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Department of Homeland Security: What is it Good For?

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Late Friday night, Congress passed legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security for one week. This vote followed weeks of debate over efforts to attach a prohibition on funding President Obama’s executive order granting amnesty to certain illegal immigrants to the Homeland Security funding bill.

Despite the heated rhetoric from both sides, no one seriously believes that Congress will allow Homeland Security funding to lapse. Most in Congress believe that, without the Department of Homeland Security, Americans would be left unprotected from terrorists and natural disasters. As with most areas of bipartisan agreement, the truth is the exact opposite of the DC consensus. The American people would be much better off if Congress transferred the few constitutional functions performed by Homeland Security to other parts of the government and then shut down the rest of the department.
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Liberty in Search of Protector - Interview With Vaclav Klaus

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Liberty is a fundamental human right; it is the cornerstone of our existence. But liberty is under attack from all directions, whether through higher state control or individuals themselves. Liberty is in search for its protector. 

We were given the opportunity to talk to a vanguard of liberty, former President of the Czech Republic, Prof. Ing. Václav Klaus. Mr. Klaus shares with us how he embraced the values of classic liberalism and free markets while growing up under communism and the challenges he faced. Of course, we were eager to hear his account on the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia which took place during his years as Prime Minister and also about the transition of the currency system, which was successfully initiated at the same time. We were keen to find out his stance on the situation in Greece and if a potential exit of countries like Greece from the Euro zone would be really such a disaster. We are happy to share with you the thoughts and perspectives of a man who says about himself that “he never intended to be a politician or office-seeker”. His motivation was to establish the rules of a market economy after the fall of communism but he never wanted to plan its outcome. Mr. Klaus has valued and protected the ideas of liberty and freedom for many years to this day.
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Ron Paul: Is Government Regulation of Internet Helpful?

Ron Paul explains his opposition to the recent FCC vote to begin regulating the Internet as a public utility. Dr. Paul warns that government control will lead to a decrease in innovation, an increase in prices, and more surveillance of Americans' online activities. Tune in to Ron Paul and co-host Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute in this latest Liberty Report:
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State Department Gives 87 Percent of Afghan Funds to Only Five Recipients

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The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued a scathing report showing the Department of State gave a staggering 87 percent of all Afghan reconstruction funds to only five recipients.

In fact, 69 percent of all taxpayer money spent went to just one contractor.

Much Money into Few Hands

SIGAR tells us the top-five recipients of State Afghanistan reconstruction awards by total obligations accounted for approximately $3.5 billion, or 87 percent, of total State reconstruction obligations. State awarded the remaining 13 percent of obligations to 766 recipients, who averaged about $676,000 each in total obligations.
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Stephen Hawking and the Meaning of Non-Aggression

Ron Paul's latest Liberty Report takes a look at famed physicist Stephen Hawking's comments that aggression is the greatest human failing and that the solution is empathy, which "brings us together in a peaceful, loving state." Whether intentionally or not, Dr. Hawking spells out the beauty and simplicity of the non-aggression principle.
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‘US Spends Millions on Overseas Propaganda, But No One is Buying it’

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(RT interviews RPI's Daniel McAdams - watch it here.)

Despite the US’ bottomless PR budget to influence overseas, people are not attracted by what’s on offer as they are tired of US interventionism, exceptionalism, and the bombing of their countries, Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute told RT.

US Secretary of the State, John Kerry, said he is concerned the US is falling behind when it comes to putting out information. He stressed that RT’s influence is growing worldwide and the US doesn’t have“an equivalent that can be heard in Russian.” Claiming that RT has huge costs he asked for money to be provided for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in the US. RT’s budget for 2015 is $220 million while the budget of the BBG is $721 million. Kerry also heaped praise on the appointment of Andrew Lack as a head of BBG who recently put RT into the same context as ISIS and Boko Haram.

RT: John Kerry insinuated the US is losing the public relations war with Russia. What do you make of that?

Daniel McAdams: The numbers speak louder than words: $700 and some million versus $200 and some, maybe up to $300 million for RT. I think the problem the US has is they have an unlimited advertising budget, but the product they’re selling is not very attractive overseas. People are tired of US interventionism; they’re tired of US exceptionalism; they’re tired of the US bombing their country – if you’re a Somali, you don’t care about listening to a radio broadcast from the US, you just wish the US would stop bombing you.
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Domestic Fear is the Price of Empire

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If you find no other argument against American intervention abroad persuasive, how about this one? When the US government invades and occupies other countries, or when it underwrites other governments’ invasions or oppression, the people in the victimized societies become angry enough to want and even to exact revenge — against Americans.

