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What Does The US Government Want in Ukraine? – Article by Ron Paul

What Does The US Government Want in Ukraine? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
May 11, 2014
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In several eastern Ukrainian towns over the past week, the military opened fire on its own citizens. Dozens may have been killed in the violence. Although the US government generally condemns a country’s use of military force against its own population, especially if they are unarmed protesters, this time the US administration blamed the victims. After as many as 20 unarmed protesters were killed on the May 9th holiday in Ukraine, the State Department spokesman said “we condemn the outbreak of violence caused by pro-Russia separatists.”

Why are people protesting in eastern Ukraine? Because they do not believe the government that came to power after the US-backed uprising in February is legitimate. They do not recognize the authority of an unelected president and prime minister. The US sees this as a Russian-sponsored destabilization effort, but is it so hard to understand that the people in Ukraine may be annoyed with the US and EU for their involvement in regime change in their country? Would we be so willing to accept an unelected government in Washington put in place with the backing of the Chinese and Iranians?

The US State Department provided much assistance earlier this year to those involved in the effort to overthrow the Ukrainian government. The US warned the Ukrainian government at the time not to take any action against those in the streets, even as they engaged in violence and occupied government buildings. But now that those former protesters have come to power, the US takes a different view of protest. Now they give full support to the bloody crackdown against protesters in the east. The State Department spokesperson said last week: “We continue to call for groups who have jeopardized public order by taking up arms and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukrainian law to disarm and leave the buildings they have seized.” This is the opposite of what they said in February. Do they think the rest of the world does not see this hypocrisy?

The residents of eastern Ukraine have long been closer to Russia than to the US and EU. In fact, that part of Ukraine had been a part of Russia. After February’s regime change, officials in the east announced that they would hold referenda to see whether the population wanted autonomy from the US-backed government in Kiev. The US demanded that Russian President Putin stop eastern Ukraine from voting on autonomy, and last week the Russian president did just that: he said that the vote should not be held as scheduled. The eastern Ukrainians ignored him and said they would hold the vote anyway. So much for the US claims that Russia controls the opposition in Ukraine.

Even though the Russian president followed US demands and urged the eastern Ukrainians to hold off on the vote, the US State Department announced that the US would apply additional sanctions on Russia if the vote is held! Does this make any sense?

The real question is why the US government is involved in Ukraine in the first place. We are broke. We cannot even afford to fix our own economy. Yet we want to run Ukraine? Does it really matter whom Ukrainians elect to represent them? Is it really a national-security matter worth risking a nuclear war with Russia whether Ukraine votes for more regional autonomy and a weaker central government? Isn’t that how the United States was originally conceived?

Has the arrogance of the US administration, thinking they should run the world, driven us to the brink of another major war in Europe? Let us hope they will stop this dangerous game and come to their senses. I say let’s have no war for Ukraine!

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

To Those of You Who Are Indifferent, This Bell Is Ringing for You – Article by Tatiana Chornovol

To Those of You Who Are Indifferent, This Bell Is Ringing for You – Article by Tatiana Chornovol

The New Renaissance Hat
Tatiana Chornovol
February 4, 2014
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Original Publication: Ukrainian Pravda
Translated by Olia Knight
Edited by Isis Wisdom
Source: http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/chornovol/52ed347c55539/
Reprinted with permission
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Editor’s Note: The Rational Argumentator is reprinting this article by Tatiana Chornovol in order to continue giving readers an understanding of the horrendous violations of human rights and human dignity by the regime of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine. The scale and tactics involved in the repression orchestrated (sometimes through informal means) by Yanukovych are unprecedented in their extent and brutality for any Slavic post-Soviet republic, and, indeed, one would have to look back to the Stalin era to find more widespread atrocities committed even during the time of the USSR. For civilization to return to Ukraine, the Yanukovych regime needs to be removed from power.
                                               ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator
***

Don’t you agree that no one is safe when there is a maniac in a city? The situation in Ukraine is much worse – we have a maniac running our country and he is served by a repressive state machine that has the ability to create death squads in every city.

Maniacs are usually difficult to detect since they lead normal lives, and often have families and children. But our maniac is worse, since he does not even find it necessary to hide. In only the third year of his presidency, Yanukovych started giving orders to abduct, torture, murder, and freeze ordinary people to death with their hands tied up. For him, this is just political technologies. Besides, he plans to reign for at least two presidential terms and then hand over power by inheritance. What, then, will happen to Ukraine and us?

