GOP Tax Plan Increases the Most Insidious Tax

Appointing a former investment banker to chair the Federal Reserve will have much longer lasting impact than any tax reform plan, but adopting the Chained Consumer Price Index will increase the inflation tax, Dr. Paul explains. 

By Ron Paul

Last Thursday, congressional Republicans unveiled their tax reform legislation. On the same day, President Trump nominated current Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell to succeed Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve chair. While the tax plan dominated the headlines, the Powell appointment will have much greater long-term impact. Federal Reserve policies affect every aspect of the economy, including whether the Republican tax plan will produce long-term economic growth.

President Obama made history by appointing the first female Fed chair. President Trump is also making history: If confirmed, Powell would be the first former investment banker to serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell’s background suggests he will continue Janet Yellen’s Wall Street-friendly low interest rates and easy money policies.

Powell is an outspoken opponent of the Audit the Fed legislation. In 2015, Powell delivered an address at Catholic University devoted to attacking Audit the Fed. Like most Fed apologists, Powell claims the audit would compromise the Fed’s independence and allow Congress to control monetary policy. However, like all who make this claim, Powell cannot point to anything in the text of the audit bill giving Congress any power over the Federal Reserve. Powell’s concerns about protecting the Fed’s independence are misplaced, as the Fed has never been free of political influence. The Fed has a long history of bowing to presidential pressure to tailor monetary policy to help advance the president’s political and policy agenda.

IRS Loses Cases

 

The Republican tax cut plan has some positive elements, such as increasing the standard deduction, creating a new family tax credit, eliminating the death tax, reducing the corporate tax rate, and lowering taxes on small businesses. It also has some flaws, such as the “millionaire surcharge” imposed on upper-income taxpayers. This provision reflects a belief that upper-income taxpayers only “deserve” a tax break if reducing their taxes serves the interest of government by increasing economic growth.

The worst part of the tax plan is that it adopts the chained consumer price index (chained CPI). Chained CPI is a way of measuring CPI that understates inflation’s effects on our standard of living. It does this by assuming inflation has not reduced Americans’ standard of living if, for example, people can buy hamburgers when they can no longer afford steak. This so-called full substitution ignores the fact that if individuals viewed hamburgers as a full substitute for steak they would have bought hamburgers before Fed-created inflation made steak unaffordable.

Chained CPI increases the inflation tax. The inflation tax may be the worst of all taxes because it is hidden and regressive. The inflation tax is not even a tax on real wages. Instead, it is a tax on the illusionary gains in income caused by inflation. The use of chained CPI to adjust tax brackets pushes individuals into higher tax brackets over time.

Politicians love the inflation tax because it allows them to increase taxes without having to vote for higher rates. Instead, the Fed does the dirty work. Since their creation in 1913, the Federal Reserve and the income tax have both enabled the growth of the welfare-warfare state and the erosion of our freedom and economic well-being. The key to restoring our liberty and prosperity, as well as avoiding a major economic crisis, is reversing the great mistakes of 1913 by repealing the 16th Amendment and auditing and ending the Federal Reserve.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.




Radio Host Pete Santilli Cops Plea to Avoid Possible Six-Year Sentence

Internet-radio host Pete Santilli’s surprising plea bargain could impact the other defendants’ cases in the ongoing Bundy proceedings, given his agreement with the prosecution’s description of events near Bunkerville when the BLM attempted to take Cliven Bundy’s cattle in March 2014. 

By Mark Anderson

LAS VEGAS—Things have taken two sharp, rather unexpected turns regarding the upcoming trial in the Bundy proceedings in the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. For one thing, Internet-radio personality Pete Santilli—one of the defendants in the next trial, which had been set to begin with jury selection on Oct. 10—“pled guilty today (Friday, Oct. 6) and was released pending sentencing,” his attorney, Chris Rasmussen of Las Vegas, confirmed for AFP by phone about 4:30 p.m. Eastern time that day.

Notably, the next trial involves the federal government trying cattleman Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and Ryan Payne. Due to his plea arrangement, Santilli is, of course, no longer involved in this trial. Two other defendants, O. Scott Drexler and Eric Parker, who are being retried on some counts for a third time, will join the others in this second of three planned trials of all the defendants charged in the Bunkerville “standoff.”

The second surprising turn of events is that both the prosecution and defense sought and secured yet another delay in these complicated proceedings, this time due to fear that the highly emotional aftermath of the recent deadly shooting during a country music concert outside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas would adversely impact the attitudes and opinions of jurors for the time being.

As of this writing, the Oct. 10 date for jury selection has been postponed to on or around Oct. 30 and could be subject to change again, given the bumpy track record of these multiple-defendant trial proceedings—which the federal government has been largely losing so far. Santilli, who shot extended livestream video footage at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge building in eastern Oregon—prompting critics to allege that his “journalistic” coverage enabled the government to more closely monitor the ranchers who occupied the abandoned building in protest of onerous federal land controls—was jailed for his role in that affair.

Although cleared of Oregon-related charges, Santilli was kept behind bars and transferred to Nevada to stand trial because he had also taken part in the spring 2014 Bunkerville, Nev. “standoff.” That peaceful confrontation saw Cliven Bundy, his sons, and other supporters gather to protest the policies and conduct of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies that unsuccessfully attempted to confiscate Bundy’s cattle over a grazing-fee dispute.

Regarding the Nevada events, Santilli pled guilty to a felony count of obstruction of justice, based on the government’s assertion that he used his own vehicle to impede the movement of a BLM truck during the attempted cattle impoundment.

Interestingly, Rasmussen believes the government may be willing to consider the prison time that Santilli has already served—behind bars since Jan. 26, 2016—as sufficient punishment for that felony charge. But a reading of the plea memo shared with AFP by Rasmussen shows that the government reserves the right to impose a longer prison term, possibly six years, when Santilli is sentenced, probably in January. Meanwhile, two pending defense motions—one to exclude Oregon-related evidence in the government’s Nevada case against Santilli, and another to challenge the government’s claim that Santilli could not excuse his Nevada actions because of his journalistic background—are now moot, Rasmussen added.

According to court documentation, Santilli’s acceptance of pleading guilty to this single felony-obstruction charge requires, under penalty of perjury, that he accept the following government-sourced statements as “true and correct,” regarding the “standoff” in southern Nevada:

“Beginning on or around March 28, 2014, federal law enforcement officers from the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service were engaged in the official duties of executing federal court orders to remove and impound cattle trespassing upon federal public lands in and around Bunkerville, Nevada, the cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, a local rancher.

IRS Loses Cases

“Defendant Santilli knew that Cliven Bundy and his sons, Ammon, Dave, Mel, and Ryan, (collectively, ‘the Bundys’), and others associated with them, planned to thwart, impede and interfere with impoundment operations.

“On April 9, 2014, Defendant Santilli used force to prevent officers from discharging their duties by using his vehicle to block BLM law enforcement officers and civilian employees as they were performing their duties related to the impoundment. Defendant Santilli drove his vehicle straight toward a BLM law enforcement officer’s vehicle, preventing the officer and the rest of the convoy behind him from being able to move forward.

“The officer ordered Defendant Santilli to move out of the way but Defendant Santilli continued to block the convoy’s path. Defendant Santilli finally reversed his vehicle out of the path of the convoy only after the officer repeated the command several times.

“By using force to block the convoy, Defendant Santilli allowed others to surround the convoy and threaten the occupants of the vehicles by force of violence and fear, inducing the officers to leave the place where their duties were required to be performed.

“Defendant Santilli acknowledges that all of the above took place within the State and Federal District of Nevada.”

The maximum penalty for “Conspiracy to Impede or Injure a Federal Officer,” the formal name of this count against Santilli under 18 U.S.C. § 372, is six years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both. But the plea memo shows that Santilli owes no restitution under this charge, nor will he be required to forfeit any of his assets—provided he meets the strict terms of his supervised release until he’s sentenced.

He must not violate any federal, state, or local laws, is restricted from any significant travel, and among other things must avoid any known association with anyone who’s breaking any law. Nor can Santilli possess a gun or any other item deemed a weapon by the government. Failing to show up for a hearing or other procedural matter would also result in this deal being dissolved.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




‘Freeing Up Money’ Is Solution to Money Reform, Says AMI Presenter

The American Monetary Institute has been teaching people about money for many years, and just completed it’s 13th annual conference. Featured below is a presentation by Mark S. Pash who says “The solution is freeing up money.” Pash  stresses Americans on both “sides” of the ideological spectrum—right-leaning and left-leaning—must compromise a little to implement what he sees as the answer to our national money woes.    

By Mark Anderson

CHICAGO, Ill.—At the American Monetary Institute’s (AMI) 13th annual Chicago conference, author Mark S. Pash shared some particularly intriguing insights from his latest book, Creating a 21st Century Win-Win Economy, which seeks to bridge the left-right divide and offer key monetary-reform proposals that are acceptable to a broad cross-section of the populace—and to a fractured Congress. Pash stressed that “marketing” monetary reform is key to its success in the conclusion of his hour-long talk at University Center downtown.

Pash’s presentation was part of a Sept. 14-17 lecture series that served as a tribute to late AMI founder Stephen Zarlenga, the respected author of The Lost Science of Money, who passed away recently at his home near Chicago. Zarlenga’s lengthy book defines money as not needing a gold standard and says that, as a function of the law, money should not be privately created at interest.

