The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Subscribe to the Institute View Us on YouTube Follow Us On Twitter Join Us on Facebook Join Us at Google Plus

Latest Posts

Sen. Cory Booker: Use War on Drugs Resources to Expand War on Guns
Be cautious, advocates for liberty who are cheering the apparent winding down of the United States government’s war on marijuana and that war’s replacement with a patchwork quilt of revised state and local laws more tolerant of marijuana growth, distribution, and use. This trend is good news, and it carries hope for similar results regarding the broader war on drugs. The bad news is that some politicians, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), want to move drug war resources into new government assaults on liberty.

26 February 2015read on...

Will Reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address Influence Senate Warmongers?
Per longstanding United States Senate tradition, on Monday afternoon a senator — this year Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) — will read President George Washington’s farewell address on the Senate floor. The Senate website declares that no Senate tradition “has been more steadfastly maintained,” noting the first reading of the speech on the Senate floor occurred in 1862 and that “[e]very year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington's Birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session.”

22 February 2015read on...

Rep. Walter Jones Challenges McConnell and Boehner on Giving Obama Fast Track Authority
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), while a guest last week on the Laura Ingraham Show, criticized United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for supporting giving President Barack Obama “fast track” authority for potential international agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Jones says giving fast track authority — sometimes called trade promotion authority — to the president is “absolutely a threat on our Constitution, on our sovereignty.”

18 February 2015read on...

Don’t Trust Obama’s Rhetoric - His War Authorization Allows Fighting by US Ground Troops
The proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force that President Barack Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday would allow United States ground troops to engage in battle around the world. No matter what aspirations Obama may declare regarding limiting the use of US ground troops, the proposed AUMF places little to no restraint on their use in the ISIS War.

13 February 2015read on...

Ron Paul Warns of Mandatory E-Verify Dangers
Ron Paul, who served in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from Texas, submitted comments on Wednesday to the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee warning of many dangers that may arise from making E-Verify a mandatory component of hiring under US law. Mandatory E-Verify is one of the “tough on illegal immigration” proposals being considered in Congress.

6 February 2015read on...

Rep. Walter Jones: US Should End Afghanistan War For Real
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) delivered a powerful speech Wednesday on the floor of the United States House of Representatives advocating ending the US government’s ongoing war in Afghanistan. In the speech Jones challenges President Barack Obama’s claim that the Afghanistan War has ended. Jones supports the challenge by noting that thousands of US troops remain in Afghanistan, US taxpayers’ dollars continue to be spent in Afghanistan for military intervention, and the US and Afghanistan governments have recently entered into a bilateral security agreement purposed to keep US troops in Afghanistan.

25 January 2015read on...

House Passes Resolution Using Paris Killings to Justify Global War on Terror
A handful of bipartisan members of the US House of Representatives, in a short Tuesday afternoon session preceding the State of the Union speech, passed by voice vote a resolution (H.Res. 37) using the killings in Paris on January 7-9 to justify war. In particular, the resolution reaffirms the US government’s commitment to fighting the Global War on Terror, praises France for its foreign interventions in the Middle East and Africa, and calls on the governments of all nations “to join a global effort to combat violent extremist ideologies and terrorist groups.”

21 January 2015read on...

House Majority Leader: Charlie Hebdo Killings Justify US Intervention Worldwide
If the statement issued Wednesday by US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is an indication of how the US House and Senate — both now under Republican leadership — will respond legislatively to the killings in Paris last week, expect expanded authorization and funding for US military action and other intervention the world over.

13 January 2015read on...

Speaker Vote Highlights US House’s Unchecked Procedural Corruption
It seems unlikely that the current members of the United States House of Representatives will effectively rise up against their Democrat and Republican leaders to require that the House be run in a fair and honest manner. Yet, the potential of more Republican members opposing on Tuesday the reelection of Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as speaker of the House than the 12 Republican representatives who chose not to vote for Boehner in 2013 is helping bring to light the crooked process by which “the people’s House” so frequently operates.

