Islamic ISIS terrorist organization.

However, rather than stand up for her right to free speech, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where her freelance column had been a regular feature, unceremoniously dumped her.

Ms. Washington, a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality, and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” already had an understanding with the Post-Dispatch that if any one of her freelance columns was deemed unsuitable for publication, then the paper, which paid her on a per-column basis under an “at-will” arrangement, could simply refrain from running the column in question, but keep her on board. Yet she was let go after the April 28, 2017 column that sparked this controversy had already appeared in print.

Bug Out While You Still Can! Learn More…

Her column had challenged Missouri State University Journalism School professor (emeritus) George Kennedy, a regular guest columnist for the Columbia Missourian. He had claimed that the NRA was no better than ISIS, and that gun owners care more about their guns than their children. She wrote that Kennedy’s column was absurd, so the Post-Dispatch opinion editor Tod Robberson dropped her.

What was the reason Robberson cited for dropping her columns?

Ms. Washington’s unpardonable “sin” was that she allegedly failed to let Robberson know about her dastardly NRA affiliations. While attending the NRA’s annual conference in Atlanta, Ms. Washington saw an email from Robberson, in which he said that he was suspending her column. Referring to that April column, he claimed Ms. Washington was “advocating for the NRA while failing to disclose that you did media work on behalf of this lobbying organization and its official television station,” which “goes far beyond the bounds of any acceptable journalistic standard.”

He also alleged that she didn’t disclose that she served “multiple times” as a co-host and commentator on NRA-TV’s “Cam & Company.”

Liberty Stickers

In a follow-up article that appeared in the NRA journal 1st Freedom, Ms. Washington explained that, before the start of her column, and again in January of this year, articles describing her participation in an NRA documentary appeared in the Post-Dispatch.

Her biography and online social media accounts “all state that I am a fourth-generation veteran, gun owner, Second Amendment supporter, and NRA member,” Ms. Washington explained. “Besides, does my appearance as a guest host for ‘Cam & Company’ on a few occasions make the [professor’s] NRA-ISIS comparison valid?

Here are excerpts from the column, headlined “Guns and the Media,” that led to her suspension:

Missouri School of Journalism professor emeritus George Kennedy offered his opinion of gun-owning NRA members in a Columbia Missourian commentary [as follows]: “The NRA is the acronym for the National Rifle Association, founded in 1871, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, and feared by politicians across America.” Really. Tons of politicians cowering in fear of the NRA, eh?

Kennedy . . . describes the barbaric nature of the Islamic State and goes on to say of law abiding, gun-owning Americans: “What makes the NRA so feared is its willingness to spend heavily and campaign aggressively in pursuit of its goal of removing all restrictions on the possession and use of firearms just about anywhere by just about anyone.”

To further illustrate the ridiculous nature of Kennedy’s comparison, when has a member of the NRA ever decapitated, set on fire, tossed from a rooftop or otherwise terrorized another American? The association [of the NRA with reported ISIS actions] is not only rife with improper context; it is false on its face. Yet the Missourian saw fit to publish it without question.

In her 1st Freedom piece, Ms. Washington summarized, “Upon reading [Kennedy’s] assertion that ‘we love our guns more than we love our children,’ I was compelled to write about this spurious comparison and the obvious editorial malpractice that permitted the approval of such copy without so much as a rebuttal.”

As for the bigger picture, Ms. Washington—a black woman who, being conservative and pro-gun, doesn’t fit the “liberal PC” image that media often project in order to stereotype and divide people—sees great irony in the fact that traditional print media is constantly losing its readership but still omits or misrepresents conservative viewpoints, rather than winning over more readers with better editorial balance in order to stay in business.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at [email protected]




Amish Healer Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Following the FDA’s lengthy persecution of an Amish man in Kentucky, a judge has meted out an outrageous prison sentence for the herbal salve maker—despite the fact no victims were shown to have ever been harmed by his salves. Once again, pharmaceutical companies, as represented by the FDA, have won out over a peaceful citizen of  the United States.

