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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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




Senate releases Obamacare repeal and replace—actually makes some improvements on House bill

The Senate’s Obamacare replacement healthcare bill, introduced for discussion today, is an example of the way the legislative process should work, says Robert Romano. Before being brought to the floor, legislators will have an opportunity to “analyze, discuss, and provide thoughts.”

By Robert Romano

The GOP Senate majority has released its discussion draft of its plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor, “There will be ample time to analyze, discuss, and provide thoughts before legislation comes to the floor.”

The American people should be pleased that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not rushed to bring the final version of the Senate proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare to the floor, for there is much to discuss.

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The discussion draft ends the tyranny of the individual and employer mandates, phases out Medicaid expansion—although perhaps not soon enough—but also provides states more flexibility in implementing Medicaid.

IRS Loses Cases

The Senate bill even improves on the House version by eliminating the “continuous coverage” penalty—which as reported by Kaiser Health News, “increases premiums for people who buy insurance if they have gone 63 consecutive days without a policy during the past 12 months. Their premiums would rise by 30% and that surcharge would last for a year.” That’s gone now, leaving no vestige of the individual mandate.

Overall, the Senate bill appears to stick to many of the parameters of the House legislation, including creating a meaningful opt-out for states to get out from under Obamacare’s crushing Section 1302 regulations, as the House version did via the MacArthur amendment.

These state waivers should be strengthened by providing for automatic approval, as the MacArthur Amendment does. That way, a future president cannot attempt to administratively re-institute Section 1302 nationwide.  This is critical. State opt-outs were the cornerstone of the compromise that got through the House, and should be fully reflected in the Senate version—and protected to avert any future implementation of Obamacare regulations without a vote of Congress.

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Elsewhere, there is obviously more that can be done.

Neither the House nor Senate bills end the American Medical Association’s monopoly on doctor certification via control of medical schools, the Food and Drug Administration monopoly on approving new drugs, or the government-created state-by-state insurance monopolies. They also do not address medical malpractice reform.

Also, solo physicians and small practices could be given a waiver to MACRA, which requires electronic medical record keeping in order for doctors to treat Medicare patients. At a time when there are more seniors than ever entering the Medicare program, they will need as many doctors as possible to treat them.

Forcing electronic medical records on Medicare doctors is compelling many doctors to simply stop treating Medicare patients. With a limited waiver for smaller practices, seniors could get at least a few more options for care.

Other obvious areas for improvement would be to give consumers the option of going across state lines to purchase insurance, as Republicans have been promising on the campaign trail for several election cycles.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opened the door for additional changes focused upon lowering consumer healthcare costs in a joint statement, saying: “Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs.”

And this is how legislation should happen: drafts proposed, individual Senators providing input and negotiating changes, the public informed in advance of votes, and eventually passage through both houses with the president’s signature.  This is a far cry from the ‘you’ll have to pass it to read it’ approach taken by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi that delivered the nation the failed Obamacare plan.

The framework for a deal is basically in place, and if through the efforts of Cruz, Johnson, Lee, and Paul the healthcare system becomes more free-market and less state-control focused, providing more individual choices, the legislative process will have worked the way it is supposed to. And most importantly, the American people will no longer be compelled to buy health insurance packages that they cannot afford with deductibles that make it useless in all but the most extreme circumstances.

The Obamacare replacement bill has turned an important corner and, with a few improvements, will hopefully soon be heading for home.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. Rick Manning contributed to this report.




Wells Fargo Cancels AFP’s Credit Card Processing With No Notice

Day after day, it seems, this popular, unattributed quote becomes more appropriate. . . . “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” 

By AFP Staff

First they came for the “fringe, radical right” and the so-called “haters.” Now they’re coming for anyone who is simply politically incorrect. Who will be left if you don’t take a stand today?

Will all politically incorrect publications be railroaded out of business? Let’s be honest: That is the true goal of those behind this outrageous assault on the independent media and American Free Press in particular. And it is a concerted effort involving the wealthiest corporations on the planet and the most powerful, well-funded pressure groups. It is a direct attack upon the very principles on which our nation was founded.

Understand, what the powers that be are doing makes any alleged book burnings in all of history pale in comparison.

