Blotmonath started 16/11/12
The Month Of Sacrifice
Rep. Ron Paul, the iconic libertarian congressman from Texas, has delivered what will most likely be his final address to Congress.
In a sprawling, 52-minute speech to the House chamber, Paul lambasted U.S. government, politicians and special interests, declaring that the U.S. people must return to virtue before the governmentallows them to be free, and that the Constitution has failed to limit the scope of an authoritarian bureaucracy.
“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed,” Paul said. “The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”
For the retiring Republican, 77, the “current crisis” isn’t quite what it is for other members of Congress, who routinely use that word to describe the economic recession that followed the 2008 financial crash. To the Texas Republican, that’s part of it, but the causes are deeper, and it’s also a crisis of governmental authoritarianism and the vanishing of personal liberty.
“If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,” said Paul, an obstetrician-gynecologist by training.
The problem isn’t just government’s size, but its use of force, both in starting preemptive wars and as it coerces U.S. citizens with police power. To Paul, this is the fault of Americans who no longer prioritize liberty, and it will lead to the unraveling of orderly society unless people change.
“Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society,” Paul said. “We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., numbering over 100,000 civil society.”
More than coercive, to Paul the government is also corrupt: “All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power,” he said.
Throughout his speech, Paul questioned not only the fundamental health of America’s social compact, but specifics like fiat money, the power of the Federal Reserve, the PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act modifications, undeclared war, the illegalization of medical marijuana, mandatory sentencing requirements for drug crimes, the illegalization of hemp, TSA searches, federal debt and borrowing, the White House’s authority to assassinate those it declares terrorists, the legalization of detaining U.S. citizens for national-security purposes, the political power of AIPAC, and the regulation of light bulbs and toilets in people’s homes.
For Paul, the list of grievances is long, and he might not have accomplished much in Congress: “In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little,” he said. “No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration.”
In thinking about the champions of liberty, his lesson is a bitter one: “History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled,” but his prescription is hopeful.
Paul left the podium, for the last time, offering an “answer” to all of these problems: that people should choose liberty and limit government, and seek change within themselves.
“The number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow,” Paul said, urging an end to two motives that have hindered U.S. society: envy and intolerance.
“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty. If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.”
By Kim Sengupta
Britain is considering stationing warplanes in the Persian Gulf as the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme continues amid rising tension in the region, The Independent has learnt.
The possible deployment of the Eurofighter Typhoons follows talks with the United Arab Emirates to bolster the UK’s presence in the region at a time when Israel is threatening military strikes against Tehran and much of the Middle-East is in turbulence in the aftershock of the Arab Spring and Syria’s civil war.
The decision on whether to send the planes at such a volatile time will be made by David Cameron, after further talks with the rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and an announcement is expected to be made in the near future.
The arrival of British aircraft is bound to fuel the Iranian sense of insecurity even if there are assurances that the move is not aimed at them. The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday said European nations must be prepared to “take a bigger role in relation to North Africa and the Middle East”.
Israel, whose Defence Minister Ehud Barak is in London at the moment with the Iran crisis the main topic of discussion, is said to be “fully aware” and supportive of the discussions over the warplanes.
The British Government has urged Israel to exercise restraint over Iran, pointing out that sanctions are having a crippling effect on the Iranian economy – with the fall-out from the punitive measures making the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad increasingly unpopular and creating frictions in the ruling hierachy.
However, at the same time, UK military commanders are looking at the possibility of sending British jets to a base in Abu Dhabi which is currently being used by American and French forces as a confidence building measure but also, crucially, in case there are attempts by the Iranians to block the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil supplies are shipped.
The Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “The UK regularly deploys Typhoon to UAE as part of our routine exercise programme and to demonstrate our military commitment to UAE and the security of the wider region. We have a mutual interest with our GCC [Gulf] partners in ensuring peace and stability in the region, and exercises such as this allow us to practice working together.” The MoD added: “These deployments are not due to our concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme. As we continue to make clear, the Government does not believe military action against Iran is the right course of action at this time, although no option is off the table.”
However, The Independent has learnt from highly senior military and diplomatic sources that the Al Dhafra airbase, 20 miles south of Abu Dhabi, is being looked at as a possible station for the Typhoons. The base is in use by French Mirage fighter-bombers as well as the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing of the US Air Force with jets and Patriot missile batteries and well located for operations in the Gulf.
Tehran has been bitterly critical about the American and French presence in the Gulf saying that it was an attempt to intimidate and that it posed a threat to their national interests.
Mr Barak said in London this week that Iran appears to have pulled back from proceeding full-steam to acquire nuclear weapons. But he reiterated Israel’s determination to carry out a military strike without warning if it felt this was necessary and met senior British military commanders as well as ministers.
One senior British officer said: “We do not think there is any need for military action at the moment. But we are considering all eventualities and where the UK should position itself. The decision on deployment will be made on mutual interest and growing interdependence between the UK and the UAE in the long-term.”
It has not yet been decided which country would pay for the Typhoons’ presence. However, the UAE government picks up the operational costs for the French, which has been variously estimated to be between €20 million and €45 million per year.
The UK has carried out two air exercises with the UAE, one codenamed Al Khanjar in 2010, involving Eurofighter Typhoons, and another one this year, with Tornado GR4s. The Tornados are, however, being phased out by 2019 and BAE has stated that the UAE has “real and genuine” interest in buying 60 of its Typhoons in preference to the French Dassault Rafale.
A massive contract for the Indian Air Force has gone to the the Rafale instead of the Typhoon, but British military commanders insist the Typhoon deployment to Abu Dhabi is guided by strategic rather than commercial considerations.
Weapon of choice: Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon, introduced in 2003, was the result of an ambitious project by the governments of the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain to build the most advanced multi-function fighter jet in the world. Despite coming in almost 75 per cent over budget and being delayed several times, the jet is seen as a technologically advanced modern aircraft with few rivals.
The Typhoon’s performance in the Libyan conflict last year, where it flew over 600 missions, earned it plaudits – and interest from the governments of India and Brazil. With a top speed of 1,320mph and impressive manoeuvrability in the air, the Typhoon has often been compared to the US Air Force’s F-35 fighter jet. In 2007, Saudi Arabia confirmed it had signed a £4.43bn contract for 72 Typhoons.