By Jacob Tyler

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s decade-long persecution of an Amish man whose family enterprise specializes in the manufacture of home-made salves reached a disturbing conclusion on June 30 in the U.S. district court in Lexington, Ky., when he was sentenced to six years in prison for the crime of “mislabeling” and selling a natural remedy.

Samuel A. Girod, 57, was sentenced by Judge Danny Reeves to 72 months in prison to be followed by a supervised release period of three years, during which time he is prohibited from making and selling any product intended for medical purposes. Girod is also required to pay the court $14,000 in restitution and $1,300 in court fees, though the judge did not impose the potential fine of $25,000-$250,000 on the basis that doing so would impose undue hardship to the family.

The convoluted history of U.S. v. Girod traces back to 2001 when FDA agents first contacted Girod. After allegedly receiving an anonymous tip notifying them Girod’s product label asserted his topical tincture made from bloodroot was good for skin cancer, FDA agents informed Girod they considered this a medical claim that must be either irrefutably proven or altogether removed from his product label. Girod complied by amending the label.

IRS Loses Cases

In 2013, the FDA contacted Girod again, claiming a “victim” had been “harmed” by his salve.

However, during the investigation, no victim was produced and the salve in question was revealed to be from a different manufacturer. Still, Girod allowed FDA agents to conduct a warrantless search of his farm. A federal judge in Missouri then enjoined Girod’s products and ordered that no products could be sold until medical claims were removed, that Girod’s bloodroot salve could never be made available for sale, and that Girod must allow FDA inspections of his property for five years.

In late 2013, Girod refused an inspection and in 2014 began selling his products again, through a private members’ club.

Bug Out While You Still Can! Learn More…

The FDA began criminal proceedings against him for disobeying the injunction and added two more severe charges. FDA agents claimed that Girod and his family threatened them with physical violence when they returned for the second inspection, despite the fact that the sheriff’s deputy, who had accompanied FDA agents, testified under oath that no threats were made. Finally, Girod was also charged with witness tampering because he had sent a letter to customers explaining the facts of the lawsuit and apologizing for causing them distress.

Liberty Stickers

During a jury trial, which concluded in March, Girod was found guilty on 13 charges: conspiracy to impede an officer, obstruction of a proceeding before an agency, failing to register with the FDA, eight counts of causing misbranded drugs to be introduced into interstate commerce, tampering with a witness, and failure to appear.

It’s important to note that the FDA’s classification of “drugs” here is based solely upon its insistence that Girod’s brochure for his salve, which quoted a customer’s testimonial that the product treated skin cancer, constitutes a medical claim. Therefore, according to the FDA, this salve, which anyone can produce in their own kitchen following one of numerous recipes readily available online with ingredients readily available at a local grocery store, is a “drug.”

Reeves explained that the court calculates the offense level in part based on the number of victims, though throughout the entirety of the hearing, the court did not reference a single one.

The FDA has a long track record of granting its seal of approval to substances produced by big pharma that have been proven to harm victims by the thousands annually. Yet it would seem that going after an Amish family business that produces a natural product, which has harmed no proven victims, that has been tested in the FDA’s own laboratories, and subsequently vindicated as both safe and natural, is what this government bureaucracy deems to be where the taxpayer dollars that help pay its budget are most gainfully prioritized.

It’s no great wonder that this has caused a major outcry among concerned Americans. Girod’s sentencing hearing on June 30—during which numerous security personnel were present in the courtroom, a bomb-sniffing dog was on hand, and Homeland Security officers were stationed outside—was attended by over 120 Amish men, women, and children from numerous communities around the nation, dozens of activists, and numerous reporters for both local and alternative news outlets, filling the courtroom to capacity.

Perhaps the most recognizable face amidst the large number of supporters was former sheriff and Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association founder Richard Mack (pictured in the photograph above speaking to the crowd), who has 20 years’ experience in law enforcement and one year working in narcotics.

