June 13, 2017 The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Chairman Hatch: As the Senate continues to make progress on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, we urge you and your colleagues to include repeal of the nearly 20 taxes imposed by the law. During a February 1 speech at the Chamber of Commerce, you declared, "All of the ObamaCare taxes need to go as part of the repeal process." We agree. Recent media reports suggest that the Senate may be wavering on repeal of these taxes. This would be a mistake. The final Senate repeal package should retain the broad tax relief that was included in the House passed American Health Care Act. The roughly one trillion dollars in new or higher taxes imposed by Obamacare directly hit middle class families and small businesses, raise the cost of healthcare, and reduce access to care. Obamacare taxes directly suppress economic growth. The best example of this is the 3.8 percent so-called Net Investment Income Investment Tax (NIIT) on capital gains and dividends. Historically, capital gains taxes have a significant negative impact on capital formation, productivity, andeconomic growth while raising little or even negative revenue. Repealing the 3.8 percent NIIT would return the capital gains tax rate to 20 percent, the rate agreed to by President Clinton and a Republican Congress in 1997. A related tax hike is the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on wages and selfemployment income, the repeal of which was unfortunately delayed six years by an amendment in the House. It should be repealed as expeditiously as possible. Other Obamacare taxes directly impact the ability of Americans to meet healthcare costs, such as the income tax hike on families with high medical bills. Around 10 million families pay $200 to $400 in higher income taxes each year because Obamacare increases the threshold at which families can deduct medical expenses paid out of pocket. Obamacare also makes it harder for individuals to save for their own healthcare choices. Roughly 20 million Americans use tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to save for healthcare costs. Another 30 million use Flexible Spending Accounts. There are multiple taxes that restrict the ability of families to use these savings accounts, which limits the choice of consumers. Other taxes hit certain healthcare industries, such as insurance providers, medical device and prescription drug manufacturers. Inevitably, these taxes are passed onto American families in the form of increased costs. Finally, the tax associated with the employer mandate has limited millions of Americans to part-time work and the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate hit eight million Americans in 2014, with a family of four facing an income tax hike exceeding $2,000. True repeal of Obamacare means repealing the Obamacare taxes and the Senate should resist the urge to deprive taxpayers of relief in order to pay for higher spending. We commend you on your stance to repeal these Obamacare taxes and urge any final package accelerate or at least maintain the House-passed tax reductions. Sincerely, Grover Norquist President, Americans for Tax Reform James L. Martin Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association Phil Kerpen President, American Commitment Steve Pociask President, American Consumer Institute Lisa B. Nelson CEO, American Legislative Exchange Council Ashley N. Varner Executive Director, ALEC Action Dan Weber President, Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) Lindsay Boyd Policy Director, Beacon Center of Tennessee Norm Singleton President, Campaign for Liberty Andrew F. Quinlan President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity Chuck Muth President, Citizen Outreach (Nevada) Twila Brase, RN, PHN President and Co-founder, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Chip Faulkner Executive Director, Citizens for Limited Taxation (Massachusetts) David McIntosh President, Club for Growth Michael J. Bowen CEO, Coalition for a Strong America Thomas Schatz President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Katie McAuliffe Executive Director, Digital Liberty Adam Brandon President, FreedomWorks Richard Watson Chairman, Florida Center-Right Coalition Annette Meeks CEO, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota George Landrith President, Frontiers of Freedom Grace-Marie Turner President, Galen Institute* Mario H. Lopez President, Hispanic Leadership Fund Joseph Bast President & CEO, The Heartland Institute Heather R. Higgins President & CEO, Independent Women's Voice Donald P. Racheter, Ph.D. Chair, Iowa Center-Right Coalition Colin A. Hanna President, Let Freedom Ring Stephen Waguespack President and CEO, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry Brett Healy President, The MacIver Institute Richard Watson Chairman, Florida Center-Right Coalition Mary Adams Chair, Maine Center-Right Coalition Bryan Dench Maine Conservative Activist Tim Jones Former Speaker, Missouri House of Representatives Brian McClung Chair, Minnesota Center-Right Coalition Devon Herrick Ph.D. Senior Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis Brandon Arnold Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union Jeff Kropf Executive Director, Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation Jordan Harris & Josh Crwofrod Co-Executive Directors, the Pegasus Institute (Kentucky) Mike Stenhouse Founder & CEO, Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity Karen Kerrigan President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council David Williams President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance Michael W. Thompson President, Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy Nancy Piotter Executive Director, Virginians for Quality Healthcare Gerrye Johnston Founder/CEO, Women for Democracy in America, Inc. Cc: United States Senators *Organization listed for identification purposes only
"...sets a federal statute of limitation on medical malpractice lawsuits, limits the amount of "non-economic" damages (such as pain and suffering) that can be awarded, and allows introduction of evidence of other compensation to the plaintiff (such as insurance payments). Whatever one thinks of the merits of these proposals, the fact is they violate the 10th Amendment. The bill's proponents claim it is constitutional because it only applies to cases with a "federal nexus."The bill was pulled because members of the House freedom caucus expressed opposition to the legislation on federalism grounds. This is a step forward, as ten years ago, only Ron Paul and a handful of others would have opposed giving the federal government authority over the nation's malpractice laws. The Senate will spend most of the week on Coast Guard Reauthorization. Among the legislation the House will consider are bills reauthorizing federal job training programs. Read Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul's explanation of the constitutional and other flaws with these programs here. The House will also consider HR 2842, which provides grants to states "...for demonstration projects that provide wage subsidies to enable low-income individuals to enter and retain employment." The argument for this is it will aid the transition from welfare-to-work, and thus save money in the long run. The argument against it is that it is a step toward creating a new entitlement for cash payments for the "working poor" which will extend to the middle-class. The House will also consider a number of bills under suspension, including: 1. HR 2834 -- Creates a new grant program for states to help children whose families have been impacted by drug abuse. Helping children is a worthy goal, but this type of grant program exceeds the federal government's constitutional limitations. Also, this type of aid is better provided by voluntary institutions than a centralized government bureaucracy. 2. HR 2484 -- Commits the United States Government to promote the involvement of women in "conflict prevention" around the globe. So this is more interference in the affairs of other nations with the justification of promoting equality and peace. If Congress wants to promote peace, maybe they should use their constitutional authority to stop the president from launching military action without seeking a declaration of war from Congress? 3. HR 2132 -- Instructs the Department of Homeland Security to create a redress process to adjudicate inquiries for individuals who: (A) are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence; (B) have filed an inquiry with DHS TRIP after receiving enhanced screening at an airport passenger security checkpoint more than three times in any 60-day period; and (C) believe they have been wrongly identified as being a threat to aviation security. Also requires a review of the "intelligence based screening process." This may cut down on TSA abuses, but it is no substitute to eliminating the TSA and returning responsibility for airport security to the airlines and airports. 3. HR 1393 -- Exempts employees whose job requires them to work in multiple states from being subject to income tax in states other than the state where the employee resides or a state where the employee works for more than 30 days.