Is the American empire worth that price?

We should ask ourselves this question in the wake of the weekend news that al-Shabaab, the militant Islamist organization that rules parts of Somalia ISIS-style, appeared to encourage attacks at American (and Canadian) shopping malls.

Maybe the Shabaab video was just a prank to scare us. Maybe it was an attempt to plant violent thoughts in the minds of Somalis living in the United States. No one believes that the organization itself is capable of attacking Americans where they live, but that doesn’t mean Shabaab-inspired violence is impossible.
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Janet Yellen On Capitol Hill - Ron Paul Liberty Report

Fed Chairman Janet Yellen goes to Capitol Hill this week for her bi-annual report to Congress. At her first stop, in the Senate Banking Committee, she rejected any call for an audit of the Federal Reserve and claimed that Fed is doing a fine job of managing the country's monetary policy. Join Ron Paul and co-host Daniel McAdams (of RPI), along with special guest Paul-Martin Foss, a former Ron Paul Congressional staffer and current president of the Carl Menger Center, to get the real story of the Federal Reserve and the US economy.
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Ukraine: A Cuban Missile Crisis in Reverse

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In a rather ghastly 19th century experiment, a biologist by the name of Heinzmann found that if he placed a frog in boiling water, the frog immediately leapt out but that if he placed the frog in tepid water and then gradually heated it, the frog stayed put until he was scalded to death. Are we like the frog? I see disturbing elements of that process today as we watch events unfold in the Ukraine confrontation. They profoundly frighten me and I believe they should frighten everyone. But they are so gradual that we do not see a specific moment in which we must jump or perish. So here briefly, let me lay out the process of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and show how the process of that crisis compares with what we face today over the Ukraine.

Three elements stand out in the Cuban Missile Crisis: 1) relations between the USSR and the US were already "on the edge" before they reached the crisis stage; each of us had huge numbers of weapons of mass destruction aimed at the other.  2) the USSR precipitated the Crisis by advancing into Cuba, a country the US had considered part of "area of dominance" since the promulgation of the 1823 Monroe Doctrine. 3) some military and civilian officials and influential private citizens in both countries argued that the other side would "blink" if sufficient pressure was put on it.

Allow me to point out that I had a (very uncomfortable) ringside seat in the Crisis. I was one of three members of the "Crisis Management Committee" that oversaw the unfolding events. On the Monday of the week of October 22, I sat with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Under Secretary George Ball, Counselor and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council Walt Rostow and Under Secretary for Political Affairs U. Alexis Johnson and listened to President Kennedy's speech to which we all had contributed. The account Kennedy laid out was literally terrifying to those who understood what a nuclear confrontation meant. Those of us in that room obviously did. We were each "cleared" for everything America then knew. And we each knew what our government was seeking -- getting the Russian missiles out of Cuba.  Finally, we were poised to do that by force if the Russians did not remove them.
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The Washington Post’s Gross Mischaracterization of Ron Paul’s Message

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Irrespective of the commonly held view that the Washington Post is the newspaper of record of America or at least of United States politics, David A. Fahrenthold’s January 25 Washington Post article purporting to report on Ron Paul’s participation the previous day at a Ludwig von Mises Institute event provides anything but an accurate record. Instead, Fahrenthold’s article presents a gross mischaracterization of Paul’s message. 

Before the widespread use of the Internet, people could be more easily hoodwinked by distortions such as those in the Washington Post article. Unless other major media contested the hogwash, there would be little chance that many people would encounter a response that sets the record straight. In contrast, today people can often protect themselves from such disinformation by viewing on the internet material that discloses the truth — in this case the video of Paul’s speech posted on the Mises Institute website and the January 8 editorial by Paul quoted in the Post article.

If you were to rely on the Washington Post for your understanding of Paul’s message and his Mises Institute speech, here is some of the impression you would be given. First, should you search for “Ron Paul” on the Washington Post website, you will see that the brief promotion for the article declares Paul’s “gloom and doom.” Next, when you click through the link to the article, you will see at the top of the article a photograph of Paul with a caption proclaiming “Ron Paul’s pessimistic attitudes.” Then, reading Fahrenthold’s article, you will come across Fahrenthold’s claim that Paul “has embraced a role as libertarianism’s prophet of doom.”
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