Those of you who are indifferent, ask yourself, are you ready to live in the country of a maniac who doesn’t even try to look like a healthy person?

If not, then you’re already late. Because we already live in this country. You just haven’t noticed it yet. Because it has not reached your turn yet, but it definitely will, even if you don’t care.

I know what I’m writing about, because I’m among those whose turn has come, I am with the people who are next in line, and I stand in this line again deliberately.

Recently, I witnessed a conversation at Automaidan headquarters. One of the participants was Yaroslav Gonchar, who escaped Berkut. He is the one of the daredevil activists who, with his own car on Obolon [district], stopped Berkut [special riot police forces] buses that were going to Maidan from Mezhyhirya [President Yanukovych’s estate residence]. Tens of Berkut officers first destroyed his car, then started beating Yaroslav and his partner. Yaroslav’s seatbelt helped him stay inside the car, in the heat of their sadistic attack Berkut could not pull him out, and beating him through the smashed windows proved ineffective. That is why he was “not completely beat up.”

The second participant is Volodymyr Maralov, who is “not completely shot up.” He is an activist from the “Road Control” group who was seized from the street by unknown thugs: they interrogated him, and then shot him through the heart. The bullet miraculously turned into the muscles and did not touch the heart.

So, the conversation was as follows: the person who was “not completely beaten up” was interested in what the person who was “not completely shot up” felt when he got shot.

The reply was interesting to me too. I admit, I was really interested, because getting shot with a bullet is now more real than going to the movies, for example. Volodymyr’s response calmed me down a bit because he said it had not hurt him much. At first it pushes you, and then you pass out. I told Volodymyr happily that when you get hit on the head, you feel something similar. Loss of consciousness saves you from the pain.

So, this is how our happy conversation went, since today in our value system, a painless death is good.

Those of you who are indifferent, just imagine what interests us, so if you stay indifferent, because of it, someday indifference will come to you too.

Understand what a terrible parallel reality we suddenly got ourselves into, we, innocent children, who played in peace and love all our lives, had ordinary responsibilities, raised children, maybe were a bit more romantic and idealistic than the majority of the population, maybe believed in dignity, honesty, and patriotism a little more… That’s why our turn came first, and in our lives it’s become commonplace, when by the order of one sadist, the maniac Victor Yanukovych, death squads beat our friends, shoot them, leave them to freeze in the forests, and buried them in graves as unidentified bodies.

In this reality it’s already perceived as a miracle, like proof of God’s existence, that Ihor Lutsenko remained alive, and that Dmytro Bulatov – is alive.

I will be honest, I had already buried Dmytro. When I went outside and felt the cruel frost, my imagination constantly drew the picture of him freezing to death in the forest. When I was told that maybe “he is in hiding,” I still imagined his frozen body covered by snow, because in my memory sounded his sincere: “I am ready to go all the way to the end,” when he came to visit me at the hospital.

That is why after Bulatov was found, I was happy and was not upset that he was tortured: “What’s important is that he is alive.”

But deep down, I am not sure about it. I do not know what is good now. Since in our reality being alive after torture might mean that the torturers will get you later. It is easy to die for the first time…

I remember when I was at Borispyl highway, experiencing numerous blows to the head, moments before I passed out I realized that it was the end. But, I was not scared, because I was ready to die in a somewhat similar manner long before this event. But I also remember thinking happily that I did not feel a strong pain from the beatings and therefore I did not risk being on my knees unconscious before the executioners. Also, it was a joyous awareness that I had done enough to get to Yanukovych even after my death.

But it is hard to die a second time…

Because everything has changed now, it is not enough to die today. It is irresponsible. We must win, which is much more difficult.

Besides, you keep worrying about friends, acquaintances, and strangers from Maidan. Because they are so valuable. This country (your children, those of you who are indifferent) needs those people who are out on Maidan alive, because these are the best people in the country. Whoever has been on Maidan knows that, there, are concentrated the most moral, responsible, intelligent, and brave, who know they cannot entrust their country and their own children to murderers, rapists, and the mafia.

And we have to win because it is our responsibility, because we are strong, because we are not afraid to sacrifice ourselves. It is widely known that people who are ready to die are worth many of those ready to kill.

However, our victory does not depend so much on our qualities but primarily on the number of those who are concerned. So, I appeal to the indifferent and the apolitical – hear, and join us.

