Tag Archives: Senator Rand Paul

Rand Paul to Introduce ‘Audit the Fed’ as Amendment to Senate Banking Bill

Washington, D.C. – Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced on March 5 that he will introduce his “Audit the Fed” legislation, which would permit a full audit of the Federal Reserve System, as an amendment to the Senate Banking Bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the Banking Bill, S. 2155— officially known as the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act— this week.

“While we have made great strides in reviving our economy through curbing overzealous regulation and cutting taxes, lasting prosperity will escape us if we do not hold the enabler of big government and our astronomical national debt accountable. It’s time for the Senate to side with the American people by removing the shackles on congressional oversight and lifting the Fed’s veil of secrecy. It’s time for us to pass Audit the Fed,” Paul said in his press release.

Passage of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (S. 16), commonly referred to as Audit the Fed legislation, would require the nonpartisan, independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a thorough audit of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and reserve banks within one year of the bill’s passage and to report back to Congress within 90 days of completing the audit.

Paul remains steadfast in his commitment to this legislation that he and his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), worked for years to pass, with the intent to stop the Federal Reserve’s “unchecked” and “arguably unconstitutional” meddling in the free market economy.

[RELATED: Truth in Media: 100 Years of the Federal Reserve]

Senator Paul’s 2016 Federal Reserve Transparency Act received nearly unanimous Republican support, in addition to support from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Ultimately, the bill fell short of the required 60 votes for cloture after Senate Democrats leadership shot it down.

In January 2017, Paul reintroduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (S. 16), widely known as “Audit the Fed”. Appearing on Fox New with Tucker Carlson on February 7th, Paul explained why it is important for Congress to scrutinize the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

“The main lobby against auditing the Fed is the Fed,” Paul said. When Carlson asked what the major arguments against auditing the Federal Reserve would be, Paul cautioned:

“Some see that the Fed pays for this enormous debt and they love big government, and they know we have to have big debt for big government, and they have to pay for it, so they don’t want to mess with the Fed because right now it is able to accommodate this enormous debt.”

“The reason I want oversight is people get hurt in the downturn,” Paul continued. “So in 2008, when the housing market went bust, I blamed that on the Federal Reserve. We’re right in the middle of another boom. Anybody seen the stock market lately? It is a boom, just like the real estate boom of 2008, and it will come to an end. I wish I knew exactly when, so I could give your viewers some investment advice, but it will end. There will be a correction. We have a huge bubble in the stock market created by easy money, free money, everybody has it. Free money! Federal Reserve will hand you bouquets of money. But there will be repercussions, and that will be the downturn. There will be a response or reaction to all of this extra money.”

On the prospect of Trump signing the legislation if it were to make it through Congress, Paul said, “We’ve talked about Audit the Fed before and the fact that he supported it during his campaign. I think he will sign Audit the Fed if we can get it to him. The hardest part that we have to overcome is the institution of the Fed itself. The biggest lobbyist on Capitol Hill against auditing the Fed is the Fed.”

“I think it always has a chance of passing, but the hardest part is actually getting a vote on things,” Paul told Reason in an interview. “You never know unless you try.”



Health and Human Services Secretary: ‘No Such Thing As Medical Marijuana’

Kettering, OH— While speaking on March 2nd at a press conference on opioids at an inpatient facility that treats newborns suffering from prenatal drug exposure, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar proclaimed that “there really is no such thing as medical marijuana” in response to a question regarding what he sees as the role of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain management. Azar went on to say, “There is no FDA approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that.”

Azar, who was the president of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly & Co. from 2012 to 2017, added that the government will invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into “next generation pain therapies” as an alternative to opioids.

“We are devoting hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of research at our National Institutes of Health as part of the historic $13 billion opioid and serious mental illness program that the President and Congress are funding,” Azar said. “Over $750 million just in 2019 alone is going to be dedicated towards the National Institutes of Health working in public-private partnership to try and develop the next generation of pain therapies that are not opioids.”