And that’s no exaggeration.

On June 22, when AFP staffers checked the orders first thing in the morning, they noticed something was strange. The online credit charges beginning at midnight had all come back as unsettled. A “general error” was listed as the reason for the processing problem.

After calling AFP’s merchant service provider, the company that processes our credit cards, we were told in no uncertain terms that our account had been closed.

“The risk department sent over the closure notice yesterday afternoon,” said “Jacob,” the poor guy from Colorado who was being paid close to minimum wage by an answering service to field the phone calls. “I guess it went through at midnight.”

In 2013, AFP had set up an account with USB Payment Services, a merchant service provider based out of Baltimore, Md., for the sole reason that we preferred to do business with an independent company that was not beholden to shareholders at some mega-bank. For four years, that company took a percentage in “fees” of all of the credit card sales that AFP made.

A few months ago, however, USB was bought out by banking giant Wells Fargo.

And with no phone call, letter, or email, someone at Wells Fargo just decided to cancel AFP’s credit card processing account, and they were not even going to tell us about it.

Doing business with banks is bad enough, but in 2017 you unfortunately have to hold your nose and do it if you want to make it easy for your supporters to help fund your organization.

The truth is, we knew it was only a matter of time before it happened to us. Already, more controversial publications and organizations had lost their merchant and PayPal accounts. So far, AFP’s PayPal account is still active, but we’re not holding our breath in anticipation of what’s to come.

Despite the fact that Wells Fargo does business in countries that jail and kill religious heretics, gays, and political dissidents, selling books that tackle important topics like race and war from a truly conservative and politically incorrect perspective was apparently too much for them.

AFP is in the process of contacting other merchant service providers so we can get back up and running. However, we ask, until further notice, that you

  1. Continue to buy books and DVDs from us; and
  2. Print out your order and mail us cash or a check.

And please take a moment to send in a donation to help keep us going as well.

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The big banks, radical pressure groups, and the entrenched establishment are working together, day and night, to crush free speech and free thought in this country—and across the world.

Take a stand today to support the First Amendment by helping AFP. But remember: cash, checks, and money orders only!




Democracy Is a Front for Central Bank Rule

The U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, is once again moving to prop up the “too-big-to-fail” banks by playing games with interest rates, and the financial media will not explain this, let alone cover it, so that average Americans can understand what is being done to the U.S. economy and them.

By Paul Craig Roberts

Several years ago when the Federal Reserve had its Fed funds rate at zero to 25 basis points (one-quarter of 1% to 0.25%), there was a great deal of talk, somehow presented as urgent, whether the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates.

Russian news agency RT recently asked me if the Fed was going to raise interest rates. I answered that the purpose of low interest rates was to restore the solvency of the balance sheets of the “banks too big to fail” by raising debt prices. The lower the interest rate, the higher the prices of debt instruments. The Fed drives bond prices up by purchasing bonds, and the Fed raises interest rates by selling bonds, or by purchasing fewer of them than previously.

I told RT that a real increase in interest rates would undercut the Fed’s policy of rescuing the balance sheets of the big banks whose balance sheets were loaded up with bad debt that desperately needed a rise in debt prices for the banks to remain solvent.

When shortly thereafter the Fed raised the overnight funds rate, it blew my credibility with RT. RT did not understand that real interest rates had not increased. Indeed, two days after the “rate increase” the nominal interest rate had not changed. It was still 18 basis points. The announced rate had gone from the old range of zero to 25 basis points to a new range of 25 basis points to 50 basis points. The former max was the current minimum.

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Moreover, over the long time period in which there was such well marketed concern over whether such an inconsequential interest rate rise would occur, inflation had risen, making the real interest rate negative well below the 18 basis points official interest rate. By the time the Fed raised the nominal rate, the real rate was already more negative. Thus, there was no rise in real interest rates.

The financial press did not explain this, either from incompetence or collusion. RT accepted the fake news as reality and wrote off my credibility. I am often interviewed by RT, but no longer on economic matters, about which I know the most.

A couple of days ago, after a long period of waiting for another interest rate rise, an announcement from the Fed, amidst further indication of U.S. economic decline, announced another 25 basis point increase in the target range for the Fed funds rate.