In recent years, many writers have given us their vision of the coming collectivist future. At the turn of the century, neither Edward Bellamy nor H. G. Wells suspected that the collectivist societies of their dreams were so close at hand. As collectivism sprouted following World War I, many keen observers felt that there was a big difference between the idyllic Edens pictured by Bellamy and Wells and the actual conditions of the various “waves of the future.” Notable among these revised forecasts of the world of the future were Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Both of their future worlds, evil as they were, had saving graces. Huxley’s future was spiritually dead, but at least the masses were happy; Ayn Rand’s dictators were timid, stupid men who permitted a renascent individualist to escape from the strangling collectivist world and begin life anew. George Orwell’s collectivist Utopia has plugged all the loopholes. There is no hope at all for the individual or for humanity, and so the effect on the reader is devastating. Orwell’s future is run by a Party whose job is the total exercise of Power, and it goes about its job with diabolic efficiency and ingenuity. The Party represents itself as the embodiment of the principles of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. These principles turn out to be: blind, unquestioning obedience to the Party, and equally blind hatred of any person or group the Party proclaims as its enemy. These emotions are the only ones permitted to anybody; all others, such as personal and family love, are systematically stamped out. All ideas are of course treasonable and subversive—the only persons permitted to live are those who unthinkingly parrot the Party Line. Any man with a bent for independent thought is subtly encouraged in his heresy by the Thought Police. Then, when he has come to realize the nature of the regime and hates it thoroughly, the Ministry of Love takes over and, via the most horrible forms of torture, burns out of him any spark of human dignity. Finally, the heretic goes to his slaughter convinced of the goodness of his persecutors. He dies loving the Party and its mythical leader, Big Brother. Not even martyrdom is permitted in the inferno of the future. To accomplish its purpose of destroying the human mind and heart, the Party uses: constant propaganda, inducing all to love Big Brother and hate his enemies; the destruction of truth by continually altering historical records to conform to the ever-changing Party Line— thus history is destroyed and all truth flows from the Party; the destruction of language to make it impossible to think independent thoughts— by confusing the meaning of words and by introducing a new gibberish-language; and the destruction of logic by a process known as doublethink defined as the capacity to hold in one’s mind two contradictory beliefs at the same time. One significant method that the Party uses to remain in power is to contrive to keep its country always at war with some other country. The other countries are also run by similar parties, though each have different names. By the process of doublethink every loyal Party member believes that his part will ultimately conquer the world, yet also recognizes that all the countries tacitly engage in a war that never becomes too “hot.” Thus, each Party has an excuse to starve and terrorize its subjects in the name of military necessity, while its ruler remains secure from any wartime disaster. “I understand how,” said Winston Smith, the pathetic heretic of Nineteen Eight-Four,“but I don’t understand why.” Why does the Party do all this? One of its leaders explains: “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others were cowards and hypocrites. They never had the courage to recognize their motives. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. In our world, there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement—a world of fear and treachery and torment. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.” Orwell’s collectivist world of the future is doubtless a nightmare—but is it merely a dream?Also from Mises is a 1986 essay from Dr. Rothbard exploring Orwell and explaining how the Cold War has helped to turn the U.S. into the type of society envisioned by Orwell. The essay is an response to the attempt by prominent neoconservatives to claim Orwell as one of their own:
In a recent and well-known article, Norman Podhoretz has attempted to conscript George Orwell into the ranks of neoconservative enthusiasts for the newly revitalized cold war with the Soviet Union.1 If Orwell were alive today, this truly “Orwellian” distortion would afford him considerable wry amusement. It is my contention that the cold war, as pursued by the three superpowers of Nineteen Eighty-Four, was the key to their successful imposition of a totalitarian regime upon their subjects. We all know that Nineteen Eighty-Four was a brilliant and mordant attack on totalitarian trends in modern society, and it is also clear that Orwell was strongly opposed to communism and to the regime of the Soviet Union. But the crucial role of a perpetual cold war in the entrenchment of totalitarianism in Orwell’s “nightmare vision” of the world has been relatively neglected by writers and scholars.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four there are three giant superstates or blocs of nations: Oceania (run by the United States, and including the British Empire and Latin America), Eurasia (the Eurasian continent), and Eastasia (China, southeast Asia, much of the Pacific). The superpowers are always at war, in shifting coalitions and alignments against each other. The war is kept, by agreement between the superpowers, safely on the periphery of the blocs, since war in their heartlands might actually blow up the world and their own rule along with it. The perpetual but basically phony war is kept alive by unremitting campaigns of hatred and fear against the shadowy foreign Enemy. The perpetual war system is then used by the ruling elite in each country to fasten totalitarian collectivist rule upon their subjects. As Harry Elmer Barnes wrote, this system “could only work if the masses are always kept at a fever heat of fear and excitement and are effectively prevented from learning that the wars are actually phony. To bring about this indispensable deception of the people requires a tremendous development of propaganda, thought-policing, regimentation, and mental terrorism.” And finally, “when it becomes impossible to keep the people any longer at a white heat in their hatred of one enemy group of nations, the war is shifted against another bloc and new, violent hate campaigns are planned and set in motion.”2 From Orwell’s time to the present day, the United States has fulfilled his analysis or prophecy by engaging in campaigns of unremitting hatred and fear of the Soviets, including such widely trumpeted themes (later quietly admitted to be incorrect) as “missile gap” and “windows of vulnerability.” What Garet Garrett perceptively called “a complex of vaunting and fear” has been the hallmark of the American as well as of previous empires:3 the curious combination of vaunting and braggadocio that insists that a nation-state’s military might is second to none in any area, combined with repeated panic about the intentions and imminent actions of the “empire of evil” that is marked as the Enemy. It is the sort of fear and vaunting that makes Americans proud of their capacity to “overkill” the Russians many times and yet agree enthusiastically to virtually any and all increases in the military budget for mightier weapons of mass destruction. Senator Ralph Flanders (Republican, Vermont) pinpointed this process of rule through fear when he stated during the Korean War: Fear is felt and spread by the Department of Defense in the Pentagon. In part, the spreading of it is purposeful. Faced with what seem to be enormous armed forces aimed against us, we can scarcely expect the Department of Defense to do other than keep the people in a state of fear so that they will be prepared without limit to furnish men and munitions.4 This applies not only to the Pentagon but to its civilian theoreticians, the men whom Marcus Raskin, once one of their number, has dubbed “the mega-death intellectuals.” Thus Raskin pointed out that
their most important function is to justify and extend the existence of their employers. ... In order to justify the continued large-scale production of these bombs and missiles, military and industrial leaders needed some kind of theory to rationalize their use. ... This became particularly urgent during the late 1950s, when economy-minded members of the Eisenhower Administration began to wonder why so much money, thought, and resources, were being spent on weapons if their use could not be justified. And so began a series of rationalizations by the “defense intellectuals” in and out of the Universities. ... Military procurement will continue to flourish, and they will continue to demonstrate why it must. In this respect they are no different from the great majority of modern specialists who accept the assumptions of the organizations which employ them because of the rewards in money and power and prestige. ... They know enough not to question their employers’ right to exist.5