I appeal to the military: how can you be indifferent when you gave an oath to serve Ukraine?

I understand that our officers are not always men of honor (in the army corruption and bullying are rampant), and to ask them for help is ridiculous. However, I am asking. I ask the military – realize your responsibility, and that your indifference empowers the maniac. Protect the country to which you swore an oath. Maybe this is your calling. Maybe you were born and joined the army not to take small bribes and die from alcoholism, but to save the country from the maniac and save your children (adults, young, or not-yet-born).

Indifferent people, please understand this faster and start to care. Because our numbers matter the most for a victory.

What to do? What is the plan of action?

In essence, the most important thing is to care. In this, there is work for everyone.

For example, the police tried to arrest tortured Bulatov yesterday. Is this not a good reason for masses of Kyivans to come and support him at the hospital?  However, there was a small group of people at Borys clinic yesterday. We are grateful to them, since the weather was brutal. This small group of concerned citizens looked strange against a background of lit windows in a Kyiv suburb of Poznyaky. Why don’t those who live nearby come for support? Because of their work, because of their kids, because they have to pay their rent, and because they really do not care about what’s happening on Maidan?

Thousands and thousands of indifferent people…

Recently, I used public transportation from Boryspil to Maidan for the first time since I got beaten and walked around the village. It’s a habitual route I used to take hundreds of times. However, this time I was already in a different country – anxious. I looked around at the crosswalks uncomfortably.

I was alone, since my husband and father took my friend Oleg to a hospital. “Titushky” [hired thugs] beat him on the head with baseball bats.

It happened at Cherkasy. “Titushky” jumped out at us from three cars not far from the Regional District Administration. They first attacked the men, since I was dragging my feet.

I grabbed a small cudgel from building materials by the dumpster and helped my husband to fight them off. I must confess, for the first time in my life, I was aggressive and fought the attackers with all my strength.

Then I ran to help Oleg out, three men were trying to strangle him, but I did not have enough strength for an effective attack. They grabbed me. My husband got me away from them. Oleg was on the ground. We were ashamed to run. Literally, we left our friend to his death. He was tortured. They beat him with the bat to kill, targeting his head and body. It was a miracle he survived. He had a 10 centimeter stitch on his head.

Imagine I left my friend! I left the person who protected me with his body…

I became a worse person. When criminals exploit a brutal animalistic rule of life in the country, we all become worse, much worse. We become ready for horrible things.

That is why those of you who are indifferent should not stay away when the bells are ringing. When there is still time to stop the most horrible.

Indifferent people: imagine if Yanukovych’s repressive machine breaks Maidan, then what will his caste of executioners, the death squad, do?

They will continue doing what they always do – kill. It’s a repressive machine that will only become stronger, it always needs more meat and fear.

Then you will envy us, the activists of Maidan. Because in that terrible country of Yanukovych the maniac’s, in the country of terror, thugs, cattle, and watchful eyes, we will no longer exist. We, the happy ones, will not be there.

And you – indifferent ones – will. You will be the torturers, the victims, and the majority of you will be the cattle.

Can you survive as cattle? Sure. But then you would always risk  your children’s wish to not be cattle. Then, you will lose your children, since no one else will protect them, and then you will be all alone in your indifference.

Think about it now. Then it will be too late.

How late was it in 1933 when people who did not care to fight for their independence, ate their children?

Tatiana Chornovol is a Ukrainian activist, investigative journalist, and leader in the Euromaidan protest against the regime of Viktor Yanukovych.
Dispatch from Ukraine – Article by Anonymous Ukrainian Journalist

Dispatch from Ukraine – Article by Anonymous Ukrainian Journalist

The New Renaissance Hat
Anonymous Ukrainian Journalist
January 27, 2014
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This article was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

Note from FEE President Lawrence W. Reed: Events in Ukraine in recent days have gripped the hearts of people around the world. We at FEE are appalled at the repressive measures being taken by the Ukrainian state against protesters, particularly young people who are active there in the movement for peace, liberty, and representative government. We sincerely hope that the brutality of statism, on vivid and tragic display at this very moment in Ukraine, will be crushed by the forces of freedom and with a minimum of bloodshed. Below, we share with our readers a moving account of what’s happening from a Ukrainian journalist who is in Kiev on the front lines of the current upheaval. We withhold his name for his protection.