Inflation aside, in fact interest rates declined, as my sometime co-author Dave Kranzler reports: Despite this publicized “rise” of the Fed funds rate, the 10-year interest rate on treasuries “has declined 30 basis points this year. Thus for certain borrowers, the Fed has effectively lowered the cost of borrowing.”

Kranzler goes on to point out that “the spread between the 30-day treasury bill and the 10-year treasury has declined this year from 193 basis points to 125 basis points—a 68 basis point drop in the cost of funding for borrowers who have access to the highly engineered derivative products that enable these borrowers to take advantage of the shape of the yield curve in order to lower their cost of borrowing.”

Kranzler provides a chart that shows that the spread between the 30-day treasury bill and the 10-year treasury bond is narrowing. As the short-term rate rises, the long-term rate is falling, and the spread between the long and short rate has declined 68 basis points from almost two percentage points to one and one-quarter percentage point.

Clearly, this is not a rise in interest rates.

Clearly also, a rise in the Fed funds rate no longer signals a rise in all interest rates.

Why is the Fed raising short rates when the long rates are falling?

Why do “democratic Western democracies” have central banks that do nothing except protect big banks at the expense of the people?

How long will the insouciant peoples of the West continue to conspire in their own demise?

Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of The Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for BusinessWeek, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has held many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’s latest books are How AMERICA Was LOST: From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State and The NEOCONSERVATIVE THREAT to WORLD ORDER: Washington’s Perilous War for Hegemony.




Will the Trump Administration Overdose on Authoritarianism?

Not only is the war on drugs unconstitutional, it also leads to richer and more powerful black-market drug cartels, increased violence, more lethal drugs, destruction of individual civil liberties both in the U.S. and abroad, and violates the bedrock of a free society—the nonaggression principle. President Trump has instructed his attorney general to “seek the maximum penalty” for even nonviolent drug-related offenses. Time will tell whether he’ll direct Sessions to violate states’ rights to determine their own drug laws as well.

By Ron Paul

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors in drug cases to seek the maximum penalty authorized by federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Sessions’s order represents a setback to the progress made toward restoring compassion and common sense to the sentencing process over the past few years. Sessions’s action also guarantees that many nonviolent drug law offenders will continue spending more time in prison than murderers.

Sessions’s support for mandatory minimums is no surprise, as he has a history of fanatical devotion to the drug war. Sessions’s pro-drug war stance is at odds with the reality of the drug war’s failure. Over 40 years after President Nixon declared war on drugs, the government cannot even keep drugs out of prisons!

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As was the case with alcohol prohibition, the drug war has empowered criminal gangs and even terrorists to take advantage of the opportunity presented by prohibition to profit by meeting the continued demand for drugs. Drug prohibition enables these criminal enterprises to make profits far above the potential profits if drugs where legalized. Ironically, the so-called “law-and-order” politicians who support the drug war are helping enrich the very criminals they claim to oppose!

The war on drugs also makes street drugs more lethal by incentivizing the creation of more potent and, thus, more dangerous drugs. Of course, even as Sessions himself admits, the war on drugs also leads to increased violence, as drug dealers cannot go to the courts to settle disputes among themselves or with their customers.

Before 9/11, the war on drugs was the go-to excuse used to justify new infringements on liberty. For example, laws limiting our ability to withdraw, or even carry, large sums of cash and laws authorizing civil asset forfeiture were justified by the need to crack down on drug dealers and users. The war on drugs is also the root cause of the criminal justice system’s disparate treatment of minorities and the militarization of local police.

Liberty Stickers

The war on drugs is a war on the Constitution as well. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to regulate, much less ban, drugs. People who doubt this should ask themselves why it was necessary to amend the Constitution to allow the federal government to criminalize drinking alcohol but not necessary to amend the Constitution to criminalize drug use.

Today, a majority of states have legalized medical marijuana, and a growing number are legalizing recreational marijuana use. Enforcement of federal laws outlawing marijuana in those states is the type of federal interference with state laws that conservatives usually oppose. Hopefully, in this area the Trump administration will exercise restraint and respect state marijuana laws.