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Pash’s core message was that a specific species of monetary reform can solve the riddle of providing incomes in an age of increasing robotics and automation. He emphasized the robotic age is with us in force, even to the extent of replacing Mexican farmers. Furthermore, a sophisticated robot popularly known as “Baxter” works “for $4 an hour without vacations,” Pash said, even while robotized short-order cooks are coming on board, along with self-driving vehicles and several other automated systems that displace human labor.

And while an Adidas sports-wear plant in China employs around 1,000 people, a similar plant in Germany that’s automated has only about 160 human employees. A clear upside is that robots will eventually replace “sweatshop” workers who are stuck in wage-slave jobs and suffer abuse under poor, often dangerous working conditions and long hours.

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So, what to do?

“The solution is freeing up money,” Pash explained, utilizing a modified basic-income model that would differ from the Universal Basic Income proposals that have been floated overseas and are under consideration in Canada. Since money is cheap to make and distribute, a variety of channels would be utilized under Pash’s vision to get money for consumer purchasing power, business startups, and other purposes into the hands of the populace to supplement whatever work-related income they have.

Here, Pash’s outline bears some resemblance to “social credit,” a set of policy proposals born 100 years ago, that recognize the inherent shortfall of purchasing power compared to the accumulation of prices and debts in each production cycle. As Pash told conference attendees—roughly in line with social-credit solutions—the key goal is to “decouple jobs from money” to some extent, and to issue new interest-free money, not money borrowed at interest, to society. This would enable the population to buy products stemming from automation while progress would no longer equal more debt. Increased leisure time for personal development would be another dividend.

“We’d reduce the work week because the robots are going to do the work”—at least the most menial work—Pash stated, while stressing that unless such monetary adjustments are made to make room for cost-saving and labor-relieving automation yet still maintain human incomes—while reducing and redirecting the power of the banks and reorienting the workforce—displaced human populations may resort to massive uprisings that would likely be quelled by force.

Pash explained that banks would be denied their current power of usurious money creation and would be limited to providing essential services, like securing deposits from the public that to some extent would be used to make loans, thus eliminating the current practice of “fractional reserve banking” by which banks make virtually fictitious “loans” far in excess of the cash reserves physically in their vaults.

Consequently, banks would become part of a proposed money-distribution network involving direct government spending (such as on improved and cheaper infrastructure, education, and health care), loaning money into the economy at very low rates (or perhaps only at a cost of one-time fees), and investing money into the economy, among other approaches.

This diversity of distribution, he said, “controls inflation” and wouldn’t solely involve government spending. “Otherwise, Congress won’t pass it,” he explained.

Pash stressed the importance of those who are politically to the “left” scooting a little to the right and vice versa in order to unify behind beneficial solutions for all.

Notably, the introduction to Pash’s book envisions a future scenario where, “The Trump administration pushed through complete monetary reform eliminating the creation of debt money by the banks and substantially increasing the distribution systems of newly created money.”

The banks, which Pash called “the most powerful non-military institutions in the world,” would come to see that they, too, could benefit under this new monetary paradigm, since in Pash’s future scenario the banking industry would “boom with all the new deposits and loans they provided the public without the worry of periodic collapses.” He also predicts a 24-hour work week for the average worker with four to six weeks of annual vacation and personal time.

The imperative here, Pash summarized, is to correct “the macroeconomic philosophy” of the richest 1%, “so that they will use their influence correctly, to create a win-win economy.”

Pash, a former congressional candidate, grew up working in family operations in the manufacturing and retail sectors. He is a personal financial advisor with two business degrees, a UCLA bachelor’s and a USC master’s. See more at cpe.us.com.

AMI has long backed the NEED Act, HR 2990, first introduced by former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in 2011 but never passed into law. While calling for nationalizing the Federal Reserve and spending considerable new money on infrastructure, the bill contains some of the elements of Pash’s proposals—which are more multi-faceted than The NEED Act and are among the latest ideas that AMI has heard.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




Feds Fail to Convict More Bundy Supporters

TWO MORE BUNDY SUPPORTERS GO FREE

By Mark Anderson

In the ongoing “Bundy” trials, as they’ve come to be known, on Aug. 22, a jury was unable to convict four defendants who were retried this summer after prosecutors failed to get a conviction the first time around. Two of those four, Steven Stewart and Richard Lovelien, have been acquitted of all charges and are free men. O. Scott Drexler and Eric Parker, however, were acquitted on most but not all counts and are still in federal custody. After languishing in federal prison for around 18 months like the rest of the defendants in this saga, Drexler and Parker have been released to home detention. Although their retrial saw them formally acquitted on some charges, it ended simply with “no verdict” on other charges: assault on a federal officer and related firearm charges stemming from their part in a protest against the attempted seizure of Cliven Bundy’s cattle during an April 12, 2014 “standoff” with armed U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents. This means that Drexler and Parker will be retried on the remaining charges —for a third time. And the charges are rather serious.

Parker is still facing four counts of assaulting a federal officer, threatening a federal officer, using a firearm in a crime of violence while assaulting a federal officer, and the same firearm charge to threaten a federal officer. Drexler’s remaining charges are assaulting a federal officer and using a firearm in a crime of violence to assault a federal officer. More good news is that, amid the hard reality of having been imprisoned and denied a speedy trial as the Constitution requires, Cliven Bundy— the patriarch of a family synonymous with protesting often heavy-handed federal land policies—will finally be going to trial in the same federal court. He’ll be joined by several other defendants who backed him and his family at that April 2014 protest, where some protestors did carry firearms to exercise their Second Amendment rights in an open-carry state, yet no shots were fired in the encounter.

Drowning in debt

Judge Gloria Navarro of the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas set a date of Oct. 10 for jury selection to begin there for the trial of the second set of defendants, which includes Cliven and several others. According to the original court schedule, there were to be three trials. Cliven, his sons Ammon and Ryan, Internet radio host Pete Santilli, and Ryan Payne have long been slated to be the second trial’s defendants. But due to the most recent developments, Drexler and Parker will join them in mid-October. “This next trial involving Cliven is the so-called ‘leadership’ trial, as the government sees it,” said legal expert Roger Roots of Montana, who has attended nearly every day of the trial. Cliven, his two sons, Santilli, and Payne each face 15 charges generally including conspiracy, assault and threats against federal officers, firearms counts, and obstruction and extortion. Though it seems unlikely at this juncture, conviction on all charges would ensure life imprisonment for all.




Will Congress and Trump Declare War on WikiLeaks?

If the Senate Intelligence Committee, in service of the Deep State, has its way, providing truthful information to Americans about their government—or even merely criticizing the welfare-warfare state—will soon be illegal and grounds for shutting down whistle-blowing organizations and websites or potentially even sending out military forces to arrest truth-tellers. WikiLeaks would be just the first of many groups targeted for such treatment, warns Dr. Paul.

By Ron Paul

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently passed its Intelligence Authorization Act for 2018 that contains a chilling attack on the First Amendment. Section 623 of the act expresses the “sense of Congress” that WikiLeaks resembles a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such.” This language is designed to delegitimize WikiLeaks, encourage the federal government to spy on individuals working with WikiLeaks, and block access to WikiLeaks’s website. This provision could even justify sending U.S. forces abroad to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or other WikiLeaks personnel.

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WikiLeaks critics claim that the organization’s leaks harm U.S. national security. However, these critics are unable to provide a single specific example of WikiLeaks’ actions harming the American people. WikiLeaks does harm the reputations of government agencies and politicians, however. For example, earlier this year WikiLeaks released information on the CIA’s hacking program. The leaks did not reveal any details on operations against foreign targets, but they did let the American people know how easy it is for the government to hack into their electronic devices.

For the last year, most of the news surrounding WikiLeaks has centered on its leak of emails showing how prominent Democrats worked to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. In order to deflect attention from these revelations, Democrats, aided by their allies in the media and even some Republicans, promulgated a conspiracy theory blaming the leaks on Russian hackers working to defeat Hillary Clinton. Even though there is no evidence the Russians were behind the leaks, many in both parties are still peddling the “Putin did it” narrative. This aids an effort by the Deep State and its allies in Congress and the media to delegitimize last year’s election, advance a new Cold War with Russia, and criminalize WikiLeaks.

If the government is successful in shutting down WikiLeaks by labeling it a “hostile intelligence service,” it will use this tactic to silence other organizations and websites as well. The goal will be to create a climate of fear to ensure no one dares publish the revelations of a future Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning.

Some have suggested that criticizing police brutality, the surveillance state, the Federal Reserve, or even federal spending aids “hostile foreign powers” by weakening the people’s “trust in government.” This line of reasoning could be used to silence, in the name of “national security,” websites critical of the welfare-warfare state.

By labeling WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service” and thus legitimizing government action against the organization, the Senate Intelligence Authorization Act threatens the ability of whistleblowers to inform the public about government misdeeds. It also sets a precedent that could be used to limit other types of free speech.

President Trump should make it clear he will veto any bill giving government new powers to silence organizations like WikiLeaks. If President Trump supports the war on WikiLeaks, after candidate Trump proclaimed his love for WikiLeaks, it will be further proof that he has outsourced his presidency to the Deep State.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, along with notable whistleblowers, foreign policy experts, and leading champions of peace and liberty, will be addressing this important issue at my Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s conference on Saturday, September 9 at the Dulles Airport Marriott Hotel in Dulles, Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. You can get more information about the conference and purchase tickets at the Ron Paul Institute.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.