Numerous recent scientific studies in states with medicinal cannabis programs have found that marijuana has drastically reduced opioid dependence. A recent study published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis revealed that among patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”

The results from Minnesota’s program align with numerous studies conducted in other states with active medical marijuana programs. In a 2016 report, using data gathered from patients enrolled in Michigan’s medical cannabis program, indicated that marijuana treatment “was associated with a 64 percent decrease in opioid use, decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life.”

An investigative report by Politico revealed that during Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, the company used erectile dysfunction drug Cialis on boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to increase profits from the drug and extend its exclusive patent for another six months using a process often referred to as “pediatric patent extension”. While the move reportedly profited the company a billion dollars, critics noted that it crossed ethical lines and had no effect on the children’s condition.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), during Azar’s confirmation hearings in November, appears to predicted the former pharmaceutical executive’s allegiance to big pharma, stating:

I told you in my office you’ve got some convincing to make me believe that you’re going to represent the American people and not big pharma…And I know that’s insulting…because I’m sure you’re an honest and upright person…But we all have our doubts, because big pharma manipulates the system to keep prices high…We have to really fix it, and I — you need to convince those of us who are skeptical that you’ll be part of fixing it and won’t beholden to big pharma.

[WATCH: Ben Swann’s Reality Check: Jeff Sessions Wages War on Cannabis]

PATRIOT Act Spy Provisions Officially Expire After Senate Reauthorization Attempt Fails

After the USA PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 provision authorizing the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records by the National Security Agency was ruled illegal by a federal appeals court, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) launched an aggressive campaign to force the Senate to allow the provision to expire. The law’s spying authority had been designed to sunset on May 31 absent reauthorization by lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to pass several bills that would temporarily extend the law’s expiring spying authorities but was blocked by Rand Paul, first through a perfectly-timed filibuster and then through additional procedural stalling tactics that pushed the timing of the vote past May 22, when senators were set to leave Washington DC for recess. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a last-minute vote on May 31 in an effort to reauthorize the provisions prior to their expiration, but Senator Rand Paul objected to any votes on PATRIOT Act reauthorization bills or the USA FREEDOM Act, a house-passed bill that Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) said would outsource NSA spying to corporations, until the Senate had sufficient time to debate, thus tabling the votes until Tuesday of this week at the earliest, forcing the PATRIOT Act to officially expire as of 12:01 EST this morning.

“Tonight we stopped the illegal NSA bulk data collection. This is a victory no matter how you look at it. It might be short lived, but I hope that it provides a road for a robust debate, which will strengthen our intelligence community, while also respecting our Constitution,” said Senator Paul of his bipartisan campaign to protect Americans’ privacy, which enjoyed substantial support by allies like Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressmen Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY).

Said Majority Leader McConnell, “We shouldn’t be disarming unilaterally as our enemies grow more sophisticated and aggressive, and we certainly should not be doing so based on a campaign of demagoguery and disinformation launched in the wake of the unlawful actions of Edward Snowden.”

According to NBC News, the three expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act include the National Security Agency’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk, a “lone wolf” provision allowing officials to investigate individuals who lack connections to terror groups, and a roving wiretap authority allowing investigators to spy on different communication tools believed to be used by a suspect without obtaining a new warrant each time.

During Sunday’s battle over the PATRIOT Act, Senator Rand Paul blocked efforts to pass the USA FREEDOM Act before the PATRIOT Act was set to expire, but the Senate voted 77-17 to consider the legislation in an upcoming vote, which is expected to happen as soon as Tuesday.

A statement by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest urged Senators to pass the USA FREEDOM Act and said, “The Senate took an important—if late—step forward tonight. We call on the Senate to ensure this irresponsible lapse in authorities is as short-lived as possible. On a matter as critical as our national security, individual Senators must put aside their partisan motivations and act swiftly. The American people deserve nothing less.”

At Saturday’s Tennessee Republican Party fundraiser, likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush said according to The Associated Press that Senator Paul is wrong and “the PATRIOT Act has kept us safe, plain and simple.”