In addition to the manufacture of fear and hatred against the primary Enemy, there have been numerous Orwellian shifts between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys. Our deadly enemies in World War II, Germany and Japan, are now considered prime Good Guys, the only problem being their unfortunate reluctance to take up arms against the former Good Guys, the Soviet Union. China, having been a much lauded Good Guy under Chiang Kai-shek when fighting Bad Guy Japan, became the worst of the Bad Guys under communism, and indeed the United States fought the Korean and Vietnamese wars largely for the sake of containing the expansionism of Communist China, which was supposed to be an even worse guy than the Soviet Union. But now all that is changed, and Communist China is now the virtual ally of the United States against the principal Enemy in the Kremlin. Along with other institutions of the permanent cold war, Orwellian New-speak has developed richly. Every government, no matter how despotic, that is willing to join the anti-Soviet crusade is called a champion of the “free world.” Torture committed by “totalitarian” regimes is evil; torture undertaken by regimes that are merely “authoritarian” is almost benign. While the Department of War has not yet been transformed into the Department of Peace, it was changed early in the cold war to the Department of Defense, and President Reagan has almost completed the transformation by the neat Orwellian touch of calling the MX missile “the Peacemaker.” As early as the 1950s, an English publicist observed that “Orwell’s main contention that ‘cold war’ is now an essential feature of normal life is being verified more and more from day to day. No one really believes in a ‘peace settlement’ with the Soviets, and many people in positions of power regard such a prospect with positive horror.” He added that “a war footing is the only basis of full employment.”6 And Harry Barnes noted that “the advantages of the cold war in bolstering the economy, avoiding a depression, and maintaining political tenure after 1945 were quickly recognized by both politicians and economists.” The most recent analysis of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in terms of permanent cold war was in U.S. News and World Report, in its issue marking the beginning of the year 1984:
No nuclear holocaust has occurred but Orwell’s concept of perpetual local conflict is borne out. Wars have erupted every year since 1945, claiming more than 30 million lives. The Defense Department reports that there currently are 40 wars raging that involve one-fourth of all nations in the world — from El Salvador to Kampuchea to Lebanon and Afghanistan. Like the constant war of 1984, these post-war conflicts occurred not within superpower borders but in far-off places such as Korea and Vietnam. Unlike Orwell’s fictitious superpowers, Washington and Moscow are not always able to control events and find themselves sucked into local wars such as the current conflict in the Middle East heightening the risk of a superpower confrontation and use of nuclear armaments.7
But most Orwell scholars have ignored the critical permanent-cold-war underpinning to the totalitarianism in the book. Thus, in a recently published collection of scholarly essays on Orwell, there is barely a mention of militarism or war. 8 In contrast, one of the few scholars who have recognized the importance of war in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was the Marxist critic Raymond Williams. While deploring the obvious anti-Soviet nature of Orwell’s thought, Williams noted that Orwell discovered the basic feature of the existing two- or three-superpower world, “oligarchical collectivism,” as depicted by James Burnham, in his Managerial Revolution (1940), a book that had a profound if ambivalent impact upon Orwell. As Williams put it:
Orwell’s vision of power politics is also close to convincing. The transformation of official “allies” to “enemies” has happened, almost openly, in the generation since he wrote. His idea of a world divided into three blocs — Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, of which two are always at war with the other though the alliances change — is again too close for comfort. And there are times when one can believe that what “had been called England or Britain” has become simply Airship One.9
A generation earlier, John Atkins had written that Orwell had “discovered this conception of the political future in James Burnham’s Managerial Revolution.” Specifically, “there is a state of permanent war but it is a contest of limited aims between combatants who cannot destroy each other. The war cannot be decisive. ... As none of the states comes near conquering the others, however the war deteriorates into a series of skirmishes . ... The protagonists store atomic bombs.”10 To establish what we might call this “revisionist” interpretation of Nineteen Eighty-Four we must first point out that the book was not, as in the popular interpretation, a prophecy of the future so much as a realistic portrayal of existing political trends. Thus, Jeffrey Meyers points out that Nineteen Eighty-Four was less a “nightmare vision” (Irving Howe’s famous phrase) of the future than “a very concrete and naturalistic portrayal of the present and the past,” a “realistic synthesis and rearrangement of familiar materials.” And again, Orwell’s “statements about 1984 reveal that the novel, though set in a future time, is realistic rather than fantastic, and deliberately intensifies the actuality of the present.” Specifically, according to Meyers, Nineteen Eighty-Four was not “totalitarianism after its world triumph” as in the interpretation of Howe, but rather “the very real though unfamiliar political terrorism of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia transposed into the landscape of London in 1941–44.”11 And not only Burnham’s work but the reality of the 1943 Teheran Conference gave Orwell the idea of a world ruled by three totalitarian superstates. Bernard Crick, Orwell’s major biographer, points out that the English reviewers of Nineteen Eighty-Four caught on immediately that the novel was supposed to be an intensification of present trends rather than a prophecy of the future. Crick notes that these reviewers realized that Orwell had “not written utopian or anti-utopian fantasy ... but had simply extended certain discernible tendencies of 1948 forward into 1984.”12 Indeed, the very year 1984 was simply the transposition of the existing year, 1948. Orwell’s friend Julian Symons wrote that 1984 society was meant to be the “near future,” and that all the grim inventions of the rulers “were just extensions of ‘ordinary’ war and post-war things.” We might also point out that the terrifying Room 101 in Nineteen Eighty-Four was the same numbered room in which Orwell had worked in London during World War II as a British war propagandist. But let Orwell speak for himself. Orwell was distressed at many American reviews of the book, especially in Time and Life, which, in contrast to the British, saw Nineteen Eighty-Four as the author’s renunciation of his long-held devotion to democratic socialism. Even his own publisher, Frederic Warburg, interpreted the book in the same way. This response moved Orwell, terminally ill in a hospital, to issue a repudiation. He outlined a statement to Warburg, who, from detailed notes, issued a press release in Orwell’s name. First, Orwell noted that, contrary to many reviews, Nineteen Eighty-Four was not prophecy but an analysis of what could happen, based on present political trends. Orwell then added: “Specifically, the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the USSR and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger also lies in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours.” After outlining his forecast of several world superstates, specifically the Anglo-American world (Oceania) and a Soviet-dominated Eurasia, Orwell went on:
If these two great blocs line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents. ... The name suggested in 1984 is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the USA the phrase “American” or “hundred per cent American” is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as any could wish.13
We are about as far from the world of Norman Podhoretz as we can get. While Orwell is assuredly anti-Communist and anticollectivist his envisioned totalitarianism can and does come in many guises and forms, and the foundation for his nightmare totalitarian world is a perpetual cold war that keeps brandishing the horror of modern atomic weaponry. Shortly after the atom bomb was dropped on Japan, George Orwell pre-figured his world of Nineteen Eighty-Four in an incisive and important analysis of the new phenomenon. In an essay entitled “You and the Atom Bomb,” he noted that when weapons are expensive (as the A-bomb is) politics tends to become despotic, with power concentrated into the hands of a few rulers. In contrast, in the day when weapons were simple and cheap (as was the musket or rifle, for instance) power tends to be decentralized. After noting that Russia was thought to be capable of producing the A-bomb within five years (that is, by 1950), Orwell writes of the “prospect,” at that time, “of two or three monstrous super-states, each possessed of a weapon by which millions of people can be wiped out in a few seconds, dividing the world between them.” It is generally supposed, he noted, that the result will be another great war, a war which this time will put an end to civilization. But isn’t it more likely, he added, “that surviving great nations make a tacit agreement never to use the bomb against one another? Suppose they only use it, or the threat of it, against people who are unable to retaliate?” Returning to his favorite theme, in this period, of Burnham’s view of the world in The Managerial Revolution, Orwell declares that Burnham’s geographical picture of the new world has turned out to be correct. More and more obviously the surface of the earth is being parceled off into three great empires, each self-contained and cut off from contact with the outer world, and each ruled, under one disguise or another by a self-elected oligarchy. The haggling as to where the frontiers are to be drawn is still going on, and will continue for some years. Orwell then proceeds gloomily:
The atomic bomb may complete the process by robbing the exploited classes and peoples of all power to revolt, and at the same time putting the possessors of the bomb on a basis of equality. Unable to conquer one another they are likely to continue ruling the world between them, and it is difficult to see how the balance can be upset except by slow and unpredictable demographic changes.