Tech Giants Have the Right to Censor Internet, Says Free Speech Lawyer

Recent court rulings seem to favor Amazon and Google in the ongoing battle over Internet censorship. AFP asked a professor who specializes in Internet law to explain how such tech giants are legally allowed to censor the Internet. 

By Dave Gahary

As readers and supporters of American Free Press and its sister publication The Barnes Review are well aware, books and videos considered to be verboten by the reigning tech giants have been removed for sale or distribution from these companies’ bookstores and websites.

“In early March, to the shock and dismay of free speech advocates around the world, Internet retail giant Amazon caved to pressure from special interest groups and mainstream news outlets and quietly pulled at least 100 political and historical books from its website,” wrote Paul Angel recently in AFP.

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Prior to this mass book banning, YouTube, the video-sharing website created by three former PayPal employees in 2005 and bought by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion, has come down hard on videos on AFP’s website, by sending a shot across our bow in the following email:

As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow—and don’t allow—on YouTube. Your video ‘Jewish Groups Shut Down Canadian Newspaper’ was flagged for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines. We’ve removed it from YouTube and assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty, to your account.

We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express their points of view, even if unpopular. However, YouTube doesn’t allow hate speech. Sometimes there’s a fine line between what is and isn’t considered hate speech. If you’re not sure whether or not your content crosses the line, we ask that you don’t post it.

This is the first strike applied to your account. We understand that users seldom intend to violate our policies. That’s why strikes don’t last forever—this strike will expire in three months. However, it’s important to remember that additional strikes could prevent you from posting content to YouTube or even lead to your account being terminated.

The video cited, “Jewish Groups Shut Down Canadian Newspaper,” was simply an audio interview this reporter conducted with Dr. James Sears, editor-in-chief of Your Ward News, a quarterly local newspaper distributed in Toronto, discussing the fact that Jewish groups had complained to Canadian politicians about Sears’s newspaper. In response, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada Judy Foote ordered Canada Post to stop the distribution of the paper, which was called “anti-Semitic” and “racist” by its critics.

Naturally, Foote would not make such a move unless someone complained, and that someone, as is clearly documented, was Jewish groups. So there was nothing “hateful” about the interview. Sears was just explaining what happened.

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YouTube attacked some other videos as well, claiming they were not “advertiser friendly.” This is quite odd, as the videos merely discussed a very hot topic: the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. These videos, which were simply audio interviews adapted to video format, can garner income, depending upon how many views or listens they accumulate. YouTube would have none of that with this video:

Hi American Free Press,

Thanks for submitting your video(s) for monetization. We didn’t approve your video(s) for monetization because the content in your video(s) or video details may not be advertiser-friendly. If you believe that the content in your video is advertiser- friendly, you can request an additional review below:

“Wolfgang Halbig Gains Some Ground”

Please note that review times may vary, and YouTube reserves the right to make the final decision whether to monetize a video. All videos are subject to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, and may be removed from the site if they don’t meet those standards.

Thanks,
The YouTube Team

AFP received a nearly identical warning when it came to the interview we conducted with Dr. James Tracy titled “Firing of Professor for Sandy Hook Beliefs Cowardly.”

NO RECOURSE

Do booksellers and content creators have any recourse if Amazon and YouTube remove content they deem to be “offensive”?

The short answer is “no,” as this newspaper discovered via an email exchange with one of the nation’s top Internet law professors.

Eric Goldman is a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law in California, where he teaches and publishes in the areas of Internet law, intellectual property, and advertising and marketing law.

This reporter became acquainted with Goldman via an article he wrote for Forbes entitled “Can YouTube ‘Remove and Relocate’ User Videos Capriciously?” The article makes reference to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is central to understanding why these tech giants can do as they wish.

The act was part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which amended or repealed sections of the Communications Act of 1934 and was the first major overhaul of U.S. telecommunications policy in nearly 62 years. It allows Internet service providers (ISPs) and other service providers to restrict customers’ actions without worrying about being found legally liable. Specifically, the act states: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Section 230 had its beginnings in protecting children, and was passed in part in reaction to 1995’s Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., “which suggested that service providers who assumed an editorial role with regard to customer content, thus became publishers, and legally responsible for libel and other torts committed by customers.” Section 230 was passed to allow service providers to delete and monitor content without becoming publishers.

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The court stated in another lawsuit, Zeran v. America Online, Inc., (where the plaintiff, Kenneth M. Zeran’s phone number was posted on an Internet bulletin board that glorified the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which Zeran had no connection to or involvement with) that:

Congress enacted § 230 to remove the disincentives to self-regulation created by the Stratton Oakmont decision. Under that court’s holding, computer service providers who regulated the dissemination of offensive material on their services risked subjecting themselves to liability, because such regulation cast the service provider in the role of a publisher.

Fearing that the specter of liability would therefore deter service providers from blocking and screening offensive material, Congress enacted §230’s broad immunity ‘to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies that empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material,’ and ‘the amount of information communicated via interactive computer services is . . . staggering.’ The specter of tort liability in an area of such prolific speech would have an obviously chilling effect. It would be impossible for service providers to screen each of their millions of postings for possible problems.

Faced with potential liability for each message republished by their services, interactive computer service providers might choose to severely restrict the number and type of messages posted. Congress considered the weight of the speech interests implicated and chose to immunize service providers to avoid any such restrictive effect.

AFP asked Goldman about the significance of Section 230. “Section 230(c)(2) is directly relevant by providing websites with a safe harbor for removing content they consider objectionable,” he explained. “The website’s terms of service are also highly relevant, such as where the sites say they can terminate accounts or delete content at their discretion.”

Since Section 230 allows these companies to censor any material they wish, AFP asked if it is foolish for someone “to piggyback on the audience aggregated by third party intermediary publishers,” like YouTube, since “the cloud service provider’s policies and practices can easily moot those investments with little recourse, judicial or otherwise.”

“I don’t think it’s foolish at all,” Goldman said. “Usually, content producers must rely on third party intermediaries for ‘distribution,’ i.e., to reach a broader audience. However, if the distributor has the contractual and legal right to pull the rug out from under the content producer at any time, then the content producer either needs to accept that contingency or bargain for a better deal.”

AFP asked what would be an example of “the contractual and legal right to pull the rug out from under the content producer at any time.”

“A clause like, ‘We can terminate your account or delete your content at any time in our sole discretion,’ ” he explained.

It’s worth emphasizing that Goldman inexplicably disagrees with the argument that Amazon and Google, which operate as virtual monopolies when it comes to book sales and advertising on the Internet, should not censor media companies, given that even Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., conceded to Business Insider recently, “[Google] was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking.”

AFP finally asked Goldman about Amazon’s book banning binge and if Section 230 allows Amazon to get away with this.

“Probably, but we may not need to get that far,” he said. “Retailers are not required to put any particular item on their shelves.”

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming full-length feature film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See erasingtheliberty.com for more information.




Sheriff Arpaio Announced Guilty of Criminal Contempt in Unprecedented Move by Judge

The non-jury trial of former Maricopa County “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio concluded with the judge announcing her guilty decision via electronic communication, rather than by reading the verdict aloud during a hearing with the defendant in attendance, and omitted significant portions of evidence in reaching her conclusion. One defense attorney says this unprecedented and unconstitutional action is grounds for an appeal.

By Mark Anderson

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on July 31 was found guilty of misdemeanor criminal contempt—for what the government claims was his willful decision to disregard a 2011 federal injunction, issued to bar him from rounding up illegal aliens during his time as sheriff of a border county. And that county is often nearly overrun by the mass migration of illegal aliens.

This federal district court verdict came down sooner than defense attorneys expected, amid other twists and turns in this case. However, there’s a story behind the story that few media outlets are discussing: According to the defense, the verdict was announced in a manner that’s unconstitutional and against important legal precedent.


Accordingly, Arpaio plans to appeal this decision of Judge Susan Bolton, who issued her verdict after a brief non-jury trial that ran four days in late June and concluded July 6. Arpaio had unsuccessfully sought a jury trial.

When this AFP writer asked one of the defense attorneys, Mark Goldman, if “ruled from the chamber” would be a better description of Judge Bolton’s decision-making process, Goldman agreed that was a perfect way to define such a back-room manner of carrying out “justice.”

A July 31 press release from the defense clarified: “Judge . . . Bolton violated the U.S. Constitution by issuing her verdict without reading it to the defendant in public court. Her verdict is contrary to what every single witness said in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will.”

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Goldman, who’s been an attorney for 29 years, also told AFP: “We expected more time because it’s improper for her to just send it [her decision] out [via Internet] without a court hearing. I’ve never seen anything like it before. There’s a [previous] court of appeals case where the defendant has the right to be present during sentencing.”

What’s especially interesting is that the first indication to the defense that the judge had ruled at all—since her decision was expected to come later—came when reporters called the defense seeking comment, before the team had even learned of the verdict. Goldman explained that a July 31 court-issued “internal electronic communication” addressed to the defense, time-stamped 11:08 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, arrived after those media calls.

“The media was tipped off,” he said, adding that the ruling establishment that excuses the virtually unrestrained entry of illegal aliens into the U.S., many of whom commit additional crimes some of which are serious, has “won the battle but not the war.”