Sessions’s announcement was not the only pro-drug war announcement made by the administration this week. President Trump himself, in a meeting with the president of Colombia, promised to continue U.S. intervention in South and Central America to eliminate drug cartels. President Trump, like his attorney general, seems to not understand that the rise of foreign drug cartels, like the rise of domestic drug gangs, is a consequence of U.S. drug policy.

The use of government force to stop adults from putting certain substances into their bodies—whether marijuana, saturated fats, or raw milk—violates the nonaggression principle that is the bedrock of a free society. Therefore, all those who care about protecting individual liberty and limiting government power should support ending the drug war. Those with moral objections to drug use should realize that education and persuasion, carried out through voluntary institutions like churches and schools, is a more moral and effective way to discourage drug use than relying on government force.

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.




Mistrial: Protesters Get Off But FBI Informant Found Guilty

Last week, the jury in the first of three trials of supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy ended in a hung jury for four of the six defendants. Perhaps most shocking in the case was one of the two found guilty of multiple charges had been a paid FBI informant.

By Mark Anderson

LAS VEGAS, Nevada—In the three-part, landmark case that arose from the 2014 standoff near Bunkerville, Nev. between multiple federal agencies and supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy, the jury deadlocked on April 24, forcing U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro to declare a mistrial. Federal prosecutors were unable to secure convictions for four of the six defendants in the first of three trials. Shockingly, one of the two men convicted had been an FBI informant for years. His cover was blown during trial testimony.

The four defendants who escaped conviction were Richard Lovelien, Eric Parker, O. Scott Drexler, and Steven Stewart. The 12-member jury fell far short of convicting these four, according to defense lawyers.

The jury found two defendants in the opening trial—Todd Engel and Gregory Burleson—guilty of some charges, with Burleson bearing the brunt. During testimony, FBI agents said Burleson was an informant.

Engel was charged with obstruction of justice and using interstate commerce to commit extortion. Engel could possibly be sentenced to two years in prison, though it’s likely he’ll get considerable credit for time already served.

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The jury found Burleson guilty of multiple charges, including using a firearm to assault federal officers, interfering with federal officers, and extortion. The New American reports that Burleson of Phoenix, Ariz. has been a paid informant for the FBI for years, so don’t expect the provocateur to see the inside of a jail cell.

It is standard operating procedure for the FBI to send in informants to escalate violence in an effort to trump up conspiracy charges. Since some of the defendants in the Nevada cases were cleared earlier this year in Portland federal court of any wrongdoing for their part in the Oregon occupation-protest that ended in early 2016, the federal government is determined to secure convictions in a future trial. A staffer in the dockets department of the U.S. to Judge Navarro both confirmed that Lovelien, Parker, Drexler, and Stewart will be retried starting June 26.

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That is the same date listed in the docket for the second trial, in which longtime rancher Cliven Bundy and two of his sons, Ryan and Ammon, along with Ryan Payne and Internet radio host Pete Santilli, are the defendants. It’s expected to be an especially high-profile affair in which the bedrock fundamentals of federal land jurisdiction and control ought to be rigorously debated.

The third and final trial, involving Bundy’s sons Mel and Dave, along with Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Brian Cavalier, Jason Woods, and Micah McGuire, is expected to begin sometime in the fall.

The defendants in all three trials are being tried for their part in supporting Bundy in the now-legendary April 2014 standoff between armed federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents and the elder Bundy, four of the Bundy sons, and a host of supporters.

When the BLM showed up to impound hundreds of Bundy’s cattle for alleged unpaid grazing fees on public lands, supporters traveled to southern Nevada, near Bunkerville, to stand with Bundy in protest of federal land policies. The standoff was dubbed “The Battle of Bunkerville,” though not a single shot was fired.

Still, the federal government, which has been laboring to make its case that those who gathered with the elder Bundy pointed their weapons at heavily armed federal officers in a “threatening” manner, seeks to send all the defendants to prison—for life, if possible.

The defense maintains that Bundy’s supporters showed up only to exercise their First and Second Amendment rights in protest of BLM policies.

Assessing the situation, Roger Roots, an author and legal expert who attended nearly every day of the first trial, told AMERICAN FREE PRESS: “Maybe you can’t call this [deadlocked jury] a victory for the Bundy side. But the government’s ‘stock’ went down in this thing. And the feds, including the judge, are under a lot of pressure to try and provide speedy trials.”