In short, the atomic bomb is likely “to put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging ‘a peace that is no peace.’” The drift of the world will not be toward anarchy, as envisioned by H.G. Wells, but toward “horribly stable ... slave empires.14 Over a year later, Orwell returned to his pessimistic perpetual-cold-war analysis of the postwar world. Scoffing at optimistic press reports that the Americans “will agree to inspection of armaments,” Orwell notes that “on another page of the same paper are reports of events in Greece which amount to a state of war between two groups of powers who are being so chummy in New York.” There are two axioms, he added, governing international affairs. One is that “there can be no peace without a general surrender of sovereignty,” and another is that “no country capable of defending its sovereignty ever surrenders it.” The result will be no peace, a continuing arms race, but no all-out war.15 Orwell completes his repeated wrestling with the works of James Burnham in his review of The Struggle for the World (1947). Orwell notes that the advent of atomic weapons has led Burnham to abandon his three-identical-superpowers view of the world, and also to shuck off his tough pose of value-freedom. Instead, Burnham is virtually demanding an immediate preventive war against Russia,” which has become the collectivist enemy, a preemptive strike to be launched before Russia acquires the atomic bomb. While Orwell is fleetingly tempted by Burnham’s apocalyptic approach, and asserts that domination of Britain by the United States is to be preferred to domination by Russia, he emerges from the discussion highly critical. After all, Orwell writes, the
Russian regime may become more liberal and less dangerous a generation hence. ... Of course, this would not happen with the consent of the ruling clique, but it is thinkable that the mechanics of the situation may bring it about. The other possibility is that the great powers will be simply too frightened of the effects of atomic weapons ever to make use of them. But that would be much too dull for Burnham. Everything must happen suddenly and completely.16
George Orwell’s last important essay on world affairs was published in Partisan Review in the summer of 1947. He there reaffirmed his attachment to socialism but conceded that the chances were against its coming to pass. He added that there were three possibilities ahead for the world. One (which, as he had noted a few months before was the new Burnham solution) was that the United States would launch an atomic attack on Russia before Russia developed the bomb. Here Orwell was more firmly opposed to such a program than he had been before. For even if Russia were annihilated, a preemptive attack would only lead to the rise of new empires, rivalries, wars, and use of atomic weapons. At any rate, the first possibility was not likely. The second possibility, declared Orwell, was that the cold war would continue until Russia got the bomb, at which point world war and the destruction of civilization would take place. Again, Orwell did not consider this possibility very likely. The third, and most likely, possibility is the old vision of perpetual cold war between blocs of superpowers. In this world,
the fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come will be so great that everyone will refrain from using them. ... It would mean the division of the world among two or three vast super-states, unable to conquer one another and unable to be overthrown by any internal rebellion. In all probability their structure would be hierarchic, with a semi-divine caste at the top and outright slavery at the bottom, and the crushing out of liberty would exceed anything the world has yet seen. Within each state the necessary psychological atmosphere would be kept up by complete severance from the outer world, and by a continuous phony war against rival states. Civilization of this type might remain static for thousands of years.17
Orwell (perhaps, like Burnham, now fond of sudden and complete solutions) considers this last possibility the worst. It should be clear that George Orwell was horrified at what he considered to be the dominant trend of the postwar world: totalitarianism based on perpetual but peripheral cold war between shifting alliances of several blocs of super states. His positive solutions to this problem were fitful and inconsistent; in Partisan Review he called wistfully for a Socialist United States of Western Europe as the only way out, but he clearly placed little hope in such a development. His major problem was one that affected all democratic socialists of that era: a tension between their anticommunism and their opposition to imperialist, or at least interstate, wars. And so at times Orwell was tempted by the apocalyptic preventive-atomic-war solution, as was even Bertrand Russell during the same period. In another, unpublished article, “In Defense of Comrade Zilliacus,” written at some time near the end of 1947, Orwell, bitterly opposed to what he considered the increasingly procommunist attitude of his own Labour magazine, the Tribune, came the closest to enlisting in the cold war by denouncing neutralism and asserting that his hoped-for Socialist United States of Europe should ground itself on the backing of the United States of America. But despite these aberrations, the dominant thrust of Orwell’s thinking during the postwar period, and certainly as reflected in Nineteen Eighty-Four, was horror at a trend toward perpetual cold war as the groundwork for a totalitarianism throughout the world. And his hope for eventual loosening of the Russian regime, if also fitful, still rested cheek by jowl with his more apocalyptic leanings.
1.Norman Podhoretz, “If Orwell Were Alive Today,” Harper's, January 1983, pp. 30-37.
2.Harry Elmer Barnes, “How ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Trends Threaten American Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity,” in Revisionism: A Key to Peace and Other Essays (San Francisco: Cato Institute, 1980), pp. 142-43. Also see Barnes, An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World, 3d rev. ed., 3 vols. (New York: Dover, 1965), 3: 1324-1332; and Murray N. Rothbard, “Harry Elmer Barnes as Revisionist of the Cold War,” in Harry Elmer Barnes, Learned Crusader, ed. A. Goddard (Colorado Springs: Ralph Myles, 1968). pp. 314-38. For a similar analysis, see F.J.P. Veal Advance to Barbarism(Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1953), pp. 266-84.
3.Garet Garrett, The People’s Pottage (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1953), pp. 154-57.
4.Quoted in Garrett, The People's Pottage, p. 154.
5.Marcus Raskin, “The Megadeath Intellectuals,” New York Review of Books, November 14, 1963, pp. 6-7. Also see Martin Nicolaus, “The Professor, the Policeman and the Peasant,” Viet-Report, June-July 1966, pp. 15-19; and Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983). Barnes, “‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Trends,” p. 176.