So, in summary, verdicts are to be conveyed at a hearing, with the defendant present, during which the judge reads the verdict aloud. Citing legal precedent, Goldman shared the following excerpt from legal sources:

             In United States v. Canady, 126 F.3d 352, 360 (2d Cir. 1997), the Second Circuit specifically found that “the district court’s deliberate decision to mail its decision to the parties rather than reconvene the proceedings to announce its verdict in open court violated both his right to be present at all stages of his trial and his right to a public trial.” The defendant “first learned that he had been convicted two weeks later by reading a newspaper.” . . . . “A leading principle that pervades the entire law of criminal procedure is that, after [an] indictment [is] found, nothing shall be done in the absence of the prisoner.” . . . . “The right [to be present] extends to all stages of trial, including the return of the verdict, to the extent that a fair and just hearing would be thwarted by [the defendant’s] absence.” . . . . The Second Circuit also specifically found that this doesn’t just apply to jury verdicts, it applies to bench verdicts, too. It remanded to the district court for it to reconvene with the defendant present and publicly announce the verdict.

Also, the official record of Judge Bolton’s ruling is larded with remarks that the fact Mexican nationals, Central Americans, and others were entering the U.S. illegally, by itself, does not meet the threshold at which Maricopa Sheriff’s deputies under Arpaio should’ve been allowed to arrest illegal aliens and turn them over to federal authorities, as was done.

Gideon Elite book cover

Judge Bolton thus basically scolded the Sheriff’s Department for not limiting its roundups to those who entered the country illegally.

Asked why the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not intervene in The United States of America v. Joseph M. Arpaio, where the defendant is well-respected by President Trump but was targeted under the Obama White House, Goldman said the DOJ lawyers who initiated this case are the same ones who continued to prosecute it, even after the new attorney general had taken office.

“It’s hard to walk into the DOJ and reverse the course of public prosecutions,” he said, adding that he had written to Sessions to inform him that Arpaio was being sued under “the wrong statute,” even while Sessions, on the one hand, disagrees with sanctuary cities and believes local police should aid in apprehending illegal aliens and hold them for federal custody. Yet Sessions didn’t help Arpaio in return for having been a good lawman and carrying out apprehensions in the same manner.

Moreover, while Judge Bolton’s written ruling, at face value, makes it sound like Arpaio willfully defied the 2011 injunction, including snippets of his comments quoted in various news reports, Goldman said the judge’s “findings of fact are not supported by the record, including trial testimony and documentary evidence.”

Furthermore, the judge is seen as having omitted most or all testimony that mitigated against her narrative that Arpaio defied the injunction, including the testimony of Tim Casey, an outside lawyer retained by Arpaio’s Sheriff’s Department who received free reign from the department to communicate with all its employees on injunction compliance. And the Human Smuggling Unit within the department had unfettered access to Casey. Arpaio, from this vantage point, simply entrusted injunction compliance to others and carried out his duties as he saw fit, not having been advised to do otherwise.

However, Casey allegedly had reasons in court to protect himself more than he did Arpaio. But still, when called to the stand by the prosecution, he admitted during cross-examination by the defense that the injunction was ambiguous and not clear and definitive, as the prosecution argued and Bolton ruled. The catch, however, is that Judge Bolton, defense attorneys say, omitted Casey’s testimony and that of just about everyone else who countered the “defiant Joe” meme.

Notably, while Arpaio is generally expected to get six months behind bars—if sentencing proceedings take place Oct. 5 as planned—the defense, while appealing the verdict, is asking for the sentencing date to be held later.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




AUDIO INTERVIEW & ARTICLE: Texas Maverick Runs for Congress

Texas native and Libertarian congressional hopeful Nicholas Landholt pays no income taxes and pushes for state militias to defend against tyranny. Landholt sat down for an interview with Dave Gahary to discuss his congressional campaign and related issue.

By Dave Gahary

Nicholas Landholt is a man on a mission. Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1955, Nick served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years, where he met his wife, and has been married for 36 years. Landholt ran for Congress in 2016 on the Libertarian Party of Texas ticket last year and did surprisingly well, and he’s gearing up for another run next year.

American Free Press sat down with Landholt—whom some libertarians call “The Militia Guy”—for an exclusive interview on his upbringing and his ideas to get America back to the people it was founded for.

Click on the image below for AFP’s exclusive interview with Nicholas Landholt.

“I almost went into the seminary,” Landholt began, “but my dad was seeing some of the uproar that was happening in the Catholic Church, so he thought it best that I not go into the seminary where I could possibly lose my faith. I sort of did during high school and college anyway.”

Landholt’s dad, who—like his mom—had a great impact on his life, had another idea.

“My dad thought it would be good for me to get into the military and to kind of grow up, you might say,” he said.

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WILLING TO TAKE THE HEAT

“In 1996, I stopped paying and filing [federal] income taxes,” he said, “but I stayed underneath the radar because I had three boys and a wife that I was supporting. But it was in the last five years—because the boys are grown now—that I said it’s time to have a coming-out party. And whether it’s shaming patriots or so-called “Christians” into doing what we’re supposed to be doing—living the Gospel and taking on the enemies of Christ the King—we need to do something quickly. So I want people to know I’m for real and I’m willing to take the heat, but I need a support team behind me; I don’t wanna be charging up the hill on my own.”

Landholt recounted his anti-tax/pro-militia congressional campaign in Texas’s 11th congressional district.

“I filed to run in December 2015, and it was a few months later that I started to get into the whole militia aspect and the IRS,” he said. “I don’t know if those were just two hot issues that the Libertarians did not want to address or not, but . . . I was basically kind of left out there on my own. So not having run a campaign, not knowing rules, I just kind of let it come to me, and it never did come to me.”

Although he had no campaign contributions, he did quite well at the polls.

“In 2016, running a one-man campaign with no bank account, I still got over 23,000 votes,” he said. “My campaign was against 10-year incumbent Mike Conaway, [a] RINO.”

A RINO, or “Republican in Name Only,” is a term frequently used to describe “insufficiently conservative” Republicans.

Kenneth Michael “Mike” Conaway—in office since Jan. 3, 2005—Landholt explained, “has a ‘Liberty Score’ of ‘F’ with Conservative Review,” a group that ranks politicians along a conservative scale.

“[Conaway] got just over 200,000 votes,” Nick said, in a district of about 750,000 residents.

Landholt figures there are at least another 200,000 voters who never went to their polling place. The 11th congressional district is very rural, encompassing 29 counties.

“So there are 29 county sheriffs,” Landholt explained, “[who] could be educated on the income tax and why they should be keeping the IRS agents from harassing taxpayers who choose to actually follow the IRS regulations regarding income tax.”

“It was a very winnable race,” Landholt continued, “and I think the fact that I got 23,000 votes without basically doing anything kind of tells the level of disgust that Texas voters have with status-quo politics. We need resources, so that’s why I’m looking for a campaign manager who knows what they’re doing and can go from there.”

IRS Loses Cases

Landholt explained his views on why Americans are not required to pay federal income taxes.

“I always tell people we’re distinguishing here between income taxes and other taxes,” he explained. “Obviously, I pay taxes; I pay my fair share. You pay taxes almost all the time: sales tax, gas taxes etc. But federal income taxes, I’m not a federal citizen. I don’t work for an employer who contracts with the federal government. And that’s kind of in a nutshell what it boils down to. But I don’t ever advise somebody to just stop paying taxes; that’s a decision you’re gonna have to make on your own.”

NICHOLAS LANDHOLT ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT:

“The Preamble of the Constitution begins ‘We the People,’ meaning the People are the authority over the Constitution. And it is not a stretch to say that the first 13 words of the Second Amendment—‘A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State’—are the most important words in the Constitution. The People ARE the Militia, and patriots can see that our Founders were telling us ‘No Militia, No Free State.’ ”

AFP asked the purpose of the militia as it relates to his views on the federal income tax and if it would be used to physically fight the federal government.

“No, [Constitutional] militia is a defensive situation, and it’s not just fighting, but militias can be used for natural disasters—Hurricane Katrina and those kind of things. Instead of having FEMA, National Guard troops, the local militarized police forces going up and down the street knocking on doors and taking weapons away, you’d have local people who are militia helping out during situations.”

Landholt continued. “The purpose of the militia is threefold: to execute the laws of the Union, repel invasions, and suppress insurrections,” he began. “The money powers are not going to give up their investment—and we’re talkin’ over a hundred years—without a fight, and of course, they use the police state as their weapon of choice to fight Christian patriots. The IRS, the money powers, they’re not gonna go away quietly, so I presume that we’re going to need militias for defensive purposes.”

Landholt harkened back to the origins of this once-great national federation.

“As the Founding Fathers said,” he stated, “if you read between the lines—the lines being the first 13 words of the Second Amendment—‘a well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State.’ Reading between the lines, the Founders were saying, ‘No militia, no free state.’ Well, that’s what I’m trying to get across not only to voters but to the youth, because the youth have no future if they don’t get involved and help us turn things around.”

AFP readers can reach out to Landholt to help get him in office at nlandholt@hotmail.com or by phone at 631-741-1757.

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming full-length feature film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See erasingtheliberty.com or call (850) 677-0344 for more information and to get the new book on which the movie will be based, Erasing the Liberty.