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor.




Will Christianity Perish in Its Birthplace?

“Liberated for democracy” by the U.S., Afghanistan is now among the world’s most deadly when it comes to persecution of Christians. In Iraq and Syria, which once tolerated and even embraced Christians, hundreds of thousands are now fleeing for their lives. The 44 Coptic Christians killed in Egypt on Palm Sunday are only a few of the estimated 90,000 Christians around the world killed for their faith in 2016. Is the ultimate goal to drive all Christians from the Holy Lands?

By Pat Buchanan

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)” Those are among Jesus’s last words on the cross that first Good Friday. It was a cry of agony, but not despair. The dying Christ, to rise again in three days, was repeating the first words of the 22nd Psalm.

And today, in lands where Christ lived and taught and beyond where the Christian faith was born and nourished, the words echo. For it is in the birthplace of Christianity that Christians face the greatest of persecutions and martyrdoms since the time of Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin.

President Donald Trump, outraged by pictures of infants and children who had perished in the nerve gas attack in Syria, ordered missile strikes on the air base from which the war crime came.

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Two days later, Palm Sunday, 44 Coptic Christians celebrating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem were martyred in terrorist attacks in Egypt. The first bombing was at St. George’s Church in Tanta, the second at St. Mark’s in Alexandria, where the Coptic Pope Tawadros II was at Mass.

The pope was unhurt, but 100 Christians were injured in the attacks. At St. George’s, one witness described the scene after the bomb exploded near the altar: “I saw pieces of body parts. . . . There was so much blood everywhere. Some people had half of their bodies missing.”

The Islamic State group claims credit for the murders, and the pictures of dead children from those churches were surely as horrific as the pictures the president saw after the gas attack.

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Copts are among the earliest Christians, dating to the first century A.D., when St. Mark, one of the Twelve Apostles, established the first church outside the Holy Land and became bishop of Alexandria.

The Copts make up 10% of Egypt’s population. They have been especially targeted for terrorist attacks since the 2013 overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, who had been elected president after the ouster of longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak.

In the subsequent struggle between Egypt’s Islamists, whose base is in Sinai, and the Cairo regime of Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who was welcomed to the White House in March, the Copts are seen as soft-target allies of el-Sissi’s and hated for their faith.

Whatever they did for democracy, the U.S. interventions in the Middle East and the vaunted Arab Spring have proved to be pure hell for Arab Christians.

In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Christians were left alone if they did not interfere in politics. Indeed, they prospered as doctors, lawyers, journalists, academics, engineers, businessmen. A Christian, Tariq Aziz, was Saddam’s foreign minister, who negotiated with Secretary of State James Baker to try to prevent what became the Gulf War.

Before 2003, there were still 800,000 Christians in Iraq. But after a decade of church bombings and murders of priests, their numbers have plummeted. When the Islamic State seized a third of Iraq, Christians under the group’s rule had to convert to Islam and pay a tax or face beheading.

On Dec. 26, St. Stephen’s Day, which honors the first martyr, Pope Francis hailed the Iraqi Christians lately liberated from Islamic State rule, noting, “They are our martyrs of today, and there are so many we can say that they are more numerous than in the first centuries.”

In 2016, an estimated 90,000 more Christians worldwide died for their faith.

Under Syria’s dictator Hafez al-Assad and son Bashar, Christians have been 10% of the population and protected by the regime. They thus have sided with Assad against the terrorists of the Islamic State and al Qaeda, whose victory would mean their expulsion or death.

Of the 10 nations deemed by Christianity Today to be the most hateful and hostile toward Christianity, eight are majority-Muslim nations, with the Middle East being the site of the worst of today’s persecutions.

Afghanistan, which we “liberated” in 2001, is listed as the third-most hostile nation toward Christians. The punishment for baptism there is death. A decade ago, a Christian convert had to flee his country to avoid beheading.

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Consider. Christianity, whose greatest feast day we celebrated on Sunday, April 16, is the cradle faith of the culture and the civilization of the West. And in our secularized world, Christianity remains the predominant faith.