6.Barnes, “‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Trends,” p. 176.
7.U.S. News and World Report, December 26, 1983, pp. 86-87.
8.Irving Howe, ed., 1984 Revisited: Totalitarianism in Our Century (New York: Harper and Row, Perennial Library, 1983). There is a passing reference in Robert Nisbet’s essay and a few references in Luther Carpenter’s article on the reception given to Nineteen Eighty-Four by his students at a community college on Staten Island (pp. 180, 82).
9.Raymond Williams. George Orwell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971), p. 76.
10.John Atkins, George Orwell (London: Caldor and Boyars, 1954), pp. 237-38.
11.Jeffrey Meyers, A Reader’s Guide to George Orwell (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975), pp. 144-45. Also, “Far from being a picture of the totalitarianism or the future 1984 is, in countless details, a realistic picture of the totalitarianism of the present” (Richard J. Voorhees, The Paradox of George Orwell, Purdue University Studies, 1961, pp. 85-87).
12.Bernard Crick, George Orwell: A Life (London: Seeker and Warburg, 1981), p. 393. Also see p. 397.
13.George Orwell, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, ed. Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, 4 vols. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), 4:504 (hereafter cited as CEJL). Also see Crick, George Orwell, pp. 393-95.
14.George Orwell, “You and the Atom Bomb,” Tribune, October 19, 1945, reprinted in CEJL, 4:8-10.
15.George Orwell, “As I Please,” Tribune, December 13, 1946, reprinted in CEJL, 4:255.
16.George Orwell, “Burnham’s View of the Contemporary World Struggle,” New Leader (New York), March 29, 1947, reprinted in CEJL, 4:325.
17.George Orwell. “Toward European Unity,” Partisan Review July-August 1947, reprinted in CEJL, 4:370-75.
Internet Gambling Ban a Losing Bet For Liberty by Ron Paul Controversies over surveillance of President Trump and members of his administration, including the leaks that forced President Trump’s first National Security Advisor to resign, have brought new attention to Section 702 of the FISA Reform Act. Section 702, which was added to the law in 2008, authorizes wiretapping of “non-U.S.” persons. The statue explicitly forbids the “intentional” targeting of U.S. citizens, but allows agencies to collect information on U.S. citizens if it is “incidental” to a 702 investigation. The National Security Agency (NSA) has exploited the “incidental” loophole to turn Section 702 into a routinely-used justification for wiretapping America citizens, including General Michael Kelly and (allegedly) other members of Donald Trump's campaign staff and transition team. Given the way the federal snoop state uses every inch of (unconstitutional) power granted them to take a mile of liberty, the last thing Congress should do is pass legislation giving the surveillance state a new excuse to spy on us -- especially if the legislation also violates the Tenth Amendment. Yet Congress will do just that if it listens to the special interests pushing the Restoration of Americas’ Wireless Act (RAWA). RAWA makes online gaming a federal crime. Thus, it gives federal agents another excuse to monitor our Internet usage. Those tempted to say, “I don’t gamble online, so I have no need to worry,” should ask themselves what if their name appeared in the email contacts of friends or relatives who gambled online. Individuals may also be targeted if their browsing habits match that of a “profile” of an online gambler.The irony of this argument is if Congress passes RAWA, they would be helping terrorists and other criminals. Criminalizing online gaming is not going stop individuals from seeking out opportunities to gamble online, any more than prohibition stopped people from wanting to drink alcoholic beverages. Instead, just as prohibition lead to the rise of organized crime, banning online gambling will ensure that only criminals (and terrorists) will run online casinos. In contrast, if Congress leaves regulation of Internet gambling to individual states and the free-market, websites owned and operated by legal casinos would likely dominate the online gaming market. In order to avoid any legal troubles, as well as bad public relations, these sites would likely use technology that enables them to identify those prohibited from gambling online. Those who support RAWA should ask themselves who is more likely to use this technology: a website controlled by legal casinos who want to stay within the boundaries of the law or an offshore website controlled by a drug cartel or a terrorist organization? Even if this technology did not exist, the Constitution does not grant Congress any authority regarding any type of gaming, and the Tenth Amendment does not expand Congressional power to create new federal crimes in order to “protect” state laws. In fact, the idea that federalism requires federal action to ensure one state’s laws do not interfere with laws in other states turns federalism on its head! This “bizarro federalism” promoted by RAWA supporters could be used to justify other expansions of federal power, including new gun control laws. Federal laws outlawing Internet gambling are also incompatible with the fundamental principles of a free society. Gambling is a peaceful activity that does not violate anyone’s rights. Therefore, the government has no legitimate reason to forbid adults from gambling online. This is not to say that gambling is a good thing, only that government force should not be used to discourage it. RAWA usurps state authority over gambling in order to further empower the surveillance state to snoop into our personal lives. Instead of ending online gaming, RAWA guarantees the online gambling marketplace will be dominated by criminals. Congress should reject RAWA rather than gamble our liberties away.One of the justifications for RAWA is the claim that Internet gaming sites are controlled by drug cartels and terrorists groups. This claim gives law enforcement all the justification it needs to bring the full weight of the post-9-11-surveillance state down on those suspected of gambling online.
