Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Audit the Gold! Hearing on Thursday 6/23

Back in April, Ron Paul introduced H.R. 1495, a bill to audit all the gold owned by the United States, and this coming Thursday, he's holding a Domestic Monetary Policy subcommittee hearing on that bill. The hearing should be live streamed here, and witnesses are scheduled to include the Inspector General of the Treasury Department and a high level bureaucrat at the General Accounting Office. Here's the text of H.R. 1495:

To provide for an audit of all gold owned by the United States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Gold Reserve Transparency Act of 2011'.


(a) The Secretary of the Treasury is directed to conduct and complete, not later than six months after the date of enactment of this Act, a full assay, inventory, and audit of gold reserves of the United States at the place or places where such reserves are kept, together with an analysis of the sufficiency of the measures taken for the security of such reserves.

(b)(1) The Government Accountability Office shall review the results of such assay, inventory, audit, and analysis and, not later than nine months after the date of enactment of this Act, shall prepare and transmit to the Congress a report of its findings, together with the results of the assay, inventory, audit, and analysis conducted by the Secretary of the Treasury.

(2) For purposes of such assay, inventory, audit, and analysis, the Government Accountability Office shall have access to any depository or other facility where such reserves are kept.

(c) The Secretary of the Treasury shall make available, in order to facilitate the review of the Government Accountability Office under this Act, all books, accounts, records, reports, files, correspondence, memoranda, papers, or any other document, tape, or written, audio, or digital record pertaining to the assay, inventory, audit, and analysis required by this Act, as determined by the Government Accountability Office.

UPDATE: Watch the hearing here or below:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Government “Waste” Is the Least of Our Problems (Anthony Gregory)

Anthony Gregory points out that if government simply "wasted" the money they steal from us, we'd be far better off than we are now:

Sometimes I swear we are living in a dystopian novel whose author is courteous enough to provide us mere extras in his story with plenty of comedic relief to make the days tolerable. The USA Today headline reads: “Obama, Biden again target government waste.” Yes. That’s in fact what it says. The administration that has given us a $3.7 trillion budget is so concerned about wasting money, you see, that its Vice President is heading up a “Campaign to Cut Waste.” The White House brags of having trimmed $33 billion of waste in the last year. That amounts to less than 1% of the budget—a budget that is, in nominal dollar terms, approximately double what it was a decade ago. Back in 2001 I remember thinking about how small our government was, and how if only we doubled its size, and were careful to cut back about a percent of that sum that happens to be “waste,” we’d be in great shape. Oh wait a second. That’s not what I thought at all.

Yet all this talk of waste misses the point. Perhaps there are better uses of our tax dollars than “waste,” but I must say, I prefer so-called waste to most of what the government spends money on. Government is destructive. Most of what it does is harmful. Being an agency of violence and the threat of violence, the institution of government runs counter to economic progress as a general principle. Even worse, its coercive grip strangles the freedom out of people as a matter of course, and, far more often than Americans seem accustomed to recognizing, it kills people.

If only the regulatory state’s budget were a matter of “waste.”

Read the rest

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Next American Revolution Won't Be Like the First (Wendy McElroy)

Wendy McElroy lays out an interesting and persuasive case that the next American Revolution will far more closely resemble 1789 France than 1776 America:

One of my friends believes that a second American revolution is imminent and will be sparked by the economic instability now rocking the continent. Frankly, I doubt it. Insurrections may occur, but I expect the US government to lumber along, dragging the world deeper into poverty and conflict for many years to come.

Upon hearing my friend out, however, my first thought was, "if a revolution erupts, it will resemble the French one of 1789 more closely than the American one of 1776." Then I sat back and tried to figure out why I had arrived at that sudden conclusion, and whether or not it had merit.

One of the reasons for thinking that America might be "going French" is that current American society resembles descriptions I've read of pre-Revolution France more closely than America now resembles its young self.

Read the rest

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ron Paul on Libya: "Since we went in abruptly and illegally, we need to abruptly leave."

Dr. Ron Paul was able to speak on the House floor on Friday 6/3/11 to support a resolution (H. Con. Res. 51) introduced by Dennis Kucinich to direct Obama to withdraw troops from Libya:

If the C-SPAN link above does not work, try the YouTube at http://youtu.be/cptBMhhXsDI

Mr. KUCINICH. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul).

Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise in strong support for H. Con. Res. 51. We need to pass this resolution to send a very strong message.

We have been told by those who oppose this message that we should not have an abrupt withdrawal from the region, but I would strongly suggest that what we should be talking about is the abrupt and illegal entry into war. That's what we have to stop. Since we went in abruptly and illegally, we need to abruptly leave.

It has also been said by those who oppose this resolution that they concede that Congress should assume its prerogatives over the war powers but to do it gradually. I would strongly suggest that when we took our oath of office we assumed that radically and suddenly. We took an oath of office to obey the Constitution, not to defer to the United Nations, and that we already have assumed that responsibility.

I would also suggest, if we do nothing, if we do not pass this resolution, it is the sin of omission that we commit.

Ron Paul Strongly Opposes Extending the PATRIOT Act


Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this extension of the three provisions of the misnamed PATRIOT Act. It is a travesty that the House and Senate leadership bring this measure to the floor at the 11th hour--just as the provisions are on the verge of sunsetting--hide it as an amendment to an unrelated Senate bill, and issue all manner of alarmist warnings that if we do not pass it without delay a terrorist attack is imminent. No amendments were allowed, nor were substantive opportunities to engage in a broader debate on the three measures being extended.

Let us be clear about one thing: the PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional. The three measures that were extended today were the most controversial sections of the original bill, which is why the sunset provisions for these were built into in the original bill in the first place. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is clear on these issues:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Section 206 and Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which the House is renewing today, remove that particularity requirement, allowing massive surveillance of American citizens' most private and personal effects.

These sections, along with the never used "Lone Wolf" provision are unnecessary, they do not protect us against terrorism, and they should be allowed to sunset. There is little evidence the PATRIOT Act has directly led to the conviction of anyone on serious terrorism charges, but there is plenty of evidence that federal agencies have repeatedly used its provisions to unnecessarily spy on American citizens.

I remain most strongly opposed to the PATRIOT Act and any such attack on the civil liberties of American citizens. Such measures may be well-intentioned and put in place under the belief that the sacrifice of liberty is required for our safety, but nothing could be further from the truth.