A millennium ago, Christendom mounted crusades to ensure that its pilgrims would not lose the right to visit the Holy Land in peace.

Now, a decade and a half after we launched invasions and occupations of the Muslim world in Afghanistan and then Iraq to bring the blessings of democracy, the people there who profess that Christian faith are being persecuted as horribly as they were under the Romans in Nero’s time.

Where are the gains for religious freedom and human rights to justify all the bombings, invasions, and wars we have conducted in the lands from Libya to Pakistan—to justify the losses we have endured and the death and suffering we have inflicted?

Truth be told, it is in part because of us that Christianity is on its way to being exterminated in its cradle.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority and Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?

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Is Putin the ‘Preeminent Statesman’ of Our Times?

While the U.S. is on the decline, mired in endless, costly wars around the world, Russia under Vladimir Putin is on the rise. U.S. career politicians assail the Russian leader as the U.S. military taunts him with maneuvers on his borders. Still Putin remains steadfast in his singular effort to make Russia great again.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“If we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the preeminent statesman of our time. . . . On the world stage, who could vie with him?”

So asks Chris Caldwell of The Weekly Standard in a remarkable essay in Hillsdale College’s March issue of its magazine, Imprimis.

What elevates Putin above all other 21st-century leaders?

“When Putin took power in the winter of 1999-2000, his country was defenseless. It was bankrupt. It was being carved up by its new kleptocratic elites, in collusion with its old imperial rivals, the Americans. Putin changed that.

“In the first decade of this century, he did what Kemal Ataturk had done in Turkey in the 1920s. Out of a crumbling empire, he resurrected a national-state, and gave it coherence and purpose. He disciplined his country’s plutocrats. He restored its military strength. And he refused, with ever blunter rhetoric, to accept for Russia a subservient role in an American-run world system drawn up by foreign politicians and business leaders. His voters credit him with having saved his country.”

Putin’s approval rating, after 17 years in power, exceeds that of any rival Western leader. But while his impressive strides toward making Russia great again explain why he is revered at home and in the Russian diaspora, what explains Putin’s appeal in the West, despite a press that is every bit as savage as President Donald Trump’s?

Answer: Putin stands against the Western progressive vision of what mankind’s future ought to be. Years ago, he aligned himself with traditionalists, nationalists, and populists of the West, and against what they had come to despise in their own decadent civilization.

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What they abhorred, Putin abhorred. He is a God-and-country Russian patriot. He rejects the New World Order established at the Cold War’s end by the United States. Putin puts Russia first.

And in defying the Americans he speaks for those millions of Europeans who wish to restore their national identities and recapture their lost sovereignty from the supranational European Union. Putin also stands against the progressive moral relativism of a Western elite that has cut its Christian roots to embrace secularism and hedonism.

The U.S. establishment loathes Putin because, they say, he is an aggressor, a tyrant, a “killer.” He invaded and occupies Ukraine. His old KGB comrades assassinate journalists, defectors, and dissidents.

Yet while politics under both czars and commissars has often been a blood sport in Russia, what has Putin done to his domestic enemies to rival what our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has done to the Muslim Brotherhood he overthrew in a military coup in Egypt?

What has Putin done to rival what our NATO ally President Erdogan has done in Turkey, jailing 40,000 people since last July’s coup—or our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over the extrajudicial killing of thousands of drug dealers?

Does anyone think President Xi Jinping would have handled mass demonstrations against his regime in Tiananmen Square more gingerly than did Putin this last week in Moscow?

Much of the hostility toward Putin stems from the fact that he not only defies the West, when standing up for Russia’s interests, he often succeeds in his defiance and goes unpunished and unrepentant.

He not only remains popular in his own country, but has admirers in nations whose political establishments are implacably hostile to him.

In December, one poll found 37% of all Republicans had a favorable view of the Russian leader, but only 17% were positive on President Barack Obama.

There is another reason Putin is viewed favorably. Millions of ethnonationalists who wish to see their nations secede from the EU see him as an ally. While Putin has openly welcomed many of these movements, America’s elite do not take even a neutral stance.

Putin has read the new century better than his rivals. While the 20th century saw the world divided between a communist East and a free and democratic West, new and different struggles define the 21st.