—Lawrence W. Reed, FEE president.

Dear friends—especially foreign journalists and editors,

These days I receive from you lots of inquiries requesting descriptions of the current situation in Kiev and overall in Ukraine, express my opinion on what is happening, and formulate my vision of at least the nearest future. Since I am simply physically unable to respond separately to each of your publications with an extended analytical essay, I have decided to prepare this brief statement, which each of you can use in accordance with your needs. The most important things I must tell you are as follows.

During the less than four years of its rule, Mr. Yanukovych’s regime has brought the country and the society to the utter limit of tensions. Even worse, it has boxed itself into a no-exit situation where it must hold on to power forever—by any means necessary. Otherwise it would have to face criminal justice in its full severity. The scale of what has been stolen and usurped exceeds all imagination of what human avarice is capable.

The only answer this regime has been proposing in the face of peaceful protests, now in their third month, is violence, violence that escalates and is “hybrid” in its nature: special forces attacks at the Maidan (the central square of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital) are combined with individual harassment and persecution of opposition activists and ordinary participants in protest actions (surveillance, beatings, torching of cars and houses, storming of residences, searches, arrests, rubber-stamp court proceedings). The keyword here is intimidation. And since it is ineffective, and people are protesting on an increasingly massive scale, the powers that be make these repressive actions even harsher.

The “legal base” for them was created on January 16, when the Members of Parliament, fully dependent on the President, in a crude violation of all rules of procedure and voting, indeed of the Constitution itself, in the course of just a couple of minutes (!) with a simple show of hands voted in a whole series of legal changes which effectively introduced dictatorial rule and a state of emergency in the country without formally declaring them. For instance, by writing and disseminating this, I am subject to several new criminal code articles for “defamation,” “inflaming tensions,” etc.

Briefly put, if these “laws” are recognized, one should conclude: in Ukraine, everything that is not expressly permitted by the powers that be is forbidden. And the only thing permitted by those in power is to yield to them. Not agreeing to these “laws,” on January 19 the Ukrainian society rose up, yet again, to defend its future.

Today in television newsreels coming from Kiev you can see protesters in various kinds of helmets and masks on their faces, sometimes with wooden sticks in their hands. Do not believe that these are “extremists,” “provocateurs,” or “right-wing radicals.” My friends and I also now go out protesting dressed this way. In this sense my wife, my daughter, our friends, and I are also “extremists.” We have no other option: We have to protect our life and health, as well as the life and health of those near and dear to us. Special forces units shoot at us, their snipers kill our friends. The number of protesters killed just on one block in the city’s government quarter is, according to different reports, either 5 or 7. Additionally, dozens of people in Kiev are missing.

We cannot halt the protests, for this would mean that we agree to live in a country that has been turned into a lifelong prison. The younger generation of Ukrainians, which grew up and matured in the post-Soviet years, organically rejects all forms of dictatorship. If dictatorship wins, Europe must take into account the prospect of a North Korea at its eastern border and, according to various estimates, between 5 and 10 million refugees. I do not want to frighten you.

We now have a revolution of the young. Those in power wage their war first and foremost against them. When darkness falls on Kiev, unidentified groups of “people in civilian clothes” roam the city, hunting for the young people, especially those who wear the symbols of the Maidan or the European Union. They kidnap them, take them out into forests, where they are stripped and tortured in fiercely cold weather. For some strange reason the victims of such actions are overwhelmingly young artists—actors, painters, poets. One feels that some strange “death squadrons” have been released in the country with an assignment to wipe out all that is best in it.

One more characteristic detail: In Kiev hospitals the police force entraps the wounded protesters; they are kidnapped and (I repeat, we are talking about wounded persons) taken out for interrogation at undisclosed locations. It has become dangerous to turn to a hospital even for random passersby who were grazed by a shard of a police plastic grenade. The medics only gesture helplessly and release the patients to the so-called “law enforcement.”

To conclude: In Ukraine full-scale crimes against humanity are now being committed, and it is the present government that is responsible for them. If there are any extremists present in this situation, it is the country’s highest leadership that deserves to be labeled as such.

And now turning to your two questions which are traditionally the most difficult for me to answer: I don’t know what will happen next, just as I don’t know what you could now do for us. However, you can disseminate, to the extent your contacts and possibilities allow, this appeal. Also, empathize with us. Think about us. We shall overcome all the same, no matter how hard they rage. The Ukrainian people, without exaggeration, now defend the European values of a free and just society with their own blood. I very much hope that you will appreciate this.