Senator McCain accused Rand Paul of playing politics with national security by thwarting the spying legislation and said according to Politico, “I know what this is about — I think it’s very clear – this is, to some degree, a fundraising exercise. He obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation.”

The Daily Beast notes that GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz said of Rand’s stand against NSA spying, “I disagree with allowing key provisions of federal law to expire that allow the national security team to target radical Islamic terrorists.”

Congressman Thomas Massie defended Paul against those who say that he has exposed the nation to risk by allowing the PATRIOT Act to expire and said, “He’s exposing the country to the Constitution. And the senators that think that’s dangerous are saying the Constitution’s dangerous.”

Said Senator Paul during Sunday’s fireworks, “Tonight begins the process of ending bulk collection… People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them, I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.”

NSA officials told CNN that the National Security Agency officially ended its bulk metadata collection program at 7:44 PM EST on Sunday.

Wife of American Imprisoned in Iran Details His Arrest – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

WASHINGTON—February 15, 2015 – When Naghmeh Abedini married her husband Saeed in Iran, she never dreamed she would raise their future children as a single mother in Boise, Idaho, while her husband languished for years in an Iranian prison.

A native of Iran, Naghmeh and her family left when she was nine years old and spent a year in California before relocating to Boise. Her father was educated in the United States and obtained his master’s degree at Oregon State University prior to taking his family out of Iran. “He had a green card,” says Naghmeh, “We were not refugees.”

The real reason they left Iran, however, was due to the radicalization of their Muslim faith in the school system. “My brother was being brainwashed in elementary school,” says Naghmeh, “They started war recruiting for Jihad when he was eight years old.” Students were told that if they died for the cause they would “get to meet God.” They were forced to run through active mine fields as a school exercise. The land mines would occasionally detonate. “The government arrested any parents who complained,” says Naghmeh, “So our parents quietly packed up and left.”

Her parents were unhappy with the school system in California, also, and hoped a move to a smaller city would help preserve their culture and Muslim faith. Within ten years in Boise, however, both of Naghmeh’s parents, along with herself, her brother, and a sister had converted to Christianity.

In 2001, Naghmeh spent a year in Iran. Just before she returned to Boise, her cousin invited her to a government-approved Christian church service. She heard Saeed Abedini speak and was intrigued by his passion, so she introduced herself and asked him if he would watch out for her cousins. Later, she learned that Saeed was a pastor and a leader of the growing house church movement. He was also a former Muslim who once desired to kill Christians, but he converted in 2000. When she returned to Iran in 2003 for another visit, the sparks flew between them. He proposed marriage in June of that year, and they were married in Iran the following June in a government-sanctioned Christian church.

The Abedini’s life together in Iran was cut short when the country experienced a regime change in 2005 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rose to power. Known for his religious hardline stances, Ahmadinejad was a main figure in the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran party, usually shortened to Abadgaran and widely regarded as the political front for the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Revolutionary Guards.) The latter group was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2007.

After Ahmadinejad was elected, the church the Abedinis married in was forced to close, as were other Christian churches in Iran, despite current law allowing the peaceful gathering of religious minorities. Overnight, Christians were seemingly not welcome or tolerated in the country, so the couple moved together to Boise. Their daughter Rebekka was born in 2006 and their son Jacob arrived in 2008, the same year Saeed became an ordained minister through the American Evangelistic Association.

In 2009, the entire family decided to visit Iran together and see Saeed’s family, as it had been four years since he had seen his parents who had yet to meet their grandchildren. When the Boise-based Abedini family arrived at the airport to fly home to Idaho, Saeed was arrested by Iranian intelligence police. “Please leave Iran,” Saeed told his wife and children, “It will make it easier on me.”

The Abedinis are American citizens. Saeed, age 35, has not seen his children or his wife since June 2012.
The Abedinis are American citizens. Saeed, age 35, has not seen his children or his wife since June 2012.