The new dividing lines are between social conservatism and self-indulgent secularism, between tribalism and transnationalism, between the nation-state and the New World Order.

On the new dividing lines, Putin is on the side of the insurgents. Those who envision de Gaulle’s Europe of Nations replacing the vision of One Europe, toward which the EU is heading, see Putin as an ally.

So the old question arises: Who owns the future?

In the new struggles of the new century, it is not impossible that Russia—as was America in the Cold War—may be on the winning side. Secessionist parties across Europe already look to Moscow rather than across the Atlantic.

“Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism,” writes Caldwell. “That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that’s true even here.”

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority and Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?.

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM



Beginning of the End as Brexit Takes Shape

Today marks the beginning of the end of UK’s membership in the EU, a solid victory after a long, well-fought battle by populist-minded citizens desiring to restore self-rule to their nation. Divorces can be messy, and time will tell who wins custody of the UK “children”—including the nation’s agricultural programs and national immigration policy—and how the separation will impact the UK’s involvement in the European army.

By Mark Anderson

The inspiring populist surge that’s tugging at the seams of the New World Order has reached an historic turning point. On March 29—nine months after the June 23 “Brexit” referendum vote by a respectable majority of Brits to exit the European Union—the British government stated it would honor the will of the voters and is starting the formal process of filing for divorce from the EU.

It’s been nearly 45 years since British Prime Minister Edward Heath took the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community (EEC)—a Bilderberg-blessed trade and economic bloc that gradually sapped British sovereignty and foreshadowed the larger, more consolidated, deeply dictatorial European Union. This paradigm-shifting move in January 1973 brought EEC membership to nine. Then, a 1975 referendum saw the UK electorate vote to stay in the EEC under renegotiated terms of entry.

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Over time, Britain, while it clung to its pound sterling and never became part of the eurozone, nevertheless sank into the morass of the bureaucratic, increasingly dictatorial European Union. The 28-member EU’s immigration policies became especially egregious, in the eyes of UK voters.

The practical outcome of those policies: a heavy flow into Britain of often unassimilable foreigners who have drastically changed the island nation’s unique character. And British military involvement in the “war on terror” has helped destroy the home countries of Middle Eastern and North African peoples who have migrated into Europe and the UK, in ever-larger numbers.

Kicking off Brexit’s expected two-year process of pulling out of the EU, UK Prime Minister Theresa May confidently told members of Parliament in the House of Commons: “This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.” Accordingly, the UK’s Article 50 six-page notification letter was delivered by Sir Tim Barrow to European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels.
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But the EU super-state and its managers aren’t big on national sovereignty. Sky News quoted Tusk as saying: “There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in Brussels, nor in London. After all, most Europeans, including almost half the British voters wish that we would stay together, not drift apart . . .

“But paradoxically there is also something positive in Brexit. Brexit has made us, the community of 27, more determined and more united than before,” Tusk added, “In essence, this is about damage control. Our goal is clear: to [minimize] the costs for the EU citizens, businesses and Member States. We will do everything in our power . . .  to achieve this goal. And what we should stress today is that, as for now, nothing has changed: until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, EU law will continue to apply to—and within—the UK.

“Finally, I would like to say that we have just released an official statement by the European Council, in which leaders stress that we will act as one and start negotiations by focusing on all key arrangements for an orderly withdrawal. On Friday [March 31] I will share a proposal of the negotiating guidelines with the Member States, to be adopted by the European Council on 29 April.”

Divorces, even when necessary and ultimately beneficial, can be a messy affair. Of course, the establishment press is largely beside itself, casting doubt on the wisdom of Brexit while trying to read the tea leaves on why mostly rural British voters decided they’d had enough of the EU. One BBC article called Brexit “suicidal self-harm” that will deny British finances and manpower to the greater EU.

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Significant challenges do lie ahead. Will the UK’s entanglement in the budding European army prove to be a barrier or have a slowing effect on executing Brexit? Will Brexit allow the UK to regain control of its fisheries and other agricultural systems? Will the UK government maintain open-borders immigration policies even as a non-EU member?

And as former UK intelligence analyst Alex Thomson of Eastern Approaches told the “UK Column News”  for its March 29 broadcast, the EU is a “supra-national body” from which departure is no cakewalk, because it’s not as if the UK is departing just another international organization.