Permanently Disabled Louisiana Deputy Sues Leaders of Black Lives Matter

A Louisiana deputy sheriff, permanently disabled when he was shot three times by an angry, deranged former U.S. Marines sergeant during a Baton Rouge protest-turned-riot, has sued Black Lives Matter and five of its leaders. The lawsuit claims they “caused or contributed to” the violence and encouraged the “militant anti-police national organization.” The rising number of civilians being needlessly killed by law enforcement personnel must be brought under control immediately, but encouraging “disdain, hatred, and violence against police” and violent rioting and shooting is certainly not the right way to address this urgent problem. 

By John Friend

On July 17 of last year, Gavin Long, a former U.S. Marine sergeant who was sympathetic towards the Black Lives Matter movement, ambushed police officers in Baton Rouge, La., killing three officers and injuring three more. Long was eventually shot 45 times by officers in the shootout, and died at the scene.

In a suicide note, Long lamented that he would be “vilified by the media and police” for his actions.

“Unfortunately,” Long wrote, “I see my actions as a necessary evil that I do not wish to partake in, nor do I enjoy partaking in. But must partake in, in order to create substantial change within America’s police force and judicial system.” He also noted that he must “bring destruction” upon “bad cops as well as good cops in hopes that the good cops (which are the majority) will be able to stand together to enact justice and punishment against bad cops.”

The horrific ambush came less than two weeks after a Baton Rouge police officer shot and killed Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man whose death sparked outrage in the black community. Sterling was killed outside a local convenience store after he physically struggled with officers and refused to obey their commands. Philando Castile, yet another black man, was shot and killed by a police officer in a suburb of Minneapolis a day later.

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The controversial police shootings sparked a number of protests across the country, many of which were instigated, organized, and led by the Black Lives Matter movement. A major protest in Dallas turned violent when Micah Johnson, a black Army veteran who was upset over the police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, ambushed local law enforcement officers there, killing five officers and injuring seven others.

Long traveled from Kansas City, Mo. to Baton Rouge roughly ten days after the Dallas ambush with the direct intention of violently confronting officers there.

Now, one of the injured officers in Baton Rouge is suing the Black Lives Matter movement and its most prominent leaders, accusing them of not only inciting violence against law enforcement officers across the country, but actually encouraging and justifying it.

The East Baton Rouge Parish deputy, who is not identified in the lawsuit, is a 42-year-old father of two children who had over 18 years of experience working in law enforcement. During the ambush, he was shot in his abdomen, his left shoulder, and the left side of his head, and as a result is permanently disabled; his intestines are permanently damaged, and he now has to wear a colostomy bag. The officer has had multiple surgeries, has suffered extensive brain damage, has reoccurring infections, and is constantly struggling for his life, according to the lawsuit.

Gideon Elite book cover

The lawsuit charges Black Lives Matter and some of its most prominent spokespersons with inciting and encouraging the sort of violence that resulted in the ambushes in both Dallas and Baton Rouge. The violence committed against the officer, the lawsuit alleges, was “caused or contributed to” by the leaders of Black Lives Matter, a “militant anti-police national organization.” DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi are specifically named in the lawsuit as representing and leading the Black Lives Matter movement, who used their organization, social media platforms, and public media appearances to instigate and incite violence against police officers, the lawsuit contends.

“At least eleven police [officers] have been shot dead and at least nine more wounded by BLM protesters, activists, and/or supporters,” the lawsuit argues. “The leaders of BLM and Defendants, not only, incited the violence against police in retaliation for the death of black men shot by police but also did nothing to dissuade the ongoing violence and injury to police. In fact, they justified the violence as necessary to the movement and war.”

The lawsuit outlines the history of the Black Lives Matter movement, names its leaders and their subversive, radical actions, and documents the violence, destruction, and mayhem caused since the movement’s inception. BLM and its leaders must be held responsible for the officer’s injuries because they encouraged “disdain, hatred, and violence against police” at the various protests and demonstrations organized by BLM across the country, as well as on social media and in media appearances, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of attorneys, including Donna Grodner, who previously filed a separate lawsuit against McKesson on behalf of yet another Baton Rouge police officer who sustained injuries during protests that took place in Baton Rouge in the aftermath of Alton Sterling’s death. Grodner was contacted by American Free Press, but refused to comment on the case at this time.

The lawsuit is requesting $75,000 in damages to be paid out to the injured officer and his family.

John Friend is a writer who lives in California.




Judge Will Rule on Arpaio Case Soon

Attorneys for retired Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio are “highly optimistic” the lawman will get a favorable verdict in the Obama DOJ-carryover case against him. Arpaio has been charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for turning over illegal aliens who had been arrested by his department to federal immigration authorities—one of the key things that got him repeatedly re-elected by the people of a county that borders Mexico and appreciated his work.

By Mark Anderson

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Mark Goldman, one of the attorneys for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the veteran lawman’s criminal trial that just wrapped up in Arizona, says he’s highly optimistic that Arpaio will not be convicted, because the three essential conditions under which he could be found guilty of a misdemeanor “contempt of court” charge were not met in court.

“We feel very happy,” Goldman told this AFP writer July 7, the day after closing arguments were heard in this widely watched case. The trial, initially expected to last at least eight days, ended up with only four days of testimony in late June, plus closing arguments on July 6.

Goldman feels good about the case because federal prosecutors evidently didn’t come close to proving even the first of those three conditions, let alone the other two.

IRS Loses Cases

The first condition is that a 2011 federal court injunction—purportedly issued to try to stop Arpaio from apprehending illegal aliens—must have been “clear and definite” in its meaning. While Arpaio is accused of contempt of court for allegedly defying the injunction, it appears the injunction was worded too vaguely for federal prosecutors to have a clear shot at winning their case against the popular lawman.

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During Arpaio’s time as Maricopa County sheriff, the former Drug Enforcement Agency officer’s deputies would turn over apprehended illegal aliens to the federal government for processing, due to serious concerns in the densely populated county—just a few miles from the border—about drug-running, human trafficking, and other crimes fostered by U.S. open-borders policies and attitudes.

In federal district court in Phoenix, Judge Susan Bolton “picked up on the fact that the [injunction] was anything but clear and definite,” Goldman summarized. He stressed that, since testimony from both sides revealed that the 40-page injunction failed to be clear and definite, then the other two conditions that the prosecution trotted out could not realistically be met.

Those other conditions were that Arpaio was aware of the injunction’s details and that he knowingly and willfully violated the injunction.

“No one who testified understood [the injunction’s meaning] when it was issued,” Goldman told American Free Press .

He said that the apparent clincher came when the star witness of the Department of Justice, Tim Casey—Arpaio’s former attorney, who evidently turned against Arpaio—admitted during cross-examination that the injunction was not clear and definite. “To me, that’s enough to make this whole case go away . . . so Joe’s feeling pretty good at this point,” Goldman said.

Arpaio himself was not yet at liberty to directly speak with AFP, pending the judge’s decision.

Gideon Elite book cover

Also according to Goldman, Joe Sousa, who was Arpaio’s lieutenant for the human-smuggling unit at the sheriff’s department, testified for the defense that, with Casey serving as Arpaio’s attorney at the time, never once did Casey inform Sousa or the department that they may have incorrectly interpreted the injunction when going about their job of apprehending those found to be illegal aliens during standard law enforcement, which the feds have constantly labeled as “racial profiling.”

Casey had free access to the smuggling unit, and it would have been his job to know of or discover a possible injunction violation and communicate his views to the sheriff’s department, Goldman added.

“Joe never interfered. And he had Casey as an attorney to instruct [Joe’s] subordinates on how to interpret the injunction,” Goldman said.

Since Arpaio was unable to secure a jury trial, Judge Bolton will decide the matter. That won’t happen until July 21 or later, however, the date that attorneys for both sides were asked to submit briefs on “applicable law” to aid the judge in deciding this case.

Prosecutors have maintained that Arpaio intentionally and defiantly prolonged patrols to apprehend illegal aliens for 17 months after the injunction was issued. But as July 21 approaches, it appears that this narrative is part of an effort by the Justice Department, in a carryover from the Obama administration, to conduct a political hit against Arpaio.

That view is widely held, because the misdemeanor lawsuit, filed just days before the last sheriff’s election in November 2016, helped unseat Arpaio in his re-election bid.

Arpaio’s backers say that the case vividly illustrates one key way that left-leaning politicians and their cohorts in the courts, major media, and elsewhere go about discrediting concerted, effective efforts to secure America’s borders.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




We Have the Freedom to Starve

“Anti-Semitic” and “racist” epithets are trotted out any time “establishment truth” is challenged or Israeli policies are criticized, in an effort to create in the reader a knee-jerk emotional aversion to a writer or publication. But it’s valuable to pause and ask, first, what does “anti-Semitic” even mean? Furthermore, does challenging the politics or culture of a particular group—such as a nation’s government—necessarily equate with “racism”? 

By Kevin Barrett

Wells Fargo is one of America’s sleaziest and most disreputable big banks. Their deceptive credit-card pitches contain small-print clauses allowing them to suddenly jack up their “introductory rates” and hit you with usurious 30%-plus interest. So it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that Wells Fargo canceled AFP’s credit-card processing account because some billionaire banker somewhere doesn’t like some of the books AFP sells. And it is shocking—but hardly surprising—to learn that the banking industry is trying to put AFP out of business by adding it to a credit-card-processing blacklist.