This writer interviewed Mack about the Girod proceedings.

According to Mack, the sentencing guidelines for Girod outlined by Reeves were absurdly in excess of those for crimes of equal severity committed by repeat offenders. He added that in all his years of experience in law enforcement he had never seen a first-time offender be sentenced in such a draconian fashion. What’s more, he pointed out, actual drug dealers often only get 5-10 years prison time when convicted.

Girod, who represented himself for the majority of his case, asserted his rights as a sovereign citizen at numerous points during the hearing, responding to every question directed at him by the court with the words: “I do not waive my immunity to this court. I do not consent.”

During sentencing, as if to refute the widespread cries of foul play from the public, Reeves claimed: “This is not about the government coming down on a man who just wants to sell salve. It’s about a man that has no respect for the rule of law.”

Reeves spoke of a prevailing need to “protect the public from any future crimes of the defendant.”

Conspicuously absent during the trial, however, was so much as a single example of an actual victim, past or present.

Also noteworthy was the candor of the prosecution. Two statements by federal prosecutor Kate Smith were particularly indicative of an overt agenda on which the FDA and the court were in painfully apparent collusion.

“He has not accepted responsibility for his actions,” she claimed, followed by, “The government has put a lot of money into this case and I would hate to see Mr. Girod released—and be back in here for the same thing.”

IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH

Supporters both inside the courtroom and assembled outside—some of whom carried signs and placards that read “Notice to Feds: Stop targeting our peaceful Amish neighbors”—gathered in front of the courthouse immediately afterward, as local news cameras rolled and activists livestreamed the gathering.

Mack’s vociferous denunciation of Reeves’s decision rang out in front of the news cameras. His bold words were met with equally exuberant applause and cries of “Amen!” from scores of the Amish present.

Mack called for intervention by officials like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Girod’s own senator. Having spearheaded numerous successful efforts to vindicate Amish people being targeted by the FDA thus far, Mack is also calling for both congressional and presidential commissions to investigate not just this, but all similar cases.

“This has nothing to do with safety,” said Mack. “The only crime committed here is that a family has been torn apart. . .. Every American has something to fear after this.”

When asked to comment on the sentencing outcome, Girod’s father told AFP, “The Constitution isn’t working anymore. This is all on the government.”

Another Amish community leader added: “It is a slap in the face to the Amish to send him to prison . . .. [Sheriff Mack said] that [Sam] is being lied about and railroaded. Sam did not have a fair trial. If he’d had an attorney he could have had a fair chance.”

The palpable spirit of righteous indignation evident in the gathered protestors was well summarized in the statements of Mrs. Sally Oh, who has covered the Girod case from its outset and writes for the Kentucky Free Press:

“There are no victims. Sam didn’t hurt anybody. The only victim here is the FDA, if you can even call them victims. The most egregious counts against him are based on common law: ‘Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.’ Sam did none of those things. This is a clear case of the FDA flexing its muscle and throwing its weight around.”

There is still a chance for the ruling against Girod to be appealed to the 6th Circuit. Considering that five lawyers have offered to take his case pro bono and numerous others at a reduced rate since his conviction, he may yet have an opportunity to turn this around. But whether or not Girod, who didn’t trust lawyers to begin with, can trust any representatives of a legal system that has so recently trampled his rights into the mud remains to be seen.

Jacob Tyler is a freelance writer and web designer.




You Want a Picture of the Future? Imagine a Boot Stamping on Your Face

Not so long ago, prescient people who were paying attention tried to spread the message that the United States was rapidly becoming a police state. They encouraged their fellow Americans to take action while there was time, usually dismissed with a nonchalant, “That could never happen in my country!” Most people went about their business as usual. Now, those early warnings have been realized. Is it too late to turn things around and restore the promise of liberty?  

By John Whitehead

“The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”—Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by such science fiction writers as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, and Philip K. Dick.

Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move.

Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but . . . rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.”

http://www.koschertified.com/

Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller “Minority Report,” which was released 15 years ago—we are now trapped into a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Bug Out While You Still Can! Learn More…

“Minority Report” is set in the year 2054, but it could just as well have taken place in 2017.

Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so fast in the short time since “Minority Report” premiered in 2002 that what once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts, and controlling our behavior, Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality.

Both worlds—our present-day reality and Spielberg’s celluloid vision of the future—are characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America.

Liberty Stickers

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. Much of the population is either hooked on illegal drugs or ones prescribed by doctors. And bodily privacy and integrity has been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

All of this has come about with little more than a whimper from a clueless American populace largely comprised of nonreaders and television and Internet zombies. But we have been warned about such an ominous future in novels and movies for years.

The following 15 films may be the best representation of what we now face as a society.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Adapted from Ray Bradbury’s novel and directed by Francois Truffaut, this film depicts a futuristic society in which books are banned, and firemen ironically are called on to burn contraband books—451 Fahrenheit being the temperature at which books burn. Montag is a fireman who develops a conscience and begins to question his book burning. This film is an adept metaphor for our obsessively politically correct society where virtually everyone now pre-censors speech. Here, a brainwashed people addicted to television and drugs do little to resist governmental oppressors.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The plot of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, as based on an Arthur C. Clarke short story, revolves around a space voyage to Jupiter. The astronauts soon learn, however, that the fully automated ship is orchestrated by a computer system—known as HAL 9000—which has become an autonomous thinking being that will even murder to retain control. The idea is that at some point in human evolution, technology in the form of artificial intelligence will become autonomous and that human beings will become mere appendages of technology. In fact, at present, we are seeing this development with massive databases generated and controlled by the government that are administered by such secretive agencies as the National Security Agency and sweep all websites and other information devices collecting information on average citizens. We are being watched from cradle to grave.

IRS Loses Cases

Planet of the Apes (1968). Based on Pierre Boulle’s novel, astronauts crash on a planet where apes are the masters and humans are treated as brutes and slaves. While fleeing from gorillas on horseback, astronaut Taylor is shot in the throat, captured and housed in a cage. From there, Taylor begins a journey wherein the truth revealed is that the planet was once controlled by technologically advanced humans who destroyed civilization. Taylor’s trek to the ominous Forbidden Zone reveals the startling fact that he was on planet earth all along. Descending into a fit of rage at what he sees in the final scene, Taylor screams: “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you.” The lesson is obvious here, but will we listen? The script, although rewritten, was initially drafted by Rod Serling and retains Serling’s Twilight Zone-ish ending.

THX 1138 (1970). George Lucas’s directorial debut, this is a somber view of a dehumanized society totally controlled by a police state. The people are force-fed drugs to keep them passive, and they no longer have names but only letter/number combinations such as THX 1138. Any citizen who steps out of line is quickly brought into compliance by robotic police equipped with “pain prods”—electro-shock batons. Sound like tasers?

A Clockwork Orange (1971). Director Stanley Kubrick presents a future ruled by sadistic punk gangs and a chaotic government that cracks down on its citizens sporadically. Alex is a violent punk who finds himself in the grinding, crushing wheels of injustice. This film may accurately portray the future of Western society that grinds to a halt as oil supplies diminish, environmental crises increase, chaos rules, and the only thing left is brute force.

Soylent Green (1973). Set in a futuristic overpopulated New York City, the people depend on synthetic foods manufactured by the Soylent Corporation. A policeman investigating a murder discovers the grisly truth about what soylent green is really made of. The theme is chaos where the world is ruled by ruthless corporations whose only goal is greed and profit. Sound familiar?