As he stated, “The EU is unique in global and diplomatic institutions, in that it is not just an international organization by treaty, but it is also a supra-national body. It sits above and replaces parts of your government, by the connivance of your government, over the heads of the people. The continentals [those in the EU mainland] are starting to realize this as well.”

He added that the EU’s supra-national doctrine regarding sovereignty, “once acquired, always acquired” makes departing the EU particular difficult, as necessary and desirable as it is.  “It’s something that’s never been done before in world history,” he concluded.

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




The Battle of the Billboards Rages On in the South

North Carolina citizens are expressing their free-speech rights peacefully by posting messages expressing their values on billboards, an action that has generated both controversy and conversation. 

By Dave Gahary

A seven-word, anonymous billboard running along a stretch of road between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, N.C. has many locals up in arms, feeling that the message “delivers an antiquated, misogynistic, even transphobic message.” They’ve decided to fight back, by putting up their own billboard, with plans to spread them across not just North Carolina, but the entire country. What are the seven words that so disturbed a “liberal” contingent of the Winston-Salem community last month? “Real Men Provide. Real Women Appreciate It.”

Winston-Salem (population 241,218), nicknamed the “Camel City” (think cigarettes) is the most religious city in the state, and is extremely racially diverse, with a mix of 47% white, 35% black, and 15% Hispanic.

A local business owner, Molly Grace, who was tipped off to the billboard on Facebook, had organized a peaceful protest on Feb. 26 to counter what she and others feel is the sign’s negative message: “that men provide and that women should be thankful.”

American Free Press sat down with Ms. Grace, a white, heterosexual, 30-year-old, single mother of one, who relocated to the Tar Heel state from western Pennsylvania seven years ago. She explained why she was offended by the message and what she is doing about it.

Listen to AFP’s exclusive interview with Molly Grace by clicking the image below.

“The message was a hurtful one, and regardless of what the author intended it to mean— which is still unclear—the words that were chosen send an emotionally harmful message to young girls and boys,” she told AFP.

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Others see the message as extremely positive, especially in the black community, where, as Rev. James David Manning pointed out in an interview with this writer several issues ago:

“What has happened to families, where black men have abdicated their responsibility toward their children, [impregnating] these girls, and then leaving them to fend for themselves, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, living on government handouts, living in rat- and roach-infested buildings . . . this is across the board in the black community.”

Obviously, for that segment of the black community that falls into this category, the slogan “Real Men Provide” takes on a completely different meaning, especially for black women.

Inspired to counter the message, Ms. Grace organized a rebellion of sorts.

“Several people and myself tossed around different ideas of what we could do that would send a more positive message to counter the negative one,” Ms. Grace explained. “We decided that purchasing our own billboard with a positive, all-inclusive version of that message would be a really good way of doing that.”

Those attending the protest event voted and selected “People of Quality Don’t Fear Equality” for the words that will adorn their billboards.

Ms. Grace, who has received nasty phone calls and emails as well as death threats, is not deterred. “We are raising the funds to not only get one billboard in the Winston-Salem area, but we’re actually looking at making this an ongoing project and trying to get the same billboard all over other areas throughout the country,” she explained.

So far the project has garnered $3,627 in donations. “The billboard in Winston-Salem will cost about $2,000,” states the donation website. “We are hoping to exceed that goal and raise $10,000 to purchase several more billboards with the same message around the country.”

Curiously, on March 4, the seven-word billboard that caused such a stink was replaced by a new 39-word one: “Much Ado About Nothing. A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard—Bless their hearts.”

Ms. Grace touched on why this message offends her as well.

“The thing that we were protesting is not ‘nothing,’ so shame on you for trying to tell us that the things that are very important to us are nothing,” she said.

So the next time you’re out driving around the country—wherever you are—keep your eyes peeled for politically motivated billboards. Whether you like their messages or not, it’s a peaceful way to express your opinions and exercise your First Amendment rights. And that’s what free and open debate should be about—not violent tactics in which one group or another tries to physically assault those who hold differing opinions, causing mayhem, property damage and, sometimes, serious physical injury.

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.