The House will also consider legislation (S. 1094) that provides enhanced protection for whistleblowers at the Veterans Affairs Department and installs new procedures for holding VA employees accountable for violations of VA procedures. The House will also consider legislation, H.R. 1215, that sets a federal statue of limitation on medical malpractice lawsuits, limits the amount of "noneconomic" damages (such as pain and suffering) that can be awarded, and allows introduction of evidence of other compensation to the plaintiff (such as insurance payments). Whatever one thinks of the merits of these proposals, the fact is they violate the 10th Amendment. The bill's proponents claim it is constitutional because it only applies to cases with a "federal nexus." However, it defines federal nexus so broadly that any medical procedure effected in any way by federal law -- including one where the patient uses federal health care tax credits -- would be covered. Unconstitutional infringement of state power should never be used to justify new usurpation of state authority. Here and below is column Dr. Paul wrote about this issue in 2003:INTRODUCING THE IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION ACT ______ HON. RON PAUL of Texas in the House of Representatives Thursday, January 4, 2007 Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, today I introduce the Identity Theft Prevention Act. This act protects the American people from government- mandated uniform identifiers that facilitate private crime as well as the abuse of liberty. The major provision of the Identity Theft Prevention Act halts the practice of using the Social Security number as an identifier by requiring the Social Security Administration to issue all Americans new Social Security numbers within 5 years after the enactment of the bill. These new numbers will be the sole legal property of the recipient, and the Social Security Administration shall be forbidden to divulge the numbers for any purposes not related to Social Security administration. Social Security numbers issued before implementation of this bill shall no longer be considered valid federal identifiers. Of course, the Social Security Administration shall be able to use an individual's original Social Security number to ensure efficient administration of the Social Security system. Madame Speaker, Congress has a moral responsibility to address this problem because it was Congress that transformed the Social Security number into a national identifier. Thanks to Congress, today no American can get a job, open a bank account, get a professional license, or even get a driver's license without presenting his Social Security number. So widespread has the use of the Social Security number become that a member of my staff had to produce a Social Security number in order to get a fishing license! One of the most disturbing abuses of the Social Security number is the congressionally-authorized rule forcing parents to get a Social Security number for their newborn children in order to claim the children as dependents. Forcing parents to register their children with the State is more like something out of the nightmares of George Orwell than the dreams of a free republic that inspired this nation's founders. Congressionally-mandated use of the Social Security number as an identifier facilitates the horrendous crime of identity theft. Thanks to Congress, an unscrupulous person may simply obtain someone's Social Security number in order to access that person's bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial assets. Many Americans have lost their life savings and had their credit destroyed as a result of identity theft. Yet the Federal Government continues to encourage such crimes by mandating use of the Social Security number as a uniform ID! This act also forbids the Federal Government from creating national ID cards or establishing any identifiers for the purpose of investigating, monitoring, overseeing, or regulating private transactions among American citizens. In 2005, this body established a de facto national ID card with provisions buried in the "intelligence" reform bill mandating Federal standards for drivers' licenses, and mandating that Federal agents only accept a license that conforms to these standards as a valid ID. Nationalizing standards for drivers' licenses and birth certificates creates a national ID system pure and simple. Proponents of this scheme claim they are merely creating new standards for existing State IDs. However, imposing Federal standards in a Federal bill creates a federalized ID regardless of whether the ID itself is still stamped with the name of your State. The national ID will be used to track the movements of American citizens, not just terrorists. Subjecting every citizen to surveillance diverts resources away from tracking and apprehending terrorists in favor of needless snooping on innocent Americans. This is what happened with "suspicious activity reports" required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Thanks to BSA mandates, Federal officials are forced to waste countless hours snooping through the private financial transactions of innocent Americans merely because those transactions exceeded $10,000. Turning State-issued drivers licenses into federally controlled national ID cards is yet another Federal usurpation of State authority and another costly unfunded mandate imposed on the States. According to a report issued by the National Conference of State Legislators, turning drivers licenses into national ID cards will cost the States more than $11 billion. Madam Speaker, no wonder there is a groundswell of opposition to this mandate. There is even a movement in several State legislatures to refuse to comply with this mandate! The Identity Theft Prevention Act not only repeals those sections of the Federal law creating a national UD, it forbids the Federal Government from using Federal funds to blackmail States into adopting uniform Federal identifiers. Passing the Identity Theft Prevention Act is thus an excellent way for this Congress to show renewed commitment to federalism and opposition to imposing unfunded mandates on the States. This legislation not only repeals those sections of Federal law creating the national ID, it also repeals those sections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a uniform standard health identifier--an identifier which could be used to create a national database containing the medical history of all Americans. As an OB/GYN with more than 30 years in private practice, I know the importance of preserving the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship. Oftentimes, effective treatment depends on a patient's ability to place absolute trust in his or her doctor. What will happen to that trust when patients know that any and all information given to their doctors will be placed in a government accessible database? By putting an end to government-mandated uniform IDs, the Identity Theft Prevention Act will prevent millions of Americans from having their liberty, property, and privacy violated by private and public sector criminals. Some members of Congress will claim that the Federal Government needs the power to monitor Americans in order to allow the government to operate more efficiently. I would remind my colleagues that, in a constitutional republic, the people are never asked to sacrifice their liberties to make the jobs of government officials easier. We are here to protect the freedom of the American people, not to make privacy invasion more efficient. Madam Speaker, while I do not question the sincerity of those members who suggest that Congress can ensure that citizens' rights are protected through legislation restricting access to personal information, the only effective privacy protection is to forbid the Federal Government from mandating national identifiers. Legislative "privacy protections" are inadequate to protect the liberty of Americans for a couple of reasons. First, it is simply common sense that repealing those Federal laws that promote identity theft is more effective in protecting the public than expanding the power of the Federal police force. Federal punishment of identity thieves provides cold comfort to those who have suffered financial losses and the destruction of their good reputations as a result of identity theft. Federal laws are not only ineffective in stopping private criminals, but these laws have not even stopped unscrupulous government officials from accessing personal information. After all, laws purporting to restrict the use of personal information did not stop the well-publicized violations of privacy by IRS officials or the FBI abuses of the Clinton and Nixon administrations. In one of the most infamous cases of identity theft, thousands of active-duty soldiers and veterans had their personal information stolen, putting them at risk of identity theft. Imagine the dangers if thieves are able to obtain the universal identifier, and other personal information, of millions of Americans simply by breaking, or hacking, into one government facility or one government database? Second, the Federal Government has been creating proprietary interests in private information for certain State-favored special interests. Perhaps the most outrageous example of phony privacy protection is the "medical privacy" regulation, that allows medical researchers, certain business interests, and law enforcement officials access to health care information, in complete disregard of the Fifth Amendment and the wishes of individual patients! Obviously, "privacy protection" laws have proven greatly inadequate to protect personal information when the government is the one seeking the information. Any action short of repealing laws authorizing privacy violations is insufficient primarily because the Federal Government lacks constitutional authority to force citizens to adopt a universal identifier for health care, employment, or any other reason. Any Federal action that oversteps constitutional limitations violates liberty because it ratifies the principle that the Federal Government, not the Constitution, is the ultimate judge of its own jurisdiction over the people. The only effective protection of the rights of citizens is for Congress to follow Thomas Jefferson's advice and "bind (the Federal Government) down with the chains of the Constitution." Madam Speaker, those members who are not persuaded by the moral and constitutional reasons for embracing the Identity Theft Prevention Act should consider the American people's opposition to national identifiers. The numerous complaints over the evergrowing uses of the Social Security number show that Americans want Congress to stop invading their privacy. Furthermore, according to a survey by the Gallup company, 91 percent of the American people oppose forcing Americans to obtain a universal health ID. In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I once again call on my colleagues to join me in putting an end to the Federal Government's unconstitutional use of national identifiers to monitor the actions of private citizens. National identifiers threaten all Americans by exposing them to the threat of identity theft by private criminals and abuse of their liberties by public criminals, while diverting valuable law enforcement resources away from addressing real threats to public safety. In addition, national identifiers are incompatible with a limited, constitutional government. I, therefore, hope my colleagues will join my efforts to protect the freedom of their constituents by supporting the Identity Theft Prevention Act.