Saeed was placed on house arrest for a month in his parents’ home while investigators determined whether or not he was still establishing Christian church groups. Before he was released, the police advised him to focus on humanitarian efforts—a move that inspired Saeed to use his grandfather’s land and an existing building to open an orphanage in the Iranian city of Rasht.

Back in Idaho, Saeed began a three-year process riddled with paperwork hurdles and setbacks in an attempt to open the orphanage he envisioned. He visited Iran ten more times in an effort to complete the approval process for the orphanage. Naghmeh, Rebekah, and Jacob joined him in October 2011, as the Abedinis were convinced that the orphanage was close to being opened. “We really wanted our kids to be able to meet the orphans,” Naghmeh recalls. However, by February 2012, the approval was still pending. The Abedinis returned to Boise once more. Four months later, Saeed traveled to Iran to finish the orphanage once and for all. “That was the last time I saw him,” says Naghmeh.

He was due to return to Boise on July 29. However, on July 27, Saeed was arrested on a bus in Turkey after looking at land in Georgia. He was placed under house arrest once again. The Iranian government seized his U.S. Passport and he was questioned for months about his activities, without being charged with a crime.

He thought he would be able to resolve his detainment with one last interrogation, scheduled for September 26 at a location to be determined by a 9:00 a.m. phone call that same day. However, Revolutionary Guards forces raided his parents’ house in Tehran at 6:00 a.m. and took Saeed to an unknown location. Four days later, it was revealed that he was in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin Prison. Saeed was accused of “corrupting a whole generation against Islam,” a reference to his pre-Revolution house church activities.

Saeed was charged with undermining the national security of Iran. At his trial on January 21, 2013, Saeed and his attorney were only given one day to make their defense. He was convicted by Judge Pir-Abassi of Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, and sentenced a week later to eight years in prison. Revolutionary Court trials are not public, there is no jury, and a single judge decides the cases—which are final and not eligible for appeal. Details about court proceedings are revealed at the sole discretion of the court. The government says it will release Saeed if he converts back to Islam, but he refuses.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is representing Naghmeh and her children. “This is a real travesty—a mockery of justice,” said ACLJ’s Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release. Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights.”

Naghmeh Abedini has received tremendous support from both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as she seeks her husband's release from a dangerous Iranian prison.
Naghmeh Abedini has received tremendous support from both Rand Paul and Ted Cruz as she seeks her husband’s release from a dangerous Iranian prison.

Saeed Abedini has been reportedly beaten and tortured during his incarceration and is now housed in the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, his sudden move a possible indication of defiance toward President Hassan Rouhani by the Revolutionary Guard. Saeed is denied any electronic or voice communications with the outside world, but his parents visit him almost weekly, bring him letters from home, and send his letters out—including one to President Obama just before this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Naghmeh is hopeful due to extensive support from Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as remarks made by President Obama, that her husband’s release will be secured during upcoming negotiations with Iran. “We’re in a good place,” she says, “If Iran wants to make a deal, I want to make sure Saeed is not left behind.”

Sen. Rand Paul Re-Introduces Federal Reserve Audit Bill

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has re-introduced his “Audit The Fed” bill, titled the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015. A press release from Paul states:

Known widely as “Audit the Fed,” the bill calls to eliminate restrictions on Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits of the Federal Reserve and mandate that the Federal Reserve’s credit facilities, securities purchases, and quantitative easing activities would be subject to Congressional oversight.

“A complete and thorough audit of the Fed will finally allow the American people to know exactly how their money is being spent by Washington,” Paul said in his statement. “The Fed’s currently operates under a cloak of secrecy and it has gone on for too long. The American people have a right to know what the Federal Reserve is doing with our nation’s money supply. The time to act is now.”

The bill has 30 co-sponsors, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

With Republicans now in control of both the House and the Senate, Paul’s bill has been reported to have a greater likelihood of gaining approval, although it is unlikely that President Obama would sign it. Last month, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said she would “forcefully” challenge efforts to pass Audit the Fed legislation.