Illiberal Belief #17: Democracy is a Cure-All – Article by Bradley Doucet

Illiberal Belief #17: Democracy is a Cure-All – Article by Bradley Doucet

The New Renaissance Hat
Bradley Doucet
May 14, 2013
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I know it is sacrilege, but that is all the more reason to say it, and say it loud: Democracy is not the be-all, end-all, Holy Grail of politics that many imagine it to be. It is one, but only one, of the ingredients that make for good societies, and it is far from the most important one. Why point this out? If democracy is a good thing, why stir controversy by questioning just how good? Because the widespread, quasi-religious devotion to democracy in evidence today has some very nasty consequences. Democracy means “rule by the people.” The people usually rule by electing representatives, a process which is called, simply enough, representative democracy. Sometimes, as in the case of a referendum on a specific question, the people rule more directly, and this is known as direct democracy. Actually, though, “rule by the people” is a bit misleading, since “the people” are never unanimous on any given question, and neither are their chosen representatives. In practice, democracy is rule by majority (i.e., 50% + 1), or even mere plurality (i.e., more than any one other candidate but less than half) when three or more candidates compete.
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Long before any nation had experienced anything even approaching universal suffrage, people concerned with human liberty—thinkers like Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill—expressed concerns that the fading tyranny of kings might merely be replaced by a “tyranny of the majority.” They worried that majorities might vote away minorities’ hard-won rights to property, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement. Majorities with a hate on for certain minorities might even vote away their very right to life.

History has given these worries ample justification. Democracy by itself is no guarantee of peace and freedom. Adolf Hitler’s victory in democratic 1930s Germany is only the most glaring example of popular support for an illiberal, anti-human regime. The people of Latin America have a long and hallowed tradition of rallying behind populist strongmen who repay their fealty by grinding them (or sometimes their neighbours) beneath their boot heels, all the while running their economies into the ground. Their counterparts in post-colonial Africa and certain parts of Asia have shown similarly stellar political acumen.

As writers like Fareed Zakaria (The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad) point out, in those parts of the world that have successfully achieved a respectable degree of freedom and prosperity (basically Europe, the Anglosphere, and Japan and the Asian Tigers), sheer democracy has been supplemented—and preceded—by institutions like the rule of law, including an independent judiciary; secure property rights; the separation of church and state; freedom of the press; and an educated middle class. Indeed, instead of supplementing democracy, it is more accurate to say that these institutions limit the things over which the people can rule. It is enshrined in law and tradition that neither the people nor their representatives shall be above the law, violate the lives or property of others, impose their religious beliefs on others, or censor the freedom of the press. These checks on the power of the people have created, in the most successful parts of the world, not just democracies but liberal democracies.

According to Zakaria, societies that democratize before having built up these liberal institutions and the prosperity they engender are practically doomed to see their situations deteriorate instead of improve, often to the detriment of neighbouring countries, too. Liberty is simply more important than democracy, and must come first. We who are fortunate enough to live in liberal democracies would do well to remember this when judging other nations, like China, and urging them to democratize faster.

We would do well to remember it when thinking about our own societies, too. Thinkers like economist Bryan Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, argue that even in the most liberal countries, democracy often works against liberty. Economists have been saying for a few decades now that political ignorance is an intractable problem that undermines the beneficial effects of democracy. The argument is that since a single vote has practically no chance of affecting the outcome of an election (or a referendum), the average voter has no incentive to become informed. Defenders of democracy have replied that ignorance doesn’t matter, since the ignorant essentially vote randomly, and random ignorant votes in one direction will be cancelled out by random ignorant votes in the opposite direction, leaving the well-informed in the driver’s seat.

Caplan agrees that if average voters were merely ignorant, their votes would cancel each other out, and the well-informed would be in charge and make good decisions. His central insight, though, is that voters are not merely ignorant, but irrational to boot. Voters have systematically biased beliefs, to which they are deeply attached, and those biases do not cancel each other out. Specifically, the average voter underestimates how well markets work; underestimates the benefits of dealing with foreigners; focuses on the short-term pain of job losses instead of the long-term gain of productivity increases; and tends at any given time to be overly pessimistic about the economy. These biases lead voters to support candidates and policies that undermine their own best interests.