Blade Runner (1982). In a 21st century Los Angeles, a world-weary cop tracks down a handful of renegade “replicants” (synthetically produced human slaves). Life is now dominated by mega-corporations, and people sleepwalk along rain-drenched streets. This is a world where human life is cheap, and where anyone can be exterminated at will by the police (or blade runners). Based upon a Philip K. Dick novel, this exquisite Ridley Scott film questions what it means to be human in an inhuman world.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). The best adaptation of Orwell’s dark tale, this film visualizes the total loss of freedom in a world dominated by technology and its misuse, and the crushing inhumanity of an omniscient state. The government controls the masses by controlling their thoughts, altering history, and changing the meaning of words. Winston Smith is a doubter who turns to self-expression through his diary and then begins questioning the ways and methods of Big Brother before being re-educated in a most brutal fashion.

Brazil (1985). Sharing a similar vision of the near-future as 1984 and Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, this is arguably director Terry Gilliam’s best work, one replete with a merging of the fantastic and stark reality. Here, a mother-dominated, hapless clerk takes refuge in flights of fantasy to escape the ordinary drabness of life. Caught within the chaotic tentacles of a police state, the longing for more innocent, free times lies behind the vicious surface of this film.

They Live (1988). John Carpenter’s bizarre sci-fi social satire action film assumes the future has already arrived. John Nada is a homeless person who stumbles across a resistance movement and finds a pair of sunglasses that enables him to see the real world around him. What he discovers is a world controlled by ominous beings who bombard the citizens with subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform.” Carpenter manages to make an effective political point about the underclass—that is, everyone except those in power. The point: We, the prisoners of our devices, are too busy sucking up the entertainment trivia beamed into our brains and attacking each other up to start an effective resistance movement.

The Matrix (1999). The story centers on a computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson, secretly a hacker known by the alias “Neo,” who begins a relentless quest to learn the meaning of “The Matrix”—cryptic references that appear on his computer. Neo’s search leads him to Morpheus who reveals the truth that the present reality is not what it seems and that Anderson is actually living in the future—2199. Humanity is at war against technology, which has taken the form of intelligent beings, and Neo is actually living in The Matrix, an illusionary world that appears to be set in the present in order to keep the humans docile and under control. Neo soon joins Morpheus and his cohorts in a rebellion against the machines that use SWAT team tactics to keep things under control.

Minority Report (2002). Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and directed by Steven Spielberg, the setting is 2054 where PreCrime, a specialized police unit, apprehends criminals before they can commit the crime. Captain Anderton is the chief of the Washington, DC, PreCrime force which uses future visions generated by “pre-cogs” (mutated humans with precognitive abilities) to stop murders. Soon Anderton becomes the focus of an investigation when the precogs predict he will commit a murder. But the system can be manipulated. This film raises the issue of the danger of technology operating autonomously—which will happen eventually if it has not already occurred. To a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. In the same way, to a police-state computer, we all look like suspects. In fact, before long, we all may be mere extensions or appendages of the police state—all suspects in a world commandeered by machines.

V for Vendetta (2006). This film depicts a society ruled by a corrupt and totalitarian government where everything is run by an abusive secret police. A vigilante named V dons a mask and leads a rebellion against the state. The subtext here is that authoritarian regimes through repression create their own enemies—that is, terrorists—forcing government agents and terrorists into a recurring cycle of violence. And who is caught in the middle? The citizens, of course. This film has a cult following among various underground political groups such as Anonymous, whose members wear the same Guy Fawkes mask as that worn by V.

Children of Men (2006). This film portrays a futuristic world without hope since humankind has lost its ability to procreate. Civilization has descended into chaos and is held together by a military state and a government that attempts to keep its totalitarian stronghold on the population. Most governments have collapsed, leaving Great Britain as one of the few remaining intact societies. As a result, millions of refugees seek asylum only to be rounded up and detained by the police. Suicide is a viable option as a suicide kit called Quietus is promoted on billboards and on television and newspapers. But hope for a new day comes when a woman becomes inexplicably pregnant.