“It’s important to make sure that we can make the decisions we think are best free of short-run political interference with respect to monetary policy,” Yellen said on December 17th of last year. “History shows not only in the United States, but around the world, that central bank independence promotes better economic performance.”

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015 can be read here.


GOP Senators Cite Paris Shooting To Rally Against Curbing NSA Power

Several Republican Senators warned against hindering the National Security Agency’s capabilities in Washington last week, and have called for strengthening the NSA in response to the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris last week.

“I hope the effect of that is that people realize… the pendulum has swung way too far after [leaker Edward Snowden],” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who was recently elected as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, regarding public opinion about the NSA’s authority following the Paris shooting. “Hopefully people realize that the NSA plays a very, very important role in keeping Americans safe, and my guess there will be less of a desire to hamstring them unnecessarily,” Corker told reporters last week.

Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who was recently named chairman of the Intelligence Committee, criticized the Obama administration for failing to rally public support of gathering intelligence, saying that Obama’s past language “does not adequately convey to the American people how severe the threat is from terrorism and that public support of what our intelligence committee does is really crucial to the long term effectiveness of our entire community.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that budget cuts to agencies such as the NSA have hindered intelligence gathering. “I know that the NSA has been thwarted in their capabilities because of sequestration,” McCain said. “They have not been able to do many of the things they have wanted to do because of the impact of sequestration.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been remarkably vocal in his fear of future terror attacks and criticism of the Obama administration for its performance in dealing with extremist groups. “I fear we can expect and must prepare for more attacks like this in the future,” Graham tweeted.

In a statement, Graham said that “Through a combination of poor policy choices made by the Obama Administration regarding detention and interrogation policies, and budget cuts approved by the Congress with President Obama’s support, I believe our national security infrastructure designed to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is under siege.”

The USA Freedom Act, an NSA reform bill, was rejected by the Senate last November. Many Republicans had voted against the bill fearing that reforms to the NSA, even those that ended bulk phone data collection of innocent Americans, would leave the US vulnerable to terror attacks. In the next five months, Congress is slated to reauthorize a portion of the Patriot Act that authorizes the NSA to collect the phone data of virtually all Americans without a warrant.

Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY), said that he’s in favor of the NSA but “I think the American people are not in favor of having all their phone data collected without a warrant.”

Does Kelley Paul’s Spring Book Tour Mean Rand Is Running for President?

Though he has yet to make an announcement, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has been called a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. While political analysts have noted that Paul has already laid significant groundwork for a 2016 bid, the Republican Senator has also said that he might not run if his family is not ready for the roller-coaster ride of negative publicity that comes with a campaign to win America’s highest executive office. Back in 2013, Rand Paul’s wife Kelley Paul told Vogue that she was not quite sure if her family was up for it and said of her reservations, “When I think of the tens of millions of dollars in opposition research that they’d be aiming right at us and our family—that’s what it’s about.” Paul has since repeated in interviews that he would need to get his wife’s support in order to confirm a possible run for the presidency.

Now, The Associated Press is reporting that Kelley Paul is making a six-stop trek across Kentucky this week to announce her intentions to launch a cross-country spring tour to promote her upcoming book “True and Constant Friends.” USA Today notes that Paul senior advisor Doug Stafford said that the Senator would make a final decision and announcement on his potential presidential aspirations this spring. According to WKMS, Kelley Paul stated in an interview with WKU Public Radio that she has been working on her book for two years and that its timing has nothing to do with her husband’s rumored 2016 bid.

“True and Constant Friends” is reportedly set to feature the stories of six inspiring women she met while studying at Rhodes College, but Kelley Paul denies that the book is an effort to connect with female voters. She told The Associated Press, “I believe there’s incredible power in friendship, especially that between women.” Kelley Paul said that her grandmother, who left conditions of poverty in Ireland for the promise of opportunity in the United States, inspired her to write the book.