The alternative to democracy, Caplan emphasizes, is not dictatorship, but markets. The market is not perfect, but it works a lot better than politics, because in my daily life as a producer and a consumer, I have an obvious incentive to be rational: my pocketbook. This incentive is lacking when it comes time to go to the polls, because of the aforementioned near-impossibility that my vote will determine the outcome. Given this asymmetry, we should favour markets over politics whenever possible. For those things that must be decided collectively, democracy may be the best we can do, but we should strive to decide as many things as possible privately, resorting to politics only when no other option is feasible. In other words, we should recapture the wisdom of the American Founding Fathers, rediscover the genius of constitutionally limited democracy, and reclaim some of the liberty previous generations fought so valiantly to secure. If we don’t, it might not be too much longer, in the grand scheme of things, before the Western world ceases to be a model worth emulating.

Bradley Doucet is Le Quebecois Libré‘s English Editor. A writer living in Montreal, he has studied philosophy and economics, and is currently completing a novel on the pursuit of happiness.
Government Gifts from Heaven: The Illusions of Redistributive Taxation – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

Government Gifts from Heaven: The Illusions of Redistributive Taxation – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

The New Renaissance Hat
Kyrel Zantonavitch
October 3, 2012
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Everybody wants something for nothing. But the problem is you can never actually get it. And virtually everyone quietly understands this.

Nothing is ever free, and there’s always a price to pay even if you only pay it eventually, indirectly, or secretly. And usually the price for this “free” stuff is quite high. You’re almost always far better off paying for it directly and honestly rather than engaging in any type of amoral, unprincipled, dispiriting, and anxiety-ridden beggary or theft.

But when it comes to government, many people today really do pretty much think you can get something for nothing. Many people nowadays really do believe that the government can magically generate things out of thin air, and then give them to “the people” for free. They even commonly think that this is the people’s “right.”

And the more coercive the government, the better, some people think. The more tyrannical the state is, the more it has the power to repeal the laws of economics, physics, and reality. Then it can give “the people” all sorts of free goods and services!

And yet, in an odd way, this view is actually right, because it’s always the more authoritarian states that pretend to offer the most goodies and booty to their greedy citizenry. They’re the ones that always claim to feature the most “economic rights” or welfare-state give-aways.

Many people in the 21st century really do want and even righteously demand “free” schools and medical care. They want mandatory “free” paid vacations, sick days, and personal days. They want paid mandatory “free” maternity leave along with no-charge day care for the kids. And, of course, they fully expect “free” public roads, parks, libraries, fire departments, water supplies, etc.

But the problem with all this “free” stuff as has already been stated is you truly do pay for it. This happens via taxes. And no, you can’t steal from the rich, and make them pay your share. If you attempt it, they’ll probably just make you pay double. If a government is tyrannical, the rich and powerful can work its machinery far better than you.

Still, too many people try. They hope and dream and then are easily deluded and duped.

The result of all this attempted robbery of the wealthy, and of the general public, is that while some people do get some “freebies” of a generally ugly and repellant type, the rest of the citizenry quietly raises the costs of everyone’s taxes thru the roof. And almost all the merchandise redistributed via taxation is invariably low in quality and high in cost. Now, maybe many don’t notice this. Defenders of Big Brother go to considerable trouble to disguise this reality from you. But it’s the truth.

Had you directly and honestly paid for all this apparent government windfall utilizing your individual judgment, prudence, experience, and intelligence you and your society would be far richer overall. The massive taxes you and the others end up paying are not at all worth it.

Ultimately, whether you know it or not, welfare-state redistribution of wealth results in its very advocates getting utterly conned and totally ripped off.

Kyrel Zantonavitch is the founder of The Liberal Institute  (http://www.liberalinstitute.com/) and a writer for Rebirth of Reason (http://www.rebirthofreason.com). He can be contacted at zantonavitch@gmail.com.

The Ex-PATRIOT Act Has No Place in a Free Society – Article by Ron Paul

The Ex-PATRIOT Act Has No Place in a Free Society – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
June 3, 2012
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The characteristic mark of a tyrannical regime is that it eventually finds it necessary to erect walls to keep people from leaving.  This is why we should be troubled by the “Ex-PATRIOT Act,” an egregiously offensive bill recently introduced in the Senate.  Following a long line of recent legislation and regulations attempting to expropriate more and more wealth from hard-working Americans, this new bill spits in the face of overburdened taxpayers and tramples on the Constitution.