A spokesman for the blacklisters said the reason for this financial war is that AFP sells “racist and anti-Semitic books,” namely those by Michael Collins Piper. Naturally, he hasn’t even read any of Piper’s books. If he had, he would know that there was never a single racist bone in Piper’s body.

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Let’s define our terms here. “Racist and anti-Semitic” is a redundant expression. “Anti-Semitism” is a form of racism holding that Jews are biologically inferior because they are a “Semitic” people related to Arabs. Actually, neither Jews nor Arabs are their own race. Judaism is a religion professed by people from many races and cultures, while “Arabs” are simply the many different kinds of people, ranging from Sudanese blacks to blond-haired, blue-eyed Syrians and Lebanese, who happen to speak Arabic.

The pseudo-scientific racist theory known as “anti-Semitism” was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but today, it is Arabs, not Jews, who are the main victims of this kind of racism. Ironically, the country with the worst anti-Semitic (anti-Arab) racism is the state of Israel.

As for Piper’s books, they contain no racial hatred or bigotry of any kind. They are critical of certain aspects of Jewish culture, specifically the ruthless tribalism that prevails among some Jewish-Zionist elites, especially those that work with the criminal underworld. That is cultural critique, not racism.

I am highly critical of the segment of the Arab-Muslim political elite that runs “Saudi” Arabia. That does not make me an anti-Arab or anti-Muslim bigot.

Freedom means nothing if we are not free to critique the culture and politics of the various power elites that rule our world. Piper saw the rising power of Jewish-Zionist elites in the U.S. and discussed the issue reasonably and rationally—if sometimes passionately—in an evidence-based fashion without any reference to or interest in “race.” His investigations into such issues as the JFK assassination and 9/11 were ahead of their time.

It is a national scandal, and a symptom of our national decline, that the whole banking establishment can wage an economic war aimed at the suppression of Piper’s books—without a peep of protest from the ACLU and the supposedly free speech-supporting mainstream media.

Liberty Stickers

The economic assault on AFP is just the latest salvo in what is becoming an all-out Zionist war on free speech. Professor William Robinson’s book We Will Not Be Silenced: The Academic Repression of Israel’s Critics covers several Zionist attempts to quash academic freedom. Now they are targeting booksellers, not just academics.

When I was driven from the academy for questioning 9/11, I assumed I would be free to sell books and articles and solicit donations to support my independent scholarship and radio broadcasts. How could such activities ever be quashed? After all, we still have the First Amendment, right?

Unfortunately, the Constitution only limits the power of government, not the corporate sector. As private monopolies gobble up entire industries, grabbing as much power as governments but without any of the transparency or responsibilities, they have begun to insist that we toe their ideological line on pain of expulsion from the economy. A few months ago, Amazon banned hundreds of history books. At about the same time, my main fundraising platform and database (GoFundMe) closed my account and stole more than $1,000. Various Facebook accounts, including the Nation of Islam’s, have been frozen or shut down for political reasons. Now AFP is being blacklisted.

To buy and sell information, we will soon be microchipped with a “Mark of the Beast” guaranteeing that our views are inoffensive to the powers-that-be. Violators will be banned from economic transactions. They will still be free—free to starve.

Such evil acts of political censorship are exactly what we should expect from the too-big-to-fail financial pharaohs who seized the reins of power in America in the Federal Reserve coup d’état of 1913.

The lesson is clear: If we want to preserve what’s left of freedom in America, we need to overthrow the banksters in a Second American Revolution. 􀀀

Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions. Since 2007, Dr. Barrett has been informally blacklisted from teaching in American colleges and universities. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author, and talk radio host. He lives in rural western Wisconsin.




Gun Control: A Colorblind Issue

In yet another appalling example of political correctness-induced cowardice on the part of America’s so-called mainstream media, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has dumped a black conservative columnist. Why? She penned a column defending the National Rifle Association and the rights of gun owners in response to an outrageous opinion piece from a retired leftist professor in Missouri asserting there is no difference between the NRA and ISIS, and that gun owners love their guns more than their children.

By Mark Anderson

Conservative columnist Stacy Washington wrote a column challenging a recent editorial written by an academic who compared the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the radical Islamic ISIS terrorist organization.

However, rather than stand up for her right to free speech, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where her freelance column had been a regular feature, unceremoniously dumped her.

Ms. Washington, a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality, and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” already had an understanding with the Post-Dispatch that if any one of her freelance columns was deemed unsuitable for publication, then the paper, which paid her on a per-column basis under an “at-will” arrangement, could simply refrain from running the column in question, but keep her on board. Yet she was let go after the April 28, 2017 column that sparked this controversy had already appeared in print.

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Her column had challenged Missouri State University Journalism School professor (emeritus) George Kennedy, a regular guest columnist for the Columbia Missourian. He had claimed that the NRA was no better than ISIS, and that gun owners care more about their guns than their children. She wrote that Kennedy’s column was absurd, so the Post-Dispatch opinion editor Tod Robberson dropped her.

What was the reason Robberson cited for dropping her columns?

Ms. Washington’s unpardonable “sin” was that she allegedly failed to let Robberson know about her dastardly NRA affiliations. While attending the NRA’s annual conference in Atlanta, Ms. Washington saw an email from Robberson, in which he said that he was suspending her column. Referring to that April column, he claimed Ms. Washington was “advocating for the NRA while failing to disclose that you did media work on behalf of this lobbying organization and its official television station,” which “goes far beyond the bounds of any acceptable journalistic standard.”

He also alleged that she didn’t disclose that she served “multiple times” as a co-host and commentator on NRA-TV’s “Cam & Company.”

Liberty Stickers

In a follow-up article that appeared in the NRA journal 1st Freedom, Ms. Washington explained that, before the start of her column, and again in January of this year, articles describing her participation in an NRA documentary appeared in the Post-Dispatch.

Her biography and online social media accounts “all state that I am a fourth-generation veteran, gun owner, Second Amendment supporter, and NRA member,” Ms. Washington explained. “Besides, does my appearance as a guest host for ‘Cam & Company’ on a few occasions make the [professor’s] NRA-ISIS comparison valid?

Here are excerpts from the column, headlined “Guns and the Media,” that led to her suspension:

Missouri School of Journalism professor emeritus George Kennedy offered his opinion of gun-owning NRA members in a Columbia Missourian commentary [as follows]: “The NRA is the acronym for the National Rifle Association, founded in 1871, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, and feared by politicians across America.” Really. Tons of politicians cowering in fear of the NRA, eh?

Kennedy . . . describes the barbaric nature of the Islamic State and goes on to say of law abiding, gun-owning Americans: “What makes the NRA so feared is its willingness to spend heavily and campaign aggressively in pursuit of its goal of removing all restrictions on the possession and use of firearms just about anywhere by just about anyone.”

To further illustrate the ridiculous nature of Kennedy’s comparison, when has a member of the NRA ever decapitated, set on fire, tossed from a rooftop or otherwise terrorized another American? The association [of the NRA with reported ISIS actions] is not only rife with improper context; it is false on its face. Yet the Missourian saw fit to publish it without question.

In her 1st Freedom piece, Ms. Washington summarized, “Upon reading [Kennedy’s] assertion that ‘we love our guns more than we love our children,’ I was compelled to write about this spurious comparison and the obvious editorial malpractice that permitted the approval of such copy without so much as a rebuttal.”

As for the bigger picture, Ms. Washington—a black woman who, being conservative and pro-gun, doesn’t fit the “liberal PC” image that media often project in order to stereotype and divide people—sees great irony in the fact that traditional print media is constantly losing its readership but still omits or misrepresents conservative viewpoints, rather than winning over more readers with better editorial balance in order to stay in business.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at truthhound2@yahoo.com.




Amish Healer Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Following the FDA’s lengthy persecution of an Amish man in Kentucky, a judge has meted out an outrageous prison sentence for the herbal salve maker—despite the fact no victims were shown to have ever been harmed by his salves. Once again, pharmaceutical companies, as represented by the FDA, have won out over a peaceful citizen of  the United States.

By Jacob Tyler

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s decade-long persecution of an Amish man whose family enterprise specializes in the manufacture of home-made salves reached a disturbing conclusion on June 30 in the U.S. district court in Lexington, Ky., when he was sentenced to six years in prison for the crime of “mislabeling” and selling a natural remedy.

Samuel A. Girod, 57, was sentenced by Judge Danny Reeves to 72 months in prison to be followed by a supervised release period of three years, during which time he is prohibited from making and selling any product intended for medical purposes. Girod is also required to pay the court $14,000 in restitution and $1,300 in court fees, though the judge did not impose the potential fine of $25,000-$250,000 on the basis that doing so would impose undue hardship to the family.

The convoluted history of U.S. v. Girod traces back to 2001 when FDA agents first contacted Girod. After allegedly receiving an anonymous tip notifying them Girod’s product label asserted his topical tincture made from bloodroot was good for skin cancer, FDA agents informed Girod they considered this a medical claim that must be either irrefutably proven or altogether removed from his product label. Girod complied by amending the label.

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In 2013, the FDA contacted Girod again, claiming a “victim” had been “harmed” by his salve.

However, during the investigation, no victim was produced and the salve in question was revealed to be from a different manufacturer. Still, Girod allowed FDA agents to conduct a warrantless search of his farm. A federal judge in Missouri then enjoined Girod’s products and ordered that no products could be sold until medical claims were removed, that Girod’s bloodroot salve could never be made available for sale, and that Girod must allow FDA inspections of his property for five years.