Politically speaking, Kelley Paul has been called Rand Paul’s “secret weapon.” The Associated Press credited the Senator’s wife with helping him win his 2010 Senate race, particularly when she launched a press conference to blast back at Jack Conway’s allegations that Rand Paul was a worshiper of a fictitious deity called Aqua Buddah. Former Kentucky GOP chairman John McCarthy called her a “tremendous asset” and complimented her confidence and poise.

At a speech in Russellville, KY this week, Kelley Paul said of her husband’s presidential aspirations, “Obviously, he’s laying a lot of the groundwork and doing a lot of the things to make it possible for him to seek the nomination. But we haven’t finally made that decision yet.” She told WKU Public Radio, “As the months go by, I keep thinking something will happen that will make us either decide to do it or not do it. It’s hard to pull the trigger on something like this.”

However, she also told The Associated Press that she is ready for the national attention that will come with her nationwide book tour this Spring. Said Kelley Paul, “I guess I am as prepared as you can be… I’ll try to maintain my sense of humor and optimism and just be brave.”

Top Google Searched Politicians Of 2014

Obama tops the list of the most Google searched politicians in 2014. Republicans took the majority of the spots with 6 of the 10 being Republican. One major politician missing from the list: Hillary Clinton. Is Senator Elizabeth Warren stealing Hillary’s spotlight, or is Senator Warren a flash in the pan?

Who would you like to have seen in the top 10?

In 2016, Libertarians Could Co-Nominate Rand Paul


The speculation continues about 2016’s president race. U.S. News & World Report is reporting that Republican Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky, may seek the Republican presidential nomination and may also receive the Libertarian Party’s nomination, as well.

Paul is unlikely to directly seek the support of the Libertarian Party’s support. Rand’s father, Ron Paul, was a GOP presidential contender in 2008 and 2012 and the Libertarian nominee in 1988.

“A co-nomination from one of the nation’s most significant minor parties could help Paul – if he’s the Republican nominee – avoid losing hundreds of thousands of votes to an ideological ally. In some states, his name would appear twice on ballots,” writes U.S. News & World Report.

Libertarian Party chairman Nicholas Sarwark, officially neutral on the matter, said, “there is a possibility that the delegates in Orlando would nominate Sen. Paul and if they were to do so, I’d work hard to support their choice.”

The Libertarian Party’s convention in Orlando, Fla. isn’t until May 2016, so there will be plenty of more speculation, and Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict said he foresees a fight.

“If Rand Paul wins the Republican nomination, I’d expect a big fight within the [party] over whether or not we should run our own candidate,” Benedict said. “It wouldn’t just be a discussion.”

Sen. Paul faces competition from big name Republican neocons like Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie who are laying the groundwork for their 2016 run, so it’s good to know that if Paul doesn’t get the GOP nomination there’s still hope for libertarian / limited government activists to rally behind.

But if he does become the Republican and Libertarian nominee it could give him the advantage he needs to become the next President of the United States.

Mainstream Media: Rand Paul Is the 2016 GOP Presidential Frontrunner

Ever since Rand Paul became a US senator, rumors have suggested that he might mount a campaign for the presidency in 2016. Initially, corporate mainstream media pundits widely dismissed his views as unpopular and his potential candidacy as doomed for failure. However, in the wake of new polling that places him at the head of the GOP pack and in the best position to take on Hillary Clinton in the general election, a wide range of mainstream media outlets, including Meet the Press, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Journal, Newsmaxand US News and World Reporthave declared that Rand Paul is currently the frontrunner in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

On the July 20 episode of NBC‘s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd succinctly summed up Rand Paul’s claim to frontrunner status, “What gives Paul that label? He has the highest favorable ratings of any potential candidate in the two [early primary] states. He leads the polls in the early horserace, not including the undecided vote, and he runs best against Hillary Clinton.” Todd also pointed to some of Senator Paul’s recent political stances as a rationale for his claim at the top of the Republican pile, “But it’s not just good poll numbers, he’s been very strategic in the past six months. Paul hired Rick Santorum’s former campaign manager. He’s teamed with Democrat Cory Booker on some legislation. And he backs a less active foreign policy that happens to be more popular with the public. This also could mean that Paul will be an early target of uneasy establishment Republicans all of next year.”