Current law already dictates that Americans with a net worth of over $2 million who expatriate must be assumed to have sold all their assets and must pay a corresponding punitive exit tax on those assumed sales.  The Ex-PATRIOT Act goes even further than current law by assessing a 30% capital gains tax on all future earnings of expatriates.  Not content just with this additional tax, the bill also grants the IRS the sole authority to determine whether individuals have expatriated for tax purposes and allows the IRS to bar those individuals from ever re-entering the United States.  Finally, the bill blatantly violates the ex post facto provisions of the U.S. Constitution by extending all of these provisions to anyone who has given up their U.S. citizenship within the past decade.

This bill, and other similar legislation, casts a chilling effect on saving, investment, and entrepreneurial activity.  The bill was introduced in response to news reports about one of the founders of Facebook who might save millions of dollars of taxes by renouncing his U.S. citizenship.  But in their blind envy towards successful entrepreneurs, the bill’s sponsors ignore the fact that they will ensnare many ordinary middle-class Americans who work hard, save and invest wisely, and benefit from rising home values.  These Americans may easily find themselves pushing past the $2 million mark by the time they retire, especially as inflation continues to seriously accelerate.  If they wish to escape the Federal Reserve’s inflation by emigrating to lower-cost countries so their dollars will go farther, as many Baby Boomers are starting to do, the federal government will penalize them, and continue to penalize them for the rest of their lives as long as they hold any money in the United States.

Unfortunately, the mere consideration of such legislation, even before it has passed, has made American banking customers a potential future headache for banks around the world.  They don’t want to deal with the IRS any more than Americans do, and if American account holders become a Trojan horse for the IRS to insinuate themselves into their affairs, there may be more cost than benefit to extending banking services to Americans.

We live under a federal government that has eviscerated our Fourth Amendment rights, that can detain U.S. citizens indefinitely based solely on the President’s word, that assaults toddlers and grandmothers at airports in the name of security, and regulates virtually every aspect of our economic lives.  No wonder increasing numbers of Americans feel this government is engaged in outright warfare against its own citizens.  Every day the noose grows tighter, yet anyone who sees the writing on the wall and seeks to leave must pay exorbitant taxes just for the privilege of leaving, and increasingly the possibility looms of never fully breaking away from the government’s tentacles no matter where they go.  Ultimately, the Ex-PATRIOT Act proposes to control people by controlling their capital, and it has no place in a free society.

Representative Ron Paul (R – TX), MD, is a Republican candidate for U. S. President. See his Congressional webpage and his official campaign website

This article has been released by Dr. Paul into the public domain and may be republished by anyone in any manner.

On Indefinite Detention: The Tyranny Continues – Article by Ron Paul

On Indefinite Detention: The Tyranny Continues – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
May 28, 2012
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The bad news from the recent passage of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act is that Americans can still be arrested on US soil and detained indefinitely without trial. Some of my colleagues would like us to believe that they fixed last year’s infamous Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA, which codified into law the unconstitutional notion that some Americans are not subject to the protections of the Constitution. However, nothing in this year’s bill or amendments to the bill restored those constitutional rights.

Supporters of the one amendment that passed on this matter were hoping no one would notice that it did absolutely nothing. The amendment essentially stated that those entitled to habeas corpus protections are hereby granted habeas corpus protections. Thanks for nothing!

As Steve Vladeck, of American University’s law school, wrote of this amendment:

“[T]he Gohmert Amendment does nothing whatsoever to address the central objections…. [I]t merely provides by statute a remedy that is already available to individuals detained within the United States; and says nothing about the circumstances in which individuals might actually be subject to military detention when arrested within the territory of United States…. Anyone within the United States who was subject to military detention before the FY2013 NDAA would be subject to it afterwards, as well…”

Actually, the amendment in question makes matters worse, as it states that anyone detained on US soil has the right to file a writ of habeas corpus “within 30 days” of arrest. In fact, persons detained on US soil already have the right to file a habeas petition immediately upon arrest!

I co-sponsored an amendment offered by Reps. Adam Smith and  Justin Amash that would have repealed the unconstitutional provisions of last year’s NDAA by eliminating Section 1022 on mandatory military detention and modifying Section 1021 to make it absolutely clear that no one can be apprehended on US soil and held indefinitely without trial or be held subject to a military tribunal. Our language was clear: “No person detained, captured, or arrested in the United States, or a territory or possession of the United States, may be transferred to the custody of the Armed Forces for detention under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, this Act, or the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.”

