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. McCain: 'I'm Ashamed of America'
John McCain, from his usual perch atop the Sunday morning political shows, was in a foul mood this week. While the German and French leaders continue to work for a political solution to the ongoing nightmare in Ukraine, McCain cannot believe that the US is not already at war in the country. It is a disgrace to the United States, said McCain, that President Obama has not already started shipping lethal weapons to the government in Kiev so that it can finish off the independence-seeking regions in east Ukraine.

23 February 2015read on...

Bernard-Henri Lévy's 'Fair Wind' Blows Foul in Libya
Pondering yesterday's gruesome beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians by an ISIS which has newly found a foothold in post-"liberated" Libya, it is hard to stop the mind from wandering back to Bernard-Henri Lévy, the swaggering French philosopher who almost single-handedly sired the 2011 western attack on Libya.

16 February 2015read on...

Gullible Sen. Inhofe Peddles Fake 'Proof' of Russian Invasion
In his statement introducing the bill, he cited "the undeniable participation and presence of Russian troops fighting in eastern Ukraine" as his justification for demanding US weapons to Ukraine.

13 February 2015read on...

Max Boot Wants to Kick Russia
Neocon scribbler Max Boot makes his living expressing indignation. How dare the Obama administration not adopt a more confrontational stance toward Iran! How dare the US president not commit more US resources toward fighting Boko Haram! How dare the weak-willed administration oppose additional sanctions on Iran! No US action in Somalia and Yemen? Wimpy! And Asia! Iraq! Syria! Libya! KONY!!!

29 January 2015read on...

The Neocons' Lament
Neo-cons constantly lament, "If we had only done this...." when desperately trying to explain the mess the US has caused in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. They can't deny our government’s involvement, so they must find someone to blame. It's never our policy of foreign intervention that's at fault. It's always the peaceniks who hinder them from expanding the war.

21 January 2015read on...

We Should Thank Those Who Torture
Says Michael Reagan, the son of conservative god Ronald Reagan. “We shouldn’t be second-guessing and beating up on the CIA, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and all the other men and women who’ve helped to keep us safe for the last 14 years. We should be thanking them.” He especially likes it when someone’s genitals are put in a vice.

27 December 2014read on...

Michele Bachmann Wants An Attack On Iran For Christmas
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, and she wants to go out with a bang. A very specific kind of bang, in fact: the type you get when you drop a US bomb on an Iranian nuclear facility, which experts believe could upend months of delicate negotiations and spark even more conflict in the Middle East.

14 December 2014read on...

Anne Applebaum Hates Your Opinion
Neoconservative newspaper columnist Anne Applebaum is angry and upset. In the days when print was king, she could dash off her pro-war opinions and never have to worry about the common people taking apart her arguments. In those days only a very few would be dedicated enough to write a letter to the editor, and only a tiny fraction would be printed. All of them would be subject to approval by the newspaper editor, of course.

30 November 2014read on...

Neocon Pundit Max Boot's Post-Election Demand: 'Start a War Now!'
Now that the US midterm elections are over, with Republicans making gains in the House and especially the Senate, neocon desktop bombardier Max Boot takes to Commentary Magazine to explain to President Obama what the results really mean.

5 November 2014read on...

Rep. Pete King Wants 'All Out' Surveillance Of Muslims One would have hoped that after Ron Paul schooled Rudy Giuliani on the concept of “blowback” in front of a national audience, US politicians would have paid attention. Sadly, it was back to foreign interventionism as usual.

24 October 2014read on...

Neocon Watch

Bill Kristol's Cato Crush


William Kristol is promoting at the Weekly Standard an article by "two of America’s leading libertarian legal thinkers, "no friends to intrusive government," to support Kristol's assertion that the National Security Agency mass secret spying program is a "legitimate use of government power to protect the nation from our enemies abroad."

The defense of the NSA program by these two authors is of particular note because of the authors' affiliation with the Cato Institute that describes itself as "dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace" and having a "strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism." The authors' article is providing valuable cover for the advocates of the mass spying program.

The authors of the article Kristol is promoting are Cato Institute Center for Constitutional Studies President Roger Pilon and Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar Richard A. Epstein who wrote an attempted sweeping exculpation of the National Security Agency (NSA) and all the branches of the US government for the NSA's mass spying on phone calls. Here is a portion of the authors' defense:
"Legally, the president is on secure footing under the Patriot Act, which Congress passed shortly after 9/11 and has since reauthorized by large bipartisan majorities. As he stressed, the program has enjoyed the continued support of all three branches of the federal government. It has been free of political abuse since its inception. And as he rightly added, this nation has real problems if its people, at least here, can’t trust the combined actions of the executive branch and the Congress, backstopped by federal judges sworn to protect our individual liberties secured by the Bill of Rights."
President Obama's conclusion, as characterized approvingly by the authors, is the exact opposite of the conclusion warranted. The United States has real problems if Americans do not question and challenge US government actions. Pointing to the agreement of the US government's three branches on a program and the reauthorizing of the PATRIOT Act by large bipartisan congressional majorities are an illogical defense. First, the defense lacks basis given that the secrecy of the spying has prevented courts from deciding cases challenging the spying. Second, the three branches of the US government have agreed plenty of times on bad programs; the popularity of a government program among a group of politicians is not determinative of the program's merit.

The suggestion that the spying has been free of "political abuse" is particularly bizarre. The nature of the mass spying is itself an abuse by the government of people's privacy. But, maybe the authors mean by "political abuse" the use of the the spying to benefit or harm a particular political party or candidate, or to treat people differently based on their political views. If that is what the authors mean, how do they have the information to know there has been no political abuse? In a secret multibillion-dollars-a-year program the logical assumption would be that somewhere, somehow the program has been used for that kind of political abuse. Indeed, it would be expected that the secrecy of the program would embolden some people to use it for such purposes.

The authors proceed with the following history of the PATRIOT Act:
"That deference is especially appropriate now that Congress, through the Patriot Act, has set a delicate balance that enables the executive branch to carry out its basic duty to protect us from another 9/11 while respecting our privacy as much as possible. Obviously, reasonable people can have reasonable differences over how that balance is struck. But on this question, political deliberation has done its job, because everyone on both sides of the aisle is seeking the right constitutional balance."
Reality is much messier. Many people on "both sides of the aisle" were not seeking the right constitutional balance, and the PATRIOT Act does not set up a "delicate balance... respecting our privacy as much as possible."

For an analysis of these issues that seems more in line with the espoused principles of the Cato Institute (and is not being promoted by William Kristol), check out this article by Jim Harper, the director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute.


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