The Free-Market Approach to the Medical Malpractice Crisis by Rep. Ron Paul, MD I’ve spent nearly four decades practicing medicine as an obstetrician, and I’ve seen firsthand how the cost of medical malpractice insurance has risen. Among doctors, malpractice costs truly represent a crisis that threatens the economic viability of the profession. There is no question that medical malpractice lawsuits are out of control in this country. We’ve become a society that expects medical care to be guaranteed, that demands a perfect outcome to every medical procedure. Mother Nature provides no guarantees however, and things can go wrong without the slightest negligence by the doctor involved. Of course some malpractice suits are legitimate, and truly negligent doctors should pay economic damages. But far too many suits are filed simply because a patient is unhappy despite the competent efforts of his doctor, and far too meritless suits are settled simply to avoid litigation costs. The result is malpractice premiums that cost doctors tens of thousands of dollars per year, and increasingly threaten to put some out of business. Every American pays for this not only in the form of much higher medical costs, but also in countless other ways. Trauma center doctors have walked off the job in protest. Many doctors feel stressed, unhappy, and unappreciated, which leads to a declining quality of care. Most are hesitant to explore new treatments that could benefit patients because they fear a lawyer will seize on any deviation from standard practices. Similarly, patients endure more and more unnecessary and costly tests ordered by doctors who feel they must explore even the most unlikely diagnoses. Worst of all, the best and brightest young people are abandoning the pursuit of medical careers. Already faced with years in medical school and daunting tuition bills, they increasingly understand that malpractice and economic concerns have damaged the quality of life for doctors. Many Americans understandably want Congress to fix the medical malpractice problem. Yet the u201Csolutionu201D offered by Congress, namely the federalization of malpractice law, threatens to do more harm than good. First and foremost, this approach damages the Constitution by denying states the right to decide their own local medical standards and legal rules. Capping liability limits sounds appealing, but it fails to address the basic problem of too many lawsuits and too many shakedowns, most of which settle for less than the proposed caps anyway. The federal approach also ignores the root cause of the malpractice crisis: the shift away from treating the doctor-patient relationship as a contract to viewing it as one governed by federal regulations. The third-party payer system, largely the result of federal tax laws and the HMO Act of 1973, invites insurance company functionaries, politicians, government bureaucrats, and trial lawyers into the equation. This destroys the patient’s incentive to keep costs down, because he feels he is part of u201Cthe systemu201D and someone else pays the bill. In other words, the costs of medical care have been socialized, even though HMOs are ostensibly private businesses. Yet the assessment of liability and compensation should be determined by private contractual agreements between physicians and patients — in other words, by the free market. The free-market approach enables patients to protect themselves with u201Cnegative outcomesu201D insurance purchased before medical treatment. Such insurance ensures that those harmed receive fair compensation, while reducing the burden of costly malpractice litigation on the health care system. Patients receive this insurance payout without having to endure lengthy lawsuits, and without having to give away a large portion of their award to a trial lawyer. This also drastically reduces the costs imposed on physicians and hospitals by malpractice litigation. I have introduced legislation that allows individuals a tax credit for the purchase of negative outcomes insurance. Needless to say, my bill prohibits the IRS from treating such insurance proceeds as taxable income. After all, while we don’t need trial lawyers getting any more insurance money, we certainly don’t need the IRS getting it either! Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.Here is a good piece by my friend, Dean Clancy, on the Constitutional flaws in the bill. The House will consider good health care legislation, H.R. 2579, which allows individuals to use the premium assistance tax credit for COBRA. The House will also consider several bills under Suspension of the Rules, including H.R. 338. This bill directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize giving grants to education and training for energy and manufacturing jobs, including encouraging state and local education agencies to equip students for those jobs and strengthening DOE programs and labs carrying out workforce development initiatives. The bill instructs DOE to "encourage but not require . . . any state or school district to adopt a curriculum to equip students with the skills and training necessary to fill employment opportunities in the energy and manufacturing industries." Of course, the goverment does have ways to blur the line between encouragement and mandating -- anyone who doubts this should look at the Obama Department of Education. The bill also requires DOE to establish a clearinghouse for information and guidance on job training and other workforce development programs. Additionally, DOE must work with the energy and manufacturing industries, educational institutions, and other governmental agencies to identify areas of workforce need and develop guidelines to implement the best practices for effective job training programs. Central planing anyone?
If, during the confirmation process, Mr. Wray indicates he will continue sacrificing our liberty for security, or use federal power to stop individuals from engaging in peaceful activities like Internet gaming, U.S. Senators owe it to their oaths to uphold the Constitution to reject his nomination.Norm Singleton -- The Wray confirmation is a test of whether the Senate is ready to do its job and protect our constitutional rights from the executive branch, instead of helping the snoop state shred those rights in the name of "security." Campaign for Liberty joins our Chairman Dr. Ron Paul in urging the Senate to reject Mr. Wray unless he demonstrates a commitment to making the national security state abide by the Constitution. We also expect Mr. Wray to pledge to respect states' authority over issues like regulation of online gaming.
History shows that, if individuals have the freedom to choose what to use as money, they will likely opt for gold or silver. Of course, modern politicians and their Keynesian enablers despise the gold or silver standard. This is because linking a currency to a precious metal limits the ability of central banks to finance the growth of the welfare-warfare state via the inflation tax. This forces politicians to finance big government much more with direct means of taxation. Despite the hostility toward gold from modern politicians, gold played a role in US monetary policy for sixty years after the creation of the Federal Reserve. Then, in 1971, as concerns over the US government’s increasing deficits led many foreign governments to convert their holdings of US dollars to gold, President Nixon closed the gold window, creating America’s first purely fiat currency. America’s 46-year experiment in fiat currency has gone exactly as followers of the Austrian school predicted: a continuing decline in the dollar’s purchasing power accompanied by a decline in the standard of living of middle- and working-class Americans, a series of Federal Reserve-created booms followed by increasingly severe busts, and an explosive growth in government spending. Federal Reserve policies are also behind much of the increase in income inequality. Since the 2008 Fed-created economic meltdown, more Americans have become aware of the Federal Reserve's responsibility for America's economic problems. This growing anti-Fed sentiment is one of the key factors behind the liberty movement’s growth and represents the most serious challenge to the Fed's legitimacy in its history. This movement has made “Audit the Fed” into a major national issue that is now closer than ever to being signed into law. Audit the Fed is not the only focus of the growing anti-Fed movement. For example, this Wednesday the Arizona Senate Finance and Rules Committees will consider legislation (HB 2014) officially defining gold, silver, and other precious metals as legal tender. The bill also exempts transactions in precious metals from state capital gains taxes, thus ensuring that people are not punished by the taxman for rejecting Federal Reserve notes in favor of gold or silver. Since inflation increases the value of precious metals, these taxes give the government one more way to profit from the Federal Reserve’s currency debasement. HB 2014 is a very important and timely piece of legislation. The Federal Reserve’s failure to reignite the economy with record-low interest rates since the last crash is a sign that we may soon see the dollar’s collapse. It is therefore imperative that the law protect people’s right to use alternatives to what may soon be virtually worthless Federal Reserve notes. Passage of HB 2014 would also send a message to Congress and the Trump administration that the anti-Fed movement is growing in influence. Thus, passage of this bill will not just strengthen movements in other states to pass similar legislation; it will also help build support for the Audit the Fed bill and legislation repealing federal legal tender laws. This Wednesday I will be in Arizona to help rally support for HB 2014, speaking on behalf of the bill before the Arizona Senate Finance Committee at 9:00 a.m. I will also be speaking at a rally at noon at the Arizona state capitol. I hope every supporter of sound money in the Phoenix area joins me to show their support for ending the Fed’s money monopoly.