The term “person” is key in our amendment, as our Founders did not make a distinction between citizens and non-citizens when determining who was entitled to Constitutional protections. As the father of the Constitution James Madison wrote, “[I]t does not follow, because aliens are not parties to the Constitution, as citizens are parties to it, that whilst they actually conform to it, they have no right to its protection.”

We should not forget that our Article III court system is a strength not a weakness. The right to face our accuser, the protections against hearsay evidence, the right to a jury trial – these are designed to protect the innocent and to determine and then punish guilt. And they have been quite successful thus far. Currently there are more than 300 individuals who have been tried and convicted of terrorism-related charges serving lengthy terms in US federal prisons. Each of the six individuals tried in US civilian courts for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center are serving hundreds of years in prison, for example.

Last week was discouraging and disappointing to those of us who value our Constitution. That the US government asserts the legal authority to pick up Americans within the United States and hold them indefinitely and secretly without a trial should be incredibly disturbing to all of us. Americans should check how their representative voted. Politicians should not be allowed to get away with undermining our liberties in this manner.

Representative Ron Paul (R – TX), MD, is a Republican candidate for U. S. President. See his Congressional webpage and his official campaign website

This article has been released by Dr. Paul into the public domain and may be republished by anyone in any manner.

Is There a Moral Difference Between Innocent Deaths Caused by Military and Police?

Is There a Moral Difference Between Innocent Deaths Caused by Military and Police?

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
March 15, 2012
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It is an odd bit of cognitive dissonance among most people today that killings of innocent people by police are (rightly) treated as moral outrages, while killings of innocent civilians by militaries are often rationalized as “collateral damage” – unfortunate, perhaps, but such is war, and the greater cause of the war is said to justify them. Ayn Rand, for instance, made the argument that all of the civilian deaths in a war are the moral fault of the aggressor regime.

One need not look to the battlefield to see clear instances of unjustified initiation of force. There exist numerous acts of criminal aggression within a country’s borders, with regard to which the kind of arguments that are used to justify war would be readily seen as faulty. There is still a lot of murder in every country. Suppose there is a murderer on the loose. Would it be justified for a country’s domestic police force to send a missile into or plant a bomb in a large and inhabited apartment building, simply because the murderer is believed to be hiding there? Would the answer change if this murderer were a serial killer who has already had a string of victims and/or plans to kill more?

I think virtually everyone would agree that inflicting civilian casualties to eliminate this murderer would not be appropriate and would not be worth the moral cost. Virtually nobody would make the argument that it is the murderer, not the police force, who would be morally responsible for any civilian deaths – and therefore it would be acceptable for the police to act to bring about civilian deaths, and to plan for some civilian deaths in advance, and to simply describe these deaths as regrettable “collateral damage”. Virtually everybody in that situation would agree that the police who permit innocent civilians to die in the capture or destruction of the murderer would themselves bear the blame for the clearly preventable deaths of those civilians.

So why is the situation any different just because the word “war” is used to describe a particular instance of aggression – and just because the people involved are not all from the same country and may be acting outside the borders of their country? Aggression is aggression, and the leaders of an invading dictatorships are criminals just like serial killers, except on a larger scale. My view is that the same moral principles should apply to the proper response to all of them. The proper moral response is to neutralize the threat, but to leave the innocent people out of it entirely. No innocent death should ever be dismissed as mere “collateral damage” – and no plan should be pursued if it is known or expected to result in innocent deaths.

Refuting Ayn Rand on War – Video by G. Stolyarov II

Refuting Ayn Rand on War – Video by G. Stolyarov II

Mr. Stolyarov directly responds to Ayn Rand’s statements regarding the morality of war and refutes her point by point. Mr. Stolyarov shows that war, because of the deaths of innocent civilians, is thoroughly anti-individualistic, and Ayn Rand’s position on war is inconsistent with the fundamental ethical principles of her philosophy of Objectivism.

References
Ayn Rand’s statements at the Ford Hall Forum
– Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein: “‘Just War Theory’ vs. American Self-Defense” –
The Brook/Epstein essay illustrates the kinds of atrocities one would have to embrace to take Ayn Rand’s arguments on the morality of war to their logical conclusion.