Land of the Blind (2006). This dark political satire is based on several historical incidents in which tyrannical rulers were overthrown by new leaders who proved just as evil as their predecessors. Maximilian II is a demented fascist ruler of a troubled land named Everycountry who has two main interests: tormenting his underlings and running his country’s movie industry. Citizens who are perceived as questioning the state are sent to “re-education camps” where the state’s concept of reality is drummed into their heads. Joe, a prison guard, is emotionally moved by the prisoner and renowned author Thorne and eventually joins a coup to remove the sadistic Maximilian, replacing him with Thorne. But soon Joe finds himself the target of the new government.

All of these films—and the writers who inspired them—understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan, flag-waving, zombified states, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control at all costs.

Eventually, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, even the sleepwalking masses (who remain convinced that all of the bad things happening in the police state—the police shootings, the police beatings, the raids, the roadside strip searches—are happening to other people) will have to wake up.

Sooner or later, the things happening to other people will start happening to us and our loved ones.

When that painful reality sinks in, it will hit with the force of a SWAT team crashing through your door, a taser being aimed at your stomach, and a gun pointed at your head. And there will be no channel to change, no reality to alter, and no manufactured farce to hide behind.

As George Orwell warned, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is available from AFP  at www.americanfreepress.net or 1-888-699-6397. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected]




Trump’s Budget: Radical Change or More of the Same?

Decreasing the spending growth rate is not the same as cutting spending. While opponents decry President Donald Trump’s budget proposal as inhumane and proponents hail it as victorious, Ron Paul points out neither position is based in reality.

By Ron Paul

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget has generated hysteria among the American left. Prominent progressives have accused the president and his allies of wanting to kill children, senior citizens, and other vulnerable Americans. The reaction of the president’s allies—including some conservatives who should know better—is equally detached from reality as they hail Trump for launching a major assault on the welfare state and making the hard choices necessary to balance the budget.

Bug Out While You Still Can! Learn More…

President Trump’s budget does eliminate some unnecessary and unconstitutional programs such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts. However, it largely leaves the welfare-warfare state intact. In fact, this so-called “radical” budget does not even cut domestic spending! Instead, it plays the old D.C. game of reducing “the projected rate of growth.” For example, under Trump’s budget, Medicaid spending increases from $378 billion this year to $525 billion in 2027. Only in the bizzaro world of Washington, D.C. can a 38% increase be considered a cut.

President Trump’s budget combines phony cuts in domestic spending with real increases in military spending. Specifically, the budget increases the military budget by $23 billion over the next ten years. Trump claims that the increase is necessary to reverse the damage done to our military by sequestration. But, despite the claims of the military-industrial complex and its defenders in Congress, on K Street, and in the media, military spending has increased over the past several years, especially when the “off-budget” Overseas Contingency Operations funding is added to the “official” budget.

Liberty Stickers

The restrained America-first policy promoted by candidate Trump does not require a large and expansive military that literally spans the globe. This budget is the latest indication that President Trump is embracing the neocon foreign policy that candidate Trump correctly denounced.

The budget also relies on rosy scenario economic projections of 3% growth without even a mild economic recession to justify the claim that the federal budget will achieve balance in a decade. This claim bears little or no resemblance to reality.

IRS Loses Cases

 

It certainly is true that some of Trump’s proposed tax and regulatory reforms can increase economic growth. However, the benefits of these pro-liberty policies will not offset the continued drag on the economy caused by the continued growth of federal spending and the resulting monetization of debt by the Federal Reserve. Far from bringing about endless prosperity, Trump’s big-spending budget increases the odds that Americans will face a Greece-style crisis in the next few years, while the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax evaporates the benefits of any tax reductions passed as part of tax reform.

Some of President Trump’s apologists claim his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan will help create jobs and grow the economy. But government spending programs do not create real wealth; they only redistribute resources from the private sector to the (much more inefficient) government sector. Therefore, any short-term gains from these programs are illusionary and outweighed by the long-term damage the expansion of government inflicts on the economy. Trump’s proposed new parental leave mandate will also hurt the economy, as well as the job prospects of the new entitlement’s supposed beneficiaries.