In late 2013, Girod refused an inspection and in 2014 began selling his products again, through a private members’ club.

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The FDA began criminal proceedings against him for disobeying the injunction and added two more severe charges. FDA agents claimed that Girod and his family threatened them with physical violence when they returned for the second inspection, despite the fact that the sheriff’s deputy, who had accompanied FDA agents, testified under oath that no threats were made. Finally, Girod was also charged with witness tampering because he had sent a letter to customers explaining the facts of the lawsuit and apologizing for causing them distress.

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During a jury trial, which concluded in March, Girod was found guilty on 13 charges: conspiracy to impede an officer, obstruction of a proceeding before an agency, failing to register with the FDA, eight counts of causing misbranded drugs to be introduced into interstate commerce, tampering with a witness, and failure to appear.

It’s important to note that the FDA’s classification of “drugs” here is based solely upon its insistence that Girod’s brochure for his salve, which quoted a customer’s testimonial that the product treated skin cancer, constitutes a medical claim. Therefore, according to the FDA, this salve, which anyone can produce in their own kitchen following one of numerous recipes readily available online with ingredients readily available at a local grocery store, is a “drug.”

Reeves explained that the court calculates the offense level in part based on the number of victims, though throughout the entirety of the hearing, the court did not reference a single one.

The FDA has a long track record of granting its seal of approval to substances produced by big pharma that have been proven to harm victims by the thousands annually. Yet it would seem that going after an Amish family business that produces a natural product, which has harmed no proven victims, that has been tested in the FDA’s own laboratories, and subsequently vindicated as both safe and natural, is what this government bureaucracy deems to be where the taxpayer dollars that help pay its budget are most gainfully prioritized.

It’s no great wonder that this has caused a major outcry among concerned Americans. Girod’s sentencing hearing on June 30—during which numerous security personnel were present in the courtroom, a bomb-sniffing dog was on hand, and Homeland Security officers were stationed outside—was attended by over 120 Amish men, women, and children from numerous communities around the nation, dozens of activists, and numerous reporters for both local and alternative news outlets, filling the courtroom to capacity.

Perhaps the most recognizable face amidst the large number of supporters was former sheriff and Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association founder Richard Mack (pictured in the photograph above speaking to the crowd), who has 20 years’ experience in law enforcement and one year working in narcotics.

This writer interviewed Mack about the Girod proceedings.

According to Mack, the sentencing guidelines for Girod outlined by Reeves were absurdly in excess of those for crimes of equal severity committed by repeat offenders. He added that in all his years of experience in law enforcement he had never seen a first-time offender be sentenced in such a draconian fashion. What’s more, he pointed out, actual drug dealers often only get 5-10 years prison time when convicted.

Girod, who represented himself for the majority of his case, asserted his rights as a sovereign citizen at numerous points during the hearing, responding to every question directed at him by the court with the words: “I do not waive my immunity to this court. I do not consent.”

During sentencing, as if to refute the widespread cries of foul play from the public, Reeves claimed: “This is not about the government coming down on a man who just wants to sell salve. It’s about a man that has no respect for the rule of law.”

Reeves spoke of a prevailing need to “protect the public from any future crimes of the defendant.”

Conspicuously absent during the trial, however, was so much as a single example of an actual victim, past or present.

Also noteworthy was the candor of the prosecution. Two statements by federal prosecutor Kate Smith were particularly indicative of an overt agenda on which the FDA and the court were in painfully apparent collusion.

“He has not accepted responsibility for his actions,” she claimed, followed by, “The government has put a lot of money into this case and I would hate to see Mr. Girod released—and be back in here for the same thing.”

IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH

Supporters both inside the courtroom and assembled outside—some of whom carried signs and placards that read “Notice to Feds: Stop targeting our peaceful Amish neighbors”—gathered in front of the courthouse immediately afterward, as local news cameras rolled and activists livestreamed the gathering.

Mack’s vociferous denunciation of Reeves’s decision rang out in front of the news cameras. His bold words were met with equally exuberant applause and cries of “Amen!” from scores of the Amish present.

Mack called for intervention by officials like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Girod’s own senator. Having spearheaded numerous successful efforts to vindicate Amish people being targeted by the FDA thus far, Mack is also calling for both congressional and presidential commissions to investigate not just this, but all similar cases.

“This has nothing to do with safety,” said Mack. “The only crime committed here is that a family has been torn apart. . .. Every American has something to fear after this.”

When asked to comment on the sentencing outcome, Girod’s father told AFP, “The Constitution isn’t working anymore. This is all on the government.”

Another Amish community leader added: “It is a slap in the face to the Amish to send him to prison . . .. [Sheriff Mack said] that [Sam] is being lied about and railroaded. Sam did not have a fair trial. If he’d had an attorney he could have had a fair chance.”

The palpable spirit of righteous indignation evident in the gathered protestors was well summarized in the statements of Mrs. Sally Oh, who has covered the Girod case from its outset and writes for the Kentucky Free Press:

“There are no victims. Sam didn’t hurt anybody. The only victim here is the FDA, if you can even call them victims. The most egregious counts against him are based on common law: ‘Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.’ Sam did none of those things. This is a clear case of the FDA flexing its muscle and throwing its weight around.”

There is still a chance for the ruling against Girod to be appealed to the 6th Circuit. Considering that five lawyers have offered to take his case pro bono and numerous others at a reduced rate since his conviction, he may yet have an opportunity to turn this around. But whether or not Girod, who didn’t trust lawyers to begin with, can trust any representatives of a legal system that has so recently trampled his rights into the mud remains to be seen.

Jacob Tyler is a freelance writer and web designer.




You Want a Picture of the Future? Imagine a Boot Stamping on Your Face

Not so long ago, prescient people who were paying attention tried to spread the message that the United States was rapidly becoming a police state. They encouraged their fellow Americans to take action while there was time, usually dismissed with a nonchalant, “That could never happen in my country!” Most people went about their business as usual. Now, those early warnings have been realized. Is it too late to turn things around and restore the promise of liberty?  

By John Whitehead

“The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”—Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by such science fiction writers as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, and Philip K. Dick.

Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move.

Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but . . . rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.”

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Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller “Minority Report,” which was released 15 years ago—we are now trapped into a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

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“Minority Report” is set in the year 2054, but it could just as well have taken place in 2017.

Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so fast in the short time since “Minority Report” premiered in 2002 that what once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts, and controlling our behavior, Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality.

Both worlds—our present-day reality and Spielberg’s celluloid vision of the future—are characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America.

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We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. Much of the population is either hooked on illegal drugs or ones prescribed by doctors. And bodily privacy and integrity has been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

All of this has come about with little more than a whimper from a clueless American populace largely comprised of nonreaders and television and Internet zombies. But we have been warned about such an ominous future in novels and movies for years.

The following 15 films may be the best representation of what we now face as a society.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Adapted from Ray Bradbury’s novel and directed by Francois Truffaut, this film depicts a futuristic society in which books are banned, and firemen ironically are called on to burn contraband books—451 Fahrenheit being the temperature at which books burn. Montag is a fireman who develops a conscience and begins to question his book burning. This film is an adept metaphor for our obsessively politically correct society where virtually everyone now pre-censors speech. Here, a brainwashed people addicted to television and drugs do little to resist governmental oppressors.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The plot of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, as based on an Arthur C. Clarke short story, revolves around a space voyage to Jupiter. The astronauts soon learn, however, that the fully automated ship is orchestrated by a computer system—known as HAL 9000—which has become an autonomous thinking being that will even murder to retain control. The idea is that at some point in human evolution, technology in the form of artificial intelligence will become autonomous and that human beings will become mere appendages of technology. In fact, at present, we are seeing this development with massive databases generated and controlled by the government that are administered by such secretive agencies as the National Security Agency and sweep all websites and other information devices collecting information on average citizens. We are being watched from cradle to grave.

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Planet of the Apes (1968). Based on Pierre Boulle’s novel, astronauts crash on a planet where apes are the masters and humans are treated as brutes and slaves. While fleeing from gorillas on horseback, astronaut Taylor is shot in the throat, captured and housed in a cage. From there, Taylor begins a journey wherein the truth revealed is that the planet was once controlled by technologically advanced humans who destroyed civilization. Taylor’s trek to the ominous Forbidden Zone reveals the startling fact that he was on planet earth all along. Descending into a fit of rage at what he sees in the final scene, Taylor screams: “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you.” The lesson is obvious here, but will we listen? The script, although rewritten, was initially drafted by Rod Serling and retains Serling’s Twilight Zone-ish ending.

THX 1138 (1970). George Lucas’s directorial debut, this is a somber view of a dehumanized society totally controlled by a police state. The people are force-fed drugs to keep them passive, and they no longer have names but only letter/number combinations such as THX 1138. Any citizen who steps out of line is quickly brought into compliance by robotic police equipped with “pain prods”—electro-shock batons. Sound like tasers?

A Clockwork Orange (1971). Director Stanley Kubrick presents a future ruled by sadistic punk gangs and a chaotic government that cracks down on its citizens sporadically. Alex is a violent punk who finds himself in the grinding, crushing wheels of injustice. This film may accurately portray the future of Western society that grinds to a halt as oil supplies diminish, environmental crises increase, chaos rules, and the only thing left is brute force.