6 January 2015read on...

US House to Vote on Imposing National ID Cards Worldwide ‘For the Children’
The US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on HR 3398, legislation stating that it is the policy of the United States government to encourage other nations to require all citizens to have national identity cards. HR 3398 also directs the US government to work with multinational organizations and private entities on imposing registration, identification, and documentation laws on people around the world. As is often the case with legislation intended to increase government power and expand foreign intervention, HR 3398 presents as its justification helping the children—girls in particular this time.

18 November 2014read on...

Congress Alert

Sen. Ron Wyden Warns of Fake Surveillance Reform and the Economic Harm of US Mass Spying


Ron Wyden

US Sen. Ron Wyden, in a Guardian article he wrote based on his speech at a Cato Institute event this week, reinforces RPI's warnings that efforts to reform the US government mass spying program "provide an excellent opportunity to make bad legislation worse" and that the spying "threatens American companies' business prospects in the international marketplace."

Wyden first warns that the "business-as-usual-brigade" will do everything it can to prevent the realization of pro-liberty curtailments of the mass spying program. Wyden comments in the Guardian article:

I know these issues will be discussed here today, so I'll start with my bottom line: the goal of our bipartisan bill is to set the bar for measuring meaningful intelligence reform. We wanted to put this marker down early because we know in the months ahead we will be up against a "business-as-usual brigade" – made up of influential members of the government's intelligence leadership, their allies in thinktanks and academia, retired government officials, and sympathetic legislators. Their game plan? Try mightily to fog up the surveillance debate and convince the Congress and the public that the real problem here is not overly intrusive, constitutionally flawed domestic surveillance, but sensationalistic media reporting. Their end game is ensuring that any surveillance reforms are only skin-deep.

Some of the "business as usual" arguments have something of an Alice in Wonderland flavor. We have heard that surveillance of Americans' phone records, aka metadata, is not actually surveillance at all – it's simply the collection of bits of information. We've been told that falsehoods aren't falsehoods – they are simply imprecise statements. We've been told that rules that have been repeatedly broken are a valuable check on government overreach. And we've been told that codifying secret surveillance laws and making them public surveillance laws is the same as actually reforming these overreaching surveillance programs. It's not.

These arguments, of course, leave the public with a distorted picture of what their government is actually up to. Those tiny bits of information, when put together, paint an illuminating picture of what the private lives of law-abiding Americans are like. Erroneous statements that are made on the public record but never corrected mislead the public and often members of Congress, as well. Privacy protections that don't actually protect privacy are not worth the paper they are printed on; and just because intelligence officials say that a particular program helps catch terrorists doesn't make it true.

Still, Wyden sees reason for optimism in the close House of Representatives vote on the US Reps. Justin Amash and John Conyers defense appropriations amendment to restrict spying. The key to curtailing the US mass spying program, according to Wyden, is "grassroots support from lots of Americans across the political spectrum who let their members of Congress know that they want both their security and their liberty to be protected, and that 'business as usual' is no longer OK."

In addition to infringing liberty, Wyden warns that the mass spying program is also undermining the competitiveness of American companies:

But the effects of constitutionally flawed, overly intrusive surveillance programs go beyond the intrusion on Americans' privacy. American companies that are believed to have been the subject of government surveillance orders are taking a major hit internationally and here at home. This is a serious economic issue. We live in a global marketplace and American digital companies compete on a global playing field to a degree that was unheard of ten years ago. If they start to lose ground to foreign competition, it will put tens of thousands of high paying jobs at serious risk.

If a foreign enemy were doing this much damage to our economy, people would be out in the street with pitchforks. These companies are now filing lawsuits to force the government to allow them to release more information about how many surveillance orders they have received, in an attempt to repair some of the damage that has been caused.

Just within the last week, I was talking to a company president from one of America's leading digital service companies, and the first thing this executive said to me was what a big impact this unchecked domestic surveillance was having on that company. To be fair, I don't expect NSA officials to spend their time thinking about the economic impact that unrestrained surveillance can have, but the policymakers who sign off on these over-broad surveillance programs should absolutely be thinking about the impact that these programs can have on American jobs, and on trust for American companies around the world.

Read Wyden's entire article here.


What are you supporting?
When you join the
Ron Paul Institute
for Peace and Prosperity
You are supporting

News and analysis
like you'll get nowhere else

Brave insight on
foreign policy and civil liberties

A young writer's program
and much more!

Archives