Late last week, President Donald Trump told CBS News that domestic surveillance of American citizens should the “No. 1” topic of inquiry until we can find out “what the hell is going on” with it. Also late last week, the National Security Agency — the federal government’s 60,000-person-strong domestic spying agency — announced that it would voluntarily hold back on its more aggressive uses of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That section permits the NSA to capture communications between foreigners and Americans without a warrant from any court, even though the NSA has its own secret court that has granted well over 99 percent of applications for spying brought to it. Yet the NSA has convinced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that when it captures the communications of a foreigner and an American and those communications refer to a third person who is an American, Section 702 extends the authority for warrantless spying to that third person, as well. And it extends to any person whom the third person is talking about — and so forth, out to the sixth level of communication. If you do the math, this NSA-concocted, Section 702-generated, secret FISA court-approved logic permits warrantless spying on nearly everyone in the United States. So why did the NSA announce that it will pull back on the way it utilizes Section 702 as the basis for its mass spying?Read Patrick's piece here with excerpts below:
...Yet government lawyers, who have no opposition standing next to them when they appear in the FISA court, have convinced the court that the constitutional requirement of probable cause only applies to the government when it is engaging in law enforcement, not when it seeks intelligence data. So when the NSA asks the FISA court for authority to conduct surveillance, the FISA court complies, and it does so with warrants that do not specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized. These warrants typically authorize spying by ZIP codes or area codes or street addresses or telecommunications companies’ customer lists. What the NSA does not tell the FISA court is that its requests for approvals are a sham. That’s because the NSA relies on vague language in a 35-year-old executive order, known as EO 12333, as authority to conduct mass surveillance. That’s surveillance of everyone — and it does capture the content of every telephone conversation, as well as every keystroke on every computer and all fiber-optic data generated everywhere within, coming to and going from the United States. This is not only profoundly unlawful but also profoundly deceptive. It is unlawful because it violates the Fourth Amendment. It is deceptive because Congress and the courts and the American people, perhaps even the president, think that the FISA court has been serving as a buffer for the voracious appetite of the NSA. In reality, the NSA, while dispatching lawyers to make sophisticated arguments to the FISA court, has gone behind the court’s back by spying on everyone all the time. In a memo from a now-former NSA director to his agents and vendors, leaked to the public, he advised capturing all data from everyone all the time. This produces information overload, as there is more data than can be analyzed; each year, it produces the equivalent of 27 times the contents of the Library of Congress. Therefore, safety — as well as liberty — is compromised. The recent mass killings in Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando were all preceded by text messages and cellphone conversations between the killers and their confederates. The NSA had the digital versions of those texts and conversations, but it had not analyzed them until after the killings — because it has and has had too much data to analyze in a critical and timely manner. So, why did the NSA announce that it is pulling back from its customary uses of Section 702? To give the false impression to members of Congress that it follows the law. Section 702, the great subterfuge, expires at the end of this year, and the NSA, which has spied on Donald Trump since before he was president, fears the debate that will accompany the efforts to renew it — hence its softening public tone.
The FISA Amendments Act was passed in 2008 after a more than two-year effort to make the Bush administration’s previously illegal STELLAR WIND warrantless mass-surveillance program legal. Section 702 of the legislation allows the government to target the communications of foreign individuals and entities if a “significant purpose” (not more precisely defined) is the acquisition of “foreign intelligence.”
As Stanford University’s Jennifer Granick has noted, “Section 702 proponents emphasize the FISA statute’s requirement that surveillance under the 702 provision only target non-US persons located abroad. They then push the seductive (but false) implication that this requirement means section 702 does not materially affect Americans.”
In fact, a partially declassified FISA Court (FISC) opinion from November 2015 explicitly acknowledges that “there are substantial quantities of information concerning United States persons within the Section 702 data subject to querying by the FBI.” And you don’t have to be a criminal to have your communications sucked up into NSA’s Section 702 dragnet; all you have to do is call, text, fax, or email somebody overseas, or vice versa.
If you’ve communicated with anybody overseas, the odds are very high that your data has been collected under Section 702 (or possibly other surveillance programs carried out pursuant to the nearly 40-year old Executive Order 12333), and as the Michael Flynn episode has demonstrated, your identity—and the identity of those you were talking to overseas—could be publicly revealed.
The only reason NSA has made this highly publicized recent change is that it got caught violating past FISC rulings holding that warrantlessly searching the captured communications of Americans that simply mentioned a foreign target was unconstitutional.
And if Edward Snowden’s revelations of U.S. government mass surveillance have prompted you to start using encrypted message apps like Signal or WhatsApp, that 2015 FISC opinion I cited earlier also allows the government to keep and try to break your encrypted messages.
So even if you have broken no law, the secret court that oversees America’s secret laws thinks it’s just fine for NSA and FBI to collect and try to break into your conversations with your family, friends, co-workers, etc.
There’s nothing remotely American about this, as The Atlantic reminded us recently in an article detailing the Founders’ use of encrypted messages, both while in government and as private citizens.
And as Jennifer Granick notes in her excellent new book American Spies, executive-branch claims that Section 702 has been vital to preventing terrorist attacks on America are just as specious as previous such claims about the warrantless telephone metadata program that Snowden exposed in 2013.
Of the four Section 702 “success stories” touted by Intelligence Community officials, one involved the transfer of money to the Somali Salafist terrorist organization Al-Shabab for a plot that was not directed at America. Regarding the other three examples, Granick notes that “the terrorist either was or should have been under surveillance per narrower and more targeted surveillance that impacts fewer people.”
In other words, the available public record shows that Section 702 collection has not made us safer while collecting huge quantities of sensitive information on potentially millions of innocent Americans—data that is sitting on government computer servers, just waiting to be hacked by foreign powers or hacker collectives.
Unfortunately, many privacy and civil-liberties advocates hailed NSA’s court-ordered change as a victory, with Senator Wyden telling the New York Times that “This change ends a practice that allowed Americans’ communications to be collected without a warrant merely for mentioning a foreign target. For years, I’ve repeatedly raised concerns that this amounted to an end run around the Fourth Amendment. This transparency should be commended.” Accepting a change to a surveillance power that should never have existed is a win for NSA, not the Bill of Rights.
Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act without mandating that the intercepted communications of innocent Americans be destroyed immediately upon discovery or requiring annual evaluations of the effectiveness of the law. Instead, it’s allowed federal intelligence and law-enforcement agencies to collect, store, and search your “incidentally” collected phone calls, emails, and text messages without a criminal predicate and a probable cause-based warrant as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment requires. And as Granick’s research shows, the very collection the FISA Amendment Act authorizes hasn’t made us safer. Those facts should be front and center when Congress debates reauthorization of this law later this year.
Campaign for Liberty is working to defeat efforts to renew Section 702 of the FISA Act and instead force Congress to start repealing all federal laws that authorize wholesale violations of America's constitutionally-protected rights to be free from warrantless wiretapping and mass surveillance.