Far from presenting a radical challenge to the status quo, President Trump’s budget grows the welfare-warfare state, albeit with more emphasis on the warfare. This budget is thus more evidence that, for a pro-liberty political revolution to succeed, it must be preceded by an intellectual revolution that reignites the people’s desire and demand for liberty.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at RonPaulInstitute.org.




Will the Trump Administration Overdose on Authoritarianism?

Not only is the war on drugs unconstitutional, it also leads to richer and more powerful black-market drug cartels, increased violence, more lethal drugs, destruction of individual civil liberties both in the U.S. and abroad, and violates the bedrock of a free society—the nonaggression principle. President Trump has instructed his attorney general to “seek the maximum penalty” for even nonviolent drug-related offenses. Time will tell whether he’ll direct Sessions to violate states’ rights to determine their own drug laws as well.

By Ron Paul

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors in drug cases to seek the maximum penalty authorized by federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Sessions’s order represents a setback to the progress made toward restoring compassion and common sense to the sentencing process over the past few years. Sessions’s action also guarantees that many nonviolent drug law offenders will continue spending more time in prison than murderers.

Sessions’s support for mandatory minimums is no surprise, as he has a history of fanatical devotion to the drug war. Sessions’s pro-drug war stance is at odds with the reality of the drug war’s failure. Over 40 years after President Nixon declared war on drugs, the government cannot even keep drugs out of prisons!

Bug Out While You Still Can! Learn More…

As was the case with alcohol prohibition, the drug war has empowered criminal gangs and even terrorists to take advantage of the opportunity presented by prohibition to profit by meeting the continued demand for drugs. Drug prohibition enables these criminal enterprises to make profits far above the potential profits if drugs where legalized. Ironically, the so-called “law-and-order” politicians who support the drug war are helping enrich the very criminals they claim to oppose!

The war on drugs also makes street drugs more lethal by incentivizing the creation of more potent and, thus, more dangerous drugs. Of course, even as Sessions himself admits, the war on drugs also leads to increased violence, as drug dealers cannot go to the courts to settle disputes among themselves or with their customers.

Before 9/11, the war on drugs was the go-to excuse used to justify new infringements on liberty. For example, laws limiting our ability to withdraw, or even carry, large sums of cash and laws authorizing civil asset forfeiture were justified by the need to crack down on drug dealers and users. The war on drugs is also the root cause of the criminal justice system’s disparate treatment of minorities and the militarization of local police.

Liberty Stickers

The war on drugs is a war on the Constitution as well. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to regulate, much less ban, drugs. People who doubt this should ask themselves why it was necessary to amend the Constitution to allow the federal government to criminalize drinking alcohol but not necessary to amend the Constitution to criminalize drug use.

Today, a majority of states have legalized medical marijuana, and a growing number are legalizing recreational marijuana use. Enforcement of federal laws outlawing marijuana in those states is the type of federal interference with state laws that conservatives usually oppose. Hopefully, in this area the Trump administration will exercise restraint and respect state marijuana laws.

Sessions’s announcement was not the only pro-drug war announcement made by the administration this week. President Trump himself, in a meeting with the president of Colombia, promised to continue U.S. intervention in South and Central America to eliminate drug cartels. President Trump, like his attorney general, seems to not understand that the rise of foreign drug cartels, like the rise of domestic drug gangs, is a consequence of U.S. drug policy.

The use of government force to stop adults from putting certain substances into their bodies—whether marijuana, saturated fats, or raw milk—violates the nonaggression principle that is the bedrock of a free society. Therefore, all those who care about protecting individual liberty and limiting government power should support ending the drug war. Those with moral objections to drug use should realize that education and persuasion, carried out through voluntary institutions like churches and schools, is a more moral and effective way to discourage drug use than relying on government force.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.