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What Should We Do About Crimea?

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Is Crimea about to explode? The mainstream media reports that Russia has amassed troops on the border with Ukraine and may be spoiling for a fight. The Russians claim to have stopped a Ukrainian sabotage team that snuck into Crimea to attack key infrastructure. The Russian military is holding exercises in Crimea and Russian President Vladimir Putin made a visit to the peninsula at the end of the week.

The Ukrainians have complained to their western supporters that a full-scale Russian invasion is coming, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he may have to rule by martial law due to the Russian threat.
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Election 2016: Liberty Loses No Matter Who Wins

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For all the hand-wringing about the threat to liberty and constitutional government posed by the major party presidential candidates, there is little discussion of how this threat is due to the political class’s long history of supporting expanded presidential power. There is also little talk of how the imperial presidency is just as much a creation of Congress as it is of power-hungry presidents.

Since war is the health of the state, it is not surprising that presidential power expanded in tandem with the expansion of the warfare state. Perhaps the best, and most terrifying, example of how “national security” has been used to justify giving the president dictatorial powers is the Defense Production Act.
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The Phony Job Recovery

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Last Friday saw the release of a bombshell jobs report, with headlines exclaiming that the US economy added over 250,000 jobs in July, far in excess of any forecasts. The reality was far more grim. Those “jobs” weren't actually created by businesses – they were created by the statisticians who compiled the numbers, through the process of “seasonal adjustment.” That's a bit of statistical magic that the government likes to pull out of its hat when the real data isn't very flattering. It's done with GDP, it's done with job numbers, and similar manipulation is done with government inflation figures to keep them lower than actual price increases. In reality there are a million fewer people with jobs this month than last month, but the magic of seasonal adjustment turns that into a gain of 255,000.
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Americans Are Going to be Disappointed in Election Outcome

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It is a sad commentary on the state of political life in the United States that our political conventions have become more like rock music festivals than competitions of ideas. There has been a great deal of bombast, of insults, of name-calling, and of chest-beating at both party conventions, but what is disturbingly absent is any mention of how we got to this crisis and how we can get out. From the current foreign policy mess to the looming economic collapse, all we hear is both party candidates saying they will fix it, no problem.

In her convention speech Hillary Clinton promised that she would “fight terrorism” and defeat ISIS by doing more of what we have been doing all along: bombing. In fact we have dropped more than 50,000 bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria over the past two years and all she can say is that she will drop more. How many more bombs will defeat ISIS? How many more years will she keep us in our longest war, Afghanistan? She doesn’t say.
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The Path to Fed-Exit

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I recently proposed that the liberty movement capitalize on Brexit with “Fed-exit”: a campaign to “secede" from the Federal Reserve. Fed-exit could be accomplished with a few simple policy changes.

Passing Audit the Fed is a good first step toward Fed-exit. Contrary to the Federal Reserve’s propaganda, auditing the Fed will not reduce the Federal Reserve’s mythical “independence.” It will simply allow Congress and the people to learn the full truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy.
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Don’t Reform the Fed, Fed-Exit!

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Opponents of a central bank should take advantage of the post-Brexit vote revival of secessionist sentiments to promote a secession from central banking, or “Fed-exit.” Ending the Federal Reserve's monopoly on money is the key to restoring and maintaining our liberty and prosperity.

By manipulating the money supply to fix interest rates, the Federal Reserve engages in price fixing. After all, interest rates are nothing more than the price of money. Like all prices, they communicate information about economic conditions to market actors. Federal Reserve attempts to override the market rate of interest with a Fed-favored rate distort the price signals sent to businesses, investors, and consumers. The result of this distortion is a Fed-created boom, followed by a Fed-created bust.
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Fool’s Errand: NATO Pledges Four More Years of War in Afghanistan

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The longest war in US history just got even longer. As NATO wrapped up its 2016 Warsaw Summit, the organization agreed to continue funding Afghan security forces through the year 2020. Of course with all that funding comes US and NATO troops, and thousands of contractors, trainers, and more.

President Obama said last week that the US must keep 3,000 more troops than planned in Afghanistan. The real reason is obvious: the mission has failed and Washington cannot bear to admit it. But Obama didn’t put it that way.
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On July 4th Demand Freedom, Don’t Celebrate The State

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As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the July 4th holiday we should remember that we are not celebrating the state, but rather commemorating an act of secession from an oppressive government. We are celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain – a daring move by the Founders inspired by a desire for liberty.

Thomas Jefferson famously said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That does not only mean that we should be prepared to defend against foreign invaders. Perhaps more importantly it means that we must retain the lessons from the original American revolt and guard against a government that views the people as the enemy.
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After ‘Brexit,’ Can We Exit a Few Things Too?

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Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact it is growing sentiment worldwide. Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the one percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.
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Orlando: The New 9/11?

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Last week America was rocked by the cold-blooded murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Unlike the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Orlando shooter appears to be a lone gunman who, while claiming allegiance to ISIS, was not actually working with a terrorist group. About the only thing Orlando has in common with 9/11 is the way power-hungry politicians and federal officials wasted no time using it to justify expanding government and restricting liberty.

Immediately following the shooting, we began to hear renewed calls for increased government surveillance of Muslims, including spying on Muslim religious services. Although the Orlando shooter was born in the US, some are using the shooting to renew the debate over Muslim immigration. While the government certainly should prevent terrorists from entering the country, singling out individuals for government surveillance and other violations of their rights because of religious faith violates the First Amendment and establishes a dangerous precedent that will be used against other groups. In addition, scapegoating all Muslims because of the act of one deranged individual strengthens groups like ISIS by making it appear that the US government is at war with Islam.
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