In Slate, David Weigel dissented, claiming that Rand Paul’s frontrunner status falls apart when Mitt Romney is included in polls. However, the University of New Hampshire poll that Weigel cited as his sole example is hardly representative of Republican voters nationwide, as former Massachusetts Governor Romney has a second home in New Hampshire, a state that neighbors Massachusetts where he was elected governor, and polls like a local candidate. Eric Levenson at Boston.com also cautioned that one of the poll’s authors, Andrew Smith from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said, “[It’s in] no way indicative of what’s going to happen… A lot of this is name recognition.”

Eric Levenson also pointed out the fact that the University of New Hampshire poll’s question may have caused a bias among participants, “The particular phrasing of the question posed to responders also likely had an impact on Romney’s big advantage. The pollers first asked a bevy of questions and opinions about the expected Republican contestants, including Christie, Ryan, Paul, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and others. The poller then asked a follow-up question: ‘If Mitt Romney were to run for the Republican nomination…’ followed by a list of all those same potential candidates. Specifically calling out Romney before mentioning the other names may have had the effect of highlighting him above others and influencing the response.”

If Rand Paul remains the GOP frontrunner as 2016 approaches, expect establishment Republicans to continue the already-underway barrage of attacks against him. Politico notes that, in recent weeks, several potential 2016 candidates have taken shots at Rand Paul’s foreign policy in what appears to have so far been a failed effort to soften Paul’s lead.

Feds Plan to Seize Financial Records of US Mortgage Borrowers

Amid shocking reports that the National Security Agency has been compiling data on American citizens without a personalized warrant or probable cause, The Washington Examiner is reporting that two federal agencies are making plans to seize the private financial records of millions of American mortgage borrowers for use in a centralized database. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Housing Finance Agency currently maintain a National Mortgage Database Program which was initially designed to hold generic data about the mortgage marketplace. However, the executive branch regulatory bureaus appear to have made a policy reversal regarding the private data of citizens and are now seeking a wide range of financial and demographic data points on specific citizens for inclusion in the searchable database.

The agencies recently expressed intentions to expand the database in a posting to the Federal Register. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bureaus claim that the personal details are necessary in order to create a report for Congress which is allegedly required under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, a bill signed into law by former President Bush that originally created the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The database would contain records on any Americans who have taken out a single-family residential first lien loan at any time from 1998 onward. The compiled data points would be very comprehensive and would include not only financial records such as credit histories, social security numbers, reports on total assets, and credit card transactions, but also unrelated demographic data, including information on the age, race, religion, and number of residents in the household.

US Senator Rand Paul once warned that the government may be working on a database that could include financial records such as Americans’ credit card histories and pointed out that such data could be used to track citizens’ activities. “Think about your credit card records, and I tell people all the time, think about what people can know about you that might be on your Visa bill. I really think that’s personal information, and unless you are specifically named on a warrant, nobody should be looking at that,” said Senator Paul. The existence of such a database raises security concerns, as privacy advocates worry that identity thieves and hackers will target the sensitive information that is set to be collected in the database.

Such an effort to collect private data on specific citizens absent a warrant and suspicion of criminal activity violates Fourth Amendment protections. Senator Mike Crapo and Congressman Jeb Hensarling issued a letter to the directors of the FHFA and the CFPB stating that the expansion of the database “can easily be perceived as an abuse of the trust placed in your agencies by the American people.”

The Washington Examiner estimates that the policy change could affect up to 227 million Americans.

Video: Why Rand Paul’s “Economic Freedom Zones” Don’t Mean Freedom For All

Since President Obama’s State of the Union address, Senator Rand Paul has been touring the country talking about his idea for “Economic Freedom Zones”. It sounds like a great idea but do these zones mean freedom for all Americans? Watch the video for why Ben Swann says these zones create the impression that freedom ideas are failing ideas.