Soylent Green (1973). Set in a futuristic overpopulated New York City, the people depend on synthetic foods manufactured by the Soylent Corporation. A policeman investigating a murder discovers the grisly truth about what soylent green is really made of. The theme is chaos where the world is ruled by ruthless corporations whose only goal is greed and profit. Sound familiar?

Blade Runner (1982). In a 21st century Los Angeles, a world-weary cop tracks down a handful of renegade “replicants” (synthetically produced human slaves). Life is now dominated by mega-corporations, and people sleepwalk along rain-drenched streets. This is a world where human life is cheap, and where anyone can be exterminated at will by the police (or blade runners). Based upon a Philip K. Dick novel, this exquisite Ridley Scott film questions what it means to be human in an inhuman world.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). The best adaptation of Orwell’s dark tale, this film visualizes the total loss of freedom in a world dominated by technology and its misuse, and the crushing inhumanity of an omniscient state. The government controls the masses by controlling their thoughts, altering history, and changing the meaning of words. Winston Smith is a doubter who turns to self-expression through his diary and then begins questioning the ways and methods of Big Brother before being re-educated in a most brutal fashion.

Brazil (1985). Sharing a similar vision of the near-future as 1984 and Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, this is arguably director Terry Gilliam’s best work, one replete with a merging of the fantastic and stark reality. Here, a mother-dominated, hapless clerk takes refuge in flights of fantasy to escape the ordinary drabness of life. Caught within the chaotic tentacles of a police state, the longing for more innocent, free times lies behind the vicious surface of this film.

They Live (1988). John Carpenter’s bizarre sci-fi social satire action film assumes the future has already arrived. John Nada is a homeless person who stumbles across a resistance movement and finds a pair of sunglasses that enables him to see the real world around him. What he discovers is a world controlled by ominous beings who bombard the citizens with subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform.” Carpenter manages to make an effective political point about the underclass—that is, everyone except those in power. The point: We, the prisoners of our devices, are too busy sucking up the entertainment trivia beamed into our brains and attacking each other up to start an effective resistance movement.

The Matrix (1999). The story centers on a computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson, secretly a hacker known by the alias “Neo,” who begins a relentless quest to learn the meaning of “The Matrix”—cryptic references that appear on his computer. Neo’s search leads him to Morpheus who reveals the truth that the present reality is not what it seems and that Anderson is actually living in the future—2199. Humanity is at war against technology, which has taken the form of intelligent beings, and Neo is actually living in The Matrix, an illusionary world that appears to be set in the present in order to keep the humans docile and under control. Neo soon joins Morpheus and his cohorts in a rebellion against the machines that use SWAT team tactics to keep things under control.

Minority Report (2002). Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and directed by Steven Spielberg, the setting is 2054 where PreCrime, a specialized police unit, apprehends criminals before they can commit the crime. Captain Anderton is the chief of the Washington, DC, PreCrime force which uses future visions generated by “pre-cogs” (mutated humans with precognitive abilities) to stop murders. Soon Anderton becomes the focus of an investigation when the precogs predict he will commit a murder. But the system can be manipulated. This film raises the issue of the danger of technology operating autonomously—which will happen eventually if it has not already occurred. To a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. In the same way, to a police-state computer, we all look like suspects. In fact, before long, we all may be mere extensions or appendages of the police state—all suspects in a world commandeered by machines.

V for Vendetta (2006). This film depicts a society ruled by a corrupt and totalitarian government where everything is run by an abusive secret police. A vigilante named V dons a mask and leads a rebellion against the state. The subtext here is that authoritarian regimes through repression create their own enemies—that is, terrorists—forcing government agents and terrorists into a recurring cycle of violence. And who is caught in the middle? The citizens, of course. This film has a cult following among various underground political groups such as Anonymous, whose members wear the same Guy Fawkes mask as that worn by V.

Children of Men (2006). This film portrays a futuristic world without hope since humankind has lost its ability to procreate. Civilization has descended into chaos and is held together by a military state and a government that attempts to keep its totalitarian stronghold on the population. Most governments have collapsed, leaving Great Britain as one of the few remaining intact societies. As a result, millions of refugees seek asylum only to be rounded up and detained by the police. Suicide is a viable option as a suicide kit called Quietus is promoted on billboards and on television and newspapers. But hope for a new day comes when a woman becomes inexplicably pregnant.

Land of the Blind (2006). This dark political satire is based on several historical incidents in which tyrannical rulers were overthrown by new leaders who proved just as evil as their predecessors. Maximilian II is a demented fascist ruler of a troubled land named Everycountry who has two main interests: tormenting his underlings and running his country’s movie industry. Citizens who are perceived as questioning the state are sent to “re-education camps” where the state’s concept of reality is drummed into their heads. Joe, a prison guard, is emotionally moved by the prisoner and renowned author Thorne and eventually joins a coup to remove the sadistic Maximilian, replacing him with Thorne. But soon Joe finds himself the target of the new government.

All of these films—and the writers who inspired them—understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan, flag-waving, zombified states, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control at all costs.

Eventually, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, even the sleepwalking masses (who remain convinced that all of the bad things happening in the police state—the police shootings, the police beatings, the raids, the roadside strip searches—are happening to other people) will have to wake up.

Sooner or later, the things happening to other people will start happening to us and our loved ones.

When that painful reality sinks in, it will hit with the force of a SWAT team crashing through your door, a taser being aimed at your stomach, and a gun pointed at your head. And there will be no channel to change, no reality to alter, and no manufactured farce to hide behind.

As George Orwell warned, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is available from AFP  at www.americanfreepress.net or 1-888-699-6397. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.




Is America Still a Nation?

Are the United States of America still united as one people? Rather than celebrating as one nation and one people as our founders did, today’s leaders speak of our diversity as our greatest strength. But isn’t that what is tearing apart our country today?

By Pat Buchanan

In the first line of the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson speaks of “one people.” The Constitution, agreed upon by the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia in 1789, begins, “We the people . . ..” And who were these “people”?

In Federalist No. 2, John Jay writes of them as “one united people . . . descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs . . ..”

If such are the elements of nationhood and peoplehood, can we still speak of Americans as one nation and one people?

We no longer have the same ancestors. They are of every color and from every country. We do not speak one language, but rather English, Spanish, and a host of others. We long ago ceased to profess the same religion. We are Evangelical Christians, mainstream Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.

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Federalist No. 2 celebrated our unity. Today’s elites proclaim that our diversity is our strength. But is this true or a tenet of trendy ideology?

After the attempted massacre of Republican congressmen at that ball field in Alexandria, Fareed Zakaria wrote: “The political polarization that is ripping this country apart” is about “identity . . . gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation (and) social class.” He might have added—religion, morality, culture, and history.

Zakaria seems to be tracing the disintegration of our society to that very diversity that its elites proclaim to be its greatest attribute: “If the core issues are about identity, culture, and religion . . . then compromise seems immoral. American politics is becoming more like Middle Eastern politics, where there is no middle ground between being Sunni or Shiite.”

Among the issues on which we Americans are at war with one another—abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, white cops, black crime, Confederate monuments, LGBT rights, affirmative action.

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Was the discovery of America and conquest of this continent from 1492 to the 20th century among the most glorious chapters in the history of man? Or was it a half-millennium marked by mankind’s most scarlet of sins: the genocide of native peoples, the enslavement of Africans, the annihilation of indigenous cultures, the spoliation of a virgin land?

Is America really “God’s Country”? Or was Barack Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, justified when, after 9/11, he denounced calls of “God Bless America!” with the curse “God Damn America!”?

With its silence, the congregation seemed to assent.

In 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance many of us recited daily at the end of noon recess in the schoolyard was amended to read, “one nation, under God, indivisible.”

Are we still one nation under God? At the Democratic Convention in Charlotte to renominate Barack Obama, a motion to put “God” back into the platform was hooted and booed by half the assembly.

 

Over the course of the July 4 long weekend, many writers bewailed the animus Americans exhibit toward one another and urged new efforts to reunite us. Yet, recall again those first words of Jefferson in 1776:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them . . ..”

Are we approaching such a point? Could the Constitution, as currently interpreted, win the approval of two-thirds of our citizens and three-fourths of our states, if it were not already the supreme law of the land? How would a national referendum on the Constitution turn out, when many Americans are already seeking a new constitutional convention?

All of which invites the question: Are we still a nation? And what is a nation? French writer Ernest Renan gave us the answer in the 19th century:

A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things … constitute this soul, this spiritual principle. One is the past, the other is the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present consent, the desire to live together, the desire to continue to invest in the heritage that we have jointly received.

Of all cults, that of the ancestors is the most legitimate: our ancestors have made us what we are. A heroic past with great men and glory … is the social capital upon which the national idea rests. These are the essential conditions of being a people: having common glories in the past and a will to continue them in the present; having made great things together and wishing to make them again.

Does this sound at all like us today?

Watching our Lilliputians tearing down statues and monuments, renaming buildings and streets, rewriting history books to replace heroes and historical truths with the doings of ciphers, are we disassembling the nation we once were?

“One loves in proportion to the sacrifices that one has committed and the troubles that one has suffered,” writes Renan. “One loves the house that one has built and that one passes on.”

Are we passing on the house we inherited—or observing its demolition?

Happy Fourth. And God bless the USA.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Bookstore